Thursday, Jul 04 2002 | 16:29

This June 7 Heads made a lot of noise when they released “Live At Home” the album by London based producer Richy Pitch (featuring J-Live, Mr.Complex, Asheru of the Unspoken Heard , Apani B and El da Sensei). With forthcoming releases by BJ aka Homeskillit, El Da Sensei and Djinji Brown it looks like the best is yet to come…

Can you describe in one sentence what Seven Heads is doing ?

Wes Jackson: “Rocking it, rock-rock rocking it !”

Over here in Europe the business has been pretty sour so far this year. Is it similar in the US and if yes where do you see the reasons and how do you cope with the situation ?

“Things definitely got bad after the World Trade Center, but they are beginning to bounce back. The real crazy thing is the whole issue of mp3’s. It’s hard to tell how many sales are lost there. That is our biggest asset and liability. They are great promotion, but I am starting to worry about lost sales. We just have to buckle down and get back to working our records directly to our folk. Everyone watches Jay-Z Backstage and wants to skip mad steps and go platinum out the gate. It ain’t that easy.”

There is more independent hip-hop out than ever. But pressing up a record all by yourself doesn’t mean you are a label. What labels are doing the best job in the Post-Rawkus era from your point of view and why ?

“I like to think we are holding our own. Definitely Def Jux. They are doing the best now. Wolf is doing it with Stones Throw, although I haven’t heard from him in a while. BBE, definitely. Other than that most operations are pretty intermittent.”

A lot of people were suprised that the J-Live album didn’t come out on 7 Heads. What was the story behind it ? ?

“At the time we were putting the record together we felt we needed some extra help. Like most operations, we needed financial help. CDE helped with that. The record is still a Triple Threat (J’s company) 7Heads joint in essence. J and the family are still out here making it happen just like before, so in many ways, contractually and otherwise, it’s our record.”

Richy Pitch is the first British hip-hop artist since Monie Love on a US label. It’s pretty common for US artists to release on European labels but it rarely happens the other way around. One could almost say the attitude of the US hip hop scene is like “We like your Euros but we don’t care about your music”. Would you agree or disagree ?

“That is pretty much the case. I think because of the language/dialectic barrier it’s hard for Europeans to connect with the US. It’s nothing personal, it’s like a new suit, sometimes their shit looks hot, but doesn’t fit right. Still love the suit and all. We are excited about Richy and I think opening up the pipeline will be good for us and the culture. You guys need a Messiah who is gonna open up everyone’s eyes. Like Outkast did for the South or Mobb Deep did for New York, Snoop and Dre in the West, etc. One European cat who is ill no matter how strange he sounds.”

How did you hook up with Richy and why did you decide to put out his album ?

“Via Scratch he brought the fam out to the UK for our 1st tour. That was in 99. It was Asheru, Lone Cat, J and Muhammed Abbott. He took care of us, slid us some beats and just polly’d it from there. Richy is now a part of the family.”

How’s the reaction on the album stateside ?

“Pretty good. There was some initial resistance, but since it is a producer’s album, most people don’t realize where he is from. Now we have all types of producers wanting to do this type of record. The Beat Generation series has a lot of producers open!

The next joint is a 12″ by BJ aka Homeskillit. Tell us a bit about this release. ?

“It’s actually a BJ/Piakhan 12 inch. I have been souped on BJ since Due Process. Then we did the GUSU joint and have been in contact ever since. The A side is Quenn City and it is just a beautiful piece. I have liked Piakhan since I heard him on Kweli’s album. I look forward to rocking with them some more.”

You’ve also signed El Da Sensei. How did the deal come about? Who is working with and when will his new material hit the stores?

“El came to us looking for management last year. We also liked his stuff so it was a no brainer. We shopped him around and then we were like, wait, who could do a better job than us. I wanted to keep it under the Sun, and not get into a situation like J. So we signed him to the label and got it rolling. They are finishing as I type. October release. On his joint is Rawls, Asheru, the Great Dat (Sadat X), J, Joe Money and some of his NJ crew, P. Original, Malito on the Drums, and El’s right hand man, DJ Kaos who has been down since day one. Also this cat Kan Kick who laced us. He runs with Declaime and some of your crew. The album is gonna be official, it was a pleasure working with a legend like El. He is like the vet on our team. We all learn from him, he’s been around the block.
One love to Groove Attack, I love what y’all rep. “

Words & interview: Oliver/Olski von Felbert

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