Wednesday, March 31, 2004
In the liner notes to his excellent first solo album, Deadringer, RJ Krohn writes 'your' when he means 'you're' and capitalises the first letter of every word for no apparent reason. Even more damagingly as far as credibility goes, he writes 'dog' when he clearly means 'dogg'. But when the only faults you can find in an album are mistakes in the liner notes, You Know Your Dealing With Quality.
Oregon-born Krohn plies his trade under the nom de mix RJD2. When I interviewed him at the end of November for Radio One he told me of his plans for a tour down under in April and said he'd try to pop over to NZ too. True to his word he's in Auckland this Saturday night. If he puts on anything like the performance his Definitive Jux labelmates Mr Lif, Aesop Rock and DJ Fakts-1 did at the BDO this year, it'll be a pretty special gig.
Krohn performs live with four decks. He's a producer too, which means he's this sort of guy who listens to Outkast and wonders, "What compressors are they using?" and "How did they get the low end to thump like that?" And he's known for his remixes, in particular one of Cannibal Ox's 'The F Word' and another of 'Fugitive Motel' by Elbow. (You know, Elbow.)
Deadringer inspired some critics to dub him Shadow-lite, and that's not entirely unfair. He knows his limitations though, and he's not about to pull a RZA and ruin one of his beats by rapping over it. Emphatically not. "Please, shoot me in the fucking head if I ever start rapping," he told me. Rather than diversifying into MCing or scoring soundtracks, his aspirations are to nicer swivel chairs and control decks with more knobs. He'd love the chance to produce for some of the big names in hip hop and despite being signed to El-P's label he doesn't subscribe to any indie credo that would stop him moving up. Really, he doesn't see any difference between mainstream and indie hip hop other than money. Ludacris is his example: just like Copywrite, y'see? Only black, moneyed and commercial.
Krohn also has a few interesting things to say about music piracy. He could do without the lost income, of course, but he takes a fatalistic approach. And unlike the Sony music execs, he cops to doing it too. His justification? Well, it's something along the lines of an exemption for DJs, an mp3s-for-12-inches trade: "I'll download Jay-Z's new record - I don't give a shit. You know how much money I've given Jay-Z in the past?"
I'm expecting great things from the gig this Saturday. And even greater things from his new solo album, which will be out later in the year. Get it before he resumes his childhood plan of becoming a maths teacher. (Seriously, he plans to take up the compass and protractor when his hip hop career fizzles out.)
Finally, re my last post, one Fighting Talk reader visited Destiny Church HQ in Rotorua last year:
The Tamakis are like Godfathers there on account of the brothers' tourism empire. The church was big, on the main street, and almost entirely a Maori affair. We were stoned and got freaked out because we stuck out and everyone was very friendly to us. The pastor greeted us personally and it was all too much, so we fled.