Statik Selektah is a busy man. Between hosting his own show on Shade 45 and touring with buzzing rappers like Joey Bada$$ and Action Bronson, the versatile Boston producer/DJ also delivers some of the most well-rounded compilation albums in Hip-Hop on the regular. His latest album, What Goes Around, hit stores this week.
In the midst of a chaotic promo schedule, Mr. Show Off himself gave TSS Crew’s BEWARE some insight into the grind behind his new album, the approach behind his innovative collaborations, and how he became so good at juggling after all these years in the game.
TSS: What Goes Around is your sixth album. What are your main goals going into each project?
Statik Selektah: This album was a little bit more different, but I tried to stick to the format of having a Jazzmatazz album, but still keep it hardcore. So, it was kind of like a Tribe Called Quest meets NWA approach.
TSS: That’s definitely a best of both worlds approach, which you seemed to have achieved. I listened to the album two times through and found it touched a few genres, but is still really cohesive. Moreso, you seem to have a great knack for bringing random artists together for collabos.
The last track on the new album is called “God Knows” and features Bun B and Pos of De La Soul. How does it feel to bring legends from different circles together for the first time?
Statik Selektah: It’s dope, man. There was supposed to be two members of De La Soul. But, you know, time and travel. Everyone’s on tour. It came out cool, though. Because, it’s half of UGK and a third of De La Soul. It came out dope because they both compliment each other’s style.
TSS: I totally agree. It’s definitely a unique record and something to be pleased with. What other unlikely collaborations have you made happen that you’re most proud of?
Statik Selektah: Man. Putting Styles P and Q-Tip together. Getting Cassidy and Freeway together, on my first album, that came out six-seven years ago.
TSS: That one’s monumental, right there.
Statik Selektah: They had never worked together. They had problems and it was cool to bring them together.
TSS: The joint with Mac Miller and Sean Price from your last album Population Control was a good one.
Statik Selektah: No doubt.
TSS: In general, you seem to have a knack for bringing rappers together. Do you typically ask the rappers if they’re cool with the collabo first?
Statik Selektah: Yeah.
TSS: Have you had situations where you’ve proposed a collaboration concept to someone and they weren’t feeling it?
Statik Selektah: Nah, not really. Actually, you know who’s the king of that? I’m not going to throw anyone under the bus, but Sean Price is the kind of being like, “Nah, I don’t wanna’ be on a song with him.” So…
Statik Selektah: Yeah…some of them are really funny, too. People you’d think he would want to do a song with, he’ll be like, ‘Nah, nah, nah.’ (laughs)
TSS: He’s too hardcore, huh?
Statik Selektah: Not even that. He turned around and wanted to the song with Mac Miller. I think he just wants to be creative about it.
TSS: Can you explain the difficulties behind getting multiple rappers from different locales on the same page for one cohesive song concept?
Statik Selektah: Yeah, just getting them to….you know, everyone’s busy and touring. But, I’m literally on the road touring for 200 days a year. The process now is even more complicated, because I’m just not available. So, I gotta’ catch people when they’re in town, or catch them when I’m in their city.
TSS: Right. So, you’ve got the busiest schedule out of anyone and have to get everyone on your level.
Statik Selektah: Yeah, even with Black Thought, who is…a person even busier than me. That guy, whether he’s touring or on TV every day, he does so much. I had to go straight to his crib from the airport. I took a $300 cab from the airport to his house. He knocked it out right there. He’s such a respectful dude and made sure that it happened. He sticks to his word and I always appreciate that about him.
TSS: That’s awesome, especially because that record “The Imperial” with Royce Da 5’9 and Action Bronson came out phenomenal. They’re going super hard on there.
On the flip side, have you ever had to omit verses because they didn’t fit the concept, or have to tell someone to rewrite their verse?
Statik Selektah: Yeah, it’s happened like once or twice. But, not really. Nothing serious. There wasn’t a problem.
TSS: On this project and really, all your projects, there seems to be a fair balance of rising stars and established vets. Who’s easier to work with?
Statik Selektah: Man, a lot of the time I think working with the seasoned vets is easier. A lot of these kids now are so entitled. There’s a lot of artists who didn’t even make the album because they’re just like…in their own world. I’m talking about new cats. Some of these kids…
First of all, don’t ever send me to your manager. This is Hip-Hop. I gave a lot of these kids a chance before anyone else and the second they tell to talk to their manager, that’s the second their number gets deleted from my phone. I don’t care who you are. But, yeah, it happened with one or two artists…probably three of four artists, on this album. I have no concern with working with them again. Not anyone on the album, but people who were supposed to be.
TSS: Well, that’s unfortunate for them. But, with a million in fish in the pond these days, I guess you can start weeding out who’s good to work with and who’s not.
Statik Selektah: Yeah. Bet. I’m talking about literally, they would’ve been the most unknown person on my album and they were acting up. It’s crazy.
TSS: People are way too entitled these days. Bottom line. Let’s move away from collaborations to your production style. Most people know your production style is sample based. What’s the most difficult sample you’ve had to clear?