The 1978ers, “One-Nine-7-T-8”

Blake Gillespie

After years of producer Slimkat collaborating with yU of Diamond District on his solo albums, the two were guided by planetary alignment to form an official group. Both artists were born in 1978 and thus became The 1978ers. As both noted in the interview below, they’ve practically been a group all along, they just had to begin recognizing the signs that would lead them to the logical conclusion.

Taken from the upcoming People Of Today record, “One-Nine-7-T-8” calibrates to the soul-familiar, which is to say its fabric is lived-in like the comfort of a favorite hoodie. The album intro with its sample of street testimonials will bring to mind Pete Rock & CL Smooth’s “Ghetto of the Mind” intro or De La Soul’s “when I first heard Criminal Minded…” testimonials from Stakes Is High. It’s an intro that indicates the mind state of the 1978ers, which is furthered by the frenetic bass line and people-get-ready attitude brought to “One-Nine-7-T-8”. Slimkat produces like he’s the direct descendent of The Ummah bloodline, while yU’s a foreign native with a message of brotherhood in the DMV.

Stream “One-Nine-7-T-8” below and read on for an interview with the group.

As the 1978ers, I take it you both share the same birth year (I know this is true for yU),but I’m wondering if you saw a deeper significance to the year? For instance ’78 was the Year of the Horse and 2014 is the same.

yU: Actually, you just hipped me to sumthin new as far as 2014 being the Year of the Horse too… I appreciate that. But to answer your question, it’s really as simple as 1978 being the year we both were born. A dope year in soul music, style, culture, and just human interaction in general. That’s the nest that a lot of children born nowdays can’t really relate to.

Slim: Full Circle, just as you mentioned (Year of the Horse) would only make sense of why this album is destined in being released this year. As yU said, it is just as simple as ’78 being the Year of birth to Us really, all the other pieces of the meaning come together along with the journey of life we go through individually & collectively. For example take the number 7 which is a significant number in the spiritual realm, & number 8, which represents or is closest to the sign of infinity and etc. We could go on about analogies but it has only been unfolding itself for us throughout the years.

The two of you have worked together on past yU albums, but how did the decision to form an official group come about?

Slim: We never really thought about being a group until the songs we did together started piling up. We kept doing songs without noticing that we had enough to put out as a collective. Just fed of off each others creativity. We had very similar taste in music we listen to, life goals, and morals which would make it easier for subject of song concepts to spark.

yU: Honestly, Before Taxes and The EARN were originally supposed to be 1978ers albums… There is a commonality to both, being that everything recorded was filtered thru Slim and I. Every beat chosen and everything down to the flow of the album had to get the nod from both of us. As far as how we initially combined… We met in like 98/99, at a show held at a venue in NW Washington DC called State of the Union, both in different crews at the time, he was apart of a group called Khemystery and I was with The Remainz, whom both performed that night. And afterwards we exchanged math. I was at a point at the time where I felt I’d got the gist of the group dynamic and needed to grow individually and write solo songs instead of just 16’s. Some months later we met up and started working and noticed that we worked well together without a whole lotta emphasis. And during that time we noticed more and more the things we had in common, hence the name… which just kinda stuck over the years.

Did you go into People Of Today with a concept in mind or did the message begin to reveal itself through recording?

yU: No, we didn’t actually start from scratch wittit. Most (90 percent) of the songs from Before Taxes, The EARN, and People of Today were recorded during the same time span, meaning each project had songs that were recorded years ago, and just brought up to date with a more current mix. We had a plethora of songs and just organized which ones should come out first, mid, and lastly. The title came about with listening to early versions of “P.O.T. Act III”. It just sounded kinda like a root for the album, and we just painted around it, from the intro on up.

Slim: The title of the album People Of Today, believe it or not, came to us toward the end of wrapping up this project. The message of the songs on this album stem from life events and experiences, conversations, agreements, disagreements, and just the regular communication that we have with each other as good friends on a frequent basis.

For yU, in working on this 1978ers record, what creative freedoms does it offer that you don’t get in Diamond District and was there overlap in the recordings?

yU: As far as creativity goes, I’d just say they’re different styles, Diamond District is like fighting straight up, and the 1978ers is my south paw… Just to let you know I can use my left as well. Still the same root though, with both we take our expression seriously.

There wasn’t any overlap either, cuz for me there is always music being recorded, I have multiple folders that songs/beats are deposited to when finished. No toes are stepped on, cuz they’re all going in the same direction.

For Slimkat, do you have production that you cater to yU? Or do you know when a beat is going to fit his style? And when do you challenge that notion?

Slim: Sometimes I don’t know if I’ll have something to cater to yU’s style. I’d let the challenge of the beat speak for itself and when he hears, it normally just speaks to him enough to write. He understands the simplicity of the production and fits himself in between the cracks. So, We never had a formula for creating songs, most of what we do as a group just happens organically.

The 1978ers’ People Of Today is out November 11 on Mello Music Group and available for preorder on iTunes.

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