Blockhead's Midnight Interludes

Blockhead

Blockhead

Photo by Claudia Santiso

My new album, Interludes After Midnight, is about bringing it back to a different era. Not musically though. What I attempted to do is make a soundtrack for my life in my most formative years. To be exact, the mid 90's in NYC. Because the album is based on nostalgia, I figured a good way to tie that in with this column would be to look back at songs/clips that struck a chord with me. They may not be my favorite songs/clips or all time but they have significance to my life and definitely, in some roundabout way, have influenced me.

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I pick this cause this is literally my earliest memory of me loving music. I went and saw Beat Street in a theater when I was about 8 years old (I'm still confused as to how I convinced my mom to take me to see this movie). Even then, this scene was my shit. A few years later, I found the cassette of the soundtrack at a flea market and I still own it to this day. But, without question, this is what began my love of hip hop.

Back in 7th grade, I liked rap a lot but I was obsessed with all things dirty. Stand up comedy, filthy late night public access shows and the 2 Live Crew were all huge to me back then. I was talking to a friend about 2 Live Crew and he told me that I should check out the Jungle Brothers cause they're super dirty. That day I went to Disc-O-Rama on West Fourth Street and bought the cassette. I went home and played it only to find that, not only was it not filthy, it was pretty political minded and afrocentric. My friend was either an idiot or playing a joke on me. Still, I listened and listened until I eventually was obsessed with the album. Basically, this album opened my mind to listening to rap that had a message. Still, I always liked the “Jimbrowski” joint cause it was about sex…even if it was totally clean.

Now, I'd be lying if I said this song in particular had some profound effect on me. But it's a good example of what rappers who were signed to major labels were doing in the mid 90's. Following the lead of Kool Keith and the Ultramagnetic MC's , rappers took pride in being weird. Everyone strived to sound different. This was an eye opener for me, as I've always gravitated towards things that were slightly off center.

This is the kinda music that my parents would play around the house. This album, in fact, was a favorite of my fathers and he'd play it while he made art in his studio. I gotta think that this somehow played into my leanings towards music and my love of a good melody.

I'm gonna regret this. It's a little known fact that I was in a rap group prior to making beats for Aesop Rock. Somehow, one of those songs got on Youtube and ..well…here it is. I'm the second to last guy. I know…I know…I stopped rapping for a reason. Anyway, I put this video in here cause it represents everything I was about in the mid 90's. All my friends and I did was freak out over music, freestyle and make songs (excluding, getting drunk a lot , smoking weed and chasing girls…). We recorded everything on a dusty old four track and a shitty stage mike. It was also around the time we had a public access show, which leads me to this:

This is a random clip from our public access show that was on from 97-2001. Normally, our show consisted of us doing tasteless voiceovers of other shows or weird improv skits but this clip is actually perfect cause it's a look into what was actually playing on NYC public access in the mid-late 90's. I had taped all these little scenes on VHS tapes directly off the TV and we put them on our show cause, well, they were hilarious. My new album was gonna be called “Public Access” but I opted for Interludes After Midnight. Still, the new album is all about this time in my life. It's nostalgic without sounding like it was made back then. At least that's what I was going for.

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