About a year ago, I was at the Medusa Lounge with a lady friend when this guy approached me wearing one of those tuxedo t-shirts. He looked like he meant business. He told me he was an MC and that he was selling copies of his album The Call for $5. He didn’t try to Percee P me into giving him the duckets, or spit an acapella, or push the fact that 9th Wonder did a beat for him (which he actually did). He was humble, modest, and direct. I gave him the $5, and that’s how I met Random.
A year later, Random (of RAHM Nation) is doing big things. The former Philadelphian and current Arizonian school teacher just released his EP Patches & Glue to rave reviews, which is available at HipHopSite.com. Last year, he released Mega Ran, an official Capcom-licensed release built on beats from Mega Man. Right now, he’s gearing up to release The 8th Day on August 8, 2008 with features from undergroud stalwarts LMNO, Naledge of Kidz in the Hall and more. He’s a bloggin’ ass dude like myself with a radio show to boot.
In short, there’s nothing left to chance with Random. It’s time to let him learn you something.
1. At what point did you realize music is what you wanted to do?
I started rhyming in 1993..we used to record entire albums on tape in the crib on tape decks, then we moved up to a 4 track recorder. The first time I realized that this was something I COULD do was around the year 2003… when I started getting other folks telling me “man, you better do something with this gift,” that’s when I knew I should take it seriously. I was working at a studio in Philly, and everyone that came through sounded like “The Next Man.” so I started to lose faith that anyone would want to hear my “conscious” rhymes, so I recorded a demo there, just for fun. But I took a trip to upstate New York for a show with Immortal Technique, Hasan Salaam and a bunch of other emcees, and that bus trip showed me that there were people like me who were still being creative, still making good hearftfelt music. The whole ride, we played beats for eachother, freestyled and had a great time. Since then it’s been full throttle.
2. How has Philly shaped your sound or molded you as an MC?
Philly has taught me so much. from the way I walk, talk and live, to the way I rhyme, it’s all Philly. No place has slang like Philly.. in Philly everyone has the “me against the world” outlook; from Rocky to A.I., that’s the Philly mentality. Coming up in the scene out there is rough, so if you can make it there, you really can make it anywhere.
People all the way out here in Phoenix know there’s just a certain ‘thing’ about Philly cats. There’s no place like it in the world. In general, being out here with an “East Coast Hustle,” as one of my friends dubbed it, is a huge advantage. and I have Philly to thank for that. fans, other artists, promoters, everyone recognizes it. I was just out there a few weeks ago and I really didn’t want to leave. It’ll always be home.
3. Who are the people you look up to and learn the most from?
At the risk of sounding cliche, I’d say my mom first and foremost. She’s taught me everything I know, and still manages to treat me like I’m 12…she still calls me and asks if I locked my front door. Just seeing her struggle with me, with no one else around, and never ask for a handout is a huge inspiration for me. Musically, I look at guys who constantly find new inspiration and stay creative, like Ohene…cats who have managed to stay humble despite success…like Reef the Lost Cauze, who works with any and everyone, is out at every show, is always approachable and friendly…cats like that keep me grounded. Also, in my profession (teaching), I can always look at other veteran teachers who have done it longer, and that shows me the true meaning of patience and perseverance.
4. With everything you’ve learned thus far, what do you wish you could have told yourself at the beginning? Would you have done anything differently?
That’s a good question. I’ve learned not to regret anything… but if I could’ve done anything differently, I would have told myself in 1997 the same thing I told myself in 2003…that I CAN succeed in music. If I had that faith then, I think I’d be a millionaire right now.
5. What’s hard for you? What do you struggle with?
My biggest hang up is that I try to do too much at one time. My mom says I spread myself too thin. that comes from another problem I have, that I’m too nice. I can’t say no. also, the new Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos… I can’t put them down.
6. Here’s a scenario: tomorrow you become the CEO of a major record label. What are the first 3 things you do as boss?
wow… first I’d put the music back into the hands of the people. By that, I mean, I’d get some real folks in the office, who are HUNGRY, not multi-millionaires, and get them out on the streets, to find out what’s good, and what’s not… I’d sign producers before rappers, because as we’re seeing right now, producers are still innovating while rappers are looking to the producers for inspiration… and I’d make sure all my signees go to business school before they record anything.
7. What are some of your favorite albums?
of all time? let’s see…PE- Nation of Millions, Marvin Gaye- What’s Going On, Nas – Illmatic, Tribe- Midnight Marauders, Eric B and Rakim – Paid In Full, Ice Cube – Death Certificate, Raekwon- Cuban Linx, Live- Throwing Copper, Stevie Wonder- Innervisions, Outkast – Aquemini, Jay- Z – Reasonable Doubt, OC- Word…Life, all the Roots albums, and Gangstarr- Moment of Truth.
8. What is inspiring your work right now?
The radio. The lack of creativity in music. the desire to get where I need to be, musically. I feel like I’m still growing, and in order to get to the level that I know I can get to, I know I need to keep working
9. What advice would you offer to someone getting into the business at this time?
Well, I’m not even where I want to be, but I’d tell anyone that NOBODY OWES YOU ANYTHING. Your talent is meaningless. Get out there and talk to people. Keep working, because someone behind you is working 10x harder than you.
10. Any words to live by?
“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” -Albert Einstein. Stay busy, stay motivated and stay grounded.
I want to thank Random for a great interview and for staying connected to the Philly hip hop scene all the while living for dirt cheap in the desert (my envy is growing by the minute).
Be sure to check out his extensive MySpace page here with info on all of his musings, rumblings, and recorings.
And here’s some treats from the man himself:
“One” featuring Tiana
Produced by CJ
From the album The 8th Day