Real Talk: Klep

   If someone asked me to describe Klep, the one word that comes to mind is longevity. Since the ’90s, Klep has been a major figure in Worcester hip-hop and is regarded by many as a local legend. Time to break bread, this is REAL TALK!

 Brother Menelik : How’d you get the name Klep?
Klep: I was actually told a long time ago that I “steal the show” when I perform, so therefore the name Klep, which is short for kleptomaniac, fit undeniably.

You have a long hip-hop history in this city. I remember when I was coming up; there were two crews that had it on lock, 180 and F.O.E.S.L. How was this so?
First off, shout out to all the members of F.O.E.S.L.!! And the 180 Krew is what made me who I am, not just as a rapper, but as the man I am today. A lot of growth, pain and understanding of self took place throughout my entire involvement of that team, and not for me, but all members.
I think what made us who we were had to do with the work we put into our teams. We set the tone for performing live out here. Providing that WOW! factor is what both teams strived for, and it worked for us. We never really had a chance to express ourselves on records like we wanted. But best believe, we could pack a show in those days, which is actually harder to do locally now, unless you have that viral buzz that everyone is used to.

As one of the most ferocious battle MC’s out here, what is one of your favorite lines that you’ve written and why?
I have a lot, but here’s one that tends to stick: let’s see, “Y’all beat around the bush when you write me? I flow straight to the point like the dull end of a knife…I don’t negotiate with beef; I either walk or fight. I don’t just compliment a dime; I either fuck then wife…y’all tuff, but y’all can be a lot harder. Real thugs will take a little off ya top, and I ain’t talking ‘bout barbers…heavy flow like holding my rhyme could lean your posture; I’m learning how to spit like monsters!”

What is your most memorable battle?
Banor from F.O.E.S.L., of course!!! That was major out here. Two guys with something to lose—their fans and reputation as an emcee! It didn’t get any more classic than that!What do you have cooking right now?
Right now, I have numerous projects. I’m not just a guy chasing the dream of a rap career. I own a registered company known as Triad Fam Entertainment, where I’m currently managing a female artist by the name of JONGI, song writing and working on my first solo project titled Y NOT? And I’m now partnered with We R Us Entertainment, where we book major acts to come out and rock stages for y’all such as Trey Songz at Hanover Theater last January. Also a film company known as Goldilocks Productions, currently producing and co-musically supervising a hip-hop film ‘bout a white female rapper from Mass. Also look out for my music video, being produced as we speak, for my upcoming single, “If I could,” off of Y NOT?

How do you explain your longevity?

Honestly I think it comes with being humble and still being willing to learn and network. I don’t do music that’s dated, and I don’t walk around the town like I’m some big local celebrity ‘cause the truth is, like every major release, there will always be new customers who have never even heard of you! So the key is to stay humble and keep working and don’t be afraid to try something different ‘cause the times have changed from then till now, but everything I do just happens to be who I am. I’m just now learning myself, as an artist, to be real. And hopefully everyone will enjoy what I have to offer.

What are your thoughts on Worcester hip-hop today?
I’m so glad you asked this. ’Cause honestly these guys today do not know how good they have it! We are in a time where you don’t need a record company to get on. All you need is an after-school job and a laptop or computer! And that’s real talk. Most of them probably don’t know what a DAT machine is—everything is MP3 wav files now. But nowadays, the game is so independently driven that all you have to do is record clean, hot music and start a wave on the net. Next thing you know, you’re the next soulja boi! Truth be told, if you’re an emcee, and you want to do this the rest of your life, and you’re on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc., and you have a little money to spend on travel and marketing, and your fan base isn’t poppin’—then you either suck or you’re not going as hard as you think you are.

But there are a few that grind hard. And my hat goes off to them ’cause they keep Worcester hip-hop alive like you guys at HHTT and Kinda Dusty. You guys have stepped it up from cafeteria talk to the World Wide Web. And that’s what Worcester has to get a grasp on. We can do it like the majors now! Why are we still recording demos in our basements? Do it big or don’t do it at all. Or just say you’re doing it for fun and stop pretending.

REAL TALK is a monthly local hip-hop segment in Worcester Magazine written by Brother Menelik Ebna la-Hakim of HulkHateTimeTravel.com (w/contributors XXL Lex Luthor & Reviresco) HHTT Productions/ Da’Kitchen/ H2T2 Productions/ Hulkhatetimetravel.com

Article also available @ Worcester Magazine

Real Talk: T.O.D. (Touch Of Death)

HHTT Final Draft Edition

Worcester’s Hip Hop scene is in a state of constant growth and lot of it is due to the fact more and more studios are becoming accessible within the city along with the ever growing popularity of the internet. 10 years ago you would have to pay an arm, a leg, and a kneecap to get 2 tracks done or travel to Boston (and you know your big brother love him some Beantown). In 2010 things have certainly changed for the better and today I’m breaking bread with a brother who has been in the local scene for a minute and is finally getting his due respect, my brother, the legendary T.O.D. (Touch of Death). This is Da Kitchen and we ain’t making cupcakes b!

Brother Menelik:What is Da Kitchen?

T.O.D: Da’ Kitchen is the name of my studio, it’s where all the media for HHTT goes through and it’s the in-house studio for H2T2 Productionz. I currently am an artist, live performer, producer (yes I make beats), engineer, promoter, radio host (91.3fm/wcuw.org), I capture & document local artists performing, I also do music video’s and talent procurement as well as artist development. In the near future I will be learning how to DJ, I don’t necessarily want to be your next favorite Dj but I do love music and how it affects the soul so my aim is to be able to control all aspects and truly manipulate all forms of media.

How long have you been up and running?

Da’ Kitchen was officially opened in the winter of ’06/’07 but wasn’t named until the early summer of 2007.It was shut down due to things beyond my control in the fall of ’07 and reopened in the summer ’08. It’s been running consistently since then.

Who are some of the artists that have passed through to cook with the chef?

Recording wise, it’s strictly an in-house studio for H2T2 Productionz, however I do currently work with Young Reapa (George W. Kush) and his High Flyer Movement. In the past I worked with various artists from RuffSide Entertainment. In the near future it will open to the public at an hourly rate of course.

How do you feel the home studio has affected hip hop in the last few years?

 

The fact that you can have a studio in the same room where you sleep and pump out quality music is amazing. However I think the advancements in technology that have helped the home studio have also hurt the business of selling hip hop music. You got to understand something, between the internet leaking every major artist’s album weeks ahead of their official release date and a million unsigned artists releasing free material people just don’t want to pay for music anymore. The home studio has given hip hop back to the people but when the industry that makes the big dollars from marketing our music loses money they will bring a new form of music for the public to adore.

What made you want to get into engineering/mixing/producing?

That’s a funny question coming from you, seeing how we built our first studio back in 1994 together on Murray Ave. in the Wellington Apts. Back then we were the youngest (12 years old to be exact) and basically the only group locally really utilizing a computer based studio. At the time analog equipment was the norm and when people asked us about our setup they would say that the computer thing would never work seeing how DAW software was still in its infancy stages. I started to take music more seriously and taught myself engineering and production when I was released from our wonderful correctional system and put on house arrest. With 24 hours locked in my home I taught myself how to make beats and engineer tracks.

What’s in the future for Da Kitchen?

As of right now I just launched a site that’s an archive of all media I have released. Make sure you check that out @ Dakitchen101.com . I also would like to get into local television and provide an outlet for our hip hop scene, I’ll have to wait and see what the people at channel 13 have to say about that one.

What projects are you currently working on?

Hot Dogs & Coke (Coney Island Shit) being released by H2T2 Productionz ,Prophecy’s (H2T2 recording artist) Creative Cancer, Young Reapa’s High Flyers mixtape, and Da’ Kitchen EP. I’m currently working on the video for “Streets” featuring Prophecy & myself as well as locations for the next video “Cocaine (Sell Drugs)” featuring A.V. All the projects are completely recorded so trust when I say It will be one hell of a year.

You have been in the local hip hop scene for a while now; you are a vet with the stripes on the arm b! What advice would you give to those coming up?

Write and keep writing. Practice alot and work on all aspects of emceeing, flow, and delivery. The problem that I have with alot of local artist is that they pick one flow and run with it, or they can’t bring life to their words. Sometimes you hear a collection of material they have released and they sound exactly the same on every track or they lack confidence in their words. How can you claim to be the best when you don’t sound like or look like (in a video) that you believe what your saying. With that being said I would say be open and learn how to take constructive criticism, identify your faults and work on them.

Da’ Kitchen is a sick name for a studio, how’d you come up with it?

Originally Da’ Kitchen was in a room I rented. With the room being on the top floor and summer really starting to kick in, it was blazing hot. We used to open the door while we recorded to get some air circulating, funny thing is the kitchen was located outside of my room and when my roommates would cook while we was recording the heat would be unbearable. At times it felt like an oven so I named it Da’ Kitchen, not much has changed cuz the room it’s in now is the hottest room in the house lol. So if you can’t stand the heat then get the f*** out Da’ Kitchen.

What is this MurdaMass movement I been hearing so much about?

MurdaMass (MurdaMass.com) is a site that I’m launching, it’s an extension of Da’ Kitchen and Hulk Hate Time Travel. It will work hand in hand with both sites and keep you updated with anything having to do with hip hop and local artist as well as events.

Anything you want to get off your chest b, any shouts?

First I want to shotout all my brothers locked down, all the listeners that stay tuned in to Selective Hearing on 91.3fm every friday 10:30pm to midnight, my family @ Zaza Ink for all the support, Red Dollaz Ent ,T.R.U. Crew, Social Light Sounds, Big Kas,Cyrus da Great, Urban Fire Radio,Black Ownaz, Grindhouse & the big 3, Deep Blue Studio’s ,Dead End , Ziggy Productions, Dirtnap Ent, Family First Ent, New Era Ent, Noir Photography , Ben Allotey, Bad News, Beaver Brook Crooks, my family for the support,  my girl for helping me with the ideas and most importantly my Blidock CHANDLLLLLLEEERRRR !!!

Yo T, you still have my copy of Last Dragon on VHS? I miss Vanity b!!!!

I’ll give that back to you when you return my VHS copy of Eddie Murphy’s Raw and I’m talking about the original one in the extra bulky white hard plastic case.

View the Worcester Magazine Article here

And always check hulkhatetimetravel.com for the latest in pop/culture, local music, and everything else under the sun!

REAL TALK is a monthly local hip-hop segment in Worcester Magazine written by Brother Menelik Ebna la-Hakim of HulkHateTimeTravel.com (w/contributors XXL Lex Luthor & Reviresco) HHTT Productions/ Da’Kitchen/ H2T2 Productions/ Hulkhatetimetravel.com

Also you can contact me at T_lgcy@yahoo.com, facebook me :Toca Legacy or just check out DaKitchen101.com

 

HHTT in Worcester Magazine

Check out the article in Worcester Magazine this week.
H2T2, the infection has spread.

Photo credit: Steven King of Worcester Magazine