Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I've had the distinct pleasure of seeing his young man work on music and the level of focus and drive instilled in him is pretty unmatched. He raps like someone is going to take his starting spot and freestlyes like he's about to say fuck it and kill it Scribble Jam. I've been posting a lot by Orikal Uno and by all means if you haven't been paying attention then now's the fucking time. For the 5th installment of Musicians on Music I present to you Orikal Uno!
NT-Who are you? Where do you call home?
OU-Orikal Uno. People who know me call me Antonio. St. Paul (WEST SIDE!), Minnesota is where i'm from, but I feel at home wherever I'm at in this world. I'm a Puerto Rican American Diabetic artist.
NT-How long have you been making music?
OU-Been singin' along with songs since I can remember. Starting recording and performing in early 2003.
NT-What's one of your fondest memories of music as a kid?
OU-Many childhood memories of mine have some sort of song that was either playing or closely associates with some of the moments. I remember hanging out with my Mom when I was real little, listening to songs from "The Double Dutch Bus" to "People are Strange." Haha, I also just remembered that my Mom used to record me on a little tape recorder singing nursery rhymes when I was like 2 or 3. She busted it out when I got my first real girlfriend and I was real embarrassed at the time, hahaha. I think I sampled that on my 3rd album, "The Harsh Reality"
NT-What kind of music was being played in your house growing up?
OU-Rock, rap, funk, disco... Prince, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Snoop Dogg's Doggystyle and the Nuthin But A G Thang single were always played in the cassette player. I also remember Rick James being played in the car a lot.
NT-What groups or bands are you really digging right now?
OU-Sab The Artist and Ganzobean have been making some insanely good music together. The new Drake was pretty good. Eminem's "Recovery" has been getting some plays since I bought it. For real though, one of Jay-Z's best verses was dropped on Drake's record. I looped that shit like 50 times over when I first heard it.
NT-What's your cd/record collection like?
OU-Diverse. Let me put my iPod on shuffle and show you the ten songs that pop up-
1) Fugees - Ready or Not
2) The Zombies - Time Of The Season
3) Notorious BIG - Another
4) LL Cool J - Loungin' (Who Do You Love)
5) South Park Mexican - Twice Last Night
6) The Beatles - Octopus's Garden
7) I Self Devine - Love Song
8) Jay-Z - Feelin' It
9) TI f/ UGK - Front Back
10) Eric B. & Rakim - Eric B. Is President
Well, I guess that's not too diverse. But my collection ranges from Bill Withers to Staind, from Metallica to Twista. Also a huge fan of Brazillian music and Bossa Nova. Anything from the heart.
NT-Who were some of your inspirations in your early years? Who, after listening to it really made you decide to make music?
OU-Michael Jackson was huge for me when I was real young. "Bad" was the first cassette tape I ever owned. 2pac was huge for me. I went through a rock/skater phase for a year or two when I was figuring out who I was. Powerman 5000, Offspring, Sublime, Godsmack and all that. I blame the KFAI Orphanage freestyle for making me want to actually try to make something happen. That was real inspiring. As I dug more into the local scene, I caught on to how Rhymesayers did their thing, and that was real inspiring to me as well. Now they pretty much run shit. And I got to watch a lot of that process in how they did it. Real inspiring.
NT-Who do you think is the one producer or Emcee changing the game like he or they see fit, the way they want it without giving a damn?
OU-That's hard to say, because a lot of people are really starting to bend their style up into something new. Everything is like a free-for-all in music right now, and it's real refreshing to see people try new things. Timbaland is a prime example of an "evolved" producer. Lots of already-dope people are evolving right now. Busta Rhymes has been droppin' some real nice stuff lately. You can tell Eminem is trying out some new things too. So to answer the question, a handful of musicians are trying new things. I side with controlled experimentation. People finding new ways to make songs about the same ol' topics.
NT-In your mind is there any one or two records that is absolutely perfect or damn near close?
OU-2pac - All Eyez On Me, Buena Vista Social Club's album, Red Hot Chili Peppers - BloodSugarSexMagic, Pearl Jam - Ten, Modest Mouse - The Lonesome Crowded West, Dr. Dre's Chronic and Chronic 2001, Jay-Z's - Reasonable Doubt, Eminem - Marshall Mathers LP, Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Mauraders, Outkast - ATLiens and probably a few more.
NT-Is there anything about those album(s) that you know they just "got it right"?
OU-True emotions were put into the creation, and you can hear it from the music to the lyrics, front to back.
NT-Do you have any "desert island" records to share?
OU-I think it would have to be that Buena Vista Social Club album I was talking about. It has all emotions, so it would cover all my moods for the rest of the days I was stranded. Plus, it's pure island music.
NT-Why did you decide to start Graff Roots Media? Why Not try to get signed?
OU-I started Graff Roots Media to do my own thing and try to make a living off of it. As far as being signed, I don't really see Graff Roots Media as a "record label" - more of a collective of friends who enjoy working together artistically and professionally. My vision for Graff Roots Media is to be the complete media solution - as in, recording/producing the album, designing the art, shooting the videos and photo shoots, and covering the marketing and back-end operation all at the same time. Graffiti Writers get fame by getting their name up in as many places as possible. That's what i'm trying to do, but professionally. As far as getting signed goes - if anybody lets me control and manage my music & identity 100%, while throwing money on the table for me to do it, or providing the resources for me to spread my music around the world, i'm in.
NT-What equipment are you working with in the studio?
OU-My trusty GT-57 condensor mic, an Mbox, KRK Rokit 5 monitors, an Oxygen8 Midi Controller, and a full keyboard. Software is ProTools, Reason 3.0 and Cool Edit Pro. I used to rock Magix Music Studio back when I first started. Been rockin' ProTools for a good 4-5 years now.
NT-Could you describe your music-making process?
OU-It's very natural, organic. Sometimes i'll sit down with the beat and try to match what the beat is communicating, whether it's a happy upbeat song or a dark, demented song. Sometimes, it'll just be a random moment in my day that will inspire a song. When I get that inspiration, I match it with music, write it, record it, then move on to the next song.
NT-How have people responded to the music you've have been making?
OU-I go through peaks and valleys with the exposure. I remember a good 2 years ago, I got a LOT of response from people when Myspace was poppin' off. Now-a-days, I'm building more of a core fanbase, keeping in touch with the people who have been following, and saying hello to the new fans who are just catching on to me. As far as songs go, different people like different songs I make - but the feedback from everybody has been generally good. I get the best response after rockin' a show though.
NT-Is there any surprises or a record in the works right now?
OU-Lots of records in the works. The Orikal&Ganzobean debut album is fully recorded, ready to be cleaned up and dropped. Uno, my 5th solo full length fully produced by Anonimust, has had a solid core of songs for a while. But, we keep making better songs, so we'll see when we're completely satisfied. I'm working on a full length album with producer C. Goody - we're planning on releasing it out in Northfield at the Key, as well as the Twin Cities. I'll also be releasing an EP or two with producer LMS. As well as mixtapes and guest features in between! As far as surprises, well, every single day this year has been surprising, so I guess those will come naturally.
NT-How did you get hooked up with Sab The Artist for the song "Born To Hustle"?
OU-I've been a huge fan of Sab since he was Beyond - I hadn't heard much from him since his old Rhymesayers stuff until Mack Music Vol 1 - I wore that mixtape OUT! So, I always wanted to do a song with him. My guy Ganzobean threw me a beat, where the chorus is saying "Born... To Hustle... All around the world" - Well, I wrote the first 2 verses, but got blocked on the third. After a conversation with Ganzobean, I brought up the idea of gettin' Sab on it. I sent him the song with the verses. He liked it. He rocked the empty verse, sent me vocals, the rest is history. Now Ganzobean resides in Las Vegas. Life's a trip.
NT-How about getting the beat for "The Awful Truth" into Sab's hands and having Abstract Rude on it? That must be exciting?
OU-It was real exciting! Unexpected, definitely. Sab had told me he liked that beat, but I didn't expect to hear Abstract Rude on it at all. To me, it validated that I can actually make some decent beats.
NT-And they named their tour after the song you produced as well? That's a trip!
OU-They sure did. And it's definitely a trip. Ganzobean just let me know that I'm on the list for the Nomad stop of the tour. I'll be there.
NT-Is there any artists or producers you're looking forward to working with or would love to work with?
OU-Always wanted to do some shit on some Dr. Dre joints. Always wanted to get some beats from Ant. Would love to do a song with Twista, or Devin the Dude. But this year, I got to do songs with 2 different people I really look up to (Prof, Sab), so that's been fun. I've always wanted to do a song with Illuminous 3. The musicians I respect are the ones I want to work with.
NT-Are you picky when it comes to working with an artist?
OU-It depends. As long as the artist is good peoples, I'm good with it. But if I ain't feelin' it, I won't be on it.
NT-Are you producing for anyone right now or is anyone producing for you in particular right now?
OU-My only recent production has been for Sab & Abstract Rude. As far as producers I'm working with: Anonimust, Ganzobean, Chris Goodwin, MK Ultra, LMS, DP Thot, Shells, Kaz Nasty, Rap Janitors (Spain), and Diligent Intelligence have all contributed to songs of mine this year.
NT-Let's talk about your fans?
OU-Best fans a guy could ask for. I get some real nice messages and comments from people. My fans are very supportive and they help me grow. I love you people.
NT-Have you been getting good press recently? Any blogs been a buzz with you lately?
OU-As far as physical press, nope, no press. I have a slight buzz around the interwebz. I've been laying low for a good year now, not really performing, so I don't blame anybody for not being interested right now. I'm building a strong arsenal of material so when I do strike again, people will hear it. and hopefully like it.
NT-What's the perfect crowd to you?
OU-Lots and lots of happy people completely feeling the music. A crowd with free drinks is always fun too.
NT-Do you have any shows coming up or tour dates?
OU-Nothing official yet. Almost ready to leave my studio and return to the stage soon though.
NT-What's your take on the internet, has it helped or hurt you in terms of reaching an audience or making your money?
OU-I got into it right as the old model was dying and Napster first came out. The internet has definitely helped a youngin' like me get some exposure and sales for sure.
NT-Where can people go to hear and buy your music? I have lots of free downloads and a couple singles posted there. I'll also be using that site to release my future albums, EPs, and other musical chaos.
NT-last question...when you hit the venue, what drink is getting ordered first?
OU-On July 27th I'll take a Bacardi and Coke.
NT-Anything else to add for the readers or haters? Any shout outs?
OU-Reader, I appreciate your attention span. Shout out to my Mom, Grandma and Aunt, my Rosario family, Women, Bacardi, The West Side of St. Paul, Everyone who I work with, my friends, anybody Diabetic, and Swisher Sweets.

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