Published on October 10th, 2022 | by MuzikScribe0
CMT Miraculous: On A Higher Frequency
Tell me your whole inception into music — When did you first become interested in it? And, how did it all begin for CMT?
I was 10, a fan of Roger / Zapp and the whole vocoder / talk box music; Casio [keyboard] had a preset that was close to sounding like that…they would have keyboard displays at Macy’s, this particular…I would play on it every time I walked in. I asked my parents to get it for me for Christmas. Not taking piano lessons, a cousin of mine who was in a band that played funk covers like Parliament / Funkadelic, he sat me down to teach me how to play Prince “1999.” I took what I learned from the chords of that song and played by ear from there to learn other songs, joined a band with a couple of neighborhood friends, lasted about a year and started my love for deejaying; one RadioShack turntable and a Fisher stereo turntable with a RadioShack mixer. One of the guys in the band I was in name was Troy Lampkin [well known bass player who has played for Santana, Carl Wheeler, Sheila E., etcetera]…he and I took in the love of deejaying as well, and loved making beats. We would borrow friends’ Roland 909 to do our versions of famous Hip Hop songs, but would add a bass line to it. We recreated “Pee Wee (Herman’s) Dance,” and made it a love song called “Monica,” like LL Cool J’s “I Need Love.”
Now you’re a native of Oakland, CA, correct? So growing up in ‘The Town,’ who all did / do you consider to be your strongest musical influences?
Correct! Too $hort was very popular in the ‘hood, but because it was so explicit I was too young to understand why everyone wanted to hear it. My sister went to school with him and would talk about it, but she wasn’t a fan of it so it never came across my household. Most of the music I was influenced by was East Coast, but when Egyptian Lover and Uncle Jamm’s Army sound started to come into play I got into that as well…but I only liked to spin those records. I never thought to recreate that. I wasn’t into the up-tempo songs, I was more into songs like LL Cool J, Whodini, Run-DMC “Sucker M.C.’s” and most of the Profile artists during the Def Jam / Profile reign.
What particular string of events led to you initially linking up with E-A-Ski and the ultimate formation of SKI $ CMT?
A neighborhood friend who went to school with E-A-Ski used to bring him around the neighborhood when I was 10. I was on my roller skates one day coming down a flight of stairs at my house and I almost fell down the flight. Him and my childhood friend were watching and Ski started to laugh. I said, “what the fuck you laughin’ at?” I was younger than Ski, so he looked at me like what this little fuck talking like that to me and he ignored it. With all the deejaying I was doing and making mixtapes in the basement, at some point the friend would bring him by to check out what I was doing and we decided it was a good match. I was rapping at the time, but after a year it seemed Ski had more passion to rap more than I did so we became the rapper / DJ duo. Again receiving equipment from our parents for b-days and Xmas gifts to expand our sound.
What then eventually caused the two of you to part ways as a duo?
I always thought we would continue to do music in any fashion, rather in front or behind the scenes; whether music or film. A few years before we ended, rappers were sending vocals in only saying E-A-Ski did the beat and my credit for Ice Cube “Penitentiary,” a B-Legit song I can’t remember off hand, but my credit had been missing on purpose. We had a meeting about the unfairness I was witnessing, the meeting ended good, but nothing changed. I assumed he wanted all the producer credit for all the beats I made. It was no secret I did all the music, but I guess if other rappers said it it would solidify his involvement with the music. I could not continue to let that go on, so I moved on.
Gimme a quick rundown of your vast discography…
E-40, B-Legit, Allen Anthony, Christión, Ice Cube, Ice-T, WC & Nate Dogg, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Mistah F.A.B., D-Wyze of The B.U.M.S., The Frontline, Bullys Wit Fullys, Dem Hoodstarz, Big Rich, San Quinn, G-Stack, V-White, Deev Da Greed, Keak da Sneak, Balance, Naughty By Nature, 4rAx, F3rguson, Champ MC, Rally Ral, SWV, TLC, Stevie Joe, Izrell, DenGee, Mr. Mike, Crime Boss, Creole Kang, KAM, Master P, Spice 1, Luniz, Ka’ Nut, Dual Committee, Yukmouth, Blanco – The Jacka – Messy Marv, CMT Miraculous, E-A-Ski.
Switching gears here…
Longevity, what do you feel it is that will continue to sustain you in music?
I always make sure I accept the new music the younger generation has to offer. The masses will always dictate how relevant your sound should be, I use that and amend it to my sound to keep it fresh.
What do you want people to get from your music?
As they say, “Put your knowledge in your craft,” so just as the music will draw you in there will be topics that will be uncomfortable and relatable content. Music creates memories, so with the melodies I intend to woo you but there will always be a message or something to bring your vibration higher.
On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of Hip Hop?
Throughout the decades, there has always been the shoot’em up kill kill songs…nothing has changed, but the lyrics are more detailed gang related – snitch music – I feel like I can’t repeat today’s lyrics without feeling like someone’s gonna do a drive by for singing that verse. It has literally turned into unsafe music. That part of Hip Hop will always be a problem until the people that control it shut it down.
Do you have any other outside / additional inspirations, maybe even completely away from music?
Dr. Dre, George Clinton, Mantronix, Larry Smith, Rick Rubin, Lex Luger because niggas trap’n till this day…Quincy Jones, David Foster, Bryan-Michael Cox, Rodney Jerkins, Nile Rodgers…most of the hot EDM producers…John Williams, Beethoven (and) Mozart (also inspired me).
To date, what has been your greatest career moment(s), at least thus far anyway?
The greatest moments would be me doing what I always wanted to do; producing records from top to bottom with my vision, and singing on hooks as I do now. When I was with Ski, I recorded a bunch of hooks that didn’t get used, for he may have feared I would get more attention.
One track of yours that you think defines you and why?
My background is deejaying, so I look at music from an emotional perspective. There is no ONE song because there is no ONE emotion. I take pride in catching the emotion me or the artist was looking for, the only true way to touch your audience.
Lastly, what’s next for CMT?
I’m currently in the process of switching over to the filmography side of things. I’ve done several short films with the G-Stack – The Versus Project – those are practice reels as I venture more into it. I’ve done all that I want in Hip Hop. Like Kanye and many other producers, I have beats laying around. My goal now is to get those beats all on one LP of any artist that would like to have an album full of CMT tracks. Izrell and Deev Da Greed are the two artists who gave my archive of beats a listen and said, “why haven’t you done a whole album yet?” The CMT Miraculous DRUGS LP is finished. The vibe of that record could be compared to Doja Cat and SZA “Kiss Me More” and Willow’s “Wait a Minute!”; vintage ’70’s dance vibes. We’re currently looking for a marketing team to get this project off to a nice start.
Is there anything I left out, or just plain forgot to mention?
Any “closing” thought(s) for our readers?
Yeah, for my fans, keep “positivity” in ya life and vibrate on a higher frequency.