‘Hip Hop DJs Don’t Play Techno’ – Or Do They?
Exclusive Interview with ICE – T and Mr. X
By Kristine Kennedy and Michael Beas
What do you get when you add two legendary Hip Hop artists Ice-T and Afrika Islam together? Most would assume the end product would be a Hip Hop track, or perhaps an EP or album. Not in this case! We recently attended an exclusive private event in New York City where we were able to meet this dynamic duo, interview them, and learn exactly what our dance music community is about to get from these two. First, we’ll need to change Afrika Islam to his other moniker, Mr. X. Next we’ll need to remove the Hip Hop and instead introduce Techno. End result? Electronic Beat Empire, or EBE Nation. This is the brand new Electronic Dance Music label that Ice-T and Mr. X have teamed up to create. They even have an album out already, Hip Hop DJs Don’t Play Techno, and we’re betting this is going to be a game changer for the music industry!
We were lucky enough to interview this team while at the recent private event hosted by International Press Manager Emily Tan. Here’s what they had to say about their new venture.
Raver Mag: How did this massive combo of Ice T and Mr. X come about?
Ice-T: I was living in LA and to most it looked like on the outside that I had made it in the industry. I had some money, the fancy car, and jewelry; basically the things that most would feel were important. Still there was something else that I wanted. I wanted to be a rapper and hip-hop artist. That’s where my friend Afrika Islam came into the mix. He was playing in a club and we got to talk on things about the music world. Not long after I made my first track and wanted it to be played but wasn’t sure how the entire game was played especially out on the East Coast. The music industry was so different back then. Now we can just send music out everywhere almost immediately and the reach is so much bigger so much faster. Afrika Islam told me to come out to NYC and not long after I got a record deal. That eventually turned into him producing my first three albums. So there’s a lot of history behind Afrika and me.
Raver Mag: EBE (Electronic Beat Empire) how did it come into existence?
ICE – T: I get a phone call and Mr. X is like “I’m ready to come home.”
I’m like “What’s that mean? Are you ready to leave Germany?”
His response was profound to me, “I want to come back but I am ready to make a new move.”
Afrika is a close friend so when he says he wants to make a new move and he’s ready for a chance, I listen. He shared his thoughts and ideas with me. I said to him “alright” and we’ve been planning and busting things out since then. I told him if he wants to really make an entrance then we are going to make an entrance in the world of dance music. We haven’t run into any problems and we don’t anticipate any. We have a great team supporting us and that’s all we need. Once we have the support we can’t let you all down.
Raver Mag: For the past hour at the event we’ve been listening to your music. We’ve been listening to the vibe of underground techno at this event. Frankly, for a while we thought we were listening to Carl Cox or Joseph Capriati. It wasn’t until Emily Tan filled us in that we knew it was your music. We’re definitely impressed! How did you learn to play like that? Dance music, hell techno and the underground are so different from hip-hop. Talk to us about what techno means to you and what country was the best you have ever played at?
Mr. X: My favorite parties are the parties I played in Russia, that where I heard some DJs from Russia perform that inspired me to get my own sound and vibe. I’ve been in Germany performing for over 15 years. I’ve been on the decks with Carl Cox – with everyone in the industry. When they are spinning on 4 – 5 different CDJs I come behind and can spin off of 10. I can spin records old school style I can pitch the highs and lows and tell a story with my music. The techno vibe is growing in the US and I want to bring everything that I have been exposed to in Europe to the US with my own take on what Techno should sound like.
Raver Mag: Talk to us about The Brutal EP?
Mr. X: I was still in Berlin and I sent it over to Ice to get his feedback. One thing you need to know about ICE is that he tells it like it is. He’s not the type that is going to sugar coat something to not hurt your feelings. I worked on this track and I wanted it to have a vibe that was above everything out there in the Techno world, and that is what The Brutal EP means to me personally and us as a team.
Ice-T: “Mr. X” and “Mr. Y,” bottom line he is the real the deal. He’s already performed in front of millions. He’s been in Germany listening, learning, performing, mixing, making music in the underground, in the heart of what true followers and listeners of techno want to hear, what they need to hear, what they want to have made better. That’s what we are going to do with his music and that is what our label is going to do. We want everyone to come along with us on this ride because it isn’t going to end; in fact we are going to raise the bar for the underground.
Be sure to click the link below to download the album, Hip Hop DJs Don’t Play Techno (Electronic Beat Empire)