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Extended Famm Interview


24 February 2003 No Comment

ToneDeff and Substantial from Extended Famm take the time out to speak to us their album and life in general. Expect big things from this group and the individual members in the future. They just released “Happy F*** You Songs” so don’t miss it.

So where does the name QN5 come from?

TONEDEFF: Well, QN5 comes from the idea that we try to stay 5 steps ahead of the game. 5 is a round number…and it’s hella important to stay well rounded musically. I feel that our label is one of the most well-rounded and versatile group of artists on the planet. We can do pretty much any style and make it sound serious. QN5 stands for Quintic Nickelism (to the) 5th Power. So, it’s basically 5x5x5. Yeah, it’s a little wild, so we keep it short: QN5 Music.

SUBSTANTIAL: Extended Famm is tonedeff, Substantial, Pack FM & Session. It started with tone bringing us four together to collab on a track. We liked the vibe of what went down, I had an idea for a name for us, the guys felt it, 2 years later we came with HFYS.

For those people who don’t know, who is Extended Fam and how did you get together to bring this album “Happy Fuck You Songs” to the world?

TONEDEFF: Basically, it sorta started on a whim, back in the summer of 2000. We all knew eachother a little bit from the NYC underground scene…and one day, I setup a session at my crib to do a posse cut with Pack, Sub & Session. Well, the track ended up becoming, “The Evil That Pens Do” off the album, and the chemistry was just there – from day one. Well, we named ourselves Extended Famm, cause we all knew eachother through other people. Alot of time passed, and eventually, in the summer of 2002, I decided to bring everyone back together to see if we could rekindle that magic of the 1st track. It worked. We recorded the whole album in a couple months, and I’m really happy with it.

Were you not on the Cunninglinguists album?

TONEDEFF: Yeah, I was “616 Rewind” from their 1st album, “Will Rap For Food”. I had no idea who they were, really, when we did the track. I knew Deacon a little bit, but didn’t know anyone else really. Alot of people consider that an underground classic cut, which is fuckin great to me, cause I didn’t think anyone heard it. But as it turns out, their first album was widely acclaimed, and it even became my favorite album of 2001. Hands down. I’m excited to be on their upcoming album, on a song called “Love Ain’t”. Their new LP is 10X better than their 1st, and that’s saying ALOT.

I see that you experimented a lot on this album and when I listen to your flows I notice that you probably had to work hard to get to that level. What has been the reaction from the way you guys flow coz you can switch up different styles like it ain’t nothing.

SUBSTANTIAL: Some people love it and really respect and recognize what we are doing. Others would rather we kept it simple and came off like everyone else. At the end of the day we all simply work hard at elevating this artform because we love what we do and we stay true to it and ourselves, most importantly.

TONEDEFF: Thanks, man. Well, as far as styles…I try to incorporate every style on the planet into one big mesh of everything. To me, the best MC’s can do any style, period. So, on this album, we really tried to showcase our ability to get open on any kind of beat. Like…”Velocity”. I opened Substantial up to rhyming over drum & bass a couple years ago, but we never made a track together…so we figured fuck it, let’s try something new. I think that’s one of the hottest joints on there. Also, if you notice, all the members flip a different style on every track. I think that kinda shit is important to keep an album interesting. I think people notice that, and they’ve reacted accordingly.

Do you battle often? What was the dopest and worst battle you ever had?

TONEDEFF: I stopped doing the stage battles back in 2001. It all got monotonous. Same people, same shit. I love to watch battles, cause they’re amazingly entertaining sometimes…hell, I even started EmceeBattles.com to let others watch. But in the end, the true test of your skill lies in making dope tracks that stand the test of time, not how many kids you make fun of on the corner, feel me?

SUBSTANTIAL: I don’t really anymore. I do it now only if the situation calls for it. My most memorable one was when when I one The Rutgers Battle Tournament in Jersey. I was just in rareform that night. My worst battle was back in 95. I battle this kid named War Child who I later became crew with. I assumed when I met him that he was weak because of the cats he ran with. They wouldn’t know a dope MC if one bit them on the ass but, I soon found out that I was wrong. To this day this kid had to have been one of the nastiest off the head MC I’ve heard in my life.

What was the most memorable thing in Hip Hop for you?

SUBSTANTIAL: I think it was the first time I heard a hip-hop song that made me cry. It was Common’s joint with Lauryn Hill “Retrospect 4 Life”. That day I truly realised how powerful this music and culture could be.

TONEDEFF: Honestly, I’ve grown up in the culture. I’m old enough to have seen it explode nationally, and I’ve seen most of the changes from the early 80’s on. I miss the early 90’s as well, cause I was then old enough to really appreciate what was happening. Skilled artists were actually being signed, and there was more of a focus on the culture. I just miss that feeling of being part of a movement that you’d get during that time. It was really something special. Nowadays, shit has become a trend, and it’s kinda disheartening to see a whole new generation of kids that have no idea what happened in hip-hop’s past, who don’t appreciate things. No one’s really leading anymore, or trying to teach, save for a few. But, I’m definitely trying to teach the younger set the principles i was raised on.

What was a low point for you in Hip Hop?

SUBSTANTIAL: When Jam Master Jay was murdered. He’s did so much for the game. Plus Run-DMC was the first live show I had ever seen.

TONEDEFF: This is the lowest point I’ve seen yet. Things are about to change drastically. There’s only so much ignorance you can feed ignorant people before they start to hate the smell of their own shit being smeared in their faces. A change is comin. Until then, I’ll be here, waiting.

Is there anything that frustrates you about this industry?

SUBSTANTIAL: Yes, the lack of respect for the culture and the artform. And the low quality of music they put out. They treat consumers like idiots and they don’t give them enough credit.

TONEDEFF: Heh. You’re asking the wrong person. I can rant on about how ridiculously stupid the modern rap industry is, but I won’t. Let’s just say that how much money you have behind you is going to determine your amount of props and sales. Talent is about a necessary as a tampon in a Frat house. The thing that kills me the most, is that these people just keep re-signing the SAME PEOPLE…over and over and over again. Artists that are no longer relevant…and people that no longer make good music. But since they have a “Name” they get signed off principle. When you think of the hundreds of incredibly talented new artists killing themselves on the scene, working for that one shot, it’s a shame to keep this going. So, yeah. It’s all fucked. Even the underground is about money now. Everyone has a label, so, of course, the one with the most money’s gonna win. Quality is secondary to the quantity you can afford to churn out. It’s all fucked up. Oops, I’m ranting. Support Innovative Music!!!

Hip Hop is such a universal thing now, did you ever think people in South Africa, Asia, Austrailia or wherever are bumping this cd somewhere in a bedroom?

TONEDEFF: It’s really wild when I get an email from a fan in Italy, Sweden, Germany or South Africa, because I’ve never traveled outside of the USA. But to me, I’m so grateful when I get those kinda messages, because I know that what I’m doing all the way over here is affecting someone so far away. It lets me know that I’m doing something right and that my music is transending language barriers and conveying the time and passion I put into it. That’s one of the best parts of being an artist…that connection with others. Hopefully, I’ll be able to come out to their countries and rock a show for them soon. tour@qn5.com

SUBSTANTIAL: Not in my wildest dreams but that’s what makes it such a beautiful thing. It’s crazy how Hip-Hop brings people of different cultures together.

What are your views on people downloading mp3’s on the net?

TONEDEFF: Actually, when it comes to major label projects…I don’t mind it at all. But for the underground, it’s murder. Since we don’t have the marketing reach and distribution of a major label, we BARELY make any money off our projects. I think the internet is a tremendous promotional tool for the underground, but it comes back to bite us in the ass when we have an actual album dropping. It’s a double-edged sword. But as far as downloading the latest Ja-Rule record? Have fun!

SUBSTANTIAL: I can’t front I do it myself. But I’m the type where if I feel it like that I’ll go out and buy it too. But lets be serious a lot of the shit that comes out nowadays isn’t worth $15 hell a penny for that matter. At the end of the day to the people out there I’ll say this, if you really the artist and respect what they do make sure you support them by buying their product.

I noticed that you produced most of the tracks on here. What is it that you feel more, producing or emceeing?

TONEDEFF: Honestly, I just love making music. I really try to find a good balance of production and the lyricism. It’s difficult to keep the skill-levels balanced, because, obviously, the more time you spend on one…the less attention the other gets. So, I have alot of respect for producer/emcees. I love em, both. And when I get old and irrelevant to the youth. I’ll sit back and produce hits for everyone else.

Right now who do you think are representing hip hop the most?

TONEDEFF: It’s hard to say, there are alot of talented people doing great things still. My personal favs right now, are Cunninlynguists, Supastition, The Roots, Redman, Nas…shit like that. And of course, the whole QN5 artist roster. (PackFM, Session, Mecca, Kynfolk, The Plague).

SUBSTANTIAL: Anyone who know that they are Hip-Hop, that it’s not just something that’s done on the weekends.

Any artists out there that are pissing you off right now?

TONEDEFF: Almost everyone is lazy, but if I hear another J-Lo, Nelly joint or a Ja-Rule duet with Ashanti I’m gonna kill one of their fans. No, really.

SUBSTANTIAL: No real artist could ever piss me off because a real artist respects the craft. I’ll say this much, to you so called artists out there, money can be a great thing get your paper don’t let it get or consume you.

Any producers you feeling right now?

TONEDEFF: Kno from Cunninlynguist is fuckin ridiculous. Domingo, he’s always sick with his tracks. I really like Jus Blaze and Knotz from VA. But hands down the best doing it right now is Timbaland. Dre’s also a fav.

SUBSTANTIAL: Jay Dilla, my man Chew-Fu Phat out of Amsterdam, Kanye West, & Primo of course.

Have you heard any hip hop coming from the African continent?

TONEDEFF: Not yet, but i’m definitely down to.

SUBSTANTIAL: I honestly haven’t but, I have heard great things about Africa’s Hip-Hop community.

What other albums are you working on?

TONEDEFF: My solo album, “Archetype” should be ready to drop in Sept of this year. Right now, I’m putting in ALOT of work getting all the QN5 artists albums ready for the end of the year and beyond. For a full list of what’s poppin, be sure to check www.qn5.com

SUBSTANTIAL: I’m working on my new Solo LP. My other crew, UV, we’re trying to wrap up our debut album. The plague LP, Chew-Fu Phat’s band Mind Menders’ LP, and I’m doing production on a few projects in the future.

Thanks for hooking up for this interview, any last words or shout outs?

QN5 Music, y’all! Shouts to the Plague, and the whole underground that stays on the grind. Big up to South Africa for listening, i got mad love for y’all! Peace & Respect.

Thank yall man. I just wanna say respect to all those who support us and I know you guys will love this project. Peace and Blessings to you and yours.

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