The league of lyrical assassins that is Loaf Muzik, (Shadow the Great, Oso Dope, Kidaf, Shine Sinatra) has been secretly demolishing shows from New York to Cali. Armed with atom bombs of funk that could silence any naysayers or imitators; You can imagine their music as a spiritual gun locked and loaded to your dome slapping your senses silly with irreverent passion and honesty. The energy held within each well excuted punchline proves that these tried and true gladiators of gusto could turn the impossible probable with a mic in their hand. With their upcoming independent album Live From The Dungeon looming over the horizon I got a chance to catch up with the four man crew to wax poetics and find the driving force behind Loaf Muzik. Check out the Converstation below
Def Soul: Tell Me about the history. How did Loaf Muzik get started?
Kidaf: It was like competition bro. I was doing my thing in queens Shadow was in Bushwick. I would post my music up, he’d see it and give feed back. I watched his work and it would be about them being better, or me being better then one day he hit me up to do a track. I came thru to Bushwick and recorded a track in his basement, smoked some bud, after that I started chillin with the homies.
Oso Dope: Irving square is where I met my son Shadow, met my son dope, met my son Shine. Pretty much Kindred block had a skate board and skating became an everyday thing. When shadow started rapping, battling people in the park, I was like yo this n***a could rap. My son over there started tagging up books and thats where the base came from like yo lets stick together. Then it started turning into what do we want to do as we got older. Started going to open mics, doing more shows, linked up with Kidaf and traveling more.
Kidaf: We had like a network for ourselves, using each others resource to get better on an independent scale, then one day we just decided to come together to become Meatloaf Music. Like we grew on each other, now its like a fam.
Shadow the Great: Facts…
Def Soul: How did you get the name loaf music though?
Shadow: Loaf means one. like everyones loaf. loaf is the whole. Everyone gets a slice, like a meat loaf. Know what I mean?
Def Soul: I like that “everybody gets a slice.” If you had to describe the musical DNA of Loaf Muzik what would you say is your sources of inspiration?
Shadow: New York City a hundred percent. Everything around us, the trains, the graffiti, the people, just our environment. Thats our inspiration more than other artists. Everything we put in out lyrics is our surroundings and a reflection of our reality. My inspiration comes from my sorroundings. As in music I feel, like everyone has their own music inspiration. I like Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Smiff and Wessun a lot of those cats. A lot of producers like Mad Lib and Flying lotus.
Kidaf: Me personally, I’m a real habitual person. If I’m doing it one day I’m probably doing it the next day. I really just like to pick apart things that people think but they don’t say. Like when you listen to a comedian right, he’ll say something you know already in your mind but never said out loud, thats what makes it funny. I think its the same way for me. I like to think about the things I care about and try to reflect that in my art. Just get people to understand where I’m coming from. I think thats the most important thing. Translating, not even languages just one lifestyle to another. That way people can broaden their horizons and you don’t have to be one set person. You can be versatile and elusive and be who you want be.
Oso: I interpret different things and manifest them in my creative self. Like taking the train, seeing the people, running in the rain like just now, I feed off that. My environment, wherever I’m physically stationed, I find a way to release it in an artistic way. Musically I grew up on Grand Puba, Audio Two simply because I had this game called Tony Hawks underground for Xbox and I used to play that heavy. It had mad tracks, it had me rocking. I was young I didn’t even know what type of music that was at the time I just really like it. When I got my first computer I remember going online and looking up the names in the music credits. Grand Puba, Top Billing, Nas. Other than that my parents would listen to southside s**t. My pops is a big 50 cent fan, he would come home with the old bootleg hot 97 CDs that would have a woman crouched down in a yellow thong, lil Wayne tapes, and mad random music he would just cop cruising thru the street and I would listen to it all. I came across Jay-Z like that I came across Mos Def like that. Not even knowing it was just hip hop. Getting older I recognized this was the culture and I’m living in it. Living in Bushwick you see the b-boys, you see the freestyles in the park, you see the graffiti and it’s like yo this is what I’ve been around. I’m a product of my environment with out knowing it. Now that I understand it I can contribute to it.
Def Soul: What would you say is the philosophy of Loaf Muzik?
Kidaf: Good question. I thinks its about knowing your worth and expressing yourself to your highest ability. I thinks its about representing. Representing the personal expression everybody has and some people are afraid to show. Its a lot of people who live life and settle for what they need and never go for what they want, what they desire. Its about dreams. Everybody in Loaf Muzik has a dream and it’s not one of those dreams that’s intangible, we work for them. Every year we look back and a lot of times we achieve our goals. I think about going further and representing what you are and what you stand for.
Oso: The principle is structure and discipline. Loaf means unity.
Def Soul: I definitely see success coming to y’all soon. I hear the versatility in the music from the boom bap style joints to the trap style joints plus your punchline are crazy. Tell me is it competition in the studio?
Shadow: Naw, its like everyone respects each others creative space. The competition wouldn’t be who has the hottest verse it would be its who can keep up. Were quick to tell each other if were not feeling something. Well tell each other you have to spit s**t that over.
Kidaf: In way the friendly competition doubles as a support system. As good as we want to be we want to make sure everyone looks good we want everyone to sound good. Thats what its about.
Def Soul: What was the creative flow for Live from the Dungeon? what was the starting point and how did it all coming together?
Shadow: Before we even new we was doing the project, we were recording music. Everyone had their own song and we noticed yo this would all sound good together, instead of everyone going their own way we should throw all of these songs together. Nitty Gritty was our first single for the whole project. That was Kidaf’s joint. He would perform that at every show. The energy from that song was amazing. Then I came up with Shinobi Wars produced by Shine Sinatra. From that we kept building more tracks and said lets make a collective project, since these songs sound hella good right next to each other.
Kidaf: Word bro its that feel. Live From the Dungeon. Half the stuff that I wrote was in Shadow’s basement. In his basement he has mad vinyl, graffiti, red lights. It was really the platform where we started. When you hear our music you hear that grit that underground s**t that “oh wait these n****s is real”. Its about Hip-Hop but its about art and where you come from and representing that.
Shadow: We physical turned the dungeon into songs. The dungeon is a real place, we all from the dungeon of New York. Imagine a place where you live from the bottom, of the bottom, of the bottom and manage to get a way out and get yourself heard. Even though we from New York its hard as s**t to be creative here because so much is going on. Everyones voice getting heard, but at the same time no ones voice is getting heard. People like to throw us in a box like boom bap y’all some old school rappers from the 80’s and don’t even know what they talking about. For us to break through that stereo type and break through all of this trap and get our name heard and still get a chance to hit stages across America, Live From the Dungeon is perfect timing for this because were live from the dungeon. It’s a perfect representation for us.
Def Soul: Throughout this process of building Live from the Dungeon what were some memorable moments?
Shadow: I remember we was Cali smoking in my homie’s backyard, around midnight. We had rolled up went outside when all of a sudden an old white guy comes downstairs with a shotgun. All I see is These n****s hit the dip. I dropped the weed and ran. Me and Mudd was hopping over backyard gates. Running through California on our first night out there. All I heard was the cock back and see these n****s run.
Oso: That s**t was crazy. It was sis because it was mad doors. Except for the one he walked through. Yo the first thing I saw was the barrel and said “Yo Mudd that a gun?”. He said, “Ohhhhhhh!!! They already knew what the deal was when I started running. Yo I teleported, Zup.
Shadow: I was running hoping I didn’t get hit in the back. Thats just means we blessed because he could have killed us that easy and could have said we were smoking on his property. Then the news would have said man shoots gang bangers smoking on his property.
Kidaf: Yall remember the dude that cried? Yo we had this show in Cali. We pulled up and everyone is walking up to us like “yo what good? lets smoke”. Mad love from everybody. I remember there was this one kid in particular he must have been 15 or 16. He walked up to us and he rapped for us. I’m not gonna say it was good, I’m not gonna say it was bad, I will say he dead spit his heart out. Afterward I asked him about a necklace he was wearing, he told us that his mom gave it to him and that we inspired him, then he started tearing up. It was at that point I began to understand the s**t we do speaks volumes even to the people we don’t even know. Like one mans hell could be another mans heaven and one mans trash could be another mans treasure. Thats why I put as much thought into everything I do because theres someone looking at it somewhere and not taking it for granted.
Def Soul: Dope. How did that Pyrex joint come together?
Shine Sinatra: Basically Shadow sent me the melody and I added some 808s to give it feeling and I wrote to it. It came together that way and became what it is now.
I see Captain Mudd behind a lot of your beats. I checked out his work he gets busy. Whats his affiliation with Loaf?
Shadow: Captain Mudd is a producer for loaf music. Hes dope as f **k, He’s our secret weapon. His beats are a representation of himself and what he goes thru. One time I was in the studio with him and I asked why the drums sound like so rugged over this smooth a** sample. They weren’t crazy crazy but they hit hard and had a constant bang. He said that the drums represent his heartbeat. He said every time I hear the song my heart beats like that. He throws his life into the music the same as all of us.
Def Soul: Do you have any other business endeavors?
Shadow: Loaf Films. All of the video you saw of Loaf we shot them we edited them we did all that. We got our own production team. When we have a track we have a certain way we wanted it captured in video form. Like the video to Nitty Gritty goes exactly to his lyrics word by word. It was representation of what he was going thru when he wrote it. It’s hard. It shows two sides of him. In one scene he has afro and another scene and another he has his hair locked up. That was a process to shoot because we started filming before he had locks. If I could go there, it was shift in our lives when we all started growing our hair, started thinking different, eating different, moving different.
Kidaf: It represents the growth. Like Yo you gotta watch the video bro. It’s Nitty Gritty I wanted some New York s**t, some grimey s**t, some graffiti, and got it. We even got Jason Knock a b*****s head in.
Oso: Loaf fest as well. Like yo we gotta give back. In a sense we gotta go back to home. We was like yo lets throw a festival. Everbody took a role and it manifested. It was wavy. Loaf fest 2016 is gonna be lit.
Kidaf: We have a show November 21st with Vince Staples in El Ray theatre in Cali.
Def Soul: How do you feel the world will react to this project? Where do you feel you’ll stand after?
Shadow: It’s like dropping a spirit bomb. It’s crazy because everyone is f**king nice and we’re all on one album. Imagine all your favorite rappers on one album and no ones going about it their own way. Every song sounds fire . When it hits you automatically feel it and that’s how we design our music.
Kidaf: I think it’s gonna be breath of fresh air for a lot of people, because a lot s**t follows the same formula to get a result under a certain setting. To us it’s art for your ears regardless of how we do it. A lot of people say we’re trying to bring s**t back and we’re just doing us feel me. I think the album will show people were way more versatile then what the people make us out to be. They try to put us in this golden era boom bap s**t and of course we can do that because it’s the essence of where it started. At the same time We can survive in 2015. This s**t is real, it’s new, and it’s here.
Def Soul: If theres one thing you want people to take away from this project, what would it be?
Kidaf: I don’t want people to look a it and see an album, I want them to see the art we put into it, the time. Theres not a song that sound like another song. Every song has a different vibe. The scheme is poppin. I want people to see our highs and our lows.
Shine: I want people to take away the versatility. Know that loaf is more than one sound.
Oso: With Live from the Dungeon, what makes it special is that its a journey, its a lifestyle. you could listen to it as you wake up, you could listen when you on the train you could listen to it if you in school you could listen to it while you at the gym. Your gonna understand the Loaf style. Your just gonna get it. I want people to find reason in everything. The name of the tracks the name of the album. Its all math on it you just gotta solve the equation. To say the least I want it to speak for itself.
Def Soul: Word the formula that put y’all together is crazy. I gotta ask though are y’all the rhythm or are y’all the melody?
Loaf Muzik: We are the remedy…
A reflection of a new rising generation of New York hip-hop Loaf Muzik represents timeless lyricism combined with the elevated spirt of kings. Make sure you grab their highly anticipated album Live From the Dungeon dropping September 28 on website near you. It will most definitely be something you can’t ignore. (All photos taken by Loaf Films)
Def Soul – (@DefSoulNJ)