Stones Throw houses a team of artists who are dedicated to pushing the blending of the old with the new. So it’s no mistake that J Rocc and MED have been integral parts in bringing the Stones Throw name across the globe. J Rocc co-founded the Beat Junkies back in 1992 while MED has been spitting dope rhymes with the greats (DOOM, Madlib, Dilla, etc.). They’ve come together to create Axel F and have been working to create the much needed theme music in your life. We spoke with the DJ/producer and rapper over the phone to discuss the Sofa Set EP and their upcoming LP, Theme Music, which of course led to talk of legends and Soulja Boy. Of course.
I want get right to the group name. You know, obviously when I first heard that, I was like, “Axel F… did I just stumble upon a new tribute band for Beverly Hills?” So I’m wondering, what was the reasoning behind that name?
M: Well, man, it really has nothing to do with the movie, it actually has to do with a beat J Rocc produced. We were just listening to beats and smoking and chilling. You know, me and J Rocc always crack a lot of jokes and stuff and one of his beats, to me, sounded like it should’ve been on Beverly Hills. It sounded like that Beverly Hills joint. Well it didn’t sound like it, but it had that energy. So we just started joking around and thought like, “Let’s start a…” you know, “lets make that a main instrumental for the album.” Ayo, J did you even put that on the album?
J: I don’t even remember what beat it was.
M: Aw man, well that’s the problem right there.
J: Yeah, we were just listening to random beats and I played one, and it was just like an 80’s style beat and all of that, and he cracked a joke about, “Aw man, Beverly Hills Cop,” and I was just like, “Aw man, Axel F is that sh*t.” And we just started rapping, and after that, it was just, “Let’s call it Axel F.”
M: I was like, “Yeah alright, cool.” You know, now-a-days you can just make up a name. Everybody got a different name. You don’t got to be Grandmaster something or G something, and now everybody’s a little bit more weird when it comes to names of albums and names of artists and that type of thing. You know, if you want to be Axel F, if you want to be J Rocc, if you want to be MED, just think of a group name. But more or less it’s just one person’s name. Like, Tanya Morgan, that group from way back, I don’t know if you’ve heard of them.
Oh h*ll yeah, they just dropped an album, Rubber Soles.
M: Yeah like them, when I heard of them I thought they were just a one-man group. Like, “Tanya Morgan, oh okay. Word up”. Then I did my research and it’s like, “Oh it’s a crew. It’s more than one dude.” I was like “Damn that’s kind of dope, you guys named yourself one person’s name. You don’t really have a group name per say like Wu-Tang Clan or A Tribe Called Quest. Nah, Tanya Morgan, that’s somebody’s name. Axel F, just somebody’s name.
J: Yeah and that’s what I was about to say, you know. The title of the [upcoming] album is Theme Music, so hopefully that connects.
Yeah definitely. And you were talking a little bit about how artists are more creative and I wanted to know what are your takes on a couple names. There’s one rapper/producer who goes by Lil Ugly Mane and another rapper named Yung Lean.
M: Wait a minute; what was the first one, Young Ugly?
Lil Ugly Mane, so its like “little ugly man,” kind of.
J: Where are they from?
Lil Ugly Mane, I believe is from somewhere down south (VA) and Yung Lean is from Sweden.
M: There was a new guy I just heard about too. Ugh, what was his name? He was similar to like a SouljaBoiTell’em.com name. See even that name right there, that was his real MC name: SouljaBoiTell’em.com
M: You know what I mean? That was just like, “Alright I’m going to call myself that.” I saw the Geto Boys had the craziest names like Bushwick Bill and Willie D. They had those super long names in the early 90’s. But it doesn’t matter what you name yourself. It’s about what your music says now-a-days. You can name yourself whatever.