Sunday, April 25, 2010

Idasa Tariq Interview

Love, life, stress, and setbacks have been guiding forces in the careers
of many successful artists. These elements are evident in the musical workings of Idasa Tariq. Since relocating to Pittsburgh in 2008, this native New Yorker has made a name for himself with hard-work, developing mindful rhymes and soul-driven production skills. In 2010, Tariq has already flexed his abilities with a solo project - Say Cheese EP - and a collaborative effort with female emcee Dominique Larue.

Whether it be blessing the mic at weekly open mics, or spinning the wheel at the Rhyme Calisthenics MC Competition, Idasa Tariq always entertains.

Rory Webb: At the Rhyme Calisthenics 4x4 competition you were noticeably pleased with DJ Chevy scoring your ‘Storytelling’ verse a perfect ten.

Idasa Tariq: Most def. I was happy to just have a good round in my Rhyme Cal campaign. (laughs) Each time I've entered in the competition I take something away from it, learn it, and try to it apply to my music and see if it works.

RW: What aspect of your art have you worked on improving most in the past year?

IT: I would say my stage performance, and also producing if I may. When I came to the Burgh, I was still fresh with just getting on a stage and performing in front of a crowd. Back home there isn't really any places where you can build on your stage presence and performing. Here, I was fortunate to be guided to the Shadow Lounge, and went from there to other spots. What really helped this year with my performing was the "Hip Hop For Haiti" show, which I was thankful to be apart of. There I got to see two emcees in particular perform and command the stage - Living Proofe and Brother J of X-Clan. They had this way of pulling you into their songs, at times without moving around that much, and while interacting with the crowd. It was dope studying them.

RW: Talk about the advantages of being both a producer and an emcee.

IT: Never have to look for beats. Ever. (laughs) You want something jazzy and funky, you make it. Dig for some Art Blakey drums and some Oliver Nelson and go at it. Bust a keyboard out and start from scratch. You have that luxury to be more creative with your craft. It allows you to see different melodies within the beat which can be interpreted into a flow or rhyme scheme. Money wise, you don't have to pay someone to make you a beat, rather you can pay a musician to come in and just drop whatever on the track and boom, there it is.

RW: Any disadvantages?

IT: For me, it's being critical on the sound. One thing I don't want to get myself trapped in is making the same type of sound with no growth. I sometimes will start making a beat and realize I'm creating a drum rhythm that sounds similar to something I already made for another track, so I'll be there trying to find the best way to make it stand out from the other track. In the process the song might come out wack as hell, so it's still a learning process. But overall, being overcritical of my work.

RW: How about the advantages and disadvantages of being an independent artist?

IT: Advantages I would say is you control the music. You wanna rap about Port Authority jackin' the Burgh citizens on transfer and bus rates, you go right ahead. Nobody's stopping saying, "you can't say that because of blah blah blah." You have more freedom to create your own image and craft, no matter how dumb or ingenious it may be. It also allows you the opportunity to create your own business and OWN your music, as opposed to a label owning the masters. I did that by starting Ground Flow Communications, Inc. You have a more profound respect for your craft I feel, because now your branding your flow, your beats, etc. And it's YOURS at the end of the day. The downside is you don't have the resources and networks that the major labels have in terms of distribution, finances, and promotion. Basically, you either wanna get put on by someone else with money and become their mascot, or put yourself on and see where life puts you.

RW: Your most recently released work is the HerStory EP, with Columbus, OH emcee Dominique Larue. How did you link up with her?

IT: MahBrotha Shade Cobain put me on to her. Linked with her on twitter and we started building from there.

RW: What about her emceeing skills impresses you most?

IT: She actually raps. She's not on these stages in a two piece talkin' some nonsense. She storytells. She spits bars. She has flow and delivery. She has an ear for beats. Not a shot at Nicki for the phrase, but Larue ain't a barbie doll the industry and labels put together and placed in front of a mic. All in all she's Hip Hop, and I'm glad we were able to make a dope project.

RW: You mentioned Shade Cobain, fellow Pittsburgh producer/emcee. You came together to form the group MahBrotha. How has his experience benefited your growth as an artist?

IT: MahBrotha Shade! On the real, it's one of the biggest blessings I've had since moving to the Burgh. This man put me on to so much music, which opened up doors for me to walk through and learn from whatever was in it. Jazz, Soul, Dilla, Alternative Rock, I'm listening to music from other countries! (laughs) It's good to have him as a fellow group member but also as a mentor, because he'll keep it real with me. If I make a beat, and something isn't hittin' right, he'll tell me. If I spit a 16, and something can be done to strengthen it, he'll let me know.

RW: You’ll be releasing you new album, The Imani Flow, this summer. What goals have you set-out to accomplish with its release?

IT: Well, The Imani Flow will be my debut album. Shade's executive producing it, I'm producing the whole jawn with the exception of some fresh jams from Shade himself. The Imani Flow will actually be broken up into two parts; Part 1 entitled Steel City Yorker, and Part 2 entitled Quilts, Jazz & Fleamarkets. Part 1 drops this summer, Part 2 drops this fall. I hope to get my name out there as a producer and emcee that isn't on some minstrel tip. I'm not flossing. I'm not pushin' weight. I work a 9 to 5 just like most folks. I'm a bachelor in a world full of folks getting married and divorcing in the same day. I live an everyday life and wanna relate with the people on a personal and positive level. Make timeless music.

Idasa Tariq - Pittsburgh

Idasa Tariq - On Top of the World (from Say Cheese EP)

Idasa Tariq - Concrete Properties (from Say Cheese EP)

Dominique Larue - Let 'Em Know (from HerStory EP)

* All songs produced by Idasa Tariq

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