By way of Kiel/ Braunschweig in Germany, comes CRDS's latest interesting interview subject DJ SoulClap and this dope DJ and beat-maker has a very cool story to tell...
Once upon a time not long ago...there was a website called masterace.com and as a member on the forum, DJ Soulclap made some connects and submitted some beats he was working on at the time to B.L.O from the Bronx and Lex from Queens, this led to more contacts being made, through word of mouth and on his My Space page.
Eventually he ended up being one of the many that remixed Jay-Z's Amercian Gangster album and his remix album American Clapster was praised on websites like Kevin Nottingham's
SoulClap almost had a beat of his on the Masta Ace and EDO.G collabo album Arts & Entertainment, his track "Authentic" ended up being released on a special version of the album on and EP titled Extra Entertainment
download it here from bandcamp.
He also provided a dope beat for Superstar Quamallah's 2009 album, Invisible Man in the form of "Purity"
So to find out more about DJ SoulClap I asked him such questions and here are his responses, Chris on behalf of the blog, thank you for this and for your contributions and I look forward to what you offer us in the future.
CRDS: SoulClap, please share with us your earliest Hip Hop memory and what was the main thing that attracted you to Hip Hop? SoulClap:
In the beginning it was all about the music for me. I remember that I had a compilation with commercial songs, a double CD with about 40 tracks. Till then I was listening to pretty much everything and I was 13 years old at that point. On this compilation was a Busta Rhymes song called “Turn it Up” and I loved it. I didn’t really think about it as a different genre, I just thought it was hot. Then I bought the album “When disaster strikes” and since then I only bought Rap albums. Funny thing is, the version on the compilation was neither the “Fire it Up” version, nor the “Turn it up” version that was on the album. Till today I have no clue what version it was and why it was on this CD.
With the time going by and copping more Rap albums and reading magazines I found out more about Hip Hop. About the whole thing, graffiti,breaking, DJ’ing, MC’ing and I could identify with it. The thing I love about Hip Hop is the unity, I got to know so many nice people through it and I’m very thankful for that.
CRDS: Tell our readers about how it goes down in Germany Hip Hop scene, how strong is it?, what groups and artists should readers listen out for? SoulClap:
The Hip Hop scene became big in Germany in the late 90’s. This kinda was our golden age. You had cities like Hamburg, Stuttgart and Heidelberg that were the New Yorks and LA's of Germany when it came to Hip Hop. Hamburg was standing for fun Rap with hilarious punchlines and crazy beats. Stuttgart was more conscious to me, the beats were more relaxed and the lyrics were a bit deeper.
Heidelberg bought ussome classic Rap in the mid nineties, before it became big. It was more political. Nowadays the MC’s from back then are more experimental and they are combining different kinds of music with Rap. Then you have those who are trying to carry the torch and still try to sound like it sounded 10 years ago. And then you have this gangster stuff. We were really late with it, I think it began around 2003 or 2004 and started in Berlin. This is the stuff that became pretty big and sold a lot, but I can’t identify with it, it’s not the type of Rap I like to hear.
At least lyrics wise, the beats are good productions in my eyes. If you are interested in German Hip Hop you should check YouTube for Eins Zwo, Absolute Beginner, Freundeskreis or Torch.
Those are the golden age artists. I really don’t listen to a lot of German rap anymore, cause it either sounds outdated or is too far away from how it used to be. It’s hard to find the balance between the old and the new stuff, but those who can handle it are dope.
CRDS: How did the recordings with B.L.O from the Bronx and Lex from Queens happen?, did you just contact them at mastaace.com and send them beats?
The Message board on Mastaace.com used to be crazy. It was like a big family of people who shared the same interests. We had interesting discussions about all kinds of stuff. When I told them that I started making beats, BLO was the first to get at me and we built a good friendship. He was the one I sent my first beats to.
It was similar with Lex, he heard my stuff and we wanted to collaborate on something, so we did a track called “I found you” for his mix-tape.
From my standpoint now the beats sucked, but I think that’s what every artists says about his or her first recordings. It was cool because you can’t start with Premo productions right away.
CRDS: Tell readers all about the history of the Soul Occs please.
I think it was in late 2005 when Brandon J. Atlas hit me up on my
My Space because he wanted to collaborate.
He was on DJ Episodes Madeline Soul LLC label back then and so I got in contact with Episode, and through him I got to know Tony Tigerstyle.
I think we started to write on the yahoo messenger in early 06 and the first beat that I sent him was the one for “My ChildHOOD”. He was crazy about that one and recorded his verses pretty soon. When I heard what he did I flipped out, cause I couldn’t believe that I was capable of creating something this dope. Tony is capable of making a dope beat sound even doper when he is recording to it. In my eyes he is one of the craziest MC’s out there and the sad thing is that people just don’t know. We were chatting almost every day and built a strong friendship.
We kept on doing some songs and decided to form a group and do an album. How often do you see a 20 year old producer from Germany forming a group with a 35 year old MC from LA? I thought it was kinda cool. But the process on the album was slow, maybe because of the distance.
So I flew him out to Germany in April 2008, to do it here. Tony was staying with me for 2 months and we recorded songs, did shows including the legendary debut show with eMC and we basically had a great time. The album was pretty much done at this point, but due to some personal reasons I never got to put the finishing touches on it.
Right now we are updating the album which will be called “Soul Brothers” and we will release it in the end of this year for FREE. It was not an easy decision but we felt that this is the right thing to do. We also started working on the follower which will have a completely different sound. “Soul Brothers” will be straight boom bap with soulful samples and hard drums. The second album will be more modern, different drums, other samples, different sounds. I’m trying to take the old to the new and find the right balance.
CRDS: What is your equipment set up when you make beats?
It may sound a little weird but I started with Cool Edit 2 and Fruity Loops back in 04 and I still use em. Never change a winning team. I added Cubase and WavLab to the line up for mixing and mastering, though and I’m planning on getting an MPC 2500 soon. Of course I use the good old Turntables and a mixer too.
CRDS: How did the collab with Masta Ace and EDO.G come about and why did the dope song "Authentic" not make the final cut for the Arts & Entertainment album, did you do any other songs with Ace and Ed?
Since I’ve been on mastaace.com I’ve been good friends with CC, Masta Ace’s cousin who is running the website, and who did my logo and is currently working on my website, by the way.
SoulClap: I had been working on a mix tape back then where I mixed Masta Ace songs with Live recordings of one of his shows. She thought it was a great idea and forwarded it to him and he got at me because he thought it was very creative. Since then I’ve been in contact with him. Now that I talk about it, the mix-tape never saw the light of the day, I’m pretty sure I got it on my old external hard drive. I might have to get that out!
But anyway, Ace is on tour in Germany every year and we met for the first time in ’06. He was in the town where I studied and had the rest of eMC with him, which I also got to know. We were chilling after the show and I went to the hotel the next morning to hang out a bit before they left. The next time they were here I did my set with tony before them and I think Ace was pretty impressed because he came to use and said that the crowd was wilding why we did our set.
Since then I have been sending him beats and when I sent Authentic he absolutely loved it. He and Edo recorded their verses pretty soon and it was supposed to be on the album. It was even on the track-list on Amazon and in the Promo Sheet that Traffic sent around. But then the album got pushed back and the track got kicked off together with “We want it All”. These two tracks were supposed to be the i tunes bonus to the album, but somebody screwed up and it didn’t happen either.
I was kinda pissed and disappointed back then, but Ace sent me an email saying they will do Extra Entertainment with some tracks that didn’t make the cut, so I was happy that they got it out in the end. Plus it was the leak off that EP and he is screaming my name in the end of the track, what he normally doesn’t do. He also told me that they mixed the track 3 times but never were happy with it, so I think this might have been the reason why they left it off.
And they totally made it up when they came to my town to do a show and they did a world premiere of the track on stage. I didn’t even get to hear the track before that.
The first time I heard it was at the sound check But it felt really good hearing them doing the track in my town, screaming my name on stage and the people were going crazy. I’m glad I got all that on camera. After the show Ace, Ed, Akrobatik, Strick and DJ Moe-D came to my brothers crib to watch Monday night football, because I told em the day before on ustream that I was watching football and they couldn’t believe I can do that in Germany. They are all huge Football heads.
Right now Ace is working on the next eMC album and Edo is working on his album. I will help Edo with the Marketing since I just graduated from University and Marketing is really my thing.
CRDS: Can readers still download your Amercian Gangster remix album, American Clapster?
SoulClap: Ummm… I hope so, if not I definitely need to get it back up. You can get it on www.myspace.com/djsoulclap by clicking on the cover.
People seemed to love it. I was one of the first to do that remix album and I think I was the only one who legally got the accapellas on wax, lol. That’s why the lyrics don’t sound as crisp as they do on some other albums, because I had to record em from vinyl.
CRDS: Name your top 5 Hip Hop producers and why you rate them so highly
1. DJ Premier: He has been doing all my favorite records.May it be “Boom”, “When I be On Da Mic”, “Nas is Like”, “Return of the Crooklyn Dodgers”… man I could rattle down a list of 30 Premo joints I love without even having to think.
2. Pete Rock: Mecca and the Soul Brother, Main Ingredient, Soul Survivor… This man produced so many classic albums and always stayed relevant. He is a legend.
3. Hi-Tek: Although pretty famous I think Tek is still underrated. The beats on Train of Thought were some of the best ever made. He sometimes makes pretty simple beats, but his ability to combine samples and instruments or synths is crazy. Plus he is one of the best when it comes to drum programming. He always got the right drums for every track and that’s what separates him from others.
4. J Dilla: Most versatile producer in history. It seemed like he was reinventing himself every other year. He has produced so many classic cuts and is an inspiration for every producer.
5. Timbaland: This one might be surprising, but Timbaland has done the best commercial Hip Hop beats. His percussion's and drums are always crazy. I even bought Justin Timberlake's last album because Timbaland absolutely murdered the production. I heard he is using trash cans and sh*t like that to record his percussion.
I mean, he has people who play melodies for him and he is mostly working with the drums, but if you can afford that, why not, I’d do the same.
CRDS: Can you recommend any artists that you think are very under rated for the readers?
Definitely check out my man Tony Tigerstle and Wyldbunch! Two crazy lyricists. I’m not saying that because I work with em, I work with em because I’m saying that, lol. Other underrated artists might be Dynas, Has-Lo, Paten Locke and Tiye Phoenix. I loved all the albums that these people put out last year, you definitely have to check for em if you haven’t already.
CRDS: What is next on the list for DJ SoulClap?, do you ever see yourself touring down under?, are you still sending your beats out to MC's and groups?
Next step will be my official debut mix-tape. I’m working on it with DJ Easy from Berlin, who will mix everything. I can’t do it myself because I don’t have Serato, I’m still sticking to vinyl. It will be some songs I produced in the last years and some exclusive joints. It will feature Masta Ace, Edo.G, Punch & Words, Chaundon, Superstar Quamallah, Pav Bundy, Donny Goines, K.Sparks, Respect Tha God, H.Stax, Doitall, Tony Tigerstyle, Wyldbunch, Dominique Larue and some other surprise guests. I got word from Blaq Poet too, but I don’t wanna say anything until I got the vocals from everybody.
The next thing will be The Soul Occs album “Soul Brothers” which I already mentioned and my album with Wyldbunch from BK. Both albums will be crazy. I’m not somebody who always calls his own albums classic, that’s somebody that the people decide.
All I can say that, as a fan of Hip Hop, love em. Not because I made the beats, but because it’s good music from the heart and people will hear that. The album with Bunch will be called “Life” and it will be something everybody can relate to, from pain to joy, some storytelling, you definitely need to hear it.
I’m also still sending beats out, so if anybody wants to buy some, hit me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I also make beats that contain no samples, I’m trying to stay versatile, I don’t want to be pushed in a certain direction.
If there is an opportunity to go down under I will definitely do it. One of my DJ friends moved to Perth last year. I also know the producer from the duo Low Budget.
CRDS: Please tell readers about your upcoming cookbook 'Soul's Kitchen'...
SoulClap: This will be something special. I always loved to cook, it’s one of my passions. But I changed the plan a bit. It might not be called Soul’s kitchen because I will collaborate on this book with Chaundon. You definitely need to stay tuned, because it will combine different things that will be interesting for you. I don’t want to let loose of the concept right now, but you will love it. You will find recipes that won’t be super complicated with 30 ingredients, you will find something you can cook on a regular basis. So please stay tuned and check in with me. Add me on facebook: www.facebook.com/DJSoulClap to keep updated and witness a lot of random acts of f--kery! I’m also on twitter, my space and sound cloud.
Always just type djsoulclap after the slash and you will find me. I have a little bonus for the readers of coldrockdaspot. It’s the first single of the upcoming album with Wyldbunch called “Never forget you”. It’s dedicated to everybody who ever lost somebody.