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Lawless Element - “The Lawless Element Of Soundvision”
Contributed by: Todd E Jones aka New Jeru Poet
Source: The Elements
Posted on: November 13, 2006 07:26 MST
Filed under: Rap

lawless element

One of music’s infinite powers is that a cinematic song can literally make the listener mentally see the music. The song may be telling or story or the production may create vivid mental images. Sometimes, emotions can just create lush, colorful patterns behind the listener’s eyes. True musicians understand this magic and attempt to create music with this power.

Detroit, Michigan has contributed some vividly picturesque music within hip-hop culture. Throughout the years, Detroit has given birth to some unique and extremely talented artists. Slum Village, Eminem, J Dilla (aka Jay Dee), Lacks, Phat Kat, and many others have maintained their individuality while contributing to Detroit’s signature sound.

Lawless Element is an independent hip-hop group consisting of Magnif and Gee. Hailing from Detroit, Lawless Element is making the world envision the Detroit sound. While both members rhyme, Magnif also handles a majority of the production. As a producer, Magnif creates cinematic music with heart-pounding beats  and lush melodies. Babygrande Records recently released the group’s debut album ‘Soundvision: In Stereo’. The LP includes collaborations with some of hip-hop’s most respected artists. “Soundvision: In Stereo” includes J Dilla, Phat Kat, Big Tone, Melanie Rutherford, and Diverse. While Magnif’s production is refreshing, renowned producers Madlib and J Dilla also contribute their production talents to the album. ‘Soundvision: In Stereo’ is a magnificent album of dope beats and cool rhymes. Gee and Magnif want the listeners to feel and see their music. ‘Soundvision: In Stereo’ proves that Magnif and Gee have accomplished their goals. Rooted in the love of hip-hop, Lawless Element has created visual music that pushes the boundaries of Detroit hip-hop. Take a listen, take a look.

T.JONES: "What goes on?"
MAGNIF: “Everything’s good!”

T.JONES: "The debut Lawless Element album, ‘Soundvision: In Stereo’ was just released on Babygrande Records. Tell us about it."
MAGNIF: “It’s pretty much the debut of Lawless Element. We tried to prove a point with this album and show cats that we have what it takes to hold our own in the business. It’s just dope rhymes and great production.”
T.JONES: "Do you have a favorite song on ‘Soundvision: In Stereo’?"
MAGNIF: “It’s kind of hard to say, but I probably have to go with ‘Soundvision’ and ‘Something (Remix)’.”
GEE: “I would probably go with ‘Represent’ or ‘Move’.”

T.JONES: "Can you explain your name Lawless Element?”
GEE: “Lawless. It’s like an unbreakable element that goes against the rules.”
T.JONES: "What is the meaning behind the album title, ‘Soundvision’?”
MAGNIF: “We called it ‘Soundvision’ because we wanted to give you music that you could actually see. We wanted you to envision the sound.”

T.JONES: "When creating a song, do you have a set theme or pre-written lyrics? Or, do you write to the beat?"
MAGNIF: “The way it works is like this. Since I produced more than half or most of the album, I banged out the beats and passed them on to Gee. Either I tell him what the track is about, or I tell him to give me a concept. He may hit me up and let me know what it’s about. That’s how we get the tracks done.”

T.JONES: “As a producer, do you do a lot of pre-production before you go into the studio?”
MAGNIF: “Yeah, I produce and make all the tracks at home.”

T.JONES: "Favorite sampler or drum machine?"
MAGNIF: “I use the MPC 60. The first one, not the version 2.”

T.JONES: "On Guru’s ‘Street Scriptures’ album, Talib Kweli comments that Pro-Tools made producers lazy. Do you agree?”
MAGNIF: “To a certain extent, it does. It’s a good tool. It’s really great when you think about it. Recording on a 2-inch or putting your effect in is a real big hassle. But, as long as you are keeping it real with the turntables and the samplers, it’s all good. That way, I don’t see any problem with recording with the Pro-Tools.”

T.JONES: "J Dilla produced, ‘The Shining’. How is his production style different from yours?”
MAGNIF: “I don’t know. It’s kind of hard to say. It’s just a different sound. We’re just different artists and different people. We have our own styles because my style fits my personality and his style fits his personality. I don’t know. I couldn’t call it. It’s just two different musical sounds coming from two different musical people. You just get different sounds.”

T.JONES: "How did you two form Lawless Element?”
GEE: “That’s my cousin! I’ve known him ever since!”

T.JONES: "As cousins, do you have any artistic differences when it comes to music?”
GEE: “We kind of like break even. Lawless Element is pretty much Magnif and me.”

T.JONES: "What has been in your CD player or on your tape deck recently?"
MAGNIF: “Right now, I’m listening to the older stuff. I’m not listening to any of the newer releases. A lot of the stuff I sample is what I’ve been listening to. The Donald Byrd ‘Stepping Into Tomorrow” album and that type of stuff. Also, Herbie Hancock’s ‘Gentle Thoughts’ too.’
GEE: “I have to go with that stuff too. I’ve also been listening to Big L and ‘Illmatic’ for that past month or so. I’ve been listening to Kanye West’s ‘Late Registration’. I was listening to Little Brother’s ‘The Minstrel Show’ just last night.”

T.JONES: "Who are some artists from Detroit people should look out for?”
MAGNIF: “Melanie Rutherford. She’s amazing. We are supposed to be working on a lot more stuff in the future. Be on the lookout for that. She’s an amazing talent.”

T.JONES: “Word association. When I say a name, you say the first words that come into your head. So, if I say, ‘Flava Flav’, you may say, ‘clock’, ‘crack’, or ‘The Surreal Life’. Okay?”
MAGNIF: “Alright.”

T.JONES: “Jay Dee (or J Dilla).”
MAGNIF: “Great musician.”
GEE: “Dope.”

T.JONES: “Eminem.”
MAGNIF: “Successful.”
GEE: “Over-achiever.”

T.JONES: “Wu-Tang Clan.”
MAGNIF: “Legends. Legendary status.”
GEE: “Bananas.”

T.JONES: “50 Cent.”
MAGNIF: “G-Unit.”
GEE: “Tony Yayo.”

T.JONES: “Slum Village.”
MAGNIF: “Great artists.”
GEE: “Artistic.”

T.JONES: “Hieroglyphics.”
MAGNIF: “93 till.”
GEE: “Pretty good.”

T.JONES: “George Bush.”
GEE: “Wack!”
MAGNIF: “Very wack!”

T.JONES: "What is your favorite part of your live show?"
MAGNIF: “Performing high.”
GEE: “Crowd interaction.”

T.JONES: “How has your live show evolved?”
MAGNIF: “Really rocking live shows is kind of hard because people may not know the songs you are rocking. When it is the first time they are hearing it live, it may be hard for them to get into it. But, it has changed because we have material out now. So, when we perform songs, cats know what they are and we get the reaction we want. The reaction now is crazy.”

T.JONES: “How did Lawless Element get involved with Babygrande Records?”
MAGNIF: “We sent them material. We were interested in them and what they did. They took to it. They were loving it! We felt a connection. They saw our vision. The plans they had for the album was exactly what we had in mind. It was a good connection.”
T.JONES: "Who are some emcees you would like to collaborate with in the future?"
MAGNIF: “I would love to work with Hi-Tek and Mos Def.”
GEE: “Jay-Z.”

T.JONES: “What are the best things about living in Detroit?”
MAGNIF: “I don’t know. I love it here. I really can’t say. Like the L, joint, I love it here.”

T.JONES: “What are the worst things about living in Detroit?”
GEE: “The haters.”
MAGNIF: “The support for hip-hop is not really that strong. We have artists here, but we don’t have a large supporting crowd or tons of fans. If you are in Detroit and go to a Little Brother show, there may be like only 50 people in the building.”

T.JONES: “What’s the biggest mistake you have made in your career?”
MAGNIF: “That’s a tough one. I don’t know. I wouldn’t consider anything that we did as a mistake because we had to go through a lot for us to be here now. I wouldn’t or couldn’t take back what we did.”

T.JONES: “What are some misconceptions that people have of Lawless Element?”
GEE: “I would say there are some. A lot of people have misconceptions. They may take us for being arrogant and we are not. We do all of our street work ourselves. We get out there and grind. If anybody wants to talk to us, we talk to them. We’re not arrogant at all. We’re probably the most down to earth people you will ever come across.”

T.JONES: “What advice would you give to an artist going the independent route?”
GEE: “Take care of your own stuff, man. Nobody is going to look after you like the way you would. Play close attention to exactly what is going on.”
MAGNIF: “Know the business. Know the genre of the type of music you are making. Learn who your key audience is and what markets you are supposed to hit.”

T.JONES: "What was the last incident of racism you experienced?"
MAGNIF: “I can’t really recall right now.”

T.JONES: “How did you hook up with Madlib for the songs, ‘High’ and ‘Higher’? What was it like to work with him?”
MAGNIF: “It was crazy working with him. He’s killing it right now. We wanted to get at him. We holla’d at him. We had to holla at Wolf. You know what I’m saying? Wolf was feeling the joints. We sent him the joint we did with Dilla and a couple of other joints. He got us in touch with Lib. Madlib and us banged a joint out. It was ridiculous.”

T.JONES: “Who are your major influences?”
GEE: “Nas. I would say a little of Slick Rick and Rakim.”
MAGNIF: “I would go with Tribe, De La, some of the Nas stuff, and Gangstarr. As far as production goes, it would be Pete Rock and DJ Premier.”

T.JONES: "What are some songs that made you fall in love with hip-hop?"
GEE: “For me, it is ‘It Ain’t Hard To Tell’.”
MAGNIF: “I would say ‘Mass Appeal’.”

T.JONES: “What can fans expect from Lawless Element in the future?”
MAGNIF: “We’re just working. I have three, or it may be more than three tracks on Diverse’s upcoming album. Look for that. That’s a real ridiculous production line-up. He always brings it lyrically, so that should be a classic album. We are also trying to get Melanie Rutherford’s thing off the ground.”
GEE: “Right now, we are working with independent clothing labels. They are also using a lot of our music. We are also working on a soundtrack for a big independent release coming soon.”

T.JONES: “Final words?”
MAGNIF: “Thank you, Todd, for taking the time to do this interview.”
GEE: “Thanks for interviewing us, Todd. We appreciate everything!”


Interview by Todd E. Jones (aka The New Jeru Poet)


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NOTICE: This interview is property of Todd E. Jones and cannot be duplicated or posted without written permission.

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