With the likes of Kanye and Swizz Beatz, its seems like producers-turned-MCs has become the transitioning trend of the century, but for 33-year-old producer/songwriter/rapper, 88-Keys, it’s a lifestyle. Producing beats for Mos Def at the age of 14, the now 15-year hip-hop vet should don the title best in his class as opposed to being associated with these “freshmen” on The Great Hangover Tour. From a strictly Polo attire to the Vag, here 88 chops it up with GIANT while on tour…
GIANT: What’s the first tour you’ve ever been on?
88: The very first tour that I’ve ever performed was 2K Sports Bounce Tour with Common and Q-Tip. I was the opening act with Percee P. He had 20 minutes and I had an hour. That was, what, only two years ago? Yeah, I’m new to this rap shit [chuckles]. And I wasn’t even rapping yet but the first tour that I actually rode out and actually slept on the bus and learned not to go number 2 on the bus was Kanye’s “Touch the Sky Tour” which was my favorite tour to date.
GIANT: And that was your favorite tour?
88: See I don’t know if I can really say the “Great Hangover Tour” just yet but tour number one completely blew me away, Day one was so awesome with Boston—oh my God, they caught me off guard. It was the crowd because I had a feeling that a lot of people got to know who I was from that show. Even though when I asked, ‘Yo, ya’ll eff with 88-Keys?’ They were like ‘yeaaah.’ And I was like come on ya’ll don’t know me like that but I appreciate it. I appreciate not having me listening to crickets when I ask questions.
The show was so awesome that there was a part for one song in particular I tried to get a wave going. So I asked them, ‘Alright, we’re going do the wave now.’ And we’ll do the wave through the first hook and then I start rapping and they’re waving the WHOLE song. I was like that’s incredible. That’s when I said alright, Boston got it. But we’ll see what happens.
Ok, If I can’t say the “Great Hangover Tour” then I would have to say “Fresh Rhymes and Videotape Tour” headlining with Dilated Peoples, Aceyalone and the Alchemist. I believe I was the opening act for that tour as well. That tour was just so fun cause it’s just a bunch of comedians on the bus. Everybody snapping on each other—like actually playing tricks on each other on the bus. It was like a frat house. Alchemist and Evidence, really need their own reality show, seriously. And I actually ended up forming a group with them which we haven’t gotten to it yet because all of our schedules have been hectic.
GIANT: What do you look most forward to while on tour?
88: I look forward to visiting different cities so I can visit their different record shops so I can go digging. And also hitting different Ralph Lauren stores. Other than that I just look forward to the show and performing and stuff like that.
GIANT: Least look forward to?
88: Being asked to go to the after parties and stuff like that. I appreciate getting the offer and I know I should be there and I really do try to force myself to actually show up and be seen and heard by the public and stuff. But I prefer after the show to shake a few hands, meet the people, meet the crowd, and stuff like that and straight to the hotel and break out my laptop and watch Law & Order SVU, Heroes, talk to my wife because I’m a homebody. I’m used to just staying home and making beats. Being married and having kids and stuff I’m just used to being at home. I get more enjoyment indoors than I do outdoors. Indoors is like my own personal space.
GIANT: I know you’ve been wearing polo head to toe for like 16 years, do you plan on coming out with your own line?
88: Nope. Just Ralph Lauren Polo strictly, no other fabric touches my body. Besides that, seriously for about 16 years I’ve been doing this. I stopped wearing Nikes and Timbs in about 2006. No endorsement deals or anything like that. I’m not seeking one either. I respect what Ralph does as a businessman and more so his designs and fabrics that he chooses. And its funny because I’m not into fashion at all. Like I could give a damn about what’s hot this season or you know or what Gucci has coming out this season, like I don’t subscribe to that. I’m just strictly Ralph Lauren. It’s my lifestyle and my daughters lifestyle. I keep them fresh.
GIANT: What about the Adam concept?
88: Well the song title came from my boy DJ Homicide. He’s the DJ from the group Sugar Ray, I met him in ‘04. Him, Sugar Ray and Kanye had a concert together out in Rutgers University or something like that. And I met Sugar Ray and DJ Homicide and I exchanged info and we used to instant message each other because we both had Sidekicks and eventually we got so cool that he would just instant message me a joke. So one day he hits me going back like 5 years ago, and he hits how many different names do you know for the vagina but he used the p word (pussy). And he hits me like a thesaurus of words for vagina and one phrase that stuck out was the death of Adam. Then the whole concept came up when I was working on beats for my first album. I made the beat that became the song “There’s Pleasure in It” and I just kept thinking this gave the album meaning. I was thinking you know what gives me pleasure–the VAG.
GIANT: What are you working on now?
88: I’m just starting to work on my second mixtape or album or both depending on how the songs come out. I’m working with Colin Munroe, on a project we plan on doing an album together. A remix for one of my favorite bands, The Morning Wood, and also Ra Ra Riot. And also just a bunch of features. I’m doing like a lot of rap features for future artists that are coming out and those that are out there already. But the next project that’s been confirmed, 100% mixed and mastered is Colin Munroe and myself we have a song called “Wake Up Call’ on the next NBA Live video game.
GIANT: Do you game?
88: Yea I play video games, well I used to play video games. But like I’m not into the sporting games I’m more into the fighting games. Tekken, then games like Dino Crisis, Resident Evil, stuff like that.
GIANT: What do you do while on tour to past time?
88: I just listen to my Ipod. Listening to the Morning Bender’s album, I’ve started listening back to my old records so now I’m putting my record collection onto my Ipod and twitter.
GIANT: Do you tweet?
88: I do it in spurts. Its like once I see a lot of people hitting me up and I read it and usually I’m busy I just start answering everybody like in a row. And I definitely go to the app store on my Iphone because I am the app man.
GIANT: Anything else you want to do add?
88: Eightocho.com my website.
Also this week, 88 dropped a new video for “The Friends Zone” from his album The Death of Adam. Check it out after the jump.