What up Verbz? School readers on who you are and what you do!
Hello World. I’m Verbz aka Verbz The Kid. I’m trying to be a Renaissance man, do a little bit of everything, mostly I’m a DJ & crate digger & music blogger here in Portland Oregon. Also do graphics, photography, video, & a dozen other things. All I wanna do is spread good music.
So lets start off with why you got into hip hop and how long you’ve been in the game?
Fell in love with hip-hop when first saw Run DMC & Aerosmith breakdown that wall on MTV. Started out a b-boy & graff writer in the 90s. I started getting into the budding online battle scene & helped run websites dedicated to early web music. I got involved in a small part of the Portland hip hop scene through rap about 7 years ago. We’ve kinda built a family out of it & become a larger part of the hip hop Portland has to offer. Set up a bunch of shows around the Portland area. I’ve spent the last 7 years DJing & collecting records. Doing a music blog for a year now.
I often check your page on tumblr and you have a great taste in music, who are your favourite producers?
Cliché answer, J Dilla. He was one of those producers that I had heard & loved without ever knowing he produced the beats. My first Dilla moment was watching the World Premier on BET of Slum Village “Climax.” I drove 20 minutes immediately to buy the album. Aside from the obvious Pete Rock, Prince Paul, Premier, Just Blaze, Cut Chemist & Numark, Jake One, Kev Brown, Madlib, ect. most of my favorite producers are my friends here in the NW scene.
Who are some names that you’ve worked with?
Just yesterday I DJ’d a producer showcase called The Neckbrace 3. The featured producer was Exile. He was inspiring & ridiculous on the turntables & MPC. I’ve done shows with underground artists Glue & DJ Abilities. Shows with Ohmega Watts, Theory Hazit, DJ Flip Flop, Illmaculate, Luck One, Grey Matters, & on through the Portland music scene. Mostly make music with my brother Mark Steez.
You are very active in promoting the hip hop scene in the NW, throw out some names people shouldn’t sleep on:
I’ve grown up in the Portland scene with a family we’ve built through years of shows. In the NW my people TxE have really been making my favorite music lately. That’s Tope of Living Proof & Epp who has been one of my favorite MC’s in Portland for years. With G_Force on the beats, they are producing some of the NW best. Also DO NOT sleep on, Illmaculate, Theory Hazit, 9DM, Sandpeople, Sapient, Grey Matters, Luck One, Ohmega Watts, Braille, Dave Notti, Sole Pro, Only One, Kid Espi, & dozens more.
What about the top producers from the NW?
I would say that the beat scene in the Portland area is amazing. We have been flooded with the do it yourself attitude because we’ve always been ignored as a scene. My favorite NW producers are G_Force, Lawz Spoken, Trox, DaiN, Theory Hazit, Dave Notti, Ohmega Watts, Hi-Res, Devonwho, Tope, & DJ Flip Flop. In Seattle of course Jake One holds it down but also Big Tune Seattle 2009 champ, Marcus D. But truly, my favorite producer is my brother Mark Steez, because we have similar tastes in music & we share samples.
What are you currently working on yourself?
Currently my biggest project is launching my new site for NW artists, events, photos, videos, samples, & my own music called VerbzTheKid.com. Also, I’m a full time psychology student at Portland State University & I’m working on a mix playing with the idea of perception. I’m hoping to give that out at the end of the summer.
A lot of people say the internet killed the music industry, do you think that’s true or do you think it just gave people a bigger venue to hear a better variety of music and a lot of the main stream music lost its appeal?
I could take up your entire blog, a documentary, & 2 hour presentation on this topic. If the music industry is dead, it was suicide. Record labels started a war with their own consumers. Check the numbers, music downloaders buy more music, go to more concerts, & have exposure to more artists. Downloaders stopped looking to mainstream record labels for music. It’s a mainstream that helped turn MTV (the old way people discovered artists) into a reality TV channel & bought every radio station to homogenize music across the country. It’s hardly Top 40 anymore; it’s more like Top 5 of the same flavor. Record labels looked at downloaders as enemies instead of consumers. Had the record labels individually made their music available for download at high quality at low cost (only paying for bandwidth for distribution & no cost in producing physical CDs) the industry wouldn’t look like a wasteland. The internet has definitely shortened the attention span for any one album, but now we are seeing artists release music through the web constantly or in short EPs to keep up with the development of new music & it helps keep interest in the artist. Is music better with more money in it? I sure would rather hear about reality than how much money you’ve got.
What is the biggest misconception rap fans have about the game?
Originality. Music is an art of influence. Hip hop especially the case. From sampling to the words artists choose usually are in respect to something that inspired them. When I Talib sampling Nina Simone there is a connection to something that came before that is mutually inspiring. I feel like most people don’t even think about samples until they hear Eminem & Lil Wayne sampling the Night At The Roxbury track. Sampling. Another hip hop wasteland.
What moves do you want to make in your career before 2010 ends?
I wanna create a really great site that people come back to. I wanna really explore some new things with music on my own & I want to see the rest of my crew continue to grow because the whole family is doing so well.
Who is the best freestyler in your opinion?
Illmaculate. You can fight me. Been around him freestyling for many years, I’ve heard ridiculous things come out of that dude’s mouth. Supernat is incredible. I’ve heard 9DM just go off & rhyme all night. My boy Epp from TxE is amazing with some freestyle rap/singing/different personalities whatever. I’m blessed with some really talented friends.
Plug your info so people can peep your shit homie:
Right now you can go back & download hours of good music, or bump a playlist on my Tumblr site, verbz.tumblr.com. Follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/verbz. & check new site, VerbzTheKid.com coming soon.
Also check out my brother Mark Steez for a Beat CD coming soon at twitter.com/marksteez. & my boys TxE at topeandepp.bandcamp.com & check my boys G_Force & Illmaculate’s new video at GravityHits.com
You got any last words for the readers?
Get at me. Get at me with music, events, ideas, questions. Let’s spread good music.