Interviu Rahzel

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CZB: Rahzel. What is in the name?

Rahzel: Comes from my real name but people would mispronounce it so i would spell it phonetically. Then it just stuck, and it worked well. Now my name is unique and i branded myself with my own name kinda…

CZB: What year did you start making noises? Were you in school, making teachers lose their minds?

Rahzel: Hahahaha… i was always making sounds from a little kid, but at that time there was no betatbox yet, and when hiphop was starting, i was trying to rap at first. Then from not having turntables and music all the time (and i was the best at doing the beats with my mouth) i would always be designated beatboxer and it progressed from there.

CZB: What grade did you get your first detention for making noises in class?

Rahzel: Who knows! lol. I wasn’t too bad in school, I kept the noises down til’ after! I hated detention!

CZB: When did you first get the idea of doing this at a higher level, and trying to turn this talent into a constructive musical sketch you could show off to friends?

Rahzel: When I would get on the mic in front of my cousin and the other old school legends from Furious Five and JMJ and they would all bug out on the beats I was doing. Then I could compare myself when I saw other beatboxers and I could do what they did and more. So I knew I was onto something.

CZB: Who discovered you? When did you start getting paid to do beatboxing?

Rahzel: I discovered myself! lol. I did lots of stuff to get on. From local battles to neighborhood battles, to carrying crates for Ultramagnetic to hanging around 1212 studios, and I did tons of gigs. Some were for free, some were for money but in the mid 90’s once I was a lil’ more well known, I started making better money. Then with my album and the internet helping my beatboxing get all over the world, plus the Roots tours and albums, I was able to spread the beatbox artform and get paid well.

CZB: When did you turn Pro?

Rahzel: I never look at it like turning pro. I’m still learning, still trying to get better. But if you mean as a living and a career, I always tried to have a plan B or back up. Like going to college and having regular jobs. But once you start getting paid money to travel, you have to leave it all behind and focus as a “professional” career.

CZB: Do you think that YouTube helped you gather an international following at a much faster pace or were you already respected internationally before YouTube came into the scene?

Rahzel: YouTube always helps because any outlet helps gain new fans, but I had already toured around the world many times before the new millenium. From doing all the tours with the Roots through the 90’s and then my solo tours over the past decade with DJ JS-1, and Mike Patton, have brought me to 35 countries and hundreds of cities. I do think that file sharing, especially napster starting at the same time with my major release, Make the music 2000, dropped in 1999, was VERY helpful though. that brought If Your Mother Only Knew to millions of people who might not have heard it.

CZB: Have you been hired to do special audio effects for some kind of animated video or movie?

Rahzel: Yes, I’ve done a bunch of stuff for movies, TV shows, TV commercials, radio commercials, etc… I’ve done a variety of stuff from children’s shows like Yo Gabba Gabba to Pepsi and Twix commercials.

CZB: Do you teach others to beatbox or have you thought of doing this somewhere down the line?

Rahzel: I never really sit and have a class or anything like that. I think most people just learn from watching, listening, paying attention, trying to imitate, etc… They can see me live or watch on YouTube and learn that way. Sooo many kids have done that.

CZB: Is there a musical collaboration you are extremely proud of?

Rahzel: There is a bunch i really like. I loved working with Bjork and was featured on several tracks of hers. That was really special, she is very different and very talented. I liked the Southern Girl track i did with Erykah Badu and the track i did with Roni Size. Also, the track i did on Sean Paul’s album was fun.

CZB: How did you meet/hook up with JS-1?

Rahzel: Through mutual friends in New York. His friend was originally spinning for me, and when he couldn’t do it, i asked JS-1 to fill in and we’ve been touring together for 10 years now. We like a lot of the same old school New York hip hop and grew up in the same era, so we think a like on stage. It works well.

CZB: How many hours a day do you spend practicing?

Rahzel: I’m always making sounds, beats, or whatever. I don’t know if you call it practicing or not? I’m just messing around with rhythms and beats. I might get an idea and work with it. I like trying to different types of music too. But you are never done perfecting your craft. So I’m always adding layers, taking old routines and updating them too.

CZB: Have you set a point in life for yourself when you think you would like to retire, or is beatboxing your life?

Rahzel: You can’t really retire for good? LOL. To be honest, it’s the travel that hurts the most. We do A LOT of travel and that beats on you after a while, but the beatboxing I can do forever! I need to start my own Vegas hiphop beatbox show and have everyone fly in to see us, and we stay in one place! LOL!!!


Rahzel or Rahzel M. Brown

Godfather of Noyze

Former member of The Roots.

For their Official Website, CLICK HERE. www.islanddefjam.com/artist/home.aspx?artistID=7316




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