E: Who is Apani B.?See Also:
A: That's me! That's a hard question to answer, a very complex question. I'm just somebody who loves music, I like to live, I love my family, I have cats, I love animals, I love to cook, I hate bullshitters.
E: Is there a lot of bullshit in hip-hop?
A: I don't like bullshitters in any area of life, I mean I try to be as real as I can be at all times, but real is relative.
E: Does hip-hop allow you to speak up against that bullshit?
A: Yeah, I pretty much try to save it for hip-hop. I wound up having this long discussion with this cat on the 'net the other day about that and he was just a hater, you know what I mean? He claimed to be a fan and he never bought any of my records and he never heard of Poly, his opinions on everything and everyone were really negative. There's a lot of things that I see in hip-hop that I don't like, but I save it for the music. A lot of people who do music have got these alter-egos, so with me being as real as I can all the time and with me just tellin' the truth, that's just another extension of me writing these rhymes. It's not some made-up fantasy stuff, It all stems form an event or conversation that really happened. I talk about what I really think and what I really live.
E: Why do you think the internet plays such a huge role in the underground hip-hop scene? Why are all the kids that you might see at shows and that you might talk to, why are most of them all from the internet?
A: Well the internet is pretty cool, if you think about how young people are into video games, like I'm 25, I've spent this whole day playing Final Fantasy, that's what I was doing when you called me earlier, and I just took a break to eat, so I mean a video game is nothing but a computer. Like samplers, samplers are nothing but computers. There's a lot of cool things on the internet, lots of pretty colours, lots of interesting places to exchange information. Not everybody is into it though. I know some people, I got friends who be like: "I ain't got no time for that computer-internet business", 'cause they don't like to stand still. I think anybody who is into computers, who owns one, could get into the internet. There's people who don't use their computer for anything else, they don't use any wordprocessing software, they don't do any design, but all they do is go on the internet. It could be a resource tool and it could also be entertaining.
E: In terms of releasing stuff, lately, why is that you're the only Polyrhythm Addict member who doesn't recently have their own solo single or solo album as of late?
A: I've been doing a lot of recording for projects, I've been doing a lot of compilations and I'm working on a solo single right now. I'm kind of trying to explore different avenues than my other cohorts, like everybody's pretty much on Rawkus.
E: What's happening with the Polyrhythm Addicts, is there new material coming out?
A: We're talking about doing things, and we still do shows and everything. We've talked about getting together to record some more songs, but between Shabaam Sahdeeq recording his album, like he's been recording his album probably for almost two years now. Last time we talked about it he was kind of at the point where he's in the middle of starting over.
E: When can we expect a release date on that one?
A: They were talking about spring, but the way it's looking, it may not be till summer or fall.
E: Can we expect an Apani album anytime soon, 'cause we'd really love one.
A: Like I said I've been doing a lot of recording, I'm talking to people now about doing singles, I guess I haven't noticed 'cause I'm always doing projects. I just went to Massachusetts to do this compilation called "Contacts and Contracts", I don't know when that's coming out, it will probably be out by the end of this year. i am also recording for an album, I am still sketchy on the release.
E: You don't have a set contract with anybody?
A: No. I mean even like the other Polycats, Spinna doesn't have one, neither does Mr. Complex, he just did the single for Rawkus and he's doing the same thing I'm doing, he's hiring himself out for a lot of projects and Shabaam, I don't know how many albums he's locked into with Rawkus but he may not do another one with them, he may try to put this out and then bounce to the next best opportunity, it's kinda what underground heads are doing. Rawkus has done a lot of stuff for the underground but I think a lot of people really use that as a springboard. People aren't trying to get married to them, plus since they're so new they're still trying to figure out what they're trying to do. They're going through transitional periods every 6 months. They've kind of diverged from putting out vinyl singles, they still do it, but they' re trying to be a real record label that puts out albums and cds and stuff.
E: Do you think Rawkus is still an underground label?
A: Yeah. I mean in comparison to like a Universal or a Tommy Boy, because they're still very hands-on. Like you can still go up to the label, not as much, but you can still go and see Jarret and Brian, the cats that own it, you can walk right in. They got some money, but they're closer to the streets than most majors. For instance, if you're on a Tommy Boy, you're not gonna get the same sort of opportunity that Rawkus is gonna give you. If Tommy Boy is going to sign you, Tommy will sign a hundred acts, put them all out and it's kind of up to you to prove yourself worthy. Rawkus is kind of the opposite, in the sense that they'll sign maybe twenty acts or ten acts and then really try to push those ten or at least, between five and eight of those ten. I don't think that they really pick up anybody that they don't see any promise in, and that's the difference, which is what I think makes them an underground label as opposed to bigger entities. Even though they haven't signed anyone brand new in a long time.
E: But what about their artists, I mean, for instance when the Pharoahe Monch and Mos Def albums were coming out at about the same time, those two artists were being promoted to a great extent and...
A: But I don't think that that doesn't make them "underground", I think it' s about time that an artist like Pharaohe or Mos Def could get that kind of opportunity, I mean it's only right, but if you look at them at the same time, where's Mos Def and Pharaohe Monch's second singles and where are their second videos? So that's what I'm sayin' about them going through transitional periods and them still trying to figure things out. With each artist they're trying to figure out the game plan as they go along. A lot of labels like the majors have already got formulas, they've already got a system for how they work and they've got the game, as it were, figured out. Rawkus is still in the amateur competitions.
E: You think?
A: I think so. They have good resources and they do have money but in terms of the ideology of how to handle each artist, they don't have a formula, they're still figuring that out as they go along.
E: And is it a big staff?
A: They have like one floor in a building downtown in the ville. I used to work in the BMG building. First of all, they (BMG) have a whole building in New York, then they've got another building in Michigan and they've got headquarters in major cities all over the world, Michigan is not even a major city, so you know there's one in LA Then they have all these subsidiaries, which have their own offices possibly in other buildings, then they have street teams and people they give distribution deals to. Rawkus is nowhere near on that level. Even Loud has a New York and an L.A. office, all Rawkus has is their New York office on the one floor in New York City and it's not even in some skyscraper building.
E: So they want to keep that underground ethic alive, I guess.
A: I don't think it's a matter of trying to keep it alive, I think it's a matter of if they get a whole building can they pay the overhead? BMG has thousands of artists signing, all Rawkus does is Hip-Hop, BMG has rock, classical. Rawkus hasn't even gotten to the point where they've built catalogues, even in comparison to a small label like Nervous. Nervous has a smaller staff than Rawkus, and Nervous doesn't put artists out as frequently because they have catalogues, because SAM WEISS and his family have been in the business for years, so they've acquired certain little goodies.
E: How did you come up with your name?
A: My mother named me Apani. B. fly, is an abbreviation for butterfly which is what Apani means, it's a Native American name. And emcee is what I am, so basically my name is like I am me, Me Me I I I.
E: How was working with Pharoahe Monch?
A: It was pretty cool, Pharaohe has been a friend of mine for a long time, I'm trying to get him to go out drinking with me tonight, but he just bought a new 2000 so he's home playing with his new toy. I've known Pharaohe since I was fifteen, he's a really good friend of mine. I've always admired him, the stuff that he's done, he was one of my first inspirations, so I guess it was just a long time coming. And I enjoyed working with him, I learned a lot, he's really meticulous in the studio and he cares about his music. It was cool to watch him go through the process.
E: Which artists you had fun working with?
A: Well Pharaohe. I thought the track that we did could have been doper but I enjoyed working with Talib Kweli, he's a really good friend of mine too.
E: You're song with him was "The Ass", right?
A: Who Pharaohe?
E: Could you explain the writing of that song and how it came up. Because in the chorus all the guys are saying: "The Ass", and all the women are saying: "The Dick". (At this point everyone is laughing at what Roozbeh has said)Tell me about writing that song with him and if there's a meaning behind it.
A: You know at first, I had told him when he first told me about it, that didn't want to do the song. He stepped to me about six months before that with just the idea and I was like: "Nah, I don't wanna do it", but then I thought about it and I was like, I told him: "If you still wanna do it, I wanna do it." And I haven't been faced with this yet in an interview, so far everybody has been like: "We love it". I was waiting for someone to be like: "What the hell is going on with you?". It was really just about having fun. We both kind of see it like this: You know how guys think, and you know how guys talk about women when they're not in the room.
E: Are you talking to me or..?
A: I'm talking to all of you men. Women do exactly the same thing, so for me getting back to telling you what I was saying earlier about me just telling the truth, that's kinda what it was about. What I hate about a lot of female MCs who do sex material, they kind of just have this real slutty, you know 'I'll -do-what-you-say-daddy-as-long-as-you-can-afford-me' kind of thing going on, and what I thought about doing this song that would be dope was that it was from a point of view of a woman who is sexually confident, and he's (Pharaohe) like: "In the song, I want you to dis me." Because women don't get that, and he's like: "If you come off on this song, you gonna make women love this song". That's kind of what I wanted to do, and I've gotten that response mostly from women, they're like: "Oh that was dope, and you played him and it was funny" and I could live with that.
E: That's probably why it's so successful because both sides are spoken for.
A: And we've both done so many intellectual songs, we kinda just wanted to do something dumb, like a no brainer.
E: What about all the women who come into the hip-hop industry who are pushed to get on to the sex-slant, because we've noticed that you don't go for the sex-slant so how do you keep your head up?
A: Well, I think I'm pretty feminine and I am confident about my sexuality and I can't say that being in this industry and stuff it's mostly male-dominated and I can't say that a lot of times I don't flirt. You have to kind of know...(reflects), I call it "swingin your woman thing", you kinda have to know how to swing your woman thing, you know how to put it on but you don't go too far when you're gonna have people trying to attack you, then you have to go and run away or something. I was actually glad that I got to do it, 'cause I wanted to do a sex song a while ago. A long time ago, I had started to write one and I was kinda glad that I gotta chance to do it on Pharaohe's album. Because now I got it out of the way and when my album comes around I've already said all I have to say about that. That and the fact that if you notice, a lot of female MCs get accused of being lesbos. The only one that you don't hear lesbo rumours about are Lil' Kim and Foxy Brown, why is that? All they talk about is getting dick. That's something that I thought about afterwards, that particular thing but I was like, you know what, that kinda worked in my favour that I did that. I just made a statement.
E: Do you think those women are choosing to do the sex-slant because they don't want to be accused of being gay?
A: No no no...One time okay, two times maybe, But over and over again. .no. I think that it is a combination of not having a frame of reference and talent. It takes lots of talent to take chances and pull it off. ..Like Prince for example. Alot of these chics are one trick dogs. Whether we like the other options or not, everything we do is a choice. They could have very well said: "I'm not going to do this". But I think that a lot of times, they do that just because they kinda lacked artistry. I was listening to the Dr Dre album, and they have some chick on there talking about getting dick and stuff like that, stealing husbands and at first when I heard it I was like: "That was dope", but then when I heard it again a couple more times, I started to think that a guy wrote it. A lot of these women end up saying the stuff that sounds real slutty and 'what a man wants to hear' kinda thing. And I don't think that there's anything wrong about talking about sex or drugs or violence or anything, I just don't like that women aren't telling the truth, you know what I mean?
E: Or maybe they're saying the man's point-of-view.
A: There are plenty of men representing a mans point of view. I think they should kind of flip it. Women's views need to be represented. First of all women buy more music than men.
E: You think?
A: Yeah, it's a fact. That's why brothers be doing these love songs. That's why Q-tip turned into a sex symbol, because he wants women to buy his records. That's why you hear a lot of people like Kool G Rap and certain people don't sell and that's why Puffy sells, because girls like Puffy. Girls will buy your records if they think you're cute and you're sexy. But I think if a woman could say something that a woman wants to hear, like things that women think, we already have so many problems like the way that we're socialized, men being the aggressors and women being the targets of aggression, you got all these young girls out here just wanting attention and I think that's what it is. Look at Lil' Kim, she went and got her whole thing changed to blonde hair and the blue eyes. She comes off very confident, but I think that just says without her saying it, that she's had confidence issues.
E: But don't you think that's positive? Positive in the sense that she gets to choose that she wants to have the blonde hair and that she wants to come off hardcore.
A: Well I could say that what I like about Kim is that nobody does it like her. Kim will be in a g-string on stage, mad confident, wildin' out like she got on Tim's and jeans like jumping up and down on stage, and I've seen other women try to get on some sexy stuff and they just look like they're uncomfortable and they're awkward and they're real stiff, so I give her that but I think her comfort came with the money. To me it goes unspoken that she had confidence issues, and that the hair and the contacts make her feel better about who Kim is. If that's the case just come through with your regular eyes, bald, no make-up. You don't see her unless she's totally done up, she's always on some glamorous stuff, she's attractive, but she was before. She' s got more money but she always wanted that. If you listen to her early interviews, she talked about not having money, she couldn't get along with her family, she didn't have any place to go and she used to go and sleep with guys to get things, I think that just says it all. But a lot of young women have the same issue, like when you're in junior high school and high school and you want boys to notice you, stuff like that, girls feeling unpretty, and I just think that women could do a lot more for other young women. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be attractive and loving men and everything, but love you. Don't worry about impressing people.
E: Do you think that you're sending that positive message out for women, is that a priority?
A: Well I mean, I am a woman so I can't not do that because these are things that I think and these are things that I see and they're also things that I went through, but I mean I'm a human first, I don't wanna just talk to women, every record I make is not talking to a woman I wanna talk to brothers too. Most of my friends are guys.
E: I apologize about that question.
A: Naw that's okay, I hear you. I didn't intend it that way, but I thought about it after "Woman In Me" except for "Soul Control", and "Estragen" was really a remix of "Woman In Me" I was like: "Damn this is like really some old pro-fem shit".
E: What label is that single on?
A: That's on my label, Q-Boro.
E: Anything the public should know about Apani that they don't know already?
A: Expect some new shit and I make beats.
E: Anything to be released?
A: I have a couple of joints that I had worked on, but I didn't finish. I'm so hard on myself. People get angry with me when we're in the studio, cause I'm always doing everything over and shit. (Laughing) They'll be like: "It sounds fine", and I'll be like: "NO!, Let's take it again!".
E: Are you a perfectionist?
A: I try to be. As soon as you record it, even when it's on vinyl, you always hear something that you want to do over. I try to make things as tight as possible.
E: Where did you grow up?
A: Hollis, Queens.
E: Do you still live there?
E: Last question, we ask this to everyone. What do you eat for breakfast?
A: What do I eat for breakfast? Well I'm a good cook, I eat anything. I made quiche the other day, so I ate some of that. Turkey bacon, eggs.
E: So if I come down there you'll cook me up a meal?
A: Oh hell Yeah, I'm working on a cookbook.
E: Any particular kinds of foods?
A: It'll mostly be like Soul Food and stuff but favourites too like Tempura, Lasagna, Lamb Chops. Come thru and get you some!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
MTS Centre, Winnipeg - May 26, 2008
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