Chicago has always been notorious for violence and fast living. From the prohibition era up to it’s current state of affairs, it’s no secret that it takes wits and strength to persevere in the city. Chitown is also ground zero for a wide variety of independently based artists such as our following guests. They’ve been in existence since Y2K and grew up during an era which is argued to be the best decade of Hip Hop, the nineties. Currently campaigning the four part “Out For Blood Vol. 3” album series, 7oddz are prepped and ready for war during their #YearOfTheOddz push in 2016. Rawroots spoke with the U.S. based label about OFB, Chicago’s music scene and their projects featuring international producers and it was all captured below.
Welcome to Rawroots guys, great to have you joining us. Let’s talk a little about growing up and how Hip Hop influenced you into becoming emcees yourselves. Do you draw in alot of inspiration from the nineties era?
Clever One: I would say we’re all definitely heavily influenced by the nineties era, there’s no denying that. We all grew up listening to that music and emulating that style because it’s what we love. It made us all want to be emcees. At the same time, we’re all students of hip-hop and have been influenced by or drawn inspiration from music outside of that era and even outside of the hip-hop genre. We like dope beats and dope rhymes, period. You put those together and you’ll get us bobbin’ our heads. That’s what we’re trying to create. Music WE enjoy listening to and that we know true hip-hop heads will vibe to and appreciate. Old school, new school, whatever… Dope is dope. But on the flip side, wack is wack (laughs).
You guys have resided in Chicago, Illinois for nearly your entire life. For our readers that haven’t ever been to the states or Chicago for that matter, could you explain what the music scene is like out there? Where do you guys fit into it’s equation?
Arken: The scene in Chicago is definitely very diverse. Chicago has been influenced by East coast and West Coast Hip-Hop over the years and even Southern Rap in the last decade and a half. There is somewhat of a divide between the Hardcore Hip-Hop scene and the “Trap” scene. I mean, the scene is rich with culture and talent we just tend to divide ourselves on what we think the music is really about. I feel like 7oddz has become somewhat of a representation of Hip-Hop in Chicago from kids that were coming up in the late 90’s and early 00’s. As a crew as diverse as ours with people that grew up all over the city I think we have a very interesting & complex dynamic that we are working with.
How would you describe the 7oddz sound? What do you hope listeners take away after listening to your music?
Clever One: The 7oddz sound, in reality, is hard to classify. We have so many emcees with different influences and styles that the 7oddz sound is very diverse and multi-faceted. Most people would classify us as “hard-core underground hip-hop” and I’d say that’s fair, but it goes much further than that. The concept or theme of “Out For Blood” is definitely hardcore displays of lyrical fitness killing everything wack in our path… But that’s what OFB is. I’d say we all succeed at that style and implement it in our solo projects, but as I said, there’s much more to us and fans will see more of that once more of our solo projects are released.
“Out For Blood” has been an ongoing series for many years now and we find it’s currently at Volume 3 (Chapter 2). What started this particular string of releases? It’s rumored that Volume 3 will bring OFB to a close, is that true?
Pozlyrix: Definitely just a rumor (laughs). Out For Blood began prior to me being on the label and I’m pretty sure it began as a way to collectively show what the label has to offer via a collaborative album with all label heads, fast forward to Volume 2 and 3 it’s become more of a album we do every few years not only to showcase the label but also to air out our grievances as well as a way to release any pent up aggression that we may have been holding. The thing that a lot of people get twisted with OFB compared to our solo endeavors is that they automatically think we’re strictly about that gutterness, but we definitely don’t want anyone to pigeon hole us, we can handle our own and are very versatile style wise and lyrically. You’ll see.
What we found particularly interesting is another series you guys have been working on that centers around international producers such as the “Old Fashioned Hip Hop” EP. That album features exclusive production from Ukraine’s Aromotherapy and even had a few Ukrainian guest features. Please explain the concept behind the series, what’s next and if we can expect to hear you guys working with anyone from out here in the UK?
DreamTek: Yeah, we definitely will continue collaborating with great producers from overseas. As you mentioned the last one we released was produced by a brother in Ukraine “Old Fashioned Hip Hop”. Each international release we do will be fully produced by a different producer from a different country each time. Our goal is to plant seeds (albums) in most of the countries on the map. That way when we DO travel to each of these places we already have an album that was released there, featuring a producer from there.Hopefully that will make our trips even more enjoyable and beneficial then they already are. Funny you should mention one being released in the UK. Last year June, 13th we released an album with UK producer “Giallo Point” of Crate Divizion called “The Takeover”. So we already actually have! (Laughs) However there is SO MUCH talent in the UK i would be willing to bet its a place that we will revisit for another project in the future. You can find The Takeover album at www.7oddz.com and check out a video we did for the single “The Meeting” here: [Link] I cannot tell you too much about our next international project but I will tell you it will be out of Germany and produced by a brother named Phat Fingaz.
Seven Oddities is more than just a crew; it’s a full-on label that is continually performing, selling albums/ merch and promoting releases. What are the ups and downs of being an independent label?
DreamTek: It takes incredibly hard work and dedication from everybody to make this operation run smooth. If one person is not on their job it creates havoc and upsets the process of what we do. in order to run as a well oiled machine we all have to be on the same page, know our roles in this outside of being artists and make sure we take care of our individual responsibilities. We are what I like to call a 100% independent label. To me there lies the difference between us and the rest of these labels. When you need artwork, you outsource. When you need a video, you outsource. Mastering? Outsource. Web site building and maintenance? Outsource. Logo design and merch? You probably outsource and so on and so forth. We handle EVERYTHING in house. We don’t outsource for any little thing. All work is done by the label itself in oppose to hiring anybody from the outside to do things for us at a price. Not only does this save us a TON of money obviously, but I feel that it instills a better sense of pride in everything we release knowing that every little tiny piece of it was created by the family from the ground up. It’s all worth it at the end of the day to me.
Let’s speak about the latest project, “Out For Blood Vol. 3 (Chapter 2)”. We see alot more of Tony Pantagonia this go around. From first listen, this one sounds strictly for the hardcore Hip Hop heads. Was that the focus going in and recording it?
Tony Patagonia: Our main focus for OFB3 Ch. 2 is the same as for all of our OFB projects, to captivate the audience with an onslaught of raw skill and to make a statement of domination in this hip hop game. We have the same processes to make music as everyone else, but what you don’t see are the left out verses, unused beats and untouched samples intended for the project. Not everything can fit the bill when releasing an album called “Out for Blood.” As for myself being featured more on this chapter, tracks were chosen and put together because of the feel or the sound of the music. There was no plan behind the fact that I’m on chapter 2 more, it’s just the way it turned out.
The first video, “Standing On The Edge”, is done in an artful mindset and found itself on sites such as Rawroots, HipHopzilla and The Hip Hop Crib. Who came up with the video concept and are there any songs set to get a visual treatment?
Clever One: DreamTek came up with the concept for the “Standing On The Edge” video. He got the idea and brought it up to all of us and we loved it. He also spent hours putting all the footage together for the projector. We are definitely pleased with the result as well as the feedback so far. The next video from Chapter 2 is going to be “Killing Machines,” featuring Roy Hobes, Billie Dee Boodah & SaveOne. We have a pretty cool idea for that video so definitely watch out for that one.
Besides crew projects, is their anyone from the imprint set to drop solo releases at any point this year and if so, could you share that with us?
Clever One: This summer, I am finally dropping “Wild Seed,” which is my second solo project with the Oddz. It’s a full length album I’ve been working on for quite some time and I’m excited to show it to the world. DoomsDay is also dropping his “Radio Novelas” project this fall. “Radio Novelas” is entirely in Spanish and is Dooms’ first solo release with 7oddz.
Are their any other important dates or items you’d like to mention in the interview guys?
Clever One: Well, “Out For Blood” Vol. 3 (Chapter 3) will drop in July and Chapter 4 will drop in October. Besides those releases, we’ve got my solo album “Wild Seed” in June and Dooms’ “Radio Novelas” in September.
Make sure to head over to www.7oddz.com to get familiar with the squad and check out the latest project “Out For Blood Vol. 3 (Chapter 2)” below: