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Q&A with Endemic

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UK producer Endemic came on the scene in 2009 with his debut album, Terminal Illness. The album highlighted Endemic’s east coast style of production with a collection of emcees from both America and the United Kingdom. Endemic is back with the second installment of the Terminal Illness series, Terminal Illness: Volume 2.

Hitting stores on December 10, Terminal Illness Vol. 2 includes appearances by Cappadonna, Masta Killa, Planet Asia, Ruste Juxx, Roc Marciano, Skyzoo, Tragedy Khadafi, Bronze Nazareth, Shabazz the Disciple, and Killah Priest among others.

Endemic spoke to about his Hip-Hop inspirations, production techniques, plans for 2014, and his new album, Terminal Illness, Vol. 2.

SS: What makes Terminal Illness 2 different from Terminal Illness part one?

Endemic: I’d say the beats definitely make it different. My sound is fuller and more developed. The sequencing is better. I’d say overall there are bigger artists, better verses, and better concept songs.

SS: Is there anyone on the album who surprised you with their verse?

Endemic: It’s not a surprise but PR Terrorist of Killarmy really killed it on his contribution. I hadn’t heard from him in a while and I don’t think any other people did. That was kind of a pleasant surprise to see him still killing it like he did on the Killarmy albums. He brought that flavor so it was definitely a good look.

SS: Your sound is very New York, who are some of the producers that inspired you?

Endemic: Definitely the RZA, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Easy Mo Be, The Bomb Squad – Hank Shocklee, and Erick Sermon, definitely the classic artists who brought that classic sound of the 80s and early 90s.

SS: What beat-making equipment do you use?

Endemic: At the moment I’m using Native Instruments’ Maschine. It’s software and hardware. You have the MPC style pads but you can also utilize all your plug-ins and everything that’s new and up to date in your software. It still can’t compete with the MPC sound, but if you have all the relevant plug-ins that you use on the software side you can definitely emulate that. I won’t really go back to anything else now. That’s what I’m going to be using for a long time now.

SS: I know you’re not from New York, but you’re living there and influenced by the sound. What’s your take on the keyboard-based beats that have overtaken New York?

Endemic: I’m not into at all. Of course it’s a part of Hip-Hop. They were using synths way back in the Melle Mel days, but as far it taking over New York I don’t think it’s a good look. New York should definitely maintain that Hip-Hop feel regardless of what year it is. It’s not nearly my cup of tea. I think it’s becoming over-saturated with that now. Soon all you’re going to have is down south sounding beats. If you’re a Hip-Hop fan that’s not a good look either.

SS: Do you think an emcee from the UK could ever make it big in the States?

Endemic: You’ve got people like Dizzee Rascal and Tinchy Stryder on the mainstream level but I don’t think the average underground Hip-Hop fan really knows who they are or are into them. I think if someone is going to do it it’s going to be someone from the traditional Hip-Hop background. I feel it’s whether the people in New York and the U.S. can overcome the accents. You have some incredible lyricists from the UK like Scorzayzee or M9, but most people can’t really get past the accents to understand what they’re saying, which is a shame. It shouldn’t really be that way considering it’s the same language [laughs]. I feel if they can really get past the accents, then yes, as long as it’s the traditional Hip-Hop kind of feel I hope so because we have people like the ones I just mentioned who deserve a chance out here.

SS: I don’t know what that is. There is journalist that I’ve talked to in London named Georgina Chapman who writes for Mixtape Madness. I didn’t understand half of what she was saying [laughs]. We’re both speaking English, yet I don’t understand what she’s saying. Can you explain that? Do you have trouble with people understanding you in New York?

Endemic: Not really, not really. My accent is half of London, half Nottingham, half Midlands, so I’m quite easy to understand. Plus the way that I talk with the slang and everything people kind of understand me. Now and again I have to slow down sometimes so people understand me. I’ll say something that’s a little bit quick and they’ll say, “What? What did you say?” Generally no, generally it’s OK. She may have had a northern accent like Liverpool or Scottish, I don’t know.

SS: I’m sure she’s from London, but I’m not sure exactly where.

Endemic: It could have been that. Generally people from London are easier to understand for people over here than someone from Liverpool or Scotland. I can’t even understand some Scottish people [laughs].

SS: Who are some emcees you’d like to work with that you haven’t had the chance to yet?

Endemic: Definitely M.O.P. In fact, I met Lil’ Fame the other day when he came by the studio. Hopefully he’s going to come back and I’ll get to work with him. I’d love to do some stuff with Redman. He’s one of my favorite artists with the flow, delivery, and everything. Aside from that, there’s people on the west coast like Dub [W] C from Westside Connection, he’s one of my favorite artists and I’d love to do some sh*t with him. Newer artists like Action Bronson and Joey Bada$$, I’m feeling their stuff, too.

SS: What’s next up for Endemic?

Endemic: I’ve got another Endemic album. I’ve recorded half of it here in Crown Heights, Brooklyn already. I’m going to be going back to the UK in December and do some UK joints. I’m finishing up the album early next year and hopefully that’ll be dropping in the spring or early summer. It’s not going to be Terminal Illness part 3, it’s going to be called something else, but another Endemic album. There is also an album with Tragedy Khadafi in the works. It’s a little slow at the moment but that’ll be coming out next year. I’m doing an album with a guy from Crown Heights named Skanks the Martyr, he’s from the Bankai Fam. We’re two or three tracks into that as well. All three of those projects should come out next year.

Purchase: Endemic – Terminal Illness Vol. 2


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