Impose caught up with Weightless Recordings Artist/Producer/Label Owner Blueprint in Sacramento and Santa Cruz to talk to him about the Ohio scene, his new record and to get some relationship advice – we heard he's good at that sort of thing.
Well first of all, you’ve received some hate mail requesting that you never come back to Tulsa, OK. How did the show in Tulsa go for this tour?
We haven’t been there yet. But, I’ll be the first to post about it [on my blog]. I’m expecting the worst. I got some good advice when I made that post. I’ve come to realize through doing this shit, I can be real polarizing either from content or the people I tour with, I tend to get reactions of ‘oh shit, I like that’ or ‘damn, did he just say that’. It’s good because you can filter out your fans, but it’s bad when Tulsa happens.
You’ve always made a point to pay respect to the golden era through reference, album concept or song interpretations. I remember you and Illogic had a dope “Check The Rhime” routine for live shows. Do you have any new ones you’re either doing or are working on for upcoming albums?
The thing is sometimes you do these things and they completely work. You do them from a place that is genuine to you because it invokes something you grow up on.
[Editor’s Note: Blueprint is currently performing a song about the neighborhood weed man over Big Daddy Kane’s “Ain’t No Half Steppin” on tour. It’s called “Ain’t No Half Smokin’” because when the flame hits zig zag paper… awww shit!]
Sometimes you have situations where other people see you doing it and so they do it because it “works,” or at least works for you. There’s been shows I’ve seen where a dude’s whole set was shit like that. Lately I have been trying to make it more about [my] songs than flipping some shit or paying homage.
I’ve studied all these people before me. I hope particularly with my next record to go into an era of songwriting that moves past being derivative… without the bridge being right there.
It’s been far too long since the last Blueprint record so what is coming up next?
Adventures in Counter Culture. It’s done. I finished it in March. Coming out on Rhymesayers [Entertainment]. Just waiting on the go. As far as I know it’s coming out first quarter of 2009. I feel like the record is on some other-other shit, but not stupid, in a way that people will say “oh you’re trying to be different.”
You did the record full of Funkadelic samples. Is it taking that further?
Way further. I did half that before my record was done, then finished it when I realized I had nothing coming out this year.
Way different than Soul Position?
So what was your thinking or goal in making this record?
I started another record, which was going to be my next record and it was going to be like Enter The Wu-Tang and Supreme Clientele. I got about half way through it and asked myself “is this going to be what my career is about? Are my influences going to always be so obvious?” There are other things that influence me that never seem to come out in my music. To me, I felt like I was boxing myself in and I wasn’t happy with it. I didn’t scrap that album, but I definitely put it on the back burner.
The new record sounds like if you could summarize everyone’s listening taste, including all the performers [tonight] and do a record reflecting that, with those sensibilities that’s what it would sound like. I’ve got songs that sound like straight up 80s dance songs, but it’s executed in a way that I’m talking about the same shit Blueprint always talks about. I’ve got some songs with double meanings that could sound like I am glorifying something, but really I’m making fun at it. Its like if Gnarls Barkley had higher content and add some Talking Heads, that’s where I’m going with it.
The response from everyone at Rhymesayers and even on this tour is that my status should go somewhere different and bigger with this record. A lot of the things I am doing [with this record] are not considered conventional hip hop, so in that, you want to make sure you are doing it right. You don’t want people saying “oh, Blueprint tried to make a dance song.” I started spring of  when we were on the last Soul Position tour. That’s when I decided on this direction, but it took me so long to feel like I did it right.
Columbus has taken a major hit in the past few years with the deaths of Camu Tao, DJ PRZM and DJ So What? How has the succession of these deaths affected the scene in Columbus?
I think you can’t really put things into perspective until you lose something. In the last year people are finally forced to put things into perspective that were not apparent before. But at the same time, the people who were at the fore front of it have to do something great or else that period is going to die out. I want that period to be really carried forward.
Do you have any plans for tribute albums or songs or posthumous releases?
Not me. The PRZM stuff; I’ve seen people do stuff like that already. It made me not want to do it out of respect for him and his legacy. I don’t want to be just somebody else doing something for PRZM or Camu. My relationship with them on a personal level was different and unique. Now, when people have these causes I’m with it like the Damon Day and PRZM Day, which we did last year. Me and RJ[D2] did that last year.
You saw what happened with Dilla. Even though many good things happened, bad things happened as well. You wish people would stop using it as a chance to exploit your career. That’s what I don’t want to look like, even though I do want them to be remembered.
In the small chance that hip hop historians recognize that brief time in Ohio when hip hop tried to make some noise with Scribble Jam, Weightless and MHz crew, Five Deez and Fat Jon, if you were interviewed about those times, what would you say?
I think it was a proving time. It was a good time, but the true test is how many of us can keep that shit going. I don’t think we really thought we were repping Ohio when we were doing that, we just happened to be in a place where it was fucked up socially and the artist just started coming out of people. Columbus and Cincinnati became really competitive places. I would battle in both cities regularly up to around 2002. People didn’t care if you had sold some records, they would try to go at you.
The Hip Hop Expos in Columbus, Top Cats in Cincinnati, I would battle at those places every week and in five years I lost maybe once or twice. I remember the time I lost was to a dude who was a big fan of mine. I was mad, like really heated. He was dropping song titles, album names and wordplay off it, just eating me up. He earned his W.
I hope that era continues. There are some bright guys out there, but cats need to start thinking long term; not just being about getting a record out this year for their dudes. I think our problem is going to be that Ohio musicians are going to make music for Ohioans. I think that’s when we’re going to get fucked up. When it’s OK to just make some shit for Dayton or Cincinnati or Cleveland. Your message has to be bigger than that.
To go back a minute, I was thinking about your homage songs in relation to doing songs for Ohioans. Smif-n-Wessun has a song called “Bucktown.” Have you ever considered re-doing that to “Bustown” for Columbus?
I’ve had my eyes on that. I was going to do that on the next Weightroom [compilation], but I never did it. We’ll probably still do it at some point.
Your Myspace page once featured a relationship advice blog. I’ve got some friends who need your help. Do you think you could answer a few advice queries?
I’ve got a ghetto love, a real tenderoni, plus shorty studies law. She’s definitely no around-the-way girl. We’ve been down for awhile; things were going great until I woke up this one morning to a letter. It said she’d be home around two. I smoked a blunt, put on my clothes, left my number and bounced to toward the elevator. Around 3 I get a beep from shorty, but it turns out to be her mom dukes. Ma Dukes is saying that shorty’s been shot and she’s in critical condition up at St. Luke’s Hospital. By the time I got there shorty had already died. Could I have saved shorty from dying, or should I just accept that a ghetto love is the law that we live by?
If she wasn’t cheating on you before she got shot, if she was an honorable woman, then you gotta ride with her, even in death. I’ve been in that position. Not with a girl who got shot, but a woman who physically had things happen to her. It changed the dynamics of our relationship, but I had to stick with her.
I’ve got a weakness. Every time I am out with my girl I am always scooping the next big ole butt to dig out. I can’t help it; I scope booties like a big game hunter. It started with Tina, and then it was Brenda, after her it was Lisa. My problem is I am not very sneaky about my butt infatuation. I keep getting caught. I am so hypnotized by the rumpshakers that I actually forgot that Brenda worked at the same Red Lobster that Lisa worked at. How do I be true to my girl and control my desire to pounce on every big ole butt I see?
Number one: Well number one you gotta admit you’re a slut. But, nothing’s wrong with that as long as your girl knows you need to be satisfied beyond what she can do. If you’re humping girls with big butts and your girl is cool with it, then you’re straight. Otherwise, you gotta get rid of your girl so you can fuck every girl you want to with a clean slate. You don’t want the guilt! Just cut her like “girl, I have to let you go because I have to do everyone.”
I consider myself a mellow man, but my chica is wildin’. She tells me she’s at her uncle’s casa, but I found out she was at party, high on Bacardi — just drinking on my dinero. She’s hot to trot, I want to trust her, but she’s being a skeeza. A straight mentirosa. I tried to overlook these things until one night she got a phone call that was muy sospechoso. I am almost certain she was planning to leave me for this other man. My dilemma is I can’t trust this mentirosa, but I am addicted to Spanish women… what should I do?
I’ll say this. The allure of the Latin mami is very strong. Particularly if you’re not from the west coast. You come out here and see them all the time and it’s like damn! However, if she’s cheating you don’t have to see it. You’ll feel it in your heart. You can break up with someone just for what you feel in your heart and that’s perfectly justifiable. What you feel is all that matters. Cut her from the squad, wipe the slate clean and don’t fuck with her no more.
The apple of my eye is the dopest Ethiopian I have ever seen. It’s like the world is moving in slow motion every time I am in her presence. But, no matter how much I try to make myself known, but I fear I am too low key in my approach and she is unaware of my existence. As my new plan of attack, I wrote her a letter, but it came back three days later, return to sender. Should I continue to try and pursue my little princess with persistence? Or should I just accept there are other fish in the sea?
Even if you give up, you’re going to come back to that because you never tried hard enough. If that’s the one you want you have to go all out. Even if you walk away like ‘I fucked up. I didn’t try hard. I can do better” you’re going to revisit that. My advice: stalk her ass. Stalk her ass, find her out and let her know you like her. If she says no, then leave her alone. You can feel good about it. Until then you’re going to feel like you half-stepped and you don’t know if she likes you or not. There’s no half stepping.
Not done yet:
So I used to mess with this chick named Jane, which I always thought was a nice name. She was strictly business in the bedroom, always expecting me to go bigger faster, stronger and longer. The problem is she’s burning my whole crew. She gave my homie from the brick city AIDS, I’ve got a dark secret that only by boy E knows about because it turns out Jane likes to cross-dress and now I am being framed for her death. What should I do about this trifling woman who is ruining my life?
She’s the least of your problems. If you’ve already got some shit, then you need to become a spokesman. She is a scandalous person who is spreading that shit. My advice would be to never ever ever ever ever ever talk to her again. Unless of course it’s to discuss this life threatening disease and to suggest possying up and have a strategy for telling people not to do what we did. Outside of that don’t fuck with her. Because you can go to counseling meetings and meet cool girls who have what you have. Cut her from the squad.
You are really good at this. More:
Awhile back I was driving around with my homeboy Boove, just mellowing to some grooves, when I saw this fresh fly girl in a dress. Her name was Michelle. I got the digits and called her the next morning. I figured I’d test her out and ask if she wanted to do “dinner, a movie, or just chilling with me.” She said me, so I went and got the slimmy. But, a few weeks later things changed. She did the dummy move and started asking for my dividends. Begging for the Jeffersons and Lincolns like it was Presidents Day. She started fronting, bringing up some dude named Steady B who she used to date. Saying that he gave her Gucci, gold, Louis Vitton, Liz Claiborne, the whole nine. What happened to the old days when you could just serenade a girl instead of having to be paid? I don’t get upset and I don’t like to riff, but what happened to girls? How should I handle these gold diggers?
Gold diggers always cut them from the squad immediately. You got to give them the litmus test. Say, “Hey can I pay for that drink?” Sometimes they lie. They don’t want to buy that drink. They just want to get you to the bar because you seem like a gentleman. But you got to test that girl every now and then and let her buy that drink.
[A drunk college girl interjected her wisdom at this moment]
Girl: It sounds like your looking for a girl who will say, “Let me get this round” and there are girls like that. There are girls who will bring out money or ask you what you want to drink.
Blueprint: She beat me to the punch. That’s what I’m saying. It’s dangerous. You got to test a girl because they are so used to not paying for shit.
You thought we were done, didn't you?:
I used to know this woman. She was about 43 years old and from what I could tell had never yet been with a man. She had this aggressive passivity about her; I think it stemmed from her beauty. It was far too intimidating. This one night I had far too many 7n7s and the next thing I know I am back at her place. The whole situation sobered me up with the quickness as she started to caress herself. Maybe I was high but it felt right watching her DJ on her clitoris. It didn’t make sense why she’d let me watch, but stranger things have happened. But, this isn’t even the weird part. She had these tattoos on her hands and the more she got into it, the more it seemed like the tattoos were alive. Things got fuzzy about this time. I don’t know if it was the peyote or the booze, but I could have sworn the tattoos climbed inside her vagina. But, I left when that shit happened and I can’t get the image out of my head. Should I quit drinking or seek Jesus?
Neither. You should find her. Keep her and make her your main squeeze. Keep drinking. You can find Jesus, but definitely find her more than anything. Make her the priority. That sounds like a good experience. You don’t want to be turning down good experiences, especially with pretty women with tattoos.