View Full Version : Hip Hop DX Producer's Corner Interview - Stoupe The Enemy of Mankind

07-08-2010, 04:32 PM
Pretty dope interview. He says that he doesn't get approached by many for production work. Hard to believe that even Canibus and Guru didn't even bother to get in the studio with him. Still, I think it shows just how good he is that he can do all of this with artists basically sending him acapellas and pumping this stuff out with limited time and a limited budget. Here's the interview:


"Like fellow underground Hip Hop production icons Madlib and Ant, Stoupe The Enemy of Mankind is infamously reclusive for interviews, but his music speaks for itself.

As the production half of indie rap staple Jedi Mind Tricks, his array of intricate, layered backdrops are as enigmatic as they are compelling. After years of lacing the likes of JMT emcee Vinnie Paz, Canibus and Guru, the Philly producer plunges into Trip Hop with A Bright Cold Day, his album with singer Liz Fullerton as the duo Dutch. It turns out that Stoupe hardly comes across as an enemy, but a humorously shy, humble musical savant as talks about past and present projects, and tries to decipher the success of Jedi Mind Tricks.

HipHopDX: You seem like a friendly, cool-ass dude. So why donít you do interviews?
Stoupe: 'Cause Iím bad at them.

DX: [Laughs]
Stoupe: Iím not the front person of [Jedi Mind Tricks, Dutch or Army of Pharaohs]. I guess the front person is the one who does all the talking. What do they call that? The front? The head?

DX: The front man.
Stoupe: Yeah, the front man. I guess thatís the person who should usually be doing the interviews.

DX: Thatís funny because in general on the albums, Vinnie is the front man from a personality stand point, but artistically, your beats add as much to the album as he does, maybe even more.
Stoupe: I like that you said that, lack of personality. Thatís probably another reason why I donít get any interviews. [Laughs]

DX: So is that also why you donít show your face a lot too? Itís just sort of whatever?
Stoupe: Nah, thatís because Iím so handsome. Iím trying to let everyone else get the girls. No, but Iíve never seen one picture I look good in, maybe because I donít. So thatís why. Iím shy, I guess thatís why.

DX: I wouldnít think youíre that shy, because your beats normally arenít that reserved. Your beats are real robust.
Stoupe: You think?

DX: Yeah. They just seem to have a lot of personality to me.
Stoupe: Thatís to cover the lack of real personality. Youíd have to make up for it, I donít know.

DX: Well, one thing about your discography is that you have a good amount of material, but you only work with certain artists. How do you decide who you want to work with?
Stoupe: Well basically, I donít know how to answer that question. I guess I just get so much time to work on the record that I have to choose from there. I have a regular job, so I donít get that much time to make a record. I guess Iím just selective, because I can only work with one person for three years. So when you have the time to do it, itís like that.

DX: Granted you only get to work with limited people, but how do you actually decide who gets to work with you?
Stoupe: Mostly, itís just who wants to work with me. I donít have too many people asking to work with me. With Vinnie [Paz], it was just as children, we were friends growing up and that was one thing. And then I guess the next person Iím working with is Liz [Fullerton], and that was based on her ability to, I guess, bring something to a project. I havenít really worked with anybody between then.

DX: So what do you think it is about you and Vinnie that makes you guys mesh so well musically? Do you think itís just because grew up together?
Stoupe: I think Vinnie has a great ability to adapt. If I have three different styles of songs, he can write an appropriate verse to each one. Itís nothing except that he has that talent to do that. I donít know what that word is, but not too many people can do that. He could be just a mad spitter, but thatís what they do. It would be hard to do one song for Vinnie, and then a completely different song for another [emcee]. They need to compliment what Iím doing.

DX: I feel the same way because he can do joints where he is just spazzing and he can do a storytelling joint. But itís interesting because it seems like people pigeon hole you all for making a certain type of music. Have you seen that same thing?
Stoupe: Of course, yeah.

DX: So is that frustrating to you?
Stoupe: I can understand why people would get frustrated by that, but then I get people who can separate it. Like, one person could listen and think this song has a great beat, and then another person could listen to the same song and think itís kind of fast-paced, and then another person could think something totally different about the same song.

DX: So you and Vinnie can make different types of songs together, but what is your favorite type of song to make with him? Or better yet, what is your favorite song that youíve made with him? Do you have one?
Stoupe: I donít know right now, but thatís a good question. Probably one of the concept ones.

DX: My editor pointed out something to me that I had never realized. You guys have chart success with your albums. You guys crack the Billboard 200 with your albums, which a lot of underground and indie artists donít normally do, even the more successful ones. What do you think it is about your material that allows you guys to do that?
Stoupe: I have no idea, do you?

DX: Nope.
Stoupe: Yeah I have no clue. I donít think we try to fit a formula to do that either. I guess weíre just lucky. Like you were saying two seconds ago, with some of the topics we discuss, Iím surprised we crack that. It seems like such a mainstream thing, but I guess thatís why you brought it up. I have no clue.

DX: But granted, it sometimes depends on the fact that a lot of indie acts have fans that know theyíre indie, so they make it a point to support them.
Stoupe: Yeah that could be it. We have great fans, because you donít have to buy anything these days. And with [Dutch's A Bright Cold Day], I donít know if people will be as into it, if theyíre fans of Jedi Mind Tricks. Some of them might still just buy it to support. And itís the only way, on my behalf, that I would get money from doing music. So fans are pretty cool like that. But I think we try hard too.

DX: And you guys are also pretty consistent. You guys have had an album come out every few years since youíve been out. What was your history with music like before you started working with Vinnie? Like, did you have any musical classes? Because your music has a lot of different elements
Stoupe: Itís just self-taught. Continuously teaching and learning.

DX: Have you taught yourself any instruments or are you an aficionado for different movies? Because your stuff has a lot of different samples and instruments. Itís not just a matter of you looping shit.
Stoupe: Like for example, me and my friend went into a store and saw an accordion, and now I just want one to have so I can beat up the keys and put that sound on a record. Thatís how I get interested in using different sounds. Iím a big fan of sounds.

DX: Where do you look for your styles and sounds?
Stoupe: Everywhere. You can find me in street. Iím trying to do this EQ. Well, Iím trying to do this video now, where I try to show how I get sounds from nature and stuff.

DX: So the video is going to show where you get your sounds from?
Stoupe: I donít know. Iím going to try and make sure that it comes across to show how I do it.

DX: It seems like your stuff has a lot of random movie samples, and it just seems like thereís a lot of different places that it comes from.
Stoupe: Yeah, I mean if you want a dope plane sound, go the airport and get it yourself.

DX: [Laughs] Now what type of stuff were you listening to when you were trying to get your style?
Stoupe: I listen to everything. Thereís nothing that I wonít listen to. It can come from anywhere.

DX: Like you said, youíve worked with Vinnie and youíve worked with Liz on this new project. Are there any other emcees that you think would fit your style, that you would do an album with if you had the chance to?
Stoupe: Iíd like to do albums with a lot of people. Itís just hard to get it working. Do you have any ideas?

DX: Nah. It would be Canibus, but you already did that. Itís really hard to think about actually.
Stoupe: Iím trying to do a remix project, and itís hard getting emcees to do that.

DX: Really? Having trouble getting emcees to sign on, or finding acapellas?
Stoupe: Just getting them on, and then it could just be a free thing to put out. Do you know anybody out there I could get?

DX: In Michigan?
Stoupe: Yeah.

DX: Let me thinkÖ.ever heard of Guilty Simpson?
Stoupe: Yeah, I think heís already famous. But heís really dope.

DX: Itís hard to think of rappers that could fit the style I know you for. But you did get to work with Guru, right?
Stoupe: Yes

DX: Did you actually get to work in the studio with him?
Stoupe: Nah, I never worked with [Guru or Canibus] in a studio, but he called me up and introduced himself. Really cool dude, it seemed, from the whole time I got to talk to him.

DX: How did you link with Canibus?
Stoupe: I really didnít. [Babygrande Records] just had a CD and I was asked to remix it.

DX: Wow, so you just had the vocals and then added music to them?
Stoupe: Thatís about it. I had a month to do [Rip The Jacker]. I canít say I did much, those are my real feelings. But I had a month to do those remixes, and then I had to give it to the record company.

DX: Have you done any other albums like that?
Stoupe: [Laughs] Most are, but I usually have more time. Even the other records, itís the same shit. Itís limited time, low budget, and you have to do it quick.

DX: Thatís crazy because a lot of people see Rip The Jacker as Canibusí best album. It shows what he can really do. And a lot of people think youíre the one of the only producers who gives him the beats that really fit him. So the fact that you only had a month to do it, and that you werenít even in the studio with him is crazy.
Stoupe: Yeah thatís all I remember, just the CD. And they said here, go do it. He didnít even give me the CD, someone else tried to.

DX: That is a trip.
Stoupe: Yeah, but heís done a lot of dope stuff since then. I disagree [that Rip The Jacker is his best album], I think thereís a lot of producers he could work with.

DX: Yeah, but a lot of people think youíre the only one who captured it for him. But he does have some stuff with DJ Premier that I havenít heard, but I heard itís dope.
Stoupe: It has to be dope if itís [DJ Premier]. I havenít heard from him in while.

DX: Oh Premoís been killin shit for the past few years. Heís just been more quality over quantity. He doesnít do a lot of stuff, but the stuff that he does is crazy.
Stoupe: I need to pay more attention.

DX: Yeah, dude is dope. Okay, so I heard some of the new Dutch album. How did you meet up with her?
Stoupe: She was a mutual friend. People knew for a while that Iíve been looking to do a different kind of project, and introduced me to her. And it worked. She was a cool chick, so we said, "Letís do it." It took longer than I wanted, but we did it. She moved out here from California and did the record.

DX: This is your first project with a vocalist instead of a rapper?
Stoupe: yeah

DX: So how different was that for you?
Stoupe: Itís a lot closer to the same thing than you think. The only difference is itís a little more intricate I guess. And itís not a rapper obviously, itís a singer. The feeling is a lot more down tempo than upbeat. But itís almost the same thing. If you were to speed these things up, you would hear exactly what I have to do and just slow it down. Thatís the only difference I think.

DX: What are some of your favorite songs on the new record?
Stoupe: Depends what time of day it is. Theyíre all trying to set a certain mood with it. It might be something this day, and something different the next. Weíre trying to practice for shows , and when you practice it one day it could be one song, and then the day it might be something different. I know thatís not an answer, but there it is.

DX: Well what about the time of day right now? What are your favorite songs today?
Stoupe: Today Iím feeling ďWarm Like The WindĒ because Iím working on a remix to that right now, and itís such a slow Jazz ballad, but now Iím trying to make it double fast. So itís going to be interesting to see what the velocity of the song does to the intention of the lyrics.

DX: I also read somewhere that youíre working with Laurie Arriza. How far along is that?
Stoupe: The album is done. Itís not as laid back. Different vibe, more classical oriented.

DX: How are Laurie and Liz different to work with as far as their studio exploits?
Stoupe: Well, I actually got to work with Liz in the studio, and thatís cool to build a collaboration in the studio. But also I think itís good that I didnít work with Laurie in the studio, because I think I could take on a whole new meaning of what sheís trying to do. You know how you can be around someone for so long that they influence you? Like, it could start as one thing and then become something different. Not saying that either avenue is a bad avenue, but itís just different.

DX: So the Liz joint would be more of a collaboration in the truest sense, whereas the Laurie joint is Stoupe and Laurie, with both entities coming together?
Stoupe: I think theyíre both collaborations, but just different ways of collaborating."

07-08-2010, 04:50 PM
yo the dutch album is the shit, got it and i love it

Undiluted Karma
07-08-2010, 04:59 PM
Stoupe is dope probs my fav producer next to RZA
so many styles

I regard Psycho Social and VBD as near classics,different sounds like RZA both dope

07-08-2010, 08:28 PM
DX: My editor pointed out something to me that I had never realized. You guys have chart success with your albums. You guys crack the Billboard 200 with your albums, which a lot of underground and indie artists don’t normally do, even the more successful ones. What do you think it is about your material that allows you guys to do that?
Stoupe: I have no idea, do you?

DX: Nope.
Stoupe: Yeah I have no clue.

hahahaha fuckin awkward guy, love it

dutch is a masterpiece, cant wait to hear the one with lorrie dorriza

07-08-2010, 08:42 PM
lmao dude is awkward as fuck but his beats are fuego no doubt!

Mr. R&B
07-08-2010, 09:03 PM
I just finished reading it, interesting yet saddening.

I can relate to Stoupe's demeanour, he's definitely suffering with social anxiety, as am I.

Sometimes it can really be hard to find the words to convey your thoughts, and Stoupe's responses were quite jumbled.

If I was ever in the position to make an album with Stoupe, I'd crash at his crib for like a month and put work in.

I see a lot of myself in this dude (no homo), only I'm not a musical genius.

07-08-2010, 11:22 PM
that's cool that he has a day job

i mean, he could be some random cashier at a grocery store and people would be going through the cash like "thanks bud" not even realizing that they're talking to a legendary musical genius

and you barely ever see his face

he's like fuckin clark kent with an MPC!

07-08-2010, 11:50 PM
that's cool that he has a day job

i mean, he could be some random cashier at a grocery store and people would be going through the cash like "thanks bud" not even realizing that they're talking to a legendary musical genius

and you barely ever see his face

he's like fuckin clark kent with an MPC!

LOL that's exactly what I was thinking!

07-08-2010, 11:59 PM
Good post that RTJ info is wild never knew that and I been BANGIN the instr. version recently. Hopefully he can get another Bis lp goin.