As per usual with the Bandcamp interview, if you missed Bodega Man's album check out the review of it from Monday! I came across this album just as it dropped in February, I'd just gotten a job and was starting to feel a little more on my feet. The job was serving students at my alma mater which didn't excite me much. One perk was I got to play music all night long, can't ever be mad at that! Bodega Man got a few spins there and a few in the whip, his lyrics about the struggle for a dollar mean something.
Introduce yourself? What should people know about Bodega Man?
Well the name is Bodega Man from East side of Long Beach. I’m a very humble emcee and a college grad with a lot to spit for the masses.
You grew up in the same area that Snoop Dogg did, what can you say about this community? Do you still live in that area?
Well, its a multi- racial community which includes Latinos, African Americans, Asians, and Samoans. Everyone in the community has different culture values and conflicts occur when the different cultures clash. The neighborhood is still rough but after a while, you learn to cope with the environment. I don’t live in the area anymore but I still hang around with my friends who live there.
Your first album never saw release due to it's poor recording quality, what did you change in that process to make your second album, The Jazz Album: Recession Thinking, of high enough quality to let the public hear?
A.T. (Average Thought) recommended me to his boy Matt who has a recording studio in his garage after hearing The Bodega Album. Once I recorded a few tracks from The Jazz Album, I kept in contact with Matt from there on. Matt knew what he was doing and gave me some direction for the album as well.
Your producer is A.T., how did you two meet? What is the collaborative process like between the two of you?
A.T. was trying to sell his MPC for 900 bucks and his beats. I didn’t really pay attention to it for two weeks because I had finals. Until one day I looked at his ad again. I wrote down his myspace page info, then I checked it out... man, I was speechless. You don’t come along around people like A.T. His style of beats is what i was looking for because I’ve always admired Jay Dilla beats, Pete Rock, Primo, and Madlib and A.T. had that style. I gave him a call and left a message on his phone. It took him about two days to call back but I had missed his call. He was selling his beats for 150 a pop but I didn’t have that kind of money so we talked it out and managed an agreement. Before he gave me any of his beats, I had to freestyle in front of him at his homeboys pad. When he started to freestyle, I stayed my ass quiet hahahhahhaha. Ever since then everything has been history.
The way A.T. and I handle our collaborative process is by feeling each others idea out or I tell him about the song that I’m writing and he makes a beat or he has a beat ready.
You are a college grad working in the service industry, how does this situation feed your creativity?Well I look at what I have and figure out how I’m going to make it. Even though I’m a college grad I still struggle to make ends meet. Thats when my creative juices start to drip and I’m able to write better music. I feel like people who start from the bottom have that hunger to show the people what its all about.
What did you grow up listening to? Who inspired you to start flowing?
I listen to everything from Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, 2Pac, Snoop, Dr. Dre, DJ Quik, Nas, Wu-Tang, MC Hammer, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, oldies music, salsa etc. The people who really inspired me to flow were Mos Def, J-5, Nas, Common, and Talib kweli.
You mentioned that your next album, tentatively titled The Love Album may be your last. Is it still in the making? Still planning to have it be your exit? What would be next for you after that?
Yes, The Love Album: Love In Love Out will be my last album. I am working on it right now and I’m about three songs deep into already. After this album I’ll work on little tracks or throw out songs here and there when I get inspired to write. After this album I’m planing on producing with my boy Tech Advance and see where that goes. I wouldn’t be the greatest at it but I’ll try my best.
What is the overall vibe of Hip Hop in LA today?
In my opinion I feel like LA has lost its touch in hiphop. Most cats are stuck on their selves trying to make it with corny songs. Don’t get me wrong, I respect the hustle but dudes lost that touch. Once in a while you find true gems and say damn, thats hip hop. Overall, the vibe is alright.
Who are you listening to today?
I’m listening to the new Roots album, John Legend, Jose James, Mayer Hawthorne, Dam Funk, Aloe Blacc, Jay Electronica, Little Brother, Nas, 2Pac’s old material, Kindred The Family Soul, Eryka Badu, Stalley, Bilal, Black Keys, Black Spade, Corinne Bailey Rae, Fashawn, Currensy, Incubus, J. Cole, and Blu.
Outside of music, what are your other hobbies? What do you like to do for fun? Believe it or not one of my hobbies is running long distance. Running makes me clear out my mind and forget about everything and its soothing. For fun, I like to go out and find low key food places to eat, drink good beer, and cruise on my beach cruiser.
Are your parents fans of the music? Supportive of the creativity?
My mother loves the material but doesn’t understand some of my tracks. Sometimes I take my mom to my shows and she enjoys them. She’s very supportive in my creativity. I love her dearly.
What's the story behind the name Bodega Man?
Back in college when I did track and field, I was the run to guy if anybody needed anything cheap. If they needed clothes, cheap food, furniture, drugs... I was the run to guy. So that’s when I started telling people to call me Bodega Man because you could find anything cheap at bodegas. For those who don’t know what’s a bodega, it's a small store in the hood where you could find anything from food, shirts, etc except illegal drugs hahahhahha depending where you go.
Have you been to Seattle? Heard any modern hiphop from the town?
I’ve never been to Seattle but I would like to visit. As far as hiphop from Seattle, I’ve never heard of anyone.
Last words? Advice? Shout outs? Words of wisdom?
My last words are for the people who are struggling and that’s to keep your head up through this recession. They say its over but its only over for the 1 percent who rule over us. The advice I would like to give to any emcee is to believe in your craft, never wait on people, and invest your money on yourself. I would like to give shout outs to my whole family, my sugarr, my friends, A.T., Tech-Advance, Flipa, Kiki iz Da Man from France, Young Dub from Arkansas, Daniel Funaki for his bomb pictures, Ashley Caprice and you could catch her at kbeach.org on Wednesdays from 10am-12pm, the whole Dirty Politicians camp, XP from the Rhyme Addicts, DJ Underground from the big ATL and you could catch him at djunderground.podomatic.com, Young Hype, Onwon, Bad Fish from the LBC, State of the Art, Unitus, DJ Yeraflavor, DJ Joni from Spain, Buddah from Reno, Dr. Ebony Utley and all the people who downloaded my craft... I would like to thank every single one of you who supported me either from youtube or my bandcamp site...Thank you.... my words of wisdom would be believe in yourself. peace out!!!!!!