ATMOSPHERE'S MR. DIBBS
interview by eggplant stan wenches
illustration by jose garibaldi

SO PRETEND YOU ARE MR. DIBBS FOR A SECOND. YOU JUST GOT DONE TEARING IT UP ONSTAGE AT THE METRO IN CHICAGO. YOU ARE TIRED. YOU JUST WANT TO PACK UP YOUR SHIT AND GET THE FUCK OUT OF DODGE. THEN, THIS REPORTER, "EGGPLANT" STAN WENCHES, COMES OVER TO GAB YOUR EAR OFF. SO WHAT DO YOU DO, MR. DIBBS? READ ON TO FIND OUT.

Eggplant: For people who donít know who you are-- (laughs) Heís holding up a sign that says, ďGod Bless Us AllĒ. Itís a little record for children. Whereís the record at?

Dibbs: (laughing) I donít think there was a record.

E: So who are you? How do you explain your set?

D: I explain my set as: people push each other around, and kick and punch.

E: So you donít play no butt-grinding, titty-grabbing music?

D: No, I will. Iíll play Ďem both. I donít believe in the ďone genreĒ shit. That comes from a few people. It all started when I met you at that Stifle show. I just thought it was really fucking weird at that point. I didnít know anybody that was into that shit and, in the same breath, knew all the words to ďStraight Outta ComptonĒ. Thatís when I was like, ďOh, you can do cross-genre, turntable hardcore, electrical shock, butt-naked--

E: (laughing) Butt-crack music! Now, out of all that, what do you listen to the most?

D: I listen to hardcore more. And it used to be the exact opposite. It had been, mostly, hip-hop. But thereíve been such shitty hip-hop releases for the last five years, that Iím hardcore into indie rock. I have a friend that makes me indie CDs, and thatís where I end up getting a bunch of ideas. I buy a bunch of old shit, and she keeps me up to date on whatís new. Iíll hear all the new shit from her and then poison the well.

E: What do you mean by ďold shitĒ? Old rock and old hip-hop?

D: Just old shit, in general. Shit where Iím looking for samples or breaks or noises. And Iíll actually sample new shit, but Iím leery about buying it, because you canít listen to it beforehand.

E: Yeah. You might not like it.

D: I want to hear, at least, one song. Then Iíll go buy the album.

E: Do you get a lot of comp stuff?

D: I get a lot of hip-hop comp stuff. But I melt that shit in the oven. Ya know, you can mold them into little things and whatnot.

E: (laughing) Fucking Easy-Bake muffins.

D: Any shit that I really like, I donít get free. Every Tuesday I go to a record store called Shake It in Cincinnati, and I probably spend a hundred bucks there. Not counting all the other beat-digging shit. Just a hundred bucks on new shit.

E: About how much time do you spend digging for beats?

D: About 15 hours a week.

E: Is it a full-time job?

D: Itís not that bad. I have three days a week where I go and hit these three certain stores, because they get new shit and theyíll hold it back for me. So I kinda got it mapped out. And every now and then Iíll stop in at the flea markets.

E: Why Cincinnati? Why not Chicago or New York, where thereís bigger exposure?

D: Well, if you can get people to like you in Cincinnati, theyíre gonna like you anywhere. They like me in Cincinnati. The thing is, in Cincinnati, I donít play many hip-hop shows. I actually end up playing with hardcore sets. Itís not that I donít like hip-hop. Itís just that everybody does that. When I do a hip-hop show in Cincinnati, Iím still gonna do more hip-hop. But Iím gonna do a bunch of hardcore shit, too. But, in Cincinnati, they dance. They donít push. They fucking kick and punch. So sometimes that shit doesnít mesh well with a hip-hop crowd. I want people to be rowdy and shit. I donít give a fuck if theyíre just jumping around or whatever. But I donít like when theyíre just standing there. You donít have to necessarily be in the pit. I just want to see rowdy shit. Iím not gonna pay $20 to stand in the front row and hold my nuts. You paid $20 to come to the show and give Dillinger 4 ďthe fingerĒ the whole night? Like, what kind of fucking sense does that make? I think they missed the whole point.

E: Youíre one of the people who co-founded Scribble Jam. Howís that going?

D: I donít even know what fucking year weíre on now, like, however many years weíve been doing it. But itís already set for this year. Itís August 7th thru the 9th. Itís getting bigger every year. We had about 8,000 people last year, over the whole weekend.

E: What are some of the acts youíve seen come to Scribble Jam, tear shit up, then get big and blow up?

D: Eminem. Adeem was just on that Carson Daly show, and Eyedea won the HBO Blaze Battle,...

E: Sage Francis--

D: Sage just signed to Epitaph, so I guess thatís respectable blowing up, right there. If you win a Scribble Battle and you play it right, you can turn it into something big. A lot of people just drop the ball and thumb their asses. But smart motherfuckers know what to do with it.

E: Talib Kweli is from Ohio, isnít he?

D: No. Hi-Tek is from Cincinnati. He started out with Mood. Kweli used to be on Mood records. Moodís a group from Cincinnati. He was on a Mood 12Ē single called ďSacredĒ. Thatís a really fucking incredible record. After that, he came out with his own shit and blew the fuck up.

E: Who are you feeliní right now?

D: Brother Aliís new album, Shadows on the Sun. Itís the only hip-hop album in the last 10 years that I know every word to. Iíve probably heard it a good 200 times now. Itís easily a classic. And what I mean by ďclassicĒ is, everything bangs all the way through. You can listen to every song. You donít have to skip anything.

E: How is it compared to his last album, Rites of Passage?

D: Iíd give Rites of Passage a 7 out of 10. But Iíd give Shadows on the Sun a fucking 15 out of 10!

E: No shit? Whenís that droppiní?

D: Itís here tonight but, technically, it doesnít drop until May 13th.

E: You just put out an new album, The 30th Song. How do you feel about that?

D: (yawning) Aw, man. Whatever. I like it. I think itís dope. But 80% of it is three or four years old. That album started at 40 minutes long. Now itís 70. And that was from fucking around with different labels and getting fucked by them. It ended up taking that long. And then when Sadiq from Rhymesayers was like, ďIíll put it out,Ē thatís when it actually got done. But I sat on it for four years. I would work on this deal and that deal, and it would fall through. So to me, itís old.

E: Does it have more of the phone pranks on it?

D: Not on that. That shit is on the Random CD, and thatís just tour stuff. Itís called Random because itís just random live shows and shit Iíve taped in the past. The 30th Song is actually an album album. Not that there wouldnít have been prank calls on it.

E: You gonna put out a prank calls CD at all?

D: I think that hiphopsite.com, when you bought The 30th Song from them, sent a prank CD out with it. And there were, like, 16 pranks I did on it. But, man, I got arrested for that shit before. I donít think Iím gonna put out any more.

E: What happened with that?

D: I sold it to some kid, and his friendís mother was on it, so I got arrested. I was on probation for three years, and had a $2000 fine. They hammered me.

E: That shitís raw.

D: Well, believe it or not, telephone harassment is the the highest class misdemeanor you can get. Having a bag of weed or a joint is less of a crime than telephone harassment.

E: Itís all bullshit, anyway. But I guess you gotta pay the consequences.

D: Yeah, Iím not mad about it. I did the shit. Thereís no doubt about it. I fuckiní did it. It just sucked.

E: Do you keep up with any of the Anticon guys, Dose One or Jel?

D: Jel. I love Jel. Heís the holy man. Of all the people I know whoíve made it, Jel is still fuckiní Jel. When I talk to him, itís still the same stupid shit we talked about seven years ago. Plus, heís the most underrated producer of all time.

E: You guys put out an album together a few years back called Presage. Sometimes I canít even listen to it, because itís too fucking scary. (laughing) You look around and see whatís going on, and youíre like, ďThis stuff was predicted 4 or 5 years before.Ē How do you feel about whatís going on?

D: Man, I donít even care any more. I keep up on whatís going on but, after so long, thereís nothing I can do about it. And I donít feel like being a fucking martyr for it. I guess the big difference would be, hippies would piss and moan about it. And Iíd go out in a blaze of glory, Bon Jovi-style. Thereís so much shit going on, that Iím like, ďIíve got a lot of shit that I need to do. And if I started thinking about that again, thatís all I would do. Iíd think about that and watch conspiracy videos and build a bomb shelter. Thereís just too much to worry about.

E: Thereís nothing you can do about that.

D: Ah, you never know. But Iím not going to do anything about it right now.

[BROTHER ALI ENTERS THE ROOM]

E: Brother Ali just stepped in. Heís an amazing MC. (to Brother Ali) Weíre doing an interview for a magazine called tastes like chicken. Is there anything you wanna say?

Ali: I love chicken, man.

E: (laughs) I like chicken, too, man.

A: Iíve put a serious dent in the population of chicken.

E: (laughs) Chicken genocide!

D: (to DJ Jaybird, off to the side) Bird, you wanna say something for this interview? Itís your birthday.

A: Go, shorty.

E: Itís Jaybirdís birthday today. Itís a celebration. Itís the reason for the season.

Jaybird: Fuck the cows.

(laughter in the background)

E: Fuck cows. Long live chicken. Long live turkey.

J: (in the background) Naw, Iím all about cows. What, youíre interviewing right now?

E: Yeah. Actually, weíre about to be out. So any last words?

D: Yeah. Donít make me fuck you up.

E: Hey, one quick question for everybody. I gotta ask this for the magazine. Do dogs have lips?

A: Eyedea French kisses his dog on the mouth for 20 minutes, every day.

D: Dogs do not have lips. Dogs do not have lips.

E: I think dogs have lips. They got big Ďol saggy lips.

D: They got flaps.

A: That depends on the dog. If itís a caucasian dog, itís probably not gonna have any lips.

E: (laughs)

D: Baloney lips on the caucasian dog.

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