BLUEPRINT
Interview and illustration by Vinnie Baggadonuts

CLICK HERE TO ORDER YOUR COPY OF PRINT ISSUE #8, WHICH FEATURES THIS INTERVIEW WITH BLUEPRINT IN ITS ENTIRETY!

IN CASE YOU WERE WORRIED, 8,000,000 STORIES WAS NOT A ONE-TIME THING. RJD2 AND BLUEPRINT ARE BACK ONCE AGAIN AS THE INCOMPARABLE SOUL POSITION. ONLY THIS TIME, WE TALKED TO THE WORDSMITH-- BLUEPRINT-- ABOUT RHYMING, RADIOHEAD, AND EXACTLY WHY THINGS GO BETTER WITH RJ AND AL.

Vinnie Baggadonuts: Most of the MCs and producers I interview talk about a moment when they realized they wanted to be a part of hip-hop. Do you remember yours?

Blueprint: I think it was maybe in 1997 when I would hear a lot about independent 12" records coming out; stuff like Company Flow, Natural Resources, and The Juggaknots. It made me feel like that was something I wanted to do, or at least that there was an outlet for it.

VB: Did you decide right then and there that you were going to follow your own path and not be an industry puppet?

B: Oh, I think I decided that before then even.

Both: (laugh)

B: I was like, "I donít know what I want to do, but I donít want to be around that element."

VB: And youíve done a good job staying that way. Do you want to remain that way, or would you be totally cool if Jay-Z asked you to come over to Def Jam Left?

B: If I donít have to change what I do. Major labels themselves arenít necessarily bad. I think whatís bad is how extreme the pressure is on the artists, feeling like they have to change. There are people who are majors, but they have an underground mentality, like OutKast, Common, or even Kanye [West]. Theyíre doing sample-based music, looping, using breakbeats... theyíre doing very creative music, and theyíre doing them on major labels. If I felt like I was doing music that was catchy enough where I felt that I needed that big vehicle behind me, and that I didnít have to really change or insult peopleís intelligence, Iíd sign.

VB: As you go on, you seem to be doing well-- putting out projects you want to put out, and each oneís different-- does that just solidify your philosophy even more?

B: Yeah, exactly. I used to be a computer programmer. And when I looked at this as a career-- going on tour and trying to make some money-- success to me, at that point, was every month I didnít have to go to work. So as long as Iím putting out records that people are responding to, I donít care about the numbers. Iíve validated doing this by the fact that it continues to be my job.

VB: Thatís really good, man. Now, youíre a producer and an MC. Did one come first?

B: I started freestyliní first-- me and some friends of mine in college, who wound up being in Greenhouse Effect. We werenít really serious about it at the time. The only reason I did beats at the time is, we went to a really small school where no one was even aware of the science behind it. So I decided to pick up a sampler, and from there, I just started learning. I was more serious about production first. Now, itís different. I think the rhyming part has gotten much more publicity. But my production body of work has gotten so much bigger.

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