Earlier this year I was in Los Angeles for a few days shooting a documentary and videos for FACT TV and had the pleasure to spend an afternoon with MNDSGN, one of a handful of young producers who came up just as the beat scene bubble burst and who have since capitalised on its aesthetic by pursuing more personal and unique ways to express themselves through music. Discussing the ideas behind the book, Ringgo (as he’s known to his parents) told me that as a young kid coming up in the MySpace days he also felt that push towards a validation of the producer as artist and that he understood he was capable of having the career he has today because of it, he also slept a lot with the fur pillows.
Another such producer who’s now having a lot of attention put on him is Knxwledge, who actually came up with MNDSGN in the late 2000s as part of the Klipmode crew, that also included Devonwho and Suzy Analogue. I did a short profile of Knxwledge for FACT around the release of his debut on Stones Throw, and his recent placement of a beat on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly album, which has been integral this year in shining a light on the Los Angeles beat scene and its links to jazz. Alongside Knxwledge, the album features Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Kamasi Washington and SA-RA’s Taz Arnold. Or as Kutmah put it on Twitter shortly after its release, a who’s who of his MySpace top friends circa 2009.
This interview with Knxwledge will be weaved into the latter parts of the book where I look at the sound’s expansion, the beat scene bubble and where it all went once the dust settled.
The trademark of Boothe’s work as Knxwledge is a collage-like approach to sampling. Obscure sounds and instantly-recognisable rap snippets fly in and out of rhythmically loose beats that still feel like someone figuring things out. Or perhaps they have it figured out, and it’s everyone else who needs to catch up. “I don’t pay attention to human time. I feel like my approach comes from playing music,” he explains. “It’s like I try to recreate the pockets and grooves that you find in a lot of music. It’s deep down in there from my youth.” In the process, Boothe may well have found his own sampling pocket: An inexplicable knack for finding, looping and chopping up the funkiest shit in the most irresistible way.