The second interview extract was also published on RBMA magazine, this time with Teki Latex. The parisian MC and sometimes producer was arguably the most vocal member of TTC, the French rap group signed to Big Dada who in the first half of the 00s brought about their own take on the evolution of hip hop production, a take that was deeply informed by their location, electronic music leanings and belief that nerds could be, and were, cool.
I originally started to talking to Teki following a chat on Twitter about the importance of certain Parisian club nights in the early to mid 00s which I didn’t know about. One thing leading to another we sat down to discuss TTC’s history, their approaches and beliefs, the rarely discussed history of beats in Paris and more.
Of course this evolution exists, and it’s a big thing. It’s always been a big thing since Mo’ Wax. We, and by we I mean myself and the TTC extended family of producers and collaborators, our little French scene, we’ve always been very cautious about that because we came from a rap background. If you look at the French electronic scene you’ll notice there has always been a lot of people who came from rap. From DJ Mehdi to Cassius, even to a certain extent DJ Gilb’R and these guys, there was always a hip hop background. And the same goes for those involved in the French “electro thing,” like SebastiAn and even Feadz. In our youth we were all involved in hip hop groups or we started as hip hop DJs. So basically we thought [instrumental hip hop] was a trap in which not to fall. And I mean literally a trap. [laughs] We thought the trap was to make rap without rappers.
When we met Para One, who became one of TTC’s producers, he was making rap beats that sounded like generic boom bap – Mobb Deep, Premier-type beats. On the side, though, he was also making film scores. Those scores were a lot more broken, weirder. After we first collaborated with him we started hanging out and he began playing me his film scores. That’s when I told him, “These are the beats you need to play to us, these are the beats we want to rap over.” No one else wanted to rap over these beats, which was the other thing. He wanted to put them out as part of an instrumental hip hop project or something, but we felt that there was potential to do something more with them and this is basically how we ended up working together.
That’s really when I first got this idea that if you have good beats and you know rappers who can rap over them, no matter how weird the music is, you should get them on the beats.