Motion Man

Hip-Hop Core : Could you tell us how you hooked up with Kut Masta Kurt ?

Motion Man : Well, I was DJing for this group called Zero Tolerance and, to make a long story short and give you a Reader's Digest version, it happened that the MC I was DJing was good friends with the MC that Kurt was DJing for. His name was Style. They linked up together and then I met Kurt. I remember when I first met Kurt I thought he was a lot older than me, because he already had a radio show. And I had this old box, this radio, and I was trying to pick up the show with foiling shit on my antenna and a wire hanger. I was already recording Kurt on the radio before I even met him. And then, once I met him, we hit it all. We were both hip-hop cats and it was a trip because we were all talking about the same records. And I said "Man, yeah, I tape off this radio show!" He was like "Yeah?". "Yeah". "That's my show!". I was like "Man, I've been tapin' your shit for years. I've got an old 'Plug Tunin' 12" and I went to buy it because I heard it on your radio show first". That's how we met and it was like '87-88. We've known each other for a minute.

HHC: When did you first record something with him ? Because, the first time we heard you together was on the "Sex Style" album I believe.

MM : I did stuff before that. I did some Noggin' Nodders stuff. The first song I was ever actually on was a song with Sway & Tech from "The Wake Up Show". It was a song called 'Bust Your Rhymes'. Then, I came out with a single after that on Stepson (it's the city area Tommy Boy) which is a song called 'More Life Flows On' and it was backed with this track called '93 Swing'. Then I did a song with DJ Vadim. It was called 'The Terrorist'. And I'm finding out that you guys know about that song. I had no idea you knew about it.

HHC : Yeah, many people know about it in France. It's a classic song.

MM : I had no idea 'cause I don't even have it with me. I'm trying to find somebody who's got the vinyl so I can do it tonight. I've got to see if I remember it too. I'ma have to practice. It was a long time ago. But then, the first song I did with Kool Keith was 'Sly We Fly'. That's the first track we recorded together.

HHC : So around that time, you were recording mainly stuff for Noggin' Nodders and some songs for Sway & Tech. Did you already want to do a solo album ?

MM : Yeah. It was 1990, the early nineties. I already wanted to put out an album back then. It didn't come out until like 12 years later. I was overdue. The first album I did wasn't even my solo album. It was the Masters of Illusion record: Kurt, myself and Kool Keith. "Clearin' The Field" is my first solo album and I was ready to put out that album in like 1990. It just never manifested. Sometimes it takes people a long time.

HHC : Do you still have the tracks that you recorded at that time ? Do you plan to release them one day ?

MM : It depends on how my career goes. I'm still trying to get on the map a lot more. It would be cool if I had like a real nice big fan base so I don't have to go to work everyday. I'd probably throw something like that out, like "Motion Unreleased Tracks". But, man, give me some time, I only have one album out. Give me an album or two albums so then it makes sense. You don't want the Motion unreleased now!? You only have one album.

HHC : Talking about the Masters of Illusion project, how did you come up with this idea ?

MM : It was all about the versatility that we wanted to bring to the stage. Just listening to myself and Kool Keith. Part of the reason I kept wanting to do an album was that Keith was like: "Motion, you've got your own style. Let's do this record and kick niggers' asses". It was a lot of fun. It was like the funniest project I ever did. We just came to rap, we just sit on the end of one side of the room. He kicked a verse, I kicked a verse. We laughed. I think (what?), about five of the songs, we wrote away from each other. But most of the album we did right there in the studio, like 2 songs a day. That was going to be a mass project. It's a classic, man!

HHC: Yeah !

MM : And I'm not being on my own nuts. I listen to it and I'm like "Damn! We guys did some shit!".

HHC : What's the difference between Motion Man and Clifton Santiago? What about Noggin' Nodders ?

MM : There's a big difference. First of all, Clifton Santiago, that's my partner. He drinks beer, talks spanish, irie-looking negro. We got Motion Man, that's the guy who's on the mic right now. You see him in public. Actually, you see my action figure more in public than myself. Noggin' Nodders was a group that I had with some people and I never really got it to manifest but we keep workin' at it. I plan to put the Noggin' Nodders album. I did a couple songs acting under the Noggin' Nodders. One of them was a song called 'Magnum B.I.' (that's on the Masters of Illusion album). Another one was on this movie, on this "Sprung" soundtrack, it was called 'Bounce'.

HHC : After that, how did you approach the idea of making a solo LP ?

MM : I mean we already had done a lot of the songs that are on "Clearin' The Field" before even considering releasing the album. We only needed to make a couple more. See, on the album, there's like 23-24 songs. It's actually like 20 to 4 skits. We decided what we wanted to put on there. But "Clearin' The Field", the whole concept behind that, is more of a seventies concept. I'm a seventies cat so my shit is more like "back in the days", when everything was like "In your face!". The whole comic books…

HHC : What about the action figure by the way ?

MM : Well, it's because I'm busy. I work jobs so I don't have a chance to go everywhere. So I send him to do my videos for me (laughs). This way, I don't have to worry about checkin' off from work. I just wrap his ass up and send him in the mail.

HHC : What do you think of the whole Bay Area scene right now ? The whole west coast underground scene is really coming up these days.

MM : You know what? Honestly, I listen to Sportstalk radio because it's football season so I really don't know what's being played on the underground radio stations. I don't know what they're playing on the college stations or even on the mainstream radio stations but, as far as I see it, there's a lot of cats in the Bay that's got some ammo in hip-hop, man. It's all outta here. But about how the scene is going, I, myself, it's not … I mean, I don't perform there myself. I have a fan base but it's just really hard in that area to really promote a show correctly and to get everybody to come out. You gotta do a lot, you got to get the papers, man. You know, that's the hustle.

HHC: Do you plan to work with any other producer than Kut Masta Kurt ?

MM : Yeah, of course. That first album, I just wanted to put out something with Kurt. It was the easy way to safe heaven. You know, how much money do you have to spend? We're both sides of the same lame. The new album I'm working on, I got a cat called Dramatic. He sent me some tracks. My man Bukue did a track for me, Bukue 1. So I'm gonna weigh my options, you see. I still got Kut Masta Kurt tracks I did. I'm not makin' a decision solely to say I'm just working with Kurt. I'm just going where the ammo's at. Sometimes motherfuckers come knockin' on Motion's door saying "I got beats for you". There's some cats that are but nobody like the Neptunes or nothing like that…

HHC : Do you plan to release your new album this year ?

MM : I don't think it's gonna make it this year. But I've got a title and everything for the album. I'm just not telling everybody. Because sometimes my thing takes too long to manifest and I don't want to put it out there and then like… you know, all of a sudden… So there are various things that I've been trying to do and that I'm doing already that nobody really got a chance to hear, but some people did and then you hear them later on being like "Damn, I already heard that shit". So this time, the title, the concept and all the rest, I'm not saying anything. I just want to start coming with my project and then, when I know I have a release date, I'll start promoting it. But the way my career is going now, if I talk about it now and then in 2007 I'm dropping the record I was talking about in a café in Paris a long time ago… You know. So I don't wanna do that shit no more. OK, we're doing this. Once it's coming out, boom!, that's when I start hitting people with it.

HHC : What do you plan to accomplish with that second solo LP ?

MM : Well, we do now already have the title but I don't really have the direction I'm gonna go with it yet. I know pretty much what I'm gonna do but as I told you I'm not giving up any information (smiles).

HHC : Some months down the line, how do you consider "Clearin' The Field" ?

MM : I love the record! It's mine. You gotta love what you do. If you have problems with it, take it off the shelves! Actually, I think, when I listen to both albums, some days I like "Masters of Illusion" and some days I like "Clearin' The Field". "Masters of Illusion" is like my baby doll. I can play that at any time. "Clearin' the Field", I can play it at any time. But then, there are some days where I don't want to hear "Clearin' The Field"… I wanna hear Van Halen! (laughs).

HHC : Will the next album be on Threshold Records ?

MM : Yeah. I'm still signed to Threshold.

Interview by Cobalt & Blaze
September 2003

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