Ricci Rucker

Hip Hop Core: Could you introduce yourself and tell us about your first appearances?

Ricci Rucker: My name is Ricci Rucker, I'm a composer... I'm here now.

HHC: What are the differences between Ricci Rucker, Nicks & Aliosity?

RR: Aliosity was a special guy who would come to my house to scratch... Aliosity had shown me the idea of having no compromise with artistic integrity. You know, I was trippin on that not too long ago. I haven't thought about those times for a while. Then I started trippin on the fact that people would just make a huge fuss about him wanting to not be known. It was crazy how much shit came out of people because of this. Nicks was my scratch name... because everyone thought I was aliosity. My scratching overtime actually evolved into a way to compose traditional music...I make a lot of music and none of my tracks seem to be the same in terms of the sound ; but identical in principle. This is because of the scratch mentality. I use my real name Ricci Rucker, because I came to a point where I would have a lot of monikers to fit the different styles of music I make. I didn't want to do that, I was more interested in having a lot of people into different genres of music, know a name that crosses genres. The idea is that people might begin to see the universal philosophy which allows me to make any style of music, and not come off like a "crossover" but as good music with different influences on different albums... When people get this, unity will without force, become more prevelant, minds and hearts will open, and there can be an appreciation for everything that is made in the idea of this. No one will take credit.. this is why the alias shit was crazy, because it showed me how egocentric people were...and if you sit on that one, you might realize some things...
It's like an honesty factor, and me using my name is symbolic that I'm not trying to gimmick anything out : It's my real name, and this is my real music... thats It.

HHC: How have Ned Hoddings and Gunkhole crews been created? How are the roles distributed during the creation of a track?

RR: Ned Hoddings was created with phone calls. I first called Mike Boo, asked him what he thought about making a crew with Toad and Excess, and then Mike called Excess, Excess called Toad... We set up a date in New York to session. We clicked. We did one show, It was for the "Phantazmagorea" release party. We've only done one other show in japan, and that might be it. The official name of the band was "the ned hoddings project" because it was an experiment for the time being. People tried to turn it into Skratch Piklz part 2, but it wasn't going down like that.

Gunkhole came right after Ned Hoddings. Myself, Dave (D-Dtyles) and Mike all seemed to want to get more crazy. I think we all felt a bit trapped by the routine feel of scratches... I mean, I was the scratch drummer, and people get hyped, but I listen to music for real, and I know what it takes to get different energy levels. Scratch drums dont have that effect 100% of the time... scratch drums are more percussion to me... I actually think percussion sounds better scratched on turntables. I'm not saying I can't rock a show 100% of the time with scratch drums, but facts are facts, the instrument and its capabilities haven't been upgraded. Actually Vestax is releasing a new turntable, I think it might be called "The Controller 1"...not too sure...I think this is VERY VERY dope... I even heard there is an idea to put a midi function on the turntable to allow you to turn a tone on a turntable into a auto analog pitch changing sound, so it will sound like a keyboard with arrpegio but you can scratch it. So you can add all the cuts and phrasing you can, but when you let the record go, its playing the pattern again, this means you could let go of the turntable, jump on another one, and solo on top of it, and imagine footpedals with all types of textures and what not... all running through seperate effects... tell me thats not some shit... I dont even know if thats the idea, but thats dope too.

We did a couple of shows with just turns and drum machines and sound modules. We then realized adding some live drums would allow the scratchers to become like three melodic leads working as one. We've been doin that ever since. The Gunkhole dvd is about to be released, and the only thing I can say is, it's similar to how Sun Ra was looked at in jazz. We have a more diverse approach in terms of influence, so its not a Sun Ra sound, but the show has completely insane moments that go beyond the big sound of what many would call big. I don't really think people can comprehend how out there the show was until they see it. It was completely improvised.

HHC: To many listeners, "The Scetchbook" is the manifesto of a new-age, more musical turntablism. How such a project has been created?

RR: Mike Boo and I were frustrated with how scratching was being looked at, so we did something about it.

HHC: Stepping backwards, what did this project bring to you?

RR: The reality of the music industry.

HHC: Where can we currently get The Scetchbook LP?

RR: I don't know.

HHC: Why is it so hard to find?

RR: The reality of the music industry.

HHC: What did you wish to bring blending off-beat scratch sequences?

RR: More people not looking at it like that. If that's how you see "Scetchbook", then you dont know how it was made. I have so many styles of music. You gotta keep in mind that IT IS SCRATCHING, and the nature of scratching doesn't flow the way you would hear flow with other instruments, because it's not played the same way. Different production styles give you different flows, my interest as an artist is taking all of these different flows and continously creating new concoctions. "Scetchbook" isn't really "one album", which is why it was called "Scetchbook". My first album had to be looked at as what art real is, and this is continous.

HHC: Which rapper would you compare your "flow" with?

RR: No rapper in terms of flow or style... In terms of boldness, I'm feelin Baatin, he used to be in Slum Village. I am doing some shit with him... he got his own rap language. I been waiting for the rapper bold enough to rap in sound and not only in words. When people stop listening to so many words, music in general will get better. We should be trying not to make music with words all the time. Isn't that the reason music is UNIVERSAL, cause it has no words, right? Less words, more emotion.

HHC: You've collaborated with Ghostface for Sound In Color, can you talk us more precisely about this meeting? Who made it happen?

RR: The guy who does the label, O.X. I never met up with Ghostface, I dont endorse cocain cook outs over portable stoves either.. I just wanted to be the first to do a scratch track for a major rapper... recorded dirty..

HHC: Do you feel turntablist-musician or beatmaker in this kind of collaborations? Do you plan to work with Mc's again?

RR: I work with emcees, I work with vocalists, I work with a lot of people... I make a lot of music.. Thing is that a lot of my work hasn't come out in a proper time for you to see whats really going on. Things are changing, for sure...and I'm not really too into speaking on that anymore. All I can really say is, "keep your ears open".

HHC: What was the aim of "Fuga"? What do you reckon you brought with this album?

RR: The aim with "Fuga" was to make people who thought "Scetchbook" was simple and programmed scratch sequences. It was actually some serious shit. I did "Fuga" to make sure everyone was clear with the level of concept in my work. I made that a couple of months after the completion of "Scetchbook". People try to look at "Scetchbook" as simple, when really, that shit is some of the hardest shit that I've ever done (in terms of difficulty per variable, digging, scratching, making it work, etc). Next time I make an all scratched album, I'm definately going to be prepared for the amount of strain it has on me. "Fuga" is the same shit, but instead of hiding the madness, I exploited the madness. I took out the limitation of having to use one element (just scratching), and instead had no rules. This made it easier for me to flow, and I haven't used a limitation since.

HHC: Even though we're a bit suspicious about that, the booklet of "Fuga" reveals you worked with some twenty musicians. How did you direct them? Who are them?

RR: They are my friends... and the only cause for suspicion is because I told people that I didn't use musicians, and that I did use musicians... either way, I told the truth and the lie, and this is also to show that "Fuga" is that elusive. Another point for the concept of that album, how music is made, what can be done with these methods, etc...

HHC: The cover of "Fuga" is very sober, thoroughly opposite to how people see you...

RR: The album is crazy as fuck, and no image or representation other than the word itself can describe the type of thing I was trying to depict sonically. I was trying to find artwork for it for the longest, and realized that every picture would almost depict an image that could never capture how the music felt entirely. The cover is very plain and basic because the colors of the music are diverse. "Fuga" means "escape". If you escape, you do so for freedom... you are also free to choose how you see and hear the music. Many times covers indicate the way the music sounds, and in this case, the music is so new, no cover made in the vein of trying to visually replicate the sound, could do it justice. It's like finding an amazing book with the most bland cover. The magic is not on the surface, so it was pointless trying to make something pretty...The only visuals I could imagine having for this album would have to be moving visuals... I plan to shoot a short movie or video to the album soon enough..

HHC: Why did you decide to release "Fuga" with Alpha Pup Records?

RR: Kev can move a record, and he hit me up. I'm all up in the scene, I fuck with major labels, artists, all that shit, Kev knows his shit. I work with artist on a label to label relationship. I dont really endorse any other artist on a label I'm on persay. I'm not signed to a label, and I'm not trying to be. I have 4 other albums I'm working on, and I just finished another 3 ("Rrrrap", "Poly" , and "The teeter totters"). The reality is I wouldn't be able to put "Fuga" out right, I'm too busy making the music.

HHC: Why do you keep on beefin?

RR: If the truth is a beef, then I'm beefin forever.

HHC: I believe you have a special opinion about DJ "Grand Master" Q-Bert...?

RR: I have no problems with Q. The reality is, there's a lot of brainwashed kids that look at me as the "alternative" style "challenging" Q. They turn it into a drama. The reality is, I'm way beyond Q's level. I don't even function in the scratch scene like that, I make a living by doing albums for labels, and myself. I'm a composer that scratches, im not a scratcher that tries to compose.

HHC: With its own style, the Birdy Nam Nam crew seems to have a similar approach to Gunkhole, what's your opinion about this french crew?

RR: No one has a similar approach to Gunkhole... once again, let me say, the audience is always years late from what is actually happening. This is also not normal music, this is a new music that is CONSTANTLY changing. There are so many things that haven't been done, that the concept of actually doing them will be a lifetime phase. The next generation can then take those ideas to other places, as well as continuing what we were doing, which was a continuum from the battle scene.

HHC: D-Styles will be on the BNN's full-length album, have you heard what they recorded together?

RR: And Mike Boo too... and, no, I havent heard what they recorded.

HHC: Have they got in touch with you for this project?

RR: I was supposed to go to France, but I wasn't down with jumpin on a plane paid trip to do a track with people I had no musical relationship with, not even online. I didnt know anything about their music. I didnt want to be in a position where they paid for me to come there, then I'd feel obligated to do music, and I don't think music should ever be made with obligations.

HHC: Some people say you clashed with Dj Need from BNN crew, could you tell us more about this rumor?

RR: Yeah... he was at my house, and he tried to fuck my girl, I was like "dude... dont do that....!" and he was like "so what man ?" and I said "Man, you have to leave...and your scratching sucks man, it fuckin sucks!!"
Thats what happened.

HHC: You toured all over Europe with Gunkhole, last year, what have you learnt from this experience? Is there a difference between European & US public?

RR: For sure, the US are brainwased by the american media like it's the gospel truth. In America, people actually live and breath that shit. I took the low tone television out of my house, I don't listen to radio or watch TV due to it's brainwashing properties. I've studied the tones, bad news, and no one can resist its impact... It's the nature of how sounds create moods. This is why jiggy music, Jerry Springer, and negative vibes are the most popular in America. America is dying rapidly... the food, everything, people are drugged mentally and physically. They even play reality TV shows to convince the people that real life is on TV. In Rurope, they aren't as taken by this, so being curious and listening isn't as much of an issue. I will probably end up settling in Europe, or somewhere outside of America as soon as I can.

HHC: Did you hear tracks from your homie Mike Boo's forthcoming album ?What can we expect from "Dunhill Drone Committee"?

RR: Hear tracks? Mike is my boy... that is the dude who I started making moves in this music shit with. I heard the album, and to me, it's extremely beautiful, complex, delicate, and hard at the same time. I love it. It's like a mature "Scetchbook" with one theme... I can get lost in that album, easy.

Interview by Kreme
Questions by MC23 & Bachir
June 2005

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