Prefix Magazine:Talk about how you guys got lucky in getting Tiombe Lockhart on this record before she just goes off and blows up.Platinum Pied Pipers: I met Tiombe Lockhart at a listening party for the Dirty District project that Slum Village did at Tribeca Grand. And here I am after about six beers and I'm talking to some friends and this girl walks up and says, "I want you guys to meet this wonderful singer. Blah, blah, blah." I introduced myself and at the time I didn't really know her well enough to know she's a real New Yorker. Real snobby and distant. So I'm sitting there thinking, Fuck is this girl's problem [laughs]? After the party we all jumped in a cab and went and got something to eat. And she just sat there quiet the whole time. And my dad always taught me that when somebody is real quiet about what they do, in most cases those are the most talented people. So she's sitting quiet, and meanwhile everyone else is running their mouths, selling themselves, business cards, whatever, whatever. So when we were leaving I asked her friend what was up with her singing. And the friend gave me her CD. I took it home and fell in love with it. This is about four years ago. But I called her almost immediately and told her I was just getting started, but whenever I get my thing up and running we going to do some things. And that's exactly what happened. PM:You just got lucky that nobody had scooped her up during that time?Platinum Pied Pipers: Well, it turns out that after that project she had been signed, but after the 9/11 thing she got dropped from the label and she was done with music. She stopped writing. PM:Really? With a voice like that?Platinum Pied Pipers: I know. So when I called her and asked her to do this project she was like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'll do it." So I was like, "Alright." And I sent her a check and I sent her a beat CD [laughs]. So she's looking at this beat CD and this check thinking, In order for me to get this I have to do this. And she cashed the check and then she wrote the first song, which was "Stay With Me." But Tiombe was my first pick for this album. As far as me and Saadiq are concerned, she's like a staple. The rest of the thing is like a rotating assembly for the most part. But Tiombe is like our little sister. PM:How did you get Geology to do that remix?Platinum Pied Pipers: Geology is my neighbor. He lives around the corner from me. PM:People really sleep on that guy.Platinum Pied Pipers: Why are they sleeping? PM:I don't know, because that Vinia Mojica single that he put out is ridiculous. Platinum Pied Pipers: I got to be honest with you, man, him and Rich [Medina]-- I have this theory that they just give people their beat CDs with shit on them or something. That's what I'm thinking, and I've said that to both of them. Because for me man, it's less about names, power and politics and more about intent. And Geology and Rich have two of the most refreshing intents toward the music game and people and what they want to do artistically and all that shit. So if I'm going to have a say on my team -- PM:Because that beat he gave you for the remix --Platinum Pied Pipers: Bananas! Bananas! Matter of fact, I like that better than I like mine. PM:So do I, actually [laughs]. So why didn't you put that one on the record? Platinum Pied Pipers: Because one, I'm a dictator in the sense that everything on my record is going to be mine. And two, I like the idea of these rare little gems floating out there in space where only deejays or real heavy heads are going to go out and find them. PM:Talk to me a little about Saadiq.Platinum Pied Pipers: Me and Saadiq, the way our partnership works is, I do all the in-house production work. Like all the work in the studio, stuff in the beginning, like picking the artists, et cetera, et cetera. Producing ninety of the album. And Saadiq's part comes in when we perform live. He's the multi-instrumentalist. You saw him jumping from guitar to bass to keyboards yesterday, dancing, singing. His part of the job is stage. That's what he does. That's the way we work. I'm in-house; he's out-house. PM:What about Invincible? That seems like another jewel you just kinda latched onto.Platinum Pied Pipers: I met Invincible awhile ago, but we only started working seriously together about a year and a half ago. One of the tracks we did yesterday -- PM:"Doors"?Platinum Pied Pipers: Yeah, "Doors." PM:Where can you even find that? Because after I heard her do it on Benji B's I tried and -- Platinum Pied Pipers: It's impossible to find. I think Bling 47 may still have it, but other than that ... . And we donated that track to an album for women in prison. PM:And you produced that too? Platinum Pied Pipers: Yeah. PM:It's nice to hear somebody actually speaking on something in an intelligent way for once. It's hard for me to figure out why people are so afraid to say anything in their music now.Platinum Pied Pipers: I think people don't think they can make a living and say something really worth saying. People just want to dumb shit up. And fuck that. My dad always taught me that if you have the opportunity to say something, say something. I didn't say much last night because I was fucking drunk [laughs], but if you got the opportunity you should open up your mouth and say something. PM:It seems like your pop is a big influence. Was he an artist too?Platinum Pied Pipers: Pop was a painter. At home, you know, he had to do the day-job thing, but he came home and painted his ass off. PM:Have you gotten a chance to see the Basquiat exhibit at the Brooklyn museum yet?Platinum Pied Pipers: I've got to get over there. I haven't been able to stop working. Every day man. I just haven't had a minute. But that's been my plan.
One thing now is there are a lot of major artists trying to get at us, as far as production, and they just trying to make they shit look cool. PM:But the thing with those kind of people is that they always choose the worst tracks.Platinum Pied Pipers: Every time! PM:I mean, if you're going to go out and get a Waajeed or a Dilla or even a Kanye beat, then take the real shit.Platinum Pied Pipers: Don't take the crap. Don't take some joint that you think you can throw some bullshit chorus on or throw some name-brand guest on and make it a hit. Just take it for what it is, because that's what's going to make it work. PM:Is that why you started limiting who you give beats to?Platinum Pied Pipers: You have to man. Because the consumer, they'll assume because you sold a beat to the Funky MC, they assume that's a vouch. Like, "Oh, they boys." No. It's business. So you can't sell music to everybody, especially if they suck, because that reflects back on you. So I try to be conscious of that, to be sure, but I'm on some Robin Hood shit really. I would love to get some of this major money and put it into whatever the fuck I want to put it into. Some real shit. PM:Well, money is freedom. We all learn that. Platinum Pied Pipers: It is that. No doubt. PM:But it seems like you're an artist at heart, so we don't have to worry too much about that taking over.Platinum Pied Pipers: But then again ... [laughs]. I do know it takes the business to keep the art right. If you don't got a studio to paint in or you can't afford brushes, you're fucked. PM:So what's next?Platinum Pied Pipers: Next up is Tiombe's album. PM:Are you producing the whole thing?Platinum Pied Pipers: Me, Saadiq, both together and separate. Jneiro Jarel is going to do some stuff on there, Geology, Rich, whoever's got something dope, that's who we're working with. PM:Is that coming out on Ubiquity?Platinum Pied Pipers: Probably Bling 47. PM:Really? There still isn't that much interest in her?Platinum Pied Pipers: Nah, there's a ton of interest, but we independent artists man. We want to keep this shit indy. There's some chances that something else will happen. There's been a lot of offers flying around, but ain't nobody offering what we offering. Labels ain't offering deals like that, where you own your masters. They own your shit. But if the shit ain't right, we ain't fucking with it. Period. Because we don't have to. We know from experience that we can do this thing ourselves. PM:What were some of the best shows you did in Europe? Platinum Pied Pipers: Oh, that's hard. Berlin. PM:Berlin? It's always funny for me to hear that, because you think of Berlin and you don't necessarily think of hip-hop soul.Platinum Pied Pipers: Exactly. Not at all. But they're there. London, of course, was bananas. But I would have to say Amsterdam. That one was hard though, because Invincible had bronchitis. But I'm a slave driver, and I was like, "Get out there and rap!" PM: Well, in Amsterdam you don't really have a choice, because they have some hardcore heads. Platinum Pied Pipers: You're right. And I really like Amsterdam. PM:It's a really progressive city. Platinum Pied Pipers: It is, man. It's so chill, man. That's what I really love about it, besides the obvious reasons. I'm there just trying to enjoy it. Not like some of these dumb, jerk Americans who go over there man and treat it like it's spring break. PM:It's not fucking Cancun. Platinum Pied Pipers: And those are the people who fuck it up for everybody. PM:I hope you didn't get vexed out by the crowd last night. New York crowds are tough.Platinum Pied Pipers: Oh, I know. Those motherfuckers are bricks when we're on stage, but they all want to bring their ass to my dressing room after the show. I'm trying to chill and I've got thirty motherfuckers want to hand me a business card. PM:I think people enjoyed it though. Platinum Pied Pipers: That's good man. That's important. It's always going to be important to do a good show in New York.