-When did you know that music is what you wanted to do? I knew I wanted to DJ since I was a little kid, but being that young it wasn't like I could convince my parents to spend a thousand dollars on some turntables. So I was just always a big fan of hip hop until I was able to actually save up and buy my own equipment. From DJ'n that eventually evolved into making beats which is the case for most producers like Dre, Primo, Pete Rock.. etc. When I would DJ, one of my favorite things to do is to make blends which is combining acapellas on top of different beats. But I couldn't really call that my own because that was someone else's beat, so that actually inspired me to learn how to make beats myself. Plus I remember DJ Premier on the Scratch Movie Documentary saying something like all DJ's should know how to make beats. So that kind of stuck with me and I just wanted to be one of those cats like Primo, Jazzy Jeff, Pete Rock, that do it all for hip hop... DJ and Produce.
-I've been considering making beats myself for sometime now. For a bedroom head like myself, who's on a budget, what do you recommend using to start making beats? For anyone who's interested in making beats, I would suggest downloading Fruity Loops and going from there. Other programs like Reason you can't use without a midi controller but with Fruity Loops all you need is your computer and you can make beats. I wouldn't waste money on an MPC or a keyboard right away. Once you get familiar with the process and feel like it's something you want to pursue, then from there you can decide if you want to invest in more equipment. It's really all about your ear for music. Everyone knows 9th Wonder mainly uses Fruity Loops and he makes great music.
-When making beats are you strictly a PC guy or do you have the hardware, like an Akai? Or both? I started out making beats on Fruity Loops. Then I got an MPC and that's where I made a lot of beats like "Contagious" and all that. I still use both but I mostly make beats on the computer with Reason 4 and trying to keep it that way. I love the MPC but I'm a sample based producer and chopping samples and editing is really a lot faster on computers. Also its much easier to keep track of all your beats and store them on your hard drive. With the MPC I was saving beats on compact flash cards which can be a pain. Also most of the production software has tons of emulated keyboards and effects modules so you really don't need other equipment. But the best part about it is with my laptop I can literally make beats anywhere even in the jungle if I wanted to and that's a great advantage.
-Who are your musical influences? Nas is easily my favorite MC. Lyrically with his catalog, I don't think anyone really comes close. But with the beats I can go on forever. J Dilla of course who I think is the greatest of all time, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, RZA, Diamond D, DJ Quik, Ski, 9th Wonder, Buckwild, Kev Brown, Jazzy Jeff, Kanye, Illmind, Erick Sermon, Organized Noize, Bomb Squad, 88-Keys, Q-Tip, Prince Paul, Madlib, Swiff-D, .. you get the picture.
-What? No love for Timbaland or the Neptunes from a guy from the VA? Top 5 albums? Wow that's really tough but I would have to say my 5 favorite albums are: Illmatic - Nas The Main Ingredient - Pete Rock & CL Smooth Only Built 4 Cuban Linx - Raekwon Voodoo - D'Angelo Life After Death - Notorious BIG
-As a DJ, do you prefer records or mp3s? I love my records more than anything but nowadays I'm strictly digital when I do live shows. I tell everybody I've paid my dues carrying 10 crates to clubs every night. For live shows I don't even use turntables anymore. I use the new Vestax Midi Controller but you can still do everything you do on turntables so there's really no difference.
-What do you think of mixtapes like 50 Cent's or the kind where dude's just be rhyming over other's beats? Well I came from the era when mixtapes were selling almost as much as albums with DJ Clue, Ron G, and all them. Dirty Harry is probably my favorite mixtape DJ. So I liked 50's early mixtapes but the difference with him is that he would actually create songs and they were good on those mixtapes as opposed to now when anybody just rhymes over everybody's beats. 50's songwriting ability and his humour are what I think made him big with the mixtapes and to what he is right now. People just like to hate on him but you can't deny his talent. You can tell he's a real fan of hip hop.
-Yeah I definitely think 50 has his own style of rhyming, a good ear for beats and a wack reality show. How often do you dig for records? Every possible chance I can!! There's no better way for me to spend my time. I used to live in Richmond VA which is about 2 hours from Virginia Beach and I would literally dig every day I can and still do. I'm actually taking a trip up there this weekend just to dig. Plus I'm trying to make more time to make beats so you'll be able to find me at the record shops. There's not that many places in Virginia Beach besides your usual thrift stores but they usually have the same records.
-Any record spots I should check out in your area? Uhhhh. No comment. Haha
-Cold-blooded! No LA, Vegas or HI spots for you. I wish I could dig like I used to, it seems like vinyl spots are dying left and right. People keep diggin! At the same time, a new generation of people were introduced to DJing in the late 90's through the whole turntablism movement, but now it seems to have died. What are your thoughts on turntablism? I'll always be a fan of turntablism. I mean Q-Bert, the things he does just doesn't seem human at times. But with hip-hop it'll always be a fad to some and the people who really love and live it will continue to do it. Which is kind of like the hip-hop scene nowadays. The sound on the radio is all 808's but the real fans, like your crew here at Getdownnn, will continue to only push music with substance.
-Thanks for the love! I don't know about banner holding it down though, homeboy has been bumpin' Twilight: The Score for days (see sidebar). It took me like a decade to get the flare scratch down. What was harder for you to master, the flare or the crab scratch? I think the crab is a lot easier than a flare scratch. I can only really do a one-click flare and it's not even as clean as it should be. Other DJ's in my crew are more battle tested than I am. Shout out DJ Delinger and Disko Dave. Check them out they're nice on the cuts.
- Word, represent your crew. Speaking of which, how are y'all connected to the 5th Platoon Crew? My DJ crew Kuya Tribe was actually inspired by DJ Kuya D. He lives here in VA but started out rockin parties and all that in NY in the early 90's. Kuya D would rock all these parties with DJ Roli Rho of 5th Platoon before 5th Platoon even existed. So Roli's pretty much our connection with 5th Platoon. We still keep up with Roli whenever he's in VA or if we're in NY. He's family.
-Taking from Inside the Actors Studio, what is your favorite sound or noise? Least favorite? Why? Classic drum breaks are probably my favorite sounds. I mean that's what created hip-hop to what it is. Least favorite? Probably that auto-tune effect.
-No love for auto-tune continues. Drum breaks for days. You know what to do with those, I like your production (like on "Contagious"), any chance of hooking up some more rhymes or singing over them, (like "Air Supply")?
Production is definitely where my focus is going to be for the future. That's really what I really want to do and at the same time still DJ and do gigs. Like I said I'm trying to be like Premier and Jazzy Jeff and do it all.
-What's next for Mike Rizzy? I'm probably going to hide out for the next year or so and focus on making beats seriously. But I'll definitely continue to make mixes for the people as long as they wanna hear it so yeah check them out at mikerizzy.com. Also I'm going to be focusing on getting out of VA and doing more shows out of town so promoters get at me @ email@example.com. Plus if you don't know the famous YouTube Blogger HappySlip is a good friend of mine so you'll be hearing some of my beats in her videos in the future.
-Word. Keep them mixes comin'! Any last words or advice to anyone who wants to be a DJ/up & coming beatsmith? If you really want to be a DJ do it for the love of music and do your history. Don't just play what's on the radio and create your own style.
-Thanks again. Make sure to check Rizzy's latest mix, Soul Control, at deejaymikerizzy.podbean.com it's smooth like butter.