On July 28th, Backwoodz is releasing Willie Green’s instrumental album, Of Heroes & Villains… for free download! We have been talking about in-house producer Willie Green a lot recently, and with good reason. In the last year Green has provided stellar remixes for Vordul [“Imani Remix” for Megagraphitti] and the Super Chron Flight Brothers [“News & Notes Remix” on the deluxe hardcopies of Indonesia], as well as teaming up with BOND to produce the next Super Chron album, Cape Verde.
But before all that, Willie Green was making a name for himself in the Boston indie scene. So we included a short interview to get you more familiar with the man behind the beats and don’t forget to check out episode 2 of the trailer.
What is your music background?
As far as a “traditional” music background, I’ve played drums for the past 18 years, mostly funk, jazz and reggae, and went to a pretty prestigious music school for record production and engineering. I got my first drum machine and keyboard when I was 10 years old, I used to take two tape decks and record back and forth on them, adding layers to make beats. Hopefully those tapes don’t exist any more…
You were active in the Boston music scene before you moved to New York. What has been the main difference between the two music communities? Are you still working with any artists in Boston?
The hip-hop scene in Boston is surprisingly strong, I would say the main difference between there and New York is exposure. Boston isn’t the first city you think of when it comes to hip-hop, but there is definitely some real talent there. At the moment, I’m working with an MC from up there called Pastense, we’re doing a project called Requiem for A Poet. Real image-heavy stuff; don’t drive when you listen to this, it’s gonna zone you out. I also have a joint in the works with a female MC/singer named Letia Larok.
As a producer, what albums do you hold up as stellar achievements in your field?
Damn, that’s a real tough one, cause I’m picky as shit. All time, you gotta have your Illmatic‘s and Cuban Linx‘s and Soul Food‘s and all that, that shit is the soundtrack to my childhood. Currently, Black Milk is doing great stuff, and over the past few years, it doesn’t get much better than Madvillainy and Blu and Exile’s Below The Heavans.
I like the trailers but can you give us a better idea what is Heroes & Villains all about?
Ha, yeah the trailers are pretty cryptic. That’s on purpose though, I like to make shit difficult. The premise of Heroes & Villains is just the ultimate battle between good and evil. He-Man vs. Baron Silas Greenback. (from Dangermouse) I was a pretty big cartoon fan growing up, and this matchup seems like the obvious concept for a hip-hop album. At least in my mind. It’s 20 tracks of samples chopped over beats to tell the story of the battle. The trailers set up the story, like why Greenback is battling He-Man instead of Dangermouse, and other pressing questions. It will all make sense once all three trailers and the album are out. Plus, the trailers include some beats not on the album, so they’re worth checking out just for that.
What else are you working on right now and do you have any projects you want to tell us about?
Well this is a real busy year for me, for sure. The big event is the new Super Chron Flight Brothers album Cape Verde. And I mean event. I’ve been in the lab with Billy Woods and Privledge for about a year and a half on this one, and it’s a career ender. I mean, anyone thinking they’re putting out real rap albums this year should dead their career. After that, I got a lot of things lined up, this Pastense joint, plus albums with HiCoup, Masai Bey, Eleven, (of 11:00 AM) some Wu collaborations, and some top secret joints even my momma doesn’t know about yet. I also have this electronic group out of New Haven, Kings, and that’s gonna be some whole different shit. I stay real busy, I don’t sleep much.
What artist would you most like to work with on a full-length record?
Blu. Dude needs to call or email me immediately, if not sooner. I have a hard drive full of joints he’d sound crazy over, and right now they’re just marinating. Blu – WillieGreenMusic@Gmail.com. Seriously, get at me. I’d also love to work with Ghostface, that dude can rap over anything, and I have some real out there shit that most cats just can’t hear.