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In The Loop: An Interview With Exile

In anticipation of his Saturday 8/30 show with Dirty Science and more, we chopped it up with Exile about all things production. He keeps us in the loop about the creative process, equipment loyalty, and who to watch out for next…because if there’s one man’s word to trust about rappers set to blow, it’s Exile’s.


1The collab albums you’ve done have been huge successes (Aloe Blacc, Blu, Fashawn, etc.). Have you used a different approach with each artist or do you have a pretty reliable formula for working with emcees at this point?

I just go with the flow if what feels right. Each artist is different, each artist reacts differently to criticism. I just like to go in the studio and keep it fun.

How much input do you have when it comes to the songwriting on those albums?

Depends on the artist but I usually have a lot of input, sometimes I even help write lyrics when an artist is stuck. But it goes vice versa sometimes, artists help me produce. We are all creative and when you get creative people in a room it’s hard not to be creative even when observing.

You have this uncanny ability to find relatively unknown, dope artists, and help catapult them to the next level. How the fuck are you finding these guys?

I just keep an ear out and wait for the right time.

In that vein, any rappers we should be looking out for right now?

Choosey. Look out for The Left Field by Choosey . Brilliant new mc I’m working with.

Your beats have the rare quality that Dilla’s do, in that a lot don’t even need to be rapped over; they sound like completed projects on their own. Do you usually make beats with a rapper in mind or are you just focused on the track as the piece itself?

Lately I’ve been making beats for mcs. When I’m working on an instrumental project I like to go all out so it stands on its own. But lately my instrumental projects have been made for me to perform live on my MPC with the no loops or anything, just bang bang bang live raw shit.

You use an MPC 2000 for your live shows, do you also use that exclusively when making beats in the studio?


With all the new tools at your disposal some heads might argue you’re limiting yourself. Why do you remain loyal to the MPC 2000?

2It’s really just a simple as can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but you know, I just like what I like. I tried to use other machines but it just didn’t feel the same as the MPC.

Any new projects in the works that we can look forward to?

New Aloe Blacc and Exile aka Emanon , Choosey, and the new Fashawn The Ecology.

What can fans who haven’t seen you live, expect from your set on 8/30?

Me banging on the MPC rocking my beats for my musical partners and brothers of Dirty Science!

About Rachel Chesbrough

A Denver transplant originally from the east coast, Rachel fell hard for the Colorado music scene upon her arrival in 2006. She has written and edited locally for Unda$tream Magazine and was included in the Rap Round Table for hiphopisread.com. More recently she began her own blog, workingonit, as a side-project, featuring ridiculous personal/social/musical commentary.

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