Best of both
worlds, imagine two legends placed together, think Beethoven
meets Shakespeare, think of the purest from the underground that
hip-hop has ever got to offer, then you would understand the
impact the pairing of these up and coming talented production
duo Kingston and Young god of Black Sky Blue Death with that of
the Shakespeare of hip-hop would have when the album drops.
Blue Skies Black
Death stepped on the scene early this year with the release of
their double CD debut release, A Heap of Broken Images.
Comprised of producers Kingston and Young God, this San
Francisco tandem explores the nether regions of brooding
hip-hop, meshing dark samples, vocal snippets and live
instrumentation into an album that holds its mood from start to
finish. The group has worked closely with the finest artists in
hip-hop such as Jus Allah (Jedi Mind Tricks), Wise
Intelligent (Poor Righteous Teachers), Guru (Gang Starr), Chief
Kamachi (Army Of The Pharaohs), A-Plus (Hieroglyphics),
Holocaust (Wu-Tang affiliate) just to mention a few. Blue Sky,
Black Death is the dynamic new production team of Kingston and
Young God. Sharing a penchant for tasteful instrumental hip-hop
and traditional underground emcees, the two work as
complimentary halves the same mind. Since 2004, Kingston has
built a solid reputation with his work on albums by Boston
legend Virtuoso, Babygrande's flamethrower Jus Allah, and
Philadelphia truth-teller Chief Kamachi. He has found an ideal
partner in Young God. The Bay Area studio maverick's attention
to detail, vast beat library, and audiofile ear have helped
Kingston step his productions to the next level. Their combined
productions stay true to classic hip-hop foundations while
incorporating left-field elements that are all their own.
Holocaust, also mainly known as Warcloud, has been putting in
work since 1996 after getting signed by The RZA on Wu-Tang
records as a member of the first Westcoast Wu-Tang Killa Bee
group, The Black Knights. Holocaust was featured on the gold
selling compilation RZA Presents: Wu-Tang Killa Bees - The
Swarm, which sold 139,000 copies on its first week of release,
landing at ..4 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. Holocaust then
went on to feature on numerous Wu-tang projects, providing
deadly and much talked about verses on the Killarmy project
Dirty Weaponry, as well as the Bobby Digital In Stereo, The
Sting and Black Knights albums. Released 2 underground albums in
2002 (Nightmares That Surface From The Shallow
Sleep and Smuggling Booze In The Graveyard)
online that remain sort after and heavily bootlegged to date.
Warcloud is popular for his ultra-detailed
multi-layered poetry, and correct English
pronunciations. He walks with a limp due
to truck accident many years ago during a
lone visit to Japan. Without any major
albums out, Warcloud has retained a massive cult following and
has remained the subject of heavy internet debates and
discussions. A very versatile emcees, Holocaust changed his rhyme style
just about the same time he adopted the Warcloud name, a style
"free verse pattern" was
born, where rhyming is
unnecessary and mostly sporadic. In his own
words, he names this new rhyme style as
"Mixed Forest Zone", whereas his old style
was referred to as "Old Jail Pyjama Room".
The Black Sky Blue
Death presents The Holocaust album is an unprecedented pairing
of some of indie hip-hop's most original and promising new
talent. Inspired by the early Wu-Tang style, though it
showcases a unique and raw sound unfound in today's hip hop
music. Blue Sky Black Death provide dark cinematic soundscapes as the back drop to
The Holocaust's diabolic verses. Manically shifting from
haunting imagery and fragmented tales, to the most savage
and vicious of battle raps ever conceived. Album drops on
the 5th of September, 2006.
While most of the
Wu-Tang fans might know about Warcloud, little is known about
the men behind the classics beats heard on the album,
Wu-International caught up with the dynamic duo Kingston and
Young god to find out how it all started, how they connected
with Warcloud, the album, future works, being part of possibly
the best label (Babygrande) in hip-hop right now and lots more,
Enjoy the interview below!
Peace, I like to say thanks first and foremost for taking
the time to answer these questions, and will also point out that nothing
will be altered, edited or changed when this is published
Hello guys, how are you today, thanks for the
interview, for those who donít know who you are,
please introduce yourselves?
BSBD: Kingston & Young
Wu-International: How did the two of you meet to form
the group Blue Sky Black Death?
through a mutual friend, and at some point we were
living in SF and started collaborating on songs
Wu-International: Blue Sky Black Death, whatís behind
the name, any deep meanings to it?
It's a skydiving phrase describing the opposites of
Wu-International: How did you both get into
your respective craft (producing)?
Kingston: I first started
messing around on a friends mixer that had a sampler
on it making simple beats for fun. I didn't end up
getting my own gear and start making music on a
regular basis until around 98 or 99.
Young God: I started making
beats so my friend and I could rap on them a long
time ago, but then I figured out that making beats
was a lot more satisfying to I stopped rapping...I
was never serious about that.
Wu-International: So how long have you been making
Kingston: I've been making
music seriously around 4 years, although I've made
music off and on for a few years before that.
Young God: Itís only recently
become a reality that I might do this to make a
living in the last couple of years, but Iíve been
making beats for probably 6 years at least.
Wu-International: So what type of producers are you, how
would you describe your
BSBD: We can only
describe our style as versatile. We are capable of
making several styles of music, the Holocaust record
is one style. Itíll be a while before the whole
spectrum of our sound will be heard.
Wu-International: I have always wondered how 2
producers work together on a beat, what is your
creative process like? Do one work on the kicks and
other on the melody, or you individually make
produce the beat separately etc, how do you two work
together to make tracks for artists?
Kingston: Either one of us may
start a beat, and the other will finish it, or add
elements/movements to it. Sometimes we just provide
samples for the other to brainstorm with.
Young God: On a lot of our rap
tracks weíll just work on them separately and may do
a little post production afterwards, but itís
usually more of the instrumental stuff that we
really collaborate on.
Wu-International: You guys bring something
quite different to the table right now, however no
one does anything without having been influenced by
others, so which producers would you say are your
Kingston: Its hard to escape
being influenced by the some of the best: DJ
Premier, Mobb Deep, Dungeons Family, The Bomb Squad,
Young God: Iíd have to add
Shadow and other non hip-hop groups/people like
Godspeed and Steve Reich...we have influences from
all over the place, but as far as hip hop I think we
take a lot from that 90ís era aesthetic.
Wu-International: So if you were to list 3 top
producers in the game right now
beside yourselves, who would they be?
Kingston: DJ Premier, Kanye,
Young God: Thatís a hard
question...whoís making the most money and dope at
the same time? Is that top? I donít know. Premo is
always dope, havenít heard that much new Rza... Just
Blaze is pretty dope. Who made that Rick Ross joint?
That beatís sick. Stoupe impresses me. Thatís too
hard of a question.
Wu-International: What equipments do you use in
BSBD: Aside from samples we use
a combination of guitar, trumpet, cello, violin,
piano, keyboard, a drum kit, and a few other
instruments here and there. Some tracks are minimal,
others can have a hundred layers to them.
Wu-International: What is the difference between BSBD
and the string of producers
out there right now?
Wu-International: where do you get your
BSBD: Life, music, boredom, hunger.
Wu-International: Your music is quite dark if I
can label it so, it is definitely
not for people who want to shake their asses up in
the clubs, I personally
think a lot of fans are crying out for that
originality in hip-hop, do you
think hip-hop is missing a much needed dark element
to it or do u have tracks on the album that caters
for ass shaking fans too?
Its safe to say there's no club tracks on the
Holocaust album. I think there's still an audience
for grimy hip hop.
Young God: You might catch our shit banging in
the clubs in the future though. Probably not..
Wu-International: You donít have a typical
trademark sound as in say Kanye West or 9th Wonder,
how do you keep up sounding so fresh?
BSBD: I think itís also because we draw from so
many different influences
that we have trouble and rather dislike to have to
conform to one style.
Wu-International: On ďA heap of broken imagesĒ
Young god was credited as the one mostly responsible
for playing the instruments such guitar, bass, piano
is it an advantage for producers to play their own
instruments? Or rather how important do you think it
is for producers to learn to play different
Although it can be very beneficial, I wouldn't say
its important to every producer, it really depends
on what sound you are trying to create.
Young God: Yeah, Primo has been making bangers
purely out of samples for how long
now?, and there still good.
Wu-International: Ok, lets talk more about the
album, ďA heap of broken imagesĒ was
this your first album, and how well was it received?
BSBD: "A Heap Of Broken Images" has been out
around three months, the press is always slow on a
debut album but its got a great response from URB,
Rock Sound Magazine, Vapors, and a lot of other
Wu-International: You had crazy talents out
there from Jus Allah to Hieroglyphics and of course
Warcloud aka Holocaust, why did you choose the
artists you used on the compilations?
BSBD: We made our decisions on who to collab
with on that project based on artists we respect or
see as innovative it was an honor to work with
everyone on there.
Wu-International: Which other artists would
you like to work with, now or in future that you
have not worked with?
BSBD: Tragedy Khadafi, Thirston Moore, AZ, Bjork,
Godspeed You Black Emperor, MOP to name a few.
Wu-International: The album features mostly
emcees, are your music strictly just for
hip-hop artists or have you or will you be looking
to produce for singers, and non hip-hop acts?
BSBD: We have a lot of non-hip hop plans.
Wu-International: Alright, moving on, letís
talk about your upcoming album, BSBD presents The
Holocaust, how are you feeling about the album?
BSBD: Think our styles compliment each other and
it came together really well on that album.
Wu-International: What can one expect when
they pick up the Holocaust album?
BSBD: We feel like this album is very unique.
Expect some next level imagery, lyrics and
So it is basically a collaborative album between
BSBD and Warcloud
aka Holocaust, Please tell us more about the album,
as in, is Warcloudís vocals on every track on the
album, how many tracks are on the album, any
featured guests, concepts etc?
BSBD: Holocaust does vocals on every track,
there is no guests, its a very focused project.
It was a deliberate decision not to have any guests.
We all liked the idea of it being old school in the
sense of it being focused...as in: hereís the
producer(s) and hereís the rapper.
Wu-International: How did you meet with
Warcloud aka Holocaust?
BSBD: We initially contacted him to appear on
"Heap Of Broken Images" and he laced us with "I
Catch Fire", from then on we started working
together on an album.
Wu-International: Donít know if you know this
but Holocaust has an extensive and intense cult
following from US, Japan to Europe, especially
within the Wu fans, and when I say cult following,
that is somewhat of an understatement, where you
aware of this, and what lead to both parties
deciding to work together on the project ďThe
aware of the all the Warcloud material, and we
work together for one reason: To put out a high
Holocaust and showcasing our production. We did a
of work to get this
project out, and we hope people can appreciate that
and hopefully they will
enjoy the final product.
Young God: I guess weíll really find out how big
his cult following is when it comes out.
Wu-International: Please tell us what itís like
working with Warcloud?
BSBD: It was an honor working with him, his
Wu-International: Before the Holocaust album was
announced, Wu-international caught wind of a 14
track album you were both working on called ďThe
death coast LPĒ is this the same as ďThe HolocaustĒ
album or something totally different, if it is
different please tell us more about the death coast
LP as well?
BSBD: This project has gone through a lot of name
changes, but it is The BSBD/Holocaust collaboration.
We didnít use every track that was recorded.
Wu-International: We asked about the death coast LP due
to the rumours online that both parties have parted ways
and are currently not working together, can you shed any
light to this please if true?
BSBD: We believe Holocaust is currently working on a
Lost Children Of Babylon project, he's got an amazing
work ethic and is always writing and working on music.
BSBD has about 5 projects in the works as well.
Wu-International: The songs I have heard so far are pure
genius, your tracks definitely provide dark cinematic
sound as the back drop to Warcloudís diabolic verses
like no one else has ever captured, did you make the
beats with Warcloud specifically in mind or did he
listen to the beats and choose which ones he wanted to
of both, some were made specifically for him, and some
tracks were made to fit around his verses.
Wu-International: My favourite out of the classic 4
samples out right now is ďCrashĒ, but there are all very
good, do you both have personal favourites from the
album you like to share with us please and what will the
first single be?
Kingston: Holocaust killed
every track... I cant pick one song.
favorite shifts a lot, but I donít know if my favorite
is one of those 4 posted, however The Ocean is the
single and No Image is the B-side.
Wu-International: Warcloud has numerous styles,
personalities and alter egos, from
Holocaust, Alcatraz and more recently Warcloud, where
you aware of his styles, and if so did that awareness
influence your work or the way you worked with him
towards completing the Holocaust album?
Kingston: I have always been
aware of all of his material, his lyrics are unmatched,
I think we just basically tried to provide a cohesive
sound to bring it all together.
God: He would
spit verses for us on the phone to show us what he was
working on before he came up to record and then one of
us would make a beat and think it might be perfect for
the certain content he was rapping.
Wu-International: I think the style portrayed so far on
the 4 songs from the album is more of Warcloud than
Holocaust, hence the question, why have you titled the
album The Holocaust, does it literally mean BSBD
presents The Holocaust as in the artist, most fans
already think it's Warcloud returning to his old style
as in Holocaust, or is there entirely a different and
deeper meaning to the title of the album?
BSBD: He always wanted to be called holocaust when
his official album dropped, not Warcloud. I think it
might have to do less with style and more of just a
preference of name that he wanted to go by. The album is
a mixture of the holocaust and Warcloud style though,
and you donít capture the entirety of the styles from
the 4 songs people have heard. So sit tight.
Wu-International: I think I speak for most of the
Wu-Tang fans when I say we all look forward to the
album, moving along, how did you hook up with Babygrande
records for this project?
Kingston: I initially started
connecting with Babygrande when I did some work with Jus
Allah's "All Fates Have Changed" album
Wu-International: Babygrande seems to be the home of
talented artist, No group or artist on their current
roster is just average, they are all extremely all
talented, how do you feel joining Babygrande and are you
looking to work with other acts on the label as well?
BSBD: Its humbling to be alongside all the talent on
the roster, some of hip hop's greatest talents have
worked with Babygrande.
Wu-International: So after this project is out of the
way, whatís next on the menu for BSBD?
BSBD: We can't say specifically what we are working
on but we have some
exciting projects in the works for next year.
Wu-International: Are you Wu-Tang fans, if so who is
your favourite member from the
Kingston: The core members are
all extremely innovative and talented.
God: They're all dope. my favourites are probably
Ghost, Rae, and Deck, but then again I think at one
point theyíve all been my favorite or have had some of
my favorite verses at one time or another.
Wu-International: If you were to do a collaborative
album with a member from the Wu,
not just the Clan members but also from the extended
Wu-Tang family tree (Wu Killa Beez) who would you like
to produce a full album for and why?
Kingston: It's hard to say, I
have a lot of respect for many of the artists.
God: Iíd like
to an album with Deck, because I donít think he ever got
the best beats on his albums. Iíd also do an album with
Wu-International: Same question as above but not
specific to Wu-Tang, if you were to produce a full album
for any artist, hip-hop or non hip-hop, who would you
like to work with on a full project?
God: Thatís a hard question. I think weíre
capable of producing for a lot of different types of
artists. I canít name one.
Wu-International: What do you guys get up to
when not working on music?
God: Social activities.
Wu-International: How does it feel to be
included amongst the prestigious next 100 on URB
Kingston: It feels
good, its not easy for new artists to get recognition.
God: Its cool
for what it is, but that doesnít mean much to me quite
yet. We still have a ways to go.
Wu-International: You are both producers, do any of you
emcee as well or do any of you ever plan on getting
on the mic any time soon or in future?
BSBD: We only have production plans.
Wu-International: Thatís pretty much it, thanks for your
time and agreeing to do this interview, anything
else you might want to add that we have forgotten?
BSBD: The album drops September 5th.
Wu-International: Any last words to your fans and
potential fans, shout outs?
Wu-International: Thanks very much.
Blue Sky Black Death drops 5th September, Go out and get your
copy, its available on most online stores as well as any
major stores around you, You can read up more about BSBD by
visiting them on their website
www.blueskyblackdeath.com/ or myspace account
[BSBD / Hell Razah] -
Razah's Ladder Interview
The Holocaustic Journals Interview [September 2010]
<Read Other Interviews>