Brooklyn’s Ricky Lascaze (now operating under the moniker of Eaze) is a producer and lyricist who strives to keep the classic Hip Hop sound alive and well with his eclectic beats and gritty flavor. First emerging on Digi Crates Records as DJ Ezasscul, Eaze has since elevated his style and transmuted some of his creative potential into Emceeing as well.
During his time with Digi Crates, he was releasing soulful, asian inspired Jazz-Hop (something that a lot of indie labels were putting out in the wake of the Nujabes craze towards the beginning of the decade) and while that sound is still at the core of some of his work, it only takes a moment to see that he is capable of so much more. This has been made no more apparent than on his latest album, “Origins” where he absolutely flourishes with an assortment of boom-bap jams.
Unfazed by negativity and naysayers, he has continued to improve as an artist and start up his own label, Dust Wax Records.
I wanted to know if it was difficult for the New Yorker to transition into rapping after coming up with a production background, and learn a few new things about him and what’s in store for his listeners.
Prox: What was it like growing up in the birthplace and epicenter of Hip Hop? What was it about Brooklyn that made you pursue music?
Eaze: To be honest, it was never a concrete idea for me to pursue music. I hate to sound cliché, but music is an outlet for most people who live in a rough environment because it allows us to display our emotions with others through audio.
When I was 16 I got arrested for grand larceny but since I was underage, the judge let me off with 6 months probation and community service. After that incident, I decided to join my school’s marching band to prevent myself from violating probation and that’s how I got introduced to music composition. Shortly after, I got into audio production when Fruity Loops 8 got downloaded to my computer and fell in love.
Prox: Who were some of your favorite producers growing up? Which of them do you think had the most impact on your style?
Eaze: There are a lot of notable producers I could list, but I think we should give some credit to the musicians as well man, like Dizzy Gillespie, Eddie Henderson, John Coltrane and Hubert Laws. Those were a few artists that my teacher taught me about in high school, listening to them lead me to other great musicians. For me, it all started on a trumpet, those guys influenced me just as much as Nujabes, Pete Rock, DJ Premier, Havoc, Kirk Knight, SoulChef, Dilla, K-Def, Thomas Prime, Fat Jon, and Damu The Fudgemunk.
Prox: You got into production pretty early. What was it like being involved with Digi Crates Records at such a young age?
Eaze: At the time, I appreciated Digi Crates because they gave me a work ethic, production credits, manufacturing, a decent following, and I got paid. What more could I ask for? I don’t think I would’ve taken music seriously if they weren’t interested in putting it out in the first place. They gave me the confidence to believe in myself. A lot of labels are lacking that because they don’t have confidence in the artists they sign.
Prox: When I heard your music years ago, you were working strictly as a producer. Why did you decide to start rapping as well? Was it a difficult transition?
Eaze: There’s a lot of inner hate where I live man, it’s like when people see that you actually have a chance to leave the hood and do something positive, they have to disrupt you, they’ll try their hardest to break your spirit.
When I first started producing, I knew a lot of rappers who didn’t “like my beats” and I’m from NY, the home of Boom-Bap. I knew this was just negativity, hatred, and jealousy so I told myself "if no one could rap on my beats, then I will". Just to prove that anybody could rap to it if you were a good enough MC.
Prox: What are some of the biggest changes you’ve noticed within yourself and the industry from the time you started up until now?
Eaze: Since I’m mature now, I seek out quality in the music that I put out, something I wasn’t doing earlier in my career. I’ve also upgraded my equipment. During the “Digi Crates Era” I was strictly on software because my untrained ears couldn’t hear the difference between analog and digital. I do a lot of scratching now and I’ve noticed that I’m pretty much rocking the same gear as some of my idols like a pair of Technics 1200’s MK2, a Vestax PMC05Pro3, and my Yamaha SU700 (everybody has an MPC so I got this instead, just to push my limits even further) I guess this is what progression feels like.
Prox: If you could go back in time and tell little Eaze something about what he should do to prepare for the future, what would it be?
Eaze: I’d remind myself to save my money because that’s the key to survival. When I was 16-17 I actually had an MPC 2000xl, but I sold it because I was comfortable on Fruity Loops. If I could go back, I’d prevent that day from happening.
Prox: Who are some of your favorite contemporary artists?
Eaze: 800, BEASTCOAST, LOAF MUZIK, HDBEENDOPE, ULUE, CLEAR SOUL FORCES, GS9, Eramatics, Bishop Nehru, CJ Fly, Just Observe.
Prox: Favorite hobbies?
Eaze: Gaming, I might play my Xbox One or my brother’s PS4 from time to time to keep me occupied if I’m bored. We all know that I love smoking weed, it’s like a ritual for me and my friends and this is how we let go of the pain sometimes. I used to write a lot, but decided to take a break to keep my mind refreshed because there was a point in my life where my friends would tell me that they’d never seen me not writing lyrics.
Prox: Tips for aspiring artists?
Eaze: Never back down.
Prox: Information on upcoming releases and projects?
Eaze: I actually started my own label recently titled “Dust Wax Records” we’re on iTunes, Spotify, and pretty much every digital retailer. So far we have our first two releases an LP titled “Still LoFi” and my new beat-tape titled “Origins” where I go back to my Nu-Jazz-Hop style. As things progress, we’ll move into manufacturing merchandise and physical releases, so stay tuned.
Prox: Final Thoughts?
Eaze: Thanks for having me, I truly appreciate it. I was wondering if I was forgotten, but it’s reassuring to know that I’m not.
Support Eaze, here.
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