The representation of raw organic hiphop: manifestations are ample. Every hiphop head will have provided his/her very own representation of the art and sub-culture. Mic-Key Boston and producer John Wholetrain opted to work with El Da Sensei and set out from their Harlem Headquarters in Hamilton Heights to rapid transit their way to Newark and touch base with the Sensei. The conceit of the apprentice wanting to see the master was embodied in the journey via the iron horse.
1994s album, Between a Rock and a Hard Place leaves a lasting impression and great art is eternalized within the heads who were there when it was on regular rotation. A Classic remains as a Classic and the intent of contemporary artists planting the seeds for Classics that would be appreciated down the line should be deemed necessary, it just renders the determinism and focus just that much more higher. Emcees have an artistic obligation to set the bar high and speak the content that the audience yearns for and not what the corporate commercial label desires.
With fellow Journeymen member Melo Malo Paulino having worked an EP, yet to be released, with Artifacts member Tame One, Journeymen members Mickey Boston and John Wholetrain were set on working extensively with Artifacts member, El Da Sensei. Organic hiphop is the Journeymen model and trademark; hitting the lab setting and bringing a more interactive humanized aspect of the art is quintessential to he greater Journeymen model. Sitting with an emcee and exchanging ideas is the intention and such was the case when Melo Malo and Tame One recorded their respective records.
While residing in Hamilton Heights, Mickey Boston and John Wholetrain were set on recording that authentic hiphop that correlates itself directly with that gritty Journeymen sound whilst also remaining true to the culture of hiphop that was prevalent within the period from ’86 to ’97.
Undeniably, Brosky and Wholetrain headed to Jersey from Harlem and touched base with the Sensei in order to hit the NJ Sound Lab. In essence, the opening shot of the New Seed video highlight the Jersey recording studio in which the track was originally recorded. Having sat and chilled with Sensei, Brosky and Wholetrain discussed hiphop and The Artifacts with El Da Sensei. From here, El Da Sensei began to preview the two Journeymen to his new compilation with Sadat-X in which the production was unbelievably butter.
After discussing the Artifacts reunion and spending the day with El Da Sensei, the video shoot for New Seed was planned to be filmed in Harlem’s Hamilton Heights in which the two Journeymen had established headquarters. Paying homage to Harlem was necessary for both Brosky and Wholetrain as the neighbourhood itself carried with it much seminal American history, let alone hiphop history. The concept of the track was focused on the aspect of the earth and the soil and used as a metaphor in regards to the contemporary soil of hiphop being contaminated with various genres contaminants that currently plague and sully the soil of hiphop.
In this regard, Journeymen were intent on making “New Seed” as a debut, the new seed that is to be planted with a contaminated soil polluted by commercial and mainstream interests. Bringing hiphop back to its salient foundations whilst still keeping it current and contemporary is the intent behind the Journeymen sound, and what better way than to start with legend, El Da Sensei. The idea for the track was launched by producer John Wholetrain who spearheaded the track while Mickey Boston came about with the track’s concept.
It remains undeniable that thus far El Da Sensei has had an illustrious career as an emcee. Mickey Boston asserts that before even having worked with El Da Sensei that “Sensei has one of the most solid reputations in hiphop, he has never delivered a weak verse on any track he’s been on, just one solid emcee who never delivered anything that was off tune or off cadence or weak.” Having noted this, Mickey Boston did not hesitate for a second to work with El Da Sensei and touch base with producer and DJ, DJ Ment Plus who partakes in a cameo within the “New Seed” video clip.
Going back on El Da Sensei’s poignant reputation as an emcee, Tim Einenkel, in his interview with El Da Sensei makes note of how the emcee speaks of his contemporary sound within the new era:
TIM EINENKEL: In no way you should be considered strictly a North American rapper; you have worked and collaborated with producers all over the world (Japan, Poland, Croatia, etc)…How has being a world traveler affected your style, flow and content of lyrics if at all?
EL DA SENSEI: I think it has given me a better outlook on who I’m affecting or attracting with my words and music. What my fans want from me. Technically we’re all the same when it comes to the taste in the music we like anyway so….I just don’t wanna make it too complicated. I know I’ve grown since I started as a solo artist and now being at this stage in my career I hope to sound not like El Da Sensei from the past, but sound more like El Da Sensei for the new era. Plus I never really been some sorta thug on wax, I’m that nukka that’ll kill you onstage, booth, mic and song. Grrrr. Yet I’m that nukka in the cut.