Prolific hip-hop producer Madlib discussed his musical inspirations, numerous collaborations and nonstop creativity during a rare interview for the recent Red Bull Music Academy in New York City. The hour-long chat, led by by music journalist “Chairman” Jeff Mao, is available to stream in full.
Delivering brief but compelling answers, Madlib opened up about a number of topics – including the musical influence of his father, R&B singer Otis Jackson. “My pops had me at the studio since I was born,” he said. “That’s why I got into music. He’d let me go up on the controls and mess with stuff. Engineers would get mad, but he’d be like, ‘Let the brother do this.’ That’s how I learned.”
The producer, who admitted he sleeps around two hours a night, said he’s “creating music constantly” both at home and in the studio. He opened up about several of those projects – including his collaborations with MF Doom, Freddie Gibbs and J Dilla.
“He’s a fellow alien,” he said of the late Dilla. “It’s hard to explain. Musical cousin. He was the king, though.” Pushed to comment about a potential follow-up to the iconic Madvillainy, his 2004 collaborative LP with rapper MF Doom, he noted, “I’m not gonna lie. We got 20 tracks recorded, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to come out.”
Madlib also praised musical legends like the Sugar Hill Gang and Prince, noting that he loves the latter’s “early stuff, ’89 and before,” like “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker” and “Lady Cab Driver.”