Antlive is from Detroit and has been representing the Hip Hop scene since the 80’s. We caught up with the rapper/producer and CEO of Boom Bap Kings to talk about his career and future projects.
Antlive welcome to File Under Hip Hop. You were discovered by Hip Hop legend Chuck D back in 1991. Tell us about that?
Peace to File Under Hip Hop. Actually I was discovered by Chuck D in 1988. I went to a Public Enemy concert at Joe Louis arena in Detroit. I sneaked back stage and met Professor Griff and Flavor Flav. They introduced me to Chuck D.
I was only 17, my music was very amateurish but my direction was set. I had been rapping for years. Chuck D noticed this and became like a big brother to me. I was able to contact him. I would run ideas by him and have a better understanding for Hip Hop and what I was about to embark on.
Unfortunately I lost touch with Chuck D. Back then there was no social media networks or cell phones. I had two loves I played college basketball; it was 50/50 music and basketball.
By the time Chuck started his record label; SOUL, I ended up connecting with Ultramagnetic MC‘s CED Gee. He helped us get signed to Next Plateau / London PolyGram records in 1992 under his guidance production company. We released, Idol the blood sport on October 9, 1993. That was the same release date as our label mates Salt and Pepa.
Your first release was with MF 911 and Ced Gee. Tell us about how that all started.
As mentioned by 1991, I had lost touch with Chuck D. Ultramagnetics had always been my favourites. I contacted their former label Next Plateau to get CED G’s home number. They told me he was recording at Mercury Records now.
I called Mercury Records and told them I was a big-time record label producer from Detroit and I want to produce CED G. They gave me his home phone number. I called CED’s home. He answered and I told him that my group was the hottest out of Detroit. I sent him a demo and he had us signed to his old record label Next Plateau within 6 months. I had a record deal whilst playing college basketball at Concordia University in Ann Arbor Michigan.
Let’s talk about the production side. I listened to an interview where you said you still record analogue, is that still the case? What equipment do you use?
Yeah, I still record with analogue equipment. I use the ASR 10 keyboard MPC 3000 and various pieces from the 80s and 90s. This keeps my sound authentic and not as digital clean as the acoustics you hear today. I’m strictly Boom BAP!
You’ve produced for many artists like Ghostface Killah plus many more. What has been your most stand out collab?
My standout collabs would be with Chuck D and Public Enemy. I’ve had the pleasure of producing Ghostface Yolanda’s House. I’ve worked with various artists from Jam Master Jay, Mobb Deep and rapper Noyd. To Logging hours with Jay Dilla, Proof, CED Gee, Kool Kieth and Keith Shocklee plus much more.
Being with Chuck D is like being with a prophet. I can truly say I’ve worked and with toured with my mentor Chuck D. He is a prophet of our times and a millionaire.
What’s a day in the life of Antlive the producer?
I’m an educator; I have a Bachelors and Master’s degree in various education studies. I’ve been a teacher for 25 years, which has afforded me a life style of music. I own a recording studio in Houston Texas and I only work on professional projects that centre on the Boom Bap Kings.
I’m a father and a husband which I’ve been for over 20 years. I definitely don’t live a normal life, but its focused. I’m all about legacies…. my legacy.
Describe your sound?
I would say that my sound comes from listening to The Beatles. Run DMC, Just Ice, BDP, Ultramagnetic MC‘s, Gangstarr, Wu Tang and Mobb Deep. Raw unapologetic dirty ass records, melodic and ill grooves.
What producers and rap artists influenced you?
Chuck D, Ice T, Mantronix, T LA ROCK, Run DMC, DJ Premier, RZA, Havoc, ROQZ, Ghostface, Doom, Wu Tang, NAS and Prodigy are my core influencers.
Tell us about your radio work?
After being dropped from Next Plateau I went into recording and producing full time. I would drop radio promos for local DJ’s. During an interview on the station the program director pointed out that I’d be a dope producer and DJ. My radio life on FM98 WJLB started in 1995 and lasted 3 years.
Is this something that you may return to?
Yes. I’m actually starting a new show on Rapstation.com, Boombapkings.com Radio. Chuck D’s Internet radio station which generates thousands of listeners.
Let’s talk about the CEO side and Boom Bap Kings. Tell us about Boom Bap Kings.
Working in the industry for many years I learned that you have to have a foundation to secure the bag of sorts. Around the world I’m known as an artist and producer. Music is much bigger than me. I wanted to develop my own brand. To help magnify and enhance who I am as an artist, producer and an executive.
I don’t just tour the world with Public Enemy. I book my own shows; and tour as Ant Live Boom BAP kings. Established music artists can only do so much for you. They’re trying to stay relevant. Chuck D gave me the ball and I took it to the basket and became the franchise.
In July you released the project Cassette Tape with DJ Bless 1ne. Releasing the video to the track Boombaptism. Tell us about this release.
Cassette Tape was inspired by artwork that Chuck D did for me. I like to create EPs. I feel that listeners have attention deficit disorder. You’ve got to hit them with hard shit. Get out of there and come back with some new shit.
Cassette Tape was produced by DJ Bless 1ne from El Paso, Texas. I was inspired by his beats. They are different to mine. This EP like my previous releases are all different tangible‘s of Boom BAP hip hop. I’m not the only producer out here. I like to hear my voice on other hard-core beats by other producers.
Recently you produced/featured on the album The Mighty Adventures of CoCo Long with Houston artist LRB (Loyal Royal Bishop). Tell us about this release and how you guys linked up?
I’m originally from Detroit. I’ve been living in Houston Texas for the past 12 years. I met LRB the second year I was here. He’s a boom bap emcee from Houston with dope ass lyrics.
I immediately gravitated to his sound and style of emceeing and we started working together. We created multiple projects with Coco Long being his first solo. Besides ROQZ and MF 911 I’ve worked with LRB longer and more consistently than anybody else. He’s the ultimate rapper and more human being.
You recently toured the UK with Public Enemy. Tell us about your experiences in the UK.
Before touring the UK with Chuck D, I came out there to work with another producer called Roll Blunt. Roll Blunt is from Northampton, England. He started sending me beats online and I liked them. I came up with the concept of us putting a group together. Maximising our efforts and calling ourselves The Rock n Rollers after my favourite movie. Prior to us teaming up, I was already an established artist and had a record deal with MF911 in the 90’s.
Roll Blunt and I toured as The Rock n Rollers for a few years. We dropped a few albums and singles from 2012 – 2015. I introduced Roll Blunt to Bronze Nazareth of the Wu Tang Affiliates. This was during our Golden Age tour in summer 2015. After I introduced them together, Roll Blunt joined Bronze Nazareths’ Wisemen group.
Which in my estimation, Bronze thought he may have a lock on UK touring with Roll on his team. I don’t know. I got a few records like “Kenny Powers is back” and “I stand by my Hustle” that I summarise was the root of this evil lol.
I’ve continued to build with producers like Dr.G. Groups like Seven Spherez, Blackjack, Red Venum and MC Trigger. I have toured the UK by myself. With Public Enemy, Mobb Deep, ED OG and Supernatural plus more on various shows.
I love England. You must understand the first music I heard was the Beatles. My mom was an avid Beatles fan; it seemed a bit abnormal because we’re from the projects! The Beatles and the essence of England has been part of the inspiration behind my music.
What do you think of the Hip Hop scene here?
The scene in UK is the most authentic hip hop scene in the world. People in the UK appreciate the music like it just came out. Our shows and tours are full of good people who appreciate good music.
What’s next for Antlive?
I just opened the new Boombapkings.com recording studio and office in Houston Texas. I’m gonna drop a new EP called Top Boy with a new video that was filmed in Manchester by Adam Bukhari. The first single is titled Black 47.
I produced my next EP for consistency. After producing projects for Roq Z and LRB, I thought it was time for another Antlive produced joint.
Thanks for taking the time out to do this interview.
I appreciate your time and energy. You best believe that I will be promoting and marketing this Hip Hop site. You obviously believe in the one true and real form of hip hop.
Interview by Jai Boo