Tuesday, June 30, 2015 at 5:43PM
The incredible mc known as Vursatyl The Great is back, and once again he has hit the ground running. His first solo album apart from the superteam Lifesavas called 'Crooked Straights' is making waves all over. He just released the Jake One remix of 'Bring It To A Halt' which has heads nodding across the globe. We were lucky enough to have a chat with the man himself. Check it out:
Fingers on Blast: First of all, what's a typical day in the life of Vursatyl The Great?
Vursatyl: I'm up at 6 AM every morning, in my headphones listening to beats. Often times I am listening to the same beat over and over again, trying to get ideas going.
Where do you think your ideas come from? What inspires you?
I like to get out and drive. I like to see the city, to see people and just observe life man. I find inspiration through what I see. Like most writers I also get inspiration from life experiences. Going to concerts and shows inspire me as well. I get challenged by seeing excellence. I guess that's why the music I have released as a solo artist feels like music to drive to.
What do you love about living in Portland?
I love living in Portland because everything was so untapped here that I've been able to be myself and find my own voice as a musician and an artist. I love being born and raised here, and being able to watch what we built grow into such a colorful Hip Hop scene.
After traveling the world, I dig that my kids can go to school here and also generally feel safe.
You mentioned before being challenged by excellence. who have you seen live that would fall into that category?
Man, there are so many great live performers that I've seen. But I'd have to say the greatest live shows belong to Public Enemy, De La Soul, The Roots (in the 90's and early 2000's), Digital Underground
But on a micro level, I can go to underground shows and see an unknown MC who's hungry and on his game and leave feeling inspired to go harder.
If you could make a posse cut with some of your favorites, who would produce it and who would you have rap on it with you?
Wow! Best interview question ever!
J Dilla would produce it. Rakim, Pharoahe Monch, Mykah 9, Kendrick Lamar, Elzhi, Jay Electronica, Black Thought and Me. First names to come mind.
We first came across you as one half of lifesavas and being on tour with the quannum mc's. can you tell us how that all got started?
The short version: In 1998 Chief Xcel of Blackalicious heard Lifesavas cassette single while shopping at Jump Jump Records here in Portland. I was introduced to him at a show a day or so later.
I met Gab, and Lateef that night as well. Xcel said he loved the tape, so we kept in touch and a year later after understanding that I also sang, he asked me to send more music and some of me singing.
The next day, he sent me a plane ticket to come to Oakland to rehearse with Blackalicious and Latyrx to join them on the 'Quannum Spectrum Tour' in Europe. In 2000 they signed Lifesavas.
To back up a bit, while on that tour I was giving away A new Lifesavas demo. In Rennes, France I had given one to Babu & J-Rocc of the Beat Junkies, and Cut Chemist. Lyrics Born got pissed that I being the "newbie" was giving his friends music that he hadn't heard and didn't want me to giving them anything wack.
So he and Xcel told me to let them hear it before I gave anymore out.
They took it on the tour bus and once they listened, they asked me if I'd like to release it on Quannum. That demo included our first 12"inch single "Head Exercise".
That is actually so awesome. Are there any plans for more Lifesavas music?
Yes. We've been saying for years but coincidentally we've been hard at work this week on new Lifesavas music. We are sure to be releasing an EP by fall
Amazing! What inspired the creation of your new solo LP Crooked Straights? Can you tell us what it was like to make this one?
While Jumbo and Shines had been so busy working on various projects, I continued to record.
I compiled Crooked Straights from many of the songs I've been working on. My focus is on reintroducing myself properly to the world. I wanted to be more deliberate with everything regarding the music and the depiction of me as a person. After years of being put in a box I didn't completely relate to, Crooked Straights was the right introduction to my plan to release my opus. I wanted to put a project out to set the tone for what was to come on a larger level. I'm fortunate that it's being so well received and even serving as a catalyst for my crew to re-embark on our quest to extend our collective legacy. Crooked Straights is the fire starter to the inferno that follows.
Thanks you so much for talking with us. Is there anything else we should know? Shoutouts?
Shout to my partner in crime Lunden who executive produced Crooked Straights and also produced my soon to come single 'High Horse'. Big up to Jumbo, Shines, Sly Da Brown Hornet, Wolveryne & Libretto from my crew the Misfit Massive. Also look out for Imani Vol. From my brothers Blackalicious coming soon! Big up Chief Xcel & Gift Of Gab!
Special thanks Jake One for Killing This Remix!