A few months ago, I stumbled upon Prosthetik Intelligentz thanks to common connections on Twitter and I’m sure glad I did. The young MC and producer bring a breath of fresh air into hip-hop and are all about spreading the culture and its values. They provide the listener with thoughtful music that touches upon the state of the world or music but never forget to enjoy themselves in the process. After learning more about them, I felt curious and eventually decided to do this interview, to introduce them to you and discover their universe in more depth. If you’re ready, let’s go!
First of all, for people who are not familiar with you and your music, could you introduce yourself? How did Prosthetik Intelligentz come to life?
Ezzie B: Hey there new listener! (LOL!) I’m Ezra “Ezzie B” Baptiste.
B. Doom: And I’m Bryson “B. Doom” Dumas. We are Prosthetik Intelligentz. The way we met was kinda crazy.
Ezzie B: Yeah, it was COMPLETELY chance. We had a friend in common that knew Doom’s passion for all forms of musical production, the Hip-Hop culture and my love of poetry and music in general and suggested we meet. It was all she wrote after that, we hit the ground running.
Shortly after combining your talents and forming Prosthetik Intelligentz, you created the Man-Cave Music mixtape series. Could you tell us about that and how they evolved from the first instalment to the third one that is currently in the works?
B. Doom: See that series, that entire concept transformed from us just wanting to share what we were recording as we went along.
Ezzie B: (Laughs) Yeah, we were just hitting the cave everyday and coming up with some pretty decent stuff. We wanted to share it with as many people as possible but didn’t want to be sharing an incomplete project.
B. Doom: Exactly. We were working for a couple weeks straight and looked down and realized we had a couple solid songs. It made sense for it to be a mixtape because we were still finding our sound, and that’s how volume one was born.
Ezzie B: Fast forward about a year and a half later and we’re working on volume three… and we’re really on the fence as to whether it’ll be a “mixtape” or not just a full LP. We’ve definitely found our sound and have direction, but we really want to make sure we’re ready for that next step before taking it.
In your own words, the mixtapes created “moderate local buzz” but met “international underground success”. Do you think there is such a big difference nowadays, between the way hip-hop is perceived in the US and how it is supported in Europe and the rest of the world?
B. Doom: Oh there’s a BIG difference. Support is a powerful thing, and it really all comes down to the individual. In the US if you approach someone trying to GIVE AWAY a tape of yours most people will look at you like “Oh… He’s a “rapper…” because of the way the term has been corrupted here. And even IF they take it and listen to it (even if it’s REALLY good) they probably won’t talk about it. But humility is the name of the game though.
Ezzie B: Yeah, early on that was rough… I mean, EVERYONE thinks that the people closest to you will shout you out the hardest, but locally people felt like since they’d never seen us on TV or heard us on the radio that our music wasn’t going to be good lol Then we started receiving waves of international support and reviews. It was a true game-changer and eye opener for us. Real fans of real Hip-Hop know it’s not on TV or the radio anymore, and we really think that’s why the majority of our listeners come from all over instead of one place.
Something that is quite original and unique with you is the fact that a third member of your group is a lovely alien that goes by the name of Hip+Hop and who represents the culture. Could you tell us more about “The Marvelous Misadventures of Hip+Hop” and how you travel the world to spread the culture?
Ezzie B: Awww man… He just gives me such a hard time man…
B. Doom: You should see these guys. Hip+Hop is a really cool and hilarious dude, but he’s serious when it comes to the Hip-Hop culture, love, children, etc. Those are probably the only things he’s serious about. He “appointed” himself as Ezzie’s tutor a minute ago and sometimes he’s a little rough on em’.
Ezzie B: But he KNOWS his stuff. “The Marvelous Misadventures Of Hip+Hop” is a project that chronicles Hip+Hop’s travels all over the world as he spreads the culture of Hip-Hop as well as us and our music with him. This guy has taken us everywhere; from London and Ireland in the UK, to Qatar and Kuwait in the Middle East, to Morocco and Mauritania in Africa!
B. Doom: It’s been such an amazing experience to meet new people of different backgrounds and cultures with the same love of music, specifically Hip-Hop. It’s truly been amazing.
Another important element of Prosthetik Intelligentz is your “creative and provocative lyricism”, that provides food for thought for the listeners while they nod their head. Is it important for you to say certain truths about society and the world but to do so in an innovative way?
Ezzie B: It’s really what makes it worth doing. Every single sound is an expression. Lately people have been putting more time and interest in the drums, horns, bassline of their records and not in the instrument most all of us were born naturally with: A voice. Either use it on your platform for the benefit of the people or shut the fuck up.
B. Doom: They call it “The School of Hip-Hop” for a reason. There should be some type of important or relevant information being shared with the people. Most people don’t realize you listen to music with much more than just your ears. That stuff you hear is going into your brain, into your heart. We want what our music puts there to be something that’s worthy of being there.
One of your upcoming projects is B. Doom’s The Sade Experience mixtape, that is apparently inspired by the singer, of course, but also your world travels, which sounds very interesting. What prompted you to create the mixtape?
B. Doom: I’ve been traveling Africa since the end of May. Soaking up the culture, the music and enjoying the experience of being on a continent many people will never see. Well, every time I was near a Wi-Fi signal I would contact my girls back home and download as much music as I possibly could. So one day I downloaded the albums Promise and Soldier of Love to add to my Sade folder in my iPod (R.I.P. Mr. Jobs). For the next few days after that I listened to nothing but Sade everywhere I went. It just seemed like every song that I listened to had CRAZY loops in them. So I picked a few tracks that some of my favorite producer’s have sampled like MF Doom and Dre and then put my own special sauce on ’em. I think once I was engulfed in their music for several days straight coupled with the Western Sahara it just… fit I guess. Honestly, I don’t think it was a coincidence that the idea popped in my head to do TSE while I was so close to where she was born. She was born in Nigeria and since I’ve been here, heard local musicians and had this experience, her roots are that much more apparent in her music. Like the intro of The Sade Experience says, I wanted to share them with an audience that “may not have heard of them otherwise”. That’s one of the many things about music that’s so special. The fact that I have the ability to hip people to artists who have influenced me by fusing their sound with mine… that’s word.
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Your main project at the moment is the collaboration with GravityMovement entitled The Sounds & Wonders EP, that is coming out in December. How did you guys get in touch and decide to work together? What is the inspiration and concept behind the EP?
Ezzie B: That was another spectacular situation that we just kinda stumbled on. I got turned on to Gravity after one of the people I follow on Twitter retweeted one of his links. I checked it out and was blown away. The expression in his sound was exactly the same as ours. Then we found out he was based in Raleigh, NC (which is only about an hour from Fayetteville, NC), a collaboration just made sense. The concept is based very loosely around the Charismatic Movement of the 80’s and 90’s. The only difference is Hip-Hop is our gospel, Gravity’s production is our vehicle and Doom’s engineering and cuts are the signs and wonders.
B. Doom: Hip+Hop and I launched the “Pieces Of The Movement” campaign in support of “The Sounds & Wonders EP” earlier this year and have been traveling across Africa ever since. There are so many different inspirations for this project, it would be unfair to mention only a few. This project covers a lot of bases. It really is a project for the people.
You offer the project as a digital download but also as a special edition double CD including liner notes, lyrics and artwork for every track. This is something few people do lately and that will surely be greatly appreciated by people who are nostalgic of the “golden era” of the CD. Is it important for you to create material music and not give in to the current supremacy of digital copies?
B. Doom: It’s very important to us. We know our sound has substance and that it’s more about the experience than anything else, but some people want to touch it, they want to feel it. We’re the same way.
Ezzie B: It gives us a chance to show our appreciation to the listener as well. It just goes with our philosophy of doing what we feel is right for us and our listeners and not what everyone else is doing anyway.
Your website is very interesting and informative, you are also quite present online with your blog and social networks. Do you think it’s necessary these days to stay connected with fans and fellow artists through those media?
B. Doom: It really is, especially because of the time we’re in. The Internet has become the streets, and any artist not willing to believe or accept it is hurting themselves and their ability to share their creation.
Ezzie B: It’s good to be connected and have those outlets to build and promote through, but it’s cool to meet normal everyday people that don’t make music as well. Social networking has made the world that much smaller and greater types and numbers of people more accessible. It’s an amazing thing.
Anything else you would like to add?
Our single “Investment” is featured on DJ Green Lantern’s “Overtime Grind” mixtape that dropped on the 25th of October! Be sure to head over to Hip Hop DX and download that free project [download the mixtape HERE]! Also, if you haven’t already secured your copy of “The Sounds & Wonders EP” and would like a physical one, just head over to our Bandcamp page and grab one. The EP drops everywhere digitally (iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, Bandcamp, etc) on the 12th of December. Shouts to Carminelitta and Word Is Bond for this opportunity!