For the maiden edition of our special one on one with artists from around the globe. We caught up with the Germany based indie producer Rice Master Yen. A serial collaborator whose online work ethic knows no bounds. The young man gives us a hint of what he does beyond the music, his ethnic background, his disdain for certain persons in his life and of course a weird Jeru the Damaja story.
You can also catch up with Rice Master Yen’s WIB posts HERE
For the benefit of anyone who’s been living in an underground bunker for the last ten years…who on earth are you?
I am a 24 year old dude from Germany who looks like a mix between Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. Also because I got a similar haircut. So Rice Master Yen is a not black or white guy. He is a real Asian.
How did you get started in music, and what drives you to continue?
I discovered hip hop when i was 15 or 16 years old. There was a magazine called “Bravo Hip Hop” in Germany. They presented a list with the best hip hop albums of all time in their opinion. That was the way how i came into the 90s boom bap sound and the production of Dj Premier, Rza and all that dudes. Then I started to copy them. What drives me to continue? I just do it for hobby and free time. So money don’t influence
my decisions in music making. I’m just interested who far I can go musically in general. Also I wanna create, I cannot just take all the time, I also got to give. So that’s my main reason.
Do you remember the first beat you ever made? How did you go about it?
No :) sorry, maybe also because the first beat I made was no special moment for me.
If a movie about your life in music was to be made, what interesting/strange moments and stories would you share to make the movie cool?
I think I am a very normal dude and my life is a very normal life like everyone else. If you make a movie about somebody’s life in music, it has to be some special. J Dilla finished his last album in the hospital knowing that he is gonna be dead soon. What a story! What a love and passion this guy must had. That is something people wanna see. Not a average guy like me buying records and play something on the MPC. This is totally boring stuff nobody cares. Are there any other interesting facts about you that hardly anyone else knows? Maybe that i started as a rapper before i started with beats. I wrote lyrics about rice in German language, but it was horrible!
What is the greatest thing about working in the music industry? And what would you change if you had the opportunity?
I cannot answer that question because I am not a part of the industry. So I also don’t really care. All I do is making beats, mostly bad mixed and upload them on my bandcamp site.
Not really a promotion plan. I am also not really interested in social media. I don’t even have an artist page on facebook. When I need to contact people on facebook for collabos, i use the account of my roommate. He also listens to underground stuff and always shows me new unknown rappers. The thing i care most is the number of output.
Looking back, what have been the most important moments in your life so far?
Don’t expect some emotional stuff, ha ha. I would say lot of normal things that helps me Every day. Learn to clear the toilet, know how to cook and all that.
What have been the biggest highlights?
My highlights are everyday when the work or the college is over and I can do what I like.
What has been your biggest challenge…and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge is to see people I really hate everyday in the college or at work. Thank god for every hour he gives me not to see the faces of these dudes….haha. Also I hate my work. But many people in this world are in a far worse situation. That’s something makes me feel thankful on the other hand. To be in a lucky situation to live in a country like Germany.
Who are your heroes? Why do they rock your world?
Music wise i think its Dj Premier, Rza, Dilla. Because i try to copy the so hard but i never will reach that level. Premier is for me the best of all time.
Who have been the coolest, most memorable people you’ve met along the way, and how did they make an impact on your life?
A lot of people. Mostly people who are down to earth in every way. Humble, nice persons. That shows me how I also want to be. Thats why I got no problem to say that my music is average. Many boring loops. Sometimes I add some synths. But I can’t really handle this instrument, so sometimes it sounds just horrible, haha.
When you’re sitting on the porch age 97 what would you like to look back on and smile having achieved?
I will never be THAT old. But when i got in this lucky situation than i would make me happy if I could look back to at least one real underground hit, maybe a classic. Some people will remember in years. But I think I don’t have the right skills for that. And I like to have a big number of releases. Most of my output is really trashy, but this is not a problem for me. Look at this crazy director Takashi Miike, he got nearly 100 films out, most of them are pure trash, but he still continues. He must think: Why not? So I do the same.
What has been your most memorable or inspirational gig and why?
I don’t play live. So there’s no moment.
What has been your strangest celebrity encounter?
Oh, I worked at the a club in Berlin some years ago and a famous German soccer manager, Rainer Callmund gave me 50 Euro tip. Also I was on a Jeru the Damaja concert, after the concert, I shook his hands and asked him about a new collabo with DJ Premier. He said that everything is cool. Another guy heard that conversation and after Jeru gone away, this dude told me that Dj Premier had sex with Jeru’s sister and they will never work again.
I couldn’t believe it. Premo, what are you doing?
Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
Nobody of the famous persons. Maybe a somebody I personally know and long time didnt see. I am the Rice Master, of course i would serve rice.
What are the greatest songs, albums, books, movies, TV shows, websites you’ve ever come across?
Its the stuff everybody else also likes: Albums: 36 Chambers, Illmatic, Low End Theory, Midnight Marauders, Fantastic Vol.2…too many…but i never listen to an album for start to end, not even 36 chambers, which is the
best rap album in my eyes besides Illmatic. Books (also the classics): Orwell-1984, Melville- Moby Dick, Camus- The Fall….too many..
classic stuff: Sunset Boulevard, Ikiru, Wild Strawberries, Modern Times, La Dolce Vita… Newer stuff( from 90s till now): Millers Crossing, Mulholland Dr., Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Up, Milk, Talk To Her
Websites: Ebay (because I am a poor guy), of course Word Is Bond, and also a site 2 sites from Germany, dudes who always supported me (dont ask me why ;): Onlydahotshit and
Mics & Beats. Shout out to Mr. Cheeks from Stuttgart and Matthias Kuehnlenz from a village the name I forgot.
Name 5 songs (yours excluded) that we would expect to find on your iPod or Music Player
Oh, on this one, I try not to name the classics everybody else know, let me name 5
instrumental and 5 rap songs, so here’s my list:
Duo Duo- Byward Market (you guys gotta check this out!!!!!!)
Rap (also german):
MR.WHATSHISNAME? Ft. Lyricz – Rewind
Zetta & Dreck – Kaffeekasse
Moka Only-It’s Best (Moka Only is the most underrated in my eyes)
Rino Mandingo & Figub Brazlevič “Showwienichtsnutz”
What special-hero type skills are you blessed with?
I got no talents, haha. Especially no hero type.
Where can everyone reading this interview keep up with your adventures?
The best thing is to subscribe my youtube channel.
Any final thoughts?
Please don’t send me any money on bandcamp if you purchase my music. It’s very nice, I respect it a lot but I don’t need it and I dont want it :) A lot of new stuff will come out, also many videos, also a lot of German stuff. I only mix my music, but I don’t master, sorry guys, it’s too much work! That’s why some songs are not very loud. But in this case you can turn up your speakers.The next covers on my bandcamp releases will be more uglier than the ones you already know. I am using Microsoft Paint for that. More “The Price of Rice” beattapes comes out in the future. I will not change the concept. They will always be 1 minute loops. No changes. Changes are too much work.
If you are a good rapper (average rapper is also ok, but please not too bad) and you got some GOOD skills for videos or got a friend who can do nice videos for free or a VERY low price, then feel free to hit me up and we can make some happen. I am always open! And don’t worry if you need a whole year for a 16 bar verse, I am already familiar with that situation.