If it seems like 6th Sense is all over the internet, it’s because he is. Check out the second part of my interview with 6th, where we go into his production style, his thoughts on mixtapes, Mick Boogie, freestyling, and IT. Definitely some interesting conversation, check it out, and make sure to hit the jump to read the whole thing:
Judge Mental: When I look at your career I find it interesting that in ‘06 you dropped Highing Fly, in ‘07 you dropped It’s Coming Soon, but last year there really was no album. Instead there were a bunch of mixtapes. But that constant flow of new music kind of elevated your career in a way.
6th Sense: Yeah.
Judge Mental: I was wondering what’s your take on that, and is this something you’re going to try and continue or is there an album in the works?
6th Sense: I appreciate that question. None of it has really been by design or choice really. It just kind of happened to be that way. It wasn’t like, “alright I’m gonna do this, this, and that.” It was more like the opportunities were there, and I just went and did it. A lot of the stuff, Mick Boogie’s my right hand man. He’s constantly putting out new mixtapes and projects. And he always has ideas and he always wants to incorporate me into those ideas, so I’m going to do them.
As far as there not being an album… I could have easily dropped something at the end of this year. I could have dropped a mixtape, I could have dropped an album. I wanted to, but I decided against it. I decided that there was no point. I have literally like 40 or 50 songs in the stash. And truthfully we kind of rolled out some Both Nice tracks, which is me and Wildabeast and we got a whole album together. But we even stopped rolling those songs out. I’m not saying the internet is oversaturated or anything but, for us it’s not just about putting a song on the internet. A lot of people say “Oh 6th, I see you all the time,” and I’m like, “Well that’s cause I WORK all the time.” But a lot of it is out of my control. The opportunity comes and for some random reason you might see 3 or 4 things that i’ve done all pop up around the same time. And I’m not mad at that. Personally, I think it’s great.
You might see me a couple of times on the U-N-I mixtape, or you might see me on a Mick Boogie freestyle, all within a short timeframe. I’m constantly, constantly constantly working. All the time. Sure I didn’t drop an album last year. But at the same time I did so much music that it’s kind of just the way the game goes now. I think years ago you used to put everything you had and you were going to drop your ALBUM. And you’ll have your album release party. That kind of stuff is pretty much long gone. There’s guys dropping a freestyle an hour. So in that sense, this instrumental CD, It’s a 6th Sense Beat Yo!, is almost like the next album. I’m actually making some physicals, we’re gonna have a party. It’s cool, I think it’s a good listen. And I stayed with my ‘It’ theme. You went from It’s Coming Soon, to Go For It, to Just Do It, and now you’ve got It’s a 6th Sense Beat Yo. So I’m sticking with my It theme, and I’ll probably stick with IT as long as I can.
Judge Mental: You were talking about how you’ve been working so closely with Mick Boogie, and for a lot of people that’s maybe the first time they were exposed to your music. How did that relationship come about, and obviously there’s some good chemistry there cause you guys are just pumping out great stuff, so anything you wanna say about him and you guys working together?
6th Sense: I’ve gotten to know Mick pretty well. We’ve worked on a lot of projects together. We’ve been on the road a couple times. He’s a cool dude. Basically I got a lot of friends over at Cornerstone Promotion. Shoutouts to everybody over there. Whether they work there still or not. Shoutouts to everybody over there. My man Blaze, OP, all my people who used to work there, Kristen. I shouldn’t turn this into a cornerstone shoutout section, but… They do the mixtape over there. And this was back in ‘07. And Mick and Terry were doing the Cornerstone mixtape that month. And basically I did a freestyle for that mixtape. And Mick heard it and was like, “yo this kid is dope.” And everybody was like, yeah he’s just on Rawkus right now. And he was really surprised by the track. And I was like, “yo, I got an album coming out next month. I’ve always thought that we could do a mixtape.” And it just kind of went from there. We did that mixtape, and a couple months later he had this crazy idea for a project, that never came out, so I’m not gonna say what it was. I don’t want anybody else taking this idea. But he had me working like crazy on it. And things kind of went from there. So shoutouts to Mick Boogie. Shoutouts to Terry Urban.
Judge Mental: You touched upon how you started out with freestyles. When you were coming up you known for a lot of freestyling and battling. And now you’re writing records and producing stuff. What was that transition like? And is it almost the same since you’re pumping out so much new music constantly that it’s almost like you’re freestyling in the studio?
6th Sense: That’s an interesting way of thinking about it. Freestyling in the studio. I dunno how well I can answer that question. I’m still young and I’ve been doing music for a long time, and I was young when I was doing the music then. So certainly saving all my pennies up to get studio equipment, and learning the tricks of music production, and stuff like that, certainly helped. It wasn’t just like, “I’m gonna transition and do this.” It was a lot of hard work. I can’t say that my one stop shop two years ago was as strong as it is now. And by one stop shop I mean making the track, writing the song, mixing it down, and putting it out and releasing it. Like, now it’s extremely strong because I’ve worked really hard at it.
I’ve always been a musical person since I was born. If I was battling a lot before, and freestyling a lot before, that’s because at the time people were battling and freestyling. We could talk about trends in hip hop. Freestyling is great, and a lot of times I can’t just sit down and say I’m gonna make a hit song. The hit songs come in the oddest of ways. You just kind of know somewhere along the line, like “alright, this might be something.” Sometimes you don’t even know until after the song’s done and people are responding to it. But life moves too fast to really try and plan and formulate everything that you do musically. It’s just not the style of the music anymore. And at the same token, I’m somebody that will put a lot of extra work into their music. And a lot of production value into it. I’m not opposed to laying lush string sections or whatever. But yeah, I’m not trying to go too far into it, but… yeah, freestyling in the studio. I like that man, that’s a good concept right there.
Judge Mental: You mentioned how you had to work at production at first. You had to build up that skill set. What’s the process like for you, both learning how to do that, and now that you’re comfortable with it, and you’re good at it, does it now come about as easily as it does with the rhymes? Or is one harder than the other?
6th Sense: I don’t feel like I’m there yet. I mean, It’s a 6th Sense Beat Yo! is phenomenal, and will blow a lot of stuff out of the water. But there’s always room for improvement. I’m always experimenting, always trying new things, always willing to learn something new. Like you put a new keyboard in front of me, and that’s a whole new set of stuff. So that progresses you. You get newer equipment and newer techniques, and that all goes into your production. Rhyming is definitely easier than producing. I’ll tell you that right now. Most people ask the question, what do I prefer. Or what do you think you’ll do longer. And the answer to that is that I don’t ever see myself stopping producing. This is probably going to be a profession of mine for 30 to 40 years, and I’m dead serious about that. Rhyming, sure. I’ll always be writing songs. The whole idea of rhyming, yeah. Rhyming is definitely easier. And that’s why I think there’s more rappers than producers maybe. But not to get it twisted, the way that I produce is not the way that a lot of people produce. There’s ways to make hip hop beats that’s really easy.
I’m not trying to have the whole software vs. hardware, or fruity loops or logic debates. Because those programs are cool, and you can make hot stuff on them. But I’m kind of coming from a different angle with my production. A lot of people say, “yo 6th, there’s just something about your beats that doesn’t sound like something I’m used to. It might even sound familiar, it just doesn’t feel the same way.” And I might attribute that to my style that I think is very human. Everything about is very human. There might not be a sample, but it feels like the construction of it was around a sample. It feels like there’s a live band maybe or something. But it’s definitely not a band. It’s human. My beats are very human. And if you as an artist or a rapper want to come as a real artist, and as a human, you’re going to sound great over my beats. And people want beats, and they come to me to get what a lot of times they can’t get anywhere else. And a lot of artists want to go that route because they want to be artistic. They wanna be human. They want to connect with people, as opposed to connecting with just a hip hop community so to speak. And it’s time to just make good music that will translate universally as opposed to just one little sector. The possibilities are unlimited with the kind of music that goes into it.
Judge Mental: I saw the video of you and The Apple Juice Kid in the studio…
6th Sense: Apple’s Dope!
Judge Mental: Yeah, and that beat you guys made is crazy and you need to get me that mp3 when you can… cause that beat was one of the craziest things I’ve heard in a while.
6th Sense: To be honest with you that was probably the first time me and the Apple Juice Kid ever met. I mean we had met in passing once, years ago. But that was probably the first time we had just met and hung out.
Judge Mental: Well it was really cool to see the process, and going back in and laying down all these different things, and you definitely could tell you put a lot of attention into the beats and you go back and record additional percussion. It’s not as simple as just looping something and putting an 808 behind it. And I definitely think a lot of people really appreciate that.
6th Sense: Well thank you. I appreciate it.
Judge Mental: It’s just really interesting to see the artists in the studio and to get to observe the process.
6th Sense: Yeah, definitely, it’s a good time. But yeah, It’s a 6th Sense Beat Yo! you could call it a volume 1. It’s really just a taste. You said “what made you decide to put instrumentals out that you’d previously done?” There’s definitely a reason behind it. These joints are dope, and I know a lot of rappers would fucking kill for some of those beats. And none of those beats are anything that came from hit songs that you heard on the radio. Most of them weren’t even on albums. But they were mostly for you to understand that, first of all, I do a lot of work as a producer. Call it a stepping stone, call it a growth ladder, call it whatever you want. Just know that when you hear It’s a 6th Sense Beat Yo! you’re gonna know it’s something pretty cool.
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