When Skyzoo and Apollo Brown planned to fulfill Twitter requests from fans with their new album The Easy Truth, they knew expectations were going to be high. The two are no strangers to collaborations–with others or each other. And with each successive album they further cemented their reputations for crafting unapologetically dense, bare knuckle hip-hop. With that in mind, they set out to color outside of the lines a little bit.
“We made each other uncomfortable, I kind of brought him out of his box and he brought me out of my box,” says producer Apollo Brown, who has built a rep for crafting dusty, low pass filtered sounds beds built around samples. “I wanted to give him something that maybe his more recent fans aren’t used to and he brought something out of me that my fans ain’t gonna be used to. There’s a few joints on the album I’m really curious to see how my fans are gonna respond to. I brought out the 808 kit and that’s not usually an Apollo Brown thing. So it’s different. It’s still beautiful music, I love it. It worked out perfectly.”
Apollo was touring overseas with Skyzoo a few years ago when he played a beat during soundcheck that Sky insisted that he needed.
“Every 10 beats I’ll make an ‘industry’ beat to just hone my skills and see if I can do it. I accidentally played it and he wanted it.” The track became the cavernous thump for “The Vibes,” which joins “Pay Out,” “A Couple Dollars” and “Nodding Off” as the more experimental songs on the album, but are no less rousing.
“I don’t care how many records you own by this guy or times you’ve watched ‘The Art of Rap,’ if you don’t like those records, you don’t know hip-hop,” Skyzoo counters.
But Apollo’s signature concrete-carved drums and sonic incisions are prevalent elsewhere on The Easy Truth via cuts like “Jordans & A Gold Chain” and “Innocent Ambition,” which run counter to the more elaborate compositions from !llmind and Jahlil Beats he has used in the past, but by design.
“The timing was perfect for us to do an album together because with all the things going on, there’s not a day that goes by that a cop car isn’t running up and down my block with sirens and I wanted an outlet to speak on all that. And for me to speak on all that sonically it has to reflect what I want to do lyrically. And I couldn’t have picked anybody better to reflect those emotions than this guy.”
The Easy Truth is out September 30th on Mello Music Group.
Watch the full interview above and the video to “A Couple Dollars” after the jump.