Posted on Sep 5th, 2008 in Behind The Scenes by A-Trak
You’re gonna have to use your imagination to picture this story, just like in the olden days. But you know what? It’s kind of doper that I didn’t have a camera. I’m gonna talk about this BBQ that I went to at Haze’s house earlier in the week. Haze, the OG of this graphic design shit. So ill!!! WARNING: THIS BLOG IS LONGER THAN IT SEEMS.
I wanted to write this blog earlier in the week but I’ve been super caught up finishing the Kid Sister album. Yes, finishing. We’re finally there, and it sounds magical. Anyway, on Monday I got invited to a Labor Day BBQ at Haze’s spot. He’s got this building in Brooklyn with his showroom and workspace and whatnot. I walked over there dolo, figured I’d know some people already there. Sure enough I showed up and found a bunch of homies like Max Glazer, Sacha Jenkins, and my man Neal from Teamworks. The food was real proper, I think that’s one of the advantages of hanging with the older crowd once in a while. Hehe. So anyway I’m walking around the spot which I thought was his apartment but is just his showroom, and I start noticing a few things. Sure there were a bunch of rare toys and collabos and a Haze chair and all this shit that’s hypebeast-worthy in itself. But it got way deeper than that. First I saw a wall with some framed artwork proofs. The Beastie Boys “Check Your Head” LP proof. Umm, also known as the album that made me get into hip hop. There was another Beasties record, I think it was “Jimmy James”. Tone Loc’s album proofs. The Beastie Boys & Run-DMC tour poster. EPMD’s “Strictly Business”. Public Enemy’s “Yo! Bumrush The Show”. I knew that Haze designed these records but to see them all back-to-back made my jaw drop.
Then a little later he gave me a more complete tour of the spot and we went down a few steps to his studio. He’s like “I’ve been finding the craziest shit lately.” There was a pile of papers… Now, I don’t know the exact terms for this stuff but as you all know, before the era of Photoshop and Illustrator people used to make record covers and posters by cutting up papers with fonts and using these transparent sheets and obviously drawing a bunch of stuff by hand. Kinda like when Bart & Lisa bought an original acetate of an Itchy & Scratchy drawing, but without the rip-off. Well, there was a pile of Haze’s classic artwork in this form. I saw the hand-drawn Cold Chillin logo. You could see the streaks from marker. One of my favorite logos ever. I saw a generic center label for early Def Jam 12inches — you know the timeless Def Jam centers with the tonearm — and Russell Simmons’ office number cut and pasted on a piece of paper. I saw the raw version of that Beasties & Run-DMC poster that was in the other room, again with cut-up pieces of paper with all the fonts. Haze talked about how he started working with the Beasties when that diamond logo from the 1st album had just been designed. I was saying that I read that “33 1/3″ book about the making of Paul’s Boutique and how ill it was to me that they were just a couple of brats moving to LA, egging people off the roof of the Mondrian and also how that album didn’t do well commercially. It still influences my production to this day! (My Bumblebeez remix is just my version of “Shake Your Rump”.) Then there was something with the Delicious Vinyl logo, so I told him this story about meeting Mario C one day when I was wearing a Delicious Vinyl tee by complete coincidence. For those who don’t know, Mario C essentially produced the Beastie Boys’ “Check Your Head” and “Ill Communication” albums and was also the in-house producer at Delicious Vinyl. Anyway I met Mario, he looked at my tee and said “you know, I remember ordering the pizza whose box gave that logo.” Apparently it came from a box that said Delicious Pizza! And Haze said, “yep and then I remember making their business cards after that.” He talked about going out to LA before actually moving there and staying over with Matt Dike right around the time of “Paul’s Boutique”. He said he never really collected records because his apartment used to get broken into too many times, but the best cassette he ever owned was a tape that Matt Dike gave him with some Dust Brothers demos and ideas right before that album. SOMEONE FIND ME THAT TAPE!!
See kids? This is what blogging is all about. Can you sense the excitement in my tone? I saw this Vision Street Wear Beastie Boys skateboard that never came out. I think it was made right when they were feuding with Def Jam, and Haze talked about how the printer got the colors wrong and “made them all So Cal, we were still New York kids then!” I’m sure there was even more but this is all I can remember right now. Walking home I thought “man I’m glad I live in New York sometimes.”