“Be in Columbus, never seen Bow Wow”
– Cam’ron from “What’s Really Good”
This may come as a surprise to some, but Columbus, Ohio actually has a thriving
hip-hop community, one that existed prior to a prepubescent pup began reppin’
for the CO (via the ATL).
MHz, Copywrite, RJD2, and many other Columbus area hip-hop artists have managed
to come to dominate the national independent hip-hop scene in just a few short
One of those artists contributing to the CO Renaissance
has been Blueprint. A producer/MC, Blueprint got his start as one-third of the
group Greenhouse Effect. Along with his partners in rhyme, Manifest and Inkwel,
Greenhouse Effect released their debut, Up To Speed EP, in ’99 on Blueprint’s
own Weightless Recordings label. Soon after, the label would release its second
offering, the debut album from Illogic entitled, Unforeseen Shadows. With only
two official releases under their belt, the Weightless crew had already begun
to garner the attention of the underground scene, which led to a collaborative
effort with an up and coming Columbus producer by the name of RJD2 of the now
world-renown CO crew, MHz. The union of Blueprint’s rhymes to RJD2’s
instrumentals consummated in the now classic Soul Position Unlimited EP in 2002.
Now the founder of Weightless Recordings has
become not only a member of an elite group of artists in his hometown, but he
has also risen to become one of the most in-demand producers and featured vocalists
in the underground. And now, with his own solo debut, The Weight Room, ‘Print
will attempt to further his own underground legacy and continue the legacy of
great CO artists, besides Bow Wow.
Allhiphop.com: This interview is going to be
seen by a lot of people who are unfamiliar with your work, so how would you
describe your music to folks who’ve never had the pleasure of hearing Blueprint?
Blueprint: I’d say aggressive production-wise,
and kinda grimy. As far as rhymes, not too complicated.
Allhiphop: So what can both die-hard ‘Print
fans and virgin listeners expect from your new album, The Weight Room?
Blueprint: The Weight Room is more a showcase
of production, like back in the days when Marley Marl did In Control, how Dre
did on The Chronic, obviously not to that level, but how they were able to assemble
all of the talent around them. And then maybe rhyme some, but their rhyming
wasn’t the focal point of the album. I think that’s what I tried to
Allhiphop: The Weight Room is technically your
first solo album, but it almost feels like a compilation. Was that intentional,
or did your fam just strong-arm their way on to the album?
Blueprint: It was more intentional. If you rhyme
you can do a solo album. But it’s kind of from a production perspective.
Most people don’t feel that a producer can do a solo album. So really it’s
a solo album only from a production standpoint.
Allhiphop: At my last count, you were a member
of three different groups (Soul Position, Greenhouse Effect, and The Iskabibbles).
Do you prefer being on a team or going for dolo?
Writer’s note: Blueprint is actually a member of five different groups,
the aforementioned, as well as The Orphanage and The Minor League
Blueprint: I prefer being in groups honestly.
Being a solo artist is something that I’m starting to get used to, but
when I first started doin’ shows and gettin’ out there, was with at
least three people on stage. Whenever we record, the process of recording can
be a lot more fun when there’s people in the studio besides yourself, so
I always liked that, but at the same time I do like doin’ my solo stuff.
But I never found working in a group to be limiting to what I had to say.
Allhiphop: One of your group members, Inkwel
from Greenhouse Effect, just made a Mase-like exit from the game to follow a
higher power than hip-hop. Did his decision come as a shock to you or was he
always talkin’ about movin’ on?
Blueprint: Nah, it was a complete shock to me. I basically learned when he posted
it on the message board. Which is not the way you wanna really find out. He
had called me that day and he didn’t leave a message. And then, someone
had asked him something on our message board about the new Greenhouse album,
and then he just posted that he was gonna retire. And they were askin’
him about doin’ a solo record, and he was like, ‘no, I don’t
wanna do any of those things anymore, I’m gonna retire.’ I was kinda
shocked. And then, we have a private forum, so he posted something in our private
forum, just for everyone at Weightless to see. I read that and responded there,
and then I talked to him maybe two or three weeks later, after he had made it
official, on the phone. And then we talked a week ago for about two hours. We
had a real deep conversation about it. It’s a shock to me, because I consider
him to be really talented, but he got certain things that are goin’ on
in his life that are far more important and outweigh that.
Allhiphop: So when’s that last Greenhouse
Effect album featuring Inkwel, Life Sentences, gonna drop?
Blueprint: We’re gonna go for fall, October/November,
because we’re gonna put out the Illogic record in probably August. Then
we’re gonna maybe wait three or four months to see what Illogic is doin’.
Allhiphop: And I gotta know when that full-length Soul Position album is coming,
‘cause the EP just wasn’t enough.
Blueprint: Thanks man. Right now we’re goin’ for fall, it could come
out around August or September. The single will probably come out around the
same time too.
Allhiphop: Is that done or do you guys still gotta hit the studio some more?
Blueprint: Oh no, it’s been done for over a year. It’s been done,
turned in, artwork and everything, it’s just picking a date where we can
go out and support it.
Allhiphop: Your Soul Position partner RJD2 is a beast on the boards, “Oxford
You Really Owe Me” was f*ckin’ unbelievable, but you also make incredible
tracks. “Time Management” and “ICU” were two of my personal
favorites from the album. But why did you decide to go it alone on the beats?
Blueprint: Well, I had been doin’ beats
before. A lot of people were just hearing them in the last year, or year-and-a-half,
but I had been doin’ records for Weightless, Greenhouse, and Illogic since
’99. I been recording since ’97, when I produced entire full-length
albums myself. So it was really nothin’ new for me, but I felt at the same
time the majority of my notoriety in the last year, year-and-a-half, has come
because of the rhyming I had done on other people’s records, and I felt
like later this year that’s gonna become even more of a thing, like after
the Soul Position full-length comes out, and that’s cool, but I didn’t
want people to forget that I produce.
Allhiphop: You mentioned earlier that you produce for your main man Illogic.
So what can we expect to hear on his upcoming Celestial Clockwork album?
Blueprint: It’s gonna be like a real slow
twilight zone album. It’s gonna be slow and kinda bouncy. I think we’re
gonna go somewhere that a lot of people tried to go but they failed. I think
we’re gonna pull it off.
Allhiphop: So you’re gonna be “artists.”
Blueprint: Yeah, that’s what I feel like right now, but the public is gonna
really decide. But it’s definitely the best album he and I have done together.
Allhiphop: Now, you’re from the CO, but
you relocated to the ‘Nati at one point to take a gig as a computer programmer.
Do you think your tech background has made you a better producer?
Blueprint: It made me more patient. I mean because I think a lot of times people
buy sh*t and they don’t wanna read the manuals. My IS experience made me
look at things differently. I would spend two weeks, sometimes even a month
reading the manuals and practicing things before I even really tried to create
on that. Like, when I got the MPC 2000, I took two weeks straight and read the
manual, took it to work and read it on my lunch breaks, before I even tried
to make a beat. I just got Pro Tools, and I did the same thing there, and took
close to a month reading all of the features, going through the manual, so that
when it’s time to create people don’t have to wait on me.
Allhiphop: Being that you’re from the Midwest,
I have to assume you have varied musical influences, so can we look forward
to a Blueprint/Twista collabo anytime soon?
Blueprint: I like Twista.
Allhiphop: You should. If you from the Midwest you should, I think.
Blueprint: He’s dope. I was bangin’
that Adrenaline Rush album to death. A dude like that is like a legend to me.
Even though were not exactly the same musically, I would love to do a beat for
Allhiphop: Do you see your production branching
out because of those different influences?
Blueprint: I think so. I keep an open mind going
into everything. Sometimes I’ll do a record like The Weight Room, which
is more of a grimy hip-hop record, but my goal is to make The Weight Room a
series, so there will be completely different sounds on each one, this one’s
kinda grimy, the next one’s gonna be kinda clean and maybe really fast
and up tempo.
Allhiphop: So the last installment is gonna be
straight gangsta sh*t?
Blueprint: Exactly. For the G’s and my loc’s. (laughs)