Tha Alkaholiks: Last Call

In the early 90’s, De La Soul encouraged fans to lace up their roller-skates. The Alkaholiks just suggested calling “grandma a b*tch” – but only when they were drunk. Both were about having fun. Surprisingly, both groups are still in tact. But stemming from their arrival on King Tee’s seminal albums, Tha Liks are soon […]

In the early 90’s, De La Soul encouraged fans to lace up their roller-skates. The Alkaholiks just suggested calling “grandma a b*tch” – but only when they were drunk. Both were about having fun. Surprisingly, both groups are still in tact. But stemming from their arrival on King Tee’s seminal albums, Tha Liks are soon to venture off to solo junctures.

Before they go however, Tha Liks offer a celebratory “Last Call” to the fans known as Firewater. Their first indie release, this album already has some critics calling it near their best work. Never ones to be mushy, Tash and E-Swift spoke to on the making of Firewater, some old touring adventures, and their solo future endeavors. Raise your glasses high, and pay tribute to three amigos who had that dynamite sound. A lot of the original artists on Loud Records seem to have been forgotten. With SRC, did Steve Rifkind reach out to you?

E-Swift: Yeah, I talk to Steve a lot, and he was the one who suggested [releasing Firewater on Koch] as a business decision. But Steve is cool, we still fam. Was the motivation behind putting this one out on Koch to get more on the back-end?

E-Swift: Being on Koch is more of a partnership, as opposed to actually working for [a label], it’s always going to make more sense. 21 & Over really seemed to appeal to the pre-drinking age crowd when it came out, is there some master plan to reintroduce yourselves to the new generation of young Hip-Hop heads that listen to Chingy and the Ying-Yang Twins?

Tash: That s**t is crazy because a lot of the old heads we pulled in on the first album are older now, they’re into R&B now, they listening to Usher and stuff like that. We’re just going to put it out there for the world and whoever listens listens. All we need is promotion from Koch, and some word of mouth from the older heads to pull younger cats in. The average Alkaholiks album consists of partying, bragging, and chasing after “the twos,” since this is a farewell album are there any plans on changing the subject matter?

E-Swift: Nope, two’s and brews!

Tash: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. While recording The X.O. Experience E-Swift said the formula was to “get Tash and J-Ro together and just bounce. Like back in the day when we’d sit at my house all day, drinking forties while recording.” What was the formula this time?

Tash: We did it in LA this time around. Part of the reason we relocated for The X.O. Experience was we got family, friends, chicks get away from, and distractions like that. I’m lying, we went for the party atmosphere! Actually I’m in Vegas right now.

E-Swift: Tash bought a house out in Vegas. So that right there lets you know what kind of atmosphere was going down when we recorded X.O. Experience. Can you remember the last CD, Hip-Hop or otherwise that you paid for?

E-Swift: I just bought the new Mary J. Blige album, [The Breakthrough] it was tight. I always bang out a little Mary.

Tash: I think a long time ago, like before we started going on the first tours, I bought License To Ill by The Beastie Boys. Speaking of touring, what has been the illest overseas spot that you guys rocked?

Tash: Croatia.

E-Swift: Damn, I was just about to say that.

Tash: It was this spot called Stonia, it had way more magnitude than the smaller spots. At this point in our career it’s good to get that real big crowd energy, but I still like rocking the underground shows too. Legend has it that there was an old EMU SP-1200 beat machine that passed down from Dr. Dre, to DJ Pooh, to E-Swift, did you teach Madlib anything with it after y’all hooked up with The Lootpack?

E-Swift: I don’t know if [DJ] Pooh got that SP-1200 from Dre or not but as far as that other story goes, yep I definitely stole it from DJ Pooh. As far as Madlib, he was making the Ill beats when I met him, I didn’t teach him nothing! You’re going to be working with Madlib on a solo project, since this is the last album as Tha Alkaholiks, what are the other solo plans?

E-Swift: Yep, me and Madlib already got started on our album.

Tash: I’ve got a lot of projects coming out. I’m working on a movie called A Day In The Life that’s coming out on Lions Gate Films. It’s got Mekhi Phifer and a couple other people too. Plus I’m also dropping the solo album Expensive Habits, so be on the look out for that. What about J-Ro’s solo album, Rare Earth?

E-Swift: Rare Earth is finished it already dropped overseas, then it’s gonna get released over here.

Tash: Yep, and that s**t is dope too. It was rather surprising that Babu and Defari were released as Tha Likwit Junkies in 2005… when that crew name used to mean so many others. How did you all feel?

E-Swift: We all the Likwit Crew, but ideally we would like for all of the different members to pair up. As far as Defari and Babu though, that’s props, they s**t was tight. E-Swift, was it your decision to share production duties with outsiders on the last few albums?

E-Swift: Both. The quality of the song dictates which track is getting used, it’s no set in stone decision. But, I still do a majority of the production on this album. Tash, you’ve really jumped up on this LP. What do you attribute that to?

Tash: I just do what I do, I just go with the beats. Why, do I sound mad?

E-Swift: More like you got a chip on your shoulder or something to prove.

Tash: My style is as far as whatever Swift hit me with I just flow. It all depends on how the track is. What was the motivation behind “Chaos”… why did you all pay tribute to the artists with so many interpolations of Hip-Hop classics? Why Dangermouse?

E-Swift: That’s just the flow of that record. J-Ro started his flow off like that and it kind of trickled down it wasn’t planned. That’s just how it happened we didn’t go into the booth planning to rework the classic joints. As far as Dangermouse, we had linked up with him before and thought that the track was tight, we didn’t sit down thinking, “We need a Dangermouse track too.” Back in the day, you guys toured with the Insane Clown Posse, was there any exchange from the camps? Did their fans show any respect for your work? You’ve got 40’s… and they’ve got Faygo…

E-Swift: It was just couple a shows and spot dates, but they [ICP] was definitely insane!

Tash: We got love, we weren’t getting sprayed with nothing! If anything we sprayed their fans with beer. A lot of artists wouldn’t have done that, but we humble. Well, scratch that, we ain’t humble, but we work hard, you know whatever it takes. The first major tour after that was with A Tribe Called Quest, we just rented a Cadillac and followed the tour busses. S**t, we still doin’ that, we just did 20 dates on a West Coast Tour. A lot of other artists need the five-star hotel and all that. You mean turning “Hollywood” and asking for no blue M&M’s on the rider?

Tash: We got a big ass writer too! Yep, but we keep the blue M&M’s, throw in some chicken, broads, beer and all that s**t!

E-Swift: Yeah, but it’s an old ass writer, we still got DAT machines still on there. A lot of the artists who came out at the same time you did are saying, “Hip-Hop is dead,” any thoughts on that?

E-Swift: I don’t think Hip-Hop is dead, it’s alive and kicking, but the ratio of bad rappers to good has changed. It’s definitely a lot more bad rappers, but that’s because there’s a lot more rappers, in general.