PB Wolf Interview
- January 09, 2001
Who is Peanut Butter Wolf?
Peanut Butter Wolf is a wolf who used to attack a farmers chickens. One day, the farmer caught on to him and turned him into a giant glob of peanut butter.
What influenced your decision to call yourself Peanut Butter Wolf?
A few things. First of all, the story of the Peanut Butter Wolf was told to me by my girlfreinds younger brother who used to have nightmares about the wolf. Thinking the story was funny, I told my friends about the wolf and after a while, the legend had a cult following within my circle of friends. We started making songs up about this wolf, and before you knew it, we began recording the songs. Then, we called our "band" Peanut Butter Wolf. I showed a tape of the songs to my MC at the time (Charizma) and he dared me to change my DJ name to Peanut Butter Wolf.
Do you have a musical background?
I'm not sure what you mean by this but, my mom sang in a lot of musicals (She was Maria in West Side Story in her college production of it.) My dad sang as well. He was featured on a song "The Battle Of the Green Barets" by Barry Sadler in the 1960's. (My dad went to Vietnam as well.) As for me playing instruments, I was self taught. I can play electric bass, drums, and keyboards, but never learned guitar or wind instruments.
Where did you grow up? Did this affect your taste in music or your style of production?
I grew up in East Side San Jose. This definitely shaped me at an early age. Hearing songs like "Planet Rock" and "Numbers" by Kraftwerk affected me greatly. Although I couldn't pop, I was the one who made the tapes for people to pop to. That was my contribution. The whole electro thing started in New York, so I knew that the best records at the time were coming from there.
How would you define your style of production?
I would call it mood music with a beat. When I say mood music, I mean music that makes you feel different emotions. Some songs are rugged, some are dark, some are funky, some feelgood, etc. My music reflects my personality because I would say I'm somewhat of a moody person. I guess everyone has their share of mood swings, but that's what keeps life fullfilling.
When did you first start listening to hip hop?
My start was with "Rappers Delight". Although that song is considered a bastardization of the artform from the people who were in the bronx living hip hop at the time, it was probably 99% of the US populations' first exposure to hip hop. The band did a good job of covering "Good Times" by the way.
Who are some of your favorite artists to listen to?
I have many favorite artists. On the inside of my album, I list many of my influences based on the year I first heard them because time plays an important part in shaping what sounds good to you.
Who is your favorite producer?
Madlib of the Lootpack is hands down my favorite producer. I see a lot of year end top ten lists in the hip hop media and I get a little upset that my album wasn't listed in more of them. Not because I think it was the greatest contribution to hip hop or anything, but I feel it was better than the majority of the albums people listed. But even more upsetting to me was that the Lootpack wasn't really listed in many. The hip hop media is this small circle of people who all copy each other in their opinions. It's gets to be so predictable and discouraging. An album like the Lootpack should have been recieved with acclaim by the people who call themselves critics. Artists that the critics love, such as the Roots and D'Angelo and Jay Dee from Uhmmah / Slum Village took time out to personally contact me about the LP, so why is the media so wack about it?
How did you and Charizma hook up?
I started making beats for rappers in 1985 with a Dr Rhythm drum machine. By 1989, I released my first record with a group called Lyrical Prophecy. The group had two emcees in it and they were both really good rappers, but I never really hung out with them and kicked it when we weren't in the studio. After our record came out, an old high school friend brought over this emcee named Charlie Cee. He was 15 at the time. He had nice flows and we started recording together. He later changed his name to Charizma and before you knew it, we were a group.
Why was your work with him never released by the label Hollywood Basics Records?
You'd have to ask the label that. They never had a clear answer for us. When we got signed, we thought that they were ready to release the album we already had finished, but they had other plans. They wanted to bring us in bigger, more expensive studios, but we didn't want to waste our advance on that because we'd be paying for it in the end. Before we were signed, we had a big buzz and several labels were bidding on us, but once we signed, the label felt like they could just chill and put us out after Raw Fusion, Organized, etc. We had to wait around other groups schedules.
Will this ever be released?
As for releasing it, some of it has been released already. The first 12" I released, "My World Premiere" was originally recorded for Hollywood Basics. I have over 20 songs with him recorded and I know that some day I will release it, but I want to wait until people actually demand to hear it.
Who do you most enjoy working with?
I really have a good time when I'm with the Lootpack. Actually, I have fun with everyone I work with. Captain Funkaho has been a great friend since 1986 so we go back. DJ Design, who I like to DJ with, has also been a friend since the early '90's. It's cool because when you have your own label, you can pick who you work with and for me, it's all my friends.
Who would you like to work with whom you haven’t already?
KRS One. He's one of those rappers that is straight forward and to the point.
Do you think you belong to a certain hip hop scene?
Yes I do because when I DJ, I always see the same other performers sharing the bill whether it be Z Trip or Cut Chemist or the Beat Junkies or Jurassic 5 or Dilated or the Skratch Piklz, etc. I was talking to Truly Odd (DJ for Everlast) and we were realizing what a trip it is because we all paid dues for the past several years and we are now the ones with the blessings.
What is something that has gotten you in a lot of trouble?
I've gotten in trouble by being too honest with people before. I helped London Records A & R a compilation last year and it was my job to tell some of the artists that their songs weren't living up to their potential and by being too frank, I pissed a few people off. I wasn't trying to be an asshole, but I guess I didn't know the artists as well as I thought I had and they took it as a diss rather than constructive criticism. The lesson I learned is that it's probably better to hear the song before asking a group to contribute to a compilation.
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+ Tuxedo's postcard record Mayer Hawthorne & Jake One's "Number One" on a 33RPM postcard single
+ Anderson.Paak & Knxwledge – NxWorries – "SUEDE"
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+ Tuxedo - "Do It (Flaunt Edwards Edit)" Los Angeles release party set for Mayer Hawthorne & Jake One's album, March 4 at Regent Theater