Madlib produced “Misunderstood” for M.E.D.‘s Bang Ya Head 3, which dropped in 2011. “Misunderstood” makes a surprising return in video form as the score to a laid back hood narrative directed by Talib Zaid. The visual is heavily populated by the markers of everyday life as M.E.D. moves from the liquor store to the front lawn outlining his past mistakes and present dreams. Madlib breathes a little more life into his forthcoming LP Yessir Whatever as he discusses the return of Quasimoto in a recent interview with Rolling Stone. Madlib takes the opportunity to answer lingering questions about the status of the next Madvillainy record, his work with Freddie Gibbs – an MC he compares to Tupac and his feelings about Thundercat and Flying Lotus. He also touches on his plans for the Madlib Invazion label and recent forays into Zambian rock with Yasiin Bey during the rare interview. While Madlib is often described as a man of few words, he is a bottomless pit of projects. Check M.E.D.’s video for “Misunderstood” produced by Madlib below. Scroll down to read Madlib’s thoughts ahead of Yessir Whatever.
Will the Madvillain sequel ever see the light of day?
I handed all the beats to Doom years ago, but ever since he’s been in Europe, he’s been hard to get a hold of. I feel it probably won’t happen, but you never know. I can’t sit and wait on that. I did my part.
You recently started your own label, Madlib Invazion. Do you see that as mainly a place to release your music, or will you be releasing music from other artists as well?
Both. I’m going to release records from Kan Kick. A couple of singing artists. That’s all I’ve found so far. I want to work with Stones Throw and also do my own thing. Stones Throw already has a lot of artists, so it makes sense to be able to release my other stuff on the side.
How is MadGibbs coming?
It’s done. It sounds good. Gibbs killed his parts. So did Earl Sweatshirt and Danny Brown on the guest verses.
What was it about Freddie Gibbs that made you want to work with him?
It’s hard to really explain in words. I look at him as a new version of 2Pac. He does musically a lot of the stuff that I try to do as a producer. He’s capable of doing everything, but he’s interested in being original and not sounding like all the other stuff on the radio.
Do you ever read press about yourself?
Sometimes. I don’t take it to heart when people say I’m great or when I’m bad.
There’s a Woody Allen quote where he says that he doesn’t go to the Oscars because if he believes them when they say he’s great, he has to believe them when they say he’s terrible.
I love Woody Allen. That’s exactly how I feel.
Have you been making a lot of jazz lately?
Oh, definitely. I can’t stop. I’m going to put out some more of it soon on Stones Throw. I have tons of stuff I’m holding onto, a bunch of different types of music. I made an electronic record in the vein of Cluster. I was programming synthesizers and drum machines and that sort of thing.
Have you been paying attention to Thundercat and Flying Lotus and the way they’re reinventing jazz fusion?
It’s dope. I hope a lot of people pay attention and really listen. There’s a lot of trendy people out there, and I hope they listen to what they’re doing.. We have different types of sounds in that I do all of it myself, but it’s dope that they’re making original jazz.
You only put out a few records last year. What led to the slowdown in the schedule?
I’ve been taking it easy and trying to figure out a different route. I’m trying to make more money with less hands in the pot. I’m almost 40, you know. At one point, I took a year off just to listen to music and really digest it. I listened to everything you could imagine. Lately, I’ve been working as much as I usually have . . . probably more so than I usually do. There will be a lot of music coming out before you know it.
You’re making an album with Mos Def that’s inspired by Zambian rock from the 1970s. How did that come about?
We’ve been working on it for a long time. I’ve got a lot of unreleased tracks with him, and when he comes to L.A., we link up. I showed him all the Zambian stuff from the group Witch that [Now-Again Records' Eothen "Egon" Alapatt] released on Now-Again. Mos loved it. I have another album, too, full of all Indian Bollywood sampling stuff that I did with Mos. We’ll hopefully put out an album of that later.
You’re kind of like Ornette Coleman. You’re still alive making music, but we only hear a fraction of it and most of it was recorded years ago.
Haha. I wish that I was Ornette Coleman. My whole thing is that I make music regardless. Regardless of everything around me, I’ll always make music.
>>>Read the full interview with Madlib via Rolling Stone