7LES full bio on HHUG
HHUG: It has been 4 years since an 7LES release. How did 1212 emerge?
Esoteric: Honestly, I think it started with 7L's beat to "The Handle." That's what inspired us to complete a new album. It really took off from there.
HHUG: Were there any nostalgic feelings upon the creation of this project?
Esoteric: Not really man, we haven't ever stopped working together because 7L did a bunch of beats on my solo records and he's been active with the Bladerunners, DJing across the country and so forth. We trade records a lot too. So this isn't anything that we haven't be through in 2009, 2008, etc...
HHUG: What is the meaning behind the album's title?
Esoteric: We originally planned to have art that corresponded to it, 12 covers for 12 songs, like a vinyl 12"...so it was going to be twelve "12s" so to speak. We hit deadlines and had to can that idea, but we ran with the album title anyway.
HHUG: How would you describe the musical production approach to the album?
Esoteric: We took a very carefree approach...we were not very meticulous about this album, we just went in and did our thing. No over-analysis, no over-thinking...just doing what comes natural to us after having so many years in the game. The hardest part is cutting songs off the album.
HHUG: 1212 released under Fly Casual Creative instead of Babygrande Records. What caused this decision?
Esoteric: Me and Karma launched Fly Casual Creative back in 2006 for my solo records Egoclapper and Esoteric vs. Japan and the label took off from there. It is a better situation for everyone to be your own boss so we put 1212 out on our own too.
HHUG: Seems your reflective thoughts throughout your career span are showcased in some tracks. What advise would you give to up-and-coming artists?
Esoteric: Be yourself and have an uncompromising work ethic...and one day you can answer questions like this too.
HHUG: It is incorporated in the album dissatisfaction of the current hip hop industry, most notably in the
track "No Shots", to even having Esoteric dubbing the industry as "crazy". Can you elaborate your thoughts and perspectives on the current woes in hip hop today?
Esoteric: In the 80's and 90's, everything had an edge, and was created out of the desire to make good music and scare people who feared it. Now everybody is bending over backwards to please the people hip-hop was not intended for.
HHUG: There is a hidden/bonus track. What can you tell us about that?
Esoteric: I had the song on ice for awhile, and wanted to slide it on the album somehow, because I liked the wordplay I used...and I actually sampled Statik Selektah's voice yelling "7L!" and the crowd at the Middle East replying "Eso!"...this gave it a bigger sound I think.
HHUG: Can we expect more 7LES projects, or anticipate more solo ventures?
Esoteric: Yes, you can expect both. I just started working with DJ Premier on a cut, so who knows where that will lead us but you can expect more from 7LES in 2011 for sure. You can also check for the East Coast Avengers' Avengers Radio Vol 1 out on Brick in early 2011. I got a bunch of rhymes on that and DC lays down the beats something fierce.
HHUG: Thanks for the interview. Closing thoughts?
Esoteric: Yeah, definitely check out www.esoterichiphop.com!