Fri, 31 Jul 2015 10:28:00
Hip-hop trinity takes late night with The Tonite Show.
eMC's The Tonite Show is one of hip-hop's ultimate triumvirates. 2008's The Show first brought together New York rap titans Masta Ace, Wordsworth, and Stricklin. However, this year's The Tonite Show sees them expand and sharpen their union immensely. A concept album about appearing on The Tonight Show, it's as deep as it is dynamic. In this exclusive interview, Masta Ace and Wordsworth give us the run of show for The Tonite Show, talk storytelling, and so much more.
The Tonite Show definitely possesses a cohesion from start-to-finish.
Masta Ace: I take pride in the skits and the songs being cohesive and telling a story that has a beginning, middle, and an end. It was a technique I've used on some of my solo records, and it was me doing an application of that same technique for this album.
The vision works as a whole piece, but the songs can each stand on their own. Was it important to balance both mindsets?
Masta Ace: That's super important. You can't go into a record focused on skits and telling a story but not have good songs to carry it. We didn't do it that way. We started off with really good songs, and we built the skits and story around the songs. To me, that's why it works.
When did the idea for the story come about?
Wordsworth: It really revolved around the fact that we had the album The Show that came out. We wanted to stay along the lines of the classic hip-hop group EPMD who had "Business" in every title. It was basically following that type of formula of wanting to keep it with the same "Show" theme. We had a couple of different titles that had nothing to do with The Tonite Show. In Ace's mind, The Tonite Show was something we could build the skits around and come up with a great story. That's how everything was woven together.
All of you have very visual styles as MCs. Is it important for people to see the songs as much as they hear them?
Masta Ace: That's definitely important. We each do a good job of that. When you hear one of your group members paint a picture and tell a story on a song, it motivates you when you write your verse to make sure your metaphors and storytelling are up to par with what the other person just wrote. A lot of times with these songs, we'll get a track, and one of us will have an initial idea of what the song can be. That person will go to his home studio and lay down a verse. The other two will hear that verse, and the inspiration comes back. It's definitely important that each of us match each other. We're not trying to do outdo each other. We're all trying to be on the same level of great. Fans will recognize that when they hear the album.
Watch the music video for "The Monologue" from eMC: