harmlessly horny - an interview with 88 keys
  • TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2008

  • Posted by:


Charles Misodi is one shameless dude. Take the swinging slice of advice the Harlem rapper...aka 88-Keys...offers up on his recently released hip-hop concept album The Death of Adam (Decon): "Your morning could start off on the right foot if she takes care of the morning wood". How very ho hum, huh? Not so much... Scribbled here, such a brassy bit of self-help no doubt carries with it a certain cringe-worthy kind of quality. Yet packed inside the bouncy beats and sing-songy melodies of his album's opening track, this misogynous tip grazes on the verge of honest to god humor, which is, incidentally, how I'd recommend most listeners approach The Death of Adam as a whole. Sure, it's certainly ok to feel offended...it's OK to brandish 88 a libidinous a-hole. But, if listeners hold on to their stones and let the record cycle through, they just might find 88's more harmless than he presents himself. That's, at least, what a recent interview with 88 revealed to me. - David Pitz

* * * * * * * * * * * *

First off, congratulations on what is looking like what is going to be a break out year for you. You've been at this a long time. How you feeling about the reaction to The Death of Adam so far?
Everything has been pretty fantastic so far...as predicted. God actually revealed all of this and so much more to me before I actually started working on the album so it's not really that much of a surprise to me as it is to everybody else. However, I do appreciate everyone's support because I realize it wouldn't be possible without the people taking note and speaking there minds.

You were once a studio intern and basically worked your way up from the bottom. Does the fact that you've put so much time, energy, and patience into your art make the success you are beginning to find all the more better?
Oh yeah indeed...with an extra double-scoop on the "patience". My time was coming. It was just a matter of time... and the alignment of the right planets. I think Mercury's in retrograde right now. Whatever THAT means. *ha*

How did you hook up with DECON?
My manager and I basically started shopping for a new deal once I pulled out of the initial deal I had with a company based in the UK. My manager Daniel (who's also one of my best friends) was tipped off about Decon by an attorney who used to share the same office space as them. So we had a meeting and things went well. But it wasn't until they reacted to a demo version of my song "M.I.L.F.", which features Bilal, which had leaked at the time on Okayplayer...who ALSO share office space with Decon. So after that, (the very beginning of the 'buzz') Decon was like, "okay let's go."

I was at the showcase at Sullivan Hall a few weeks back... seems like a label home that all the artists are excited to be a part of.
Yeah. Decon's dope! 'Nuff said.

Alright, let's talk about The Death of Adam. These are truly every-dude, hip hop anthems...sort of shameless in their male focused dissertations of sex. What's the deal man?
Hey, what can I say? I'm a horny dude. Nah, I made this album to speak and represent everybody on God's green Earth under the sun. This album speaks to everybody: old and young, male and female, lover of almost any genre of music and colorless [my story can relate to all races]...yet paints a very vivid picture so it's also colorFUL. See how I flipped that? I'm ill.

In many ways, the entire album strikes a common chord with Kanye's "Gold Digger". Can you tell me a little bit about the story that unfolds here?
Well it's the typical story of boy meets girl, boy humps girl, boy slips up, boy gets stuck yet told in a manner which isn't very typical: in a way set to the backdrop of very dope music. Dope music/album and hip hop seems to be a rarity nowadays. But with my album, Q-Tip's album, Kanye's upcoming album and a few others which have come out or slated to drop within the next few weeks, we're planning on changing that. Hopefully for good. Hopefully people will start stepping their album game up instead of just focusing on making 2-3 good singles and allowing the rest of the album to be filler.

What's interesting though is, even though these are pretty heavily focused on sex, it all sounds kind of harmless...comical in a way. You got this character who gets his fix and then gets on with his day. Did you mean for it to come off that way?
Man, that's almost every single guy's story right there. Again, I wanted this album to directly relate to the masses. Some women know and have dealt with 'Adam' at some point in their life...so they can relate... and be pissed off and cuss his ass out too.

In the end, Adam's "baited" with a kid, and saddled with child support, etc...so he kills himself. Adam's just another victim. Good sir, are you afraid of women?
Nah...quite the opposite. In fact, I'm married to one. She's the bomb-diggy-bomb-di-dangy-dang-diggy-diggy!

Let's talk about some of the folks who lent a helping hand to the record. Obviously, this sucker was Executively Produced by Kanye West. How did you hook up with him?
On the album there's: Shitake Monkey, Kanye West, J*DaVeY, Redman, Phonte of Little Brother, Kid Cudi and Bilal (a.k.a. my favorite singer of all time in the history of music). How'd I hook up with 'ye? He's been my best friend since the year 2000. You remember, the year they started building all of these 'flying cars' and shit. *ha* He's also the godfather to my two daughters: Chlo Yoshe and Luca Delaney. Both him and my manager Daniel.

He's also on "Stay Up! (Viagra)". That's got to be quite an honor, right?
Yeah it was dope. He actually volunteered himself to be on my album the day I told him I had (the initial) deal. I was like, "Hell yeah!" He wanted to rap on 3 songs at first but I told him to do what he could and I'd take it from there. I really didn't want him all over my album because then it would seem as if I was using him for a crutch. The album is a whopper by itself. Kanye's feature involvement was the cheese... then him executive producing the album was the combo meal: Large Onion Rings and Lipton's Raspberry Iced Tea. I don't like Burger King's fries.

BTW your lip synched tribute to Kanye on that track at the DECON showcase was too funny.
Oh man! 1. I didn' t have all of my Kanye West props with me that night and 2. the fact that my "Stay Up! (Viagra)" .mp3 file got corrupted right before I was getting to that part of my show wasn't the move. I read in a review that I "planned" that and the reviewer kind of tried to diss Kanye pretty much saying that he must've been on his high horse to not want to come to the show and perform with me. They must not know about the Portland, OR show WE did together or, simply put, the fact that Kanye's a extremely busy person so he may not make it to most of my shows but he does what he can.

Any future plans with Kanye?
Yeah, hopefully beat him in a game of basketball without completely losing my breath and almost dying. He's in super shape; ME on the other hand... not so much. Oh and possibly tour together and work on some more music if time/situation permits.

How about some of these other collaborations...Redman shows up on "The Burning Bush". How did you recruit him?
That idea was actually Peter Bittenbender's idea. He's the label head of Decon. I had the track, which was going to be an instrumental on the album, then he figured Redman could come in as Funk Doctor Spot and kill it. I immediately agreed because I thought the idea was super dope. So he put that call in and made it happen. I tried calling Redman myself but, after SEVERAL years of him having the same exact number, he had changed it around that time so I couldn't get in contact with him. Peter made that happen. Shouts to Peter Bittenbender and the Decon/Okayplayer Family. *woot woot*

BTW that's probably the best song about an STD I've ever heard...
Ha. Thanks dude. I dare people to try and find a better song about itchy nut sack.

Shitake Monkey also gets involved on "The Friends Zone"...a track that does some genre-hopping for a nice cross-over effect. How'd you come to work with them?
I've known Chuck Brody for years. I met him through Daniel (my manager). All three members: Chuck Brody, Electric Pete and Johnny Rodeo are all studio engineers as well as awesome singers, song writers and musicians. Chuck wanted to mix beats for me from back in the days but I was never allowed to call such shots. I made the track for "The Friends Zone" pretty early into me making the album and I wanted to get a rock group on one of the two rock tracks I had. They chose this beat and just went in and banged it out. Years later Kanye loved the song but suggested I take a stab at singing the lead. This was after he heard how good "Morning Wood" came out. So I just tried it and it came out pretty deeso (that's "decent". I got that slang from Don C. and Kanye way back in the day).

What is it about this album that you think people will ultimately find appealing?
Besides the obvious: the beats and rhymes/features... then the fact that it's one complete, vivid, detailed story from start to finish. No stone was left unturned. And the fact that the subject matter themselves maybe serious but I'm not therefore I think that shows in my music. Also, I tried to drop a few jewels in my album with the message and overall message. Trying to promote and bring the 'family unit' back into existence. Let's go people! Let's stop randomly humping around, dropping seeds in females you don't plan on being with for the rest of your life.

What is it about this album that you are most proud about?
That I finished it and it came out as bangin' as I thought it might. Oh and I actually like my raps on my album. I think I'm kind of dope. Not to be confused with dope-y.

Any other future plans we got to know about?
Yep: 6 more albums (already mapped out), a Shitake Monkey album (hopefully [executive] produced by yours truly) and get back in the beat game - Kid Cudi, Mr. Bentley and others. For the low down, just check my profile on MySpace.

Aight... Love, Peace and Punani!

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