Geah! The West Coast stands tall on this banging K-Def remix featuring three of the most respected rappers from Cali (reppin’ Compton, L.A., and Watts, respectively), brought together by Miami’s DJ EFN , who was cool enough to answer a few questions for us.
You’re from L.A. but moved to Florida in ’86 just as N.W.A and 2 Live Crew were first starting to blow up. You were still a kid, but were you listening to hip-hop at the time? How did you get exposed to the culture? What are your early memories of hip-hop?
DJ EFN: I was heavily into music from a very young age. My cousins in L.A. were playing a lot of disco and rock music and I was also into a lot of movie soundtracks from that era. I started to hear rap music around that same time, but I hadn’t been exposed to hip-hop as a culture yet. Around ’86, I was heavy into skateboarding culture, and slowly, more rap music was creeping into my daily soundtrack. Artists like Run-DMC, MC Shy D, 2 Live Crew, Fat Boys, Gucci Crew, LL Cool J, Ice-T, N.W.A, Beastie Boys, etc.. Still, I hadn’t been exposed to hip-hop as a culture yet, although graffiti and breakdancing was also a part of everyday life for me. It wasn’t til a fellow skater and I were discussing the music we liked and we got into a conversation about hip-hop versus rap music that it all made sense to me. I started to realize we were living in the early stages of something special and I wanted to really be involved.
And to circle around to your original question, N.W.A and Public Enemy were the most influential groups on me. I felt it was more than music, it was something that can strike fear or galvanize the masses toward social change. Those groups helped me see the power hip-hop could have.
What do you think Miami hip-hop and West Coast hip-hop have in common?
DJ EFN: To properly answer this I would have to really go in depth [about] Miami’s hip-hop history and that history is complicated, and not easily explained without a lot of back story explaining the difference between the Miami bass scene and the Miami hip-hop scene. But something that historically I think we had in common was fighting for relevance and attention in a culture and industry that was dominated by New York for so many years. Of course, that has changed now, but that was something we had in common. A Miami-West Coast fun fact is that members of 2 Live Crew with the exception of Luke were originally from Los Angeles.
How did you decide to put Eiht, Blu and Kam on the same track? What do you like about each of their styles?
DJ EFN: It was an easy choice of artists. The entire project is paying homage to my mixtape roots and the mix matching of artist you would hear on mixtapes and more specifically my mixtapes. My goal was to have veterans [and] current and new artist trading bars on tracks. I wasn’t just picking anyone. It had to be artist I thought made sense and that I felt represented my musical tastes. Eiht was someone I always liked going back to Compton’s Most Wanted . He was without a doubt a well-established MC that I wanted on my project. Kam is another veteran and going back to the Neva Again album  he was one of my favorite West Cost MCs. Blu I felt was a good representation of the current wave of West Coast artists and putting them together, like the other tracks, is a statement saying good artistry doesn’t have an age. I want to help expose a younger audience to the veterans and the older audience to the current guys and show them that dope is dope!
Please talk about how you hooked up with K-Def to do the remixes .
DJ EFN: K-Def came by way of Redefinition Records who I partnered up to do the physicals (CD, tape, and vinyl) of this album . When they offered up remixes by K-Def I was automatically in. I am a fan, I am a student of the game, and any chance I can work with people I feel are pioneers in their own right I will do so without a second to think about it. I was a big fan of K-Def and Larry O’s Real Live project , and I am pretty sure I was the first DJ playing their stuff out here in Miami.
What about your debut compilation album, Another Time , are you most proud of?
DJ EFN: I feel that I was able to put something out that really embodies my music morals and beliefs. I wanted to pay respect to the past while supporting the future and I think I accomplished that with this project. Also, this project would not have been possible without the help of artists and producers I have real life friendships with. I feel it is important to support and work with those that have supported you and worked with you. Myself and my business partner Nomadic Trackz set out to make a project that could stand the test of time like albums we grew up on, so in the end, I think we did that, but only time will tell.
(Order Another Time on CD, cassette or vinyl here )