Choppin it up with Kev Brown

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“I’m not the greatest super healthy eater or nothin’ like that but I still try to stay some type of conscious.”

People are always looking for credentials. They wanna see what you’ve done, before they see what you’re doing. That can get hard for up-and-coming artists who are looking to be heard – we’ve had several artists share some incredible music with us and I had no idea who they were prior to them hitting us up. This is especially true for the generation being raised with YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Drake. They want to know how many likes, views, and units sold before they give you a chance. I’ve had this talk with middle schoolers – they’re brutal.

We recently had Kev Brown phone in to The Kitchen and chop it up about fruit, gravy and making beats. Now, this dude has an impressive resumé. He’s produced records for everyone from De La Soul, Busta Rhymes, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Biz Markie, Eric Roberson, Visionaries, Oddisee and LMNO. And I’m not even gonna get into the solo projects and instrumental stuff right now. Put this man up there with the 9th Wonder’s and Pete Rock’s of the world. And he’s not too shabby on the mic either.

When you’re finished checking out what Kev had to say about food and music, you can go back and check the credentials (if you’re new to this). There are plenty of examples sprinkled throughout but that’s not even scratching the surface. Here’s some of what I talked about with this seasoned producer…

TKM: Let’s talk about food. Where are you at with food right now, in terms of what you’re trying to gravitate towards and what you’re trying to avoid?

KB: Well, I don’t eat pork. I’m not Muslim but I’m trying to cut out certain stuff they say is bad for you. I like bacon and stuff but I just don’t eat it anymore. It’s been a couple years, I guess. I’m not a vegan or nothin’ but there’s certain stuff I just don’t eat. I try not to eat McDonald’s – I’m probably messin up future endorsements. I tried to make a New Year’s resolution – I’m not saying I’m not gonna eat no fast food at all but at least not McDonald’s. I had it last night but it was the first time this year, though. I don’t plan on doing it again. I basically just try to avoid stuff that looks nasty. I’ll try just about anything but I won’t eat sushi. Stuff that’s real cool to other people, sometimes I’m like, nah, I don’t want that.

TKM: And what are you trying to gravitate towards?

KB: I’m not the greatest super healthy eater or nothin’ like that but I still try to stay some type of conscious. I try to eat healthy as possible, I guess. I’m not super organic or super guidelines and stuff but maybe I will one day get into that.

TKM: A lot of the records you’ve created, samples have been very regional like the Brazil joint and the South Africa Dedication. Did you travel to those spots to dig for those records and were you adventurous with the eating?

KB: Well, in Brazil I did some diggin/research, I guess you could say. Definitely when you travel, every area got a certain type of favorite food. Not super adventurous but I did eat good out there. I got the traditional foods but then it was surprising in some areas – whoa, there’s a Subway here, I wasn’t expecting that. It’s more Americanized in some spots cuz they want the tourists to come in. But I hung out with families and that’s when we’d get the home cooked foods. Get a little bit more of the culture. I can tell you though, the fruit in Brazil is incredible. We went to the fruit store, it looked like a grocery store but it’s all fruit. It’s crazy! All types of fruit we don’t have in America. It was like being on another planet. Like fruit that looked like a watermelon but it wasn’t. They got açaí, a little berry lookin’ fruit, and they make these drinks out of them. Like a healthy slurpee almost. It has more vitamin C than an orange and it’s delicious! Man, drinkin outta coconuts, it’s like Gilligan’s Island out this joint! You go to the beach, you get the coconut with the straw in it, you’re drinkin straight fruit – it’s supernatural.

TKM: Yeah, I know they’re pretty heavy with the exotic meats and fish out there. Did you get into any of that?

KB: Yeah, they have a lot of the restaurants where they keep brining the meat out, all kinds of different meat. But I couldn’t really get into that because, you know I like meat – pause – but like I said before, if it looks kinda strange, I’m like naaaaah, I don’t wanna eat that. I’m like the dude that wants it cooked all the way. I don’t like it when it looks like it hasn’t been cooked all the way. I partook in that a little bit but the seafood definitely is abundant.

TKM: Are there any other places you’ve been where you’ve experienced the same sort of “culture shock?”

KB: I don’t know about shock but even in California, the culture is very vegetarian-friendly. That type of lifestyle is a regular thing. There’s mad vegetarian restaurants in Cali. When I hang out with LMNO, who’s straight vegan, we can go to a place where a person like me and a person like him, we can still hang out and still be cool. And also, Cali is nice with the tacos, the fish tacos. Oh my god, some of the greatest!

TKM: And what about touring? How does that affect your eating habits?

KB: It can be rough on the road. Especially in the States. It depends who you’re touring with. I’ve been on a lot of tours with LMNO. Touring with him, he’s straight vegan. If he’s not eating then I’m not eating, cuz I’m trying to be down for the cause. But even overseas, when all else fails…falafel. You gotta put that in your writer, let them know you don’t eat pork or whatever. Overseas, they love meat. They look at you crazy if you don’t eat meat, pork, sausage. It is rough, being on tour. I usually lose weight being on tour. But it was actually opposite when I came back from Brazil, though.

TKM: What’s the craziest meal that comes to mind, that you’ve had?

KB: I’m really not that adventurous at the end of the day. I’m the type of dude, if I get the carry out menu, I’m getting the same thing. It would have to be a friend really having to cosign it before I get try it. But I ain’t messin with sushi. I don’t understand the whole phenomenon with that. I don’t wanna eat raw fish.

TKM: What’s something that you like to hook up in the kitchen?

KB: That’s the dreaded question. Man, I saw the Fresh Daily joint on the website and he’s like, “I can cook breakfast,” the sausage, the eggs, he was hookin it up. I can’t do none of that. I can cook eggs, anyone can cook eggs but it’s just like making a whole meal and being all gourmet with it and fly with it. He needs to be on Ellen with that! Like, “Yo, this is how we do it. Mix this in…” This interview’s probably gonna make me step my cooking game up. Cats is gonna be like, Maaaan, you don’t know how to cook nothing. I know how to eat some food up but I’m not the nicest with the cooking.

TKM: What would you do to add, change or rearrange in these Hip Hop food lyrics (Soul Food by Goodie Mob)?
“Didn’t come for no beef cause I don’t eat steak
I got a plate of soul food chicken, rice and gravy
Not covered in too much
Drinking a cup of punch, tropical”

KB: I probably wouldn’t have gravy on it. There’s something about gravy – I really don’t understand the science of gravy. I like gravy but when you think about gravy…what is this? It’s like meat juice. It’s nasty when I think about it. I might be cool with the gravy but chicken and rice sounds de-licious. You making me hungry right now.

TKM: Who would you like to make you a meal?

KB: I hear a lot about Patti LaBelle. That would be dope. She’s one of the greatest and I heard she can really throw down with the cooking. That would be like you’re going over to your aunt’s house Hey baby, sit down. Let me cook this macaroni and cheese. I heard she’s nice with the cooking. And she’s OG so I know she knowns how to get down.

TKM: How does food relate to the creation of music?

KB: There’s a big relationship. It’s creativity. Especially with making beats, chopping it up, dicing up and cutting it up. It’s a definite art. Even the way it gets presented. They call it the culinary arts and art is art.

TKM: When we’re in the kitchen cooking there’s always some go-to ingredients on hand. What are some of the go-to ingredients for you when you’re making music, be it equipment, sample style, whatever?

KB: Definitely the main factor is the drum machine. I’ve been using the MPC 2000 for probably over ten years. And maybe two years ago I got a 2500. And you know, the turntable. I just got a new needle today. I’m pretty old school with the equipment. It ain’t really the bat cave out this joint. Pretty simple.

TKM: What are you listening to that’s helping to direct your output?

KB: I listen to a lot of back in the day stuff. I’m not really current at all. If a kid looked at my Pandora joint, they’d be like, “Who are these people?” Like James Taylor, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Alan Parsons Project, Seals and Crofts. I don’t wanna name too much stuff because people will start jumping on the bandwagon. Not like people aren’t sampling that stuff already but. Of course, Soul music. That’s kinda the token thing when you’re an underground boom bap producer. But there’s a lot of stuff out there.

TKM: And how has your palate changed over the years for both food and music?

KB: When you first start making beats you sample the stuff that you heard other people sampling like Jazz and Soul music. And then as time goes on you’re wondering what else is out there and you start looking for other stuff. And with food, just looking at the labels a little more. I look at the back of the thing and see sodium benzoate, high fructose corn syrup and put that back. Your consciousness changes. You try and eat a little healthier.

TKM: What are you working on right now?

KB: The MindsOne project Pillars is out now. Just finished that up. I’m working on Hassaan Mackey’s project. I don’t have a release date for that yet. On my Soundcloud joint I just dropped this heartbreak joint I did a couple years ago when my lady friend broke up with me. I was super depressed and just made some music, real moody. When I first made it, it was real personal so I didn’t want to put it out but as time went on I was a little removed from it and decided to put it out for people to hear. Just a little buzz project. I just put that up. It’s a heartbreak project but it’s not depressing. It could really be a Valentine’s project. Also, the Brown Album instrumental is coming out as well as a project with Raw Poetic on ReDefinition Records. And I’ll give you a heads up. I’m working on a new solo project with me rapping and on the beats. I know the fans really want to hear another Kev Brown joint like that. But it’s different than I Do What I Do. I like making beats more than writing rhymes but people want to hear me doing both.

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Not everyone can be a top tier producer. And at the same time, we can’t all be Top Chef’s. What matters most is that we have access to what we need so that we’re consuming only the best food and music that the world has to offer. Lucky for you, that kinda music is at your fingertips. All you gotta do, as a starting point, is hit up Kev Brown’s Bandcamp page and you’re well on your way. As far as food, keep us bookmarked – we got you in both departments, though. And if you want more from Kev, find him on Twitter, follow and keep up with all his upcoming projects and ventures. Always something fresh…always.

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