This past weekend, while recovering from an emergency appendectomy, I was watching this documentary on Stan Lee – the guy that created Spider-Man and came up with the notion that “with great power comes great responsibility.” That idea really resonates with me and I can totally get behind that. If you have a platform to speak where people are willing to listen, accept and respect what you have to say, you have a huge responsibility to undertake. Even for me with our modest readership, I feel that I have a responsibility for the thoughts and opinions that I put out into the world. I have the opportunity to share new music with a wider audience and expose people to new artists that they might not have come across otherwise. It doesn’t do much good to keep sharing the work of the same artists that are already established. It’s already easy to access their music in most cases. I have a responsibility to share new, independent music and artists that truly need the exposure and shine so that their music makes it out of their area code and time zone.
I recently got put on to two young artists, Doc Reevez and Jesus Himself. My dude Ben, from 2 Hungry Bros, hipped me to these cats that he said I needed to check out. I checked’em out, thought I’d share their work with you and even took the opportunity to talk food and music with them. Here’s the conversation we had on our two favorite topics…
Introduce yourselves to our readers. Who are you and what’s the master plan?
JH: Peace, I’m Jesus Himself. I’m a record collector, DJ, and producer. My Master Plan is to
create, collect, & share great music any where and at any time.
DR: Whats goin on? I’m Doc Reevez, an MC/Producer/DJ/Engineer representing Phoenix Renaissance, a group of artists from the NJ area. I been working with a lot of talented individuals who need to be heard, so the master plan right now is just making this music and putting it out there for the world to hear. I’m not trying to get rich off it. It’s my motivation in every aspect of life, and I would be lost without it. As long as there’s food to go around and music to be made I consider myself good.
Let’s talk about the relationship between food and creating music. Give us your thoughts on that…
DR: Creating music keeps me healthy just like eating nutritious food. It’s all connected like mind, body and soul. The chemicals in food are in your body influencing the way you think and feel. When music hits your ears it enters the mind, influences your thoughts and emotions, and sparks a chemical reaction in your body. The effects of food and music stay with you for life. I wouldn’t create anything I don’t believe in just like I wouldn’t eat poison.
JH: To me Music and eating food share some of the same qualities. For example, memory – Sometimes the taste or smell of certain foods can bring you to a time in your life that is long gone, like if that song plays and you can remember when and where you first heard it. Grand Puba’s 360 always brings me back to school in ’93 and some good arroz con pollo sits me down at my grandmother’s kitchen table. But as far as creating music, Chinese food and my Record Collection have a tight relationship.
What are you trying to gravitate towards or stay away from in terms of food and diet?
DR: I try to eat as much fresh food as possible…I don’t like canned food, and I prefer not to eat frozen food. I’m not too picky but if I’m eating a nice healthy meal I always feel good about it.
JH: I definitely need to gravitate to healthier eating, at least a little bit. I do eat a lot of
junk food, although my excuse is I’m always on the run, digging and in the studio that I don’t have time to cook. Maybe going to record stores in fancy neighborhoods would help, they always have those fancy joints on Main St. As far as things I’m staying away from, thats easy. I don’t eat anything that lives in the ocean! Yup, no fish, lobster, or sea food period! I’m Good.
I always find it comical the way upscale restaurants use language to sell their dishes (ex, – a decadent smoothness with a bold Brazilian flare…). Describe what you’re trying to create musically, as best as you can, in similar terms.
DR: An exquisite texture with exotic flavor. Jesus brings the ingredients. Fresh, hand picked… he has so many records to choose from, you never know what he’s gonna bring next. Once he has the ingredients there for me, I cook it up.
JH: Would you like to try some of our beats? They are so exclusive and the rhymes are extra exquisite!
If you could have anyone prepare a meal for you, who would it be?
DR: I wouldn’t want any of these high class restaurant chefs that give you a tiny little portion for thousands of dollars. It might look nice and taste good, but I have an appetite. I’d rather have a real meal from someone that not only loves to cook but loves to eat too.
JH: If I can have anyone prepare me a mystery meal it would have to be my aunt.
Honestly, cause I’m a picky eater. She knows the deal and cooks off the meat rack!
If you could prepare a meal for anyone, who would it be?
JH: If I can cook a meal for anyone it would be for someone who doesn’t have the privilege to
do so otherwise. Hunger knows no politics!
DR: My mother raised me and my sister by herself so I would cook her a nice meal to show my appreciation.
What is it that makes a meal a feast?
JH: What makes a meal a feast to me is family and friends. Without someone to share the moments and memories with it’s not festive. When you have dinner and you can always remember that dinner, that was a feast!
DR: Word. I could cook myself a 3 course meal with drinks but if I’m sitting there eating
alone it would hardly be a feast. Good people, good food, good conversation, and feeling full when the meal is over is a feast.
What are some essential ingredients for your kitchen?
DR: Fresh meats and produce. A variety of herbs and spices. Milk and cheese…. I come from a neighborhood that’s predominantly Hispanic so rice and beans is a must. I also like to keep flour and yeast just in case I want pizza.
JH: My kitchen is like a snack section at the store! I don’t pack much canned goods or perishables cause I rarely cook for myself. I am fortunate enough to live close enough to family that I am kept fed! Plus, I eat out always so my key ingredients are Captain Crunch, almond granola bars, coffee and your occasional frozen White Castle burger.
What are some essential ingredients for creating music?
DR: Two turntables, a mixer, records, and a mic. That’s the most basic form of Hip Hop. If we want to record tracks it obviously would take more than that like a computer or multitrack recorder. I like to write too so it helps to have a pen and paper.
JH: My essential ingredients for creating beats is simple; some records, my technics, and an MPC200xl. But the most powerful ingredients are always the Inspiration and the motivation!
What projects do you have on the horizon or what can we look forward to?
JH: Right now we have The Elimination Trilogy Part One “The Danger” out on www.DocReevez.bandcamp.com and we will have the rest of that trilogy on its way soon! Also, I have a compilation of early recordings I would like to release called “A Peace of Himself” that is also co-produced, mixed and scratched by Doc Reevez.
DR: We been working on a lot of instrumentals so look out for some Instrumental albums too. You can definitely expect some mixtapes, videos, and collaborations with other artists. I’m working on an album with 2 Hungry Bros which should be dropping sometime in the beginning of next year.
What are the best and worst things about Hip Hop in 2014?
DR: The best thing about Hip Hop right now is that it’s still alive. A lot of people still
make that good music. It might not be what’s being spoon fed to people on the radio all day (hip pop) but if you look for it you will find it.
The worst thing about Hip Hop in 2014 is the sounds they use. Everything is synthetic. Synthesizers and drum kits. I enjoy the sound of real instruments so when I hear Hip Hop that isn’t sample based and they have that techno electronic sound all day, it bothers me.
JH: As far as Hip Hop in 2014, the good is that some are still pushing the envelope. There’s a lot of crap but if you search you find. GhostFace’s 12 Reasons to Die is a great example of Hip Hop in 2014 to me. The bad is that everyone wants to be Hip Hop. No one makes their own lane, even though the music they make sounds nothing like Hip Hop or rap. I think if you make booty music or this hipster swag music, keep it in your culture, in the strip clubs and at the
hookah bar. Don’t try to blend in with our graffiti writing, b-boying, DJing, MCing and overall
knowledge-seeking revolutionary culture.
What are the best and worst things about food culture in this country?
DR: The best thing about food culture in this country is the variety of food. The diversity of the people. Americans are lucky to be able to try dishes from so many different countries.
The worst thing would have to be the fast food industry and the amount of processed food available at low prices. A lot of people can’t afford to eat healthy because the food that’s good for you is so much more expensive than the stuff that has GMO’s and all that garbage that some other countries have banned from the market.
JH: The best things about the food culture in this country are the choices we have as far as varieties. Where I live I can eat food from all over the world and not have to leave a 48 block radius. The bad is, of course, the fast food industry and amounts of sugar in everything! If sugar was considered the drug that it actually is, there would be a whole lotta CEO’s behind bars.
True or False: You are what you eat.
JH: False, we are what we think we are! If I feel like what I ate was bad my mind would believe me.
DR: False. If you eat all organic food, that doesn’t make you organic… I know a lady with fake boobs, fake hair, fake nails, fake gold, and a fake Coach bag, but she been eating all natural organic food her whole life.
Can you share a Doc Reevez and Jesus Himself recipe with us?
Chicken Parm Stromboli:
This recipe will make 2 Stromboli.
for the Dough:
1/4 oz. Dry Active Yeast
1 Tablespoon of sugar
1 cup of warm water
2 and 1/2 to 3 cups of all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
some salt for flavor
3 or 4 pieces of boneless chicken breast, breaded and fried with whatever seasonings you prefer
you will also need:
3 cups of your favorite Tomato Sauce
1 and 1/2 cup of shredded Mozzarella Cheese
2/3 cup of Parmesan Cheese
1 tablespoon of oregano
1) Mix the sugar with the warm water, and sprinkle the yeast on top. (Make sure the water is not too hot because that will kill the yeast.)
Wait about 10 to15 minutes for the yeast to foam up. (it should double in size)
2) Put the 2 and 1/2 cups of flour, the olive oil, and some salt in a bowl, add the yeast mixture to it, and stir it up with a large fork.
3) Turn the Dough mixture out onto a cutting board covered with flour, and knead for about 5 minutes. If the dough is sticking to your hands or the cutting board, add more flour until it stops sticking.
4) Grease a large bowl with olive oil, put the ball of dough in it, roll it around to cover it with the oil, then let it sit in the bowl, covered with a damp towel for an hour at least. The dough should double in size.
5) When you feel the dough is almost ready, fry your chicken and then cut it up into little pieces.
6) Combine the chicken, 2 cups of sauce, cheeses, and oregano in a bowl and mix it up.
7) Take half of the dough and press it out flat into a rectangle, then line up half of your chicken parm mix across the middle of the dough.
Roll it up carefully so you don’t break the dough, and put it on a greased breaking sheet.
8) Bake the Stromboli in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve it with the remaining Tomato sauce in a bowl for dipping.
There it is! I hope you enjoy this recipe.
For me, a lot of the fun in listening to music is discovering something new. I love recommendations, crate digging, random pick-ups at the store based on a hue of intuition. Take a chance. Grab records from the dollar bins and try to discover something new that speaks to you. It’s too easy to be passive with what you’re listening to. Give new artists a chance. Head over HERE and stream these dude’s latest project and be on the lookout for their upcoming collaborations – they just may have something that belongs in your collection. I’m especially looking forward to that collab with 2 Hungry Bros. As always, support independent artists and keep exploring until you find the music that moves you most.