It’s been a long journey but I made it out to the middle of the desert. I’m supposed to meet Menes the Pharaoh here but I don’t see him anywhere…Then in the distance I hear bass thumping from a large pyramid to the east. Smoke pouring out of the entrance, I walk through the haze and am welcomed to the biggest event of the year: the Party in a Pyramid.
N: What are you listening to right now?
MTP: “I just got out of my car, as I was driving the ICE QUEEN to her place of business, and I was listening to some Johnny Cash. I’m also forced into listening to my own stuff because I have to mix it. People think I’m conceited or something; I’m just fucking working guys. Also some Okami Ghosthack or 7rinth.”
N: What are your thoughts on the current hip-hop/rap scene? (Mumble rap, cloud rap, etc)
MTP: “What the funk is cloud rap? I don’t know man, I just call it like I see it, and I personally know I don’t listen to any of this new shit. Everything’s a cycle, and everything has its place, and everything IS everything, so I really have no thoughts on it… The shit will die out I guess. There’s still good music coming out consistently, that’s all that really matters to me.”
N: How did the Basement Dwellaz collective come to be?
MTP: “Through an old dusty crate of WU-TANG and Killah Bee CD’s. No lie. I have known the Mason (Bronze Feet) for most of my natural life, and had met ArchAngel in high school. At about the age of 14 I started writing lyrics and remixing songs terribly, and I had realized it was a defined passion of mine. I think I mentioned MF DOOM to the Mason, and he was like “Yo, I’ve got some shit you really need to check out.” So he came over, I thought he was going to have a couple CD’s or something. Nah, he brought a milk crate FULL of WU TANG CD’s. I spent like 3 days ripping them all to my computer. After that it was a wrap, we just started freestyling all the time trying to outdo each other, and listening to every new release. We released 2 songs publicly as just us, and Mason told me “Yo…ArchAngel has got some serious rhymes too.” We placed him on a track and that’s when the BASEMENT DWELLAZ was truly formed. Arch is literally up there as one of my favorite emcees to hear new shit from; it’s literally like waiting for some classic shit to drop for me. I think me and Mason would both agree; ArchAngel for king. We dropped our first tape in 2008/9 called Depths of Darkness which sounded like shit but was hailed by people mainly outside of North America. It got something ridiculous like 30,000 downloads, hard to do those numbers today though. Noyz (WHAT UP YO) was the producer on that and definitely one of the life bloods that kept BDz up and to the point we are today. ArchAngel and Mason both appear numerous times on this album; they’re both heavy hitters to me. Love you brothas lets keep it movin.”
N: I know you work with your collective very closely, but if you got the chance to work with any producer in the world, who would you want to make a project with?
MTP: “Damn! Heavy…Honestly for me yo, my roots seem to reach furthest with Jazz and Funk records. That is where I’m most at home and comfortable, and I feel like I make my best music in that atmosphere. So I think on that note, I’d have to go with PETE ROCK or Q-Tip/Ali Shaheed Muhammad from A Tribe Called Quest. Their production always gets me mad hype. Or whoever was producing for CAMP-LO…God damn! And anyone from DITC (Lord Finesse, Diamond D or Showbiz). Sorry, that’s literally an impossible question.”
N: How did you get in touch with Kurt and Lauren and end up on Esque Records?
MTP: “All blessing from that goes to my brother and partner of GALAXY CLOAK, Sorcery Orchestra. Me and him met in a very odd way (check the GALAXY CLOAK INTERVIEW on my YouTube), and started creating some simply lunar music. Orc and Kurt had known each other for a long time, and Orc pitched it to him, and the rest is history.”
N: How has the experience been being the only hip-hop artist on an indie label?
MTP: “I love it yo. What a harrowing experience though. Tough crowd, you know what I mean? (he laughs) Especially when you have a MONSTER like Kurt Travis punching the music industry in the gonads right next to you. Can’t say enough good things about him or his wonderful wife. Those are my peoples! But yeah…being the only hip-hop on Esque? It’s a blessing and I am truly honored. Me and Kurt got a little something in the works; maybe I’ll be accepted then?”
N: Where was the music video for “Party in a Pyramid” filmed?
MTP: “In my hometown of London, Ontario. Under some dirty bridges and on a street that had more shopping carts than cars. Sup Ronnie 12:13.”
N: Have you always been into Egyptian culture? (What’s the best part of being a Pharaoh?)
MTP: “Yeah, it’s always been one of the more fascinating ones to me. Longstanding, Withstanding, Demanding. There’s just something about living where they did in the world and thriving to such high levels that’s just awe inspiring to me. The symbolism and everything else holds true and has a certain effect on me when I see it. What’s really crazy is initially MENES the Pharaoh just came together when naming myself. MENES just being a shortened version of my last name and my nickname growing up, seemed to just fit well with Pharaoh. Soon after I discovered he was arguably (if real) the first King of united Egypt. King Narmer or Menes was his name.. I’m still not over that ‘coincidence’. The best part about being a Pharaoh is the gold and emeralds in my alphabet soup.”
N: Ergonomically speaking, how is it sitting in a golden throne at the bottom of a Pyramid?
MTP: “It’s tough man.. being a ruler and all, you know? Constantly having to stare at eclipses and shit. Gold, although very eye catching, is not the most comfortable of the ores. It’s dark too, howling banshees and angry Anubis dogs running rampant, never know what’s coming next.”
N: Is there a plan to play shows in support of the album?
MTP: “I’m sure Esque will be doing another big tour this year and I plan on being on some of the dates at the very least. New York, Chicago, Detroit, and Cali fo sure. Galaxy Cloak couldn’t tour at the time of release because I wasn’t allowed to leave the country, but hopefully that’s all cleared up now. We going to make it happen, no doubt.”
N: A broken abacus swings in your library of the occult. Who is causing this motion?
MTP: “Why does this question always seem to come up? I have no control over the Yokai who roam endlessly through my archives. I don’t even know them all. If I had to guess I’d say Daradin or Al’Kaazar, but I could never be sure. Who uses the abacus anymore anyways? I’m going to throw it out.”
N: Golden Mask… Who is he really?
MTP: “Ah, the age old question. Who are you really? I have a classic adage to follow that up with. None of your fucking business. Really though, that Golden Masked fellow is a cool cybernetic reincarnation of the SP-404 and some keys. What’s really funny is GOLDEN MASK was an alter ego, one we planned on not revealing for the initial album plans about 4 years ago.(he laughs) In the end it just doesn’t make sense to go that route…so, Golden Mask is none other than EON RA! He’s done a lot of production for me in the past [PureJams by the Basement Dwellaz, which is re-releasing in physical form in the coming weeks]. He’s a swell guy with music coursing through his veins, and I’d like to sometime punch him in his face. EON RA ladies and gentlemen.”
N: Do you still have your Galaxy Cloaked?
MTP: “Well I still got that bad mentality though, don’t I? Me and Orc are cooking up something for everyone… don’t worry.”
N: What food are you serving at this Party?
MTP: “Golden Veal, Golden Eggs, Golden Lettuce, Golden Crab, Golden Eel, Golden Sharks Fin, Golden Apples, Golden Cheesecake, Golden Chicken Parmesan, Golden Yogurt, Golden Gold, Golden Geisha, Golden Ale, and Golden White Meat. Nah mean? Were taking special request too though.”
N: Big Booty Hoe or Solemnly Divided?
MTP: “I need that exquisite good good! Not too big, but definitely not too small. Right up in the middle. Some junk in the trunk without the spare tire. When I hit it, it hits me back, but doesn’t knock me out. Extra Sauce, but within reason.”
N: Have you ever consumed Teal Cheese?
MTP: “Is it a form of Blue Cheese? Cause if so, then yes. And the French in my blood LOVES that shit. And the Colombian in my blood is crying for my Aolita’s home cooking.”
N: Of the artist who came to Party on the album, who is your least favorite?
MTP: “7rinth for sure…No questions asked. That guy is something else. Who brings a masked ghost to the streets of New York for their own divination? Who carries a katana through the streets and thinks “its all good yo” ? What a nutcase. He makes some good fucking music though. Monsters of the Pond. But yeah, sea/swordz is a close second. Fuck that guy, what a heartless robot. I’ll add some more reverb to your vocal tracks.”
N: What would you say to any kids who are writing hip-hop music and feel like no one hears them?
MTP: “What your feeling is real yo. It’s impossible to even do what I’m doing, and that’s very little to nothing in terms of numbers or support. My biggest supporters are my best friends and allies. And that can be detrimental. I’d honestly say, don’t dive in head first. A lot of people waste their lives thinking this is the easy way out. It’s not. You better have a backup plan, or this better just be a hobby to you because unless you stuck it to lady luck, you’re not doing nothing! Make music that YOU love, and that ENCAPSULATES your life. Create something that MEANS something to you and yours. And if you’re the only person to ever hear it in the end, it’s all good because that’s who it was meant for in the first place.”
MTP: “I’d like to thank you for doing this interview brotha! Shout outs to ESQUE RECORDS, Kurt and Lo, Sorcery Orc, Mars Gate, ACF, Basement Dwellaz, Ice Queen, My Family, Rocco Bowser Bruiser and Hazel, M.O.D, Eon Ra, Clymax, Teal Cheese… Everyone man, Everyone. I love and have the utmost respekt for everyone! Do you, and go cop a tape while you’re at it… Much love.”
Listen to Party in a Pyramid in it’s entirety below:
FOLLOW MENES THE PHARAOH/BASEMENT DWELLAZ