Hey Sanity Menon & Ra.Instrumentals! We appreciate and love your true authenticity to the underground Hip Hop culture, especially holding it down SoCal! Please tell us how many years have you guys been making music? What part of LA are you guys from? Most importantly, how did you guys meet?
S: Preciate the love! I’ve been making music for almost 5 years, I’m from Carson, I met Ra thru another art collective we used to connect with, he was their engineer. I spit a freestyle on a beat of his the first day I met him, I really rigged his style, from there we stayed connected and made this album.
R: Thank you fam. I’ve been producing for about 6 years. I’m from Compton and East LA and yeah I met Sanity through a collective that I was engineering for and the rest is history in the making.
A lot of independent Hip Hop is currently coming out of SoCal, what separates you guys from all the other up and coming MC’s and groups?
S: Connecting with Ra opened up new musical endeavors to face, it helped us grow a new sound, we wanted to make music that keep to the roots of pure art form.
R: Yeah exactly what Sanity said man.
You guys are extremely original and really put out a modern Boom Bap sound and style!!! Please tell us how you guys describe your sound?
S: The sound holds for the classic & analog heads, something to give a peace of mind in the busy world.
R: Yeah I would say our sound is very soulful.
How are you guys coping with this whole Covid 19 situation? Has it delayed any new music production by any chance?
S: Keeping positive and facing the challenges headstrong, it’s been different but we gotta adapt to change. The music has been moving nonetheless, we’ve been holding on more music so now that the album is out we’re getting ready to construct plans for these next drops.
R: I’m a loop digga. So covid really fucked up my digging for a bit but like Sanity said, had to adapt. I started digging on Discogs and luckily Record Surplus & Record Box Truck have been staying open lately so I’ve been digging there almost every week or two.
Tell us about your Hip Hop and/or music influences?
S: I’ve been bumping Guru, Preemo, Nujabes & 2Pac for most of my life, they definitely are big influences for me. I can appreciate anything with soul in it, outside of Hip Hop, I listen to Carnatic music from my homeland Kerala, it inspires me to keep my roots planted into my music.
R: I’m heavily influenced by Dilla and Madlib when it comes to sampling and keeping things very Jazzy and soulful and sticking to the roots of hip hop. Sounwave, Tae Beast, and Mixed by Ali are also a big influence on my production. Listening to their production and mixes showed me how to make a modern sound with sampling rather than staying in the pocket of a throwback of a 90’s boom bap beat.
Please breakdown the creative process of your new album “City Dwellers”. And tell us a little about the album cover!
S: The process felt spontaneous, we fed off each others energy every session and just kept making songs for the feel of it. We locked in for mixing and mastering sessions with one of my homies, DJ OB1, started to chop it up about the idea of the album as we heard the music get mixed and from there all of us just kept pushing.
R: Yeah I would just make beats, Sanity would pull up and I’d show him what I’ve been cooking up and he would just start writing to the beats. Every session was a vibe that was caught instantly.
Your honest opinion, out of all the songs on the project, which is the one song you guys feel stands out the most!?
R: Yeah Bittersweet is dope. Freeway Blues and Enjoy Life also.
Rappers nowadays think by throwing up a few videos up on social media and pushing quick projects, they can blow up overnight! Give us your view on how over saturated the market is right now with so many MC’s/Producers but not too many quality music.
S: Had a conversation with Ra about this not to long ago, we wanted to connect to people with real genuine music. Seeing the patterns with the whole world made us want to take our own path to discover new ways to innovate.
R: True true. It sucks that there isn’t a balance in music but I’m going to focus on my lane and aim to make timeless music.
We have to ask, with all this social discourse and revolt, protesting and rioting, exposed police brutality toward blacks and BLM, how do you guys feel about this? We would love your guys perspective on the climate we are living in right now?
S: The corruption of injustice has been in this world for a very long time, since the dawn of man. To me, these corrupt events especially with George Floyd are showing what truly we has humans can become, evil or good. Los Angeles has been feeling the heat, It’s sad to see we can’t trust our police and racism is still in our society. We gotta make moves on our daily lives for the people.
R: I ain’t got much to say about that fam. Cops being crooked and abusing their power with that badge is nothing new to me. Experienced police brutality and still living it where cops profile me. In these times I’m just focused on the music, my income, and my family.
If it came down to 1 ALBUM only, what underground Hip Hop album would you guys consider THE BEST OF ALL TIME!!!???……One 1 album you can choose.
S: Gang Star – Moment of Truth
R: Hard to choose just one. I got to choose 4 or 5, Pinita, Donuts, Section 80, Setbacks and Nxworries.
Here it is! Our most popular question! What is your definition of “underground hip hop”?
S: Underground Hip Hop is being you & expressing yourself to inspire others.
R: Yeah yeah what mah dawg Sanity said. I agree man.
Where can people find you on the web? Drop all the vital links.
S: Best way to connect is on my Instagram: @sanitymenon or you can just search Sanity Menon
Lastly, and shout out?
S: Shoutouts to Control Room Studios, DAN-G, the whole RICH MIND$ Collective, Ensol & Mother Earth. Peace to everyone working for the revolution, RIP to Andres Guardado.
R: Best way to connect with me is on my IG: @ra.instrumentals and in my bio you would find a link to all my latest releases and collabs and anything that I am currently working on.