Published Jul 25, 2010Searching for words to describe the latest disc from bourgeoning thinking man's producer Elaquent feels a tad futile when no better picture could be painted about the man than the one he crafts himself on the aptly titled Persona. The Guelph, ON-based beatsmith's absorbing collage of techniques and sounds reveal a man who, while making no bones about his well-documented unofficial teachers, never allows his unique tastes, quirks and intricacies to be overshadowed. Walking the line between loop-based hip-hop and full-on instrumental journeys, Elaquent pays his respects to the past, taking listeners on a smoothed-out jaunt through the moody, jazz-influenced sounds of yesteryear on cuts like "Cloud 8" and "Ginseng." Asian harps and kung-fu grunts take over on "Shogun's Orders," before the wily beat creator submits wholeheartedly to his 8-bit Sega fetish with clever showpiece "Mastered System." More digital love comes via the controlled, warbly chaos of "Android Love," followed by a taste of the end times on the at once soothing and unsettling "Child's Play." Through it all, Elaquent works his sloppy rhythmic style to full effect, throwing yet another welcomed curveball at listeners as one more ingredient in his impressive, left-of-centre sonic stew.
When did you decide to set your focus on instrumentals?
At a certain point when I was selling beats somewhat frequently, I felt that I was kinda making the same sort of track and selling the same sort of beat to all these different artists. I was starting to believe that my sound was getting pretty tedious or predictable, and people were saying that I bit my style from 9th Wonder because of the way that I would sample soul and the drums I was using. But most producers can kinda testify the same: a dude will ask me to send over some beats and the one rapper will say, "yo, this is dope, but can you send me some 9thWonder-type shit or one that sounds like this one Neptunes record?"
Is it that your style isn't necessarily built to be rhymed over?
I think that a lot of rappers are kinda stuck in their comfort zone and don't wanna stray too far from it, and at one point I felt that I was giving the people nothing but Primo-esque beats. So, doing instrumental stuff gives me a chance to really just do what I want. In which case only certain rappers can kinda rock on the off-kilter style that I try to do.
What has the reaction been like to your live shows and beat battles?
I think at first [my cuts] were met with a little confusion because I don't think many people were expecting the type of style I had. But the judges got it, like Rich Kidd, Big Pops and Tone Mason ― incredible, respected producers. (Still Muzik)