Good Food: Brooklyn rapper ScienZe dishes on what he’s cooked up on his latest album
Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn artist ScienZe just premiered his latest album release titled Good Food via MassAppeal this morning.
For this project, ScienZe sticks to his M.O. of laid back mellow Brooklyn vibes, and delivers a sumptuous 13-track feast with a twist: the entire project is centred around food. Good Food is a gastronomical-themed journey for the senses.
But it’s so much more than that – it’s about the experience that comes hand-in-hand with feasting. It’s about the prep work, the community, the coming together, the conversations, the process, and everything else that contributes to food being an experience.
Good Food opens up with with an intro of prayer for the food we are about to receive. Then ScienZe commences the feast with the EOM produced “Bon Appétit” (featuring Chuuwee), before diving into a tracklist that nods to various pairings of foods and the likes: “Apples & Oranges,” “Colours & Dates,” “Wine & Yoga”… you get the idea.
ScienZe has always worked closely with Toronto producer LordQuest and this album is no exception. LQ provides the production on several tracks for this album alongside EOM, PJ Katz, and more. LordQuest also makes an appearance rapping on the sixth track skit.
I have to be honest: My favourite ScienZe project will forever be his Divine ScienZe LP in collaboration with King I Divine. But this project definitely comes in at a close second, for me. I have no doubts this body of work will be on rotation for most of the summer. It’s that kind of an album.
Check out Good Food below (or cop it via iTunes), and peep our Q&A with ScienZe to find out more about the meaning of “Good Food,” LordQuest’s rap skit appearance, ScienZe’s favourite food of the week, and more.
“Good Food means music for any diet. It’s tasty, filling, necessary, satisfying, and different. It’s food for the soul. Let us pray.”
HipHopCanada: Walk me through the idea behind this album and where the concept idea came from.
ScienZe: The idea behind the album was basically me wanting to rap. Just rap. My previous album Ella came out not too long before and a big focus for that album was penning a story and connecting it. It was like writing a movie for the ears; a great experience. I’d say for Ella another focus was creating songs: arranging, live instrumentation inclusion, and a tight storyline. After that, all I wanted to do was rap. Good Food let me. The concept came from one of the first songs recorded for it, “Apples & Oranges.” The homie EOM sent that beat over, and the line “we as different as apples and f**king oranges” stood out to me. It was then a theme was born.
HipHopCanada: What does Good Food mean to you?
ScienZe: Good Food means music for any diet. It’s tasty, filling, necessary, satisfying, and different. It’s food for the soul. Let us pray.
HipHopCanada: The titles throughout this project play off of pairings. Whether it’s “Apples & Oranges”, “Lettuce & Croutons”, or more pun-themed couples like “Ryes & Shine” or “Proof & Pudding.” What was the idea behind that and what is the importance of that duality or coupling of things?
ScienZe: I loved the sound of the pairings. Often times you’d hear foods paired up, whether in sayings like “apples and oranges” or when listing actual meals like “lobster and shrimp.” This duality has a certain ring to it, and I felt that would bring the theme more to the forefront based on how it rolls off your tongue, to how it resonates with you while your ears eat.
HipHopCanada: I felt like – conceptually – this album plays out like a feast. You start things off with the prayer for the food we’re about to receive. Then each track is like a course of the meal.
ScienZe: I LOVE that. I didn’t really think of it that when making the album, but I think that it turned into that. “The Prayer” gives thanks to God and prepares the people for food. What comes next is a feast; the breaking of the bread with those I care about, the speaking across the table with every track and feature, the opinions and advice given from those I surrounded myself with during the process and prep, like Jasmine Manigault, and the necessary enjoyment shared at the dinner table.
HipHopCanada: On that note, what IS your favourite food?
ScienZe: My favourite food tends to change every week. [laughs] Right now I’d have to go with spare rib tips with shrimp fried rice and two pieces of broccoli from the Chinese store a couple blocks from me. Don’t judge me!
HipHopCanada: Tell me about your favourite song off the project and how you put it together?
ScienZe: My favourite song might have to be “Crabs & Barrels.” LQ’s production took me to a very open place. I was able to share my story as well as get off a lil’ bar work. There’s a lot of emotion in that track, and a bit of actual history – especially around the end of my verse when I mention the Casio keyboard I bring up so much. This track is real to me.
HipHopCanada: It used to be a really popular thing to do, but I don’t see it as much these days… but you’re one of few guys I see who consistently includes intros, outros, and skits on his projects. What’s the importance in having those on a project?
ScienZe: I think intros, outros, and skits help in making a series of songs with titles into a full body of work. These tools help me tie a story and theme together, which allows the listener to share the experience with me, rather than just listen. Intros, outros, and skits set tones, let the people know where and how high you want to take them. It lets them know which block you want to take them on, what your thoughts may have been, and whether you share the same sentiment when the experience is over. These tools literally allow me to re-introduce myself… My name is________.
HipHopCanada: I love that. So tell me about LordQuest’s skit. I know he’s been producing for you for a minute. And I know he low-key does rapping, as well. But I don’t think he’s ever rapped in collaboration with you. How’d that one all come about?
ScienZe: HAHA.. Quest may be upset if I spill this, but we actually have another collaboration that we did a WHILE BACK. It’s flavour. This one came about after he sent that production over for the song. I heard the beat and was like, “Yo, you think you can rap on this joint? And only you?” He was with it. I like that track a lot because it adds a certain weight to the project and its theme. I wanted to kind of convey to the listeners that the theme and message are sometimes more important than making sure you’re heard on every song. I think sitting that one out brought more shine to the song, and naturally, brought more shine to the album.
HipHopCanada: And one that note… please tell me about the samples you guys used on that one that discuss “organic” foods. Because I think “organic” is a classification we often also use in the rap game to refer to music that is not artificially modified or unnatural.
ScienZe: The samples were used to give a certain message to listeners. I wanted to educate people on organic foods, while relating it to the music at hand. This music represents keeping it simple and keeping it fresh. Each track, feature, [and] collaboration came about organically in the sense that it wasn’t forced, unnatural, or modified for the listener’s tastebuds or “industry standards.” We make music that feels good and natural; music good for every diet.
HipHopCanada: This project utilizes a lot of your regular collaborators (LQ, EOM, Chuuwee, JohnNY U, etc), but you also brought on a ton of new collaborators on here. How did those new collaborations come to fruition?
ScienZe: These collaborations came about quite naturally, actually. When I heard a song that a particular artist would sound perfect on, I reached out. For the most part, the artist would be with it and we’d get to work on making a dope record. For one particular song – “Colours & Dates” – I remember being at the Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe and saw Sidsel Ben Semmane performing and was like “YOOOOOOOOOOOO shorty is niiiiiiice.” I approached her about working along with Adrian Mullen who was also there. And they came over to the studio and we laced the track. It was great being able to watch different artistic processes unfold right in front of my eyes, and build off of it. The finished product is what you hear today.
Interview conducted by Sarah Jay for HipHopCanada