Royalty Magazine: What's good? How's life treating you?
Xing N Fox: Very well!! Thanks!!
Royalty Magazine: Well 2012 crept in, out and is damn near gone! What are some of your greatest accomplishments or memories from this year? Tell us one thing that you will do differently next year than you did this year?
Xing N Fox: Definitely the launch of Def Rugs, our couture line of hip hop rugs. It’s something both still very new and exciting to us. This year has been about building and we are anticipating next year to be a drastically different climate for us. There is definitely no looking back!
Royalty Magazine: Speaking of next year...what can we expect to hear or see from you in 2013? Any new or upcoming projects we should be checking for?
Xing N Fox: Obviously more continued growth for Def Rugs and a bunch of exciting new projects in the works with some of our favorite MCs. When the time is right the details will emerge. We like everything to happen organically.
Royalty Magazine: Tell us more about Xing N Fox. You are a production duo from New Jersey who started working together in the late 90's. How did yall hook up and what prompted you to form a production team together? What were you doing before you collaborated as a team?
Xing N Fox: We were two college kids with DJ backgrounds in the late 90s, interning at a recording studio out here in Jersey. Both of us were hip hop fans who were growing very disappointed with the quality of the music and our friendship basically grew from that. Then it became years of non-stop experimentation in the studio. We were very focused on what direction we wanted to go in, but people were not very receptive to what we were doing and we couldn’t have cared less! Back then we were going to labels and having to deal with the egos of A & R trash and record execs, and obviously they were not hearing it. Strangely though every time we got around the middle people and went directly to the MC’s, it was a different story.
Royalty Magazine: How would you describe your style of production? What sets you apart from your competition? Who would you say is your target market or who your beats cater to? What type of equipment do you use?
Xing N Fox: Our sound is built around our love for early hip hop. Anything from the early 80s up until 94. But instead of rehashing the sound, we take influences from other break and more club oriented music and try to build something sonically bolder. Every track is built from scratch, rarely using software or keyboards. We like to refer to what we do as “Future Street Music,” where there is a perfect balance of hard breaks and sub bass for the club but enough filth for the MC to destroy the track without having to revert to any gimmicks. When you put as much time and thought into your sound as we do, it speaks for itself. It becomes a part of us. When an MC hears our tracks they know what they need to do. They see the past and the future colliding into a new dimension. They know it’s hot and it’s beyond what is on the radio or what they have achieved before.
Royalty Magazine: You've worked with artists such as Tame One as well as Cappadonna. How did yall hook up? Who are some other artists that you have worked with and/or would like to work with?
Xing N Fox: We’ve known Tame since we started. He was the first one to really believe in us and we learned a great deal from him. Cappadonna was as simple as someone having his phone number, calling him and driving to Baltimore to record. As for people we would like to record with, we seem to be really accomplishing this by working with the legendary MCs we grew up listening to. We are definitely open to working with the new crop of MCs out now, but mainly for the exposure as opposed to “we are dying to work with them".
Royalty Magazine: You've been in the hiphop game for a minute now. How would you compare hiphop from when you first started to today? What positive changes have you seen unfold in the hiphop world over the years? What negative changes have you seen? Are you familiar with the term hip-pop? Are you feeling hip-pop at all or do you think it has an impact on the watering down of hip-hop?
Xing N Fox: The only thing that’s really changed is obviously the decline of the music industry and the amazing boom of social media. The music unfortunately hasn’t really changed that much at all. It’s funny because when we started we were referring to people like Wyclef and Diddy as “hip pop.” What you are referring to is just pop music. Just because someone delivers a verse in a song doesn’t mean that it needs to be associated with hip hop. Instead hip hop needs to look at itself more realistically and break itself down, so when an artist is developing or a listener is exploring, they don’t fall into this broad term “hip hop.” As far as what’s on the radio, it means nothing to us. But it’s sad because it represents this long slow downward spiral that we have been watching go on way too long in this music. The artists need to reclaim this music and stop allowing corporate America along with novice internet fucks to destroy the music and culture we used to love.
Royalty Magazine: From the perspective of a producer or even a DJ, what makes an artist hot? What makes their grind successful and/or what makes it fail?
Xing N Fox: We don’t think we could answer that question because we have never truly seen it. You have never seen it. The people have never seen it. Everyone who is out there is prey to middle people, record execs and a myriad of unnecessary influences. Yes there are some unbelievably talented MCs, but when you bring up the myth of the “grind” that’s all bullshit. No matter how hot an MC, their “grind” is beyond dysfunctional and if that wasn’t true, then the music and the artists performing it would be ten times better.
Royalty Magazine: Tell us the importance of the relationship between the artist & producer? Does it even matter? Why or why not?
Xing N Fox: It should matter. But sometimes the music does the talking. Still at times we feel if the artist would put their ego down for a second or two and listen to some criticism of their performance they might get a better finished product.
Royalty Magazine: If you had a chance to produce a beat that would appear in the next BET Cypha, what artists would you want spitting to your beat and why? What type of beat would it be?
Xing N Fox: Get us a slot and we’ll show ya!!!! LOL!!!!
Royalty Magazine: Lol. Tell us more about your Def Rugs venture. Def Rugs is original as well as a dope concept. Where did the idea come from and how did you get started doing it? What is your mission and who are the key players involved in this project?
Xing N Fox: I (Fox) am 3rd generation in the family flooring business, Fox Floors. I've been around carpet my whole life. I always wanted to put my own stamp and direction on the biz, and also look to do something else with all this carpet we have here. One day, Kim Sermon asked me if i could make a Def Squad logo rug. I never made any logo rugs before, so instead of trying to make a Def Squad logo, which is a hard logo to cut into a rug, I made an EPMD rug, and we brought it out to Long Island to give it to Erick as a gift. We dropped it on the floor in his studio, it lit up the room, and the second E came downstairs and saw that rug... Def Rugs was born. He gave me the spark I needed to really teach myself how to make these rugs, which are all cut by hand. So everyday for the next few months I made logo rugs for some of my favorite mc's and groups. It was like both my worlds collided, Old school hip hop and flooring. It was a blessing and a dream come true to hook up with Erick, and to partner up with one of my favorite mc's of all time in a new business venture. We have lots of legendary mc rugs on the way.
Royalty Magazine: Who are some of the artists that are featured on Def Rugs? Do you have limited edition rugs? Which one(s) are your most popular? Do you plan to feature more than just hiphop artists in the future?
Xing N Fox: I've made over 100 to date. Some of the artists who have my rugs in their home so far are, DMC, Chubb Rock, Doodlebug, Showbiz & AG, Dj Premiere, DJ JS-1, Evil Dee, Redman, Ready Roc, Tame One, DMX, Ras Kass, Tek, Naughty By Nature, Lords of the Underground, Dres, Lost Boyz, Onyx, Awesome 2, OC, Crazy Legs, & Hakim Green. They are all handmade and limited edition. We are currently getting licensing with certain artists to make them available and have them mass produced. Some of the most popular have been Gangstarr, Run Dmc, & Nas. We'll see where it goes, we definitely plan on venturing into other genres, but for now were gonna stick with hip hop legends.
Royalty Magazine: What has been your fan response since the launch of Def Rugs? How do you feel your movement adds longevity to the world of hiphop? Are Def Rugs available in stores as well as online? If so, how can people cop them and/or check them out?
Xing N Fox: The response has been great and people are realizing that we're not just making logo rugs with legendary mc's, we're also making records with them! What we're bringing to the longevity is adding another element of creativity, making something totally new and fresh from what we have to work with. Also were placing these iconic logos on peoples floors and walls in ways never done before. So the next generation may see some of these rugs and then discover the music behind the logo. Right now we have them available at www.DefRugs.com and on display at Facebook.com/DefRugs, or you can see them all at my store in NJ.
Royalty Magazine: Any advice to upcoming artists, producers and/or entrepreneurs looking to get in the music business? What would you say to someone who has a vision but has no major label backing or support?
Xing N Fox: You need to love and understand music and want to create change. If not fuck off. If you wanna make money go somewhere else!!
Royalty Magazine: Any last words, comments or shot outs? Anything you want to touch basis on that we haven't already? Anything you want to clear up?
Xing N Fox: We'd like to shout out everyone who has supported and believed in us over the years. Its been a long road which will never end but we love what we do. We just released our second video off our upcoming project titled G.E.N.R.E (Golden Era Never Really Ended) titled BANG ft Doitall, Treach, and introducing KyWill, through Doitall's 211Media Group. The album should be out in the Fall with tracks featuring Erick Sermon, Sadat X, Chubb Rock, Dana Dane, Craig G, Hakim Green, Ed OG, Artifacts, Doodlebug, AG, Nine, and more...
Royalty Magazine: How can people keep up with you as well as check out some of your work? What sites can people catch your projects on?
Xing N Fox: Connect with us at XingNFox.com twitter: @xingnfox @defrugs facebook.com/xingnfox facebook.com/DefRugs
Royalty Magazine: Much Love & Respect. Thank you for your time!
Xing N Fox: Thank's for taking the time to talk with us! Much appreciated! PEACE
*Interview Courtesy of @TazDatMC for @RoyaltyMagazine