Playdough Interview

playdough interview copy

So, I’m a blessed guy. When I was growing up and first getting into hip-hop, two of my favorite artists where Playdough and Pigeon John.   I interviewed  Pigeon a few years back, but I was really excited to pick Playdough’s brain finally.  Playdough has been around for a long time, first performing in the folk/hip-hop duo Ill Harmonics (of which I saw twice, be jealous).   At the same time, and also currently, he performed as one of the 10 emcees in Deepspace5.  After a few years, Playdough finally went solo, and dropped two massive LPs before seemingly disappearing from the scene. Then suddenly in 2010, it seemed like you couldn’t listen to anything good, hip-hop wise, without hearing Playdough‘s name.  2011 is the coming of his finest work yet, Hotdoggin, and it appears that Playdough hasn’t missed a beat. Enjoy learning more about this amazing emcee and artist.

ONE21Music:How did you get started in hip-hop?
Playdough:I fell in love with Hip-Hop when I was in grade school. I had to do a sock puppet skit for my class and I made mine a rap. My teachers were bugging out and I got such a good grade that I felt like I was on to something. From then on I was rapping.

ONE21:You started out in Ill Harmonics, and are currently on the roster of Deepspace5, how does your work in these groups differ from your work as a solo artist? Do you think you work in both groups influence what you do today as an artist?

Playdough:My work in both groups definitely influences what I do as a solo artist, or maybe it’s the other way around. With ill harmonics I really got to explore doing music and song structure and the value of live instrumentation. With Deepspace5 there’s always an unspoken feeling of trying to shine on a track with dudes that are 10 times better than me in 10 different ways and do things that I can’t do. It’s healthy and fun. As a solo artist I can combine what I’ve learned from both crews and add some things that don’t necessarily fit into those projects. The live instrumentation and musicality of ill harmonics combined with the hard bars of Deepspace5.

ONE21:You are a Texas boy right? Does your location influence your writing style?
Playdough: I live in Dallas. I was definitely influenced by some more southern style drums and felt I could rhyme a little different on those beats then what people were used to hearing me do. There’s a handful of tracks like that on this album.

ONE21:We love Lonely Superstar (it was featured on our Essential 100 list), what was it like putting that album together? Were you happy with the end result?
Playdough:I was very happy with how that album turned out. It was really a lot of ideas, verses and songs that I had been writing or at least working on since I was a teenager. Some were just me experimenting in the studio and really getting to enjoy the fact that I was working on the solo project that I’d wanted to do for so long. Other songs like “Mr. Mike R. Fone” were poems that I had written when I was learning about rhyming and writing. Looking back there are certain lines that seem a little silly but I think any artist looking back at their earlier work has things that they would have done a little differently. You just grow and learn. Overall I’m blessed that the album was so well received. It literally took me all over the world and helped lay the foundation for what I’m doing today.

ONE21:It has been several years since we have heard from you as far as new music goes, what have you been up to?
Playdough:I’m a family man. I love my family and being a dad. When Don’t Drink the Water came out my son was a baby. I stopped going on the road as much because I really wanted to be there for him and my family in a time that I thought was crucial for me to make sure my son had his Dad around. I also focused on my physical strength, I went to the gym everyday and used discounts codes for proteinworld to help my workout. During that time I was writing, producing and recording new material. In the past year I’ve released 3 solo projects and a Deepspace5 album. The whole time people didn’t have new Playdough material but I was busy making it, I just wanted to be strategic about releasing it so it’s all come out within this past year.

ONE21:Last year you released two albums for free (The Bible Bus Mixtape and Writer Dye, both of which made our end of the year “Best Of” lists), how did those projects come together? Why release them for free?
Playdough:For the Bible Bus Mixtape I used other artists beats that I’d always wanted to rhyme over. The other beats were either B sides or songs that I’d collected from different compilations or situations that the general public hadn’t gotten to hear. Some were originally for Hotdoggin but got cut earlier in the process so I used them for the mixtape.
Writer Dye came about because I had the idea to use other bands lyrics and turn them into hooks for a hip-hop album. For Beats Sake did all the production on that one. I wanted to do another free release to follow Bible Bus and I figured since I was using other people’s lyrics that it made sense for me to use that project as the next freebie.
I put them both out for free because it had been so long since I’d released any solo material that I wanted to let the world know I’m still here and still growing as an artist. My fans have followed me and supported me for a while but I wanted to introduce myself to people that may not be familiar with my work. If I made it free then they had nothing to lose in giving it a listen. The hope was that the two freebies would get everyone excited about my next official studio album Hotdoggin.

ONE21:That brings us to Hotdoggin, how did this album together?
Playdough:I’ve been working on this album for a long time. I wanted to show people that I’m more versatile than some of my past solo projects have shown me to be. I made beats, bought beats, wrote hooks, bridges, choruses and then rewrote some, added live instrumentation and really tried to stretch myself.

ONE21:Is there an overall theme in Hotdoggin? What were some of then ideas you were trying to express in the songs?
Playdough:There’s no official theme. I intentionally wrote songs in good times, tough times, regretful and disappointing times of my life to convey the emotions that we all experience in life. The contrast of the day to day. So it’s really about putting all of me in the music and comparing that to a hotdog being made out of everything. It’s a flawed man who loves God, his family and life and wants to offer something of use to the LORD and the listener.

ONE21:What is the title track about?
Playdough:Putting everything I have into my music. Just like a hotdog is all parts of whatever animal a hotdog is made from. My music is all parts of me whether they be mistakes or victories, regrets or success. Hoping we can learn from it all. I know people are just like me so I wanted them to know I’m just like them. We’re human, I’m just really good at rapping. It’s also meant to be a light hearted song that allows me to show off a little bit of word play.

ONE21:Who is Harry Krum?
Playdough:That’s a great question. He does a lot of my production and has always been my go to producer. He also handles my booking and other day to day business dealings.

ONE21:How much control do you have over the beats on your projects? Has your involvement in that process changed over the years?
Playdough:100% control. I’ve always maintained that. Even when labels would try to accomplish an agenda that was different from mine, it’s always come down to me.
ONE21: What is your writing process as far as coming up with beats? There are alot of layers in your songs, so how long does it usually take you to create a song?
Playdough:I’m a pretty fast writer. Sometimes the hook just hits me and I can’t stop. Other times I may write a verse and lay a rough vocal to see if it’s worth persuing and go back later to fill in the gaps.

Some beats are done when I hear them. If I add additional instrumentation it varies. I’ll have players lay parts down and then go back and sample the new parts to chop them and use my MPC to replay them.

ONE21:Hotdoggin is out, so what is the next step for Playdough?
Playdough:I’ll be touring and supporting this album on the road. Working on new music at some point but I’m not thinking too hard about the next music I make just yet. I’ll be working this album for a while.

For the next part of the interview, I asked Playdough: some more genreal “survey” questions on a few topics that are near and dear to our heart

ONE21:Why hip-hop?
Playdough:Hip-Hop is the only music that ever inspired me enough to give it a shot. Hip-Hop isn’t just the music I chose to do, it’s my culture and everything I know. I’m in it, I live it and I love it so even if I tried to do something else it would still come out as Hip-Hop in some way.

ONE21:Whats good in music right now?
Playdough:You tell me. I’ve been working so hard I feel like my head’s been in the sand a little. I like the classic stuff, hip-hop and classic rock. I also like anything Jack White, Paris Jones, Mayer Hawthorne, The Black Keys, PacDiv, J. Cole, Coldplay and all the usuals. Anything with good writing and soul.

ONE21: What would be your dream project?
Playdough: I’d love to work with Jack White. Just vibe out and see where it goes.

ONE21:Is the digital age of music one that helps or hinders the artist?
Playdough:That question can only be answered when you’re comparing the way artist’s sales were and what they are now. If you just take the way things are right now for what they are then digital is great for artists. It’s a whole new world.

ONE21:Who is Jesus to you?
Playdough::This shouldn’t be a hard question to answer but it is. I guess it’s kind of hard to put into words because He’s so much to me that I don’t want to sound cliche and say He’s my life, though He is. He’s my hope, my future, my ransom and my example. In Him I live, move and have my being. He’s my reason.

Free MP3 Album Download:Sev Statik-Sondial EP

sev statik sondial ep

This is the third time the amazing emcee known as Sev Statik has offered up his incredible work for free ( download The Silver LP and The School Shooting EP). In fact The School Shooting EP made our Best Hip-Hop of 2010 list a few months back! Im saying all of this to say that we dont need to tell you that with Sev, you will get quality hip-hop even when its free.

Sev Statik isnt new to the game though; he is one of the founding members of both Deepspace5 and The Tunnelrats; and has also had a solid solo career to boot. This time around he has partnered with producer Raw Threat, and the result, in my opinion, is Sev’s most creative endevor to date. Straying from his normal smooth-as-butter beat foundation, Sev Statik shows that he can destroy a ryhmn even when the beat jumps all over the place. Sev is tha man!

This is defiantly a must have for fans of Atmosphere, Cage, and Aesop Rock.

Download The Sondial EP by Sev Statik

Free Download:The One21 Top Recordings Of 2010 Compilation

I know I have already posted this last Friday, but I spent some good man hours putting this together, and I wanted to make sure everybody had a chance to download this. DO IT! There is no dead weight on this download. ENJOY!


Download The ONE21 Top Recordings Compilation

1. Red, Red by Doug Burr (from O Ye Devastator)
2. Lord Willing by Deepspace5 (from The Future Aint What It Used To Be)
3. The Audience by The Chariot (from Long Live)
4. How Great Thou Art by Ascend The Hill (from Hymns: Take The World But Give Me Jesus)
5. I Don’t Want To Live Forever (acoustic) by Listener (from Wooden Heart)
6. God Is Love by The Innocence Mission (from My Room In The Trees)
7. Carolina by Bradley Hathaway (from A Thousand Angry Panthers)
8. All Delighted People (original version) by Sufjan Stevens (from the All Delighted People EP)
9. Chalk Outline by Heath McNease (from The Gun Show)
10. You Amaze Me by Josh White (from Achor)
11. Song For The Broken by Close Your Eyes (from We Will Overcome)
12. If You Can’t Tell By Gileah Taylor (from the What Kind Of Fool EP)
13. All Of Us by Gileah Taylor (from A Crooked Line EP)
14. Pilgrim by Preson Phillips (from Weep…He Loves The Mourners Tears)
15. The Threshingfloor by Wovenhand (from The Threshingfloor)
16. Faith’s Review & Expectation by Sandra McCracken (from In Feast Or Fallow)
17. Seraphim by For Today (from Breaker)
18. Lower Still by My Epic (from YET)

Doug Burr appears courtesy of Spune Music
The Chariot appears courtesy of Good Fight Records
Preson Phillips and Ascend The Hill appear courtesy of Come&Live!
The Innocence Mission appears courtesy of Badman Records
Sufjan Stevens appears courtesy of Asthmatic Kitty
Josh White appears courtsey of BEC Recordings
Close Your Eyes appears courtesy of Victory Records
Gileah Taylor appears courtesy of Love Library
Wovenhand appears courtesy of Sounds Familyre
For Today and My Epic appear courtesy of Facedown Records

Free Album Download: Playdough-Writer Dye


I am totally of the mind that Playdough is one of the best emcees alive today. His voice is distinct, his rhymes are heartfelt and intelligent, his delivery is masterful, and overall he everything you could ask for in a Hip-Hop artist. After a few years of laying low, he has been busy this year: his crew Deepspace5 released the album of their career, he has been featured on countless songs by other artists (including Heath McNease‘s “Gun Show”), and even has found it in his heart to release not one, but two stellar independent releases, both for free.

Writer Dye is Playdough at his best again, read what the album is about below:
All the production is crafted by Florida producer For Beats Sake. It has guest appearances from Sivion, Othello, Chucky Sly, DJ SeanP and Sev Statik.

Writer Dye is a concept album in which Playdough takes lyrics from other bands and genres and turns them into hip-hop songs.

The album has 10 songs with lifted pieces from The White Stripes, Kings of Leon, The Doors, Pearl Jam, Aerosmith, The Violent Femmes, Nirvana and more.

Interested? You should be. This little experiment of an album is starting to look like it might end up on our best of the year list.


Download Playdough-Writer Dye

Free MP3 Download: Deepspace5 Double Headed

We return to the weekly free download with a double album drop from two of the Deepspace5 crew.


The first comes from Sev Statik with the School Shooting EP. According to Sphere Of Hip-Hop, this whole album was put together in ONE day! It doesn’t show, because like everything Sev Statik, there is tons of depth, sincerity, and creativity in every track. He even sings a little on “Bravado”. This is one of my favorite things he has ever done.

Download School Shooting EP by Sev Statik


The second download come from my favorite emcee Playdough with The Bible Bus Mixtape. Like with everything else he does, the mixtape showcases Playdough‘s unique talent along with his playfulness at the same time. There isnt one track on here that leaves you with any doubt that Playdough is a phenomenal emcee, but also a earnest artist with alot to say. If you like anything this guys has done in the past, you will for sure dig this.

Download The Bible Bus Mixtape by Playdough

New Releases For April 27th, 2010

Weapon Aid

Talking Textures
Mid-west Hip-Hop
Buy NOW:

carlos whittaker ragamuffin soul
Ragamuffin Soul
Carlos Whittaker

Integrity Music
Buy NOW:

Continuance-Carry Ourselves
Carry Ourselves

Rise Records
Buy NOW:

Deepspace5-The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be
The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be

Mega Royal Records
Underground Hip-Hop
Buy NOW:

Discover America-Future Paths
Future Paths
Discover America

Lujo Records
Progressive Indie
Buy NOW:

doug burr o ye devastator
O Ye Devastator
Doug Burr

Spune Records
Buy NOW:
Amazon MP3

kevin max cotes d armor
Cotes d’Armor
Kevin Max

dpulse Recordings

mantric the decent
The Descent

Prosthetic Records
Buy NOW:

sandra mckracken in feast or fallow
Feast Or Fallow
Sandra McCracken

Buy NOW:
Amazon MP3

Deepspace5 Announce New Album/Release Music Video


The underground hip-hop supergroup known as Deepspace5 (members include: manCHILD and Dust of Mars Ill fame, Playdough, Sev Statik, Beat Rabbi, Freddie Bruno, Sivion, sintax.the.terrific, Manwell?, and Listener) announced recently that they would be releasing a new album, The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be through Mega Royal Records, April 27th, 2010. They also made the first single off that album “From The Outside” into a really cool music video, which you can see below. ENJOY!!

Sev Statik Posts New Music Video

sev statik

Below is the latest music video from Deepspace5 member Sev Statik with his DJ Dust colaboration called “Back To Dust”. The video is a really well shot, artfully directed video featuring Sev Statik’s unique and talented lyrical style. If you are into underground hip-hop, you will love this. Enjoy!

Free Album Download:Freddie Bruno-Bruce Lee Mixtape


Alright, so even if you dont like Hip-Hop, or DJ mixtapes, or just this type of music in general, you have to admit that this is pretty cool. Freddie Bruno is one of the components of the Hip-Hop collective known as Deepspace5. They have been around forever, and along with Bruno, the group consists of such heavy hitters as Playdough, Mars Ill, and Listener. The Bruce Lee Mixtape is Freddie Bruno taking old, B fighting movies, sampling dialogue and even some of the music, and then creating some heavy hitting Hip-Hop beats around them. The whole mixtape has a Afro Samurai fell to it, and the songs are strong enough to stand on their own even if lyrics don’t play a part.

So here is what you do with this. Next time you have party, make sure that The Bruce Lee Mixtape makes its way into the music mix around the midway point. Not only will the beats breather new life into your little party, but everyone will think you are so quirky because of all the old movie clips. There, Freddie Bruno and I just saved your lame party….

For fans of: MF Doom, DJ Shadow, Deepspace5, RedCloud

Download The Bruce Lee Mixtape by Freddie Bruno

Free MP3 Album Download:Playdough-Who’s Harry Krum?


So this is kind a strange little offering. I think it is by Deepspace5/Ill Harmonics member Playdough. There arnt any words, this album is social commentary through beats and samples. That’s the best way I can describe it, seriously.  But it is different, something to tickle the brain with, and it’s free so you may just want to try it out..

For fans of: DJ Shadow, Mars Ill, Jurassic 5

Click on the link below, save the .ZIP file to your computer, EXTRACT ALL FILES, then get ready to groove.

Download Who’s Harry Krum? from the mind of Playdough