1. What’s the science behind my name?
I got dubbed Antagonist for a few reasons. First off, my names Anthony Masters– so the ANT has always been in my alias. (Back in the day I went by Ant Dogg, Red Ant, and A.N.T.) I’ve always had a reputation as a person that gets shit started– They say that Aquarius has a sharp tongue, and it holds very true, with a few words I was always able to
get under a persons skin. So when I MC– my style mimic’s this trait. I tend to be a very critical rapper/producer, so I try to Antagonize other’s to do their best.
2. What do you think of mainstream hip-hop?
Music is an art, but it’s also a business. I would be a lying fool if I said
that I didn’t want to make money from my musical talents. As far as the current trends in Hip Pop– I am very torn! For a few years there was some bullshit music coming out. Recently Pete Rock made a quote about a certain producer… He said, -Don’t just make a beat where you just grab a keyboard, and everybody can tell you did it in like 3
minutes! Take some time and be creative.– This is what hip hop has been lacking. Alot of people put out songs that sound good, and are catchy, but they took no time to make.
That’s cool once or twice, (see classics such as “Wild-Thing”, “Push it” and even rock songs like “Louie Louie”) but don’t make your whole career like that.
Lately I think that there is actually some energy coming back into the
game, and I’m very excited to see what the next few years will bring. I feel that alot of the underground artists are starting to gain fame that doesn’t require any “cleaning” of their sound. A few acts that I think will change mainstream hip hop are: Screwball, Krondon, The Liks, Ras Kass, D12, Dilated Peoples, Kool G Rap, Cormega, Kardinal Official,
etc. All of these “mainstream” acts are maintaining their underground
ethics. They’re coming very rugged, and I feel that the consumer’s are slowly but surely warming to the darker sides of hip hop. To prove this, I can’t even tell you how many indie and major chain stores put Deltron 3030 on their Top Album wall. This album wasn’t heavily promoted, nor was it dumbed down in any way. Yet it is quickly becoming a classic. This kind of thing gives me hope! Pretty soon not so pretty artist’s such as the Antagonist should have no problem selling mass amounts of product.
3. How was your upbringing?
Started off as the only child of a struggling young family in small
blue-collar sections of Pennsylvania and Ohio. Spent time in Boston, and Michigan. While living in Detroit I got my first taste of African-American culture being the only white student in a preschool full of black folks. When I was 6 we moved to Novato which is a small town in Marin County California. (Bay Area). Over the next 12 years we moved a few more times, and my parents both became very respected in their professions. I played football for 7 years which pretty much kept me around a hip hop crowd. In 1994 I graduated high school, and left the Bay to attend Cal Poly State University. In 1996 I left Poly, and
got further into the music scene. Since then I’ve been producing constantly, and intend to get a Bachelor’s degree in Audio Production from a Bay Area School very soon.
4. What inspired you to become a hip hop artist?
I don’t know if anything made me want to be an artist specifically. I
basically just always hung around black kids, and it just grew on me. I always felt like family when I was around my boys, and the music spoke to me just as much as anybody. I have alot of angst inside, and I also like to speak to people. I like to relate my experiences
to others, and what better way to do that than through a pure hip hop song.
5. What groups do you listen to?
I listen to everything. I love to produce, and I do all forms of music. So
on one day I’ll be bumping hip hop, the next classical, or jazz, punk, R & B, whatever’s clever dogg. If I were to list some favorite artists I would say: Gza, Premier, Pete Rock, Muggz, Tupac and Biggie of course, KRS, Funkdoobiest, Deltron, E-40, Ras Kass, Chino XL,
etc. I also want to say that one of my favorite groups ever is a rock band called Tool. I would recommend them to anybody that likes music PERIOD. I don’t usually listen to rock or metal, but these guys have entertained me for 8 years and 4 albums. They are the best live show I’ve ever been to! In any genre! They are produced well, they evoke energy in their songs, and they touch on social issue’s so bluntly that they almost come
across thugged out! (Don’t take offense Maynard!) To tell you the truth engineering a Tool album is #2 on my list of things to do… right after producing a single and engineering a session for KRS!
6. How would you describe your music?
The first thing you can get from my music is accuracy and quality. I am
really critical when it comes to production. I will tweak a song for hours until it’s perfect. I also want my song’s to be as loud as humanly possible, so these things tend to show up in my final products. As far as the overall artistic characteristics — I think that my music is purity. I rarely use samples, I don’t remake old basslines, nor do I
try and interpolate classic hooks. When you hear an Antagonist track you should imagine what goes into making that track. I’ll spend on average 8 to 10 hours making a beat. I’ll self-engineer recording sessions until I’m dripping in sweat and my voice is horse. Then
I’ll spend another 5-10 hours mixing and mastering the tracks. I have total control over my music, and so I put every drop of heart into every note. I think that my favorite music really influences my styles alot. My ultimate goal as an emcee is to bring my interpretations of all of the following into a solo package! Mugg’s moody productions, Gza’s Knowledge,KRS’s longevity, E-40’s Slang, Nas’s flow, Pac’s
arrogance, Chuck D’s anger, and Tool’s raw emotional power.
7. How would you describe yourself?
Anthony is quiet, very independent, intelligent, critical. Antagonist is
arrogant, raw and simply honest with no regard for consequence. These are the yin and the yang that completely balance my whole. Antagonist surfaces more in music, and social situations. That side of me is straight forward to the essence. No bullshitting, no beating around the bush! If I don’t like you— Antagonist will tell you! Anthony is the person you’d meet in this interview. The quiet scholar who intently sits behind mixing boards late night studying sound. I don’t floss around in jewels, I don’t blast earthquakes out my ride, and I don’t speak constant Ebonics. Ant’s just a normal guy– that cat sitting right next to you— And you wouldn’t even believe he raps!!!
8. What are your future musical plans?
I will be dropping an album in the next 3-4 months. This will be the first
time that I’m having a major duplicating house handle the art/manufacturing. I intend this to be the outcome of 7 years of production experience, and the cream of the crop from a
years worth of recording sessions. This album will still be completely self produced, engineered, and mastered. I will be featuring a bunch of underworld artists, and hope that my production will be the main focal point. It’s tentatively titled “The Ghost of the North”, and I will be pushing this thing world-wide as hard as possible. I personally guarantee that even if you have never heard my stuff that you will like this album. It’s a breath of fresh air from most thing’s you’ve heard before. Rugged beats, sharp lyrical darts, and alot of blood, sweat and tears. After this I will be attending an audio institute and making my official entrance to the industry as a Pro Engineer/Producer.
9. Out of your songs– Which is your favorite?
Damn, that’s a savage question…. Hmmmmmm I would have to say either “Poundcake”, or “The Game”. “Poundcake” was on my second album called I Got You Open! This was the first song I got alot of props for. It contains one of my best piano scales ever, and the whole thing just bumps. It was a very creative tune that came out with a very mainstream tune. “The Game” is just rough. This is the track that all of the thugs and hard-rocks give me props for. When this track bumps, fools just tend to go nutty. I’m not
really known as a gangster rapper, but this track gave alot of folks insight into my story-telling abilities.
10. Where can fans listen to your music?
Buy my LP’s mail-order, go to www.mp3.com/ANTAGONIST, buy the Redline Compilation, hook up an Antagonist show near you, Come to San Luis Obispo and turn on 91.3 FM KCPR, and hopefully soon a couple tracks will begin getting some play on 106.1 KMEL in SF, and 106.1 KISS in San Luis Obispo. TO GET ANY OF MY
ALBUMS SEND $15.00 MONEY ORDER ONLY!
610 Rancho Oaks Dr.
San Luis Obispo, CA. 93401
(Indicate which album: 1998 “Kill-Osophy”, 1999 “I Got You Open”, 2000 “The Underworld”)
11. Have you ever rocked events?
Two events I’ve done stand out in my mind. One of them was a battle of the bands at Cal Poly. Our act started fights, and won me front page news my first 4 months away from home. The other one was a small venue in Cayucos California. I came in as an unknown
person, amongst a bunch of mc locals. The show was going slow, but when my DJ Trav threw on one of my new singles, I was able to rock the crowd back to life… WITH ONE SONG THEY WENT CRAZY DOGG!!!! Those two shows make me feel the best.
12. Have you ever found Jesus?
I wouldn’t say I’ve found him. If anything I’d say I lost him. I used to
be a very strict practicing Roman Catholic. I went to Marin Catholic High School, and I went through years of Theological training. As I started into the world, let’s just say that I began to feel that the simple words of the bible weren’t enough to warrant my life
direction. I no longer do much religious study, or worship. It’s just a personal preference. I still believe in a higher power, but with all the religions— I don’t know who is right. I feel I should live my life in accordance with the laws of nature, and morality. That’s what
guides me now.
13. How long have you been rhyming? How do you see hip hop and you? What is hip hop to you?
I’ve been listening to hip hop for 18 years, Rapping for about 9 years, and I’ve been producing for 7 years. I feel that I can contribute to the hip hop artform by always offering pure truth. I intend to always keep things how I want them, and to give the listeners and my fans something that they can relate to. As far as what hip hop is to me, rapping is my hobby, beat-making is my passion, and production/engineering is my job.
14. Do you have any hip hop quotable that you live by?
I’ve heard so much hip hop in my life I think I’m driven by it all, but yes
there are a few things that stand out to me. Biggie’s “Juicy” is by far one of my favorite verses because I can just feel the desire to make it in that song. I really relate to 4-Tay’s opening lines to player’s club as well. “I got a ho named reel to reel she got a buddy named SP1200 now you know the deal. We gets freaky in the studio late night, that’s why the beats that you hear are coming so tight!” I know what he’s
saying because music is like a love, and it does take alot of time. Plus
that’s just an all-time Bay anthem. Gza also hits on my producer’s itch with the classic: “Amplified Samples through Vacuum
Tubed Compression, Caused Rza To Charge Nigga’s 20 G’s a session.” That album was classic, the sessions were worth $20,000 apiece atleast, and I want to be that sought after in the production world.
15. Give fans 5 reasons to listen to the Antagonist?
- Top Quality Professional Production in an Independent Format
- Next-Level Beats that combine the classic street sound with millennium design.
- Witty, intelligent, and often very insightful lyrics
- Be the first kid on your block to hear me, so when I blow up, you’re
- already a true fan from day 1. I speak to my fans on a normal level. I’m not trying to sell an impossible dream. When you hear an Antagonist track you can feel like you got a loud ass voice on your side.
16. Do you have any player haters? Any words for them?
To tell you the truth I hear more rumors about the love that folks are giving me, than I do about the haters. I’m sure there are some, but the only hate I’ve seen is racial. People still don’t think white people can hold their own in hip hop. To that I say eat a dick. Call me
and we’ll do a Double CD Album— ME Vs. YOU and the fans can say what disc won! As for Haters in general…. I don’t let it bother me! Hate is for the insecure!
17. As an independent artist, how do you find the music industry? What resources online have lent their support?
The industry is very fickle. It’s an overexaggeration of the statement:
“It’s who you know, not what you know!” I’ve been doing this for a minute now, my stuff comes alot tighter than many underground acts (atleast on the quality level—style is an opinion matter) I’ve done 4 albums, all by myself! Artwork, promotion, manufacturing, etc. ALL SOLO! This is like a dream package for a record company. I still seem to get no notice though????? I have only one choice now, and that’s to stay solo.