With a career spanning almost 20 years rap duo, Constant Deviants have recently released their fourth album in five years. Hailing from the east coast of America, the collective consists of M.I and DJ CUTT. The pair came together in the mid nighties, an era many see as the golden age of Hip Hop. Since that time they have set up their own record label, Six2Six records, as well as continuing to work with other established artists.
ROUGH UK: Youve released your fourth album in 6 years. What was the motivation behind “Avant Garde” and how do you feel it differs from your previous releases?
M.I. – The definition of Avant Garde is experimental art. We spent a lot of time last year in French Switzerland and France so thats where the French influence came from. This project was us combining our Golden Era sound with the newer sound bridging the gaps. If anyone knows about both audiences they know that can be a tricky task
CUTT – Since our roots are in the 90s our sound gets categorized as “boom bap”. With this album we wanted to expand that typical sound. Through the concepts, to the samples we used, to the attention to the sonics.
ROUGH UK: How has the industry changed in their treatment of hip hop artists since you first got into the music industry compared to now?
M.I. – I think the biggest change is the internet. Its not just Hip Hop. I would say the music game is all messed up and you have to expand past selling music
CUTT – The “industry” was always about marketing and making a dollar. The problem now is that there is no cultivating or support for the artistry. There is no time spent perfecting your craft. They eat up and spit out one hit wonders.
ROUGH UK: Sadat X recently did an interview with Jack Thrilla stating he does ‘grown man’ hip hop in which he makes music for people of a certain age or experience in life. Would you say your music is also tailored to this crowd/audience or do you think your sound is more universal and can appeal to today’s young hip hop fan?
M.I. – Nah, I feel we can appeal to every audience. Thats the whole point. We definitely keep to our original sound because we have a base there, but any true artist wants to be ahead of whats going on and not stuck 20 years ago
CUTT – We really dont think about who our music is for. We do what feels natural to us. I think our music is relatable on all levels.
ROUGH UK: Side B shows a more introspective side of you, what was your intended message for the song?
M.I. – We have so many different sounds. Thats just one of them. People may not have heard some of our other stuff but we dont limit ourselves at all. Side B was just a small representation of our diversity
ROUGH UK: Do you agree that we’re seeing a resurgence of golden era hip hop, due to the rise of more lyrical artists like Kendrick Lamar and J Cole?
M.I. – If all you listen to is mainstream, then I guess you could say that. But there has always been lyrical rappers. That never stopped. Personally I dont feel they are a representation of the golden era. Most of their music sounds pretty much like everything else out to me.
CUTT – There are a few guys out there that may focus more on lyrics, but I wouldnt consider it a resurgence. I would like to hear more diversity in the beats as well.
ROUGH UK: Would you agree that your style of rapping is boom bap, if not what would you describe it as?
M.I. – I would describe my rap style as Timeless.
ROUGH UK: What other genres of music have influenced you?
M.I. – I guess I would have to say what ones havent ?! I love music and I listen to all types. I grew up on Jazz, my father was a jazz musician. Im influenced by peoples creativity. Any form.
CUTT – I definitely was influenced early by 70s jazz and rock. Those were the records my dad played in the house. It has carried on into the beat making for sure.
ROUGH UK: What do you hope to achieve with “Avant Garde”?
M.I. – Finishing an album worth listening to is an achievement in itself. We are already working on the next one!
CUTT – Hopefully it has something for the old and new listeners.
Avant Garde is available on iTunes. Make sure to follow Constant Deviants on Twitter @CNSTN_DVNTS