Who is Ray West?
I’m a man who loves music.
I hear you’re a big vinyl collector. What is your most cherished record?
I love my record collection but a cherish my 45s mostly. Especially the ones with picture covers. My copy of James Brown’s “Man’s world” 7 inch EP European Import stands out to me. My jazz 7 inches too. Lionel Hampton EP’s on 45. Love those.
You’re a hip hop producer that stays true to the original art form, using an MPC and sampling records. Do you have any advice for aspiring producers? Is there a science to finding that record or is it all about having the ear to pull out a sample?
My advice would be to stay true, humble and learn your craft. As far as a science to digging, its all about being a good listener and the thrill of the hunt. I am always looking for and listening to records. The more you listen, the more you will understand who to extract [and] what you wanna get from the pieces.
You helped start Red Apples 45 over 10 years ago with AG and Abdul Jabar. Can you shed some light on what Red Apples 45 is all about?
Red apples 45 came about by us wanting to put out our own stuff without any outside influence. We had so much stuff recorded and ideas for vinyls. We wanted to do it our way. It is also based on making quality physical products. Making quality vinyl is our most important agenda.
What does “Ray’s Cafe” symbolize and how did the album concept/collaboration come about?
It really symbolizes my basement. The studio and all the history down there. I been working down there for about 20 years so it has a feel to it. The project “Ray’s Cafe” was born the first time me and OC recorded. AG brought OC to the studio and we made the song “Ray’s Cafe.” Right there the idea was born. I told O we gotta do a whole project based on “Ray’s Cafe.”
What’s your favorite track on the LP and why?
I love the whole project, but my favorite song is “Have Fun.” The message in O’s words is special.
Do you plan on making any music videos for the album?
We are gonna have some videos… Trailers, interviews and an exclusive video to a song that’s not on “Ray’s Cafe.”
Is there anything that separates “Ray’s Cafe” production-wise compared to your previous projects?
I think it’s really special in the sense that the theme of “Ray’s Cafe” was our focus. The concept of a jazz club kept me in a certain zone. There was a lot of thought put into each piece of the puzzle.
Are there any emcees you’d like to work with in the future, as a producer or as part of Red Apples 45?
I really appreciate the voice of an MC so if I had a opportunity, I would like to work with Evidence or Rasheed Chappell. But I also feel really blessed to have been able to work with the great artists I’ve worked with already. It’s really been amazing.
What else is on the horizon for Ray West and Red Apples 45?
More records. We have a new LUVNY EP coming. We have a record with John Robinson that’s dedicated to the SP 12. We also have a full length LP with AG and John Robinson.
Any last words?
Blessings to all the good people that support us, our music and the culture.
Go to the next page for OC’s interview!