CPR by the Fresh Breath Committee was defiantly one of the hottest albums from Denver. Recognized by Denver Westword as Denver’s “Best Hip Hop Album” in 2010, “CPR” proved that hip hop is not dead in Colorado, but alive and strong. Now with GROUP THERAPY out Fresh Breath producers continue to put it down! I recently had the chance to catch up with the guys behind the beats of the Fresh Breath Committee, Paul Jr. and Hi-Res…
What’s good homies? Things have been busy for ya’ll…
Yes it has. It was a busy year on the music and business tip. We were able to get Fresh Breath Committee LLC going, we recorded and dropped our debut album “CPR,” while also working with legendary emcee Masta Ace, and we threw and performed on some major shows around the state. Our album “CPR” was awarded Denver’s “Best Hip Hop Album” by Westword, and Fresh Breath Committee is now nominated as “Best Hip Hop Group.” 2009 into early ’10 was a blessing for us.
Tell the people out there a little about yourselves and how long ya’ll have been making beats.
Paul Jr.: I grew up in Denver, Colorado. I have been emceeing since I was 12 years old, in which I began my battle rapping career. I started producing at age 15 and have been making beats and engineering audio ever since. I started off on “FL Studio”, and now produce by way of “Reason” and “Sound Forge.” I run my own recording studio called “Diverse Studios,” which is the home of Fresh Breath Committee, and I engineer audio using ProTools. Once I developed my sound, the rest was history.
Hi Res: I’m a 24 year old producer born and raised in Denver. My cousin Dro got me addicted to hip hop at a very young age. There was something about rap beats that always appealed to me more than any other art form. Around age 15 or 16 I copped a Boss SP-202 that I made my first beats on. I been at it ever since.
So we know that FBC is a super group of emcees, but how did Hi-Res get in the mix?
Paul Jr.: Hi Res had a connection with the emcee Kontrast in our group, and he showed us a beat CD of his one day and we all thought he brought something different and creative to the table. We also appreciated his drive and dedication towards the Fresh Breath movement.
When did you know that Hi-Res would be a perfect fit for the FBC?
Paul Jr.: When I first heard Hi Res’ production, the most intriguing thing to me was that he had high quality beats, yet they were so much different than mine. I knew with both of us, we could create the sound that could really take Fresh Breath Committee to the next level.
On the song “Reflection of Me” off of the CPR album, the two of ya’ll collabed on the beat. How did that come about?
Hi Res: All of my beats on CPR were made at my house, not at the studio. One day we had the MPC up there to track out one of the songs. I was goin though Paul Jr. records and I stumbled across that sample and I wanted to flip it right away. I chopped it up and laced it with some basic drums. While I was doing that Paul Jr. started getting down on the keyboard and came up with some dope melodies to match. It sounded perfect, so he layed it down. Then we added the baseline, Paul Jr. beefed up the drums, and threw in a few vocal samples in the background, and that was it. It was a really quick process but it turned out dope.
Hi-Res even drops a verse on “Reflection of Me” first, what made you pick up the mic?
Hi Res: I was into rapping years before I had the money to buy beat making equipment, but once I got my hands on some equipment my focus shifted to producing. After joining FBC though, I was surrounded by dope MC’s all the time and I got inspired to rhyme again. These cats are hard to hang with on the mic though so I told em I just wanted one verse on CPR. When Flawless and I made that beat, I knew it was the one I wanted to jump on.
Can both of you describe your style of beat making?
Paul Jr.: Most of the time, it starts with a record player. I find a hot record, chop up the samples in Sound Forge, play them on the keys in Reason to find melodies, add drums and bass, and lay over any additional sounds I am inspired to do at that time. I try to make my creations sound like something no one else can accomplish. My sound is most of the time raw as hell, but I pride myself on being able to create anything. I mostly produce Hip Hop, boom bap to be exact, but I also have produced R&B, Rock oriented beats, Southern Hip Hop style, Club, Reggae, etc. I can also play the keyboard so I take a different approach to beats that I do not sample on. It just depends on what kind of mood I am in. I put quality above anything else.
Hi-Res: For the most part, my sound is raw and organic. I rarely use synthetic sounds or drums. I take a DJ approach to beat making, taking samples from different records and combining them until they’re hardly recognizable. My masterpiece on “CPR” is “Soul Music.” listen to that beat to see how I get down.
As far as music, what were you involved in before hooking up with FBC?
Hi-Res: I had done a few tracks for some of my boys in the past but they weren’t nearly as serious about music as I was. During ‘08 I spent a lot of time in the lab just tryin’ to get my beats sounding professional. I had cooked up a few joints for Kontrast in ‘08 but when the Committee formed a few months later we opted to use them for the crew album. CPR was the first real project I’ve been involved with, it’s cool that it’s being received so well.
Now it’s no secret when it comes to beats, that Paul Jr. is straight fire. Tell them some of the people you have produced track for?
Paul Jr.: I have produced tracks for many many artists. I have produced for nationally known artists and emcees such as Masta Ace, OuterSpace, Moka Only, Sweatshop Union, and Dirty Birdy. I have also produced for up and coming Colorado Hip Hop artists such as A.V.I.U.S. of 3 The Hardway, The ReMINDers, Whygee, F.O.E., B Blacc, and many more.
Is there anyone out there that you would like to work with (MC’s, Producers)?
Paul Jr.: Oh wow, there’s barely enough stars in the sky for how many answers I have. Artists, there are FAR too many to name, but I’d love to work with some like Eminem, Nas, Method Man, Redman, Jay-Z, Black Thought, Common, Mos Def, Pharoahe Monch, Elzhi, Andre 3000, Robin Thicke, Anthony Hamilton, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, De La Soul, Busta Rhymes, Joel Ortiz, Ludacris, Trey Songz, John Legend, etc. Producers, even more. Producers such as DJ Premier, Kanye West, Hi Tek, Alchemist, 9th Wonder, Timbaland, Dr. Dre, Madlib, Kev Brown, etc.
Hi-Res: Black Thought, Murs, Common, Andre 3000, Dilated Peoples, Alicia Keys, Kanye… I could go for days. Locally there are a lot of artists I would like to work with in the near future, I’ll be hittin yall up!
Any last word or shout outs?
Shout out to Joe Thunder and BoxStateMusic.com, Unda$tream Magazine, our families, the rest of the squad, the homies, ALL the other artists (you know who you are), and the fans…. Fresh Breath UP!
Interview by Joe Thunder