Constant Deviants
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Constant Deviants

Brooklyn, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1996 | INDIE

Brooklyn, New York, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 1996
Duo Hip Hop Soul

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Oct
11
Constant Deviants @ Rocking Chair

Vevey, Vaud, Switzerland

Vevey, Vaud, Switzerland

Oct
10
Constant Deviants @ Exil

Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

Jun
28
Constant Deviants @ NYC Urban Tattoo Convention (Industry City)

Brooklyn, New York, United States

Brooklyn, New York, United States

Music

Press


I have to admit that I am a little confused about this one! The only thing I am 100% about is that Constant Deviants delivered an absolutely Certified FRESH project with DIAMOND. Now the confusing part… Yesterday I received the email that the project is going to drop in January but can be streamed now for fans to get a taste. However, it looks as if you can cop the project now?? Well in either case you need to turn the dial up and at least listen to DIAMOND because Constant Deviants know how to make an ill album. - Kevin Nottingham


Constant Deviants is excited to give fans a chance to listen to their new album, Diamond. The full-length release, which will be available at retail (both on vinyl and digitally) this coming January, is now available to fans digital-only, via Constant Deviant's label, SIX2SIX Records. - Rap Reviews


ISSUE #580 Top 40 Charts #1 CONSTANT DEVIANTS ITS OK! EP - Rap Attack Lives


The latest top 40 and top 5 adds in Indy hip hop radio and this week’s #1 record comes from Constant Deviants with their single “Eventually” on SIX2SIX Records. - Record Breakers Chart


Rapper M.I. and DJ/Producer DJ Cutt make up the group Constant Deviants. After years of failed indie and major record deals the duo started their own record label, SIX2SIX Records in 2009. The result is a full-length album titled DIAMOND.

DIAMOND is an album reminiscent of 90’s era Hip-Hop. Cutt’s production coupled with Mr. Impossible rhymes blend together like Guru and Premier. Constant Deviants brings a refreshing dose of authenticity to today’s Hip-Hop landscape.

M.I. of Constant Deviants spoke to The Real Hip-Hop.com about the group’s SIX2SIX record label, the most valuable lesson they’ve learned in their recording career, and their new album DIAMOND.

TRHH: Why’d you title the new album DIAMOND?

M.I.: There are two different reasons for the Diamond title. Diamond represents ten million sold. It has been ten years since me and Cutt had done music together as Constant Deviants. That was the initial reason and ultimately it just grew. The diamond is more representative of the preciousness and rarity of the stone. It’s the hardest natural substance. It’s a precious stone that’s not as pretty as it is once it’s cleaned up. So it kind of represents the type of music we do and it’s a lost art to make good Hip-Hop and not sound like music from the 90’s but still have that feel to it.

TRHH: Why was there such a big gap between the times you two recorded together?

M.I.: In 2000 I got a deal with Arista Records with Mark Pitts. Mark had me working with other producers. Me and Cutt were still working together but not as Constant Deviants. Toward the late 90’s the group thing kind of phased out and if you were trying to get a deal it was more like an artist. Me and Cutt always worked together but we didn’t go with the Constant Deviants thing. As we started getting more and more into working with other producers in the industry it just kind of started becoming more like we were trying to make music for a major to put it out. We were getting singles together and it just didn’t work out. It kind of tainted what me and him did initially because we were always making music together. When there was a third party like a Dante Ross or a Chad Elliott it was adding a weird energy to what we were doing. It threw him off production wise and threw me off, we just didn’t work together that well. What it did was it gave us a chance to separate and work with other people and grow a little bit. We kind hindered each others growth with his insecurities, my insecurities, and our inhibitions with music. It brought another element out of me and vice versa for him.

TRHH: Tell me about the new single ‘Gangster Boogie’.

M.I.: ‘Gangster Boogie’ was actually one of the last songs we did for the album. It was a track he sent after we had already put the album together. When I heard it the sample was reminiscent. I liked how he flipped it so I did something on it and always wanted to use that Snoop hook. I put that Eazy-E line in there and he thought to put the Gangster Boogie (Chicago Gangsters) sample on there and it just came together perfectly. The album is hard to talk about because it took us two years to put the album together. We work separately from each other. We’d be in the studio together but he’s in Jersey and I’m in Baltimore. He would send me the track via e-mail. I got a little studio in the crib where I’d work on it and send it back to him. Then we’d get together and work on the hook afterwards and mix ‘em. I felt like we needed something a little more modern sounding that people would get with. A lot of the other stuff on the album is touching a certain audience so I wanted to come up with a record that the audience might broaden a little bit on.

TRHH: The joint ‘Top 10’ is dope. How did you come up with the concept for that song? Did anyone miss the cut?

M.I.: Good looking. Essentially it had the “I remember” sample in there and I didn’t want to do eight bars of remembering this or that. I was trying to think how could I put something in there that would remind you of a certain era without talking about it. I didn’t want the song to be about remembering ’93 or something like that. I wanted to touch that era without talking about remembering it. The first line was the Kool G Rap one and I thought it would be dope if every eight bars I started off with another rappers rhyme from back in the day and just rap off of it. I named it ‘Top 10’ even though it wasn’t ten that made it, it was just dope. Top ten is like Adidas. It’s so many things that don’t even come together but those are some of my favorite rappers that I used. Nobody didn’t make the cut it was just the ones that kind of fit. Most of those people are on peoples top ten list. If you asked most of the people from the 80’s and the 90’s who their favorite rappers of all-time were they’d all be on there–Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, Rakim, KRS-One, Slick Rick, and LL Cool J. We didn’t want to put a word hook so we did something that was remi - The Real Hip Hop by Sherron Shabazz


Following the recent release of their mixtape, Platinum, and as they continue to prepare for their anticipated new album, Diamond, the Constant Deviants duo of rapper M.I. and producer DJ Cutt continue to leak exclusive, all-original non-album tracks to hold fans over. Premiering today is "Walk of Fame," a track which stays true to the Deviants' sample-driven and boom-bap-embracing sound.

Reinforcing their New York roots – the duo splits their time between Brooklyn and Baltimore, Maryland – "Walk of Fame" contains a Frank Sinatra sample while the drums are sampled from the classic "Impeach The President" break, by the Honey Drippers. Raw, dusty and full of soul, "Walk of Fame" is more of a race to better days than anything. As M.I. says of the message, "We're just kind of relaying some of the urban plight and expressing a plan to escape!" - Audible Treats


Around the turn of the last millennium, Mark Pitts, the man who managed the Notorious BIG, had a vision to take the Constant Deviants to super-stardom. Comprised of the rapper M.I. and the producer DJ Cutt, Constant Deviants had released a couple of independent rap songs in the late-'90s and were in the process of shopping their demo around. Working as an A&R at Arista and reporting to L.A. Reid, Pitts had ambitions for the group that would have seen them styled as prototype rappers with a rock-star attitude and allure--think Lil Wayne's image, if not his Rebirth sound. Pitts' plan for the group included snagging M.I. a role on the TV show OZ, sparking a rumor he and Pink were dating, and releasing a club-oriented song hooked around the sound of a motorbike revving up. But it was a facade M.I. and Cutt weren't tuned in to. Ultimately, they chose to stay true to the path of their music rather than chase crossover riches on the back of a hired Harley-Davidson.

This week Constant Deviants released their new album Diamond on their own Six2Six label. The project solidifies their stance: It's hip-hop that pitches from the underground and puts its faith in the unadulterated combination of one rapper and one DJ. We sat down with M.I. and Cutt at the 718 bar on 5th Avenue in Brooklyn and got their hidden industry story.


How did Constant Deviants almost sign to Arista?
M.I.: We were shopping our demo, five songs. We somehow tapped into these dudes that ran some sort of a management company and they sent it to Arista. This was right when Mark Pitts got to Arista, when L.A. Reid took over. This was probably on the cusp of 2000. The demo ended up on Mark's desk the day he got there. He heard it, liked it, contacted the guy we were dealing with and told them he liked a song called "Clap" on there.

What did "Clap" sound like? Was it along the same lines as your indie stuff like "Can't Stop" and "8th Wonder"?
M.I.: It was more keyboard sounds by this time. We were trying to keep up with what was going on.

DJ Cutt: It was sort of like Timbaland's early stuff.

M.I.: At that time you're weren't gonna get a record deal using samples. The sampling thing had gotten crazy around that era. You want a deal? You better not use samples and better not scratch on your hook!

DJ Cutt: "Clap" was like a slow-tempo, bugged-out record.

Can you remember any lines from it?
M.I.: The hook was like [begins to rap] "Something something clap!" Then the beat would clap. It's like what Ludacris did at the end of that Usher record. [Pauses] Mark did that record, actually! We've got a great relationship with Mark though. Even if he did that, he didn't realize that.

DJ Cutt: He had Biggie. He's a smart dude.

So what happened next?
M.I.: He calls the [management] guy back. It was one of them Brooklyn-Italian dudes, in his 50s, claiming to know this dude and that dude. So Mark speaks to them and then the dude said, "And I got news for you: Yo, the dude that's rapping isn't black, he's Italian!" Mark was like, "Bring him up here so I can hear him rap, so I can make sure it's not a Milli Vanilli thing going on!"

What happened when you got to Arista?
M.I.: So I rap for Mark, and this was around the time Oz was on TV. He was like, "You're a big dude, you have the tattoos, I wanna get you on Oz." He had a vision that I didn't really have for myself. He wanted me to do something that I didn't want to do as an artist. That's where me and him couldn't see eye-to-eye. This was before the rock star thing--like when the hip-hop and urban culture went there--and Mark kinda wanted me to dress up like a Harley-Davidson dude and play along with that. But the chemistry wasn't there for me.

Did you try and record anything that went in that direction?
M.I.: Yeah, we tried to make some records that had that feel to them, like rock hip-hop but not really going there. Lyrically I was still where I was, but musically we tried. There's a gang of music from the early-2000s that's not even good music for us. But Mark was always like, "I had the biggest rapper of all time. Biggie was my artist. Anything I do is going to be bigger than Biggie--I'm not doing anything underground." At the time, he was dealing with Usher, TLC, Whitney Houston.

We never heard back for a while after that. Then in came Uni--Universal from Brooklyn--who used to road manage Mark's artists like Tracey Lee and Nature was on there, Shyne too. Mark's company was ByStorm Entertainment. So he called Mark up. I was in Brooklyn one day with Uni and Mark says, "Let me speak to that dude!" He told me he'd been trying to get in touch with us but the manager dude wouldn't let him get in touch with us. They tried to get us to sign a contrac - Village Voice by Phillip Mlynar


“The Brooklyn-meets-Baltimore duo always stayed something of an underground treat for hip-hop fans, never quite achieving the success that their talent deserved. Having spent around ten years apart, rapper, M.I,. and producer, DJ Cutt came back together with last year’s ‘Platinum: The Mixtape’ building a buzz once more among hip-hop aficionados.

Certainly, M.I.’s baritone raps hold their own across the strong tracks, as he delivers with a direct flow that rides the beat, offering clarity to his rhymes. Clear to hear from the first listen, M.I.s word-play is crisp and concise, as he at times, recalls the rhyme patter of 50 Cent. It would, perhaps, be more fitting to say that M.I. stands on his own and brings a rawness that fans of the likes of Real Live will easily latch onto. Never getting lost in overly-complex rhyme patterns and vocabulary, the rhymes are readily understood, as M.I. makes sure his message is followed throughout.

Of course, rhymes are only part of the puzzle, and DJ Cutt’s production oozes a genuine hip-hop appeal to really lift this release. With deep breaks, rumbling bass, fine instrumentation and classic samples, this album takes the sonics back to a rich, organic feel, rather than following the disco-lite fashions of the cross-over set. Like all the best hip-hop crews, the strength of The Constant Deviants is the synergy between M.I.’s direct rhyming and DJ Cutt’s beautifully layered production.

The whole album shows a real depth of respect for hip-hop as a musical artform, with tracks like ‘Chill,’ ‘Gangster Boogie,’ and ‘Krush Groove’ checking old-school classics either in the breaks, samples or rhymes. Elsewhere, ‘B My Pleasure,’ brings a laid-back party vibe over a strong organ line and soulful touches. However, to pick out stand-out tracks would be to name every tune on this release as the Constant Deviants have shown their quality with an album that delivers from start to finish” - PopCulturez


Discography

Constant Deviants - Problem Child / Feel That (12") 1995
Constant Deviants - Competition Catch Speed Knots (12") 1996
Constant Deviants - Cant Stop / Fed Up (12") 1998
Constant Deviants - 8th Wonder / Hustlers Prayer (12") 1998
Constant Deviants - Amongst Friends (LP) 1999
Constant Deviants - Concrete Utopia LP (Vinyl LP) 1995.
Constant Deviants - 1995 Demo EP Ltd. Ed.(12") 1995
Constant Deviants - Fulton Street (7") 2012
Constant Deviants - DIAMOND (LP) 2012
Constant Deviants - It's OK! (12") 2013

M.I. of Constant Deviants - Allnighter EP (12") 2012 / Debonair P GRR also appeared on Crew Family / Keep Your Day Job (Global Platoon) (12")  Streets Of Gold White Label (Global Platoon) (12") 1997 also appeared on (Global Platoon) (12") G8 Summit EP 2012 (Trilateral Commission) (12") Alpine Metropolis 2014






Photos

Bio

CONSTANT DEVIANTS
constant adj continuing without pause or letup; unceasing.
deviant n a person or thing that departs markedly from the accepted norm.

In the world of Hip-Hop, a name carries the weight of an entire career. Its the brand, the logo, but most importantly the mission of the group. For Constant Deviants, its a title that has grown with them over time: constantly changing, departing from the norm. As the duo collectively kick starts their journey into Hip-Hop once more, their name bears more meaning than it ever has.

Consisting of emcee M.I. and producer/DJ Cutt, the New York slash Baltimore artists began making music as teenagers during Hip-Hops pivotal Golden Era. The pair locked themselves in a studio during a 24-hour period, delivering their 4-track demo. On it, the classic Competition Catch Speed Knots, which caught some speed knots of its own. Released under Vestry Records but distributed through Dance/Reggae label Strictly Rhythm, Speed Knots was a Rap record touted to a Dance audience. That was our first independent deal so we were just excited about it, Cutt explains. We didnt understand what it was at the time, continues M.I. The record was affectionately certified Ghetto Gold by the team, where true Rap fans were demanding it but couldnt find it. It seems like a lot of people have that record, but we have no numbers, M.I. explains. Theres a dude from Germany I met and he even has the record and still plays it to this day. CD also delivered their letter to Hip-Hop Cant Stop (Brooklyn Pipeline) and 8th Wonder / Hustlers Prayer (Brooklyn Pipeline), among other notable cuts during their early run.

Their music reached the ears of famed manager Mark Pitts. By 2000, M.I. signed a deal with Arista Records, with Cutt aiding in production while solidifying his career as a DJ and engineer. The next few years showed M.I. as an emcee on the rise, Cutt working heavily with Rap heavyweight N.O.R.E. as his engineer and touring DJ, plus working with Jay-Zs famed Roc-A-Fella Records. By 2006, their worlds came together, again, as M.I. featured N.O.R.E. on the remix to the track Yup alongside Rick Ross, co-produced by Cutt. Their efforts reached another pitfall when an outside marketing agency promoted the record as M1 a.k.a one-half of the group Dead Prez. The backlash was terrible. We had a lot of money invested in that record, and that one mistake completely sabotaged it M.I. recalls. It killed me because it ruined that record and there was no way to get it back.

The duo realized in order to get their original spirit back, theyd have to return to their roots. They started SIX2SIX Records, self-funded and self-managed by Constant Deviants, releasing other artists material, but most importantly their own. We realized we had to do our own thing, Cutt explains. Creatively, we had a good time when we were in the studio and needed to get back to that. The meaning behind SIX2SIX is the hours they work, 6AM to 6AM. Anything we do, we go that hard, says M.I.

Their triumphant return to Hip-Hop will be marked by the release of Diamond, a culmination of the eras that Constant Deviants experienced on their journey, while pushing Hip-Hop forward. It took us time to put together something really right because it had been a long time since the two of us created that sound, M.I. says of the project. The sound is an amalgam of organic drums and classic samples with the level of artistry that Constant Deviants were known for from the beginning. We didnt go back and completely recreate that sound and just leave it there, M.I. explains. We tried to update it a little bit so it sounded more modern from back then.

Diamond primarily features M.I. and Cutt, with possible collaborations on remixes. The introductory track Krush Groove comes complete with a video honoring Hip-Hops beginnings, taking place in Baltimores Graffiti Alley with such relics as a 300ZX. Its a real simple video with a 90s feel, M.I. says. As another testament to the past, Wont Stop continues the progression of Cant Stop, with a brand new letter about the current state of Hip-Hop. Finally, the track Gotta Get Paid is what the two simply call a return to hard Hip-Hop, sampling Greg Nice on the original and KRS-One on the remix.

Another remarkable aspect of Constant Deviants and the SIX2SIX movement is their loyal vinyl fan base. Digital downloads are offered for free, knowing the fans will purchase wax, a phenomenon that challenges the current recording industrys infrastructure. We look at our label almost like a boutique Hip-Hop label, like the early days of Def Jam says M.I. Even in a world where all people may not like vinyl, they still love Hip-Hop. As Constant Deviants bring Hip-Hop back to the future with Diamond, they maintain their original mantra. Sometimes people take Hip-Hop too far underground or too far Pop to the point where its not e