Ruler Why Recordings
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Ruler Why Recordings

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
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The (made-up) story of hip-hop’s invention: Three guys are passing around a microphone (it doesn’t have to have been plugged in, but there had to be a microphone). What the first guy says doesn’t really matter ’cause he invented hip-hop. The second guy says how much better he is than the first guy. The third guy accuses the second guy of killing hip-hop and promises to resurrect it and return it to the former glory days of the first guy.

A (made-up) hip-hop fact: Every two minutes, someone in this country is uploading a shitty mixtape. Every one of these claims it’s giving hip-hop the Lazarus treatment.

This one’s true: Pronouncing hip-hop dead then reaching for the defibrillator paddles is common. Pronouncing hip-hop dead and then pecking at its eyes, not so much.


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“When a real vulture gets agitated, it’ll throw up,” says head Vulture beatmaker Ryan Stanton, aka Ruler Why. “We’re surrounded by all this shit on the radio, and it’s making us throw up on the mic.” Stanton, 21, keeps explaining, but you get the idea. “We like to say we’re ‘feasting on rotten hip-hop.’”

If you prefer your flesh-eating metaphors in Lion King terms, the Vultures’ MySpace page claims the San Antonio hip-hop collective is “restoring balance to the hip-hop ecosystem.” That’s probably a joke, but it might as well be a mission statement. Despite all their on-record boasting, none of the Vultures seems to be nursing a messiah complex. If hip-hop — or the exposed-nerve, visceral kind they prefer — is really dead, Ruler and co. will eat what they can to fuel their own music.

Stanton, 21, has been freestyling since his days at MacArthur High School, but he says he didn’t really pursue hip-hop seriously until a “life-changing” free Wu-Tang Clan show at Austin’s Stubbs in 2005 convinced him to buy a beat machine.

“I’m a young blood in this,” Stanton says. He might have only four years’ experience, but his production skills have convinced six other MCs between the ages of 22 and 34 to join him, and the beat he made for Brooklyn Academy’s “Told U,” featuring Jedi Mind Tricks’ Vinnie Paz, was included on a JMT compilation.

“We both started making beats together, but Ryan got a lot better at them than I did,” says longtime friend and fellow founding Vulture James McGowan, aka Jus the Destroyer, whom Stanton credits with expanding his hip-hop knowledge. That McGowan, 22, a fan of mid-to-late ’90s underground hip-hop, likes Stanton’s work is practically a given. Stanton expectedly borrows heavily from Wu-Tang’s RZA, but only in sensibility, and he seems to have a preternatural knack for creating the night-black, suffocating beats that push MCs to spit dense, vicious lyrics like this verse from the third Vultures founder, Roshard Mills, aka Jamar Equality:

My flow is mad debted to anyone who want it raw/ I said it/ Commercial guests be sweeter than a diabetic/ on a strictly diet/ I’m causing havoc like a city riot/ You paper plane, I’m airport, now who’s really fly-er?/ My veins become the microphone wires/
Liars, no skill, cannot respond that’s why they die over bills/ I got my eyes on the hills in case you copy my skills/ Best believe when it’s time to eat I got my fork in your meals/ The fuck is the deal?/ I’m molten rock lava, spit the hottest shit/ Don dada lick a shot proper at your sorry click/It’s hard to diss when you have trouble keeping fires lit/ Ask Tre-Flipping/ He’ll tell you it’s the arsonist/ Boss carnage, darts a little sharper than your armor, dawg/ Aren’t y’all ashamed? We shining harder than some Armor-All/ I dread listening to wack shit like a conference call/ Equals signin’ off, with my apologies to all of y’all.

Consider that’s all delivered in less than 45 seconds (get a stopwatch and try timing yourself if you don’t realize how ridiculous that is) and you’ve got a pretty good idea of the sound the Vultures are going for. It’s important to keep in mind that Equality’s flow is breathless but mostly intelligible — there’s none of the rushed, show-offy feel you get from Twista or Bone Thugs. He seems natural and comfortable talking much faster than any Texan should (he says people often confuse him for an East Coaster). The lines are also indicative of some common Vultures themes — aggressive boasting and intimidation, disdain for wack MCs and “commercial” hip-hop, the bread and butter of “underground” MCs from El-P to MF Doom — and a pretty fair representation of their hit-and-miss lyrical style. For every predictable reference, awkward wording, or downright confusing line, there’s a good punch line or serviceable metaphor immediately taking its place, but you don’t really have time to contemplate either. The ceaseless stream-of-conscious delivery does something that’s generally certain death in pop music: It forces you to pay attention. There’s no hook to hold on to — no sooner has Equality run out of breath than another MC steps in to take over - Jeremy Martin


The (made-up) story of hip-hop’s invention: Three guys are passing around a microphone (it doesn’t have to have been plugged in, but there had to be a microphone). What the first guy says doesn’t really matter ’cause he invented hip-hop. The second guy says how much better he is than the first guy. The third guy accuses the second guy of killing hip-hop and promises to resurrect it and return it to the former glory days of the first guy.

A (made-up) hip-hop fact: Every two minutes, someone in this country is uploading a shitty mixtape. Every one of these claims it’s giving hip-hop the Lazarus treatment.

This one’s true: Pronouncing hip-hop dead then reaching for the defibrillator paddles is common. Pronouncing hip-hop dead and then pecking at its eyes, not so much.


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones
“When a real vulture gets agitated, it’ll throw up,” says head Vulture beatmaker Ryan Stanton, aka Ruler Why. “We’re surrounded by all this shit on the radio, and it’s making us throw up on the mic.” Stanton, 21, keeps explaining, but you get the idea. “We like to say we’re ‘feasting on rotten hip-hop.’”

If you prefer your flesh-eating metaphors in Lion King terms, the Vultures’ MySpace page claims the San Antonio hip-hop collective is “restoring balance to the hip-hop ecosystem.” That’s probably a joke, but it might as well be a mission statement. Despite all their on-record boasting, none of the Vultures seems to be nursing a messiah complex. If hip-hop — or the exposed-nerve, visceral kind they prefer — is really dead, Ruler and co. will eat what they can to fuel their own music.

Stanton, 21, has been freestyling since his days at MacArthur High School, but he says he didn’t really pursue hip-hop seriously until a “life-changing” free Wu-Tang Clan show at Austin’s Stubbs in 2005 convinced him to buy a beat machine.

“I’m a young blood in this,” Stanton says. He might have only four years’ experience, but his production skills have convinced six other MCs between the ages of 22 and 34 to join him, and the beat he made for Brooklyn Academy’s “Told U,” featuring Jedi Mind Tricks’ Vinnie Paz, was included on a JMT compilation.

“We both started making beats together, but Ryan got a lot better at them than I did,” says longtime friend and fellow founding Vulture James McGowan, aka Jus the Destroyer, whom Stanton credits with expanding his hip-hop knowledge. That McGowan, 22, a fan of mid-to-late ’90s underground hip-hop, likes Stanton’s work is practically a given. Stanton expectedly borrows heavily from Wu-Tang’s RZA, but only in sensibility, and he seems to have a preternatural knack for creating the night-black, suffocating beats that push MCs to spit dense, vicious lyrics like this verse from the third Vultures founder, Roshard Mills, aka Jamar Equality:

My flow is mad debted to anyone who want it raw/ I said it/ Commercial guests be sweeter than a diabetic/ on a strictly diet/ I’m causing havoc like a city riot/ You paper plane, I’m airport, now who’s really fly-er?/ My veins become the microphone wires/
Liars, no skill, cannot respond that’s why they die over bills/ I got my eyes on the hills in case you copy my skills/ Best believe when it’s time to eat I got my fork in your meals/ The fuck is the deal?/ I’m molten rock lava, spit the hottest shit/ Don dada lick a shot proper at your sorry click/It’s hard to diss when you have trouble keeping fires lit/ Ask Tre-Flipping/ He’ll tell you it’s the arsonist/ Boss carnage, darts a little sharper than your armor, dawg/ Aren’t y’all ashamed? We shining harder than some Armor-All/ I dread listening to wack shit like a conference call/ Equals signin’ off, with my apologies to all of y’all.

Consider that’s all delivered in less than 45 seconds (get a stopwatch and try timing yourself if you don’t realize how ridiculous that is) and you’ve got a pretty good idea of the sound the Vultures are going for. It’s important to keep in mind that Equality’s flow is breathless but mostly intelligible — there’s none of the rushed, show-offy feel you get from Twista or Bone Thugs. He seems natural and comfortable talking much faster than any Texan should (he says people often confuse him for an East Coaster). The lines are also indicative of some common Vultures themes — aggressive boasting and intimidation, disdain for wack MCs and “commercial” hip-hop, the bread and butter of “underground” MCs from El-P to MF Doom — and a pretty fair representation of their hit-and-miss lyrical style. For every predictable reference, awkward wording, or downright confusing line, there’s a good punch line or serviceable metaphor immediately taking its place, but you don’t really have time to contemplate either. The ceaseless stream-of-conscious delivery does something that’s generally certain death in pop music: It forces you to pay attention. There’s no hook to hold on to — no sooner has Equality run out of breath than another MC steps in to take over - Jeremy Martin


Discography

The Vultures - 7 Rings of Saturn
The Vultures - Desert Eagles Vol. 1
K.I.N. - Knowledge Is Now
Richard Gein - Zombie Vomit
OT23 - Supernova
SubKulture Patriots (self titled)
SubKulture Patriots - The Kulture Riots
OT23 - No Clip Full Enough
Mad One - The Asylum
King Art - The Divine Knight
Ndeo the Blindsider - Warning Shots
Blazy - Verbal Darts

Photos

Bio

Ruler Why Recordings is a production powerhouse and Independent Hip Hop Label. The label currently provides a foundation to Austin & San Antonio based Hip Hop groups and solo rappers. The roster includes but is not limited to...
-The Vultures
-OT23
-SubKulture Patriots
-Ndeo the Blindsider
-King Art
-Mad One
-D.O.S.
-Blazy
-Jamar Equality