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Denver, Colorado, United States | SELF

Denver, Colorado, United States | SELF
Band Hip Hop Soul


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One of the most anticipated albums in local hip-hop circles this fall is Dispensary Music, the long-awaited full-length collaboration between Whygee and Foe, slated to drop tomorrow on iTunes.The collaboration between these two rappers was inspired by sporadic features on various songs in the past and the undeniable chemistry they realized they shared.

On their new album, the two take listeners on a guided trip down a rabbit hole into the vestiges of drug lore, with Whygee's subdued delivery fusing and FOE's controlled insanity leading the way through a wanton celebration of usage, as well as a critical look at the governmental influence on supply and demand.

In advance of their release, we caught up with the pair for a chat about drugs, power and ancient civilization. Read the full interview and listen to the first single after the jump.

?Westword (Ru Johnson): The collaboration between Foe and Whygee has been a long time coming. Why is now the time for the fusion of your subcategories of hip-hop to come together?

FOE: I think we have always wanted to work together. One day, we were just chilling, smoking a blunt, and one of us said, "We should do an album together!" and there it was. We started recording -- we recorded like twelve songs and my hard drive crashed, so we lost the whole album. I called Whygee and told him what happened. That day we went back into the studio and started recording Dispensary Music.

Whygee: I knew I'd have to make music with Foe when we went head to head for that Westword award. Foe won. What else could I do but make some joints with the dude? After recording all this music with Foe, I believe he is just as much a conscious MC or backpack MC as I'm labeled as. Side note: We recorded a few songs together before Dispensary Music; and Foe and 800 the Jewell were playing me songs for what is now King Foe's The Format. The shit was blowing my mind.

Ww: Many have said Dispensary Music finds you both in top form. Is this your best work so far?

Wg: My new shit is always my best work, in my opinion. But this album is a different me. I'd say this is the most "Colorado" piece of work that I've done so far. Working with Foe and bringing in more local producers did something beautiful for my verses and hooks. I feel like it made me try some new styles and learn some new techniques and what have you.

F: Every time I do something, I think it's my best work!! [laughs] Seriously, it's a dope album all the way through!

Ww: The first single, "Raw Gurd" (produced by Graffiti Black), references the war on drugs, pointing to government systems as a catalyst for the epidemic. Where is the root in the condemnation of drug usage?

F: Honestly, my whole life has been a war on drugs. I've dealt with family members addicted to all different drugs -- [from] pawning things in order to find that next high, thinking that they need the drug to move on with the day, to having to be out in the streets trying to chase your next dollar in order to feed your babies, because no one else would hire you, or the job you do find isn't even enough pay for your gas to get to work! It's been a war in my family -- some would call it a civil war -- that may never end.

?Wg: I have no idea where [it comes from], but I'm pretty convinced that every civilization ever has some type of chemically altering substance they party on or meditate on or pray with. I feel like those who wrote the laws -- or play a part in what goes on in the world -- found out a way to capitalize on the shit while neutralizing certain minorities or types of people. Most of those hypocrites who campaign and condemn drugs go home and chew a bunch of meds to deal with the stress of it.

Ww: We are so far gone from the days of "Just Say No" and the your-brain-on-drugs commercials. When did the tides change in such a way that dispensaries are easier to find than coffee shops in Denver?

F: Well, in our society, I think reefer has never been looked at as a drug, per se, but [as] more of an aid to get through the day and deal with aches and pains. It became more acceptable, in my opinion, when the government found out they could make money both ways, taxing the "legal" dealers and arresting the "illegal" ones.

Ww: In what ways did recording this album force you to look at your marijuana usage? Have your smoking habits changed at all?

Wg: I smoke a lot, and I'm pretty sure Foe smokes more than me -- if that's even possible. I'd be lying if I didn't say I thought about taking a little break after the record was done, as I sit here and hit a bowl [laughs]. [Other than that,] no major changes, really, except for the new comrade [I've gained] to match blunts, rap and crack jokes with.

F: If anything, it helped me to gauge why it was I was using at particular moment in my life -- whether it was stress, a bad day at work, relaxing, dealing with problems, or just a way to get away from the normal hectic life. No, my habit is still the same: I smoke like a chimney.

Ww: Dispensary Music covers so many themes based in herb consumption, from drug laws to the love affair with the green. When did weed become so versatile?

Foe: It's always been versatile, it just took us to show you how versatile it really was.

Wg: The same can be done with any subject, if you're willing to think a little bit and be creative enough. The album is versatile and remains on subject because two dope writers -- and friends -- wrote it. I think at the end of it all, we had more chemistry than both of [us] ever thought in the first place, on some Red and Meth or Curren$y and Wiz type shit.

Ww: From herb to reefer to pot and weed, marijuana is known by many names. What is your favorite way to address the ganja?

F: With a fire of some sorts.

Wg: Bud, free bud is even better. "Green" is a word I use a lot. I don't know. It depends on who you're taking to.

Ww: How has the availability of herb in Denver changed the smokers culture?

Wg: I [have] been smoking damn near every day since I was like fifteen or sixteen. I'm sure it changed for some other folks, though.

F: Now people think they can't smoke swag -- that may be the biggest change in the culture. Now we have people who would never, any other day, purchase high-quality reefer, smoking it every day, because the prices have dropped so dramatically...supply and demand!

Ww: In many cities, the police will throw you in jail for holding marijuana. What do you say to opponents of the movement to legalize marijuana?

F: I say: Let's just look at the history of reefer and how it has helped with the usage of hemp products such as paper, shoes, clothes and so on. And recently, the taxes that have been added to it have helped with the state debt and have given money to help rebuild the community.

Wg: I know you like getting that "under that table gwop," but legalize it. You'll still have your alcohol, tobacco and firearm money coming to you.

As they were putting together Dispensary Music, which is being released tomorrow on iTunes, Whygee and Foe recorded over thirty tracks; they were tasked with narrowing those down to fifteen, which made the final cut, including "Raw Gurd,"which features Brik A Brak.

The joints that didn't make the album are slated to be released at a later date as The Doobie Tracks, a compilation of sorts of smoke-downs designed to get you high. Whygee and Foe have kept a tight wrap on which cuts they selected, opting to keep everyone in suspense until now. See the final tracklist below.

King FOE and Whygee
Dispensary Music

01. "Listen" - Produced by Mr. Bostic
02. "Rick James" - Produced by GeedUp
03. "Calling" - Produced by Qknox
04. "Ta the Tilt" featuring Brik A Brak - Produced by Aires Jackson
05. "Survive" - featuring St. Nick - Produced by Big J Beats
06. "Raw Gurd" featuring Brik A Brak - Produced by Graffiti
07. "Not Allowed" - Produced by Qknox
08. "Easy" - featuring Haven - Produced by Davey Boy for Super Dope Music
09. "Ceremonial Headgear" - Produced by Dyalekt
10. "Light It Up" featuring Rhias (Air Dubai) & Paisha - Produced by TC Crook
11. "Outside of My Mind" - featuring Karma - Produced by Xperiment
12. "What Happened" - featuring Tuxx - Produced by Selko
13. "Finding" featuring Freddie Savage - Produced by Qknox
14. "Paranoid" - Produced by 800 the Jewell
15. "The Program" featuring charleyBrand - Produced by EsNine - The Huffington Post

In case you haven't heard by now, Whygee and Sunken State's excellent Suicide Watch EP debuted on the College Music Journal hip-hop chart last week at number 30. The duo released the record back in December for free download, and it looks like it's paying off, especially for Whygee.

"We've had handful of new blogs show love and some Internet buzz," Whygee says. "I got an opening spot for the Game at the Fox in March, and honestly, it's just served as something my manager can use in negotiation with venues and promoters."

Along with the upcoming shows, Whygee is continually working on new music, including a new project he's been working on with Naeem Oba called N.O. Why. The first release from that collaboration, You're Not One of Us, is due in April, while a new mixtape with DJ Sounds Supreme featuring DJ Low Key will drop sometime this summer, followed by a hip-hop/soul project with singer charleyBRAND sometime in the next year -- and yes, it will all be free!

"I've been sayin I was going to give my music away since I met Bionik Brown," Whygee says. "He gave me all of his music for free every time he saw me, and told me that the dope MCs' music should be free. All of my projects this year will all be leaked online first. It's just the smart thing for dope MCs to do at a time like this."

Check out a Whygee and Sunken State track below. - Denver Westword


Dispensary Music LP (2010)

The Take A Bite Out of Dispensary Music EP (2010)

Suicide Watch 2 Sambodextrust - Recently released. Features "In A Rut" played on KTNI and indie303.com

Whygee & Rock The Dub present The Saga of Mr. Bitches - Mix tape

Offshore Drilling - featured on the track "Klonopins" peaked at #17 on CMJ hip-hop chart

Suicide Watch EP - Spent 6 weeks on the CMJ hip-hop chart features "Good and Bad" featured on KS 107.5, Indie 101.5, KTCL 93.3, and more.



Whygee - Not because he feels entitled, but because he feels he can be as successful as any other hip-hop MC. His idea of success can be measured not by material possessions or even myspace plays, but by hearing inspiring reactions to the words he speaks. Seeing straight through the facade of artists who surround their image with gold and dollar signs, Whygee wants to strip down the images of stardom and tell a story to those who spend hours looking online for the next great artist or venture into the smallest clubs to watch the shows of the unknown. He invites anybody who will listen to a Rage against the Machine song after one from Stevie Wonder, followed by an Atmosphere song, or even a Black Sabbath track, to explore his music. Murs, Blu, Method Man, and De La Soul are all on his itunes, and if you listen carefully, you can hear their influences underneath the messages Whygee brings from the Colorado concrete. Through the blended styles of soul and spoken word, and by keeping a close eye on the styles hip-hop's past, Whygee is constantly moving and writing to evolve himself as an artist and express his eclectic approach to music. Along with his DJ brikAbrak, he is set to surprise the world with his Colorado home-grown talent, and speaks with wisdom and social consciousness on issues faced everywhere from small towns to the largest of cities. Not the street problems of gang life or violence, but the reoccurring social and economic hurdles Whygee has personally grown to face and endure.

DJ brikAbrak - Born in Jackson Mississippi, BrikAbrak
has had a lifelong relationship with music. His home is the birthplace of the Blues and is heavily influenced by Jazz, Gospel, and traditional African and Native American music. This warm and ever evolving atmosphere is literally bursting with inspiration, and BrikABrak's natural abilities for music led him to discover these influences and more. At an early age he was introduced to the art form of hip-hop, it soon laid the groundwork for his style and understanding of music. In the past few years BrikAbrak has become a top draw, headlining many shows, with a multitude of other artists of all genres. He feels just as comfortable in the studio and has become a sought out beat maker and dj for a variety of artists. Love of the old school shines through in BrikAbrak├Ľs mixes and beats, but they also work toward a future of music that he is helping to create. The future holds even more innovation and recreation at the hands of this multi talented artist.