by R.J. Villa
This summer marks the release of Potluckâ€™s new album, Rhymes & Resin on Suburban Noize Records. Potluck is the work of a giant African-American and small Jewish white guy who write rhymes and produce head-nodding hip-hop tracks. With this album, 1 Ton and UnderRated are taking the sound they have perfected, from the marijuana farms and fields of Humboldt County, on a campaign to bring their music to the masses.
Potluck launched onto the national scene in 2006 with their debut album, Straight Outta Humboldt. The album was full of Potluckâ€™s head-nodding beats, lyrical depth and rapid fire flows, and it was quickly embraced by hip-hop enthusiasts wanting more. In 2009, Source Magazine described their album Pipe Dreams, â€œThere are good vibe undercurrents throughout this 21-cut ode to the high life.â€
Rhymes & Resin wields Potluckâ€™s greatest musical weapon â€“ their ability to show all sides of their personalities and seamlessly shift between artistic styles. The album, track by track, has enough diversity to satisfy their eager hip-hop fans. Tracks like â€œ3 Minute Miracle,â€ â€œMicrophone Killa,â€ and â€œHands Upâ€ have 1 Ton and UnderRated professing their love for the genre as an art form. â€œLight That Shit Up,â€ â€œSmoke Session,â€ and â€œStrainsâ€ are great tracks to smoke to with steady driving high hats and solid beats with a good drop.
Joining 1 Ton and UnderRated on Rhymes & Resin are some of hip-hopâ€™s most potent emcees. Murs from Living Legends and Mistah F.A.B. join forces with Potluck on the track â€œHands Up.â€ This mixing of diverse styles creates a song about thinking for yourself and the freedom to create good music. La Coka Nostraâ€™s Ill Bill and Slaine perform lyrical homicide in the track â€œMicrophone Killa.â€ Cash Money Recordsâ€™ Glasses Malone grabs the mic on â€œBorn To Be A Mic Kingâ€ to create a new West Coast anthem. King Gordy drops by for a musical session on â€œLight That Shit Up.â€
Potluck has spent the last four years on the road performing for hip-hop diehards all across the globe. Theyâ€™ve toured with Tech N9ne, La Coka Nostra, and a recent 40-date tour co-headlining with D12. Their grinding blue collar work ethic, unwavering perseverance, and grassroots campaign to build a fan base, is currently one of the most impressive stories in hip-hop. UnderRatedâ€™s experience with producing tracks for many Top 200 Billboard albums has him handling most of the production for Potluck. UnderRated and 1 Ton are avid hip-hop junkies and multi-talented artists campaigning their sound to the masses.
Q & A with Potluckâ€™s 1 Ton and UnderRated
Are you both natives of Humboldt County? Where are you originally from?
UnderRated: I was born and raised in Humboldt County, and 1 Ton in San Diego, CA.
How did you guys meet and come together as musicians?
UnderRated: We started as DJs. 1 Ton came up to Humboldt County from San Diego to go to school. We both went to the same club for a DJ tryout. We were the best DJs there, so we got hired to spin that same night. From there, we kicked it and eventually started making beats together. Then one day, we decided to rap. The rest is history.
What would you like to tell NUG Magazine readers about your upcoming album, Rhymes & Resin on Suburban Noize Records?
1 Ton: We did a lot of songs with other artists in the past like Tech N9ne, E-40, D12, The Luniz, Twiztid, Kottonmouth Kings, and lots of others. For this CD, we wanted to come with some new ideas and make songs with people weâ€™ve never done songs with before. We got together with Glasses Malone, King Gordy, Murs, Mistah F.A.B., and Ill Bill and Slaine of La Coka Nostra. This album is the best work we have ever done. We always take pride in learning and getting better on each record. Like all of our records though, it has a little bit of everything on it â€“ life, love, and of course, Mary Jane. There is definitely something for everybody on this album.
Who would you say are both of your main influences, past and present? Who lit the fire in you to pick up the mic?
UnderRated: I really got into rap when the West Coast was killing it with Death Row in their prime with 2Pac, Snoop, Dre, etc. I was loving E-40, Mac Dre, Mac Mall and the Bay stuff after that. Then, I got into DJing; my favorite artists became Outkast, Twista, Scarface, Wu-Tang, Jay-Z, Nas and tons of others. Presently, Iâ€™m listening to Tech N9ne and Crooked I. Iâ€™m really likinâ€™ this new dude Hopsin.
1 Ton: The fire to pick up the mic began because growing up in Humboldt, there wasnâ€™t that many people who rapped. We would make beats, but a lot of the time, there wasnâ€™t anyone to rap on the beats. So, we just started rapping. It was so fun, we never stopped.
UnderRated: Our style is unique. Our beats and our subject matter is pretty much our own thing. It is different compared to everybody else. Now, I listen to music mostly to learn about the new sounds or sound effects that other people are using, just to stay up on it. As far as rappers, I always want to hear the artists who rap fast. I always check out Tech N9ne, Twista, Busta Rhymes, Krazie Bone, Ludacris, and now, Yelawolf is doing a good job too.
You guys have been expanding your fan base by sticking to the road. Where have you noticed a noticeable growth in your following and support?
UnderRated: Our fan base has continued to grow all over the nation. Weâ€™ve done at least 10 national tours now and every time we go out, we have more fans, more people buying the album, more people knowing the songs, and more people going crazy in the crowd.Â Thatâ€™s a wonderful, motivating feeling. It keeps us going, it keeps us growing, and it keeps us wanting to give the fans more every time. We pride ourselves on getting better at rapping and making beats, so Iâ€™m excited to see how far we can take this. It just always gets better in every aspect. It is crazy when you can go to places that no one would think loved hip-hop, like Utah, Idaho, and Nebraska, and do sold out shows. Then, we can also go play a club in Times Square in NYC and have a crowd chanting our name so loud we have to stop the show and wait for them to finish. When we go on the road, we kick it in the crowd and party with the fans at a bar. That type of connection with the people in every city is what has contributed to our solid fan base.
Youâ€™ve been on tour with Tech N9ne, La Coka Nostra, and a recent 40-date tour co-headlining with D12. How have the past few years touring been?
UnderRated: With Tech N9ne, we did around 150 shows. He brought us out on tour before anyone knew how we were. We rocked in front of all their fans and always had a great time. Techâ€™s fans loved us and made us realize that we can make an impact on this rap world.
1 Ton: We also had an awesome time touring with D12. We met â€˜em and just clicked. We smoked, played video games, and rocked over 40 shows together. Most of their fans had never heard of us, so it was cool to be in front of some new faces. We made a lot of fans! With La Coka Nostra, we did the â€˜Bring Tha Noizeâ€™ tour together and it was awesome. We have always been fans of Ill Bill, Non-Phixion, and House Of Pain. It was cool to do show after show with them. It also made it possible for us to do a song with Ill Bill and Slaine for our new record, Rhymes & Resin.
Any tour dates or upcoming shows you would like NUG Magazine readers to look out for?
1 Ton: We have some big things coming up. We are going to play at the Hempfest in Seattle this year. We are also doing the â€˜Gathering of the Juggalosâ€™ in Illinois. We are planning our first national headlining tour later this year and possibly a nationwide tour with E-40. We have a lot coming up. Yesssss!
Would you like to mention your sponsors or anybody who has helped you guys along the way?
UnderRated: Royal Blunts has always showed us love. Silver Surfer Vaporizers is a company out of Colorado. They make our favorite vaporizers. They kept us high through the entire Dank Alumni record. Also, El Hefe from NOFX has been a part of our sound for over 10 years now. He plays guitar on some songs, produced some beats, and has mixed all of our albums.
Do you have any other works or projects you want NUG Magazine readers to look out for?
1 Ton: We just put out a free marathon marijuana mix to celebrate 4/20. It is available for download on our website, www.PotluckMusic.com. It is all mixed together by DJ Wicked and we rapped over all of our favorite classic weed beats.
What methods of medicating do you prefer? Blunts, bongs, vaporizers, etcâ€¦
1 Ton: We like to rotate. It is cool to smoke the bong, and I think thatâ€™s my top choice if I had to pick one. But, I think itâ€™s best to rotate to get a different feeling. I like to switch from the bong to the joint to the vape. That sounds like a good song.
What are your favorite strains of cannabis?
UnderRated: When you live in Humboldt, it is not the strains, it is the grower. If I know a certain person grows the good stuff, I know that whatever strain they give me is gonna be good; because the best strains in the world donâ€™t matter if you donâ€™t know how to grow it right. I feel like a lot of people nowadays are just throwing names around without any understanding of what is really going on. We are around 2nd and 3rd generation growers whose families have invented a lot of the popular strains and pioneered some of the most cutting-edge growing techniques. We look at cannabis in a whole different way than 99% of people.
For more information on Potluck, please visit www.suburbannoizerecords.com