Approach - conducted by Todd E. Jones  

Approach's Different Approach To Music

January 2005

While every emcee has a niche or style, some emcees truly stand out from the crowd while paying homage to their influences. Hailing from Kansas City, Approach is an emcee deep-rooted in funk and old school hip-hop. Approaching the industry in his own way, he makes a point to keep his life and music productive and positive without a big name Kansas City brother to live up to. He is forging is own way and the hip-hop nation will soon see that he can make a name for himself and put his city on the map.

His solo debut album “Ultra Proteus” (released on Coup D’etat / Datura Records) is filled with funk-heavy grooves and 70’s style old-school party vibes. Mainly produced by Approach, “Ultra Proteus” is not littered with gun references, stories of jail, or violence.

Approach makes feel good music. While party music is dismissed as commercial or lacking substance, Approach’s beats and rhymes are soulful and from the heart. To keep things interesting, Approach has added remixes from Oh No, Automato, Rondo Brothers, and more at the end of the LP. With the old school vibe and flows of Jurassic 5, the breath control of Lyrics Born, and slickness of Digable Planets, and the funk roots of Dr. Dre, Approach has created his own unique style.

MVRemix: What goes on?

Approach: Chillin' man! Just working on some new music for open-minded listeners.

MVRemix: Your solo album is called 'Ultra Proteus'. Tell us about it. Who is on it? Who produced it?

Approach: It's just some raw Kansas City funk! I wanted to make it sound like an old 45 you might find in you local thrift store or record spot. I have some talented guests on the project like Mac Lethal, Lisa Donnelly, Joe Good, ID, Oh No and a lot of live musicians. It's was produced by my partner Been and Myself. That was for a reason. I wanted you to get a chance to meet me and get to know where I'm coming from and where I'm going.

MVRemix: What is the meaning behind the title 'Ultra Proteus'?

Approach: It's a play on words. It's a MIDI program I used in college and I thought it might fit with my name well ( Approach/Ultra Pro/Ultra Proteus ). Ya Dig? It just sounds big and lively an that's the vibe of the record.

MVRemix: Why and how did you hook up with Coup D'Etat and Datura Records?

Approach: I met Brent, the President of Datura, right before his Senior year in college. We had a lot in common and when he started the label he asked me to co-own. We he finished school and moved to Kansas and we put out my original Ultra Proteus E.P.. My homeboy Nick G in New York heard the E.P. and passed it on to the folks at Coup D'etat. An we've been rocking every since.

MVRemix: Do you have a favorite song on the album?

Approach: The Opus and The Funk Reaction. The Opus just has a sick beat and my man Been made that joint in 20minutes 6 years ago. ‘Funk Reaction’ was the first song I produced that felt complete. I knew when I finished it that it was done. I didn't ever really get that feeling back it those days.

MVRemix: What song took you the longest to do? Why? The shortest? Why?

Approach: The song ‘Alright’. It just had to go through a few different face lifts before it was done. I was trying to set a mood and I think we caught it. ‘Yeah’ was the shortest. I knocked that out in one take, on the first try. That's rare for me.

MVRemix: What was it like growing up in Kansas City? How is it different from other places?

Approach: I grew up in Overland Park, which is a working class suburb of Kansas City, Kansas. It was just a lot of hard working folks busting their tails to get by. I love Kansas City. It's got it's own style, pace, and heart. Artists are free there to what they want to do and we can do it how we want to it. Stuff is still new here, so the creativity is at an all-time high.

MVRemix: When making hip-hop songs, do you go into the studio with pre-written rhymes, lyrics, and themes or do you hear the beat first and write then and there?

Approach: I set-up the album or EP first. I mean, I name the project, pick the beats, make the arrangements, and then, write the rhymes.

MVRemix: You did a majority of the production on ‘Ultra Proteus’. Was this intentional?

Approach: Yeah! There was a vibe that I wanted convey. At the time, I felt I was the only one, except for Been, who understood when this was heading.

MVRemix: Do you have a specific creative process when you produce a track? If so, what is it?

Approach: I just turn the M.P. on and go to work. I let my heart, head, and hands do the talking.

MVRemix: Do you have a favorite drum machine or sampler?

Approach: M.P.C. 2000 or 2000 XL.

MVRemix: Can you expand on the song 'Al Japro'? What does it mean?

Approach: I dig the jazz singer Al Jarreau and I wanted to slide his name into mine. It was another play on words and I thought it sounded ill so I ran with it.

MVRemix: Oh No did a remix of ‘Al Japro’. How did this happen? Did you meet him in person or was it done separately? What did you think of the remix?

Approach: I just contacted Egon at Stones Throw and he hooked me up. We've never met in person but it still came out fresh. We are also working on an album, so stay tuned. It was amazing for that cat to lace me like that and not even know me. Crazy! Super dope!

MVRemix: At the end of the CD, there are many remixes .Which one is your favorite? Why?

Approach: Nezbeat’s remix of ‘Ultra Proteus’ is my favorite. It's my roommate and my homeboy. It was the first remix for the album. It's special.

MVRemix: What is your favorite part of your live show?

Approach: The energy Sku and I have. We build such a strong bond with the crowd. It's almost explosive.

MVRemix: How has your live show evolved?

Approach: It's becoming more interactive. It used to be all energy but now, we have built something more theatrical.

MVRemix: When did you first begin rhyming?"

Approach: Like 1997.

MVRemix: What song made you fall in love with hip-hop?"

Approach: ‘Catch a Bad One’ by Del the Funky Homosapian.

MVRemix: How did you get the name Approach? What does it mean?

Approach: I got it off a math book. I just thought Approach is a good way to swing it. It's all in how you go about it and I approach things in a very positive and productive manner.

>> continued...

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    "We've never met in person but it still came out fresh. We are also working on an album, so stay tuned. It was amazing for that cat to lace me like that and not even know me. Crazy! Super dope!"