Vanguard Of Soul Adrian Younge Releases His Sophomore Wu Tang Collab

Wu Tang fans can rejoice—Ghostface Killah and Adrian Younge have dropped 12 Reasons To Die II, the sequel to 2013’s 12 Reasons To Die. A long-time producer, musician and music supervisor, Adrian Younge started out his career sampling, then taught himself every kind of instrument he might need to play what he sampled. Since then, Younge’s established himself as a veteran of the music industry whose strength is his ability to re-contextualize his influences into a fresh sound. The newest album holds true to that standard, featuring old school legends like the RZA and Raekwon, as well as new kid on the Los Angeles block, Vince Staples. “A true artist should not care about what anybody thinks about their product,” Adrian said. “I make music for the audience in my head.”

ON WHAT MAKES A GOOD WORK ENVIRONMENT: I make sure that I have a place of solitude. I like candles. And I like to be surrounded by nice equipment. So I’d say solitude, candles and nice equipment.

ON HOW HE MAKES MUSIC: If I’m working with an artist, I need to determine what kind of music I’m creating for the artist. Working with an MC like Ghostface, I wanted dark, cinematic production that would enhance his storytelling skills. When I’m scoring for a movie, my job is to enhance the visuals, but when I’m making music, I’m creating a picture in somebody’s mind. 

ON SAMPLING: People have been sampling since the ’60s, then became a dominant compositional tool in mid-80s. I was making beats around ’96, and I started off with a sampler. Soon after, I realized that the music I liked the most was what I was sampling, so I started playing live instruments. I’m a big advocate of sampling, because I think it’s such a great art, but I don’t do it anymore, since I’m at a point where I can play everything I’d sample. 

ON LEARNING INSTRUMENTS: If a first grader can learn to play clarinet or flute, then any adult can learn an instrument on their own. A lot of people limit themselves because they’re nervous about sound bad, but it’s just about discipline. If you want to learn badly enough, you can. 

ON THE PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE AND GENIUS: My perspective on life is that everybody is created equal, but I understand that it’s not a reality. Some people just don’t have the drive to do what they’re passionate about. That’s kind of what separates people—geniuses are people that have a little bit of talent, but a lot of discipline towards illuminating their talent. Everybody has that in them, but finding and improving on it is a different story. 

ON NOT GIVING A FUCK: Opinions come and go. If I cared about what people thought, I wouldn’t make music. I don’t care if people don’t like my music. What I care about is that people know I pay a lot of attention to detail in my art. 

WHAT HE’S LISTENING TO: I don’t listen to any new music. I’m a record collector, and I have my own record store. The records I find—that’s new music to me. I find so much good old music, that it’s a waste of time for me to even start trying to listen to what’s on the radio now. 

ON HIS CHALLENGES: Making music that you care about, and not taking money to make music you don’t care about. You have to believe in your craft so much that you have to believe that it’s enough to substantiate anything you want to do. 

HIS FAVORITE LOVE SONG:La-La Means I Love You” – Delfonics

Follow Adrian Younge on Twitter for updates on his latest projects. 

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