Man at work

Statik Selektah is so busy, it bugs him out
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  January 20, 2010

FAST, FORWARD "I'll put money on it that I'm the fastest worker in the history of hip-hop — ever."
It's easy to manufacture illusions of rap stardom. Any MySpace whiteboy with a few grand can fill a mixtape with big cameos, and for a little more, guests will even shout his name out. But though such pay-for-spray practices have kept established artists eating — and occasionally helped deserving rookies land on the rap map — they've also compromised the organic dynamics that once pushed the genre forward. So when a talent like Statik Selektah rises from a dingy Boston lab to the highest rung of New York boom-bap by developing legitimate relationships with elite icons, it's a cause for applause in any circle that respects the posse element.

"I don't work with people who I'm not friends with," says Statik. "I've spent a decent amount of time with everyone who's on my albums. There are a lot of creeps in the hip-hop world, and I don't really like to work with certain people. Everyone who you see me constantly with — from Reks and Termanology to Talib Kweli and Styles P — is like family. I've known Kweli since I was on the Rawkus street team in Boston years ago. I remember having him in my basement studio back in 2001."

Statik's Brooklyn booth has hosted more legends than Superhead. This past year alone, he designed and chopped beats for Q-Tip, Consequence, Joell Ortiz, M.O.P., and Saigon — the last of whom he recorded an entire disc with. As a DJ, he was charged by La Coka Nostra and Reflection Eternal with mixing album prequels to whet heads for official releases. His range may be notable, but the speed with which he creates is even more remarkable. "I'll put money on it that I'm the fastest worker in the history of hip-hop — ever." And indeed, his third showcase project in three years, 100 Proof: The Hangover (Showoff), drops this week in tandem with a Bun B–headlined Middle East release bash a week from Saturday. "I'm not even bragging — it's just that my entire universe is sitting on a computer working on Pro Tools. Freeway stopped by last week, and within 45 minutes, the song was done and mixed. The song I did with Slaine — "Mistaken Identity" — was done in 35 minutes and posted on every hip-hop Web site in the world within an hour. It bugs me out sometimes."

No matter how many Escalades pull up outside his Bushwick studio — and despite his daily contact with such mentors as DJ Premier and Alchemist — Statik's first allegiance is to the rhymers he's known since he began spinning as an adolescent in the Merrimack Valley. In addition to producing the bulk of what Reks and Termanology turn out, he's been developing acts including JFK, Granite State, and West Coast newcomer Kali. This year, he plans to launch Showoff Digital, a Web-based label through which he'll promote more than 20 artists.

"As a businessman, I'm making sure that I'm on all the top blogs." No shit — Statik has been known to leak five cuts in that many weekdays. "I'm trying to be on every blog every day, and I've shown that it's possible to do that. I put out everything I can just to get that presence. It's like playing chess and getting free advertising when you win."

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