...sugar and spice and everything nice...

Friday, April 29, 2005

My husband is a....

My husband is a hip-hop dj/producer for the group Mars ILL. This has made for some funny conversations around the monkey bars with faux-urban (my word for....edit:: that first definition wasnt quite right. Ive come up with a better one. It's the folks who want to live as if in the suburbs while in the city--avoiding the city experience) moms. It usually goes something like this:

mom: "So what does your husband do that requires him to be out of town?"
me: "Oh, he produces music and travels with a group."
mom: "What instrument does he play?"
me: "Well, it's a hip-hop group."
mom: "Oh! That's so interesting!"
me: "Yeah! He's the dj" (to which I receive a look I dont know how to interpret) "he scratches" (moving my hand to mimick the movement.) "And he produces music for the group and other groups. He doesnt rap."
mom: "Wow! What't the name of their group?"
me: (knowing full well that there is a 95% chance she's never heard of them) "Mars ILL."
mom: "Hmmm. I havent heard of them."
me: "Yeah, they have a pretty nice following here in Atlanta. They play a lot of clubs here and around the country."
mom: "Wow, how interesting!"

Of course this isnt how every conversation goes, but a lot of the time it is awkward and strange, as if they cant quite get it. (If you ask me it has to do with the fact that I dont look like I'd be married to a hip-hop producer so it throws them off! But what should the wife of a hip-hop dj look like?)

I am so proud of my man. When we first met we were in college, and I would stay at his parents house on the weekends because my family lived across the country. He would spend hours downstairs in the basement "working on beats" and driving me crazy! I wanted those precious hours spent with me! But God had other plans. Nate had this little Gemini mixer, an ARS-10? and a record player (I say record player because it was literally a record player--not a turntable.) He was doing a few shows around the area with a friend he had met (Rahlo, now of The Blacksoil Project) and was making beats out of old Jimmy Hendrix albums, and later, Tears for Fears.

I would go to most of the shows with him, and secretly I was so nervous. They were just learning their craft, like babies learning to walk, and I would pray that the audience would get into it and respond. A few years later they were doing it full time, and we were deciding whether or not to marry. I remember him sitting me down and saying something to the effect of "I love you, but I know this is what God wants me to do, and you have to decide if you can do this too." It was a big deal, because I had dreams of what I thought my life would be, and traveling around with a hip-hop group wasnt exactly a part of the plan at the point! But I did know that God had brought this man into my life and my life was now full of love. I knew that he was the biggest blessing I had ever received, and I also knew I didnt want to live this life without him around! So I trusted that God's plans were bigger than mine, and the journey began!

Since then I have seen some pretty amazing things happen with the group that came to be Mars ILL. Three albums, several 12"'s, an EP, as well as guest spots on some great albums, record contracts, traveling all over the country, a music video, etc. But what keeps me going is the encouragement we get from people who love the music. When I hear the response from people, when we get emails from fans, or when I read what reviewers have written about the albums, or see interviews with the group I am encouraged! I am reminded that having my husband gone for weeks at a time, regularly, is worth it! I see what God is doing and I am excited!

If you are interested in knowing more about what Mars ILL is about, check out my link on the lower right column.
And here's a little blurb about the crew:

Mars ILL Friends and Family

manCHILD started out with SintaxtheTerrific and DJ Hi-Tech in the underground group The Pride in the mid 90's. In the late 90's they joined forces with other like-minded individuals to form the Deepspace 5 crew which now includes groups like Labklik, Mars ILL, and artists such as Playdough, Sev Statik, Beat Rabbi, and DJ Manny.

At the same time Dust was paying dues with Rahlo (now of Blacksoil Project) and The Judge as Basses Loaded. Mid 90's Rahlo and Dust joined forces with Nobul (later became Thinking of Michalis Constant) and toured as Dead Poet Society across the US and overseas. After meeting Dust at a hip-hop convention in the late 90's manCHILD joined the group and he Dust and Rahlo became Mars ILL.

In 2000 Dust and manCHILD set out on their own to make history with the release of Raw Material, then followed that with a 12", the Blue Collar Sessions EP and on and on. Next on the agenda is the anxiously awaited sophomore release from Gotee, ProPain, due out this July.

Mars ILL Albums/EP's/12"'s released to date:

Raw Material (Sphere of Hip Hop/Uprock)
12" Mona Lisa
The Night We Called It A Day~Deepspace 5 (Uprock)
Blue Collar Sessions (Ill Boogie Records)
12" Redefine
Sound Methods (Mars ILL)
Backbreakanomics (Gotee Records)
12" Breathe Slow
Sound Methods v.2.0 (Mars ILL)
Pirate Radio (Mars ILL)
Unique, Just Like Everyone Else~Deepspace 5 (Gotee Records May 10th 2005)
ProPain (due out July 19, 2005 Gotee Records)
maxi single for ProPain

Deepspace 5 website is deepspace5.com
Albums: Deepspace 5 EP and "The Night We Called It A Day"
"Unique, Just Like Everyone Else" May 10th 2005

The crew is:
BEAT RABBI (Circumcised Mind)
FREDDIE BRUNO (Phonetic Composition)
PLAYDOUGH (Phonetic Composition/Ill Harmonics)www.illharmonics.biz
LISTENER (Labklik) www.forthelistener.com/www.labklik.com
DJ MANNY (Grits)
SINTAXtheterrific (The Pride) www.sintaxtheterrific.com
SEV STATIK (All Bully/Tunnel Rats) www.sevstatik.com
also RECON and ILLTRIPP (semi-retired)

The Blacksoil Project website is: http://blacksoilproject.com/html/home.html
Albums: "Ulterior Motives" and "The Calm Before the Storm"
The crew is:
RYAN OFFICER (sometimes travels with Rahlo)

Binkis Recs
Squashy Nice & AD
Collective Efforts
Educated Consumers
Bigg Jus
MinaMina Goodsong
Bobby Bishop
The Remnant (Militia)
John Reuben
4th Ave Jones
LA Symphony
Pigeon John
Psyche Origami
The (other) Remnant
Canon (also known as Ward @ the Ward-O-Matic)
Dres the Beatnik
Vintage Imperial
and others...


Blogger Danny Peavey said...

great post.....

9:35 AM

Blogger joy madison said...

It's cool to see the whole history. I totally get you on the DJ thing, but at least my husband is black and most people just file him being a dj and part of running a record label under "its a black thing, we don't understand it" :) I love to see all the different things that people have "membership" in. I call it tribal affiliation.

11:42 AM

Blogger mommy zabs said...

I love that conversation. :) It works for the music business too. People ask what we did in nashville. I mention christian music and they get a totally different picture in there head than what we did. I did artist merchandise for 3 years... try explaining you do merchandise for bands... I was asked all about marching bands and so on. :) HEHE. Isn't it funny how people just don't get that whole field at all. Much easier to say "my husband is an accountant" they know what to do with that.

Loved hearing your history :) That is so cool how God transformed your heart to match his plan :) It is a calling to be an artist's wife and I have much respect for you.

Mars Ill is awesome.

11:07 PM

Blogger meridith said...

this is such a great post. i loved reading about how you and dust got together. it's funny cause even though i am not married to a hip hop head i can totally relate to that conversation. i don't look like someone who would work for a rapper and i have had this same type conversation so many times. "now what is it that you do for john reuben?" "oooh, how nice" (said with a look of confusion)
it's cool to see how you love hip hop too. mars ill is dope! i think i have played 'backbreakenomics" so many times i am surprised the cd isn't warped.

12:18 AM

Blogger andrea said...

totally enjoyed that. I've heard the story many times but never get tired of hearing it as I am so proud of both of you... also cool to see the history laid out like that (I always seem to have bits and pieces of it turned around in my head)... so, thank you for that. really excited about both the deepspace five album and propain coming out soon! such great work!

I can relate in many ways, here- people often don't know how to react when I tell them what I do (inner city gets translated to the 'ghetto' and dance... ballet, they ask? or like jazz or tap? and then I try to explain what modern dance is...) and trying to explain to people what ward does (animation) isn't always that easy, either. though, you most definitely have the biggest challenge as the masses have an easier time wrapping their brain around modern dance and animation than they do with turntablism and hip hop (done for a living!)...

again, can't begin to tell you how proud I am of both you and nate. proud to call you family.

8:49 AM

Blogger Ward Jenkins said...

"So what shows do you on Cartoon Network?"

"No, I said that I do animation for broadcast, which means we do the stuff that's for the network, in-between the shows and commercials."

"So, you do the commercials?"

"No-- well, we have done some commericals...but that's not our main--"

"So you animate with the computer?"

"No, I still draw. With pencil and paper."

"Really? I thought it's all done by the computer..."

"No, we still do it the old-fashioned way."


"So...what shows did you say you do?"


1:34 PM

Blogger youngdo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:54 AM

Blogger youngdo said...

i'm not someone in the industry, but here are some of my conversations:

in university:
"what's your major?"
"really? you don't look like i chemist"
(usually wearing baggy pants, t-shirt and a hoodie. i suppose i should have a pocket protector.)

in ministry:
"what do you do?"
"i'm a pastor"
"really? you don't look like a pastor"
(usually wearing baggy pants, t-shirt and a hoodie. i suppose here i should be 60 years old in a bad suit?)

people are probably surprised to hear that i'm a Christian too (and even a hip hop head cuz i don't dress "gangsta"?)

about my wife:
"what does your wife do?"
"well, she stays at home and looks after our son"
"is she on parental leave now? is she going back to work?"
"she's on leave, but she quit so she could take care of our kids"
"where did she used to work?"
"she was an office manager at a missionary agency at Jews for Jesus"
(i see the gears turning and usually they don't get it)
"what's that?" or "are they Jews or Christians?" or "is she Jewish?" or "Jews for Jesus?" or just a "ohhh~~~" even though they probably don't get it and would rather just leave the conversation there.

7:58 AM

Anonymous gym said...

now that was a 'special post' and I consider myself very blessed! So neat to read the post and savor all the memories you two have had and to hear about the very special relationship you two have! It is always what you want for your kids! Thank you, Lord, for these 2 (3 counting Luxie!) and their ministry for You! Don't mind saying it definitely brought tears to my eyes!

8:17 PM

Anonymous jon said...

ASR-10 :)

mars ill was never wack, c'mon. ;)

oh were you in indianapolis too? craziness.

dag you broke down the whole geneology. good reference. my poor jason (thePRIDE) always gets forgotten. i love he, though. :)


2:18 AM

Blogger ill said...

my bad! as the wife of a DJ I know better! Sorry Jason, I will edit the post now!

7:26 AM


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