During its 10-year run, the Distortion 2 Static hip-hop TV show graduated from profiling local upcoming artists to chatting it up with rap superstars. Started by Prince Aries, Ariel Nuñez and DJ Haylow, the show signed off on its broadcast run back in September; a farewell shindig will be going down at Mighty tonight. (Read this week's print feature about the show.) Before the big end, we snagged Prince Aries and DJ Haylow to reminisce about their favorite guests from Distortion 2 Static's vast interview vault.
5. Prince Paul
Prince Aries: "I actually get my name from Prince Paul -- that's why I called myself Prince Aries. I think we sat down for almost two hours; I was still new to interviewing and wasn't good at cutting it short, but I asked him [about] everything, from what equipment he used to Stetsasonic and De La Soul and Gravediggaz. He was a good sport about it and it felt like we were just kicking it. It was at the Hotel Triton in San Francisco.
"One thing that stood out from the interview was that I was asking him about the gear he was using to make beats. To me, coming up listening to Prince Paul, he's very innovative, so I thought he'd be kind of a techie and up on the new gear. But he wasn't! I think he said he had an MPC and a sequencing machine. But anything beyond that he didn't care or know anything about!"
Prince Aries: "One interview I did was Common. It was at KMEL. He was doing a radio promo. I only had maybe ten minutes with him. He performed at Maritime Hall, I think in '97 or '98, and it was a time when he was crowd surfing. So he jumped into the crowd, and when he got back onstage he was missing a shoe. He was really mad about it. He was like, 'I'm gonna go off stage until I get my shoe back.' He freaks out about it on stage. It's a big part of the Bay Area's hip-hop history, and I brought it up and he laughed about it. He never got his shoe back. They never found out who it was -- someone still has Common's shoe!"
DJ Haylow: "I interviewed Tajai from Souls of Mischief, who was pretty much known as a Bay Area legend. That interview was very insightful. That interview went down on his tour bus outside of the Fillmore. The tour bus was pretty intimate, there wasn't a lot of noise, so we really got to chop it up. He was very insightful but also very encouraging to us with his overall message."
2. Maureen Yancey (J Dilla's Mother)
Prince Aries: "We were supposed to interview J Dilla, but he died two days before the interview. He was doing a show at Mezzanine -- it was supposed to be a Stones Throw event -- but it turned into a tribute to J Dilla. It was the first-ever J Dilla tribute party, and Haylow had the first-ever Dilla tribute mixtape. We interviewed his mom there and I showed her the artwork of the mixtape and she said that it was beautiful. We ended up doing a whole show tribute to J Dilla."
1. Pharrell Williams
Prince Aries: "He was already big at the time. It was a N.E.R.D. thing. He was on tour promoting N.E.R.D.'s second album, but honestly we were more interested in Pharrell. He'd already won the Grammy; I think at the time 40 percent of all the songs that were played on the radio were Neptunes-produced songs. A big thing for me was when he was naming some people he was a fan of, and he named J Dilla. And we were like, 'We're definitely on the same page now!' This was before Dilla died. Later Haylow was working on a J Dilla mixtape and we put his quote on there."