Down 2 Earth: Ras G

The artist, producer and hip-hop visionary most commonly known as Ras G, is nothing if not individual.

Having been a front runner on LA’s beat scene since the mid-nineties, Ras G has kept company for a number of years with the likes Samiyam, Black Monk, Flying Lotus and of course, the full Low End Theory crew. From releasing his Afrikan Space Programme live act, to his recent prolific period in 2007-2009 when he released with Ramp, Brainfeeder and All City (not to mention the wealth of beats available on Youtube), the man also known as Gregory Shorter Jnr mixes up beats, rock, jazz and experimental to create a supremely deep soundtrack to modern day astral travel.

With his fifth (excluding 2008’s ‘Beats of Mind’ compilation) full length ‘Down 2 Earth’ just released through UK-based label Ramp Recordings (home to Shortstuff, P.U.D.G.E., Maximillion Dunbar and fellow native Tokimonsta, we thought we catch up with the unique mind that is Ras G, to talk weed, Ghetto Sci-Fi and why he’s a child of hip-hop.

Could you tell us about your process of creation?
Pretty much me zoning out in my studio (SPACEBASE2911) smoking herbs, listening to records, watching movies and just having a bunch of samplers on and going so I can capture whatever im tripping off at the moment – there’s no one way to go about it for I-self.

How is your new LP ‘Down 2 Earth’ different from your previous releases??
The only difference with that record is that its 100 per cent raw hip-hop shit – samples dirty drums the whole standard with hip-hop shit – and when I do stuff like ‘Down 2 Earth’ it’s more of a freestyle type of thing. I’m just trying to make some beats that a younger Ras G would be smoking blunts to in his headphones.

Ras G – ‘Down 2 Earth’ (Clips)

Do you follow the UK bass scene at all, and what do you make of it?
I’m not so hip in terms of who’s who and all, but I know I love the bass music that is being produced out of the UK.

What does your home city represent for you?

Would you say that you are an instrumental hip-hop artist?
I’m everything and nothing. My root is hip-hop and the tree which is hip-hop it bares many different fruits because it’s not based on one frequency or style of music – it encompasses all genres of music. Afrika Bambaataa would find ‘hip-hop’ on records that wasn’t hip-hop records so im a child of all music all things come out of me like hip-hop.

Your previous release was ‘Ghetto Sci-Fi’, will you be heading back into space for your next release?
We have the best African Space Programme’ release coming out next on Poobah Records titled ‘Spacebase is the Place’ double 10″. I’m excited about that one as well as ‘Black Jupiter’ on Brainfeeder next year.

You created your Poo-Bah label six years ago – how has the direction of the label changed over that period?
I’m just a piece of the label the direction of Poo-Bah is to release what we all like and love – things that may not be as popular as other labels.

What can we expect from the label in the future ?
‘Spacebase is the Place’ 10″, ‘DAK’ 7″, ‘Ghetto Sci-Fi’ repress and so much more.

Down 2 Earth is out now on Ramp Recordings.

Interview: Louis Cook