Interview: RML From Man Bites Dog Records

Take us through the history and start of Man Bites Dog Records. What was your vision in starting the label?

After film school I was looking for something to do. I was writing and directing an indie film called “Hunting With Simon Ashley” which I also made the soundtrack for. I hit up bands and went through tons of songs to find a perfect line up of songs. I liked this, it was also so much faster and easier than trying to make indie films. My roommate at the time was getting in to recording and had just got “Pro Tools”. In 2005 we started the label with some locals to the DC area. The vision was to make classic records that reflected a certain time period in hip hop.

Do you see yourself as catering to a specific type of sound?

At first it seemed that way but with time comes change. Although we specialize in throwback style sound, we have some very interesting things afoot. Jason Rose is a good example of that.

There are only a handful of underground labels putting out quality music these days like Nature Sounds, Stones Throw, and Babygrande for example. Where do you see Man Bites Dog as far its place in the industry? Is there a niche you are looking to fill?

I think we have made our own place in the market. I would like to say that if you check for Duckdown or Stones Throw you would also check for us, as well as Rhymesayers. I guess that’s on the fans to decide. I am just gonna try to continue to make classic records with no skippers. That’s the real goal, you press play and let that mother ride.

In an increasingly digital age, how does a label such as yours have to adapt their business model and marketing to fit the current music industry landscape?

You mean in an age where mf’ ers just steal your product? Yea some real slick stuff people be pulling. Real fans support they don’t steal. If people want quality they will have to support to keep it going. People have the real power. We make quality that’s our business model. Crazy some of the people who rock our stuff, just haven’t given us the co-sign yet, like they are waiting or something. We have
certain releases that we will just be pushing digital, adapt or fall, I read “Who Moved My Cheese” I know what time it is.

You’ve got a great lineup of MCs such as Killah Priest, Copywrite, and Vast Aire, as well as producers like Stu Bangas. How did those relationships start?

Priest was the first national artist to sign. We had done some songs with dude prior and had a good working relationship. Kount Fif produced the “Gun for Gun” joint with Nas and him so it was a good fit. He came down and in roughly 3 days had the basic outline for the “3 Day Theory”. I worked on Copywrite for a couple of years, first we signed him to a producers deal called “The Puppet Show” about a year after that we signed “The Life and Times” deal. With Vast originally I was thinking just doing a record with him and Copy together. Timing was off so we approached the idea of doing a solo.

Copywrite’s God Save The King is getting great feedback and I think is his best work. How does it feel to have a project like this come out on your label?

It feels good. That album has had a couple different faces to it. Originally being just a UK record and now being two separate projects. It’s exciting to hear the feedback from critics and fans alike.

I know that Roc Marciano has an album coming out on Man Bites Dog. How did that come about? What can you tell us about that project?

Last Summer I hit up Roc to do some verses for some label projects, one of which has been released now “Golden State (Of Mind)” on Copywrite’s God Save the King album. The others will be on Stu Bangas & Vanderslice’s D.W.A record as well as one verse on The Swashbuckler. Since then Roc and I have been going back and forth on what would make sense for us to do together. He brought up Marci Beacoup and sent me song joints. They were banging. End of story.

What’s on the horizon for Man Bites Dog that we should be looking forward to?

There is a ton going on now but coming out the end of this month is “The Swashbuckler” which is a project that has been 5 years in the making. Everyone is on this joint. Royce, Roc Marc, U God, Copy, Cappadonna, Killah Priest, Heltah Skeltah, Outerspace, Torae, Vast Aire, Jason Rose, Inspectah Deck, Bronze, Gillie da Kid, Nine, Planet Asia, man this list goes on and on. It is produced by myself and Kount Fif. Crazy record. Also we have Stu Bangas & Vanderslice’s record D.W.A. All I have to say about that is wow! Forget what you know about anything, this record body slams your neck and ankles, so hard. Everyone and I mean everyone is on this record. Alchemist, Evidence, Roc, Apathy, Vinnie Paz, Slaine, Ill Bill, Outerspace, Esoteric, too many names…We are also releasing Tage’s (MHz) record ‘Contagion” which features production by Sid Roams, oh no, !llmind and features Copywrite and Planet Asia. Dope record. There is more stuff we are working on but I don’t wanna overwhelm people right now, I am sure we will get up again and I can lay more stuff on you.

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