Wu-International.com recently caught up with Anthai Da Protagonist who’s on the verge on releasing his first solo album Anthai Drug. Read this very informative interview right here.
An emcee, producer and DJ, Anthai Da Protagonist is a member of 71Raw and has been inspired from an era where hip-hop emerged into the mainstream media of American households. Anthai was at a critical age where he absorbed and identified best with the sound of hip-hop music. His music was inspired by those of Al Green, Stylistics, and Isaac Hayes. He was also heavily influenced by the 90’s Hip-Hop and has been creating original music since 1999.This extremely passionate individual for music, gave the breath of life and put together a formula which is now known as 71Raw. Anthai da Protagonist isn’t just a catchy name. There is a science behind the name which defines the musician. “Anthai” is the incorporation of this artist’s last name “Thai” and his state of mind of being “Anti” against all negativity in life. Protagonist in definition, is to be the hero to save listeners from the non-sense and meaningless rap music circulating in the industry today.
[To date, he has released three albums: “71Raw Project” (2004), “Anthai Presents The Revival Remix” (2005), and “Ninja Guidance” (2008). On both “71Raw Project” and “Ninja Guidance” albums, he produced 95% of it and 100% on his “Anthai Presents The Revival Remix” album. In addition, he has provided the hard hitting beats for the group as well working as the engineer in the studio, and doing the mix down for all of the 71Raw songs. You can support and purchase 71Raw “Ninja Guidance” album on iTunes, Amazon, Napster, etc.]
Anthai and his crew 71Raw has built a strong affiliation with the West Coast Killa Beez since 2004. Anthai personally has established a strong bond with the Black Knights and Christ Bearer of Northstar, with RZA putting him directly under Christ Bearer’s care and guidance until the crew is ready to step out and do their own thing.
As an emcee, Anthai cultivates, writes and expresses his music from his personal experiences — he’s an emcee that definitely does not sound like your typical Vietnamese rapper. Beyond being the musician, Anthai is also an entrepreneur. He manages 71Raw and is responsible for merchandising of 71Raw garments. He makes the majority of the business decisions for 71Raw. His main focus is to make sure 71Raw grows in the direction in which it was intended to. [In addition to his resume, he is now doing fashion shows for various Hip-Hop clothing lines. Hosting his own radio show “Raw Radio” with his partners Martial Art and Soul Therapist (www.71Raw.podOmatic.com).]
Anthai has finished his new project, “The Anthai Drug” which is out or coming out anytime soon from Chambermusik Special Products via Fat Beats, Anthai broke down his history, foundation, future aspirations and connections on this exclusive interview.. Anthai Drugs… Enjoy !!!
I like to say thanks first and foremost for taking the time to answer these questions, highly appreciated, and will also point out that nothing will be altered, edited or changed when this is published online.
Wu-International: Peace Anthai, how are you?
Anthai: Peace, I’m doing well thanks
Wu-International: We been running a Westcoast Killa Beez series and it was a tricky one involving or excluding you as we are still not sure your affiliation, would you consider yourself officially a West Coast Wu-Tang Killa Bee?
Anthai: Most definite, brothers like Christ Bearer and the Black Knights know what it is…it’s just I haven’t seen them for a minute because everybody is so busy. I did a show with them last summer called “The West Coast Killa Beez Show” so all of us were there. Christ Bearer is our general who gave us the open door and from there we got affiliated with the Black Knights. I was with Crisis not too long ago at the “Dirty” ODB’s movie premiere. Everything is everything.
Wu-International: Hanging out with Killa Beez doesnt neccessarily make one a Killa Bee, ChristBearer specified on last interview that to become official you need to be approved ultimately by The RZA?
Anthai: Yeah of course, Rza or the generals have the upper hand. We all met Rza and talked at the 36 Chamber West years ago. Rza told Christ Bearer to watch over us you nahmean? The only thing is we (71Raw) don’t show our faces around the crew that much such as shows but we’re doing our thing making music. I was with Christ Bearer, Ancient Coin, and Yellow Jackets 4 months ago. I gave them some beats to fuck with. My crew and I are probably the least known but we work hard and we create underground bangers.
Wu-International: We found out about your group ages ago through your link with Christbearer, how did you or the group meet Christbearer?
Anthai: This goes back probably in 2003 when my crew 71Raw and I were out in the streets of LA at House of Blues pushing our song “Universal Warlords” and “Bad Guys” on cds. We were at the Gza concert, you know Rza, Meth, and Gza were on stage. I was waiting for one of my boys to find his way to House of Blues so I was going in and out from the venue. When I was outside waiting, two tall brothers walked by me. I then recognized they were Northstar, so I gradually walked up to Christ Bearer holding my cd and demanded him and Meko to listen to it. Told him my name, my crew’s name and what we rep for Hip-Hop. Christ told me he would listen to the CD, two weeks after I got a call and it was Christ Bearer calling from Las Vegas where he was staying. Told me he really liked the song “Bad Guys” and then we would communicate here and there on the phone for a year! Long story short, after that year I met up with him outside of 36 Chambers West and we were freestyling, I recorded on my camera, it’s on Youtube. Days later he brought the entire 71Raw crew to meet up with Rza, Meth, B9, Gza outside of another show they have done, I couldn’t make it because I wasn’t feeling well at the time. My ninja Mic Willy stepped up to Rza and told him what we are about and Christ Bearer did the same. Days after that I came w/ the crew and met up w/ Rza and showed our rhymes and my beats. Rza told Christ to keep us under his wings…on and on.
Wu-International: Your last album Ninja Guidance was released a couple of years back, how well received was it by the fans?
Anthai: We had tremendous love and support for that album especially! From our online distribution and Chambermusik’s help really got our sounds to reach outside of the U.S. To me, Ninja Guidance album is one of my favorite albums released in 2008 I’m talking about the lyrics and the beats. I remember our fans online would make us videos for our songs and post it on youtube, that sorta gesture makes me happy. I wish I had video footage during the making of Ninja Guidance, we had a ball! Brothers were drinking and smoking, even playing chess during the session. First Lady singing, Beretta 9 did his thing in the studio…it was a great experience. For those that asked me about making it big in Hip-Hop here is my answer, we’ve already made it. Our intention before getting into the game wasn’t to make big money, our goal was to get some fans around the world and represent that grimey type of Hip-Hop.
Wu-International: Your name is more recognizable than that of Martial Art or Broken Tongue, do you or others consider you the leader of the group especially as you are also responsible for most of the production duties?
Anthai: Well I feel I have more experiences and knowledge on how to put an album together and at the same time being the producer too, gives me the upper hand to pick out ideas to compose lyrics. I do give my ninjas the freedom to speak their minds and collaborate equally. I also do a lot of networking for the group but overall it would be nothing without everybody in the crew, even our homeboys that we vibe with. I don’t like being responsible for everybody, would be nice if all of us learn how the industry work. I’m still learning, so much out there to gain.
|Wu-International: There have been rumors of the group breaking up even more now you are coming out with your solo project, is there any truth to this, and is 71Raw still active as a trio?|
|Anthai: Where did you hear this rumor from? Haha, can a ninja walk on his own and eat by himself? I felt I needed to do my solo album to express fully how I feel and if I have any guest appearances they would follow my ideas, that’s what doing a solo project is all about opposed to group projects. So my answer is no, the group is still here strong, still hanging out watching the Lakers beat up the Boston Celtics and getting the ring. You won’t hear much from Broken Tongue due to personal situations. We still hangout, drink, and party. We even go to Hip-Hop shows to support Hip-Hop…we are Hip-Hop!|
Wu-International: You have just about completed your first solo project “Anthai Drugs”, what’s behind the title?
Anthai: There are many signs and meanings behind my album title “The Anthai Drug”. Anthai Drug is like medicine, the art of healing. It could mean the album will get you hooked by listening to it, could mean I’m an advocate on the Anti-Drug movement. Whichever ways you take it, I’m your drug ninja. Growing up or even till this day some people hate the taste of medicine or swallowing the pill, but that pill contains substance that will help you maintain and restore health. The album is to diagnose and treat injuries and diseases from all these programs that they play everyday through the airwaves…you know what I’m talking about.
Wu-International: Is the album complete and when do you plan on putting it out?
Anthai: The album is complete except for some minor things I want to add. I am a very picky person and a perfectionist so I am taking my time on getting everything right and precise because there is no going back. I want to release it September 21st through Chambermusik Special Products which is distributed via Fat Beats and will be on itunes and digital distribution in October. According to Martial Art, this album is better than all of our past releases. I was shocked when he told me that but I can understand why. I love the beats on this Anthai Drug album and the flow is up to par. I have the cds on me and taking orders as we speak before it hits the market.
Wu-International: Did you produce the bulk or all of the album as well?
Anthai: For the Anthai Drug album, I produced every beat except for two. Those two songs are called “Ninjas vs. Swaggers” produced by Drew and “One Too Many” produced by Peter Jay (who helped produced Meant Condition from 71Raw Project). All of the songs on the album sounds like they could be hit singles, that’s how I try to make my albums.
Wu-International: So how will this album differ from the 71Raw projects as far as concepts, sound etc goes?
Anthai: The Anthai Drug album differ in many ways to the 71Raw Project and Ninja Guidance. First reason, the flow of the rhymes are more coherent to the beats. Secondly, the editing and mastering is superb. Lastly, the recording sessions are more comfortable this time around because previous albums we had to record at many different locations. Here are some words to describe my upcoming Anthai Drug album: Raw, hardcore, explicit, sexy, cool, belligerent, provocative, realistic, inspirational, and pornographic. I’m not gonna front on yall, a lot of songs on my album are about MCing boasting with fable lyrics but they represent what’s real in reality. I admit, the songs about females are 100% true because I’ve been through those situations. Some of my lyrics might sound harsh it’s because pain is harsh, whatever I do I jot it down on paper. For those who get offended by my lyrics, the only person to blame for is yourself, should’ve read the label “Explicit Lyrics” on the cover of my cd album. In contrary, people in general need to peep the lyrics instead of just bobbing your head to the beat, know what the rapper/mc is talking about. You could be nodding your head to a song about raping a girl and you think it’s cool but in reality you’re looking like a fool. Ignorance is bliss, you have to peep the real game. That’s why to me, a lot of underground Hip-Hop artists carry so much lyrical skills.
Wu-International: What comes first for you when making a song, the lyrics or the beat?
Anthai: Before I would do either one first but now I would prefer hearing the beat first to see how I would fit my rhymes. When you have many different skills, it takes you away from doing other skills you have you nahmean? I could be writing rhymes for days but then my motivation for producing beats is gone. I would have mornings where I wake up and would write all morning and then I would have nights where I would make 3 beats in less than 2 hours. Some days I don’t have the urge to do any of that and just read the news. Maybe that’s why I don’t watch too much television, I always have something to do and I don’t like to waste time, time waits for nobody.
Wu-International: We know the Black Knights are already featured on there, who else are featured on the album?
Anthai: Christ Bearer is on there, First Lady, The Committee, Midaz, Plato, Jacewon, Lady Egypt, Broken Tongue, and of course Martial Arts. Everybody on my album came off correct, shoutout to all of them.
Wu-International: You have pretty much worked with a number of the major Westcoast Killa Bee members except for Holocaust, when will that happen?
Anthai: I only met him once. I don’t see him around. Would love to work with him, maybe in the future you never know. Holocaust is definitely raw and talented.
Wu-International: You have a song on there that we will be using for the Doc Doom dedication page, thanks for sharing that, can you please tell us how that song came about?
Anthai: We made that song “Story of My Life” about 4 years ago. It was suppose to be a Black Knights joint but they gave me that song to be on the album. I wish we had the studio session video taped because all of us were there that night.
Wu-International: You said in a recent interview that you met Doc Doom briefly before he passed away, was there anything in particular that you remembered of him or any memorable moments you would like to share with the fans?
Anthai: The first time I ever met Doc Doom was at the Wu Tang Mansion 2001 when I wasn’t affiliated with the Wu movement. He introduced himself to me, that was the night I had a rhyme session with Holocaust. When he was locked up that was when I got involved with the West Coast Killa Beez. When he came out, we were partying at the Black Knights show in Orange County, we spoke for couple of minutes and took a picture. He was a really nice dude, told him I produced songs for the Black Knights and he wanted to hear my work. Unfortunately a week later he passed away. My crew and I attended his funeral to show our respect. Rest in peace Doc Doom. Knights or nothing!
Wu-International: Did you get a chance to make music with Doc before he passed away?
Anthai: We were suppose to add Doc Doom to our song “The Last Fight” from the Ninja Guidance album, that’s why at the end of the song you hear nothing but instrumental with no talking over it.
Wu-International: Was there any one that you wanted to get on the project that didn’t happen?
Anthai: This goes back to the Ninja Guidance album, I was talking to Rza to jump on and he said he was down for it. The only thing was I didn’t show my face around too much to catch him on his free time. Sometimes to me it matters but then again it doesn’t matter because I want the fans to dig my music for what it is and not for who is on the song, you feel me? No doubt, I would love to have Rza on it but it is what it is so I’m rolling with what I have. I would love to work with Dom Pacino, that ninja is nice on the mic. People say we look alike, would be a double impact type shit haha.
Wu-International: What songs stand out the most for you on Anthai Drugs and why?
Anthai: There are so many to choose! I would have to say either “Ninjas vs. Swaggers” or “Half Asian Half Amazing”. Ninjas vs Swaggers song is a banger produced by my ninja Drew. It’s one of those attacking beats and my rhymes on there are full of energy. Half Asian Half Amazing is one of the most important songs on my album, the message behind that is positive and the beat is incredible. It’s really epic. Other songs to look out for are Money Comes First, You Only Live 2wice, Universal Warlords pt2, Battle Scars pt.2, One Too Many, etc. But the rest of the songs on the album are flawless, shit that’s my word man!
Wu-International: So what would you say you are trying to achieve if any with this album?
Anthai: The same goals as I was doing before, representing where I’m from Vietnam and now dwelling in Anaheim 714 area code. I’m not anticipating for mainstream exposure because not many people are fond on traditional Hip-Hop. I’m giving yall that boom bap type of rap. I just want people to know they can’t match palms with 71Raw ninjas, straight up and down.
|Wu-International: Thanks, on a recent interview you made it clear that Martial Arts solo will be the next instalment after yours, will you be producing most of it as well and how far gone is the album?
Anthai: Martial Art’s album will be called “Mixed Martial Arts”. I will be producing on the album. He already started writing his rhymes. We just need to sit down and choose beats and I want to make more for him. At the same time I have another idea in mind, I wish I could tell you but I can’t reveal that until months to come. Martial’s album will be interesting. Gonna hear a lot of soul because he and I listen to that type of music all day everyday!Wu-International: When will the fans see another 71Raw album then?
Anthai: We plan on working on our third group album after Martial’s album is released. After that who knows what might happen.
Wu-International: You also DJ at times, what would you say is the most exhilarating or fulfilling part of being a DJ?
Wu-International: You produce mainly within your circle, have you done productions for anyone else outside and if so, who?
Anthai: I’ve produced for The Black Knights, Recworm, and gave beats to the Yellow Jackets. I haven’t done much for outside groups, maybe because I’m saving it all for us.
Wu-International: What collaboration between you and someone else would inspire you to do the most incredible music?
Anthai: There’s this artist from overseas Hooverphonic, she sounds ill. I like to do the untypical shit like where you have someone from a different genre collaborate with me. It’s challenging, and from that you will learn to create new styles. You can’t do the same thing over and over again, and I know for the younger kids out there it’s hard to understand but trust me, as you get older you will understand why. People need to evolve and make new things happen. Shout out to Hooverphonic.
Wu-International: This is pretty much it, anything else you would love to add that’s not covered already? Any shout outs, big ups etc?
Anthai: Big ups to Wu International for conducting this interview. Shout outs to my fans who really support me. When my Anthai Drug album comes out, buy it and do not download it. Support the artist because artists like me do everything independently therefore we need y’all help! Shout outs to the West Coast Killa Beez we in this! My ninjas from 71Raw and the scums! Big ups to Supernatural Clothing go to their website and buy their clothes www.supernaturalco.com and for all you fish lovers go to www.aquatic-heaven.com PEACE!