New Jersey’s Eloh Kush has been heavy on the grind since we last spoke to him back in January. We recently caught up again to talk about new album AngelDus, recorded in collaboration with beatmaker Dus, which you can stream below.
We’ve seen your name in a lot more places since we last spoke. Would you say your career is starting to get some real momentum?
I definitely will say I’m starting to pick up steam and more notoriety in different countries such as Japan, Ireland, Germany, France and Africa, as well as the States, but I don’t think it’s enough yet. I have plenty more work to do – this is just my first climb up the mountain, but I’m down for the task and looking for the challenge.
The new album, AngelDus, has you working with just one producer. How does that compare to taking beats from different people for one project?
The difference is that Dus and I have a great chemistry together, so it’s not like I have to play email tag back and forth to explain a certain vibration I want. It’s like Dus knows exactly the canvas I need to paint on. I mean, in truth I do have a great rapport with other producers, but the camaraderie that Dus and I have is just something unparalleled by other producers thus far.
Does working with one beatmaker lead to a more coherent album overall?
I think it can, if you concentrate enough on a similar idea. All types of barriers can be broken if it’s a collective, unified and focused on achieving a certain goal. It’s way more easier, at least on this experience thus far. Sometimes you do need different flavors for different recipes for different meals you want to cook up, but on this one I think me expressing my point of view and actually coming up with the material for this album, it can only have been with one person.
What’s the process? Does Dus make beats from scratch, based around your writing, or do you pick from a selection of pre-made joints?
It happens organically in truth. Sometimes he may call me and say ‘hey, I got this vibe and I want you to check it out. Come over to the crib tomorrow!’ We don’t actually live very far from each other, so I think that’s even better, because getting together is instantaneous, so coming up with the material is basically on the spot at times. Other times I’ve been on the road doing shows out of state and he’ll send me two or three beats by email because he couldn’t wait for me to get them and he knows that once I hear a new sound or something, I’m going to create on the spot. I’ll stop everything that’s going on and just walk away and go somewhere in seclusion and just compose something very esoteric.
There are some impressive guests on the new project, including The Artifacts emcee El da Sensei, Scienz of Life rapper John Robinson, and D.I.T.C. legend A.G. Did you get to record together, or was it all done over email?
Anything John Robinson and I do is always in person because that’s my comrade in this business and in life. We are very close – over 20 plus years of friendship and brotherhood. El da Sensei was actually in the studio with me for his verse, which I truly appreciate. A.G was on the road touring, so he had to mail his verse.
How do you connect with artists like that? Do you have a wishlist of people you’d love to work with?
The facilitator on getting those actual people for that particular song, B-boy Bonanza, was all John Robinson. His previous relationships and just connecting me with these outstanding, gifted people helped me tremendously, but that’s what brothers do for each other. My wishlist? Not sure about that. That would be too long, but yes, there are some of the greats I do want to work with and I will, but we’ll see when that occurs.
Presumably, an indy artist also has to weight up the cost of a guest verse against how much exposure it’s likely to generate?
I can’t really speak for anyone else, but my experience with that situation is I do it with the greats that I admire. I’m not just a musician; I am a fan of hip-hop, so for me the cost or the actual exposure isn’t it. To actually be among the icons and getting their nod of approval is like a pass, or being welcomed into the club by earning my stripes.
As fans, we love the fantasy that artists are always actually in the studio together, but deep down we know that doesn’t happen much anymore. Do you think that collaborations are less genuine because of this?
Sometimes it depends on the chemistry between the people you’re collaborating with. Of course you want to sit down and vibrate with the other person in the studio line-for-line or thought-for-thought, but other times if you don’t have a connection with the person and it’s just business, then it can just be a robotic feeling. If you do have a close personal relationship with the person and they’re not actually in the studio and they know you as a person, as a celestial being, then it’s all love.
What’s next after AngelDus?
Constant elevation, always constant elevation. I have a few projects coming up this year, including a book of poetry, a project with Ray West that will be released on Red Apples 45 in the fall. I have a project with John Robinson producing all the beats that should be coming out this year. I also did some interesting work with my man from Ohio, producer J Rawls. There’s an Angelz Inc album coming, an EP with producer Japan Budamunk, plus more work with Dus. I’m also excited to release the first project I’ve ever produced and recorded for the poet Seshat Ali, which will be coming out on my label. My plate is extremely full but I’m glad to have a plate in front of me. I’m humbled, but at the same time I’m confident and extremely focused on the experience and the journey to becoming my personal legend.
Stream the new AngelDus album from Eloh Kush and Dus: