In 1991 Andres “Dres” Titus killed more people in a minute and thirty seconds than most gangster rappers do on an entire album. On the intro to their classic album A Wolf In Sheep’s clothing, “You Mean I’m Not” Dres walked us through a murderous dream where a broken egg yoke is a crime punishable by death. As the “black sheep” of the relatively peace loving Native Tongues family Dres and his partner Mr. Lawnge went out of their way to make you feel uncomfortable. But there was a method to their madness.
“One of the things I was trying to stress was that Black children were slaves. They broke up our family units,” he says more than a decade later of the skit. “Fast forward a few hundred years we’re so broken down and divided that any Black on Black crime is us killing a family member.” (watch the full video on this below)
In 2010 Dres is a little older. A tidbit wiser. To say that he’s mellowed out is an understatement, but his passion for hip-hop music and the community it serves hasn’t diminished at all. His new album From The Black Pool Of Genius lives up to its title as a reflective body of liquid prose that is a refreshing change from the norm.
TheUrbanDaily spoke with Dres about some of our favorite songs on the new album and we took some detours down memory lane in the process.
Black Pool Of Genius
I heard that Donny Hathaway’s live album in which he was covering a Stevie Wonder record “Superwoman.” And it’s a dope dope dope cover. And he starts it off by introducing that he’s about to play this record by Stevie Wonder. And he starts it by saying, “From the black pool of Genius I’d like too…” And he’s talking about Stevie Wonder. And I’m listening to it it’s like you could feel the room. You could hear the people breathing damn near. And I’m like wow this is dope. And “the black pool of genius” what a prolific statement and I want to be in the pool. So I just started thinking about it as a concept and kinda took it way from even black people because it sounds like black pool would be black people. But I kinda took it further to black being a color that can absorb light. Matter of fact the color that can absorb light. And so I looked at it as a pool of artist that share light and in order to share light you have to be able to absorb it. Its not about being a black person, its about having light to share. So if you’re a group that has light to share regardless of your walk or even genre I would put you in this group. And hip-hop, R&B, rock, whatever it didn’t matter your color didn’t matter. If you had light to share you’re in this pool of genius.”
The Native Tongue’s reunion track “Birds of Feather”
This cat out of Jacksonville, Florida by the name of Tough Junkie sent me some beats. So I actually had the beat to Birds of a Feather when I was in Australia. I played it for Dave[of De La Soul], we were on the road together and he loved it. He was like, “Yo its dope its dope.” And I was like cool. I want you to get on this with me. I already had intentions of reaching out to each cat individually to kind of mesh it together. So I get back. I had just done something for Q-Tip for a J Period mixtape in which they were honoring Q-Tip. I spit a joint on it for him. So I felt comfortable asking him to do something for me. Tip came through, blessed the verse. I had Dave send me the verse and Mike G happened to be in New York. Cool. So I was able to get everybody in the studio individually and just mesh it together. I kinda had the vision. I had the hook in my head and everything just kinda worked out. It sounds phenomenal.”
“Come Back Home”
It’s kinda in the vein of Common’s joint “I Used To Love H.E.R” I had actually reached out to Dwele to do the hook for me and for whatever reason, I guess he was really busy, he never really got back to me. So I was in a couple of sessions with my dude Showbiz who was working in a project with this duo called P & V. Upon hearing them I was blown away, like the kids are dope. So through Show I reached out to them and was like “Yo I got this track.” Then I actually sung the hook on it so they could kinda hear what I was hearing. Of course I don’t sound nothing like them. This my words, they heard it, they liked it, came though, blessed it and it took no time. On the real, like it’s a dynamic song. We’ve got this long-standing relationship, me and Hip-hop,that’s my girl for a lot of years. She decided to do whatever she decided to do. What it says is that I’m prepared to let you do what you doin.
That’s how I feel about the music at this point. I kinda “auto tuning” it out. I’m not mad at what you do. I don’t do that though. I got to be man enough to stand for my convictions and just walk that.
Reason To Pray “I was broke At the top of the charts…”
Yeah like I come from a place where money wasn’t nothing like it is now. Literally now you can have a hit record and it will produce millions of dollars. I wouldn’t say I was broke where I had no money. I would say I was broke in the realization of I couldn’t buy a house. I remember at the time looking to put some money down on a house. It was uptown Manhattan. It was well out of my reach and it really resonated with me because it was like you know it was like wow all of these buildings are owned. And I view myself as doing something that a lot of people aren’t able to do at the time and making money that’s not really afforded to a lot of people in my circle and I still can’t afford this. And there is so many people playing above my head that never see a microphone or a camera or anything of the sort and it made me understand the power of “having a job.” The best years of my life–and I’ll keep it 100 with you– it was literally 20 years ago damn near. I probably made close to $200,000. You can get a job and make that. And that’s the best year of my life from music. It was a great year as far as that year for me and music and what was being accumulated at the time in the industry. I know cats at this point that make that a show and turn it down cause it might not even be enough. My walk has been one that people have always looked at it to be a little bit bigger than what I knew it to be. I remember being at the top of the charts and not necessarily even being happy. Let alone not having the accolades that people think you have. I remember my mom seeing me on Arsenio or Jay Leno and thinking that I’ve arrived, but you get $300 dollars for that and that’s basically it. You get a bunch of notoriety and I’m sure a few shows come behind it but that’s not you arriving. I’ll never own a $100,000 chain but I will own a $100,000 day care center.
Muy Bueno F/ Rosie Perez
Remember that Chappelle’s Show sketch where Dave dresses up like goat and sings “he’s he real Black Sheep.”? Well Dres actually uses it in a song called “Muy Bueno” featuring Rosie Perez. Find out what he thought when he first saw the Chappelle sketch in the clip below:
“Power To the Pih Poh” F Rhymefest
It’s “hip-hop” backwards and power to the people. Power to the community of hip-hop. Like we are much more powerful than we realize. I heard a poet say you take hip-hop you flip it backwards it’s people. So that’s a community. That’s us. It doesn’t matter what color you are, it doesn’t matter how tall, short, gay, straight, male, female, it doesn’t mater. Hip-hop it’s a community it’s people and there’s a power that we posses that I don’t think we’ve come to understand yet. It’s like we’re teenagers: little pimple, voice cracking thinking we know what we’re doing only to find out a few years down the road that, “Wow! Didn’treally know as much as I thought I did.””
“Winner” F AZ
“I’m just a huge AZ fan. I think A is just lyrical sincerely and always has been. And we’ve always just kinda had a mutual respect we always bump into each other over the years and always very cordial, very respectful and we would always speak to us possible doing something. So with project I really knew I wanted to pull him in. I got the track from my dude P-lot, this cat down in Jacksonville, and it just spoke to me. I kinda had put a verse on it. I really was concentrating on the hook more than anything; with him I really wanted him to hear the hook more than anything. But I had put a verse on it before I even knew that I was going to rock it with him. But it wasn’t really what I wanted. But I sent it to him just to give him an idea of where my head was at as far hook and what I wanted to do with it. He came to the studio and blessed it sincerely. I already had a first verse I wound up putting a third verse on it and it was just a done deal. I’m real proud of that joint because it’s a joint where I feel like two MCs just showed the dexterity of word play.”
“Party Tonight” F Jean Grae
“Jean is dope. She’s a very funny witty lady. And a dope MC. Her mechanics are very sharp. I’m a student of the game and I always peep how cats are doing things. Just in comparison to my walk I always peep someone else’s. She came in and I guess she had some of thoughts in her head and didn’t have a rhyme though. She sat down in about maybe 25 minutes had a rhyme written and maybe 25 minutes from there had a rhyme recorded and just was dope. Shes just a lot of fun. Shes got a lot of character. I like her walk as a women and a female MC. She’s not trying to be some thing that she shouldn’t. She stands very true to who she is and that’s how you win.”