Enter the "Stargate Music": A Highly-Elevated Interview with Ras G

Enter the "Stargate Music": A Highly-Elevated Interview with Ras G

by Mike McPadden | CULTURE |

Ras G has pried open the most psychedelic corner of his multiverse yet. From a remote location light years above and beyond us, the musician talked to MERRY JANE about his “Ghetto Sci-Fi” soul.

All photos courtesy of the artist

Welcome to the far-out future of sound. The sonic psychonaut known as Ras G presently spearheads the highest universal intersection of music, mysticism, and mind-expansion powered by nature's mightiest rocket fuel — marijuana.

Launched from Los Angeles in 2005, the cosmic journey of Ras G has levitated listeners through dozens of releases where he's worn various space helmets as a DJ, producer, and all-around otherworldly conjurer of frequencies and beats.

Now in the infinitely fluid form of Ras G and the Afrikan Space Program, the artist has pried open the most psychedelic corner of his multiverse yet by way of Stargate Music — a mammoth meditation and overwhelming aesthetic exploration of reality's divine female nature in the context of all beings' common godhead. Above all else, of course, the music is massively dope. Tellingly, the record was released on 4/20 through the ever-vibey label Leaving Records.

From his remote location light years above and beyond what we understand as mere existence, Ras G honored MERRY JANE with an interview via email.

As with Ras G's music, his written responses have unique rhythms, cadences, and revelations in how he presents them, so we're running his words in the (almost) exact manner in which he gifted them to us — minus some light tweaks for clarity. So load your bong now, fire the ignition, and blast off here.

MERRY JANE: First off, congratulations on Stargate Music and, more than that, thank you for it. In what ways does Stargate Music connect to your previous work and in what ways does it launch off in directions of its own?

Ras G: Give thanks! 

I have made a few tunes over my career that kinda speak the same language as Stargate Music, such as G Spot Connection from the last Brainfeeder record Back On The Planet.... but with Stargate I wanted to just lay out a complete body of work going in that direction I felt that I needed to release a meal out of my catalog amidst all the hardcore raw beat appetizers I been droppin' for the past few years.. It's a reminder that yeah I can make grilled cheese all day, but I still can bring that soul food Sunday layout spread.

One reviewer called Stargate Music "the 420 soundtrack of the year." What specific role did weed play in its creation and execution?

I wouldn't call it a 420 soundtrack. But to each them own… I do indulge in herb daily. It was just another day/night in my SpaceBase making records.

MERRY JANE: What marijuana strain would you recommend pairing with Stargate Music?

My strain! Haha. It's called Ras_G OG, grown by my peoples at Coto Heals, and Gorilla Glue grown by my peoples PharmaJane. And lastly pineapple ginger juice for that cottonmouth haha.

Science fiction seems to be intertwined with not just Stargate Music, but so much of what you do with the Afrikan Space Program. What is your relationship to sci-fi?

My relationship with sci-fi is from a creational standpoint — my label is called Ghetto Sci-Fi Music, which is how I identify my studio and music-making methods. It's Ghetto in terms of set-up/layout, but it's a science to how it all works together and fiction to most who come from a more professional studio setting.

When one comes to my studio, one sees a cheap radio shack mic and an old version of GarageBand. They're recording on a thousand dollar condenser mic. The ProTools-using ass usually thinks the recording will be shit, but upon playback their fictional frown turns into a newly-realized wow! That's Ghetto Sci-Fi.

Like how the track "Is It Lust or Is It Love" from the StarGate Music album was made on my iMPC phone app, and it sampled an Usher song being played off the local FM radio station and was then ran through a Boss SP-303 for completion. There's a science to it, but its' ghetto or fiction to those who can't do it or have an easier approach [to making music].

What are your favorite science fiction books? How about your favorite authors?

My fav sci-fi books are the scrolls by Dr. Malachi Z. York.

Your work also comes across as sweepingly cinematic. What movies have most profoundly influenced your art?

I like mainly old black '70s movies, as well as the following:

Space Is The Place
Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss
Abar The Black Superhero
Rockers
Fantastic Planet 
Tetsuo The Iron Man

Mainly because we all doing Ghetto Sci-Fi art. It's raw, low-budget stuff, but it's in-your-face: What!?!? What!?! Shit, you know? It's real...

As listeners, connecting your work to giants such as Sun Ra and George Clinton seems immediate and direct. What are your thoughts on those two geniuses — both on their own terms and in how they have shaped your work?

Those are my elders and ancestors of creation. We eat from the fruit and smoke the herb from the same fields of great black creation. More than anything, I feel that what I do is simply an updated continuum of their great and terrible demonstrations on this planet.

Who are some artists that you love and/or that have influenced you that might surprise us?

I love weird experimental music and musique concrète. Artist? So many, but for this round I will say Robert AA Lowe simply because I never seen a melanted being doing modular synth shit, and as drone-y as the shit can be, his shit has "soul" to it, too.

Also, Dimitri Grimm aka Dimlite aka Dim Grim — that muhfuckas is incredible! As I said, I like experimental concrète and weird European music. I think Dim is a part of that continuum of artists.

And last, but not least, my big brother Madlib. Madlib is the reason I work so much and move around doing different styles and genres that I love, regardless of who's listening.

What other contemporary artists are you grooving to most these days?

Roc Marciano, Sean Price, Westside Gunn and Conway, Tri State and Planet Asia, Mach Hommey, Zeroh Blq Bird, Kahil Sadiq, Willie The Kid… a lot of rap music lately haha, which is crazy because I was over rap music for a good 10-12 years — I was all about beats.

What's next for you?

Ghetto Sci-Fi Music is the future we got appetizers and meals coming:

Dance of the Cosmos LP
Raw Fruit Vol. 5-10
Down 2 Earth Vol. 3-4
Blunts Rolled
by Ras _G
Ka Scrolls LP by Kahil Sadiq
Eagle Nebula's LP
Seat Of The Soul LP
Life Finds a Way LP featuring MndDsgn, Warsan Shire, Zeroh, Jeremiah Jae, Shafiq from Sa Ra, and Kahil Sadiq.

People loving Stargate Music, too. I got two follow-up LPs to Stargate already completed.

Thanks Ras :)

For more on Ras G, visit his Bandcamp page here and buy his new album on Leaving Records

Follow Mike McPadden on Twitter


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Mike McPadden is the author of "Heavy Metal Movies" and the upcoming "Last American Virgins." He writes about movies, music, and crime in Chicago. Twitter @mcbeardo


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