Massachusetts Hip-Hop Continues to Impress With “The Loops” from DJ Manipulator x Louie Gonz
Listen to the world premiere of the brand-new record from two of Worcester’s finest hip-hop artists
“Coming from the Mass’ / 508 to be exact / Wartown be my city / time to put it on the map
Formerly of the Kinda Dusty crew, the two artists splintered into a duo and released their celebrated Private Stock full-length collaboration in September 2014.
The Loops — released today by Manipulator’s own Music Is My Message outlet — is the sophomore effort from the duo; it’s also one of the tightest, most confident and enjoyable records to drop in 2017. With a lean but thorough list of featured MC’s, the twelve-track album is sonically timeless and as lyrically sharp as any other notable hip-hop albums in recent memory.
Worcester should be proud of this one.
Listen to the world premier of The Loops below, and get insight into its creative origins from DJ Manipulator, Louie Gonz and some notable contributors.
1. ALL HAIL
“Anybody could get it / I body these lyrics / to leave a body on the floor / like a lottery ticket”
Manip: The day I made the beat, I was diggin’ at a local record spot. While I was diggin’ I got a call from Gonz saying he needed me to send him some new shit because he could possibly get Planet Asia for a verse. At this point we were fully invested to the idea of working on The Loops and we were thinking of people we could get verses from; Asia was one of those people.
After I got off the phone with Lou, I raced home and started working on beats. After making a couple beats with the records I got that day, I sent the beats to Lou — but by the time I sent them, I was too late to get Asia on the project.
We actually had a couple people who were supposed to do a second verse for that joint but flaked. But I think it came out dope; Louie killed it.
2. OLD RAIN
“Coming from the Mass’ / 508 to be exact / Wartown be my city / time to put it on the map”
Gonz: The meaning of that line was to point out how much hidden talent is in Worcester. I feel like a lot of the artists who came up in Worcester are overlooked by Boston in terms of talking about MA artists.
Shout out to Joyner (Lucas) who is killing it both visually and sonically — I feel like he broke the latch off the door; now it’s time to step up and kick it down to show everyone what we got behind there.
3. THIS SOUND f/ BLU
“I been made my mark in the streets / a brother tired / if you see the mark of the beast / then it’s a riot / that’s why I keep the scope and the beam on the iron / ‘cause all I have is hope and a dream / until I’m dying”
Manip: Blu was one of those guys we thought would be a good fit for the project. I reached out to Blu on Twitter and he hit me back a day after and said he was down for it. After that, Louie recorded his verse and we sent the joint to Blu to record. After two weeks, Blu sent the verse back and killed it.
Gonz: Manips and I were talking in the studio about artists that would be a good fit for the vibe of this project. Manipulator’s immediate response was to get Blu on this record, and I never question Manipulator’s ear for music. Between that and me being a fan of Blu myself, it was a done deal.
4. WHO WANT IT f/ MR. PACHECO
“If we’re all energy / I’ll shoot you into particles / Sun you like Tzu / this ain’t no article / you don’t want beef / ‘cause you messing with a carnivore”
Gonz: It all started when I was a DJ at the age of thirteen at house parties: I would throw on an instrumental and freestyle just to see the crowd’s response. I feel like people really responded positively to me; from there it just took off. I’m competitive by nature with myself and with others so every bar, every verse had to be better than the last.
It’s never been work to me — it’s never been forced — these last seventeen years have been natural and about growth both musically and as a person.
I put everything on record — when you listen to my songs you know exactly what I’m going through and been through. The day it feels like work to me is the day I’ll be done.
5. INTERLUDE 1
Manip: I listen to a lot of Dilla and Madlib on a regular basis. You could probably tell if you dig into more of my discography. Sample-heavy producers like those two, Premo, The Alchemist, Large Pro and a lot of others.
“I got keep my head above water / rest in peace to my unborn son and daughter / time’s are getting hard / but I got to stay strong / this the year I put my team on / if you got a dream / then believe this the theme song”
Manip: We’ve both grown a lot since Private Stock. We’re both in different places in life since the last record. We’re more focused, more goal-oriented this time around.
After this project, you’re going to here a lot more from us throughout the year, together and separately. Growth is key for both of us this time.
7. DOLOMITE f/ JOSH BLISS
“Fly-ass gangsta with his bucket low / I tell wifey go and touch your toes / to get this noodle like a cup of phở / I’m in the game / you in the upper row / forget the liars / I’m spitting fire / so tuck and roll”
Josh Bliss: I met Louie doing hip-hop shows around the city and he was a good dude so we clicked. Manip I met later through my homie Haze who I did music with and fell in love with his production. Manip hit me up and asked me to be on the project; Louie had a Southern-type beat he wanted me to be on. Me being from Louisiana — it worked out perfect.
Louie asked me to spit about fly shit so I just wrote to his concept. I’m just as much a fan of these guys as I’m their friend.
Gonz: Coming up, I listened to everything, I have always loved everything about hip-hop. Ghostface is my favorite Wu-Tang member; I have always been a fan of his outlandish slang. I feel like most of my influence would definitely be Nas: I’ve always looked up to him and his ability to tell stories so seamlessly through his music.
8. INTERLUDE 2
Manip: Listening to at the time: people like DJ Dahi, Thundercat, FlyLo… all of TDE’s production camp inspire me to experiment more with different sounds and instruments. This project was more focused on dusty loops, but there’s more than that sound that inspires me to create.
9. RATED R f/ LIL ETO
“Leave with the chick you came with / yelling out my name like I’m famous / grays in my beard make a nigga look distinguished / the radio leaves you brainless / industry takeover / we kill ’em with the bangers”
Gonz: I became a fan of Lil Eto when I heard the song “Right On”. He’s a very talented MC and is making a lot of noise right now. I also feel like Latin rappers is what’s lacking in the culture today and I thought it was important to team up and try to make a little ruido (that’s ‘noise’ in Spanish) together.
10. SCRATCH INTERLUDE
Manip: That was actually the last thing recorded for the album. There’s a lot of people who listen to my stuff who don’t even know I could scratch. I figured it would be dope to put a short interlude to break up the album a little bit. I didn’t want it to be too long, though. All that cutting may be too much for some.
I’ve been cutting for a long time — even before I started making beats. My goal when I started around fifteen years ago was to be on some DMC battle shit. I didn’t really want to make beats until about a year after I started DJing.
After I started making beats, the cutting took a backseat. I love scratching and playing out, though. There’s so many amazing DJs that make me want to step my shit up.
“Break bud / roll it like the dice up in casino / is y’all funny style / Dan DeVito / it’s a wrap / no burrito / stuntin’ on these fools like Knievel / coming with the dope / grab a needle / inject it to your veins / then I have you go insane with the evils”
Gonz: The whole Kinda Dusty squad was talented, but Manips and I always seemed to have the same vision when it comes to creating and producing records. I feel very fortunate to work with a monster producer like Manipulator for my own tracks and have him as a mentor as I start to do more production of my own.
12. LEAN f/ WILLIAM HURTZ
“Nobody is eternal / we eventually die / I’m trying to leave a legacy / to remember me by / back-to-back L’s definitely has my memory fried / and why does Trump keep on crossing all these enemy lines?”
Gonz: My ultimate goal is to leave a mark in the world of hip-hop. I want to be remembered as one of the best to do it — but I’ve also always wanted to be more than just my music. I want to be able to help others through my songs and be a positive influence. I want the younger generation to look to me as a role model for giving one-hundred percent into what you do.
I’ve also always wanted to make music more available to the younger generation — I know how much it meant to me and helped shape me on my come-up — and want others to be able to be positively inspired by hip-hop the way I was.
One of my goals has always been when I make it financially the way I want to, I want to give back to the community by starting music schools and providing funding for kids to be able to gain more exposure to art forms.
Manip: We put a lot of work into it. It means a lot to represent Massachusetts when it comes to hip-hop.
Not just for Boston but for Worcester. Worcester has such a rich hip-hop history that a lot of people don’t know anything about; an incredible amount of history. Just to be able to add to that rich history is an honor.
A good homie of ours named Kas is actually working on a documentary about Worcester hip-hop, so look out for that.
Gonz: I need to thank Manipulator for all the hard work and Saturday studio sessions and everyone else involved in this project: Josh Bliss, Lil Eto, Mr. Pacheco, Blu and William Hurtz. I’ve got to shout out Scrapa, Kas, Motif Alumni, J-Ronin.
Another shout out to Quaine Beats — we’ve got an EP on the way soon; keep your eyes out for “Sometimes”.
Final shout outs to Joyner for putting Worcester on the map, my wife for being supportive and not throwing my speakers out in the front lawn when The Loops were on loop all day and night and to the whole 508!
Written By: Matteo Urella / June 2017
Special thanks to Diamond Media 360 for the opportunity.