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Kidz in the Hall

Artist Info
Name
Kidz in the Hall

Base of Operations:
Chicago and New Jersey

Occupation:
Recording Artists / Producer/DJ

Members:
Naledge and Double-0

M-Audio Gear :
Axiom 25, Axiom 61, Torq Conectiv Vinyl/CD Pack

Selected Artist Credits:
Just Blaze, Bun B, Estelle, Gym Class Heroes, The Clipse, Little Brother, The Cool Kids, Sean Price, Buckshot; Major League Entertainment, Duck Down Records

Background:
Rapper Naledge and producer/DJ Double-0 are the masterminds who make up Kidz in the Hall. Together with Major League Entertainment and Duck Down Records, these outstanding young gentlemen and artists have formed the new face of hip hop. After years of hard work and dedication beginning on New Jersey and Chicago streets, Naledge and Double-0 have been able to not only succeed in the music world, but do so with Ivy League degrees in hand. Having officially arrived on the music scene in 2006 with their debut LP “School Was my Hustle,” Kidz in the Hall has developed a truly unique and impactful style, which has culminated to date in sophomore LP and most recent release, “The In Crowd.” As young students at the University of Pennsylvania, Jabari Evans, AKA Naledge, and Mike Aguilar, AKA Double-0 had three full time, competitive obligations; studies, athletics, and music. As time has proven, both members of Kidz in the Hall were able to achieve excellence in all three categories. As a result of their hard-nose work ethic, both Naledge and Double-0 came to graduate from one of the world’s top educational institutions, become world-class athletes (Double-0 Olympic Games Athens 2004), and emerge as relevant and successful hip hop recording artists. Their goal now is to convince today’s youths, in whose position they once found themselves, that success in every sense of the word is within their reach. Kidz in the Hall’s profound hopes for positive social change pour out through their music as well as their lifestyle. Many of their lyrics stress the importance of developing a confident sense of self on a personal level while also working to better their communities as a whole. In 2007, Kidz in the Hall was the first hip hop group to endorse Barack Obama as a presidential candidate, and their song “Work to Do” was featured as an official campaign anthem. But don’t box them in, as both Naledge and Double 0 will be quick to correct any labels placed upon them. “We make reality rap,” says Naledge. “Our reality has included house parties as much as it has Ivy League schooling; it has included serious economic and social issues within the cities we come from as much as it has relationships with girls. Any box you put us in will never be big enough to encompass the range of topics and the type of music Kidz In The Hall makes.” Now these Ivy League Graduates are fresh off the heels of their sophomore album “The In Crowd,” courtesy of Major League/Duck Down Records. The album features appearances from: Bun B, Estelle, Travis of Gym Class Heroes, Pusha T of The Clipse, Little Brother, The Cool Kids, Sean Price, Buckshot and more. The video for the lead single “Driving Down The Block,” debuted at #6 on MTVs TRL and received a “Discover & Download” program, where it was spun over 50 times a week across MTV’s networks. The song has also been included in Rockstar Video Game’s recent title “Midnight Club LA.” Following this success, Kidz In The Hall recently unveiled the video for their second single “Love Hangover” featuring Estelle, which premiered on MTV’s TRL again. The video was also a ‘New Joint Of The Day’ on BET’s 106 & Park, after it ran on BET’s new show “THE DEAL.” The group appeared on ‘The Deal’ in early December. Love Hangover is also in heavy rotation across VH1 Soul, MTV2, MTV U, MTV Jamz, FUSE and Music Choice, as well as part of United Airlines and US Airways video programming. Kidz in the Hall also landed them selves a spot on the soundtrack for the 20th Anniversary Edition of the highest selling video game franchise of all time- Madden NFL 2009! The song used was none-other-than “The Blackout.” Steve Schnur, worldwide executive of music and marketing for Electronic Arts, said: "we believe that this time next year, Kidz In The Hall will be true Hip-Hop superstars."

Kidz in the Hall
Co-signed by Just Blaze, Kidz in the Hall are representative of the new face of hip-hop. Ivy League graduates for the University of Pennsylvania, the duo brings a fresh and sophisticated sound with a classic hip-hop twist.

Describe your songwriting and production processes and philosophies. What part does technology play?
We live in different cities so often that we have to collaborate on the road or via email.  We discuss a lot of topics via phone and then go back to our creative spaces to make something.  Because we've been working together for so long our start points are usually not far from where the other wanted to take the music.  Then we just build and refine on top of that when we get in the studio.  For us technology is integral.  From the thought process to completion most of the recording a creation takes place within the computer.  We produce everything in Reason and Ableton live then record in pro tools. Often Double-0 will hum melodies into his phone or Naledge will use his email to type verses. We live and die by it and it helps us to innovate.

Describe your personal studio and live/stage rig including all M-Audio gear. How do you use M-Audio’s equipment conceptually and procedurally? Why M-Audio gear?
Our set-up is always expanding.  In the beginning we were simply two turntables and a mic.  But for our new album we stepped it up a notch.  Double-0 runs Torq and Ableton un-synced.  He has a turntable that he uses for scratching and cuiing transitions.  With Torq he can run effects immediately on his scratches and can have all the music tempo synced if necessary.  An M-Audio Trigger Finger is used to control the bulk of the show through Ableton Live.  The controller is midi-mapped for start and stop of the songs, song scrolling, vst effects and sound effects triggering.  There is also a track synced to an Oxygen 8 that can either be used for vocoding or synth playing and another track for an alesis drum pad.  We often travel with a keyboard player and he uses the Axiom 61 to control Reason Sound patches.

Are there any M-Audio products that have allowed you to replace any older or vintage pieces? Any highlights or positive experiences you’d like to discuss?

With the computer and Trigger Finger Double-0 was able to replace the MPC 60II that he started with.  Much of our first album was built around Reason and the Oxygen 8.  We still are fairly simple in our approach.  Sketches for songs start on a Radium 49 and Reason and then we may expand on them with Live Instruments but the bulk of the work is simply the controller and the computer.  It allows us to immediately flush out ideas and save them without any issues.  When Double-0 was on hardware he would always have to worry about whether the patches were correctly saved and whether the floppy disk would load the beats properly.  Now it's as simple as ctrl-s.

When you tour, what does your laptop-based mobile studio consist of? When and how do you use it to keep up on current or on-going projects?
The studio on the road is simple. Mac laptop, M-Audio Trigger Finger, Oxygen 8, microphone, stand 2 headphones and an Mbox. We can easily set up and record any hotel room.

How would you describe M-Audio’s role and accomplishments in the music industry?
They have helped us make great strides in the industry.  Without using M-Audio products we wouldn’t be able to expand our live show and production techniques.  We think they are at the right price point and more importantly offer the quality you see in higher priced products.  We believe it is the same for many up and coming producers/DJs/Artists.  They were able to make great strides creatively using m-audio products before they were able to afford high priced alternatives.  And once they can you realize you already have to tools to do great things.  So in the end M-Audio has helped reshape the idea of creativity for the new artist.

What projects are next on the horizon for you?
We have a new project coming in summer of 2009 as well as two separate solo projects to soon follow. M-Audio has allowed us to make a seamless transition from studio productions to stage performances.