Take Your Meds

22 May 2012 | 4:00 am | Chris Yates

"I've actually been living in LA for six years now,” MED, real name Nick Rodriguez, drawls in his thick West Coast hip hop voice. “Where I grew up had its good sides and its bad sides. It's a kinda small town, really chill. We were on the southern California side of the northern California border. We had a lot of music from LA but a lot of people also liked to listen to a lot of the music from the Bay Area as well ya' know, so it was real good for that.”

MED's style is far from the sound of a typical West Coast rapper and it's obvious that he has taken in a lot more influences than those from his immediate area. “It definitely wasn't just Snoop and Dre. Like when I was a kid and at all the house parties they'd be banging the Snoop D Funk sound you know. But when I was a teenager I started listening to lots of different things like jazz, and a lot of Southern hip hop and I really liked Geto Boys. I was just a hip hop fan and so I didn't just listen to Californian hip hop, and I think you can hear that in my music. You don't know what to expect from me in a sense; I would hope anyway. I think it was just a natural approach for me. It's easy to be yourself, but if you want to sell records maybe it's not that easy, but for me I have to just do what comes from the heart.”

His sincerity and love for hip hop started when he was very young; he can't even really pinpoint what made the penny drop that he wanted to be a rapper – it was just something he always knew. “Man I've been putting raps on tape since I was like nine years old,” he laughs, “recording at home as a little kid. I had a dream of putting an album out ever since I was like 11 years old. I've been doing it for the love ever since, and people just seem to pick up on that you know? I've been just putting my music out there and obviously sometimes people just connect with that and they want to help you out. That's how I met Peanut Butter Wolf.”

You can't really talk about MED without bringing up PBW, the owner and brains behind what's arguably the world's most well-known indie hip hop label, Stones Throw. MED's two albums have been released by the label, as have his countless guest spots for other artists on the label over the years. One particular record, regarded as one of the true classic albums of the genre, needs a special mention. “I worked with Doom and Madlib on the first Madvillain album. When we were looking for producers for my record we wanted to get Just Blaze to produce a track and he was like 'Oh yeah, I know him from the Madvillain album, so that was great.” Hang on – sounds like the man knows more about the highly anticipated second Madvillain album than we do. Let's pry into that nugget a little further... “Yeah man, for Madvillain Two, me and Doom went into a studio and he played me a whole bunch of tracks from it and I put something down. I don't know if they'll end up using it on the album – I don't know what's gonna happen with it but I sure do hope they use it! It's still in the chambers though. If they don't use it I'm gonna try and use it 'cause man it's hot!”

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