When it was time to work on his new album, Statik Selektah wanted to make a point. “I felt like for the first time in a long time we have a bunch of artists to be proud of in the new generation,” says Statik Selektah, who took a break from working in the studio with Nas and AZ on a song for AZ’s forthcoming album to conduct this interview. “I put a couple of OGs on there, too, but for the most part, it’s new cats. I’m just trying to show that we’ve got a dope new generation.”
To the producer-radio personality’s point, his “Population Control” LP, which features appearances from Big K.R.I.T., Freddie Gibbs, Mac Miller, XV, Dom Kennedy and Smoke DZA, as well as hard-hitting vets Sean Price, Styles P and Bun B.
Statik produced the entire 19-cut album, which showcases his signature nostalgic, boom-bap sonic style. Although it hasn’t gotten him to the top of the charts, it has provided him with other benefits.
Statik Selektah "Population Control" feat. Sean Price & Termanology
“I’ve been able to be consistent and not really water down my sound at all,” he says. “I think a lot of cats get to a point where they get frustrated with sample clearances and publishing. A lot of things come into play and I’ve talked to a lot of producers that are really, really well-known with platinum plaques that are like, ‘Yo, man. I wish I could just do what you do.’ I sacrificed a lot just to keep that sound and it’s needed.”
Those sacrifices include not being able to work with some of the biggest names in music. But that’s more of a choice than a lack of opportunity. Statik simply won’t change what he’s doing in order to chase something outside of his comfort zone.
"I’m not saying I wouldn’t do a radio record. I just wouldn’t sell out my values and my sound to do it.”
“People come to me all the time for beats for cats like Flo Rida and all kinds of stuff like that,” he says. “I just don’t even submit the music. I’d rather work with the Nas’s or the Talib Kweli’s and the LOX’s and people like that. I’m not saying I wouldn’t do a radio record. I just wouldn’t sell out my values and my sound to do it.”
That stance has endeared Statik to some of the same artists he grew up wanting to work with. Some of them, including Talib Kweli, M.O.P. and DJ Premier, appear on “Population Control.”
“Cats like Saigon, Styles P and M.O.P., they all get overlooked so much,” Statik says. “I think it was important to show that they can hang with the new cats and still be relevant, too.”