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Sunday, December 11, 2005

A Criminal Mind

A big day of interviews for the Toronto Rap Project. It started early in the day when I see that the Reelworld Film Festival is having a screening of "Redemption: The Tookie Williams Story" starring Jamie Foxx. I had actually wanted to see this film as Tookie has been so in the news lately with his scheduled execution for this Tuesday December 13th. I find the case quite fascinating and I am very curious what the end result will be this Tuesday. Will Governor Swartznegger save him? It's a tough case... while I can't say that I'm a believer in the death penalty -- it is the system in that part of the U.S. and NOT killing him would set a strange legal precedent. I do find it ironic that they finally have somebody that seems to have been rehabilitated by the system and is now preaching positive words towards troubled youth, and what are they going to do with him... is kill him. Gotta love that U.S. criminal system. With that said, my real excitement for the screening is when I saw who was going to be the guest speakers. When I saw that Toronto rap legend "Maestro" Wes Williams and CITY-TV reporter Dwight Drummond were scheduled to speak - I knew this would be a great opportunity to try to interview these cats for the Toronto Rap Project. Of course, a blizzard hits Toronto early that morning and I begin to wonder would anybody even show up for the screening? Would it be cancelled? I get to the theatre and Maestro shows up early so a great opportunity to introduce myself quickly arose. I have to admit that I can get a little nervous approaching "celebrity" names - especially people that I want so badly for the documentary. But things got comfortable very quickly with Maestro (Wes) and he was really into hearing about the documentary project. It wasn't long before Wes said "no problem" to an interview. After the film, there was some media gathered interviewing Wes and some of the other speakers about the film and Tookie. All I could see was the light was really dingy in the theatre with lots of background noise. I knew this wasn't the place for the interview. By now, while still quite cold... the sun had come out and I knew the best place for the interview would be outside. I do feel a little guilty about asking Wes to stand outside for 20 or 30 minutes in the freezing cold doing an interview. But what can I say? We're real low budget and the right light is outside. Thankfully, Wes was real cool and had no problem with going outside. In the end, it was a great interview hearing the insights of a man who's been in the urban music game fo so many years and hearing his thoughts on the T-dot. But the real surprise of the day happened a little later over lunch with Wes. We head over to Harvey's to grab a bite. And while chatting about the different music I'm planning for the doc, I mention I would love to use some of Maetro's music.. but there's no way I'm going down that road - that is, dealing with record companies or publishing companies on licensing music for the doc. It's just ain't in the budget (not to mention I'm not in the mood to deal with the bureaucratic bullshit that goes along with licensing music). I say to Maestro, "that Criminal Mind song you did with Larry Gowan was fuckin' great. Another brilliant sample to use -- I could only dream about using such a track in my project. " without missing a beat, Maestro says.. "go ahead. use it." I couldn't fucking believe it. It turns out Maestro owns the masters of this recording and there ain't no fucking record companies to deal with. I think Maestro appreciated one artist to another just trying to create the best thing possible. So right now, I'm feeling the pressure to edit something great given the opportunity to work with such a cool song.


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