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Tack Fu:

"Your Friendly Neighborhood
Hip-Hop Producer"


written by:

--M. Meenan


dated: 4/2000

........... As Iowa City's self-proclaimed "friendly neighborhood hip-hop producer," Tack-Fu has plenty to live up to. High on the list is keeping himself in the mix, thus, explaining my Tuesday night excursion to 25 cent a cup night at the local smoky dive--how else could I catch up to him? Between visits from heads he's worked with, leather clad punk rock kids, and beer-swilling regulars, I got the chance to pick his brain...

"Yo, why haven't I sampled this yet?" The second this rolls off the tounge- {Tack is deep into an 'air bass' rendition of the Clash song on the jukebox}- it is evident that sampling other musical styles is among his common thoughts. As the long winded Tack spoke about hip-hop, Iowa, and most importantly "Chained Reaction," his second album, I realized there was more where that came from.

In his liner notes, Tack calls Chained Reaction his "gift back to hip-hop music and its innovators." While this statement could come off as requisite for every hip-hop record, Tack speaks with the enthusiasm of an excitied fan, barely containing his admiration.

"I have a duty to respect this music, to personalize it, you know, so I can elevate to the next level," he explains, reaching for a refill, "Look at Grandmaster Flash- he made his own fader to manipulate records! I have to elevate, because I owe it to the innovators."

Tack's sophmore joint possesses its share of innovation, beginning with the album's very layout. Having tracks with MCs to work with, as well as more sonically deep instrumentals, Tack opted for a "two sided disc," a refreshing change from the recent trend of seemingly homogenous double CD. "I was on two different vibes...I tried intertwining the tracks, but something still wasn't right. So, why not have two sides?"

As for the MC side, Tack enlisted a veritable battalion of headz to bless the mic, the most noteworthy being New Jersey's Braille, who summoned Tack based on word or mouth alone. "He just called me one day like, 'I heard you got some beats,' so I sent him a few, and he was with it. He chose the one [which became "Matter of Time"] because he said it was like nothing he's heard before."

Of course, the friendly neighborhood producer reserved a bulk of his album for Iowa native mic wielders, including The Committee, Angle, Pan-eye-BetaReign, & Joe Juggla. There's no lack of talent around here- just organization. We're out here to show headz that quality hip-hop comes from everywhere."

Much like other independents visionaries, Tack has taken his quest for exposure online, a move Tack believes was inevitable for the underground. "It's similar to Soul music in the 60's. The talent was out there, but the big labels weren't trying to fuck with it, so they took it on the road themselves- sold it out of their cars. Now, artists can go online, and the audience can come to them."

However, this hip-hop producer can't forget his friendly neighborhood. Though Tack could be making more noise in a metropolis, he's sticking around Iowa. "I've been growing here--gaining experience, gaining a following. That way, when the time comes to move. I'll be that much more prepared."

Whether or not the move's coming, there's some traveling in the future for Tack-Fu. "Braille has expressed interest in an EP. Chicago's Somewhere Outside Consciousness (S.O.C) & Slaughter House V made a couple trips to Iowa City and recorded some tracks, along with playing live. I'm also working on a instrumental project, and I know that sounds like a lotta' shit, but I wouldn't have it any other way."

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