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  • LNDN DRGS are not your average hip-hop group. Consisting of rapper Jay Worthy and producer Sean House, the California duo is as hard-hitting as they are slick and smooth. One listen to their last project, the brilliant ‘Aktive’, and you get an enticing chronicle of street life in Compton as told by Jay, who was raised there, against a backdrop of groovy and slow-burning funk provided by Sean.

    It’s almost as if you are in a time machine being transported back to the G-Funk era – LNDN DRGS dip into the same type of sounds but in a way that is completely their own, giving the often used formula of professing the streets a new edge.

    We sat down with the duo recently to chat about how the group’s name came about, ‘Aktive’ and the role of the late A$AP Yams in their development.

    How did you guys become LNDN DRGS and is there any meaning behind the name?

    Jay Worthy: We sat down and had a vision to rap over nothing but loops, no extra drums added. At first we were fuckin’ with softer samples, like the song I did a song with Da$H called The Time Is Now. That was me and Sean’s first official release, but we hadn’t come with the group name yet. We drank a gang of lean from a specific pharmacy, That’s how the name came about. It became the formula, that pharmacy happened to be called LNDN DRGS.

    Sean House: We taste tested like every kind of lean, and got really into this one brand. We had figured out all these specific mixes, it was a consistent thing when we recorded. So were like this is LNDN DRGS, it became part of the sound.

    How would you describe your music, both lyrically and in terms of production?

    JW: My lyrics are just my interpretation of Compton / LA street life from a young man’s perspective.

    SH: The production is that lowrider sound, authentic 80’s funk. I keep the original feel of the music, but chop it to a bunch of pieces, add parts here and there and make my own arrangements.

    Jay Worthy was recently in London; did you get a chance to check out any of the local artists? Are you guys fans of UK Hip-Hop?

    JW: I did. I was fuckin’ with my dude Giggs super tough and my boy Meyhem from SAS. Good people in the UK. I wasn’t too familiar with any of the music until me and Giggs was kicking’ it, and now I’m a fan!

    You stopped by Tim Westwood when you were here as well; what was that like?

    JW: That was dope. Tim’s a good guy, I had a good time over there freestyling over “Gin N Juice” and “The Next Episode”. Good vibes all around.

    Who were your musical influences growing up?

    JW: MC Eiht, Ice Cube, Kam, Eazy-E, Nas, Wu-Tang, the Delfonics, the entire Motown collection, Stevie Wonder, the Beatles, the list goes on.

    SH: AZ, Raekwon, Ghostface, Spice 1, DJ Quik, Too $hort. I was also really into the Creed Taylor records like Bob James, Grover Washington Jr., Freddie Hubbard, and guys like Roy Ayers, Ronnie Laws, and Donald Byrd.

    You released ‘Aktive’ last year, which I felt was really cohesive and enjoyable. Were you guys trying to achieve anything in particular with this album?

    JW: We wanted to put out a solid piece of work for people to enjoy, top to bottom, without having to switch a song.

    SH: The direction was pretty clear from the beginning, create our own sound and keep it consistent throughout the album.

    Jay paints very vivid pictures of the pimp’s life, especially on ‘Aktive’, does you consider himself a storyteller?

    JW: I’m a story teller, no if’s and’s or but’s. I’m a reporter of the streets from a real point of view, cause I lived it all.

    SH: It’s all game, biographical, Worthy just pulls from moments of his life for the lyrics.

    Jay paints very vivid pictures of the pimp’s life, especially on ‘Aktive’, does you consider himself a storyteller?

    JW: I’m a story teller, no if’s and’s or but’s. I’m a reporter of the streets from a real point of view, cause I lived it all.

    SH: It’s all game, biographical, Worthy just pulls from moments of his life for the lyrics.

    When I listen to ‘Aktive’ and Sean House’s smooth production, I hear a lot of old-school P-Funk influences. Did you draw a lot from that era of music for the project?

    SH: Definitely, a lot of late 70’s and early 80’s music. That’s my favorite era of music hands down, the introduction of synthesizers and drum machines changed music in a huge way. Soul and funk acts become electronic, but still with jazz and soul influences. Now that sound is extinct, it’s impossible to capture it with modern instruments and recording gear.

    Jay represents Compton; what was it like to grow up in that environment and what do you think of the rap scene there and in LA in general?

    JW: Lots of brazy shit to deal with compared to the rest of North America, but every city got a ghetto. Compton just one of ’em and the scene here is dope, we got a ton of MC’s coming with heat.

    Who do you guys thinking are the shining lights in hip-hop right now?

    JW: King Kendrick and Drake them my two picks.

    SH: I agree Kendrick is probably the best rapper as far as skill and with lyrics, but I love hood shit too. RIP Bankroll.

    What was it like to work with/ be around A$AP Yams? What is his legacy?

    JW: That was my real friend, one of my favourite human beings. I was blessed to have known the man, straight up. Real good soul right there.

    SH: Yams is the man, anyone who’s ever spent any time with him will tell you the same. One of the coolest and funniest people ever.

    What would be a dream collaboration for you guys? 

    JW: LNDN DRGS x S.O.S Band.

    SH: That’s pretty much it.

    If you guys could kick it with one person, dead or alive, for a day, who would they be?

    JW: 2-Pac.

    SH: Larry and ‘Fonce.

    What are your plans for 2016?

    JW: Make a new album keep and knocking out shows. End up in Europe, touring.

    SH: Recording new songs, put out a new album, inventing new lean mixes.

    What do you want your music to be remembered for?

    JW: Nothing other than that true fonk.


    Words by Yemi Abiade.


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