Ghetto Sci-Fi: Ras G Interview 

When talking with Ras G, you get a sense that the Los Angeles-based producer/DJ possesses a deep sense of knowledge, spirituality, and understanding. He’s not spiritual in the sense of God and faith, but it comes out in his approach to music instead.

Since entering the scene with his 2008 EP Day & Night, Ras has kept busy touring the world, even doing a stint at Coachella. The cool, calm, and collected producer sits comfortably on indie label Brainfeeder alongside the likes of Flying Lotus and Tokimonsta, and has a sound that many may not be able to pinpoint. His futuristic tone isn’t quite 2013, but more 2041, or somewhere even past that.

Released earlier this month, Ras’s latest beat tape, Raw Fruit, was made on SP303/404 and MPC 2000XL. As I learned, it’s only the beginning of what he has going on this year.

Who exactly is Ras G?
Greetings, people of Planet Earth. I am Ras G and I am the conductor of Ghetto Sci-Fi Arkestra known all around the planets as the Afrikan Space Program. I am the gatekeeper to SpaceBase Studio and your brotha from another planet. I’m here to present to you the alternate destiny in music. It is a demonstration in spiritual music that was set in ancient times, way back in ancient Kemet (Egypt). It has been preserved by such grand master teachers such as: Sun Ra, Lee Perry, George Clinton, Afrika Bambaataa, Fishbone, etc. And distorted by those who “no” everything and “know” nothing they don’t know – that’s why our Spiritual Ghetto Science in Fiction to a “no” it all. They don’t get it.

What should people understand?
Well, maybe, if they strove for the “over-standing” they could come to an “inner-standing” with things that they strive to understand, which is really a misunderstanding of somebody else’s idea of what it is to be understood. Which is why you hear a lot of people say more than ever at this hour of life, “I don’t understand.” Of course you don’t have an “inner-standing” of yourself, so when you deal with people like that there’s no room for understanding, inner-standing or over-standing. Misunderstanding is their demonstration and misunderstanding is their demonstration and misunderstanding is their presentation… music they understand has got them well trapped (insert the slave dance) they “Beez In A Trap” and don’t understand why.

That’s pretty deep. Where do you think you got your understanding from, or is it innate?
My balanced inner-standing determined my over standing which is the key to my understanding on things. For instance, I see a girl who is dressed pretty wild, ass all out and whatever. My lower form of understanding is “Yo! I would bone this girl.” My highest form over-standing is like you don’t really like that girl enough to put that energy into it. My balanced inner-standing is like, “Yeah, I understand and over stand you will do whatever to the girl.” But, you over-stand to yourself that you’re not really into her like that, so you doing that only leads to a big ass (literally) misunderstanding. Feel me?

The demonstrations I gravitated to throughout my life on this planet have been from ones who have shown me what to do, and what not to do inside myself. I always over-stood and knew what was so-called right, and what was so called wrong.

No, I don’t understand.
There are three forms of thinking, right?

You can think from a higher form of thought, or a lower form of thought. Or you can speak for both, which is the balance.

Oh OK. I understand what you mean now. How do you think having knowledge of these three understandings affects how you create music?
The music comes from a balanced state of being. It’s a spiritual music. It represents the whole of all of these different standing which is why the music we present is all over the place. It has no particular lane to stay in. What’s a lane when you fly in a spaceship?

Good question. Speaking of which, a lot of your music has a very futuristic and hella forward, not necessarily current sound. What year do you think you are in sonically?
I could make the pop hit, but that would be somebody else’s hit. If you ask G, that pop hit is abusive, been whooping humanity’s creative ass. When will the hits stop and the healing in music begin? It’s timeliness music to me. I like to bridge the ancient with the new for a timeless feeling. It’s a balanced thing. As I would say, you can’t go forward without a past—that’s your start.

You just released Raw Fruit. Tell the people about it.
Raw Fruit is my beat tape shit. It’s all pretty much beats I know when I’m smoking trees, and vibing out with homies. Stuff I hear MCs on—straight hip-hop shit. Stuff I don’t use on my ASP releases because it’s too raw and dirty. I love raw hip-hop beats.

Since this project is a small installment in the sense of it being leftover tracks you had around, is this an appetizer for more projects you have coming out this year?
Yes it is, everything is happening. I have a few albums and a few EPs coming. My next full-length Black On The Planet will be released on Brainfeeder in July. I have a 45” coming out called Patties And Blunts, featuring Rogue Venom on Insect Records. Raw Fruit Vol.2 will be out in September.

I did an EP with my sis, Eagle Nebulas and another album called Life Finds A Way is done. I’m working on an EP now in collaboration with Oakland-based artist the Grand Visualizer, who also did the artwork on my Back On The Planet LP. A few other things I can’t speak on until the seeds of these great ideas have begun to sprout. Oh yeah, doing some stuff with that cat Duckwrth and QueensDlight and Holy Smoke, which is Jeremiah Jae and Zeroh’s group. That’s my favorite rap group on these planets.

Last question. You have a huge, huge following overseas in like Japan and other countries. How do those fans compare to the fans in the states.
Overseas has always embraced creative Black music, from the free jazz cats to the hip-hop cats. In the States they are on lean, so they are catching on slow. But overseas fans love and appreciate what we do and are even more excited to see you. It’s like they can’t believe you’re there and I’m as excited as they are like damn how I get here. This is what smoking blunts and tuning in has got me.

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Photo by Theo Jemison