It's pretty annoying when I hear people say, "I'm gonna put Tacoma on the map" when I know about all this awesome stuff Tacoma hip-hop artists are doing right now. Do people that say this know that a Tacoma producer just produced a track on Raekwon's "Unexpected Victory" album? Do the people that say this know that New York spitter Fred Da Godson was on the track with Raekwon?! DO THEY KNOW THIS?! Even if they knew this, would D.J. Semaj's recent production victory not count as putting the town on the map? Are the people saying this waiting for someone to come from Tacoma and get it going like 2 Chainz or something? ARE THEY?!
I asked Semaj if there was any difference between working with a national artist like Raekwon than a local artist? Semaj said, "When I work with a local artist, I can try more stuff. A local artist is still willing to listen and try new things. I can tell them to try this or start rapping here or try something over and they're open to it. But with a national artist, they're more in their box. They have an established fan base they need to please. A national artist sticks to what they know best. I can't really give them my two cents. It's all about what the national artist wants."
Go to www.djsemaj.bandcamp.com to check out this talented producer's work. After a production credit like that, ya might think Semaj is going to pack his bags and start producing for the likes of Wu-Tang and stuff - but he's way more cool and local than that. Instead, Semaj, (it's James, his first name spelled backward) has opened up Homebass Studios in Tacoma. It's a one-stop shop for artists. The studio offers recording, production, photography, graphics and videography. When I talked to Semaj, it was evident this studio is his passion. I highly recommend local rappers to take advantage of the professional skills Semaj's studio offers. To contact the studio, go to @homebassnw on Twitter.
I usually don't dedicate an entire column to one artist, but Semaj deserves it.