Producer Matteo Getz teamed up with emcee Thirstin Howl the 3rd for an album called “Thoughts Skillustrated.” A joint venture between Skillionaire Enterprises and Getz Productions, Thoughts Skillustrated takes from the playbook of 90s era rap albums by including skits, varying topics, and a wide array of sounds while maintaining cohesion.
Thoughts Skillustrated is a 13-track album produced entirely by Getz. The project features appearances by Rockness Monsta, U.G., King David, Sunez Allah, Smoothe Da Hustler, DV Alias Khryst, Comet, Blaq Poet, The Buze Bruvas, Ajax Lo, Camarah Walleed, A.G., Masta Ace, and the late Hurricane G.
Matteo Getz spoke to The Real Hip-Hop about his love for Hip-Hop, working with Thirstin Howl the 3rd, and their new album, Thoughts Skillustrated.
TRHH: How did you and Thirstin Howl the 3rd decide to do Thoughts Skillustrated together?
Matteo Getz: So, basically, we’ve known each other since I was a teenager, and from there we would just build as friends. He would come periodically to Framingham, MA where some of his family is located. I would link up with him through my brother Ajax Lo, which is one of my artists I’ve been working with since I was a kid. They kind of basically gave me the map and put me on to Hip-Hop that it was kind of possible from where I come from. Because they were the first to actually put out tapes, actually put out merchandise. From there I just linked up with them and then he introduced me to Thirstin and that’s how we met.
I’ve been just on the backburner kind of, and then it was just my time to shine, man. Just producing every record and producing a lot of EP’s with people like my man E.T.E.L, I’m doing an EP with him. Doing my producer albums, The Getz Collection, and then I did Yours Truly. And then just doing all Ajax Lo’a albums from Alive & Well to Indica Jaxn. We got Indica Jaxn 2 dropping on July 4. I just keep going, and going, and going, and going. I was just like, “Hey, man, let’s do an album together. I think it’s the right time. I think it’d be a good look for both. We both have a different kind of fan base and I think it would be a perfect fit,” and that’s how we went with it.
TRHH: The album has a lot of features; what was the process like putting the album together?
Matteo Getz: The process was I would just keep finessing beats, send it to him, and see which ones he liked. He would like them, then he wouldn’t like them. You know how it is, your ears change, then he would pick them. I just kept sending them for a couple years. This has been like a four-year process, since like ’18. It was a process of getting people on the records, just making it happen, mixing, mastering. We mixed and mastered with my man Ronnie Ray-Gun/Jeremy Page. One of my first engineers that I worked with and that kind of put me on to engineering. I ended up buying my own studio around 2000 and I still got records from 2000 that I’m about to put out soon and just remaster everything just to get it real crispy. They’re already mixed, but just to crispy them up like how it is now — everything’s digital. I got so much work that’s coming, man. It’s crazy.
TRHH: “Elephant Trumpets” is crazy. Are the sounds sampled or played?
Matteo Getz: That’s a whole sample. The Buze Bruvas, I was a big fan of them from a couple years ago, so it was a dope that he got them on that and I think they work really well with the record. It sounded like a safari and he kind of made it work. But Jeremy Page, he’s like a prodigy, man. He could play anything by ear, he is really good with instruments and instrumentation, so he played a couple instruments on a couple records for the album. He’s really incredible. I would say one of the best engineers I’ve ever worked with, other than my boy Monty that I work with now. We’re kind of like a team. Monty’s pretty close to him. He lives in New York now, so it’s hard to get up with Jeremy. Jeremy Page is incredible.
TRHH: What genre is the sample from?
Matteo Getz: To be honest, it might be jazz. I can’t even remember. I did it a while ago.
TRHH: What’s in your production workstation?
Matteo Getz: I use Reason. I’ve been using reason since 2000, since they did Reason 1. I’m more of like “don’t fuck with momma’s sauce” type of thing. I don’t like the new Reason really. It’s not complicated, but I don’t need it for too much. I just need it to knock out what I gotta do and then in the studio I take care of the rest when I mix it. I just need something like a template and then I use Recycle to cut up my samples, but I do play stuff original. I did a record with Smif-N-Wessun on my first producer album The Getz Collection and that’s all original. It’s called “You Ain’t Killin’ Nuttin’” and it’s pretty crazy.
TRHH: The single “Whatever Mami” features the late Hurricane G. Did you get to work hands on with her for this song?
Matteo Getz: No, I didn’t. To be honest, I never even met her. I never met her at all. She’s on the record twice. She’s on another record called “No Cages” with Ajax Lo and Camarah Walleed, two emcees from the Havok House from where I’m from, Framingham, Mass. They’re kind of the ones that were the blueprint. They put out the first merchandise of tapes, and kind of showed me and I took lessons from them going in the studio. Because when I was in high school at the end of it, all I wanted to do was be in the studio. I didn’t care about nothing else. I’m about Hip-Hop about 24/7. I eat, breathe, sleep it. That’s all I wanted to do. All I wanted to do was build a brand and just create.
TRHH: Do you foresee yourself growing out of Hip-Hop?
Matteo Getz: I don’t think growing out of it, because I’m just too involved with what I’m doing. So, I don’t think I would ever grow out of it, but I don’t really check for the new stuff. Only periodically I’ll check, like I like the Nas album, the new Lloyd Banks album, the new Cormega album, those are dope. For the most part, I’m just focusing on what I’m doing, producing beats every other day. I also work a full-time job, so I do both, and then I cut hair on the side – I’m a mobile barber. It’s what I do, I just like creating pretty much. Whatever it is, and I love promoting and going to shows, slapping up stickers, putting posters everywhere, and just selling CD’s. It’s kind of like my element.
TRHH: That’s fascinating to me. It was always my dream to put on a Hip-Hop show and I did one five years ago. I would say it was a success, but the worst part of it to me was the promotion. I hated it.
Matteo Getz: I feel you. I did a show in ‘18 with Thirstin as a main artist and I had Havok House performing, and a bunch of other artists on the bill — King Author, Dope Product, Godforbid, couple others. It was more of a pain in the ass. I respect Leedz 100%. I understand what he goes through at the Middle East through the years. You don’t know until you actually do one. It was a success. It was upstairs in the smaller spot. I hustled the tickets and we did sell it out, but it’s just kind of a pain dealing with everyone, egos, artists, whatever, what have you. Plus, I’m selling the merch, and just setting everything up, and putting up posters everywhere real quick. I mean, it is what it is.
TRHH: You know exactly what I went through.
Matteo Getz: Oh yeah.
TRHH: Would you say it’s different selling tickets than selling CD’s?
Matteo Getz: It’s kind of almost similar. I had people that were buying tickets and didn’t even show, which is mind blowing. It’s like, yo, if I bought a ticket I’m going to the show. It is what it is. If you bought a ticket I appreciate them all. It was a good turnout. There was a couple kinks and stuff like that. I had my boy the Legendary DJ Ron G performing there, too. My man JdO that I’ve been working with — in the past I’ve done albums with him just producing the whole record. He’s another good emcee that comes from our era — the 90s, putting in work, going to shows, he’s hungry, and he’s a full-time barber. A master barber — got his own shop.
I work with a lot of people. I go backstage a lot. I used to take care of the security. They would let me go backstage and I’ll meet up with like M.O.P., and Onyx, and Freeway, and Cormega. Pretty much anybody that headlined, just build with them, build relationships. I got Shyheim on the Yours Truly album. Smif-N-Wessun, I’ve known them since I was 16-17-years old. I built relationship with Steele, Rock, Ruck, God bless his soul, Sean Price. I know these dudes. Every time they go out they see me, they say what up, they’re mad cool.
TRHH: “How Long” is a song with crazy horns on it. Take me into the production of that song.
Matteo Getz: That was just like a crazy sample I had and I just cut it up, freaked it and then Jeremy added some instrumentation on it. Vic went the direction he went with it. That’s kind of not my thing. I’m not really political like that. I don’t really care for all the political stuff and Trump and all that. It worked — he killed it. The beat’s hard — real tough. The drums is hard, the sample is crazy. I think it worked really good. My favorite song is “Lo’s and Cons.” That’s my favorite one, with Rock and U.G. from Cella Dwellas, crazy!
TRHH: Why is that?
Matteo Getz: ‘Cause the sample, plus Rock is one of my favorites. His voice is just incredible. He’s got one of the dopest voices in Hip-Hop I think. There’s not too many that you can say that, and I think his is so recognizable and so unique. Plus, the sample I used from that I only used like maybe two seconds. That’s a Bernie Mac sample. That’s Bernie Mac from a movie I think that he was like a soul singer.
TRHH: With Sam Jackson.
Matteo Getz: Yeah, Sam Jackson. It was crazy! God rest his soul too, man, funny dude. I was just like, “Yo, Im’ma freak this,” and then I freaked it and it worked out good. Rock, his hook was crazy, his verse was crazy, Vic’s verse was crazy, even U.G.’s, man. It came out really good. They went well together and that was all Vic putting those together, but I wanted Rock on it. I hit up Rock personally and then he got U.G. on it and it just meshed really well. That’s really one of my favorite records on the album.
TRHH: What’s next up for you after Thoughts Skillustrated?
Matteo Getz: Well, I got those three albums I’m doing that I have records from 2000 that I’m putting out. There’s not a name yet. Me and E.T.E.L are doing an album, me and Camarah Walleed’s doing an album, me and Ajax Lo putting out Indica Jaxn July 4th — everything produced by me. I got another album with Ajax Lo “Still Alive & Well, so like a part 2. I’m gonna keep doing albums. I don’t think I’m ever gonna stop. I got a lot of work I’m trying to get out. Me and JdO are gonna do something else soon. I’m gonna do another producer album, a new one. I’m just gonna keep rocking out.