Truffel the Phunky Phaqir: Dysphunktional

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Photo courtesy of Da Shogunz

Truffel the Phunky Phaqir is mostly known as one of the producers in Da Shogunz crew, but with his new album “Dysphunktional” he’s returned to the mic and takes it just as serious as the MPC. The release will transport the listener to the mid-90s as soon as they press play. Dysphunktional contains every element found in classic 90s releases — boom bap beats, punchlines, inappropriate lyrics, hyperbole, self-reflection, and even a party jam.

Dysphunktional is a 13-track album written, produced, and mixed by Truffel himself. The project features appearances from Mad Rev, Capital J, and fellow Shogunz member BlabberMouf.

Truffel the Phunky Phaqir spoke to The Real Hip-Hop about classic films, the Hip-Hop scene in Amsterdam, and his album, Dysphunktional.

TRHH: Why’d you call the new album Dysphunktional?

Truffel the Phunky Phaqir: Well, basically because in some way my life has kind of been dysfunctional, so I found it like a fitting title. In some way it’s also like a play on my name like being Truffel the Phunky Phaqir and having like the “phunk” in the Dysphunktional. Kind of a combination of the two.

TRHH: Explain Phaqir to me.

Truffel the Phunky Phaqir: [Laughs] So basically, it’s like an old Indian magician you could say. As a kid I used to have this rhyme where I called myself Truffel the Phaqir and it sort of stuck like that, basically. So, I just ran with it.

TRHH: Your music is boom bap and has humor; how would you describe the Truffel sound?

Truffel the Phunky Phaqir: Definitely boom bap, definitely very 90s inspired. I use a lot of like drum breaks, and I use my MPC to make my beats and shit. I try to keep it as 90s as I can, because that’s the sound that I enjoy. With the humor, it’s just something that I always enjoyed when rappers do that. So, it’s something that I sort of grew up with and I just love doing it.

TRHH: Who are your Hip-Hop influences?

Truffel the Phunky Phaqir: My favorite rapper of all-time would be Redman, without a doubt. He influenced me in many ways — like rhyming wise, humor wise, but also like the way I try to produce albums. In the sense like it’s not just the song starting and ending, but there’s like a transition maybe there or shits like connected in some way. That’s something I picked up from listening to a lot of Redman, and a lot of Def Squad, and a lot of Eric Sermon and that type of stuff.

TRHH: You mentioned the MPC, which one do you use and what else in your production workstation?

Truffel the Phunky Phaqir: At the moment I use the MPC 2500. I also used the 2000XL a lot and the 2000 Classic. Right now, I got it hooked up with a Novation synth, my keyboard, and my turntable. So, that’s basically my little workspace at the moment.

TRHH: I see a guitar back there is that a bass?

Truffel the Phunky Phaqir: That’s a bass, yeah.

TRHH: Okay, so you play bass as well?

Truffel the Phunky Phaqir: No, I don’t really play but it’s like when I make a beat sometimes I try to just find the right note to have like a root note, and then I’ll sample the bass into my MPC and then 16 level the bass basically.

TRHH: The video for “Beer and Smokin’ in Amsterdam” is an homage to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Are you a big fan of Hunter S. Thompson?

Truffel the Phunky Phaqir: For sure. I definitely am.

TRHH: What is it that you like about Hunter?

Truffel the Phunky Phaqir: I like his style of writing. I read a couple books by him when I was younger and just his style of putting himself in the story, even if it can be absurd or over the top, but putting himself in there and make it realistic. I like that type of writing and I feel like that type of stuff influences me when it comes to my music as well.

TRHH: You have another song on the album that is taken after a classic film, Goodfellas. What’s your favorite scene from Goodfellas?

Truffel the Phunky Phaqir: It has to be sort of the classic, “You think I’m funny?” scene. It has to be. It’s so classic, it’s so funny, and it’s so rewindable. Every time I watch the movie I have to run it back.

TRHH: You think I’m a clown?

Truffel the Phunky Phaqir: You think I’m funny? You think I’m a clown? It’s fucking hilarious.

TRHH: It is. You’re a producer as well as an emcee; do you prefer producing over emceeing?

Truffel the Phunky Phaqir: It connects, but the thing is for a long time I haven’t actually rapped. I started rapping when I was really young and at some point, I started making beats to have beats to rhyme on. After a couple years I just sort of quit rapping for a long time and I just started focusing on the beats the whole time. When I got back into rapping it was almost like, “oh yeah” it’s like picking up where I left off.  I got my beats, I got some production skills, so I can finally record myself properly, which I couldn’t back in the day. So, it was like a new way of making music again after not rapping for that long — for like at least 10 years.

TRHH: So, what made you get back into rapping?

Truffel the Phunky Phaqir: I don’t know, just basically I still had some rhymes. I always knew that I wanted to record those rhymes and I always was still like very much into the rhyming aspects of Hip-Hop in general. That never left me. At some point I just had a couple of the right beats where I was like, “I’m not going to give this one away. I’m just going to record this myself.” And then when I did that like the first one I recorded after all these years, I just kept recording. It was so much fun getting back into it again and I just kept doing it.

TRHH: What’s the Hip-Hop scene like in Amsterdam?

Truffel the Phunky Phaqir: Well, right now it depends because there’s definitely like a mainstream scene going on, but that’s not really the thing that me or my homies are part a of. There used to be a pretty big underground scene as well, but most of those parties kind of ended like right before COVID or around COVID. It’s sort of building up again, but there is still a scene though, but it’s like mostly just my people and people that we know. But there’s definitely a scene, but it’s not the same as before COVID I feel like.

TRHH: Why do you think COVID changed the scene?

Truffel the Phunky Phaqir: It’s because a lot of the scene in Amsterdam was sort of dependent on the parties and the parties sort of all quit around COVID. There’s still some parties, but it’s like so much smaller now and there’s not many people attending anymore. A lot of people who were like in the scene sort of connecting and networking were not really there anymore. The scene in Amsterdam is dope though, but it’s small. If you’re actually talking about the boom bap type scene, it’s a dope scene, but it’s super small.

TRHH: On the song “Yesterday” you have a line where you say, “All the shit I do is for the little me that’s still in me.” Explain what you mean by that line.

Truffel the Phunky Phaqir: Yeah, gladly, because I feel like everything that I do ‘till this day, whether that’s music or whether that’s how I just am in life or whatever, the passions that I pursue, it’s almost as if it’s like for the dreams I had as a kid. Because I started doing this music shit when I was so fucking young, like I was 8 or 9 when I started rapping. I had these big dreams as a kid like making it big and shit [laughs]. It almost feels like that dream sort of never left and it just because a little bit more realistic. What I do these days is basically to make the kid inside me that’s still there somewhere happy.

TRHH: That’s dope, that’s so dope.

Truffel the Phunky Phaqir: Thank you.

TRHH: You’re welcome. How important is to you to garner America fans?

Truffel the Phunky Phaqir: Well, it would be fucking amazing though! The thing is, I don’t expect anything. I just like to make my music and put it out there and anybody that would love to hear it I’m happy to make it for them. But if I could garner American fans on a bigger scale that would be fucking amazing, of course.

TRHH: What does success look like to you?

Truffel the Phunky Phaqir: Basically, success to me is being able to just pay every bill that you have, or pay your groceries, not having to worry about money, not having to worry about life stress. And if music can bring you there, that would be success with music to me.

TRHH: Who is the Dysphunktional album made for?

Truffel the Phunky Phaqir: It’s basically made for me and the little kid that’s still inside me. And it’s also made for any boom bap heads that’s still sort of stuck in their sort of kid form — in their kid self. Just having humor, just talking a lot of shit, it’s for those people.

Purchase: Truffel the Phunky Phaqir – Dysphunktional

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About Sherron Shabazz

Sherron Shabazz is a freelance writer with an intense passion for Hip-Hop culture. Sherron is your quintessential Hip-Hop snob, seeking to advance the future of the culture while fondly remembering its past.
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