Thursday, August 04, 2005

Chris Craft's Aljera Music

Aljera Music - Alexandria, Virginia.
Chris Craft - "Clear One feat. John Robinson and DJ Rhettmatic" from Clear One 7" (2005, Aljera Music)

Blood Diamonds (Chris Craft and B.I.) - "Pineapples" from unreleased (2005, Aljera Music)

We recently had the opportunity to conduct an interview with Chris Craft, CEO of Shaman Work Recordings and creator of a brand new Hip Hop label, Aljera Music.

Diggin' Music: For those not in the know, introduce yourself. Who is Chris Craft both musically and business wise?

Chris Craft: Peace all… The name is Chris Craft… A preppy black dude with a lot to offer… Just kidding… Well let me start with business wise because that’s honestly my main focus for the time being… I’m CEO of the record label - Shaman Work Recordings and the founder of a second record label - Aljera Music… I’ve dabbled in some things in the past like and but I’ve found some great stability in running the labels… I’m not giving up on my past ventures… I’m going to bring them back when I have more time to give some focus to them and when Shaman Work is clicking on all cylinders.

Now let me touch on the music side of things… I pretty much started to make beats at around age 14 or 15 back in Houston, TX (my birthplace and hometown ‘til ‘97) … And making beats pretty much carried me into the formation of Divine Mind… A crew made up of friends while I was at college at Morehouse in Atlanta… I rhymed a little bit but my true skill is in the beats… Not many people know because the business side of things takes up so much of my time… But you’ll be hearing from me and my MPC 4000 a lot more in the near future folks… But everyone should go find some of the old Divine Mind stuff and some of my more recent stuff with DOOM and John Robinson to hear my sound… It’s REALLY all over the place… But I got some things planned that I’m excited about… I can tell you all that Vinia Mojica is really into a raw track that I just hit her with… So just stay on the lookout.

DM: What's the story behind Aljera Music? You're already the founder of an upstart indy label, Shaman Work Recordings. What posessed you to begin a brand new offshoot label as opposed to continuing to release your music on a single label?

CC: Aljera is really personal… The name of the label is a combination of parents’ names – Albert L. Craft and Jeraldine Beavers… They’ve both passed away within the last two years and I owe my life to God and my parents… My parents sacrificed so much for me… So this and other things I have planned in their names are my dedications to them… But don’t get it twisted… Aljera and Shaman Work are very much related… Shaman Work is the “parent company”. Aljera is just a creative outlet for my personal music… That’s all.

DM: The first Aljera Music release, the Clear One 7" is the first of seven releases in the Crafted Music series. What does the future hold for this series? Is anything planned as of now that you can reveal?

CC: Well I have a track done with Aceyalone that’s super… Maybe I should put that on a seven-inch for part two huh… But yeah “Clear One” is special… I came with the idea of basing a song around the number “one” and J.R. aka Sci just ran with it and Rhettmatic brought it on the ones and twos… I have a ton of fun releases planned for Aljera.

DM: “Pineapples” is an amazing track in my opinion. How did you hook up with B.I.?

CC: I’ve known B for quite some time… Met him through one of my old music buddies Trice… B is the young gun… I swear that his future includes being one of the mainstream’s top sought lyricists… He has what it takes and I believe that… “Pineapples” is a rough little mixtape song that we did up… After I heard it for the first time… I just had to leak it on the Aljera website.

DM: Is a full length Blood Diamonds album planned? When can we expect a release from you two?

CC: I would love to get an album out late next year for Blood Diamonds… or early 2007… Seriously… I would like to see B.I. drop a solo album before the Blood Diamonds album though… So in the meantime expect more 12”s and mixtapes from Blood Diamonds… We’re just in the process of getting the buzz where it needs to be.

DM: As I said earlier, you're the founder of Shaman Work Recordings. Recently you signed none other than C.L. Smooth. How did this go down? When can we expect a C.L. Smooth release? Fill us in.

CC: The C.L. signing was a move we had to make… Before we even signed C.L. … I was talking to my business partner, Lamar Gilliam, about picking up an artist for the roster… We wanted a legend in the game; but at the same time, we wanted someone that still “had it” with a new focus … C.L. is ferocious right now. He’s spitting harder than ever and I love it. The single “Warm Outside” b/w “I Can’t Help it” drops on August 5th, ’05 and you can expect a mix-cd hitting the streets in September… After that… An EP entitled ‘American Me’ in February / March of ’06 and the full-length will follow the EP not too far after.. tentatively entitled ‘Silver and Lead’.

DM: Is there any more news on the Shaman Work side of things that you'd like to speak on?

CC: Ta’Raach (Lacks) is in the studio recording… Scienz of Life is in the studio… We’re finishing up our ‘Beatology Vol. 2’ instrumental release with producers like Count Bass D, Locsmif, S1, Fat Jack, and others… Of course you all have to go out and cop our latest two releases – ‘Special Herbs Vol. 9+0’ and ‘The Family Files Vol. 2’ (dropping on August 9, ’05) … 2006 is going to be a special year indeed… And we just might hit ya’ll with news of another “blockbuster” artist signing before the year is up… Who knows?

DM: Thanks for your time Chris. Any last comments or shoutouts?

CC: Just support good music and good people in general… We’ve seen so much propping up of negative things… Let’s all try our best to give light to the positive spirits, forces, beings, thoughts, ideas, people, places, and things around us. Peace.

To purchase Aljera Music and Shaman Work Recordings releases visit Support the music y'all, peace.


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