Note by Node

Seattle Hiphop's Newest Connect: 10-4 Rog

Note by Node

Amalia Aquino

10-4 ROG At the center of all that is happening.

It's well established that 2009 was an unusually creative and productive year for local hiphop. It's also not unconventional or surprising to say that the main groups behind all of that excitement were Shabazz Palaces, Fresh Espresso, and THEESatisfaction. Each brought to the moment a defining album; also, each was a major node in a web of crews, rappers, and producers who made significant contributions to the moment. Maybe the most connected of these nodes was THEESatisfaction, and one of its main connections was Helladope, and both crews played a leading role in bringing a new and very talented producer into Seattle hiphop's growing network: 10-4 Rog.

In 2008, the year 10-4 Rog (aka Roger Habon) graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in English, he was practically unknown. The following year, almost within hours of posting his remix of Helladope's "Just So You Know," he became the talk of the town. The first blog to mention the work was; soon after, Matson on Music was spreading the news about the exceptional remix. What made it exceptional? 10-4 successfully (or even convincingly) blended Helladope's funky hiphop with elements of modern dub (1974 to 1981).

"I'm into the Scientist, Mad Professor, Lee Perry," explains Habon by phone while driving home to Renton following a meal with a friend in Seattle. "But the way I did the remix was not by first thinking of dub. When I got the a cappella from Helladope, it was first natural for me to just slow it down. I thought of the problem as a DJ, you know, I wanted to cut the tempo down. But when you slow anything down, you also change the mood. That change is what inspired me. So I was not actively saying: I want to make a dub-type song. But as I was making it, and slowing things, I started going in that direction."

10-4 also contributed two tracks to THEESatisfaction's Snow Motion, "Snow Motion (for Tyrone)" and "Cabin Fever," the best track on the album, and one of the best tracks of that year. You will find little that is similar between the Helladope remix and "Cabin Fever." The former is raunchy and rich; the latter is spare and minimal. The former draws from the liberation fantasies of dub, the latter from the futurism of electro-funk. Like many of the producers who emerged in 2009, 10-4 is not about one thing, one sound or approach, but about being as open as possible.

"My interest in music began when my mother brought a piano to the house," explains Habon, who is 24. "I was 8 years old. It was 1994. I took lessons for a few years. Then stopped. Then I started listening to jazz music. I took a bit of jazz piano in high school. I studied for a year and got a very rudimentary experience of theory. Then I turned to drums. I got a set and played by myself. On top of all that, I was making beats around seventh grade. I've been making beats since I could download beats. But it wasn't until a year ago that I started taking it seriously."

Almost exactly a year ago, 10-4 Rog produced bootleg remixes of Mobb Deep's classic "Shook Ones (Part II)" and Nas's "You Won't See Me Tonight." "No one paid attention to them," he says. "They were old a cappellas... But it wasn't a waste of time, because I feel that doing a remix is a way to practice production. You have to work on the vocals; you have to figure things out, make it sound right. It's great practice, and it prepared me for the work I did with THEESatisfaction, which got some attention." (10-4 has so far done 12 remixes, the most recent for rap acts Mash Hall and Clockwork and the indie-pop band Multo.)

A final complement to 10-4's emerging gifts as a producer is his commitment to and support of the scene. He is a big fan of folks such as Dyme Def, OC Notes, Vitamin D, Orlando (of Pocket Change), and DJ Sosa, with whom he recently produced a tribute to J Dilla. "There's a lot of good music coming out of here," he says. "We have a growing variety of tastes developing just within our own hiphop scene; a lot of new artists are coming into the fold, and established artists are continuing to grow. It's great to see all of that happening right now." It's also great to see 10-4 at the center of all that is happening right now. recommended


Comments (8) RSS

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bhay -

here are a few from the soundcloud. enjoy

Posted by 104rog on May 19, 2010 at 12:04 PM · Report this
how do i find his music? anyone know. i love discovering new and upcoming artists. but dont live in washington anymore. and i know his stuff isnt in the middle of nowhere montana where i am. anyone?
Posted by bhay on May 19, 2010 at 9:08 AM · Report this
uh, uh, uh, uh

seattle is the best
of the coast that is the west
let me put you through the test
so i know you ain't no pest

ONE: do you like starbucks coffee?
and laugh at people who eat toffee?
TWO: do you still root for the super sonics?
but say you hate Oklahoma city after smoking hella chronic?
THREE: you gotta zip car subscription?
or know a guy who has a crack cocaine addiction?

If you got two out of three
I'd give you a C
because a real seattle-ite
only has the right
to say that they are
braggin to a girl at a bar
if they get 100n percent
so kids pay your rent
and girls clap your clit
because reppin 206
will get you hella dicks!
Posted by jigga man on May 17, 2010 at 9:55 PM · Report this
Is "connect" a noun now?
Posted by anonymousguy on May 17, 2010 at 1:07 PM · Report this
i like what he says and songss: he's a gift
Posted by daws on May 14, 2010 at 7:41 PM · Report this
A pleasant surprise to see you featured, Roger. Dope to hear your talent is not going unnoticed. Keep up the good work! Much love and support from Renton!
Posted by khoapham on May 13, 2010 at 11:26 PM · Report this
This article fails to mention that not only is Rog a dope producer but an outstanding human (space) being as well. I've never met someone so humble.
Posted by blakediamond on May 12, 2010 at 1:56 PM · Report this
Nice one. Can't say enough good things about Roger, and the original song he just released called "For Revering the Gone and Dead" is unspeakably gorgeous, tons of bells and drums, sounds nothing like anything else he's done. The node abstraction is apt and so is the point about Roger working with a kind of style of no styles. Like Dilla, that way, kind of a water style.
Posted by andrewmatson on May 12, 2010 at 1:20 PM · Report this

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