RR: Can we speak a bit about your first introduction to Ira Lee (then known as Rubix)? You mention in Third Verse that you immediately clicked and you ran out and got a Dr. Sample drum machine and a 4 track. Can you detail that decision?
DJ Kutdown: I first met Ira Lee in 1998, in Regina SK. I was moving furniture for a company that summer. It was some sort of domestic dispute between husband and wife, so there was a security guard there. The guard commented on my yellow NYC snapback and we started talking rap. I told him I’m a dj / producer and he said his good friend is a rapper. That night I believe we linked up with Ira, and we clicked. I had just moved to Regina and left all my gear with my good friend DJ Influence in thunder Bay. So that weekend I went to Long and Mcquade and financed a Dr rhythm, a Dr sample and a Fostex 4 track. We set that shit up on Ira’s grandmothers floor and started cracking out our first demo, as, Status Illete.
RR: How many tapes were recorded during this time period? Was it just one? And what happened to them? Did you spread them around at all? What were they called?
DJ Kutdown: I think we made 2 tapes, I still have one. We let people hear it but never made duplicates.
RR: You mention sending VHS tapes of Ira rapping back to Thunder Bay, would this be material that he was working on with you? Like live versions of tracks you recorded? Or material that we would know? Do you know if any of those VHS tapes still exist?
DJ Kutdown: We would make [those] VHS tapes of Ira freestyling and me beat juggling, scratching etc to send to my friends back east. We were kinda biting the turntable TV format, there was one edition where Mixmaster Mike had Saafir rapping in his garage over asr 10 beats and turntable drumming etc. I believe I have one of those but….. If I do it’s buried.
RR: Do you have any stories related to recording the project(s) in Ira’s basement?
DJ Kutdown: I remember those days well. Ira and his boys accepted me in and we all grew our skills together at the same time. One thing I will never forget, and still think about is Ira’s grandfather. Ira lived with his grandparents. His grandmother was the sweetest lady, she was encouraging and thought the world of Ira. On the other hand his grandfather was very racist. He hated Ira, and made it obvious. It was terrible. I would knock on the door and his grandfather would open the blinds and walk away. It was awkward, I’d sit there for 10/15 mins knocking and listening to Ira fight with him over letting a fucking Italian inside. It was nuts. He was so mean and distant to Ira, I still don’t understand how Ira made it through all that living there. I guess the massive amount of love from his granny was enough to deal with it.
Ira Lee was my best friend for a lot of years, and we haven’t talked in about 12 years. If he reads this, I hope all is well my man. – Kut.