P-Money: Magic Hands Make Magic City
Author: Gareth Shute (photography by Charles Howells)
In the two and a half years since featuring on the cover of NZM's February/March 2001 issue, Pete Wadams has been one of the most well-travelled local musicians.
Trips to New York in 2003, originally to sell some beats and make some contacts, resulted in a number of U.S. underground rappers appearing on his album 'Remixes and Other Shit'.
At the beginning of this year, P-Money and Scribe played the Australian leg of the Big Day Out tour. More recently the pair were in the U.K., promoting Scribe's solo career. A rumour going around back here was that Scribe and P-Money had played a private party for Roots Manuva, but apparently it was indeed just a rumour.
For now though, P-Money is back here to promote his new release, 'Magic City' - out on his label Dirty Records and distributed in New Zealand through FMR.
"Travelling is inspirational, period. Every time I visit a new place or I find myself in a foreign environment it sparks some type of creative urge," says P-Money.
"It's a great thing to get outside of your regular surroundings and experience new places. On top of that, the people that I've met (artists and producers) overseas, have inspired me greatly and taught me a lot as well. I'd say it's impossible for it not to influence my music in some way."
Once again, P-Money has managed to enlist some top underground MCs from the U.S. including Aasim, Capone, Sauce Money, and ragga star Akon. One of the most impressive inclusions on the album is Skillz, though the hook-up was a matter of pure chance.
"My man B-side was the key person in helping me line-up the American features for the 'Magic City' album. He has worked in the music biz for a while and has a lot of contacts. It was simply a matter of finding out who we could contact that would be feeling my music and be within our budget.
"I think the most fortunate hook-up would have to be Skillz. That came together through a friend of B-side (V.I.C. of the Ghetto Pros) who happened to know that Skillz was working in Philadelphia while we were in New York. B made the call and spoke to him about me. Skillz was interested so we drove up to Philly and recorded the next night. It was just by chance as I hadn't considered using him for the project prior to that phone call, but then we went and did it and he really put it down. It was fun to watch him in the booth. He's a talented man."
P-Money wasn't the first local producer to have overseas MCs rap over his beats and he credits DLT with being an early inspiration in this regard.
"I was definitely inspired by the concept Darryl had with 'Altruism'. I think this is something most local producers would aspire to do. I always wanted to work with different artists and the talent pool in NZ is just too small. And if you look at it, when I commenced work on this album I'd already produced or remixed songs for every established hip hop act in the country. It was necessary for me to look overseas in order to do something different."
'Magic City' also features a number of NZ's top MCs - including Con Psy, and upcoming talent, PNC (from Breakin Wreckwordz), who appear alongside Skillz on one of the album's strongest tracks, 3, 2, 1 Remix. P-Money looked for a number of aspects when choosing rappers to rhyme over his beats which he makes in NZ, often starting on his sampler at home, and then records in various studios throughout the world.
"Firstly it's the flow. Do they flow well on a beat. Next it's the voice. Then it comes down to my relationship with the person, or the feeling I get from them. Another key factor this time around was time management. There's a lot of cats I would have loved to have included on the album but time was against us at one point or another. It's all good though."
Aside from Represent which was produced by Roc Raida of the X-Ecutioners 'Magic City' is produced by P-Money. The entire album is mixed at Auckland's York Street Studios with Steve Roberts and was mastered by Chris Winchcombe. Scribe also appears on 'Magic City' and P-Money is positive about the pair's achievements since the release of 'The Crusader'.
"I feel blessed to have experienced everything that's happened over the last year. And fortunately I was able to escape some of the mania that surrounded Scribe in those first few months. I had my own behind the scenes pressures to deal with though and I'm better for it," he says.