N’DangR Species – A Kind of Their Own

May 4th, 2012 | By | Category: Feature, Sounds
N'dangR Species

N'dangR Species from L to R Luse Kanz and Maf Maddix pose in front of a city scape at Glenwood Coffee and Books (Photo by Keith Warther)

I’m going to admit right now that I know very little about hip hop. I know when I like a group, though, and N’DangR Species is one of those groups. For this week’s interview feature, we sat down with the Greensboro Fest veterans and chatted with them about hip hop, producers, and more. Check it out.

Where did you get your names?

Luse Kanz: Just a brainstorm. Was one sunny evening or afternoon. We’ve been friends for a long time and we’ve came up with the idea that we should do an album together. We can’t just name it Luse and Maf Maddix so if we’re going to do something let’s do something big. So N’Danger Species it was.

Maf Maddix: The idea behind it was that rap music was endangered. It has several meanings. We represent things that are endangered but we also exist to make things that shouldn’t be here. We as rappers are endangered.

LK: It’s one word but it represents a lot of things that we relate to. I figured why not run with that.

Who do you cite as your influences?

LK: Good music influences us. There’s lot of good music out there. It’s so normal to be like “this person influenced me” and that’s what everybody says. So I’m going to be different and say that just good music influenced me. I like a lot of different music.

MM: I am the same way. But with me it’s different points in my life when different things influenced me. They weren’t all music. Early on I was inspired by the rap I listened to but I was always inspired by Wu Tang originally. I was also inspired by other rappers like Zack De La Roca from Rage Against the Machine. I listened to lyrics of all different genres and so when I write I’m really thinking about the things I like from different lyricism. Learning stuff in school inspired me. There’s different philosophers and anthropologists and writers and stuff that I looked at and it really pushed me with my style of writing and what I do.

What kind of solo stuff do you do?

LK: The solo stuff I do is different from what he does, but it’s the same. I’ll hit it at a different angle.

MM: He has his Luse Kanz of stuff.

LK: There’s me as a solo artist. As a solo artist, I am trying to develop my own record label. I have artists up under me.

MM: We do a whole lot of N’DangR Species stuff. Then on the side I do my own Maf Maddix stuff. I’m part of a crew called the Midnight Kids. I do stuff with them. I work with a few aliases that I do electronic music with, under a different name. That’s completely different from Hip Hop. So I do stuff on the side. I Work with another artist a brother of ours, Stainless Steele, he’s out of PA.

LK: Phelt Records is what my brand is called. That’s like hardcore hip hop, hardcore street music. Then I got another artist, but I’m not going to reveal the name yet. We got all our bases covered. It’s covered.

MM: You gotta remember me and Luse have been tight since the beginning. He’s been rapping a long time but I’ve known him since I started. We’ve always been cool but we always do our own thing. We are a group but we are very much standalone artists.

LK: When it branches out, it’s going to be crazy. N’DangR Species represents more than just us, it’s so much bigger than us. We’ve got a lot going on as far as collaborating with different artists. But to give you a clue, the current project were working on is with a producer out of Florida. Our N’DangR Species album is what we’re currently working on and that’s going to be like really crazy. I forgot to name the Alpha Male society. I’m also a part of that group. N’DangR Species is a part of it. Hopefully you’ll hear about that name soon. They’re working on a bunch of projects. And then a lot of stuff that we do is in house. A lot of people we work with is in-house. Another project with Deflon, he’s a producer.

If you could work with any producer who would it be?

MM: For me it would be some of the people we used on the mix.

LK: I guess Devinwho or Flying Lotus.

MM: There’s some people out there. To tell you the truth, a lot of the big name producers who are out are cool and I would work with them. But the best stuff that’s coming out is coming out from people you’ve never heard of. The best beats you’ll hear is from people you’ve never heard of. I feel like we already work with some of the people we’d really like to work with. There’s some of Samiyam’s stuff that I feel like gets my beats in my head. Also I’ll throw in Tuxedo Kamen. I don’t know who it is but I would like to work with him too.

Maf Maddix

Maf Maddix answers a question. (Photo by Keith Warther)

Who are some notable MCs you’ve played with?

MM: Mr. Invisible. They’re probably the most impressive group I’ve ever played with. Big name or small, they’re impressive. They take hip hop to another level.

LK: They take their crowd very seriously.

MM: They’re probably the most impressive.

LK: I would say Raekwon.

MM: That was definitely a good set. Powerful man. Deflon. We did the first show he ever did. He opened up that night and he did some live programming and he’s got this instrument called an EWI and it’s a horn emulator. On one of his songs he did a horn solo on that. It was early and everyone was missing it.

Are you looking forward to the ?uestlove show?

LK: Definitely.

MM: I actually got to see pretty much the same thing. I was in NY for my birthday a couple of weeks ago. I went to see him DJ’ing a set and he had the crowd. The crowd was crazy. I hope he can touch the crowd the way he did that night.


How do you feel about the NC hip hop scene? Do you think it’s strong or needs imrpovement?

LK: I think it’s wishy washy, man. It has its moments. As far as right now, my opinion, it’s getting its limelight slowly. But like I said, it’s wishy washy. One month it’ll be dead as hell and then a month later it’s like “NC hip hop is gonna be great!”

MM: I don’t think there is an “NC hip hop”. you have different hip hop scenes in different cities. The thing about that is unlike a lot of other states, there’s no central location that everyone travels to. The thing about NC the reason why the NC hip hop scene continues to stay at the same place it’s always been is because you can have someone who’s extremely well known in Raleigh but no one has heard of them in Charlotte. Even Little Brother, when they came out, they could not get a good crowd in North Carolina. At their school they got boo’d. They couldn’t do big shows here until they were famous everywhere else.

LK: That’s usually how it is. There’s no sound for NC which is another reason why the scene is so wishy washy. Because there’s nothing holding the people together.

MM: it’s all geographical.

LK: as far as the talent, the talent is crazy. There’s more talent in NC than probably any other state. Minus Cali.

MM: But yeah, NC is crazy. There’s always been a lot of great artists from NC. Even when you take back to the 90s a lot of artists that were big were from NC but they went elsewhere and blew up.

LK: Some people are in it to be king of the city, I’m trying to be king of the country.

What do you like about Greensboro’s music scene?

MM: It’s hard for hip hop to find a place in Greensboro. I think Greensboro has a pretty decent music scene. I’ve lived in Charlotte and Greenville. I’ve been around Raleigh and I prefer the music scene here than any other. Just because people generally come out to support stuff. It’s more like a bigger city where going to shows is part of the nightlife. It’s not an obligatory thing to support an artist or your friends. People do that here though – they don’t at other places.

Here’s what N’Dangr Species will be up to in the coming months:

-June 15 – show in Charlotte

-Maf Maddix will have a solo EP coming out, along with mini movie to go with it

-Luse’s single “Highway Love” is currently on iTunes

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