By Tracy Dietlin
I recently watched a video of Will Randal and Mikey Reyes on FB of them performing the song “Hip hop is Ridiculous,” and I was blown away by the talent coming out of these two men. I didn’t know at the time that they had originally recorded the song back in 200? The track still seemed fresh and I had to watch it several times and now I can’t get it out of my head. I’ve known Randal for some time but had never heard his music until then. I knew that he went by Willdabeast and had been performing in the valley for quite some time and that he was going to do the CV Weekly Music Showcase coming up in March. I had to know more so I asked him to be our featured Local Musician Spotlight for this week.
CVW: I know you mostly as a rapper/wordsmith…can you tell me a little about your background in music? What types of music do you write and perform? Do you play instruments?
Will Randal: “I started playing trumpet in my middle school days; Jazz band, Honor band. At heart, I am a jazz musician. No matter what type of music I create, jazz is my influence. After the trumpet I picked up the guitar in high school. Naturally the bass guitar came right behind. I didn’t pick up piano until I was 26. Also along the way I picked up drums and percussion. Music is my language.”
CVW: Please list all the duos/bands/collaborations that you have been in? And are currently in?
Randal: “I started making hip hop music when I was 14 years old, that’s when I started my first hip hop crew, The Organic Crew. Mikey Reyes, Robert Apodaca, Chris Wiggins, and I, were all inspired by the natural element of free flow over hip hop instrumentals. Another hip hop crew I’m from is the PEN VETS with Andrie Ramos of MSLP from Long Beach. We bring a more dominate style to the microphone. Also IROC crew (Indigenous Rastas of Cali) was a duo Tony Ballard put together. We bring the more Ire/Cali Side of the rhyme spectrum to the microphone. Another musical family I am blessed to be a part of is Desert Rhythm Project. Mikey Reyes has been my brother since 3rd grade and he is a master of his craft as well. Currently I am focusing more on my solo music with my friend Danny Cedeno from Irie Junctions playing bass. I just feel it’s time to start putting content out.”
CVW: What’s the difference for you writing/performing solo opposed to collaborating?
Randal: “I enjoy collabing with like-minded musicians. When you are a professional you know that people who are on the same page are vital to workflow; projects are easily created and the outcome is always quality. But you also might have to stay in certain parameters based on the collaboration. Now solo I do enjoy as well. It’s 100% me. Just me! My art is fully stretched when I’m able to think on my own. It’s a way for a listener to really get to know who you are when you showcase yourself as an individual. I also feel that a collaboration could be easier to create. I can have three buddies, we each write a verse, come up with a chorus, boom song is done. It’s beautiful. As a solo artist you must write everything yourself and projects can take days, weeks even. So it’s a little tougher to do it alone, especially if you’re producing your beats and recording the songs too. In the end it’s all artistic love.”
CVW: Do you come up with your own beats or does someone else? If so, please tell me about them?
Randal: “I produce all my own beats. My brotha Danny Cedeno also throws down some thunderous bass lines over my beats. I record, mix, and master everything I create. But I do occasionally work with other producers like DJ Smoke1 with Burrito Gang. Smoke makes fire beats if you didn’t know. Get at him. I’m currently working on an album with DJ ODC. This guy’s beats are putting me mentally in a place to where the creation of this project is going to fly.”
CVW: Who do you collaborate with best?
Randal: “I collab best with my boys Mikey Reyes and Provoked. That’s it… we just click. Our minds are just in the same space when we create. It’s always been easy vibin’ with these guys.”
CVW: Who would you like to collaborate with that you haven’t yet?
Randal: “The list goes on. Hahaha! But locally my top 5 would be: KB, J Patron, Thr3 Strykes, Buck Roogah, Rollin.”
CVW: The song I heard on FB last week from you and Mikey Reyes was from many years ago, but still seems fresh today. Tell me about how that song came about?
Randal: “Sitting in my Mom’s room at her computer listening to beats is how that one came about. I believe it was 2004. We were already murderous emcees at the time. So I guess when we showcased it on the #wordplaywednesday760 in 2018 it still hit with the same fire as when we wrote it.”
CVW: You’ve been playing music for many years now. How do you feel the business has changed over the years for the better? For the worse?
Randal: “I’ve been a musician my entire life. I just love the music. Just the music! I never wanted recognition. Music is just good for my soul. The patterns attract me. I guess it’s how I’m wired. I’m not really educated on the business aspect of the music. I’m just the artist. That’s why now, in 2018, you are barely beginning to see what I have composed musically. My friends are pushing me, but I guess like any other product… if it’s good… it sells itself.”
CVW: What has been your favorite performance moment of your career?
Randal: “I had the chance to open up for Guru from Gangstarr right before he passed. That to me means a lot.”
CVW: What’s your favorite venue to play?
Randal: “My favorite venue is The Date Shed. Their sound is on point. As a music producer you want your composition to be heard correctly and that is the place to do it. Big ups to Nigel Dettelbach on the mixer!”
CVW: Have you toured outside CA?
Randal: “Never have. I can only imagine it would be dope.”
CVW: Favorite bands/rap artists growing up?
Randal: “Aceyalone, Abstract Rude, Mykah Nine, and 2Mex.”
CVW: Bands/rappers you listen to now?
Randal: “Aceyalone, Abstract Rude, Mykah Nine, and 2Mex.”
CVW: Favorite local bands?
Randal: “Desert Rhythm Project, Ire Junctions all day! Long Duk Dong, and Mozaiq.”
CVW: Favorite major producer?
Randal: “Dead, J Dilla, Alive, 9th Wonder.”
CVW: Who do you most respect in the music business?
Randal: “Locally, J Patron. That man is a hustler.”
CVW: Who would you want to see in concert that you haven’t seen yet?
Randal: “I work with Best Beverage Catering and Insomniac. I have seen everybody from The Rolling Stones to Del The Funky Homosapien, Little Dragon to Elton John. I have huge list.”
CVW: What band would you most like to open for?
Randal: “Desert Rhythm Project or Ire Junctions. Either one you can’t go wrong. Fire!”
CVW: What band/music genre do you listen to that people would be the most surprised to hear?
Randal: “I love Old School R&B. That is my stuff right there…has me singing at the top of my lungs in the car. People probably think I’m nuts.”
CVW: What would people be the most surprised to know about you?
Randal: “I’m a black belt in Mu Duk Kwan martial arts and got inducted into the Filipino Martial Arts Hall of Fame. I can also out eat anybody when it comes to sushi. Believe that!”
CVW: Upcoming shows? (I’m excited that you are doing our Showcase)
Randal: “Yes! The CV Weekly Music Showcase is probably the one I am most excited for. I’ll be at Shadow Hills High School on Feb 17. Then I have a gig at Palm Canyon Roadhouse for Music Cures. That date will be announced soon for Feb. Also, La Grange in Yucca for the Desert Rhythm Project EP Release party. It’s a pre-party for the Joshua Tree Music Festival gig. I am also submitting a video to Tachevah to see if I have what it takes to hang.”
CVW: Anything else you want to share?
Randal: “I got nothing but love in my heart for everybody. That’s it. God bless.”