If This Is Your First Time Hearing This: Closed Sessions ATX Edition
Words by: Nico Rud
Closed Sessions has done a tremendous job over the years putting on for the Midwest Hip-Hop Scene, recruiting guys like Kweku Collins, WebsterX, oddCouple, Jamila Woods, Boathouse, and the list goes on. If you've just found out about Closed Sessions, it's time to take a quick flashback to the beginning, with their second ever release, Closed Sessions: ATX.
Coming off of a great first release with Closed Sessions: Vol 1, featuring artists like Curren$y, Kidz In The Hall, Rhymefest, Scheme, Tanya Morgan, and many others, Closed Sessions looked to up the bar with ATX. Alex and Mike headed down to Austin, rented out a mansion, brought some artists in, and created their second ever release, and an underground classic, in the span of four days. This time around they had Fashawn, Freddie Gibbs, DJ Babu, Rakaa Iriscience, Emilio Rojas, 6th Sense, and many others.
Check out the interview below where Alexander Fruchter (DJ RTC) goes into detail about the making of Closed Sessions: ATX.
How did ATX come about?
In December of 2009, we did a session with Bun B and GLC. It ended up becoming “Happiness Before Riches”. During that session, the studio became a big party with a lot of our friends coming by because there was a concert featuring GLC, Bun B, and the Cool Kids at Reggie’s, which was literally behind the alley from the old studio. The “Happiness Before Riches” session was also the final session for CS Vol. 1. It was like, “we made it. Bun B is fucking with us, the concept is real.” My friend Demo said, “you all should take this down to Austin.” From there, we started to put the pieces together, rented a mansion, got the equipment, started hitting up artists and put the plan in motion.
With ATX being Closed Sessions debut project, just how important is the debut project?
The debut project was actually Closed Sessions Vol. 1, but ATX was our first release in-stores and with a record label. It was extremely important in the validation of what we're doing. It also put us through the ringer in terms of needing contracts signed, being on deadlines for artwork, and being held accountable to Decon, not just ourselves. It was a great learning experience as well just in the massive undertaking that was putting it together and running non-stop, recruiting artists non-stop, and dealing with so many personalities.
How was it like working with Freddie Gibbs?
Working with Freddie was really easy. I feel like Gibbs is one of the nicest emcees in the game as long as you stay on his good side. At that time in his career, he was just trying to prove himself and took any opportunity to do so. In the documentary, he mentions how he would rap whenever and where ever needed.
Did ATX earn you guys a lot of respect within the industry?
I think so. The amount of foot traffic into the house that week was insane. Beyond the artists that appeared on the album, the rubyhornet video team also shot a music video for “Happiness Before Riches” while staying at the mansion, bringing it all full circle. In addition, we interviewed J. Cole there, Paul Wall came through, Mac Miller. It was a place to be. I think it also helped break open the trend of brands renting out houses and hosting their own content, which is really prevalent now. Many people were just like, ‘wow, I can’t believe you all did that. Salute.’