We've been rockin' with DJ Ragz & Unown ever since they released a scrumptious, mouth-watering collection of beats called Pasta & Wings on San Diego-based Common Good Records in 2018. DJ Ragz is a world-class DJ and turntablist hailing from Virginia. While he's well-known for his battle appearances (DMC, Scribble Jam, Scion, Coast 2 Coast, etc.) he's also known as a member of the Hip-Hop group Jazz Addixx and as the co-creator of break record series, The Bare Bones. Ragz was most recently part of Man Bites Dog Records' 2019 yuletide Hip-Hop comp. Happy Holidays. Unown is a DC-based producer, engineer, and DJ currently traveling the world and rocking stages on the MPC as part of Oddisee's band, Good Compny. Also known as a member of Jazz Addixx, when Unown's not jet-setting across the world, he's either holed up in the studio working on tracks or DJ'ing around DC/Philly. Unown & DJ Ragz's next sonic platter, Burgers & Sliders, was served up by Common Good Records in April 2019. I can, actually, recall listening to a pre-release advance Ragz sent me of Burgers & Sliders whilst in the Philadelphia International Airport with my beautiful wife awaiting our flight to Italy for our honeymoon.
Just about a year later, DJ Ragz & Unown launched their own Bandcamp page, 2 Fat Music, which features Pasta & Wings (now, split up into two separate courses,) and Burgers & Sliders along with two freshly cooked courses: TWOCRAZYTACOS & Juice. Then, just yesterday, an additional Boom-Bap-laden platter, Select Discount Seafood was surprise-released on Bandcamp, as well. To our ears at least, these easily-digestible EP's appear to be cut from the same napkin as J Dilla's Donuts (2006) which is the crème de la crème of Instrumental/food-themed Hip-Hop, in our opinion. We've been speaking with both Brian "DJ Ragz" Ragonese & Richard "Rit" Patterson (Unown) for quite a few months now and we've cooked up something special for you, trusty Witzard reader! Ragz told us, via email, "sh*t is funny sometimes... to tell you the truth, I was falling out of love with [DJ'ing]... luckily, Unown had an instant suggestion that made this whole food EP series begin." So, with that, I present to you DJ Ragz's All-around Breakdown of The Whole Menu/2 Fat Music series as of July 2020. However, these are, supposedly, just the first six of, at least, 10 planned installments in said savory series. So, fire up somethin' tasty and peruse DJ Ragz's scrumptious, mouth-watering breakdowns of Wings, Pasta, Burgers & Sliders, TWOCRAZYTACOS, Juice, and Select Discount Seafood down below.
Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Course 1: Wings
"[Wings] was the first idea. Unown sent me home with a rack of beats and a way of making experimental beat/[turntablist] tapes and a fun approach to recording in a fun, unique way. Sometimes, I do the editing of cuts, but, mostly, it's Unown that does most of the song and theme-building. I didn't know Unown was gonna take home what I did for Wings and mold it into this whole theme fun experience. A lot of the editing on this one took place in a storage unit at night in the winter [Northwest] DC."
Course 2: Pasta
"This one was recorded in a house that was vacated in Maryland, but had power, a refrigerator, and some cool retro lamp shades and furniture. Arkitek Seven came through and had no idea he was gonna do the project. We brought in the whole studio and my set-up."
Course 3: Burgers & Sliders (LP)
"Before I left the spot in Maryland when we recorded, I gave [Unown] a bunch of old lowrider classic songs I loved on a flash drive before he went Overseas on tour. While Unown was on tour, he made a bunch of West Coast-style beats from the samples I gave him and the ones he, personally, liked... Unown was staying in a cool spot in DC, so I spent three days at that spot. We spent our time drinking coffee, going to eat at local spots, and recording music. Unown themed it into burgers because The West Coast is "The Burger Capital" and it made sense. I played into it, as well, by using West Coast-themed samples to cut. Our outlines are very loose, but our ideas are sometimes well-thought out. We secretly always wanted to make a Gangster Rap record."
Course 4: TWOCRAZYTACOS
"We brought DJ Skruff into the fold on this one. We hijacked Unown's beats and spent some time in a beach house on Colonial Beach. We got together and had a blast on the beach while recording at night. Skruff gave a lot of input and was giving fresh new ideas and styles for our process, as he [was] recording in the same fun way. Unnown was hilarious on this one with the interludes... You see, Unown comes up with these hilarious skits. I love the Cops episode, He's Not Going to Jail."
Course 5: Juice
"On this particular one, I was working on this one secretly for a while with a Folder of Unown beats. On this one, I had come up with the theme prior to starting, which doesn't always happen. I spent some time thinking of different types of juices; you have grape, apple, OJ Simpson, steroids... so, I went on a search because I wanted to scratch these things into the songs, as well. Unown took it even further with all the post-production goodness."
Course 6: Select Discount Seafood
"This one came out [yesterday]. It features DJ Select, who is a mentor and close friend. I've learned a lot of my cuts from this man and he's a personal fav. I went to his house a few times and spent a couple days on his comfy couch. I brought all my recording gear. On this one, I let select pick from the Unown beats I had. Charlotessville was fun and hanging with Select is always amazing. I got him drinking some great IPA's those days. Select is an amazing chef, [by the way!]"
"Unown designs all the covers, except for Burgers & Sliders, that was done by [Common Good Records' The] Ologist. Unown is the engineer, thank God hahaha! Unown is, also, an amazing chef. If you listen to all the EP's in one long car ride, you will see how they all fit together and how they pick up from the last. It's a fun experience. I'm glad to be part of it!"
- DJ Ragz (@djragz)