By Jaime Lees
By Roy Kasten
By Melinda Cooper
By Jeremy Essig
By Roy Kasten
By Daniel Hill
By Chris Kornelis
By Gina Tron
Right now, a blue afghan across the windows hides the light as Teflon Poetix takes his turn in the vocal booth, where foam pieces staple-gunned to the wall dampen the sound. A cord from the mic goes out the door and around the corner into Venegas' dining room, where a giant cardboard cutout of Nas and an Ice-T gold record, Power, look down as he tries to manage the sound.
"I take you back to slavery/So don't play with me," raps Teflon over Mobb Deep beats from a Barbershop 2 CD sampler. "I might pull a mic out and audit your bravery."
Kash, in the dining room, claps in appreciation at the wit.
"It's hard to transcribe this," I complain.
"Imagine how hard it is to say it," Kash counters.
Today's session is full of shout-outs to J. Guevara, Venegas' production alter ego. When it's over, Venegas apologizes for the clichéd Che reference but says the comparison is fitting.
"He came somewhere that wasn't his home, saw something he liked and devoted himself to helping that cause succeed. Then when that was done he went somewhere else and did something different.
"This isn't my home, and these aren't even necessarily my dreams, but it's basically the truest thing I've ever come in contact with," Venegas continues. "The core group of guys I work with -- it's something beyond entertainment. It's pure expression, really, and I want to do my best to help them get the accolades they deserve."