Travis Barker knows how to party like a rock star. After all, he’s had on the job training as the drummer for Blink 182. But truthfully, the So Cal native’s a hardcore hip-hop head. In fact, he’s fiddled his sticks for P.Diddy, Soulja Boy and The Game. More recently, he was commissioned to remix Eminem’s “3 A.M.”. Trav phoned in with Rap Radar to discuss how the project came to fruition.
Interview: Brian “B.Dot” Miller
How did the remix to “3.A.M.” come about?
Paul [Rosenberg] had hit me up and said that Em kind of heard in his head some sort of rock remix for it. They let me have a stab at it and then the rest is history. I had so much fun doing it. It was real cool.
Were you able to hear the record and just play it by ear?
Nah, within like the first day—it usually takes me like eight hours and I’ll pretty much have the idea like the skeleton of what’s going to happen and I’ll just add instruments to make sure the breaks are cool and instrumentation.
Will the remix be strictly viral?
It’s going to be available on Eminem.com for like some special release. I made like a video for it like I do all my remixes I do for YouTube that’s going to drop in a couple days.
You’ve done remixes for Soulja Boy, The Game, and evern appeared in Diddy’s “Bad Boy For Life” video. Are you surprised that a lot of rappers gravitate toward you?
Yeah man, I’m always stoked. I grew up listening to hip-hop just as I did, metal, punk rock, [and] everything else listening to. So it was cool to get down with some of them cause I spent so much of my childhood and my life listening to hip-hop, so I was real stoked on that and I played drums to it. Just as I was learning Van Halen records, I’d be learning Run DMC records and trying to imitate the drum machine. Trying to imitate an MPC can be difficult at times.
Who’d you grow up listening to?
As a kid, ah man. Whodini, Run DMC, big Beastie Boys fan, the Pharcyde, I toured with the Alkohiks when I was real young. That was a good time. I toured with Ice-T one time, that was real cool. But I listen to everything. Just feel good shit, from Tribe Called Quest to you know— I love 2pac, I love Dre, I love Eminem, I love Beanie Sigel. So many rappers I love.
Is there anyone that you’d want to work with that you haven’t already?
I don’t know. I think worked with so many of my peers and people I look up to know as of now. I got to play drums on a T.I. track, a couple years ago. I had Too $hort in the studio with me. I been in the studio a lot with Kid Cudi lately. I got to play on so many of my favorite rappers things. I just did a song with Beanie Sigel last year. I got to work with so many people that I love. But, I’d love to do something with Willie Nelson. I want my record to be real way out, real broad.
Do you create these remixes for personal rec?
That’s kind of how the Soulja Boy one came out. I had asked for like sessions and they made it official. Like they wanted to do an official rock remix. So that’s how that one came about. And I’m usually at the studio every day doing something. Whether its Blink rehearsal or practicing with [DJ] AM. So, when I’m here and something like this comes up, it’s just another day at the studio, but its different and I don’t usually get to remix an Eminem song everyday.
?uestlove from The Roots is known for his drumming skills too. Is there room for two drummers in hip-hop?
Yeah, man, I respect ?uest. I kind of did a drum duet kind of battle thing with him at a Grammy party. They invited me down, the Roots did, and [DJ] AM knows him real well, so I’m stoked to give back whatever I can to give back to hip-hop cause I’m such a big fan and whatever else, but I have to make room.
A lot of folks have said, “Hip-Hop is dead.” Do you think genre would ever suffer the same fate as, lets say, glam rock?
Nah. I think there’s genres— you look back at glam rock an you’re like, “What the fuck were they doing?” You look at an era of like MC Hammer and how way out he used to dress, you know, that was the time period. But, I don’t think nothing going on right now is that outlandish and far left you look back on it 10 years from now and it don’t age well. I think if anything, there’s so many different styles of hip-hip now. There are so many different rappers. Like, I’m about to be in the studio with Nipsey Hussle.
What are you doing with Nipsey?
Just writing beats. Just making shit for him so when he comes in he has an array of beats to listen to but we been chopping it up back and forth.
That’d be a cool mash-up.
[But] that’s way different than like Cudi or Rob Roy. There are so many different people you can get down with that the subject matter would appeal to you. Like, Asher Roth exists now. Like, every kid in college, having a crazy ass time and good heartfelt goofy shit. There’s something for everyone now.