If you want to understand Statik Selektah in a nutshell, look no further than the first 20 seconds of his 2014 song “Carry On.” The first words you hear are sampled from AZ’s verse on Nas’ 1994 “Life’s a Bitch”: “Others such as myself are tryna carry on tradition.”

As hip hop slowly expands all corners of the sonic universe, Statik remains grounded in boom bap, turntablism, and other hallmarks of what some might refer to as the “golden age.” Though it can be difficult to maintain a traditionalist stance without sounding too preachy, Statik speaks with his mighty work ethic. Beyond his weekly radio show on Shade 45 and his busy schedule of DJ sets, he has created seven compilation albums and 17 collaborative albums since 2007. He is 34 years old and he’s been working his whole life. He worked a 40-hour summer at age 13, hosted his first radio show at 14, and was DJing five nights a week at 17. He has always worked for himself and for the love of the culture. Now he has something else to work for: his wife and daughter.

One day in 2015, Statik pressed a microphone against his wife’s pregnant stomach and recorded the heartbeat of Harley, their then-unborn daughter. His wife had been diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum, a disease that affects 2% of pregnant women with potentially life-threatening consequences for both mother and child. Statik took his daughter’s heartbeat and built an instrumental around it called “Harley’s Blues.” was released on July 7th, 2015. Harley was born two weeks later.

In February, Statik spoke on the phone with HotNewHipHop about his place in hip hop and how his life has changed since he became a father. “I gotta say no a lot more,” he explained. “Before I was doing so many favors for people. Now I gotta be a lot more specific in how I use my energy. I got a little girl’s future to take care of.”