Bootcamp Clik Interview

by Dale Coachman

If you were wondering where the Boot Camp Clik has been the answer is very simple and evident in the music, the studio. Known for getting caught up in label and distribution ordeals, the Camp is back on Duckdown records making hip-hop music independently and always for the people.

MVRemix: What has kept you together for 13 years?

Steele: God first and foremost because we are all spiritual individuals which all makes us humble at some point and before we all started rhymin’ we knew each other. Louisville, Rock, and DJ Logic all lived in the same building. Me and Top Dog are brothers and we lived across the street in the same building. Me and Tek went to school together and I met Buck through his sister and Buck was the last one that joined but what is funny was he went to the same public school that my brother went to. Starang lived around the corner from us, and Ruck lived around the corner from my grandmother, so we all kinda knew each before so I think that played a big part.

MVRemix: Ya’ll just came off a European tour how was that?

Steele: We actually bumped into Percee P. and RA on the tour but they were doing something different, but the tour was nice, it was real dope.

MVRemix: Tek and Steele came out with the X-Files what kind of response have ya’ll been getting, in addition is there an album coming from Smif and Wessun?

Steele: We gonna put that out in ’07. Ruck got his shit comin’ out this year, and we are gonna work this Boot Camp album cause when the Boot Camp album comes out we’re gonna be on tour, and we got like a 35 city tour that’s comin’ up and the album comes out July 18th. So we are already gonna be on the road which is beautiful and when the album drops we come back to New York and we got a show with Mobb Deep, so it’s gonna be crazy. Also me and Tek we put that out because we have been sitting on that stuff for a while a lot of that stuff was music that was recorded when we were with Rawkus, which was fucked up for us ‘cause people was like where ya’ll been? This is where we’ve been, makin’ songs, but we were in a bad position and couldn’t put them out, but it doesn’t stop the music and we were reaching out to the fans.

MVRemix: What have ya’ll learned from that because ya’ll always seem to run into the label problem?

Steele: That’s another thing that kept us together because from the gate we were with Def Jam and a lot of cats that came out with us ain’t makin’ no music right now, don’t have the same management, and don’t have the same homies, and whose group isn’t even together. Then its like the ones who have the potential to move on they either sell they soul sort of speak, like I was watching Cocaine City and Ice Cube was like, “If you ballin’ make your own records don’t sell your rights away make your own shit.” When we fuckin’ with Duckdown that’s what we doin’. We’re makin’ our own stuff. Always work never fall into a depression state never stop doing what you’re doing or what is making you money.

MVRemix: Ghostface was talking about people in New York not standing for anything and ironically ya’ll are comin out with this album The Last Stand what message are ya’ll sending with this album?

Tek: Well our message has always been a message of self determination. When you are determined within yourself and you got a good team around you can accomplish anything, like this is for the common folk, to realize that cats that are under us like you don’t have to be a superhero just be good at what you do. Rap with a passion like what Martin Luther King said, “If you’re gonna sweep floors be the best floor sweeper in your heart.” so for us like every time we together it’s a party so for us just havin’ the determination to keep movin’ forward. We kinda letting people know we’re not gonna stop until we’re dead. So this is our chance to say we are gonna stand up for everything we fuck wit and nobody is going to kill our spirits our hearts.

MVRemix: As far as the producers you have 9th Wonder, Pete Rock, Beatminerz and others, how did ya’ll hook up with 9th because I know he did Chemistry with Buck, how did ya’ll first get connected with 9th and Little Brother?

Tek: Before we did the Boot Camp album Dru-Ha had met 9th and he expressed how much he liked the camp and I had a cd out where I had instrumentals on the CD ,and Dru had sent that cd to 9th which he remixed them and Dru fell in love with them. Dru kept in touch with 9th so they set something up and Dru brung the guys down to work with 9th and he let us fuck with his producers and we stayed there for like a week it was real cool.

MVRemix: You’re comin out with Jesus Price Superstar can we expect the same as Monkey Bars or can we expect something totally different?

Sean Price: If ain’t broke don’t try to fix its like Jesus Price is like Monkey Bars on steroids.

MVRemix: Nas is coming out with his album Hip-Hop is Dead do you feel like it is dead or was dead along time ago and what are you trying to do to bring that back?

Sean Price: Hip-hop ain’t dead. People rap about what they want to rap about and the masses choose to listen to. What am I doin? Monkey Bars and Jesus Price, I’m the savior of real hip-hop and I’m goin’ through the slums spreading the gospel of real hip-hop. I’m not on no religious shit and follow me because I’m a lead you the right way.

MVRemix: Do you have any guest appearances on the album?

Sean Price: Buckshot, Rock, Phonte from Little Brother and Sean Don from the Justus League.

MVRemix: How was it working with Phonte?

Sean Price: Oh that shit was crazy, son is nice. Actually when he spit his verse I had to go home and write mine, real talk.

MVRemix: Who came up with the idea to bring the Camp back together for another album?

Sean Price: It was obvious that was the next thing to do, we did the triple threat with my album Buckshot and 9th Wonder and the Smif & Wessun album so the next line album is the Boot Camp album, my solo album and Heltah Skeltah.

Original Article

Smif N Wessun Interview: THE PAST, THE PRESENT, THE ALBUM

by May Blaiz

It was dubbed the East Coast Renaissance. Wu-Tang brought the ruckus with 36 Chambers. The world was ours when Nas released Illmatic. Big L, the MVP, came out with Lifestylez ov da Poor and Dangerous. Temperatures rose in clubs when Mobb Deep came out with The Infamous and Brooklyn’s finest Jay-Z released Reasonable Doubt. And when big poppa B.I.G released Ready to Die things done changed. This snapshot in time? 1995. The Hip Hop Revival. Yet let’s not forget – out of the trenches also that year- was the birth of Smif n Wessun.

Following the release of ”Black Smif n Wessun” on Black Moon’s classic Enta da Stage album in 1993, Tek and Steele – collectively known as Smif n Wessun – released what would be the #1 Rap Album, selling over 300,000 copies and even making a #3 spot on Billboard’s R&B chart. This was Dah Shinin’. Can you remember the reggae tones and vivid street tales of “Sound Bwoy Burreil”? The collective chants of the BCC in “Cession at the Doghillee”? And who can forget the powerful uplifting anthem that would brand New York’s concrete “Bucktown”? Y’all better Wreckonize!! Most definitely, this is a classic album to have and keep in your collection because even until now, their sound sets the standard for music makers in hip hop. Its timeless in that their emotion-invoking beats and influence are still heavy to this day. Ahh, it was a beautiful time in hip-hop history that many of us wish we could return to.

And good for us, these hip-hop soldiers are back together. In an interview with MVRemix, Smif n Wessun share the importance of remembering the past, the meaning of resilience in present time and tells the fans what to expect from their 4th LP release, The Album.


MVRemix: Its been 15 years since “U Da Man” on Black Moon’s Enta Da Stage. How do you compare Smif n Wessun then to the Smif n Wessun now?

Steele: Bigger and better.

Tek: I definitely know for a fact that we matured in the game. We experienced numerous good and bad things, won along the way and had a couple of losses. But to be a champ, sometimes you have to get knocked out. Lose the belt in order to regain it again and get this shit on the right track and that’s where we at wit The Album.

MVRemix: Hip hop has changed so much over the years. What are your thoughts on the direction of hip hop? Where is it going?

Tek: That’s definitely what it is, it’s progressing, and there’s nothing slowing it down. The computer era, the decline in record sales, not even the selling of vinyl is stopping it anymore. Hip-hop just keeps movin’ and going.

Steele: We livin’ in a technological era. Right now it seems that the direction of hip-hop is going to the worldwide scope. It’s untamable right now. It’s at a point where now I can communicate with somebody in Japan, right now. I can communicate with someone in Australia. I can communicate with someone in Africa. You can be in a small place in Brooklyn in your desk and you can record music without even going anywhere. You can do podcasts, radio stations, magazines, DVD’s. You can do a lot of things without even leaving the privacy of your own home. A lot of people are seeing this, doing this. We been talking about this since 1999! Here we are, releasing albums without even having actual CD’s anymore. We’re downloading straight from iTunes. Many people don’t even have cable. They just watch our streaming videos directly through youtube.. It’s a phenomenon, I don’t know how big it’s going to get but it’s going to be …it’s going to be infinite.

MVRemix: How does this impact Smif n Wessun?

Steele: It’s been a good thing. We’ve been able to sustain. Especially for us, cuz we don’t get the commercial radio play that many other artists have. We deal directly with our fans. Duck Down has been prominent in the web since Day One.

MVRemix: Over the years, you released “Rude Awakening” as Cocoa Brovas; celebrated the return of Smif n Wessun in “Reloaded” and appear on Boot Camp Click’s “The Last Stand” and “Casualties of War”. What has kept Duck Down tight and BCC going strong?

Steele: A lot of hard work, dedication, our faith in the higher power and our friends and family. Being out there in the streets when kids and people say, “Hey, your contribution to hip hop helped me get through school” or “It helped me get me through issues in my life that was tough for me at the time” and “You inspire me”. If I have that type of power, who am I not to use it? So I go out there and work. And work hard.

Tek: Oh man, it’s a new experience everyday. Still being fans of the music that we are – for the whole hip-hop game. It’s a combination of newer artists coming out, some of the beats just get you in the mood where you have to pick up a pen and write down what’s in your heart and mind at that time and my Boot Camp, Duck Down family keep pushing and that’s what keeps us going. And of course, the love from our fans.

MVRemix: I understand both of you have done some solo projects. General Steele, you have Hotsyle Takeover out and I believe Tek, you have an album called UGP (Underground Prince) . Tell us about that.

Tek: Yeah, that’s right. It’s actually a mixtape, UGP. It’s not out yet, but my partner has the Hotstyle Takeover joint that’s in stores online now.

Steele: That’s official right there. That’s exactly what it says it is. Hotstyle Takeover. It’s out right now, go to www.duckdown.com and look out for a couple of the videos on youtube. I mean, I’m always doing stuff. I have a couple of artists that I’m working with right now with Bucktown USA, but my focus is promoting The Album. In this day in time, things can go either way. There’s a lot of drama going on in hip-hop and it’s looking real crazy right now. The streets of New York is on fire. Fingers are being pointed out at gangsta rap. It’s a good time and a bad time right now with hip hop and with that being said, it’s a great time for this album to come out. So when people listen to it, it shouldn’t put you in any particular mind state but it should inspire you to just do whatever you’re doing, to live your life, to enjoy your life and do what you do best to the best of your ability. Go in and go hard.

MVRemix: Do you go on any retreats on your own? To just get away?

Steele: The city is my retreat. I can retreat anywhere in the city and no body bothers me, I just blend in. And that to me, I like to be around people. I don’t like to be in some lost, over there, too far away from ourselves kind of place. I like to take the subway too. It gives me a chance to think. The city inspires me. I love the movement. It keeps you sharp and you always have to prepare for the unpreparable. You just gotta learn how to retreat from your own mind when things get crazy.

MVRemix: So with The Album, I understand that you guys went to Sweden to produce this 4th LP release. What should we expect?

Tek: Expect some of the dopest, the hardest, the hottest, the most beautiful symphony of music that you’ve ever heard before especially coming from Smif n Wessun. We didn’t try to go any commercial route to have a song for the females, for the clubs or a New York song. We just got in the studio, locked down and got what we needed to have in there and we made some magic come out. The whole album is produced by our Swedish boys over the water; Tommy Tee, Loudmouf Choir, Collen, Rune Rotter, Soul Theory and of course our boy Ken Ring. There’s magic in the air from all our bodies and our souls as well.

MVRemix: I understand that the producer Ken Ring produced the track ‘Trading Places” from BCC’s Last Stand album as well as “Reloaded” off of your Reloaded album.

Tek: Yeah, exactly. We formed that relationship over the years. He also produced “Timbz Do Work”. They are part of our team so naturally we gave them the exposure they need to get out there. The Album, it’s just blessed with our lives. That’s our life in there. But yeah, there’s joints in there where you can get your hustle on, get your slide on, you can drop it like it’s hot in there and you know, songs you can get your two step on. Enjoy it.

MVRemix: Thank you for your time. Final comments?

Steele: Yeah, to everybody out there in Canada and in the world, support the BCC, look out for Boot Camp in the 08 and buy The Album. It’s in stores right now. Look out for the “Stomp” video that’s out now on youtube with our boys Joell Ortiz & Rock. Too all the people, let’s not forget where we came from. Let’s focus on where we are trying to go. Remember our forefathers in the game, Kool Herc, Afrika Bambattaa and all. Rest in peace to all the souls that ain’t here. 08 Buckdown USA, here we come.

Tek: Canada always shows us love. Every part we go to…. So fans, get at us at www.myspace.com/smifnwessun and www.duckdown.com. Please support the new album. Stay strong with your boys here at Duck Down and Boot Camp cuz we ain’t goin’ no where, we’re here to stay wit cha… get in ya…ya dig?

Original Article

Steele (Smif N Wessun) Interview

Steele Smif N Wessunwritten by Angus Crawford

MVRemix: When is the album coming out?

Steele: The Bootcamp album, Casaulties of War, comes out August 14th.

MVRemix: Nice. So when all of you get back into the studio together, how do you decide who raps on what tracks?

Steele: How do we decide?

MVRemix: Yeah are you like this sounds like a Smif N’ Wessun beat, let’s do this….

Steele: Well, some of them are ideas that Buck might have come to the table with, some of them were ideas that Dru man come to the table with, some beats we had gotten from random producers in the studio, and we just sifted through a lot of beats. Some beats cats liked.

MVRemix: So how do you decide who is going to be one each song, instead of having eight guys rapping, how does that work out?

Steele: It’s kind of like Chemistry man. Sometimes you just hear beat and you be like “Damn I can hear Louivelle on that, I can hear Top Dog on that, you know what I mean, I can hear Smif N’ Wessun” or sometimes a cat might just get on it and give you a vision or something different. Like with “B.K. All Day” we tried to get as many people as possible on that, like everybody was supposed to be on that and that was a vision that Dan The Man had, saying “We got to start with Rusty” which is the new young gunna we got coming out on Duck Down in ‘08, and it was perfect that 5 [5 Ft. Excelerator] was here, out of prison, and was able to bless that track. Some things just work out good. You got to try shit sometimes and you can’t be afraid to make some wack shit.

MVRemix: [laughs] Smif N’ Wessun has album coming out right?

Steele: Smif N’ Wessun comes out late fall.

MVRemix: Do you guys work on the albums simultaneously?

Steele: Actually we are at the mixing stage right now. We went overseas and worked on some shit with a couple of producers over in Scandinavia, produced by my man Ken Ring who did “My Timbs Do Work” and “Trading Places” on Last Stand. We just stayed with him for a couple of weeks and just traveled around and fucked with him Tommy Chee, two other producers Collen and Web and we recorded 35 tracks and just sifted through which ones we’d think would work and we still in the ending stage. Like we in the 4th quarter of work, we got photo shoots that we trying to finish.

MVRemix: I got to ask you, did you go to Amsterdam?

Steele: Yeah, actually before we went and started working on the album, we were in Amsterdam because we were on the Bootcamp tour, so directly after we left the Bootcamp tour we spent some extra time like four days before we went to work on the album.

MVRemix: How does it compare to the U.S.?

Steele: Amsterdam is dope for me man. Anywhere I can go inside a shop and buy weed without having to worry about police is a beautiful thing.

Original Article [extended]