After a long struggle, rapper Scribes emerged to beat the odds and drop a very polished encore to his sizzling debut, Sleepwalk (2007). What Was Lost – a title suggestive of the album’s arduous conception – features a renewed commitment to Scribes’ hip-hop roots that does not disappoint. The album, released February 2nd, represents a significant revival for the Seattle rapper, and offers a more contemporary depiction of the artist, who’s approach has certainly adjusted and developed in the years since his debut.
What Was Lost comes off as being less politically involved than previous releases (EP Summer Sampler 2009, and the revolutionarily charged Sleepwalk), but in it’s place Scribes has portrayed a more personal image – running the gamut from brooding and dejected, to even quite fun and celebratory.
The following is part two of a two-part interview I did on March 12th with Scribes at his workplace (Wilcox Boxing), in which he tells the story of how his album was stolen just weeks before it’s release, the road he took to re-recording and releasing What Was Lost, and also, what was gained along the way.
After a long struggle, rapper Scribes emerged to beat the odds and drop a very polished encore to his sizzling debut, Sleepwalk (2007). What Was Lost – a title suggestive of the album’s arduous conception – features a renewed commitment to Scribes’ hip-hop roots that does not disappoint. The album, released February 2nd, represents a significant revival for the Seattle rapper, and offers a more contemporary depiction of the artist, who’s approach has certainly adjusted and developed in the years since his debut.
What Was Lost comes off as being less politically involved than previous releases (EP Summer Sampler 2009, and the revolutionarily charged Sleepwalk), but in it’s place Scribes has portrayed a more personal image – running the gamut from brooding and dejected, to even quite fun and celebratory. The following is part one of a two-part interview I did on March 12th with Scribes at his workplace (Wilcox Boxing), in which he tells the story of the road he took to releasing What Was Lost – and also, what was gained along the way.
Mohammad Dangerfield which consists of rappers Rugged N’ Raw and Hasan Salaam are performers that you should definitely know about. Both have received critical acclaim for their independent work, and for their work as Mohammad Dangerfield. Working with the likes of U-God of Wu-tang Clan, Brand Nubian and Consequence, Mohammad Dangerfield keeps things fresh while also working with those that have paved the way for artists like themselves.
Signed to Viper Records Mohammad Dangerfield shares the same label as underground heavyweight rapper Immortal Technique and rap duo Da Circle. Mohammad Dangerfield embarked on multiple tours in 2010 and performed during Austin, Texas’ SXSW 2011 music festival. Along with touring, the group’s self-titled album was released February 22, 2011 to positive reviews.
During SXSW’s festivities I had the opportunity to talk with Mohammad Dangerfield about SXSW, the music they make, working hard to achieve success and influences.
Few rappers have the resume Ghostface boasts. From being a part of the core nine Wu-Tang Clan members, and coming up from the “36 Chambers,” Ghostface has done nothing but wow his listeners. Often extremely abstract and arguably avant-guarde, Ghost has consistently pushed boundaries even to the point of setting a trend rhyming over old soul records without removing the vocals from the original song.
After moving from Sony to Def Jam, Ghost has just released his fifth studio album entitled “Fishscale.” Featuring guests including Ne-Yo, the whole Wu-Tang Clan and MF Doom, Ghost is trying to further solidify his position as one of New York’s most creative.
MVRemix: What’s the biggest mis-conception people have of Ghostface?
Ghostface: I don’t know. I can’t even really, really tell ya man.
MVRemix: Is there anything you think people think differently of you than you’re used to thinking of yourself?
Ghostface: Nah, some people be thinkin’ that I was wild and shit – whatever they got it from was back in the days though. I’m a cool person, I’m down to earth. I’m a humble person.
MVRemix: What’s the plan for tomorrow? (March 28th when “Fishscale” is released)
Ghostface: I mean nothin’, just take it day by day. It’s not even a plan, God’s got all the plans. I just live it out.
MVRemix: So no particular celebration parties or anything like that?
Ghostface: Nah, just do what I do. I got a show, I think tomorrow… Got a show and that’s it. I’m keepin’ it movin’. That’s it.
MVRemix: Do you find focusing on being creative a challenge because of your time constraints with touring, interviews etc.?
Ghostface: Nah, I’m thinkin’ all the time. I’m always thinkin’ of new stuff and music really makes me go ahead and think of stuff, if I’ve got the right music. That’s it man, I’m always creating in my head. MVRemix: Do you write down a lot of it or just keep it up there?
Ghostface: Nah, a lot of the time I keep the thought and lose it a lot because I don’t write it down, but it always comes back to me.
MVRemix: How does the Ghost of the “Ironman” era compare to the Ghost of today? What sort of things were going on back then?
Ghostface: The “Ironman” era; I was just coming out of “Cuban Linx.” I was wildin’ out on “Cuban Linx” in the streets and all that. Nowadays I’m not on the streets like I was back then in the “Cuban Linx” days and “Ironman” days. I mean I was with a bunch of my friends, just doin’ a lot of stuff and things wasn’t really that cool, you know what I mean? I found out I was a diabetic and losin’ a lot of weight here and there. So times was stressful, a lot of other things was goin’ on that I mentioned. It was real. Today things are still real, it’s just what I was goin’ through in different time zones.
MVRemix: “Three Bricks” is an excellent track, but would it have happened if B.I.G. were still alive. Did you make things good before he passed, because I know there were some problems around ’95…
Ghostface: I think so… I think so.
Hold on, hold on…
Yeah, yo Rae. Yeah, I’m on the phone with these interviews with the magazines. Doin’ a bunch of interviews on the phone.
Raekwon: Okay… Page me then.
Ghostface: Alright, in a minute then. Aight, peace.
[interview resumes] It would have been happened before that. I mean it would have been happened before that because we would’ve gotten over that little bullshit and talked with whatever was goin’ on and we would have moved on. Right before he passed I was tryin’ to connect dots with him anyway in time, like, “Yo, come on, lets get this splashed out. Lets call this shit today man.”
MVRemix: How did that track come about? Was it your idea? Was it a label idea?
Ghostface: No, it was we had this song for Puffy and he doin’ the Biggie “Duets,” and it didn’t make “Duets,” and we just took it. We just used it.
MVRemix: How involved were you in “The Broiled Salmon Mixtape” with Mick Boogie?
Ghostface: How what?
MVRemix: Do you as an artist see much or any profits from the mixes?
Ghostface: When I did the Mick Boogie mixtape, the “Broiled Salmon” joint?
Ghostface: What about it, what you wanna know about it?
MVRemix: Did you play a hand in deciding the tracks, or was it more so him and you just hosting, or…
Ghostface: Nah, it was just me in a hosting thing. I just hosted it for him.
MVRemix: There have been some issues with U-God over the years with him saying things about the Clan, what’s the current situation overall with that?
Ghostface: I don’t know… That’s my buddy. I don’t know about him and anybody else, but that’s my man. That’s my buddy. MVRemix: What’s the current status with the collaborative project we’ve heard you’re doing with MF Doom?
Ghostface: Yeah, we got the album that he got… We gotta finish off the Doom album.
[phone rings three times]
And um… Hold on for one second, hold on…
Male voice: Yo, I got the pen here right now. [Interference] What you lookin’ for?
Ghostface: Just tell me a few things ’cause I’m on the phone with some magazine people.
Male voice: You can eat chicken, right?
Ghostface: Yeah, I eat chicken, what else they got?
Male voice: Yeah, that’s it, it’s a chicken house! It’s a chicken place.
Ghostface: Just get me some chicken wings. Some chicken wings and… that’s it.
Male Voice: Chicken wings, alright…
Ghostface: Chicken wings, but just chicken wings though. No thighs, no legs – just wings.
Male Voice: Do you want some eggs? They got the fries and three chicken wings.
Ghostface: Aight so yeah, whatever, it’s all cool, it’s all cool. Put some cheese on the eggs. Some real cheese; American.
Male Voice: [laughs] Alright, I got you.
Ghostface: Alright, that’s it, that’s it. Aight, peace.
Male Voice: Peace.
Ghostface: [interview resumes] Yeah, sorry… MVRemix: We were just talking about MF Doom – the collaborative project.
Ghostface: Yeah that’s my man. I gave him five or six songs, I gotta do another five or six songs. MVRemix: How was it working with Rae, on “Cuban Linx 2”? Doing that whole thing over again…
Ghostface: I wasn’t with Rae, he sent me the music. It’s like nowadays everybody movin’ so much and it’s easy to MP3 somebody the music, you can get the music, write to it and then just lay it down and send it back to ’em.
MVRemix: What about the forthcoming Wu album? You said during a recent interview that you didn’t like the last two projects – why was that?
Ghostface: I didn’t like ’em, they was wack and y’all know it was wack. So I’m not tryin’ to hide nothin’ from nobody and shit. The last couple of Wu albums wasn’t nothin’ to me. I didn’t like ’em, I’ll tell RZA – I tell everybody that. It was ’cause I know our capabilities and I know where we can take it.
MVRemix: Are there any non-musical plans in the works? Tell me a little about the Ghostface Doll and how that came about…
Ghostface: Nah, just some people who wanted to do a doll from California. I flew in, I checked ’em. I seen the doll to see what they was talkin’ about, and we just agreed on it. You know what I mean? It was nothin’ and pretty soon they should have a doll out.
MVRemix: Aside from the album, what else have you been working on? Guest appearances and whatnot? I heard rumours about you working with Swollen Members…
Ghostface: [phone rings] I did Swollen Members, I did that. [phone continues ringing] There’s a bunch of little side artist things. MVRemix: Are there any further plans to collaborate with AZ and Cormega?
Ghostface: I mean listen, everything is in God’s hands. I don’t know what’s goin’ on – whatever God guides me or brings my path into who’s hands or brings to me. Whatever the case may be, he’s the soul controller. I’m just here as a student in life and a servant for him just waiting, and that’s that.
MVRemix: A la “Fight Club,” “If you could fight any celebrity, who would you fight?”
Ghostface: I don’t know. I’d probably fight my alter ego.
MVRemix: And which alter ego would that be?
Ghostface: I don’t know, I got a lot of ’em. I got Ghostface, I got Paisley Fontaine. I got Tony Starks, [phone rings] Ironman – either one. I’m not into that celebrity stuff like that.
MVRemix: What are your feelings on the reconciling of Nas & Jay-Z. Is that a good look for New York and Hip Hop overall?
Ghostface: Yeah, yeah, I mean in the sense that you ain’t gotta kill each other man. Anything that’s better than killing each other is a good look.
MVRemix: What about follow ups to “Fishscale,” anything in the works there?
Ghostface: Nah, I got a lot of stuff that was left over. A lot of stuff that I’m writing to. I’m just keepin’ it movin’ man, there’s no stoppin’ me now. It’s on, you’re gonna see me on the come up.
Some people dream of being an emcee, while others are content with playing the sidelines. Former Royal Fam member Dreddy Kruger is one of those individuals who never was concerned with being a superstar in this Hip-Hop game. Instead, he would rather play his position as an A&R and help construct classic albums for other artists. Dreddy was the A&R behind Masta Killa’s album and the Black Market Militia project. With his own company – Think Differently Music – Dreddy has now conjured up his greatest idea of all time – Wu-Tang Meets The Indie Culture. By pairing various underground emcees with Wu-Tang artists and producers, the album finds collaborations fans have dreamed about for years. Before the album dropped, Dreddy chopped it up with MVRemix about his come up in the industry, as well as his new project.
MVRemix: I just want to start off by letting the readers get to know you, then we’ll move into your Think Differently project. So can you tell us where you were born and raised?
Dreddy Kruger: Born and raised in Bushwick, Brooklyn. That is where I first met Gza and how I got into the whole Wu-Tang Clan. MVRemix: What was it like growing up there?
Dreddy Kruger: It was the same as everybody else. I have the same story. I don’t really want to get into all of that. I went to school, sold drugs – all of that. But I always like to mention this in all the interviews I do – I never wanted to be a rapper. That wasn’t even part of my plan. You know how niggas come with their stories saying I always knew I wanted to do this and I’ve been rhyming forever, etc. But for me, it was none of that. I just always had love for Hip-Hop, as I was a break dancer back in the days.
Actually, that is how I met Gza, because me and ODB were dancing for him when he was on Cold Chillin’. I don’t know if everybody is familiar with that whole history. So I was a dancer and the Wu started to pop off around ’92 and I was going to LIU at the time. That same time the Wu recorded “Protect Ya Neck” and I was there. It was recorded in Brooklyn and niggas don’t ever mention that in any interviews. It was recorded in Brooklyn, at Fire House Studio. And that day they recorded “Protect Ya Neck,” GZA and Dirty stopped at my school to pick me up, and we had to stop at Beat Street to pick up some records. RZA told us to pick up an LL Cool J’s “I’m Bad” record because he needed that to take out the curses in “Protect Ya Neck.” If you listen to it, you’ll hear that sound from “I’m Bad.” So I was in the room when them niggas did “Protect Ya Neck,” but I still wasn’t rhyming. I used to fool around and spit Wu-Tang lyrics when I was at LIU. I would spit their rhymes off the album, because I knew what was coming out, and niggas used to think it was my shit. (Laughter) They had never heard shit like that before, but I would tell them, “Na, I’m just spitting my niggas darts from Satan Island.” And at that time, Satan Island was like a different fucking state. So niggas didn’t even know what I was talking about.
But it was eventually my friend Ali and Adrian who told me I should start rhyming because I had a nice voice and I had the looks. At the time, I had the dreads and all of that. So we came up with the name Dreddy Kruger and that was the birth of it. It all started in LUI on the Brooklyn campus. And the first time the Wu ever heard me rhyme was out on the video set of “Can It Be All So Simple?” Hype Williams was directing it in Satan Island and mad niggas was outside. Meth was out there freestyling in a circle and I spit a joint right there for the first time against some Satan Island nigga. And it was crazy because RZA and everybody was buggin’. RZA was like, “Yo, you getting on some other shit that I’m doing.” And he was talking about the Gravediggaz, but at the time, I didn’t even know about it. He was like, “I’m doing this Gravediggaz project.” Basically – that was the first shit I ever got on, Gravediggaz’ “Graveyard Chamber,” which was me, Killah Priest, RZA, Shabaaz The Disciple, Frukwan and Poetic – god bless the dead. So the first song I ever recorded in the music business is legendary. That was what opened me up and made me say, ‘Damn, I wanna do this.’
MVRemix: How did your career progress from then, which eventually lead you to be apart of Royal Fam?
Dreddy Kruger: Basically, I was always a solo artist, but like I told you, I was never on the tip that I wanted to be an emcee. So I was never running around telling cats, ‘Yo, I’m working on my solo album.’ So it was RZA and Timbo’s idea for me to join up with Royal Fam. RZA was like, “Yo, you and Timbo would be the perfect combination. Just let Timbo be the real lyrical one and you just spit how you spit.” So I was like, ‘Aight, cool.’ Then RZA gave us a deal on Wu-Tang Records and bong, bong, bong. Me and him went out to Miami, recorded the album, and it came out bangin’. By the time we finished the album and it was supposed to come out, RZA was going through label problems with Priority Records. So our album didn’t get to come out in the USA, but we still released it overseas with different distribution. And we went on to sell almost a hundred thousand records in Europe. We had a big song….I don’t know if you are familiar with the song we had with IM. Have you heard of the French group IM?
MVRemix: Na, I haven’t.
Dreddy Kruger: Well, I won a French Grammy for my song with them. It was me, Timbo and Prodigal on a song with IM called, “The Saga.” IM was like the Wu-Tang of France. They were the first group to sell over a million copies and their album went Gold in one day. But Gold over there is a hundred thousand – but it was still a big deal, because this was around ’96. We went over there to shoot the video and by the time we got over there, the song was out already. By the time we left, they surprised us with some party and presented us with these plaques saying the album went Gold in one day. So I went over there to shoot a video and I came home with a Gold plaque. So we were buggin’. I told RZA about it and he was buggin’, because at that time nobody even knew how big Hip-Hop was over in Europe. That was probably the biggest Hip-Hop collaboration between an American and French rap group. After we did that, then everything started happening. Then a lot of cats started collaborating with artists from overseas. But when we did that – we were like the biggest shit – no joke. You can look up the numbers and do the history – its already set in stone. That is what really solidified my name into the Hip-Hop game overseas. Because people over here still don’t know about IM. But when I got over there to perform that song, its crazy. We didn’t even know how big IM in the beginning. They sell out stadiums and there is about seven of them dudes. They branched off and did solo records, movies, and all of that – just like the Wu.
MVRemix: Yeah, some people over here still don’t know how big international Hip-Hop is. The are ignorant and don’t even think about it.
Dreddy Kruger: Yeah, people have no idea and they have a different respect level for the culture over there. They don’t like commercial shit at all over there. A lot of them are still even stuck on the older Hip-Hop groups because they don’t like the new music coming out of America. That is why you have all these old Hip-Hop niggas selling out shows over there. Those niggas over there love to see them and they don’t take it for granted. MVRemix: How did you form Think Differently Music?
Dreddy Kruger: Think Differently Music Group used to be a promotional company called Think Differently, which was run by my girl and her friend. I created the name, logo and all of that – but they were running it. It was a promotional company and they used to run parties in the city and things like that. They stopped doing that eventually, so I picked it up and added the music group to the end of the name. First thing I started doing was releasing….because Wu-Tang has a lot of unreleased music that we are sitting on. I’m talking about albums worth of shit. So the first thing I started doing was putting out street releases of unreleased Wu-Tang shit to websites like HipHopSite.com, SandboxAutomatic.com and other places in Europe. It picked up a following, because with the mixtapes, I wasn’t using no DJ and it sounded like a real album. The first shit I ever put out was this CD called GZA:Live. It was a show that me and him did on tour around ’99. I put it out around 2001, but the quality was good. And at that time, no one was putting out live mix CD’s to the streets. So it created a big buzz and we were selling them on the road and in Europe. And that is when I realized that the mix CD is different for us than the average nigga. We already have a loyal following. So that is how I started Think Differently Music. Then the first big project I did under the label was, I was the A&R for Masta Killa’s album on Nature Sounds Records. I did that and then the Black Market Militia album. I was one of the co-executive producers on the album, as well as the A&R. I also arranged and sequenced the album – same as I did with Masta Killa. That is what really gave me a buzz in the independent industry, because people started respecting my work. Even though the albums didn’t have the big numbers, niggas respected the work I was doing. Other independent label owners recognized my talent.
So I always had the idea that I wanted to match up Wu-Tang niggas with other independent niggas. Because Wu-Tang has really never worked with outside artists – everything was in house, from the producers to the features. Only Busta, Nas and Redman really jumped on a Wu album. But I lived in Brooklyn and hung out in Manhattan all the time, so I would see emcees all the time. Niggas always had a lot of respect for us and I used to link up with artists like Sean Price and the Boot Camp – I’ve known them niggas forever. I used to see C-Rayz Walz, Cannibal Ox – all these independent cats. And I love there music as well. All of those cats could recite Wu-Tang albums to me. And I always told them, ‘Wu niggas don’t really know a lot of independent niggas. They really don’t dwell in that whole world.’ So that is how I got the idea, because I really wanted to match all these niggas up. I wanted to have the independent cats on a Wu-Tang vibe as well. Because anybody can get Cannibal Ox and someone from the Wu to do any old song. But I wanted the entire album to be a Wu-Tang concept. All the Wu-Tang members, the same Wu-Tang sound, but you are hearing MF Doom, Aesop Rock and all these cats mixed in to give it a certain type of feel.
So RZA and MF Doom have never met. RZA didn’t even know who MF Doom was. GZA and Ras Kass – they knew who each other were, but they have never met. So right from that, I knew this album was going to be crazy. These are legends on different sides of the game. Everybody knows MF Doom has a cult following.
The most aloof and perhaps the most intriguing, member of the Wu-Tang Clan, Masta Killa has no need for the extra lime light that many rappers crave. During interviews he is more likely to spit the dopest verses of his peers, rather than quote himself. Despite Wu-Tang’s widespread success, Killa’s biggest publicity stunt, outside of his ultra-smooth lyrics, was joining a PETA ad-campaign promoting vegetarianism. But just because he does not speak up often, does not mean he has nothing to say.
On the contrary, if given the opportunity Killa can wax poetic on more than just his new album, Back to Brooklyn (August 8), and the universal appeal of that he and his Wu brothers continue to demonstrate. “I’m just thankful that someone is willing to listen,” says Killa, displaying a dose of humility that is so rare in Hip Hop today.
On his sophomore solo effort, Killa also displays his down to earth appeal by hosting a variety of local MCs and producers throughout his tracks. In fact, he directly steered away from having a Wu-Tang produce album so he could give other artists the same leg up that was extended to him when he made the jump from BK to Shaolin more than ten years ago. MVRemix: What’s your writing style like?
Masta Killa: It comes together in a series of ways. I can hear a beat. Sometimes it just flows. Catch some good shit from that. I really need silence. Thoughts are already dancing in my head, know what I’m saying?
MVRemix: Do you prefer working with other members of the clan or on your own?
Masta Killa: I never sat down with anyone. Anything I’ve written, it’s been by myself. I write from my heart. That’s what comes. We never really sat down and made songs together. We come to the studio together, but each one of us is in his own corner. I know he’s coming out with his best shit, so I gotta come with mine. MVRemix: So was it a competitive atmosphere?
Masta Killa: Well yeah. You know, Hip Hop is a competitive sport. That’s Hip Hop to me. I want to win and I want to shine, just like you. You sayin’ slick witty shit. We on the same team and we’re out for the same thing. You wouldn’t ever have to try and push yourself, because if your shit wasn’t right, it won’t make the track. The first album was like up against eight individuals. It was crazy. You see mutha fuckas coming like that, and you can’t come back with some cat in the hat bullshit. Get on with some bullshit? I don’t think so; you better come with your best shit. When you really listen and you hear the time a brotha took to build something that nourishing, it’s like goddamn how can I not get on with something as equally potent?
MVRemix: When did you first start spitting rhymes for an audience?
Masta Killa: I never performed until we launched Wu Tang. That was my first time as an MC. I have history since elementary school doing talent shows. Breaking and shit like that. I was that kind of dude. I loved to pop. That was me. Always doing shit around music. As far as with a mic in my hand, Wu-Tang was the first time.
MVRemix: What inspired you to take it to that next level?
Masta Killa: There never was next level for me. It was Wu Tang and that was it. I never tried to get on. Never looked for any of this because it was never my vision. I’m kinda like hanging out with Gza and just stumbled across some shit, oh word? And I was like, maybe I can do this. When I was young going to clubs, I was just hanging out. I never went in there like I was trying to be an MC. I never tried to get a record deal or pass out tapes. It’s just been Wu-Tang and I’m here.
MVRemix: Who in the group helped influence your style the most?
Masta Killa: My style comes from all of the eight. All of that is what makes me. That’s why I’m the ninth. It takes nine to be complete. The number system goes from zero to nine then repeats itself. I’m like the glue. It’s everything within one. I took all of my brothers as a lesson. It was fortunate that I was able to sit in the cut and study, both talent and business wise. Then I came out to express myself.
MVRemix: Were you guys aware that you were starting something legendary in Hip Hop?
Masta Killa: For me, you know, it was more of an observation lesson. I never intended on being in a legendary group. I decided to take it all serious when I saw what my brothers were involved in. If it was a meal, it tasted good to people. People accepted it and loved it. I said I’m going to make the best of this situation. Those things never dawn on me, even to this day. Meth might be a house hold signature name, and Ol’ Dirty, rest in peace, you think about certain names it just hits you. But me, I never thought about the game like that. My ID is still being shown and I’m proving it. There’s still a lot of development left when it comes to the Masta Killa. I haven’t given everything yet. I’m still growing.
MVRemix: How would you characterize the new album?
Masta Killa: It’s Hip hop. It’s beautiful music you know what I’m saying. I kept the same basic chemistry and kept support of my family. You can expect consistency and the sound of all my brothers supporting me. Good music and ill lyrics. It’s got a real raw sound. A soulful sound. That’s the Brooklyn sound for me. The history of it, from block parties and jams you know. The real Hip Hop scene. From mom having a house party. The sound is love, and it brings people together. People who listen to my album will be able to say it’s banging. It’s hard to find an album that’s good from beginning to end. You won’t have to fast-forward through any tracks, though you maybe’ll want to rewind. And before you know it, it’s gone. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard some good fucking music. That’s why he find ourselves buying the old shit over and over again.
MVRemix: What were some of your influences?
Masta Killa: My influences are internally built in. They’re from being a fan of music since birth. I’m already inspired by many different artists, styles, and life. Opportunity to pour these things back into the world. Part of everything I’ve experience in my short life. I still like listening to all of the old stuff. I can listen to Gladys Knight all day. The Isley Brothers, the Delfonics, New Birth, Patty Labelle. So much man, I don’t want to leave anyone out. MVRemix: Why did you want to bring this album back to Brooklyn?
Masta Killa: Because there’s a lot of hood talent, but not too many outlets for it. Shit. It’s more people than jobs. Baby that’s the way I look at it and shit. Talent doesn’t just cover entertainment either. What ever you have a knack for, there’s just not enough opportunity to shine. Me, I’m not anyone special. Just blessed with a golden opportunity to have a job that I love to do, and that’s making music. MVRemix: Who is on the album with you?
Masta Killa: Well for MCs, we got Victorious, Phoenix Flames, Sweet Murda, and Killa Sin. And producers, we go Wise, PF Cuttin, my man Saw. There’s not even a Rza beat on the album. But I know how I want the album to sound. I know how the Wu-Tang sound is supposed to be. I can get sound I’m looking for. Go back to neighborhood and work with people I’ve wanted to for a long time. When you hear the music you will think one of those original brothers did the beats, but it’s not. 75% of this album was recorded in Brooklyn. But I’m not looking to taking nothing over. I’m not the king of shit. It’s just what I’m doing now. There’s not a whole bunch of beefing and quarrelling. That’s just a whole bunch of bullshit that doesn’t really have anything to do with music.
MVRemix: How come Wu-Tang never got pulled into any beefs?
Masta Killa: You know I really can’t say. I don’t know. If you look for things I think you’ll find them. Know what I’m saying? What ever persona you put out it comes back. If it’s negative, then negative things will follow. There’s no room for positive and negative in the same space. When day comes night must leave. No room for the bullshit.
MVRemix: Do you see anybody stepping up like Wu-Tang did to make that next evolution?
Masta Killa: I think anybody who is serious about their craft is definitely going to take it to the next level. It’s inevitable. In the NBA Lebron has done. Just like Kobe did, and Dr. Jay. New players of the day keep it evolving. I can’t say who, but someone will come in and take it to a new level. There’s tons of talent out there. The whole thing, I think, is being able to stand test of time. Continuously do what you do. Without withering away.
It’s so strange in hip hop right now. There is a whole different feeling. The music that is being produced is… I don’t know. The person who says fuck it and comes with the raw shit, and doesn’t worry about the radio and what people are used to hearing, that person will be most successful.
MVRemix: What can fans expect about with Wu-Tang’s upcoming ODB Tribute Tour?
Masta Killa: Expect to see all eight of us rocking them famous hits. A lot of fans haven’t seen us together for years on one stage, it’s a blessing itself.
These are the transcripts of an interview with Ghostface aired April 2nd, 2006 on DJ Hyphen & J. Moore’s “Sunday Night Sound Session” on Seattle’s KUBE 93.3 FM.
MVRemix: You guys kind of started that whole a.k.a stuff back in the day…
Ghostface: Yeah, ’94, ’95…
MVRemix: How did that happen?
Ghostface: It started with a shirt; an ill Toney Starks shirt. I put the shirt on and felt like a different man when that shirt came on. Told Rae like, “Yo, this is my Toney Starks shirt. After that it’s been Toney Starks, you know what I mean? Ironman. He came with the Lex Diamonds and then one thing lead to another.
MVRemix: And then the whole Clan had different names…
Ghostface: Exactly; Rebel INS and Golden Arms…
MVRemix: Speaking of INS, real quick, I heard a crazy rumour that I need you to set straight. Someone said he’s losing his voice and there’s thoughts of retirement or something…
Ghostface: Nah, INS is gettin’ older. So sometimes when you get older your voice be changin’. I don’t think he retirin’ or nothin’ like that though. He’s still workin’ and doin’ projects.
MVRemix: Speaking of projects, your project “Fishscale” is the new album. What makes this album different from the old? Although I guess if it ain’t broke. Don’t fix it.
Ghostface: That’s what I tell cats. I just told ’em that not too long ago. I’m just doin’ me. There’s not really a difference man. Difference is with this new album I’ve got the whole Clan on this record. And my son is rhymin’ on it, you know, Trife Da God and I got Ne-Yo on this project. I been with a lot of underground producers; J-Dilla, MF Doom, Pete Rock. Ain’t too much of them high class dudes [out right now]. I just went into what is my feel for right now. The next album might be a little different.
MVRemix: Have you got any plans on the next one?
Ghostface: Nah, I’ma go through a bunch of material… I heard some other beats that I like, I forgot what producer though. But I know where I’m goin’ should I say. There’s gonna be a different vibe than this album right here. It’ll be somethin’ else.
MVRemix: Speaking of producers, in a lot of your tracks you’re kind of sadly known for having a ton of dope material that can’t get cleared, and maybe has to be changed up. Anything that didn’t make this officially that could be released down the line? I heard about some Madlib joints…
Ghostface: I recorded some Madlib joints towards the end of the project but we didn’t submit them or nothin’ like that. We was just like, “Alright, we gonna hold fast for a second.” So I still got those in the stash. Probably a few joints on this album that we had to play over that didn’t make the joint; “Family Affair,” the original Just Blaze track – that is murder.
MVRemix: The Just Blaze one, “The Champ,” is the beat on the CD different to the original one?
Ghostface: Yeah, yeah, it’s a play over.
MVRemix: That’s crazy, ’cause the beat now is insane.
Ghostface: It’s murder, yeah, it’s murder. It’s like the same thing but it’s a play over. [ponders] And what else? “Charlie Brown” track, you know what I mean?
MVRemix: That was my favourite one that didn’t quite make the cut.
Ghostface: Right, right, samples’ll get you. They wildin’, it’s just crazy. The fans don’t really know what you’ve gotta go through tryin’ to get things cleared and how much it takes for you to get it played over. And it don’t really sound the same to me because I made it. So the people don’t know the original, they just hear what they hear.
MVRemix: What’s your favourite unreleased one? I think for me it had to be the “Good Times” joint.
Ghostface: You got “The Watch.”
MVRemix: The Barry White joint?
Ghostface: Yeah, I love how that comes off. “The Sun,” that’s beautiful.
MVRemix: There were like four joints off “Bulletproof Wallets” that had to switch up.
Ghostface: Yeah, “Bulletproof Wallets” would’ve been murder if all that was on there. MVRemix: It was still pretty hot.
Ghostface: It was still hot, but still takin’ off one… That’s what I’m tryin’ to tell my manager – takin’ one joint off. That means a difference. It’s like losin’ a pinky [finger]. It’s like you need that man, everything… When you tryin’ to create somethin’ and make it right. Regardless if the fans didn’t hear it or not. I’m like that Shakespeare/Beethoven cat that knows it needs to be there like that. I’m that Picasso; I know the painting and what leaf should be on that tree and where it should be at. ‘Cause I had the vision.
MVRemix: To make it kind of a complete, cohesive project…
Ghostface: Yeah – so you can kind of see my mind. So everything is important.
MVRemix: You were the first person that I heard just rhyme over an old soul track for the “Holla” joint. You’ve got another one, “Big Girl,” on this album – how did that idea come?
Ghostface: Nah, it’s just songs like that… We love old music. My whole bus, my whole team, we like to listen to a lot of old music. When I was young and desperate I just came up off. So I like that music better than I like rap and rock and house or whatever you wanna call it… disco. When I hear music like that and I can feel I can get in the groove of it and be like, “Yo, I wish somebody would make that beat for me…” I know how to just go in. Instead of writing about love I could take it on something else… Whatever I feel like. I don’t really hear the words when I’m doin’ it, it’s not really nothin’ – I just go ahead and do it.
MVRemix: Are there any plans to kind of do more of that stuff in the future? Maybe…
Ghostface: [interrupting] Nah, I got records like that. I just never released ’em, I never laid it down like that. But I do got books and rhymes over Jackson 5 and Moments and stuff like that. I never been laid down yet.
MVRemix: If you had to pick one old school soul album like that, what would you say is kind of one of your favourites?
Ghostface: It’s a lot… Blue Magic, probably one of those dudes… The Delphonics is ill – it’s too many. Curtis Mayfield is ill. It’s too much though. If I were to pick one right real quick, I probably would go with Blue Magic, real quick.
MVRemix: How about on the current side of things – do you listen to things outside of Hip Hop these days?
Ghostface: Nah, not really. I just listen to… Unless it’s old Hip Hop man or old classic soul. And that’s it… The game is the game right now. It’s really not poppin’.
MVRemix: Give me your overall feelings on the state of the industry, both in terms of yourself as an artist within this industry and then as far as what you see on MTV, listening to it… That kind of stuff.
Ghostface: It’s just boring. Back when we was comin’ through the door man, you had to have some type of skill. Some type of talent. Nowadays you don’t need talent. It’s not about what you say no more or your emcee skills. Back then you had to fight for that. Now we goin’ crazy over snap music and sayin’ stuff that really, you know… I guess people just wanna have fun. I know things evolve and the game is weighed to that right now… And I don’t knock nobody’s Hip Hop – it’s universal, it’s all cool though. But it’s just from where I came from and to see what’s going on today. It’s sad. It’s like that old commercial when the Indian looked at his land and he dropped that one tear. Yeah, it was real. That’s how sad it is right now. But to each his own and hopefully it’ll make its circle back, ’cause what goes around do come back around… Regardless of what. Where’s the game at? It was meant for whoever got the game to have it.
MVRemix: I think a lot of people, a lot fans, maybe from that late ’90’s era are kind of pinning their hopes on the Wu bringing it back. I know you’re doing your part coming out with consistent albums. Are there any upcoming Wu projects you can speak on?
Ghostface: You got Raekwon comin’ in with the “Cuban Linx ,” Meth is come with him, GZa come with him. Wu ain’t comin’ ’till like next year sometime. And even when we do that, we gotta be careful. ‘Cause I didn’t like the last two projects. They gotta be really, really, really right and there’s gonna be a lot of arguing going down there ’cause there’s gonna be so many brothers tryin’ to keep it real. If my name is on it, I can’t be on it unless it’s to how I like to see it, or else I’ll pass.
MVRemix: That’s real man, you’ve got to keep that quality control.
Ghostface: You’ve got to do that man, or it’s like, “Yo, what you gon’ do?” I ain’t with puttin’ out duds. You feel me?
It is a wholly satisfying experience to throw a clenched fist at the head of someone who has wronged you, connect with a crispy thwack and send teeth spinning violently into orbit as their unconscious owner slumps into a flaccid heap on the pavement.
Perhaps with the exception of the spinning teeth, Wu-Tang Clan’s Masta Killa did just that in 1994, with Rap Pages writer Cheo Coker on the highly-unenviable receiving end of the fist of fury. Coker had written a rather positive feature on the group, but the editors had run it with a set of caricatures depicting the Clan as less-than-hetero-looking superheroes.
The result was an encounter that has become a hip-hop urban legend of sorts, with some accounts claiming that, after the knock-down, Raekwon reportedly snarled, “Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothin’ to fuck with!”
With this in mind, it would not be entirely unbelievable for fellow Wu-Tang Clan member Method Man to follow suit, pulling a rap critic’s tongue out his mouth and stabbing that shit with a rusty screwdriver. Or, perhaps, sewing his asshole closed and feeding him.
Afterall, it is no secret that he has been pissed at the media lately. In a recent interview with NobodySmiling.com, Mr. Meth said some variation of “fuck” more than 100 times and called the interviewer no less than 15 names, including “you fucking writing piece of shit.”
The source of his rage is what he considers to be an abundance of unfair criticism over the past few years, such as claims that he “went Hollywood” and ain’t street no more.
“It’s like I finally get the inside joke,” said Meth, on a recent break during the tail end of a Wu-Tang Clan tour. “You know, people weren’t laughing with me, they were laughing at me.”
Splashing fuel into his fiery inferno of frustrations, 2006 has simply not treated him well. Earlier in the year, several pieces of his jewelry, along with his Mercedes Benz, were stolen. (As for the latter, a friend had helped Meth sell the car, and then pocketed the money.) His wife was diagnosed with breast cancer—which she has since beat into remission—and radio host Wendy Williams revealed it on air, when even friends and family of the couple didn’t know.
“I’ve been better,” says Meth understatedly.
So perhaps if this were another year, the unfair criticism would have gone over a little better. But no, this is 2006, it sucks, and he is pissed. Rather than bludgeoning writers in a massacre of massive proportions, however, Meth has taken a more responsible and hemorrhage-free approach to unleashing his wrath. For roughly eight months out of the past year, he has been crafting his latest album, 4:21 … The Day After, which dropped August 29. The 20-track disc is littered with angry references to every critic who’s ever had anything bad to say about the M-E-T-H-O-D Man, culminating in the surprisingly calm “Say.”
He spits: “The last album, [they] wasn’t feelin’ my style/This time my foot up in they ass, bet they feelin’ me now/’Cause Tical, he put his heart in every track he do/But somehow, you find some way to give a wack review/It ain’t all good, they writing that I’m Hollywood/Trying to tell you my shit ain’t ghetto and they hardly hood/Come on man, until you dudes can rhyme, keep that in mind when you find yourself reciting mines….”
Meth’s label, Def Jam, has released the song—which samples Lauryn Hill’s rendition of “So Much Things to Say”—as the album’s first single, but it is receiving mixed reactions from radio, possibly because the first verse shits all over radio (i.e. “Radio is the same, whole lotta speculatin’/These muthafuckas defecatin’ on the name Wu-Tang/ if this is where the hip-hop is/Radio lyin’ then, that ain’t where hip-hop live….”
Other standout tracks include the nameless intro, the grimy “Presidential M.C.” featuring Raekwon and the RZA, “The Glide,” “Got to Have It” and “Somebody Done Fucked Up Now.” Guest appearances include Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Raekwon, Redman, the RZA, Ginuwine and Fat Joe, while beatsmiths like the RZA, Erick Sermon, Scott Storch and Havoc are among those listed in the production credits.
So far, the response has been generally positive. It seems that many who weren’t feeling his last effort, 2004’s Tical 0: The Prequel, are having their interest in Meth rekindled.
“It’s my best work,” says Meth. “But I think the label needs to push me a little better, at least according to the people.”
Last February, the Ticallion Stallion reunited with the Clan for an Ol’ Dirty Bastard tribute tour, their first tour together in almost a decade. Recently, they came together again, for a 17-date tour that spanned the month of August.
“I like to tour with the whole crew,” says Meth. “It’s less work.”
He also has a number of projects lined up for the near future: Blackout! 2, with Redman; How High 2, which is currently being written; and HBO’s The Wire, for which he will reprise his role as Cheese for a third season. And, presumably, there will be further promotion of 4:21 … The Day After.
“I hate most [critics] and shit, but you know, I take notes,” says Meth during a brief intermission from intense loathing. “You have to learn where to find where the real criticism’s at inside the critics. I utilize those and I build in certain areas. You know, like if you’re in the gym and the trainer tells you, you know, ‘You need to work on your chest a little more.’ I basically went up in the studio and worked on where my fans felt I was lacking at.”
But for the obnoxious, meat-head critics who snort Creatine and punch nerds because they can, Meth has a method of torture updated from the asshole stitching of years past.
“Leave ’em stranded on a desert island with nothing but a jar of mayonnaise and some bread,” he snarls in his signature gravelly voice. “That’s nasty. Once they eat up that mayonnaise, you can forget about it.”
Queens native, Mathematics first hit the scene as a DJ for block parties in the late 80s and years later earned a spot as a producer on the Wu-Tang Clan team. Since the clan’s inception, Mathematics has produced several tracks as well complete albums and his most recent work includes Beat Kings, a DVD defining the art behind beat making and Hip Hop according to Rap heavyweights and fellow producers.
Beat Kings as well as Wu-Tang Clan and Friends: Unreleased will drop early this year. MVRemix: So can you tell me more about your DVD, Beat Kings?
DJ Mathematics: Yea um, Beat Kings is a documentary, me as a producer I went around interviewing other producers you know. A lot of the legends such as like Marley Marl, Pete Rock, Premier, RZA, Prince Paul… as well as these new cats that’s killin it like Just Blaze, Kanye West, Swiss Beats. There’s a lot of information on there for a lot of up and coming producers to learn something and anybody who thinks he’s good at Hip Hop could learn something from it. MVRemix: What would you say is the science behind Rap music?
DJ Mathematics: That’s like saying what’s the science behind Hip Hop because its like its the producers behind Hip Hop that keep it going from day one. Like on the DVD, like I said a lot of the greats like Marley Marl he’s like on there telling how he started sampling. He’s the first cat to do it and he happens to stumbled on it. He was like “wow you can do that with this?” and that started it. There’s a lot of history and a lot of people love a lot of different songs and you gon get a lot of them songs that they love they gon see who actually made these songs and where they was at and little different things. Like Marley was showing me his first machine, the machine where he made the bridge from and things like that. But the producers on the DVD, the catalog is crazy that all these producers have. So whether its stuff with 2pac, stuff with biggie. Stuff for Wu-tang. Or just your favorite artist, Jay-Z.
MVRemix: What equipment do you use and how did you learn how to use it?
DJ Mathematics: I use the ASR10 that’s like my main weapon right there I use a lot of different equipment but I always run everything thru my asr10 cause that’s what I’m comfortable with that’s what I know. I learned how to use that basically on my own I got the pointers from RZA. He influenced me to be a producer. I started off DJing for Wu-tang and I happened to be there when he made the “Ice Cream” beat and that was the beat right that there that made me want to produce. He was workin on Cuban Linx album and we had a spot out in Staten Island at the time that was like the production house. He was working and was like ‘Yo I need to take a break lets go to the movies’ and I remember we went to the movies, and we came back from the movies; I remember I was drunk, blunted and all of that and I kinda laid out on the floor in the living room. But there was a door open I could see right inside the door and RZA went right in the room and started workin. So its like 3 in the morning so he hittin it up and I’m hearing it and I’m like ‘yea that’s cool.’ I’m nodding off but then I keep wakin up and every time I waking up and hearing it, its just getting chunkier and chunkier. And by like 7 o clock in the morning I’m just hearing that [sings beat]…you know “Ice cream” was just rocking. I had to get up and walk in there and be like ‘yo what’s this?’ and he was like ‘this the asr10.’ That’s what made me get it.
MVRemix: How did you develop your own style?
DJ Mathematics: Just like knowing that music emotional, it’s a feeling. I make beats basically on how I feel, or how I want other people to feel. You know the mood I’m trying to set. It’s gotta come from within you its not something that you gotta think about because you lookin to music to get away from thinking…RZA another one who told me don’t make what I make, do you and that’s exactly what I did.
MVRemix: Do you feel that as a producer you don’t get enough credit because some feel that the beats are what can solidify a hit single in the charts?
DJ Mathematics: Yea but. That was one of the reasons why I made Beat Kings too because a lot of producers don’t get the credit they deserve. You got the select few but then after you look through history you realize its always gon be like that. Like I said the DVD itself, doing it, help me grow and develop to where I realize it aint about me. Its about the music. Its about doing the best that I can do and hope it reach people that appreciate it and just being satisfied. You want to hit the charts, don’t get me wrong that’s why from that DVD I did the album, Mathematics presents Wu-Tang Clan and Friends: the Unreleased LP, because I was doing a follow up to my last LP, the problem for those who don’t know that’s in stores now. It features the whole entire Wu-tang clan including old dirty before he passed.
I want people to respect the music. I want them to hear the music and respect the music. An artist ain’t have to say my name or nothing but ten again that’s the value because people mention your name in a record then everyone want that producer on they project. I feel it should be more about the music.
MVRemix: Like rap artists with ghostwriters, producers seem to be running into a similar controversy with ghost producers, what are your thought on that?
DJ Mathematics: Some people do that to get on but that’s something that’s been happenin for years. Me, personally, I put too much into my music to give my credit to somebody else. I guess it’s the route a person wanna go. You can never sell your soul though, because some people might sell it and that could have been their big break and they might never get that chance again. It’s to each his own but me, personally, um no. You’re a producer then you’re a producer, do the damn thing, show me what you got.
These are the transcripts of an interview with Masta Killa. The interview was conducted by Arthur Sapounas (DJ A.R.T.) on July 25th, 2003.
Masta Killa is one of the core nine members of the Wu-Tang Clan. He burst onto the Hip Hop scene in 1993 with Wu-Tang’s debut album “Enter The 36 Chambers” and since then has gained notoriety due to being the member least to step out into the limelight. While all other members have dropped solo releases, Masta Killa has yet to do so. He is scheduled to change this later in 2003 with “No Said Date.
MVRemix: First of all, is there a date set for “No Said Date”?
Masta Killa: Nah not yet. I say definitely sometime this fall but there’s not one set yet MVRemix: Was releasing independently due to label procrastinations or were there other reasons behind it?
Masta Killa: As for as the independent thing it’s always good to show the industry or whoever that your serious individually first, that’s how we started in the beginning anyway… before loud, we showed we were serious in the street right out the gate…that we were serious about our craft first and it’s important to stick with the same formula you came in with and once we did that (showed the world we were serious) it was gravy after that…
MVRemix: You’re the only clansman to stick with Wu-production – with RZA, True Master and Allah Mathematics. Are you keeping with the solid roots of the Wu bringing back the sound of ’93 and ’97or in 2003, how has the sound changed or evolved?
Masta Killa: Well you know with every DJ and emcee they seem to grow and separate themselves from the competition but it’s important to remain with your sound and what your hardcore fans expect to hear. Like if someone comes to get a Masta Killa album they expect a Wu-sound rather than if you want Roc-A-Fella sound you pick up a Roc-A-Fella record. You gotta give people what they want!
MVRemix: How do you feel about ODB being with Roc-A-Fella? In a press release it said he’s on “No Said Date.” How was collaborating with him again?
Masta Killa: I haven’t really sat down and talked to my brother and discussed how he’s feeling. There’s no question that we always family, but business is separate you have to do what you have to do. I am not against him. Roc-A-Fella is a small camp doing big things in the last couple of years, so I feel he’s definitely anxious to do what he loves doing. And if he feels Roc can help him do that, then I have no problem with that MVRemix: Why have you taken so long to drop your debut while fellow clansmen have dropped 2 or 3?
Masta Killa: To tell you the truth I never really considered being an individual artist. When I got involved it was more or less to assist and help my 8 brothers succeed in the vision that they already had. See I never even thought of it that way. Old Dirty Bastard, RZA and GZA, those three individuals already had known what they wanted to do; be in the industry, be a rap star, get on. See they wanted to get on since they were children. [Laughs] When we formed the clan, everyone was so talented being a part of an all-star cast like the clan. Sometimes when you’re drafted they don’t need you to come in and score 50 points they just need an assist, so I was basically a team player who wanted to win. Be a point guard with the assist and jumper here and there, but now I have no problem with showing the world I can score 63 points, ’cause that’s where I’m at right now
MVRemix: It seems everyone these days are an emcee or a DJ and all these smaller artists are coming up through the underground, how do you feel about that – Hip-Hop being a mass media market?
Masta Killa: Well hip-hop has inspired so many people – all the cultures being brought together. Even cultures that really couldn’t understand the art have now adapted the art and are so good at it now. I see it as something that can’t be stopped cause it’s just spilled into so many worlds, so many different cultures. I mean I love it. I’m not mad at anybody if you wanna be an emcee or DJ well there’s so many people who feel that way and if you really wanna get on in this business you gotta be serious about your craft and have the uniqueness that gonna stand out in the world so that they accept you and respect you like that.
MVRemix: Where do you see Masta Killa in five years?
Masta Killa: Five years from now if I’m blessed maybe I can still make music like Quincy Jones or somebody. Just on the low making music helping other people get through the door, give them the supreme wisdom to guide them and to help them get to a level that maybe I didn’t get to make it to. I could be a coach. MVRemix: So, where do you see the Clan in five years?
Masta Killa: I see us still having an anniversary. Still together doing a show looking like the Isley Brothers or something…
MVRemix: On a more personal note – being from Canada why don’t you do more shows up north?
Masta Killa: We’ve been to Canada done shows up there, what’s your hometown….”Kitchener” Word? I’ve been there and I’d love to come back and rock when the album drops I wanna tour everywhere and rep it. I’m real happy with this album its like a rebirth for me and I think the fans are definitely gonna appreciate and I’m gonna come back 18 months or a year later with the same elements of sound, with the individual album it’s been forever since a Wu member has dropped with all the family members on it, taking you back to the first five albums out the gate. Cuban Linx, Liquid Swords, 36 Chambers all those classics albums my solo album fits in there, it’s the first rebirth of something that has been cooking for 10 or 11 years.
MVRemix: Do you think fans can look forward to another Wu-Tang album soon? Has there been talk within the clan about the recently or is everyone still focused upon solo efforts?
Masta Killa: Everybody is focused on they solo level always, but I know we definitely gonna get together for another clan album. I love them and like I said I’ve never really focused on my solo career, if we could stay together and just bang out clan albums I’d be happy. I like doing my thing individually but I love working with the family.
MVRemix: The Wu is known to smoke a ton of weed…what’s your stance on drugs and being in Canada and the marijuana laws changing are you for legalization of marijuana and/or in NY the repel of Rockefeller drug laws?
Masta Killa: I really can’t say as far as the legalization goes cause that’s another whole level of politics and in ’92-’94 that was Wu. I don’t really think drugs are really good for anyone, but to each his own for whoever chooses to use that for stimulation for whatever reason. As far as legalization or keeping it illegal…that’s a whole other level beyond my range. MVRemix: There are rumors of RZA, yourself and others performing at Rocksteady this year…Will you be performing?
Masta Killa: Oh yeah I’m definitely looking forward to rocking that. Rocksteady is a crew of break dancers that’s been around since as long as I’ve known hip-hop and the single I dropped “Digi Warfare” with “No Said Date” as the B-Side. It’s a single I dedicate to the DJ’s and break dancers and now I have to incorporate the rollerbladers, skateboarders and the bikers cause hip-hop has spread and spilled over into so many worlds, it’s grown universally. Everything is hip-hop from McDonalds commercials everything! So “Digi Warfare” is dedicated to the DJ’s ’cause making beats is all good but it’s nothing like having a DJ there cuttin’ and you grab the mic on the block party straight rockin’, cause if they feeling you then you gonna know. I love crowd hype and rockin’ shows. You could be blocks away intrigued cause the sound you hearing, the DJ cutting the record to death. That’s why I love the DJ’s cause there’s no emcee without the DJ.
MVRemix: What do you think of the Capadonna situation with him driving cabs and the allegations he never got paid by RZA?
Masta Killa: I really can’t say cause I heard he was on the radio saying about driving cabs. I am not sure what the politics of his business with RZA was but for the last 10 or 11 years I know my business with RZA has always been righteous. Everything doesn’t always go your way in business you have to keep striving’ to reach that plateau that you can peak at. You know (Michael) Jordan played ball for years before he won the championship but it’s something he chose (to stay on that road). You gotta stay on the road, keep playin’ the game. Cap is keeping it real with a job cause every man is responsible for paying the bills and feeding the family, even if you working at the supermarket or driving cabs it’s respectable. Until you can do what you love when you on that level. Don’t point a finger when your individual success is not where it’s supposed to be. MVRemix: Who else did you work with on the upcoming album “No Said Date”?
Masta Killa: I really wanted to give the fans an original Wu-Tang album, like the ones first out the gate. If you check “Cuban Linx” which is one of the hottest out of the camp, that was a Raekwon album but he only had 3 solo songs on there, it’s really a Wu-Tang album with Rae’s name on it. I’m keeping it family oriented, how the fans want it. I want to stamp my name on that first then I would love to work with tons of artists out there, R&B, Rap if you hot, I respect it and want to work with everybody. MVRemix: If there was anyone, past or present, that you could work with on a track, who would it be?
Masta Killa: Man I don’t want to limit myself. If there is someone I’m feeling and they feelin’ me, then let’s work. Gotta get it done, make history on Quincy Jones album or something. You can’t go back but I would have loved to work with Pac or B.I.G. they were both incredible artists. Anybody, Rakim… Whoever’s hot… like Roc-A-Fella! MVRemix: Is there anything else you’ve got cooking, like collaborations on other Wu-family records, videos, freestyles?
Masta Killa: These days just givin’ the people the album is not enough. I know the music is enough, but times are hard and I’m definitely coming with the DVD for the visual aspect. Things I’ve done home and abroad, footage from the concerts and the studio that fans gonna appreciate. I’m also droppin’ a book called Masta Killa’s poetry cause a lot of things I’ve written never really made wax. Cause a lot of things (rhymes) have to be conformed to match the beat or album on the song but to put it on paper, it’s free (verse). So “The Best of Masta Killa’s Poetry” allows me to speak to the readers, cause on paper you get a different feel from it, maybe diggin’ deeper than on a song. In this game a lot of people aren’t saying anything worth reading but I feel I am. I also got a couple movie scripts I’ve written and I’m just waiting to get the ball rollin’. Just wait for the album! MVRemix: Any last words for your fans/potential fans out there?
Masta Killa: For the fans thank you for the support. I look forward to giving you beautiful music, something nourishing that you’ve been waiting for.