Naledge: Well Prepped
Not only a Just Blaze protege, but also University educated, Naledge goes by a befitting moniker.
Alongside his partner Double O, Naledge is set to help try to bring Rawkus back to their late ’90’s success, a time where everyone and their mother looked for a Rawkus record (well, backpackers and coffee shop chicks anyway).
These are the transcripts of an interview with Naledge aired February 26th, 2006 on DJ Hyphen & J. Moore’s “Sunday Night Sound Session” on Seattle’s KUBE 93.3 FM.
MVRemix: Introduce yourself to the people…
Naledge: This is your boy Naledge Born, Prince of Chicago. The rebirth of Rawkus Records. You know the demo. “Broke Diaries” the album coming soon this August, look for it. Check it, bootleg it, [laughs] pawn it, whatever.
MVRemix: Just listen to it any way you can…
Naledge: Get your hands on it ‘cause it’s going to be something.
MVRemix: Yeah man, you mentioned Rawkus Records, congratulations you guys made the announcement a couple of weeks ago that you signed there, you and Double-O. How did you guys first link up? It was in college right, to form Kidz In The Hall?
Naledge: Yeah, it’s kind of ironic ‘cause I was coming into school, Double O was leaving out. I kind of met him on a recruiting visit. I used to play baseball, Double O ran track… we forged a relationship from there. The rest is history. We always kept in touch and it’s just ironic how things work. I went to an Ivy League school thinking that would be the most non-musical experience of my life and it turned into being something that was the complete opposite. You know? So…
MVRemix: How did the deal actually come about with Rawkus Records?
Naledge: Shout out to John Monopoly, I don’t know if people are familiar with John, he’s president of G.O.O.D. Music, but he runs Hustle, which was basically his baby since back in the day when he ran party promotions. He’s done marketing and consulting. He’s just a person that knows how to cross T’s and dot I’s. He’s a deal maker, one of the hottest executives in the game right now. He basically saw me as a talented emcee and being the next thing out of Chicago and me carrying the torch. He also realized that I was bringing back the golden era so to speak. That’s what he likes to call it. He’s like, “You’re a throwback emcee and I got the perfect deal for you.” He was very close with Brian and Jared and Rawkus, he knew they were trying to make a resurrection happen and he basically came to them and said that I’m the perfect artist for the job. Which, in due to time, we will see.
MVRemix: So at what point did you catch the eyes of Just Blaze? ‘Cause I know you have some affiliation there.
Naledge: That’s a very round about kind of situation. Just is actually real cool with Double O, they’re both from Jersey and they knew each other just from travels, they’re both real into technology. Anybody who knows Just knows he’s a gadget head and so is Double O. Both of them were like computer majors. So some of their conversations are way out there but they have a friendship that way and musically they talked about production all the time. Eventually, after they’ve had a good relationship, Double O just kept tellin’ him, “You need to hear Naledge, Naledge is dope… Naledge is dope… Naledge is dope.” Finally, Just took me out of that pile that sits on his desk and popped it in, I think put it on his iPod, and went away with it for a minute and came back and said, “Yo this is fresh, I wanna do something with you.” So we recorded like two joints, and that was my demo. That’s pretty much what got me the deal and garnered me most of my interest. And he hosted my mixtape, “Off The Love, Off The Strength.”
MVRemix: I know that he produced a track you did with Cornel West called “My Country” that was off the last mixtape. Is that joint gonna to make the album, and if not is he doing any other beats on the album? I know he’s executive producing it…
Naledge: Yeah, yeah, you can look for a lot from Just on the album. We got some surprises. We got some stuff we can reveal and stuff we can’t reveal. Now “My Country,” everybody loves that song, I think it might end up being the crown jewel of the album when it’s finished. The finished version. Right now, the streets kind of have the mixtape version…
MVRemix: It’s still kind of a snippet huh?
Naledge: Yeah, I mean instead of letting people leak it all over the net, we figured we’d just put it on a mixtape and let people hear it that way. If people are clamouring for it anyway, we might as well let ‘em hear it. I’m all for the people man, I’m all for hip-hop. That’s my main goal: to bring back a feeling that I felt when I bought Rawkus LPs. The feeling I got when I popped in ‘Resurrection’ for the first time; the feeling I got from Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, Gangstarr and all of that stuff. I’m coming to say this isn’t outdated and this is something that’s still relevant and this is… We need balance in Hip Hop and I think I provide balance.