Sunday, March 8, 2015

Evolution of a Man: An Interview with Imperator (Part 2)

Old Dog New Tricks

You've rhymed about battling Eminem on a couple different songs. Can you talk about that?

    That was 1997 Rap Olympics. That started off with me at the Project Blowed and it wasn't even a Project Blowed night. We was just there at the Project Blowed and all these rappers were comin' in there. I dunno if they were just comin' there to see the Project Blowed or whatever or to see, like, "Oh, these the dudes we battling tonight." So I was there. Nobody else was really there, maybe one other person. And we ended up rappin' and I did pretty good. I was freestyling and everybody was like "damn, Imp! You served him and you ain't even in the contest." I wasn't even really in that rap contest initially, but I was like, "Okay, I'm goin' for the thing." So I went to the place - I think it was called The Proud Bird. And I just went there for the festivities. I was there to represent and see the homeboys do they thing. But while they was battling, they start callin' some rapper. And they're like, "Hey, you better come up here! Going once, going twice..." and I'm like, "Oh, here I am! Here I am!" So I wasn't even supposed to be in that battle! And I remember I battled a girl and maybe two or three guys, so it was kind of extensive. So I beat all of them and then I battled Eminem. And when I battled Eminem I remember he came off sayin' - I mean, from me bein' old school, I know a lot about rap, so if you're imitating somebody, I can kinda tell what you're goin' for. So he came in and he was doing this KRS-One thing. So I came off, my opening line when we battled was "White boy, first off, before you come in here biting Kris Parker, you gon' have to get a whole lot darker!" That's the only thing I kinda remember but the crowd just started rolling and I went in at that point and they told me I won. "You won. Go backstage. You gon' have to battle Otherwize." So I'm like, "Cool."

    So now, Wendy Day. You can look her up. She got a lot of people millions and millions of dollars. Master P, Cash Money, Tung Twista, David Banner. She's very helpful. She has a very helpful website and everything. But I guess at that point she didn't understand battle rap. So she thought I was racist. So she came, tellin' me, "You're a racist! Why you have to say that?" She was upset because he had lost. But Eminem came and shook my hand and he was cool. He was like, "Man, I understand." He wasn't trippin' and he gave me his cassette and I was like, "Thank you."

    So backstage, me and Otherwize were high fivin' like, "Man, we did it! Cool!" So maybe five minutes later they call me back, like, "Ay, you gotta battle this kid Eminem again." I'm like "I already beat him! Why I gotta battle again?" So we battle again and he was determined to be the winner and they sent him to finals. So now, I know I wasn't supposed to be in this, but I'm upset because what kinda arrangement is this? He won one. I won one. Shouldn't that be a draw? But they said, "No, he won." So he went on and Otherwize ended up beatin' him, and the footage is on YouTube but they only show what Eminem said. They don't show what any of the other rappers said. And the guy videoing it, I knew him because I used to work for him! And If I ever see him I'm gonna ask him, "Do you have that footage?" 'Cause man, I would love to see that 'cause I remember that night. The guys from Project Blowed were picking me up in the air like, "Imp, you did it! You did your thing!" So it was a good feelin' that night, even though I didn't win. As far as I was concerned it was still a victory.

    And then, even in the contest, here's another thing I had to deal with! I had to diss the host 'cause he said, "Old dude, you old. What you gonna do?" (laughs) And the funny thing is, I never looked old! So that was my whole thing. I never looked like I was an old dude but if you don't look like you twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, I guess. Back in the day, I guess if you looked twenty something, they'd say you too old to be in this game! So I had to diss the host 'cause he tried to clown me. And people were sayin', "Man, you don't know who you talkin' to!" But he was cool. Once I checked him, he was cool.

    But I believe in myself. If I ever thought I was garbage, and sometimes I sit back and just from me not havin' any real success in this game, it makes me question myself. 'Cause I have some friends and when they rap to me, I be like, "That nigga old school. He really old school." 'Cause they don't wanna step outside of what they've been doin' the last twenty years. At least I try to step out the box. If I'm rappin' over a different beat, I'm thinkin' it's gonna make me evolve and create a new style or something. Like some people tell me, "Oh, I want you to rap like this." Like, I already did that! Why would I go back and do that? I mean, I might go back and do that sometimes and no matter what I do, you're still gonna hear the old school with it. But I'm always trying to find something new and innovative. I really wanna do a project that's different, that's really different, you know?

In 2005, you dropped an album called Family Ties with your son and a guy called Goldie. Is he related to you as well?

    Goldie is my nephew from Baltimore. That's my sister's son. But I hadn't been in his life 'cause he was in Baltimore and I was in California. So I went to Baltimore one day and he was rappin'  and I could see he was tryin' to hold back. And I was like, "Joey, do you, man. I'm your uncle and everything, but I'm not trying to come here and pop up in your life and demand things from you. I mean, I'ma watch you, and if you doin' the wrong thing, I'ma let you know." But he was tryin'a act like he didn't smoke and he didn't drink. But I was like, "Do you." But anyway, prior to that we did the Patterson Park album. I recorded that down there. Then once he came to California, we did the Family Ties album. He didn't wanna do it. I wanted to do one, just him, but he said he wouldn't do it unless I was on it with him. I wanted to push him. But he refused. He was like, "Nah, if you ain't doin' the album, I'm not gon' do an album." So we did the Family Ties. My son wasn't rappin' then. He was more a producer then. He was very sharp. He switched up on me, but he was so sharp. He was like, "No, the producers get the money. I'ma be behind the scenes. I'm takin' care of the business." So he did a lot of the beats on there and he's actually not rappin' on no songs on there. That's just me and Goldie.


    I mean, I've got stories. We went on tour. I've got hours and hours of footage of stuff when we went on tour. Down south, after Hurricane Katrina, in 2004, 2005, we went on tour. Just promotin', gettin' out, doin' things. And we actually had some momentum but things, people, you know, when you see anybody, any group, that's been together for a long time, you gotta commend that because it's real hard to get a group of individuals to focus and actually meet a goal. So that whole situation ended up goin' down the drain. I ended up busting a u-turn at Texas and came back home. That pretty much ended Family Ties.

After that, you released the Team B.A.M.M album, which featured a lot of tracks with Otherwize. Was Otherwize ever a part of By Any Means Music?

    He wasn't really a part of By Any Means Music. He was just part of that project. I was livin' in Palmdale at the time and he was up there and our goal was to make an album in one day. That was the goal. We challenged ourselves because we had two different producers. We had more, but me and my son were the main producers. I dealt with hardware. He dealt with software. He done the Fruity Loop thing. I did the MPC thing. So he's in one room. I'm in one room. Everybody's writin'. The house is crazy. People doin' this, doin' that. We ended up gettin', I don't know, six or seven songs done. And, you know, I started thinkin' it was a bad idea. Later, a guy from New York came out who supposedly did an album in one day. We was ahead of the game on a lot of stuff. If you listen to the freestyle on Patterson Park, we got a freestyle called "Alphabetical Slaughter" and Papoose ended up making a thing like way, way later. So a lot of stuff I see going down in the underground circuit, whether it was the Project Blowed, the Good Life, Straight Off the Streets Productions, By Any Means Music. You know, we did it, we just didn't have the backing to get to that level.

    And I think about that all the time. What I'm doing and everything I've done thus far has been out of my pocket and out of my grind and out of my hustle. I've never had, really, besides Freddy Fred, and even in that situation I paid for the studio time. I actually paid him, still, to do beats for me and everything. So all of this stuff was me and a lot of the knowledge was me and my intuition and, like I say, my hustle! And I always think, "Man, If I did all of that and for whatever the quality is, or however good it came out, just imagine what that would sound like if I had a chance to be with a producer, with a Kanye West, a DJ Premier, a Dr. Dre, a Timbaland, or anybody!" I've never had that. One time, with Family Ties, I was in a real studio 'cause I had some money and we had to take it somewhere else to get mixed 'cause the guy was trippin'. But I would love to do that. Hopefully one day I can have a budget. Somebody who says, you know, "This guy's good. Let's do it right," you know? But I've never had that opportunity. But I never let that stop me 'cause if I did, where would I be at? If I said, "I'ma wait until I get a deal," nothing I've ever done would be anything! It wouldn't exist!

In 2011 you released Suicide Note, which is a pretty unique album in your catalogue. Was that album inspired by stuff you were going through in your real life?

    Part of everything I do is life. If you listen to the actual song "Evolution of a Man" I talk about putting the gun to my head. "I put the gun to my head and ask the Lord why was I ever born." A lot of thoughts come in my head, like everybody else, but the thing is do you act on those thoughts? I mean, I would never act on it. All of the suicide that was goin' on, and that whole album, to be honest, is not what I intended. It's part of what I intended, but when I hooked up with a guy - I actually did get a little help on that one - and he thought it was too dark. I wanted to make an album that you would be scared to listen to by yourself. But I was persuaded to not go that route. It ended up being a lot lighter. Even the album cover. The album cover I had, they was like, "No, you can't do that." My album cover was gonna be crazy!


 

That's a shame. That'd be cool to hear an album like that from you.
    Yeah, the album cover I had in mind was gonna be a double bar-, like if you look down at it, you see a skull, and stickin' up through the mouth of the skull (laughs) is a double barrel shotgun, and the head was blown out, but lookin' out through the skull you can see the hand on the desk writing [a suicide note]. So I had a cold, cold album cover, and even when I did the bear, which I pretty much jacked that from the internet and had a friend add some blood and stuff, but I got a friend, he's like Snoop Dogg, he's a pimp, and he called me up, like, [in Snoop voice] "Hey man, I like your music but you cannot have that album cover. My ladies, they sleep with a teddy bear! How can you do this to the teddy bear?" (laughs) But he had me rollin'. He had an issue with me cuttin' the teddy bear's head off. 

Your most recent project Old Dog New Tricks featured Konvick, Medusa, Mister CR and Ellay Khule among others. Was that an album or more of a mixtape?

    It started out as a mixtape but when you go to sell it, it's an album so I look at it like - people tell me, when I said it was a mixtape, "Man, that's an album." Like, okay, it's an album. Whatever you wanna call it. But yeah, once again, that started out as a concept of me embracing the old. Like, yeah, I'm old but I've got some new tricks. You know, I can still do what's happenin'. I've done shows and when I'm finished I get the young people tellin' me, "Man, I can't believe you that old and doin' this and rappin' like that." And the older people be like, "Man, you motivate me. I was gonna quit but you inspired me." So I get that and I like that, I appreciate that.

    But yeah, I downloaded a lot of the beats. If I really, really liked the song I went ahead and bought it. So some of 'em don't have the tags on 'em. The one with me, Medusa and Konvick, we recorded that at Medusa's house in Leimert Park. I think I had the verse done and I had the beat and Medusa came up with the hook. I had some part of it but she added her flavour to it. Then Konvick threw his part on there. Rifleman and CR, we recorded that at Rifleman's house. You know, I had a little mac laptop and a mic and I would just take that around, if I had to. I think pretty much most of it I did in Palmdale. I had a real nice studio up there.

    My brother really likes that one, the guy who got me into rap. He called me two days ago like, "Man, what're you doing with that Old Dog New Tricks? I think that's your best album!" I deal with that a lot too. People sayin' I'm not doin' it right. Man, I'm doin' everything I can do! A lot of these people are not even in the game. I got an open ear to what they sayin'. I'm not saying just because they're not in the game they don't know what the hell they talkin' about. But they don't know I already did that and I'm still doin' that. But with my brother, I'm like "Man, I did that in 2013." He like, "I be playin' your CD again. Why you ain't doin' this? Why you ain't doin' that?" I'm doin' all of that! Some of what they askin' I can't do!

And Old Dog New Tricks 2 is coming out soon?

    Yeah, I was just playin' it in the car. I think I have about fourteen songs. I got a song called "Dreams." I think I put one on Youtube called "Hear My Story." It's about my life, about how my father was abusive, about me getting beat up in New York, running away to Baltimore. So it's about those three cities: New York, Baltimore and L.A. New York was the abuse of my father. L.A. was the gangbangin'. This was the murder capital! L.A. was crazy! Me and my friend were talkin' the other day and he was sayin', "Man, this was the wild west!" It was a whole different mentality. It was a different code of rules. A lot of people are doin' stuff that would've got 'em killed back then, and that's good. I'm glad it's not like that anymore. But some people doin' stuff that would've got their cap peeled. Baltimore, when I lived there, the house I ran away to was full of war vets and some of them had been in a mental institution called Crownsville 'cause they was war vets, they were traumatized and this, that and the other. So I had moments back then where uncles tried to stab me. I had uncles stab up my cousins, my sisters. I woke up one night and my cousin had a mirror and they stabbed him in the head with a mirror. I woke up one night and my uncle was standing over me with an axe. There were shootings and everything. So for me to be who I am and as cool as I am I think that's good considering all I've been through. I sold heron in New York was I was twelve. My brother, a half brother, had me selling heron. You know, I did it for a little bit. And I think about it and it's like, man, that's not cool. Gettin' your little brother to sell heron.

    So I've been through a lot. I've been through the gangbanging, hustling, selling drugs, violence and at the same time I used to walk alone. I always walked alone. New York had gangs. The Black Spades, The Peacemakers. They had different gangs in New York. Baltimore had gangs. The Marshall Gang. L.A., the Crips, the Boods, the this, the that. I never joined a gang. I've also been solo bolo for the most part. And I'm not a tough guy or nothin' but I'm a thorough dude and I pretty much go where I wanted to go, do what I do and pretty much never had any problems. I had more problems out of family and friends, the people that supposed to love you. I get more disrespect and more things outta them than killers (laughs). 

 

The last thing I wanted to ask you - we kind of touched on it already - but what's planned for the future?

    The thing about being an artist is I have million damn ideas in my head. I got concepts and everything. But I stay with my roommate now and some of his characteristics aren't that cool but then some of the things that I think aren't that cool, I'm starting to understand why he's that way because I've spent a lot time rippin' and runnin', doin' all this in hip-hop. And it's taken it's toll on me physically. It's taken money. It's taken time. It's not bein' able to sleep. And he don't want me to stop. He's just tellin' me to slow down so I'm startin' to listen to him and I'm starting to see some of the stuff he does. So I wanted finish up Old Dog New Tricks 2. And I have to stay focused, 'cause I'll be all over the place. But If I ever had a budget, I'd make some shit work. I could definitely do a lot especially if I didn't have to be a one man army, you know, trying to be Mr. Everything. But if I'm not Mr. Everything it won't be anything.

http://www.byanymeansmusic.com/
https://soundcloud.com/impraps
https://www.facebook.com/imperatorofrhyme?ref=profile

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Syndrome228: The Endangered Element

Adidas Emperor Synsideous

    Syndrome228 aka Synsideous of EX2, Bullyz Squad and Force M.C.'$ has been consistently dropping dope music since he debuted on AWOL One's Noise: A Hip-Hop Collection back in 1996. In 2012, he released his solo debut Exodus and more recently contributed two verses to Ellay Khule's King of the Chop CD. Here are a handful of his more recent tracks that shouldn't go under the radar:



https://www.facebook.com/AdidasEmporerSynsideous?fref=nf
http://synsideous.bandcamp.com/
https://soundcloud.com/syn-228

Friday, March 6, 2015

Evolution of a Man: An Interview with Imperator (Part 1)

Evolution of a Man

    Steven Laws, the Imperator of Rhyme, is a Good Life O.G. and CEO of By Any Means Music. He's been rapping since hip-hop's infancy and continues to record music today. In part one of this interview, Imp and I discuss his early history, the Good Life, Rick Konvick, and his first studio album Evolution of a Man. Stayed tuned for part two, where Imp speaks on battling Eminem, some of his more recent albums and his plans for the future.

On "Why We Do This" you describe first hearing your brother rap in '79 and being inspired to get into hip-hop. Can you talk about that?

    My first experience with rap music - I was sittin' on the steps in Baltimore. I was living in Baltimore. I ran away from New York. You know, I had an abusive father so I ran away when I was 12 years old. And in 1979, not long after I ran away, my brother had come down for Memorial Day. And I was sittin' on - Baltimore has row houses - and I was sittin' on the marble steps - the stoop, we called it the stoop - with this girl named Nookie. What's up, Nookie! I actually see her on Facebook still to this day. And we saw my brother on top of my grandfather's trunk, just movin' around, bobbin' around and people start gatherin' around! And I'm sittin' with this girl, and she's like, "What is your brother doing?" So I was like, "I don't know. Let's go see." So we go over there, and he was doing a lot of old school rhymes. He's doin' "I was walkin' down the street with a joint in my hand/ I blaze it up here with my man/ I took a hit, maybe three or four/ and then I fell into a door/ they was jammin' hard in this discotech/ I paid to see, I said 'what the heck?'" Y'know, he was saying a lot of old school rhymes. Now mind you, I had heard no rap music. Nobody in Baltimore, to my knowledge, had heard rap music, at least in my vicinity. I was in east Baltimore. So I'm like "wow!" I'm blown away. I mean, he's literally standin' on the top of my grandfather's trunk, all these people standin' around. This is in 1979.

    So when he was finished, I was amazed. I mean, this is my brother! He was down from New York. He was visiting. And, like I said, I had ran away from New York. So we get to talkin' and I'm after what it is and he tellin' me, "It's rap music. This is what we doing in New York." So, I'm like, "Okay, keep sayin' your raps to me!" He was only there for three or four days, the Memorial Weekend. So, you know, he kept repeatin' his rhymes to me and by the time he left, I had memorized his raps. So once he left, I'm runnin' around, I took his name and everything. He called himself DJ Flame. So I took his name and everything, I'm walking around, saying his raps, using his name. Then some months later "Rapper's Delight" came out. And some people were knockin' at my door like, "Your brother's on the radio!" So they thought it was my brother. But I'm like, "Nah, that's not my brother." That was pretty much my initiation getting into the rap game.
    From that point, I ended up moving to California. Like I said, I had a real abusive father. He ran a lot of people away, from physically beatin' us. So my mother had left. So I get a call, I might've been down there in Baltimore for maybe a year, but my mother calls me and she's like, "Hey, I'm in California. You wanna come to California?" And I'm like, "Yeah!" So I moved to California. Once I got out to California, I think my brother ended up coming out here too, so we stayed together. And I hooked up with Wiz Wonder. He stayed across the street. He was a white guy but he lived in the hood.

That's the guy who produced "Grooving", right?

    He definitely did the first "Grooving" then we ended up hooking up with Battlecat, and me, him and Battlecat redid it again. And Wiz Wonder, if you look into it, he started a group called Blak Forest which had a few different emcees in it. So me and Wiz, we grew up on Browning Blvd. and DJ Quik actually, I didn't know, but he actually lived on the street. If you listen to his raps he'll say Browning in 'em. But we called ourselves the Boulevard Crew. We started doing stuff together. You know, he had records, he was a DJ, way back then. So we'd make little raps and stuff. Some of that stuff is gone. I don't think I have too much of what we did. I have a couple but we had a lot and we did a lot of stuff, and going back east, I had one cassette and I was passing it around and somebody tore it up, hating on it. So that got lost and I don't think he has it either.

    At that point, by that time, I had started writing. So I started off biting my brother's stuff, repeating his stuff, but pretty much in L.A. is when I started writing. And I started writing more about what was going on. Obviously my brother was my first and primary influence, but after that I would say, like, Melle Mel, you know, "The Message." I was on some more political stuff. I was on party stuff. Count Coolout and Super Rhymes, they were similar rappers. Super Rhymes was actually a rapper called Jimmy Spicer. So I would kinda see what these guys had goin' on.

    The west coast hadn't really made a lot of noise at that point. Later, I think, Toddy Tee was one of the early people who came out. He made a song called, "Batterram." And then we get up into that era when the crack had hit in L.A. So me bein' in L.A., not long after, a couple years later, that's when the crack had got real crazy out here in L.A. That's when the streets were dangerous. We had the murder capital out here. And I got caught up in the hustlin' and selling drugs. And I would take the money I made to buy different things, so Wiz could make some beats, to do this, to do that. You know, he had things on his own but I contributed to a few. You know, I would find a drum machine or something like that. So Wiz pretty much was doin' my stuff and my rhymes went from political to more talkin' about stuff in the streets. I was talkin' about the cocaine. A lot of things are lost. I still remember the raps, but the recordings are gone. I won't ever get those unless some miracle happens and someone has a tape.

Is Old School Vibes pretty much all you have from that time?

    I have to check my computer and I have a few cassettes I have to go through. I think have a few other things, but from that era, pretty much, me and Wiz, you know, we did a lot of stuff together but I've just lost so much stuff, loaning stuff to people, never getting it back or it getting destroyed or something.

You recently posted a picture on Facebook of you with Kool Moe Dee. Is there a story behind that?  

    Oh, yeah! They had a radio station called KDAY - they actually still have it - but it was on AM back then and they were the ones who played rap music. I won their last rap contest they had before they went off the air, and Kool Moe Dee was the judge of who would be the winner. That was in North Carolina. I won, I dunno, I won a thousand dollars, a trip to Washington, D.C., a year supply of hair supplies (laughs), so it was fun. Meetin' these people, going to BET, that was actually Rap City that did that. The Mayor, he was the host. I think I do have video footage of that. I won for L.A., not the overall contest. My song was "Forty Acres in a Mule", you know, a positive black thing. I think the brother that won was from North Carolina and I was feelin' his rap, his swagger and everything. I've always been like, "Listen what I'm sayin'." It took me a while to even be that concerned with the beat. I always was so concerned about what they were sayin' and what's the message. Most people, first thing they like is the beat, then the hook, then the swag. So if you got swag and you have a cool style, they don't care what you sayin'. And that's not my angle.


So you were at the Good Life pretty much from day one?

    Yeah, in the 80's, at that point, after Wiz, I stumbled upon the Good Life. I was at a park. Once again, it was KDAY. It was a lot easier to get on the radio back then. It's virtually impossible now, unless you're on a major label or somethin'. Back then, you kinda could. They kinda felt that if you're a rapper you can come and perform and they'll give you a little airplay, stuff like that. So I was actually performing for KDAY at a park one day - I think it was with X-Clan - and Sonny Carson, he was the manager of X-Clan [and Professor X's father]. I used to run around with Macadoshis. He rapped with 2Pac. He's still a good friend of mine. So me and him hung out all the time and we was at a park called Marcus Garvey and they were having a rap show and I think KDAY put me down to perform. And I met Sonny Carson. He was a gangbanger from New York but he changed his life. They made a movie about him called The Education of Sonny Carson. So he ended up being a manager for X-Clan. So, when I'm performing I meet Sonny Carson and he told me, "Come up to Hollywood and hang out with us." So me and Macadoshis went up there and, you know, some of the brothers wasn't feeling us, but Sonny was feeling us. So once we get to talkin', he found out who my father was and he told me my father used to look out for him when he was a kid so he really felt like he wanted to help me out. This was Sonny Carson! So we had a good bond, had a couple drinks and we ended up walking down Hollywood Blvd. singin', "No Justice! No Peace! No Justice! No Peace!" There was a shooting, the police killed somebody or something. So we walkin' down Hollywood Blvd. We marched all the way to this club. And he was teaching me about the game. He said, "Whenever you go to perform, soon as you get on stage you get your money before you start singin' or rappin' or anything."  So that was real cool that he knew my father. I think he ended up passing away.

    But you were askin' me about the Good Life. So that same day, someone gave me a flyer. I think it was Rod (aka Arcane Blaze). B. Hall and Rod are the people who did the Good Life and I believe he gave me a flyer to come to Underground Radio 'cause that's what it was called. Once again, I say on my Evolution of a Man album, the Good Life is a health food venue and the event was actually called Underground Radio or Underground Railroad - it was one of 'em. And when I first went there, it'd be two or three people in there initially and then it started to grow. I ended up being a soundman at some points, I brought my sound system, I was security (laughs). I was real versatile. I did whatever I had to do. I'd be the host. Then it went to bein' packed in there. I think that was more toward the late 80's, like '88 or something like that.

I was a big fan of your Digging in the Tapes mixes. Have you ever thought of doing a third one?

    I recently thought about doing it again. My situation isn't that good right now. So I'm kinda in a transition of regrouping and getting my life together. That's why I haven't been doing much and doin' stuff like that. Once I get more situated, where I'm a bit more comfortable. You know, I got a gang of studio equipment and it's in storage, you know, so I need to get situated first before I can get set up and start taking care of business again. I mean, I would love to do that again. I've lost a lot of cassettes and tapes and videos. So much stuff is just gone. I remember one time I had got frustrated and I had stories I had wrote, raps I had wrote and I had a trash bag that was full of raps and everything and I dunno, it was some things I was going through with my spouse back then, and I was just frustrated like, "It ain't gonna work", or whatever and I put all that shit on the grill and I damn near cried. But I burned all that shit up, man. It was stuff I wrote when I was a kid, when I was like twelve or thirteen. I was like, "This shit ain't..." and I regret that, man.

You posted a really dope Konvick track recently. I've heard about a "Konvick tape" and I read Ab Rude say Konvick recorded an album with Punish. Do you have any info about that?

    Konvick has a ton of music! Yeah, Konvick, rest in peace, was a friend of mine. He's been recording for a while. Volume 10 gave him his name, the name Konvick. His real name was a Richard Abdullah. So people just call him Rick, Rick Konvick, very few people call him Richard. But he was a heavyweight, man. I told Konvick before that I consider him the west coast Biggie. I've recorded him, I've done beats for him. Konvick was dope. He had that voice, he had them vintage stories, when he was rapping, all his thug stuff, his gangster stuff, you know, that was true! That was him! We sat and talked, you know, I can't share them stories (laughs). But he definitely has a lot of music. Rifleman probably has a bunch of Konvick stuff, Freddy Fred probably has some stuff, I have some stuff.

Speaking of Freddy Fred, he produced most of Evolution of a Man. Can you talk about recording that album?

    Lemme give you a story on Freddy Fred. I was at a copy place, gettin' some copies made and I knew the guy doin' the copies. He had a store. And Freddy Fred came in there sayin' he was having an audition for rappers that night. So my homeboy introduced me to Freddy Fred. He was lookin' for a rapper to produce. He had this studio in Hollywood he had rented. So I said, "Yeah, I'll come through." He had maybe about ten to twelve different rappers and he was playin' beats. Everybody was just rapping, takin' their turn. There was no structure. And Freddy Fred had some people and I guess it was unanimous and he said, "Everybody said I should produce you." So that's how that ended up startin'.

    The thing with me and Freddy Fred, we had different visions. He had an idea about what he wanted to do and I had an idea about what I wanted to do. And I'm from New York. I'm an aggressor. If I'm trying to do something, I'm not trying to sit around and wait for somebody to do something. I'ma get up and get out and try to make it happen. So Freddy Fred, the label he had was Piranha Records. He had a cold logo. It was a piranha fish with an afro with an afro pick in his head. It was a cold logo. And maybe I was wrong, but he was tellin' me, "Imp, you're doing a lot of stuff and we gon' get a label to do that. You don't need to do that." I was makin' t-shirts. I was makin' flyers. I was makin' CDs. And he thought that was hurting the brand, putting stuff out that's not top notch quality. But I was like, "Man, people gotta hear this." So that didn't end our friendship but it ended me being on Pirahna Records. I was more aggressive and he was more wait for some big money.


    So we went into the studio. Wiz used to work at a studio out there so they gave him love and let him do something and we recorded damn near that whole album out there. It was a gang of weed, a gang of beer. I mostly drink, at a certain age I don't really mess with the weed, but I drink. But we had a good time recordin' that stuff. Rifleman came through, P.E.A.C.E. from Freestyle Fellowship - he's the one singin' on "Trust No Man." Volume 10, that song we did, we did that at his house. A few songs I didn't do there. I just thought Freddy Fred was a dope producer. He always had a remix. You would finish up a song - that's why "The Realness" had a remix, and "Go with Me" had a remix and I think he had a couple more but you'd think the song was done and Freddy Fred be like, "No, no, give me the keyboard" and he would add something else. I really like that. I really appreciate him for what he did.

You seem like you've always been business minded and had DIY approach. Before By Any Means Music you had Straight Off the Streets Productions. Have you always wanted to run a label?

    That's just pretty much understanding that I have to be a label. You have to understand, put it like this, when I started recording, when I would go to the studios, they was tellin' me I was old. When I was 20... 21. Even then they were telling me, "You old. Why you trying to rap? This is a young boy's game." Like, when I was recording "Forty Acres and a Mule" I really remember the guys at the studio that was tellin' me why was I tryin' to rap, "You too old to rap." I went through that at the Good Life. I used to battle P.E.A.C.E., Rifleman, quite a few rappers. I would sit down and rappers would get up and diss me, and I would get up and diss all of them. I would battle. That's one thing I was known for at the Good Life, was battling. 'Cause number one, I was being hated on 'cause I was from New York. And I wasn't boasting and braggin' I was from New York, it was my accent! I never joined a gang. I always walked alone. So in that environment, I had to deal with that. "Oh, you old school. You old." I'm dealing with this shit from the rappers and the professionals. So here I am, much older now! But I'm still doin' my thing.

    Lemme tell you a story. I sold a guy the Old School Vibes tape, right? Way back. This is at the Good Life. And months later, he came back and he told me, he said, "Man, that cassette was wack as fuck! I want my $5 back!" I was like, "Cool." I ain't trippin', you know. I'm a humble person. I'm not no punk or nothin' like that but I don't like trouble and problems, so I said, "Okay, give me the tape." He says, "I ain't got the tape. I threw the motherfucker away!" Now we got a problem. I said, "Man, you better get out my damn face, you know what I'm sayin'? If you had the tape I would'a gave you the $5 back," but it was like months later, after I sold it to him. Boom, turn around, and I see him at the Project Blowed. Now the Good Life started before the Project Blowed so this was after. So I see him and he raps and gets booed off stage! He had the nerve to talk about me and they booed him straight off the stage.

    So I embrace it. That's why I say old school. When I put Old Dog New Tricks out, a lotta people said, "Don't say old. If you say old, nobody gonna want to buy it. People don't like to hear old." But I said, "Fuck that! I'ma do what I'ma do!" So I call my shit Old School Vibes, I have Old Dog New Tricks and I got Old Dog New Tricks 2. I got about fourteen songs demoed and they've been demo for so long. I just was in the car playin' 'em, and I was like, "I gotta finish this joint." And after that, I just need to sit back figure out what I'm doing, where I'm goin'. You know, I made a beat last night for the first time in two years...

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tribal Music

Slangin' Cutz


William Rider of Ghetto Chilldren uploaded this unreleased Tribal joint today, and I had to share.  It's actually two cuts; the B-Self solo tip "Born 2 Cree8" and the Marvel Team-Up of Ghetto Chilldren and Narcotik known as "Free Enterprise", from back in '97.   Although I never heard either of these tracks at the time, listening to these songs makes me feel absurdly and buoyantly happy.  There's nothing else like the pure joy that good music brings - especially if it's unheard jams from your favorite hip-hoppers from back in the day.  Tribal Records has slowly been releasing stuff from the vaults, and I pray to Baby Jesus that they keep doing so.  For now, just feast your ears on this healthy portion from B-Self, Vitamin D, C-Note and Tizzy T (RIP).

Tribal Legacy

Friday, February 20, 2015

Imp's From the Old School

Straight Off the Street Productions

     Anyone who heard his Evolution of a Man album knows that Steven Laws aka Imperator of Rhyme has been rapping for a long time. On "Why We Do This" he describes first hearing "Rapper's Delight" in '79 and being inspired to do it himself after seeing his older brother rap. Now, with Old School Vibes, a compilation of tracks recorded between 1982 and 1994, we finally get a chance to hear some of his older work. This tape, which Imp used to sell at the Good Life, acts as a showcase of the artist's versatility, containing everything from party jams to street tales to social commentary. It even has a token love rap sampling LL's "I Want You."

     The tape kicks off with "Grooving", a mid-80's sounding party joint, which acts as a perfect introduction as we hear Imp describing how he came up with his name. Fans of Imp's fantastic Digging in the Tapes mixes will already be familiar with "Let's Get Down", featuring Big Al, and "40 Acres and a Mule", both fantastic tracks. "40 Acres and a Mule" stands out as one of the best songs on the tape and would've sounded perfect on Please Pass the Mic or Sounds of the Good Life. Continuing the social commentary, Imp comes with "Ain't No Stopping Us Now" and "No Separation", pro-black anthems  promoting unity and independence. "I'm From the Old School", another incredible stand out recorded in '93, sees Imp kicking some dope freestyle rhymes over some very tight production which appropriately contains traces of "My Melody" and "Spoonin' Rap". "I Did a Survey" is some hardcore reality rap describing the prominence of Korean owned businesses in the ghetto and encourages black people to start their own businesses. It's another stand out and there was even a video shot for it back in '92, which hopefully sees the light of day soon.

     Old School Vibes is more than just another solid offering from a Good Life O.G. This 18 track tape is filled with gems and shows a different side of the Good Life. Imp is from the old school but he's always shown an ability to adapt to the times and evolve as an artist. Before By Any Means Music there was Straight Off the Street Productions and this tape documents that time period. Anybody who enjoyed Evolution of a Man should definitely check this out as should any fans of the Good Life in general. It's an important chapter in Imp's career and can be purchased from the man himself, who is also selling 16 (!) other albums on Facebook and through his website. Check the links below:

Imp is selling the following albums:

Imperator: Old School Vibes (1982-1994)
Imperator: Evolution of a Man (1999)
Imperator: Hiphopoly (2001)
Imperator: Where I'm From (2004)
Imp, Creepy Fingers & Goldie: Family Ties (2005)
Imperator: Suicide Note (2011)
Imp & Creepy Fingers: Genetics (2012)
Imperator: Old Dog New Tricks (2013)

Team B.A.M.M.: Rap Collage
Creepy Fingers: District Creepy Vol. 1
Creepy Fingers: The Dysfunctional Function
Creepy Fingers: Mind Games
Kid Creep: Square One
Goldie: Patterson Park
Big Flossy: Flossaholic
The Degenerates: Beast Mode


Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Peanut Gallery

Fucc Rappin'

Thank you once again, Cody, for hooking me up!  This time we have the legendary Chicago Chapter 1996 tape from Anacron's Peanut Gallery Network.  Atop of 4-track production and analog hiss rides a slew of young lyrical talent and seriously propulsive beats.  Perv One, Jahn the Baptist, Funsho, Astrobwoy, and several others join Anacron on crew cuts, freestyles, solo joints and interludes.  It's a truly accomplished and impressive effort, showcasing what a force of nature Anacron can be when he puts his mind to something.
The Peanut Gallery isn't a movement that I've spent a lot of time exploring, and the more I hear, the more I realize I have been missing out.  Well, 20 years still isn't too late, is it?  For all of you who are in the same boat, this is a perfect place to start.

PNTGLLRYNTWRK

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Android Master


    Space Ogee
 
    Here are some tracks from another Masters of the Universe O.G., Zombie619er, who appeared on Microcrucifiction with his solo joint "Scary Images" and later dropped a solo tape entitled Android Masters. The tracks found here are taken from his Muscle Car Music and Helium3 albums. Stay tuned for Anuunaki Brothers, his new project with Bomedy Beats.




Monday, February 2, 2015

Orko Eloheim Meets J Dilla


...in a Land of D&B

    There is certainly no shortage of J Dilla mixes and tributes on the internet, and while there’s no denying the man’s greatness behind the boards, as the pile gets higher, it can start to feel like overkill. But only the mind of some sort of psychotic alien could conceive of something so bizarre as fusing classic Dilla tracks with drum and bass. And when it’s the Sycotik Alien, Orko Eloheim, it only gets more compelling. Orko’s no stranger to d&b, having been experimenting with the genre as far back as his “Dreadlocks, Incense and Oils” album in 2000 and he applies his mastery of the craft to this ambitious project which, incredibly, actually works. The frantic pace of the d&b mutates the smooth Dilla beats into something fresh and new. Check it out:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Straight Bangin'

Hella Oldschool - Think Happy Thoughts

Thanks again go out to the homeboy Cody, who sent me this tape, with the intent to have it posted.  I had never heard this before I received the tape in the mail, and I have to admit I was seriously missing out.  Totally out of left field.  Let's get one thing clear, this isn't a beat tape.  This is a fully-realized instrumental head trip of a record.  They are complete works unto themselves, and they don't invite you to freestyle over the top of them.  And although it's only six tracks long, it's a full album's length.  Songs stretch out, slow, and raw.  Percussive rhythms move in and out of the mix, taking the forefront, then disappear to let lonely samples become the focus. Murky bass lines poke out here and there.  These compositions suck you in, slow your head nod to a standstill, and instead spark inward movement.  This is music to stare at your shoes to, or to contemplate your navel with.  This is music for turning inward.  
Anacron is no slouch on the mic, and I'm not well-versed in everything he's done, but I have to say this is my favorite work I've had the pleasure of hearing from him.  Listen!


Monday, January 19, 2015

Delon Deville's Nightmares

Hella Freeze
 Props to The Homie Alex for the following post:

 Nightmares is the latest offering from San Diego veteran Delon Deville, and Nightmares is an appropriate title. The production and sung hooks are surreal and dreamlike. The smooth vibes are deceptive though, as the dark subject matter found in Deville's lyrics stand in contrast, describing hard times, broken relationships and cold realities. "The EP is laid back and features some of my earlier work, right after I finished my last album, Parafenelia," describes Deville. "I decided to release it while I'm working on my new LP, Internet Suicyde." And this EP acts as the missing link between the two albums, combining the stripped down, funky sound of Parafenelia with the soulful and psychedelic styles which will be further explored on Internet Suicyde.

 The EP opens with the defiant "Hella Freeze", which finds Deville reflecting on his past hardships and looking toward the future. The stand out track "Ego" warns against those who only hope to see you fail. “Agenda with Wings” elaborates on this theme while providing a more uplifting and hopeful message. Tracks like "Cold as Iceee" and "Get Up and Get Out" describe Deville's failed attempts at finding love. The former’s soulful and ghostly production epitomizes the tone of the EP. Fans of Parafenelia will be happy to hear Deville’s brother, Nelly Nel, return to bless two tracks. The EP closes with a pair of instrumentals, stripping away the vocals to let the production take center stage. Nightmares is yet another chapter in the Delon Deville story and shouldn't be ignored. Don't sleep!
 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Referencia Vol.1

Hazardo & Rasputini Apresentam

Bobby Gibson, brother of Existereo and Innaspace, made this dope graffiti documentary whilst living in Europe 10 years or so ago.  Featuring a wealth of great footage from Portuguese graf writers, and a great soundtrack of European hip hop, this was unseen on my radar until the the man Dylan hyped me to it.  Seriously, give it a watch.  This is shit you never knew.  Major shouts to Hazard for making such a unique and crucial testament to the art.   

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Chronic Epidemic

Ease Back

Massive thanks going out to Cody, who sent me a phat collection of underground tapes recently, this being one of them...
1998 was the year.  Zion I always had a unique style; they had those DnB rhythms and that slick, slithery flow.  It was evident even on this early tape.  It's great to hear all that slickness coming through the scratchy, hissy noise you get from a tape, it roughens it all up nicely.  8 proper tracks long, with an intro and a shout out as well.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tommy V's Restless World

  
Broken English

Here's the fresh Tommy V joint - and it's quite the many-layered onion! (or parfait?)  Here we see the signature Tommy V thrift-score loops and production we all know and love, along with several classic collaborators (Gajah, Awol One, EXII, 2Mex and Maleko).  Partnered to that is the solid musicianship, intricate song craft, emotional depth, and beautiful harmonies that Tommy V is known for since his musical rebirth.  More focused than the predecessor Mockingbird, but no less progressive, TV has come into his own in this brave new post-underground world.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Evidence Of Things Not Seen by Gabriel Teodros

Outside Looking In

The latest from the greatest.  DL now for personal enrichment. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Fresh Music

Eternity

Phreewil is one of my favorite producers out there.  Ricky Pharoe is one of my favorite lyricists.  Together they made this testament to awesomeness.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

J. Jonah Of The Slumplordz Meets The Homie Alex: The Interview





From Too $hort to Digital Underground to Hobo Junction to the Hieroglyphics, Oakland, California has produced some amazing hip-hop, but one group that often gets overlooked is the unique and elusive click, Tha Slumplordz. The five man crew, consisting of members Hard Rard, J. Jonah, Irahktherigor, Gravanaught and Dave Doses, officially formed in ’97 from a collection of smaller groups, and one year later dropped the amazing Adventures 12”. A self-titled album, released under the sub-group Sunnmoonsekt, featuring Rard and Irahk as Sunn and Moon respectively, followed and introduced the world to their spaced out, bass heavy brand of hip-hop, which they referred to as “slump.” While the Sunnmoonsekt album got the most attention, their strongest album was its follow up “Don’t Worry About the Kaliber [Or Nothin Like That]”, released as Tha Yakuza, featuring Rard as Pokerface Tanaka and J. Jonah, formerly known as Freeman. This album took the production to the next level and was more stylistically advanced, with more seasoned flows and a harder edge. After complications with their label, Tha Lordz disappeared for a while, only to reemerge in 2006 with the independently released “Sav City”, under the name The Sweeps, featuring Rard and Dave Doses. A solo album by Gravanaught, entitled Searching, was to be their next release, but it never materialized and it seemed like the Lordz had released their final chapter. In 2013, however, J. Jonah aka JonaH HeXXX, now essentially holding the torch on his own, with some help from Irahk and Dave Doses on the production, released the dope mixtape “Return to tha Caliber” and gave listeners another dose of that Slumplordz sound. An EP, entitled New Pimpin, followed, and the Oakland veteran has more planned for the future. We discussed past, present and future in this interview which gives some insight into one of my favourite crews from my youth. Big thanks to Jack Devo for letting me be a bit self-indulgent on this one and I hope someone out there who hasn’t heard of Tha Lordz or never checked out their music digs what they hear!

Before tha Lordz formed, you were part of a crew called the Elements, going back to ’93. Can you talk about those early days?

That was me, the Gravanaught and a friend of mine - he called himself Tha Lytist, and it was three of us, the Elements. We were called the Raw Elements, the OGRE (Original Raw Elements). It was me and my friend, that’s the Lytist, we sort of started the group. So it was me and him at first. And then my cousin, which, that’d be Gravanaught, you know, he joined on soon after. And then we were just, you know, doing our thing on the side, outside of tha Slumplordz. And then one day Gravy introduced me to Rard and then it kinda went from there as far as tha Slumplordz was concerned. But the Elements, we were already a group outside of tha Slumplordz, so we just incorporated the Elements as well. You know, there’s five of us in tha Slumplordz, but we have a gang of groups inside of our group.


So it was ’97 when the Slumplordz formed, right?

Yes. Officially, yeah.

The first release was the Adventures 12” which was a Sunnmoonsekt track, but you were on that one. You were calling yourself Freeman at that time?

Yup, aka The Forbidden One, yup.


Can you talk about Math Sound Workshop and Knock Factor? Were those just independent labels started by friends of yours?

Well, Math Sound Workshop, that was like in-house engineers... That was when we had a little spot where we made our little music and just chilled. It was this house on East 33rd in Oakland and that was just our style, we used to call it East 33rd. And we just made beats, played video games, whatever, just chilled. That’s how the Math Sound Workshop started out. That was a group of good friends that had people in high places that invested in us. We came out independently. I mean, before it was Knock Factor, you know, before Knock Factor and before we had the deal with Stray Records aka Dogday Records.

In the credits for the Sunnmoonsekt album it says mixed by D. Phelan. So he was one of those people?

Yes, that’s Daniel Phelan, yeah.


So after that album you guys did the Yakuza joint on Stray Records. How did you guys hook up with Substance Abuse?

Substance Abuse, those cats were Dave Doses’ boys from L.A., right? They were working for a distribution company, I forget the name of it, out here. They shared an apartment in Oakland. And Dave, you know, introduced us to them and just like back on East 33rd, we used to all go to John Heath’s. John, I was hella cool with him and we actually did a couple songs together but just picked that one for the Yakuza, “Spare No One”. They called the track “Anything Niggaz”, some shit like that. The track was actually called “Spare No One”. I go on it first, I say the title of the track in my first line.

Did tha Yakuza album sell very many copies? I did hear people talking about Sunnmoonsekt, but it seems like I didn’t hear much about that album.

From what I’ve heard, Tha Yakuza was in a close second to the Sunnmoonsekt album, but the Yakuza album got the most acclaim in terms of the production. I don’t know about lyrics, I can’t remember back that far. But now, I believe, the next project is gonna be a whole lot tighter and it’s gonna have a wide range of music to it – instrumentals, samples, scratches, up tempo, you know, we always got to have the slump though, it’s gonna be some slow movin’, bass heavy tracks comin’ out.




You guys also worked with Zion I on that album…

Yeah, that was Gravy. I was there when they were recordin’ it. It was a pretty dope session. It was nice. That was cool.


So what happened with Stray Records? I read there was some sort of contractual issue.

Well, to my knowledge [laughs] – there’s a lot of little inside stuff. But what the company did was that they just bolted and went to the east coast. They didn’t tell anybody, you know, without warning, or anything, they just bounced on us and everything folded. Back when this happened, that wasn’t just us, it was other groups on the label as well. So I think the owners or whoever else had the money, they bolted and went to the east coast. And that’s all I heard about that, as far as the business was concerned. I’m sure other cats, like Rard or somebody, could tell you more. Everybody has families now, you know what I’m sayin’, but we still talk. You know, we wanna do more shit, I mean, you know, more music. So we gonna try to get together and do that very soon. I’m doing my solo shit.

I’m glad you are, man, ‘cause the stuff you’re putting out, it still has that sound.

Yeah, I’m tryin’, man. It’s hard to get in the studio. I’m goin’ out to the garage these days, just to record lyrics and stuff, so some of my stuff isn’t as mixed as it should be or it doesn’t sound as high end as it used to be because I’m the only one, basically, doing the production. But me and Irahktherigor are doin’ a little something. I got a couple of his tracks, he’s got a couple of mine. We just haven’t hooked up to put our ideas on paper and spit it out and give somebody the microphone. That’s usually the issue these days. Over these months and years, we can’t hook up to get an idea out and put it out and run with it, you know what I mean? Everybody’s still with it though, as far as I’m concerned.

Well, I really liked that New Pimpin EP you put out recently. Who is 9 Continents? Is that one guy? 

That’s me, man! [laughs] That’s my alter ego. I got a lotta alter egos, I’m sorry. It’s the 9 Continents. It’s always been my alter ego, to tell you the truth. But we always did our music on some shit like that. You know, The Sweeps, that’s just another episode. Tha Yakuza, that’s just another episode. Sunnmoonsekt, that was the first episode, you know what I mean?




Well, I saw that name on tha Yakuza album, but I didn’t realize that was you. Those beats are really dope. That’s cool. So who is Black Male Suspect then? He did some beats on tha Yakzua album.

That’s Irahktherigor! Yeah, that’s his alter ego.

So, after tha Yakuza, it seemed like it got kinda quiet, but then the Sweeps project came out. That was an independent project, to my knowledge. But you weren’t really on that one.

I was having legal issues at that point [laughs].


So same thing with Gravy’s LP? You were supposed to be on that one too?


Yeah, I was supposed to be on The Sweeps album a whole lot. I was supposed to be on the Gravy album too. He wanted to do his thing solo. I respected it. There was a track on there, actually, that was supposed to be for me. The last track, it was just an instrumental. That was actually my track, you know what I’m sayin’? We still wanna do something with that track. A lot of beats that I’ve done, solo stuff, a lot of other cats have liked ‘em. Well, we might as well make some remixes or something. If cats wanna go off on some of the beats I’ve composed, or even something they’ve composed, let’s do it. You know, it’s, four or five minds is better than one, knawmean?

Well, you told me a while back that the Return to tha Caliber mixtape was actually supposed to be a Raw Elements album. Can you talk about that?

Originally and then my boy, my cousin, Gravy, he started… I don’t know man, I mean it’s hard to explain. The best way I can explain it is he started getting in trouble [laughs]. And he hasn’t come back from that yet, but it was supposed to be a mixtape featuring Gravanaught on most of the tracks. Some of them sound kinda choppy and stuff ‘cause that’s the only verses I had so I just put ‘em on the tracks and called them songs. I just wanted to be able to, it was supposed to be me and Gravy on that, a Raw Elements album and I just called it a mixtape.


There was one track on there, “Don’t Lose Ya Mind”. Was that an older track?

Yup. That was an older track. That was a 2006 track, right before they came out with the Sweeps. Irahktherigor made that beat. I was fresh out of the penitentiary. I just had to get it off my chest. I always wanted to record it. So I finally did it. I put it on Youtube, and then I just made it to an mp3 and put it on the album, to throw it on there.



Your rhyme patterns remind me a bit of, like, Kool Keith and a lot stuff that came out of the Good Life. If a person was just listening casually they might not hear that you’re rhyming, like it’s a lot of internal rhymes. You were always, to me, the most unique in the crew. Who influenced that style?

Oh, man. Chuck D. Yeah, Chuck D. And I always liked Erick Sermon and I also liked Sadat X of Brand Nubian. I always liked the way he rhymed, you know what I mean? I first started writing rhymes when I heard Public Enemy for the first time. I was like “Hold on, man.” They motivated me to really write some rhymes, for real. But, you know, I came up in the era of, like, the Hieroglyphics and stuff. We all went to the same high school. So, they always used to battle, we all battled each other at the Skyline High School. But it really didn’t dawn upon me that we could actually do it like that. But at the same time, I knew I had my own little style. That’s where we developed our styles, when we were really young, in the first place. You know, I was writing rhymes back then.

So, in terms of the future, do you have anything lined up right now? I know you wanna do another Slumplordz project, but in terms of your solo stuff?

Oh, yeah! I got a couple of things on the horizon [laughs]. I got my big cousin, Kenneth. They call him Sumpin Else. I got some nice beats and some nice lyrics. Like the one, I dunno if you heard, on New Pimpin, the one where it says “Ridin' the whale that ate Jonah” and it’s with Irahk on the hook or whatever. That was the first track I heard [Sumpin Else] do and I was like, “Damn, you made that? Wow!” And then I started rhyming on it. That’s a Sumpin Else track. But yeah, there are two tracks though, that are produced by my cousin. He goes by the name Sumpin Else. Also Irahktherigor’s got some tracks that we’re gonna do. I got another mixtape comin’ out. I’ve got some songs produced by my older son. It’s gonna be pretty cool.

So it’s mainly just you and Irahk who are releasing music right now?

I dunno if [Irahk]’s actually releasing anything, but he’s putting out beats. I’m pumpin’ out beats, he’s pumpin’ out beats. Dave Doses is doing beats, but he’s doing it really low key. I don’t get to hear much of that. It’s hard to manage the group still [laughs], you know what I mean? Because everybody’s older and has responsibilities. If we were around each other every day there’d be a whole lot more music. I mean, we hook up every now and then. I see everybody like twice a month. I do see my dudes. We gonna get it together, man. We gonna put out some music.

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