~ Church of MP ~ 

CLICK ON THE LINKS IN THE SUB MENU ABOVE for some visual/audio Hip Hop and Music Bible Study and some old and new favorites in the 'Theater of Classics' !


Picture is Courtesy of Ambrosia For Heads  Click on the hyperlink photo above to go to that website.



"Be mindful of those who choose a revisionist theory when it comes to our Culture. It mostly just shows their insecurities with their place in Hip Hop. So when they try to tell you Cowboy didn't coin the phrase "Hip Hop" tell em you know better.

When they try and tell you Theodore didn't invent the scratch. Tell em you know better
And when they try and say The great Kool Herc didn't give us this Culture we call Hip Hop. Tell em you know better."   - Roosevelt Dmite Simmons 

"Never give up. Never doubt your hard work. The recognition will come. Never Stop. Never Settle." 
- Nas

"A true champion, face to face with his darkest hour, will do whatever it takes to rise above. You must fight, and fight, and then fight some more."
- Kenny Powers

"I believed in myself." – Muhammad Ali                                                                                                             ==============  

"When the power of love overcomes the power of power, the world will know peace." - Jimi Hendrix   

"Expect the best and it will surely come. #legendbuilder" - MC Lyte 
"In an age where the hip-hop genre is heavily associated with guns, drugs and degrading women, it was refreshing, as well as inspiring, to see a true legend remind everyone that the roots of the genre are far from what is portrayed in modern society." - Grandmaster Flash  ("Response to Robin Thicke's ubiquitous and overplayed 'Blurred Lines'" - Nottingham Post) 

"Funk is: (Makin' Somethin' Outta Nothin')! Gots to get back to our dreams, our indiviual visions & creations. The dream of the Planet needs an Upgrade." - William (Bootsy) Collins
"He was one word — communication. He was King of Soul and father of communication; he was a little part of us."  - DJ Johnnie Walker on Otis Redding (Soul Music Monthly, 1968)

"If ya dumb ass kid can remember the latest niggery song or dance they can learn the fucking school work too" - Sean Price

"Don't let mistakes define you and failures conquer you."  - Steve Harvey

"He[Method Man] showed the most tenacity, he was the most vocal, he showed up the most, and he got the most lyrics on the new album. He's already recorded eight or nine songs. He’s been on it. You know, I give Cappadonna credit, he’s been really on it. U-God has been present. Masta Killa be representing. Inspectah Deck has been somewhat present. Ghost has been, you know, 20 percent present. And Raekwon hasn't shown up at all."
-RZA regarding the new WuTang album. (Hip Hop DX)

"If people are criticizing you, trying to make you look bad, it’s because you’re out in front, making a difference.”#yesGAWD" - Tamar Braxton

"Rather than being your biggest doubter, detractor & deceiver, become your biggest advocate, supporter & believer. What you think of you matters, so think your best to feel your best then you'll be at your best". - Gregory Prince

"You should be able to listen to someone's album and re-live their struggle or joy and feel what they really went through. That is great songwriting." - Urban Threshold

"I hated every minute of training, but I said, "Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion." - Muhammad Ali

"Success Tip #68 - In order to identify what your true calling is you must pay attention and be in tuned to what comes to you naturally." - Urban Threshold

"Stay strong. You never know who's inspired by your moves & strength. I shall keep going!!!!"  - Rev Run

"I have been told for years that i rhyme like a man.... if that is your way of telling me im good then let me bring something to your attention.. when a man can cook, do we tell him you cook like a woman????  Im jus sayin....Im a good artist... i do wut i do well not like a man cuz not all men can keep up with me on the mic!!###"  - Quintescence Famob

"Every body got different taste…... i listen to all kinds of music….. but just know that before major corporations started fucking with hip hop it was (Underground), meaning it was exclusive only to people who knew of it on the streets, word of mouth…. the rawest form, thats what i Rep"  -  Shabaam-Sahdeeq

"The greatest weapon against stress is the ability to choose one thought over another. ‪#‎BeAtPeace"
- Rev Run

"There were several occupations I could have chosen like a farmer, a doctor or scientist that sustain life, but the reason I chose writing, Amy is because it helps me understand life, which is more practical for people like us who are always in competition with our ideas." 
- Bonz Malone

Hip Hop DX: Lord Jamar recently said, “White rappers are guests in Hip Hop.” How does that make you feel as a Caucasian emcee?
Lil Dicky: It makes me feel like Lord Jamar is out of touch with reality. Eminem is by far the best technical rapper in the history of the genre. Not even close. So, if the king is a guest, everyone's a guest. I don't look at skin color. If you can rap, you can rap. Bars are bars. I'd put my bars against any rapper out and feel completely confident. So, I don't buy it.
Black people founded the genre, and that won't change. But exclusivity feels pretty hypocritical to the fundamental values within the genre itself. James Naismith invented basketball, but thank God black people play it." 

"Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength." -unknown - (LL Cool J post)  ================

"I think music in itself is healing. It's an explosive expression of humanity. It's something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we're from, everyone loves music." - Billy Joel

"This morning, let go of everything you didn’t do right, the negative things people have said, and focus on all you’re becoming."  - Keith Sweat

"Just because something isn't happening now, doesn't mean it never will. It just means it hasn't happened yet. Be patience and keep positive." - Keith Sweat

"The person you took for granted today, may turn out to be the person you need tomorrow. Be careful how you treat people." - Keith Sweat 

"Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy" - Ludwig van Beethoven…."it is one of the most mathematical output of sound that we all can connect to."  (RZA FaceBook Post)

"Just before I dive, everything goes silent except for this voice in my head saying 'this could be the last breath of your life" - Freediver, William Trubridge

"One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain." - Bob Marley

"Sometimes to win, you have to change the game." - Walt Disney Pictures

"How can you say you love hip-hop if you don't know who created it?" - DJ Kool Herc

“ The future belongs to those who are virile, to whom it is a pleasure to live, to create, to whet their intelligence on that of the others. ”
— Sir Henri Deterding

"You know it's funny when it rains it pours. They got money for wars, but can't feed the poor.." - Tupac Shakur

"No matter how hard it gets, keep your chest out, keep your head up and handle it." - Tupac Shakur

"Through all of the the rain and the pain, you got to keep your sense of humor. You gotta be able to smile." - Tupac Shakur

"I know it seems hard sometimes, but remember one thing, through every dark night, there's a bright day after that." - Tupac Shakur

"Hold fast to your dreams, for without them life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." - Langston Hughes

"If it sounds difficult, do it!  Challenges make us stronger."  #legendbuilder  - MC Lyte

"If hip hop has the ability to corrupt young minds, it also has the ability to uplift them!" - KRS-One

"I knew I was meant for a different destination. I think that the minute I was born, there was something inside telling me where I would go, its like energy - an intangible destiny". - Jaime Foxx

"An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind". "Dont seek revenge, seek peace".  ‪- ‎WuWisdom‬

"The secret to happiness is not doing the things that you like but liking the things that you do."   ‪- WuWisdom‬
================= ‪

"Love the life you live, live the life you love." - Bob Marley

“The only escape from the miseries of life are music and cats...”― Albert Schweitzer

"You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." - Mark Twain

“The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.” – Gloria Steinem

"I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues."
~Duke Ellington 

"The time it takes to get where you're going, is also the time it takes to grow into who you're becoming. You can't rush through life; you must live it & experience it. Cherish the time it takes to reach your goals & accomplishments. You'll appreciate them that much more when you look back and see where you've come from & how you've made it so far." - Gregory Prince

"Don't let people tell you what's wrong with your life, when they have nothing right about theirs. They expect you to fail, because they didn't succeed. They expect you to quit, because they have a life full of incomplete dreams. They want you to lose faith, because they've lost hope. The impossibilities they placed on their life have nothing to do with you. The lack of faith that they put in their heart has nothing to do with you. Don't let their small mindset shrink your BIG VISION. ‪#‎RehabTime‬" - Trent Shelton

"To make positive changes & receive positive results in your life, you must redirect, reestablish & renew your attention & intentions towards what grows you, improves you & makes you complete. Focus on what's best for you to bring out the best in you!" - Gregory Prince

"You can give someone the sun, moon and stars. 
Eventually they'll be pissed you didn't offer them another galaxy." - Dane Cook
"Empower yourself with physical,mental, emotional and spiritual strength. Empowering yourself will pave way for your desired destination and fulfillment of your purpose of life. Power comes from the courage and passion in your action and thoughts, feel it and live it.....IJS!!" - Kecia Collings

"Don't you think it's time we thought about the future? Whether our children are gonna be winners or losers?" - KRS One

-  By MofoHari    Posted April 26 2014 

Recently there has been  a growing rumble of  "discontent" from black artists (even long established icons whose voices are heard by many), about "white folks talking over hip hop".  It seems that  "hip-hop" is being twisted by those who are seeing it in the "industry" sense, in the money generating mindset rather than in the spirit, essence, core and philosophy of the culture that it is.  Without being addressed, without correction, this attitude may continue to spread and poison the understanding of those coming up in the new generation of the community. 

Listen to powerful speeches from those who teach real knowledge, awareness and hip hop perspective in colleges, universities and wherever they can be heard around the world. If you come away from hearing a seminar given by KRS One and still grumble about  "other races taking over" then you have not felt, heard, understood or absorbed the lesson.

Hip Hop is..a..CULTURE..not a 'black culture'..but an international, global mindset that promotes unity, yet individuality of expression of thought through sound, style, speech, awareness.  It encourages integrity, as well as personal and collective commitment to continued learning/teaching/growing and sharing.  It is about being the best we can be and urging others on within our culture to be more aware and to cultivate/use our own personal skills. 

To be bitter when someone who is not of the same racial background (or country or origins) but who feels the same passion, shows and proves their understanding of the true intent of the culture, is to disrespect and undervalue hip hop as a whole. Value and respect your race, background, heritage, the origins of music, know your history (the true history as opposed to what is taught in school)..YES always! It is absolutely important to have knowledge and respect for where you came from and to continue to work toward human rights and equality. But keep in mind that when you are talking about HIP HOP you are talking about something that is a collective and individual credo, philosophy and mindset. It is a universal culture, a worldwide community. It is not just a fashion, trend or style to be imitated. It is not a passing fad or a club which is validated by or open to just one sector of the human race. Get your mind right on this before you call yourself hip hop. 

But don't take my word for it,  go to the 'bible study' section (listed on the sub menu above). Spend some time listening to the interviews, speeches, documentaries, listen to real stories, perspectives, learn the history. Listen to old and new classics in the 'classics' section. Refresh your understanding, or gain a new mental connection with what it means to BE hip hop. 

Be aware (or beware) of those who are coming into the art of rap with no skill or ability..that is a whole different issue..But ENCOURAGE AND SUPPORT artists and producers who do.  Let them know you appreciate what you hear and help push them forward. Let those with something to share be heard!!! Every one of us who has love for hip hop (and expression, whether through music, poetry, dance, graffiti, art, philosophy, fashion design, speech etc) has a responsibility to share what we know, support what we can and appreciate the uniqueness that is brought to the table by others when it is done in a spirit of love and respect. 

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                                          HIP HOP DX INTERVIEWS

AZ On "Illmatic": "I Helped Build That House"
by JUSTIN HUNTE  posted April 14, 2014

AZ reflects on his 20-year career following his guest appearance on Nas' "Illmatic." He also explains why The Firm failed, and chooses between "Takeover" & "Ether."  AZ's detailed his contributions to Illmatic scores of times. It’s arguably the question he’s received most frequently throughout his 20-year career. As told, Nas invited AZ to one of the now classic recording sessions. AZ attended with the intent to solely show support. While in the smoke-filled studio, L.E.S. dropped a beat and reflexively AZ began humming a hook he had stuck in his head. Nas liked it so much that he asked AZ to lay a verse on the track. AZ complied. Nas added his rhymes. “Life’s A Bitch” is born and AZ was immediately etched into the talisman of Hip Hop history.

“Honestly, if I wasn’t in the studio at that time and it never happened it wouldn’t have been no love lost because that was never my goal to be around Nas,” AZ explains in this exclusive conversation with HipHopDX. He continues:
“I was just being supportive. I came to a lot of his sessions prior to that record being done. Every time I came I brought a bottle of champagne. Now you’ve gotta understand, we’re 19, 20 years-old and I’m bringing bottles of champagne to every session just to say, ‘Yo, you did it. You making that move that we all would wanna make and I’m here to celebrate it and help,’ you know. Just to be there, just to be some kind of inspiration.”  
The irony behind the lore is that, outside of occasionally spitting raps for his incarcerated homies and that fateful cypher conference call where he first met the Queensbridge lyricist (which he details in this interview), few knew AZ was an emcee. Even more surprising, AZ says he barely had rhyme ambitions at all. “I didn’t,” he continues. “It’s crazy. I was like, ‘If it happens, it happens. It’s cool.’ If it didn’t, it wasn’t to die for. It wasn’t like, ‘Ah, I gotta get on.’ I didn’t have that at all. I didn’t have none of that.”

While this interview is timed around the twentieth anniversary of Nas’ revered debut album, it’s not about Illmatic. This is about Hip Hop’s quiet giant who captured lightening in a bottle and used it to power one of Rap’s shrewdest careers. 20 years later, AZ’s released seven albums on five labels and never been dropped. He evacuated the major label system before it became trendy. He’s always owned his publishing. He’s never lost respect as an emcee, never ceased in his mission to teach the masses. “Life’s A Bitch” may have made him famous, but it’s not what made him a man.

AZ reflects on it all in this conversation. He explains why The Firm was a failed experiment concocted by Steve Stoute and explicitly details the “bullshit” behind the independent model. He talks collaborations with Beanie Sigel, Little Brother and RZA. And in a moment of perspective synonymous with his moniker, The Visualizer dissects the historic battle between Nas and Jay Z and chooses between “Ether” and “Takeover.”  AZ Shares Pitfalls Of The Independent Music Model 

HipHopDX: The thing that stands out most to me is how humble you remain. “A humble guy walks light and hits hard.” You say that quote all the time. Is that humility part of the reason why you’re underrated? In a sense, have you made it a choice to remain underrated?
AZ: It’s not a choice, but what it is is that it’s a music business. And the fact that it’s business first—then talent—you understand the business model only lets you move to a certain level. To be in that business circle, there’s a few things you gotta let go and there’s a few things you gotta add on. At the end of the day, with all the labels merging and people getting fired and you fall in and out of relationships, sometimes some people get stuck. A lot of people excel because they make certain decisions and they’re at the right places at the right time.
Through all the things that I’ve been through, I’ll say that I’ve landed at a certain position where we can put the humble umbrella over it. It’s like, “OK, I’m raw here, but I didn’t make this move or that move.” Not that I’m not talented, but there’s still a business structure to it and I’m at this level right now so I’m under that humble umbrella. Not that I’m underrated, but this is where I’m gonna be at right here because of the way the business is structured. That’s where all these things come to play like, “He’s underrated. He’s a humble guy.” This is the title I hold right now because it is what it is.

DX: It’s really surprising to think that you think that way. You’ve been on five different record labels. You’ve never been dropped…
AZ: Ever.

DX: You were way ahead of the curve in moving into an independent space. I just never thought about you considering that type of ceiling [to your career]—especially now with the independent lane so wide open.
AZ: It’s wide open, but it’s still just words. There’s still bullshit that comes with that independent game to an extent. When I was learning it and being a part of it, that’s a whole-nother world within itself. When you learn that, [you learn] there’s bullshit involved. The only way to be totally independent is to be your own distributor. That’s the only way to be independent because even the distributors have their ways of holding some of your reserves and things of that nature. Contractually, when you’re dealing with distributors, you’ve gotta move a certain way.
Me making the transition from the majors, I still had that major frame of mind and I went independent. Sometimes independent was just a title because they were still holding reserves. They were still charging for pressing [CDs]. So when we’re getting the money back, by that time we were like a [$1,050,000] in reserves and it costs this much to press this much, you’re still kind of in the red and we still had to figure out some shit. It was still bullshit. So now it’s another level to this independent game and I’m like, “OK, cool. I’ve got to become my own distributor. How can I figure this part out?” And that’s where I’m at right now. That’s my only main concern is being my own distributor. “OK. Do I press my own things physically? Do I just go digital?” The lane is real wide open right now. It is.

DX: Was that the reason behind your decision to start paying for everything out of pocket?
AZ: I was testing the waters with that, and just trying to find new angles. Who I was dealing with when I was independent, that was just a title once again, because of course they want to charge you for percentage of reserves, pressing up. It’s like, “Am I still independent? They’re still doing everything for me. I’m just adapting that title, ‘Independent.’” And then you’re like, “It sounds good, but is it really making sense?” So I had to reevaluate. Since then I’ve been dealing with digital and doing all my shows. It’s looking at the whole grand scheme of things and seeing where I’m at with this whole twentieth anniversary with Nas and Illmatic. I was a part of that. It’s like, “Wow, I’m a part of something that’s monumental as well.” I helped build that house, at the end of the day. It’s seeing the position that I hold and still try to maintain my integrity. 
With so many artists all over the world, everybody raps. It’s really a thing to do now. You’ve gotta maneuver through all of this. I’m still in that position where I’m trying to hit my target. I got love for the culture so it’s gonna be in my blood forever until the day that I leave this planet. I still gotta be able to hit my target. I feel like I’m always in a great position and by my ways and actions you can tell that I’m blessed. That’s just my frame of mind. It’s a good thing. AZ Says Bad Business Prevented The Firm Sequel

DX: When The Firm's The Album dropped, it shook my whole high school. We hadn’t seen a super group like that come together. It’s interesting to think about it because in retrospect, it feels like Dr. Dre was moving away from Death Row Records at that time and trying to find his next outlet for music. So he went to the East Coast and grabbed the flyest talent. Did that feel like an experiment when you guys were working on that album?
AZ: [Laughs] That’s some funny shit. It definitely was! It was an experiment because you’re mixing artists that have their own individuality and their own fan base. You were mixing producers from two different coasts. Dre do what he do and Trackmasters doing what they do. Then you had everybody’s managers and everybody’s majors involved, so it definitely was an experiment. So it was definitely an experiment. It was an experience as well—I’m sure for everybody. For me, it was definitely an experience. But it was an experiment, too, man.
They say we didn’t reach expectations though it sold 1.5 [million] worldwide. I guess with everybody that was involved, it was supposed to do 5 million or go diamond or something. That was the expectations. I felt that to put it together and complete it was a task within itself and we accomplished that. Once again, that’s where that business model comes in at. It’s a good look, but business didn’t pan out. That’s why you never saw The Firm II.

DX: How did that pitch happen? Everybody was so busy. Was it Trackmasters and Dre saying, “Yo, let’s do this?” Was it Nas saying, “Hey, this is an idea?” Was it just the success of “Affirmative Action” the song? I can’t imagine you guys sitting still long enough to say, “Yo, this is how we’re gonna do it.” I feel like someone must’ve said, “Yo, this pitch is on the table.”
AZ: From my perspective how I seen it: Me and Nas always had perspective when we first started out. On my first album [Doe Or Die], on “Mo Money, Mo Murder, Mo Homicide,” we spoke about The Firm and put something together. I always thought it would be just me and him, but I guess other players came involved as far as Steve Stoute being the president of Sony at that time. I think he was making the transition to Interscope. He was overseeing Nas’ management and Nas’ second album [It Was Written] did what it did. I guess him being in the studio with Dre and Steve trying to make that move and him being the manager of Trackmasters—I think they masterminded that. I say that to say that I was in a business frame of mind, but I was excluded from helping to mastermind that movement. In hindsight, I understand that, once again, this is the music business. These are the lessons I’ve learned. So I guess [Nas], Steve and Dr. Dre came up with that and it made sense for them with the musical chairs they were playing at that time—transitioning and trying to make power moves and build up their legacy. I wasn’t thinking legacy.
When I first started, there was a transition from the streets to the music. That was my blessing right there! That was my whole focus, like, “OK. This is it!” That was my claim to fame, making that transition. It’s like levels of school and grades. They saw another picture. They were like, “Yo, this is a culture and we gotta engrave our names on the pyramid walls.” That’s how they were thinking. I think Steve brought Nas to that mind, because me and Nas, we was just happy to get out of the confinements of poverty where we was and let our voice be heard and speak to the people and share our pain with the people. That was our whole claim to fame. I guess once again, Steve being in the position that he was in, he saw things and he felt that since he was overseeing Nas at that time—that was the closest thing to him—he pulled him into that realm. Once again, that’s where the music model come in at, so, there you have it.

DX: That make sense now, because Steve Stoute started working with Nas on It Was Written and that’s when Nas’ music made an intentional commercial shift.
AZ: Right.

AZ Explains Sonic Change Between Nas' Illmatic & It Was Written

DX: Was the way that It Was Written sounded surprising to you following what you saw happen with Illmatic?
AZ: It didn’t surprise me, because I had success with “Sugar Hill.” Here I am coming off a critically acclaimed [appearance] with “Life’s A Bitch” that got a lot of ears and eyes. People talk. I made that transition and once again I keep bringing it up, it was a business. We can always battle for our people and be local but I started to understand that music is universal. So Nas being a backpack guy at that time—lyrically and all that—I understood what [Puff Daddy] and them was doing. They was reaching out to the masses with [The Notorious B.I.G.] doing “One More Chance” and the songs that he was doing. So I said with “Sugar Hill,” I can still speak my language but sonically reach the masses. And once that wall was broken down, I guess Nas seeing that as well and Steve being the outsider seeing in and having access to Trackmasters—which was everybody’s music at that time and doing remixes for everybody—he capitalized off that. He merged the two. Nas still had those street records on there, but he also had the records with Lauryn Hill and Jodeci that was reaching different people.
I was there through the process of that album and I seen where it was going. I figured, “Yo, I’m a team player and it makes sense for the team. The further he get, the further I get, the further we get.” That’s been my mindset since day one. It comes out and they reached their goal in trying to help vault them to help take further steps and levels in this music business. It worked.

DX: What do you remember about “Phone Tap?” That song was so innovative. How long did it take to pen that?
AZ: We was just writing. Honestly, I think that “Phone Tap” zone, I came up with that. I was like, “What if we were talking through the phone?” With all the minds in there it just fell in place in one day. That record was done in four hours. The beat came up. We rapped. We wrote it right there. It was a song.

DX: That time period feels super competitive. You’ve got Biggie's “Kick In The Door” directed at Nas. You’ve got East Coast versus West Coast over everything. You’ve got Tupac and Nas encountering each other at Bryant Park around the MTV Music Awards. When you were writing rhymes, were you trying to be the best or were you just trying to express yourself?
AZ: I was expressing myself. I was trying to touch the people. I just wanted to get it out to the people that we all suffer the same and we’re all the same struggle but here’s the way to move. If you listen to my music, I was speaking to the criminals but I also was saying, “OK. We’ve gotta get out of that mind frame and use that to take you to the next level.” From “Sugar Hill” on I was trying to express that. It was never competitive to me. I saw no competition, honestly. I felt like when we came to the door, we was the best. I felt like our worst is better than most people’s best. That’s how I honestly saw it. I never seen no competition.

DX: You must’ve been the only one! [Laughs]
AZ: And you know what, that’s crazy because, in hindsight that was my curse and my gift because if I had thought that, I could’ve turned the fire up on any and everybody! Me personally, my sword was always sharp. It was nothing to do that. But I was thinking so different when I got into the game and I thought my claim to fame was just making that transition, so now let me speak to the people so they can make that transition in life. That was my whole thing. But if I would’ve thought competition, guarantee I can be Top 5 at any given minute. I even think right now if I turn it up I’m Top 5. If it was an even playing field and we all got exposed at the same levels, I think I can be Top 5. I don’t even think. I know. I possess all qualities.

DX: What was the mood like in that era when everything was breaking so big? How did you feel about everything that was happening?
AZ: I felt good because I was big, too. I was the person to watch out for. I was good. The contract was right. My vibe was right. The living was right. I was that nigga so the vibe was good. It was where it was supposed to be: “We all standing tall. What’s up?” That kind of vibe.

DX: How did you stay away from conflict?
AZ: It wasn’t intentionally done. I wasn’t looking for it and if it would’ve came my way, I would’ve handled it accordingly. It was just something that never presented itself to me. It just never presented itself. I guess the aura you carry is what you attract and I wasn’t carrying that aura. But I was seen and heard everywhere. I was in the mix like everybody else, but I move with respect and I was getting that back. That’s what it was.

DX: Mind detect mind.
AZ: Mind detect mind all day. I showed my love and people showed their love back. I read The Art Of War and things of that nature and the way that I moved, I didn’t attract that. I knew when I was on unfamiliar ground and I moved accordingly. And even when I was on ground that I represented, I showed that love. I wasn’t putting pressure on people and making people feel a certain way. My thing is like, “We’re here. Let’s enjoy it. Let’s make it happen.” Maybe I may have been wrong for that because maybe other moves could’ve been made and the tide could’ve been shift, but I appreciate it. The position I’m in is a great position. It’s a great position. I own my publishing. I own the majority of my masters and I’m an independent artist. I can do what I want. I can sign who I want. We all have enemies here and there within the game but I intentionally never burned no bridges. At the end of the day, like I said, it’s a business. It’s like real estate. Your real estate has to be of value to be in certain positions to make sure it moves. I’m still building my real estate. But I see the game for what it’s worth through hindsight. It’s business, not personal.

AZ Says He Never Wanted To Release "Sugar Hill"

DX: Did you expect “Sugar Hill” to be considered as a classic?
AZ: Never. I never expected that. I kind of never wanted to put that song out honestly. I was upset at the label for even trying to go that route but they saw something I didn’t see and went with it. So it was all good.

DX: Why didn’t you want to put that song out?
AZ: That was the way the tides were shifting at that time—with B.I.G. dropping that same vibe with his first single [“Juicy”]. I just wanted hardcore beats and rap. They were like, “He has to make money. We’re in this to make money.” I’m like, “You know what, let’s see what this do. But if it don’t work, there’s gonna be a lot of furniture moving in here.” It panned out and it did what it did.

DX: You’ve told the Illmatic story your whole career. Here’s what I have: You first met Nas over a cypher-style conference call set up with friends. Akinyele was on the phone. You’ve mentioned that Large Professor might’ve been on the phone as well. That’s how you meet Nas. Later, Nas invites you to the studio while he’s recording Illmatic and you go purely to show support. L.E.S. drops a beat for what would become “Life’s A Bitch” and you start humming the hook—which sounds like you had it [before going to the studio that day]. Nas is like, “I like that. You got something for it?” And you were like, “Yeah,” and then dropped your verse.
AZ: Right.

DX: Is “Life’s A Bitch” really your song? It sounds like mostly your ideas.
AZ: Yeah. It was. You hit it on the head. I was humming the beat. He liked it. I had something cooked up and I laid it down. And the rest was history. I was surprised that he liked it that much that he put it on the album but I appreciate it at the same time.

DX: It sounds wild that you met Nas over call with Akinyele and Large Professor on the line. Did you have those type of cypher calls often?
AZ: Nah. Not at all. No way. I wouldn’t do that all the time. I did like to rap. A lot of people didn’t know that I could rap, honestly. But when I had the chance to amongst the homies I did it. That was one of the few. I think I rapped for one of the two homies in jails. You know, “They calling at jail time like, ‘Yo, my man get busy.’” I did phone wise once or twice for the homies that were incarcerated. But Nas and them and a lot of people on the phone, I think that was one of the only times I did that.

DX: When did you start writing rhymes?
AZ: I think I always did write. As far as my influences, [Rakim] and [Big Daddy Kane] and them was doing they thing, I started around that time writing and trying to perfect it. That’s when it touched me.

DX: Did you have any aspirations to [rap professionally]? All of this sounds divine.
AZ: Right. It was like hitting the lotto. I had aspirations but it was like, “I don’t know if it can really happen, but let me in the mean time between time, for my personal preference I’m gonna write it and spit it because it feels good.” It feels good, so I’ma spit it like that.

DX: Let’s say you don’t get invited to the studio that day. Do you pursue a music career? Does any of this transpire if you don’t pull out a hook that you happened to have at a time when few knew you were writing? Are you known as AZ without that moment?
AZ: Honestly, if I wasn’t in the studio at that time and it never happened it wouldn’t have been no love lost because that was never my goal to be around Nas. I was just being supportive. I came to a lot of his sessions prior to that record being done. Every time I came I brought a bottle of champagne. Now you’ve gotta understand, we’re 19, 20 years-old and I’m bringing bottles of champagne to every session—I’m sure he would confirm that—just to say, “Yo, you did it. You making that move that we all would wanna make and I’m here to celebrate it and help,” you know. Just be there, just to be some kind of inspiration. 

DX: But even away from Nas, though. If you don’t go to the studio that day, do you end up making an album later? The way you’ve described it previously, that verse sparked the bidding war between Sony and EMI, then Doe Or Die, then everything else. But it never sounds like you thought about a music career before that session.
AZ: I didn’t. It’s crazy. I was like, “If it happens, it happens. It’s cool.” If it didn’t, it wasn’t to die for. It wasn’t like, “Ah, I gotta get on.” I didn’t have that at all. I didn’t have none of that.

AZ Details Direction Of Quiet Money Records

DX: Rappers are really vulnerable these days. What do you impress upon the artists on Quiet Money that you’re preparing to put out?
AZ: For different times, there are different measures. When we were coming through the door it was about individuality. You didn’t need all the gimmicks to do what you had to do and display your talent. Now that the game has changed, I think it takes that for an artist to really [be successful]. There’s so much. Back then it was like, “OK. You have talent. You’re on.” Right now it’s not just about the talent. It is about the gimmicks. It is about notoriety. I wouldn’t tell my artists to use gimmicks to get one up. But I would always tell them to be talented at what they do. The game has changed. Society has changed. The fan base changed. Everything changed and my whole thing now is that legacy. It finally hit me. It’s the legacy. Now I see what everybody is chasing. I say to everybody, do I become the problem now that I see what they’ve been chasing and I have never chased it? Am I problem now that I’m still here? I know a lot of people wish I probably wasn’t or they’re probably not even thinking about it at all—which can still be a minus.
I’m developing some artists and I hope that they represent and they keep my name alive. That’s the goal now: For my name to echo through the centuries. That’s my whole goal now.

AZ Recalls Jay Z vs. Nas Battle

DX: One of my all-time favorite AZ tracks is “Whatever Happened (The Birth)” off of Pieces Of A Man, featuring RZA. To me, it always sounds like your most at home on gritty, grimy tracks. In my opinion, RZA was best at making those type of beats at that time. Were you two talking about doing something together for a while?
AZ: Back then, people make their rounds through the studios to get their work done. I think RZA came to one of the sessions and I knew he had the beats. At that time, he was stepping up on the rap side and I was like, “Yo, let’s make something happen.” He brought the beats to the table. That album was after Doe Or Die—which did good—me being a part of It Was Written and after The Firm. It was kind of in the mix. A lot of producers were coming around and there were so many beats. We just vibed off that one. I thought it would be a good look. That’s one of my favorites too, though. 

DX: I always felt like 2001 was an interesting year for you. You released 9 Lives that year which had “That’s Real” on the album featuring Beanie Sigel. There’s “How Many Wanna” featuring Amil. You also went to Eli Whitney [Technical] High School with Jay Z. Was there ever a conversation about signing to Roc-A-Fella?
AZ: No, not at all. That Beanie Sigel song was on the Light It Up soundtrack and I took that song from there. That Amil with her on the hook, I was working on a song at that time and someone had access to her. I wanted a female on that track and we just did that. It wasn’t like I was trying to be on Roc-a-Fella. But their brand was good and I was right there and I was working.

DX: Later that year, you were on “The Flyest” off of Stillmatic. In between 9 Lives and Stillmatic, The Blueprint drops and now the Jay Z/Nas beef was the only thing Rap was talking about. Did you ever have conversations with Jay and Nas while they were tossing bars at each other?
AZ: Me and Nas built but, at the end of the day, I knew it was Rap. Following what happened with BIG and Pac, I knew these two guys were smart enough not to go there. Nas, he’s to himself a lot. I didn’t have to tell anybody his movements about how his attack plan was gonna happen. We all knew that. Everybody was just waiting. I think he was indecisive on how he was gonna attack it himself. I guess he came to a point like, “You know what, you gotta do something.” We built on it a little bit but it wasn’t a daily topic. But the world knew and I knew it was something he was contemplating.

DX: Did you ever you talk to Jay Z about it? Your album came out in June of 2001, either right around Summer Jam where it all started.
AZ: Me and Jay never built on that.

DX: What did you think about how it all played out?
AZ: It was great for the culture. I knew something had to take place because Biggie wasn’t there and I know both of them wanted the crown. After “Ether,” that “Super Ugly” was definitely unnecessary, but it was necessary because Jay is a Brooklyn guy and at the end of the day he wanted the last word. I can understand that. But it was necessary for Hip Hop. The battle is always necessary every so often and it was a good one. Listen, they’re both cool now. They’re both alive and the end result is that they’re both getting money together now, so try that one out.

DX: If you had to pick between “Takeover” and “Ether,” which one do you pick?                                                                                    AZ: [Laughs] That was a dirty question! You know what, I’ll go with “Ether.” And not because that’s my man, but it was like playing the dozens and he just went all the way in. Jay didn’t play the dozens on “Takeover.” He just threw a slug. He bust a shot. Nas just did the dozens and went in. We all can relate to the dozens as kids growing up.

DX: Another great joint is “Rise And Fall” from The Format. The Little Brother collaboration surprised me. Were you a fan of the group before working together?
AZ: They were doing business with people I was dealing with as far as the studio. Their name came up like, “Yo, I can make this happen.” I had always been a fan, as well. It just happened like that. I pitched the beat, I think. They sent their verses and it was crazy. I love that record as well. I was glad that one made the album, too. They were doing their thing. Everybody loves them. That’s my joint. You’re gonna make me go listen to that shit.

DX: Your ear for production has always been super solid.
AZ: You know what it is, I always stay true to what I like. Once again, I’m glad this keeps coming back to the business model. The sounds change yearly. We’re talking about sounds that can surpass the local airwaves and go nationwide. If I don’t do that, then it’s like, “Your beats is still regional. It’s not going over here or going over there.” I can’t step over to Pop and I need to sell a million because it’s a business model. So I guess me staying true to what I do, I’ll always be underrated. We just went 360, but I’m gonna always stay true to what I do. And if everything’s 360, I’ll be here when it comes back.

DX: Your stuff with Statik Selektah holds true to your sound.
AZ: Big up to Statik! That’s my man.

DX: We see a lot of Illuminati theorists in our comments section. Looking around the world and seeing Great Recessions and consolidating currencies, I always immediately think about “We Can’t Win” from Doe Or Die.
AZ: [Laughs] “A million minds in one body designed to decline society.” [Laughs] That’s what it is. In my mind, that’s what it was. It’s one nation, one government, one everything. That’s all they want. That’s when I was just feeding myself with all types of information. I was a book fanatic and spawned with a lot of likeminded people. I just felt like that was a topic I wanted to touch on to show some diversity and to plant that seed. That seed has definitely been planted! [Laughs]

DX: Do you ever feel like you were right? Since you wrote that verse, financial institutions and media companies, for example have undergone massive consolidation. There are only three major record labels now. Do you ever feel like you were right?
AZ: Right. That’s why they call me The Visualizer. I was seeing it before it came into existence. It was something that I was put on to and I just wanted to share with everybody. As you can see, the mission is still on.


Pete Rock Recalls Making "The World Is Yours" In Under 10 Minutes                                   by OMAR BURGESS   posted April 15, 2014 

Exclusive: Pete Rock looks back on his work with Roy Ayers, Heavy D and reveals how close Notorious B.I.G. came to rhyming over "The Main Ingredient."  Between his work with Marley Marl, Jay Z and Kanye West and his own solo projects, Pete Rock is connected with about three different eras of Hip Hop. During his most prolific period, it wasn’t unusual to find “Soul Brother #1” on approximately 10 projects during the same calendar year. As Pete sees it, the workload was part of a competition which continues to this day.

“I created this aura of myself to start out doing remixes and be the remix king,” Pete Rock explained, of his earlier production days. “I went from that to doing beats for people. So I was really competing with myself—not in an egotistical way, but I wasn’t thinking of anyone else competing with me. I was just doing it because I loved doing it.”
That love become palpable via Pete’s work with his cousin Heavy D, his partner C.L. Smooth and contemporaries like DJ Premier and Large Professor. The latter pair of beatsmiths are forever linked with Pete through their collective work on Nas’ Illmatic. In honor of the 20-year anniversary of Illmatic, Pete Rock revisited his work on “The World Is Yours” and the bond created through friendly competition of working with his peers. “Chocolate Boy Wonder” also revisits Heavy D’s Nuttin’ But Love and The Main Ingredient, which both will also turn 20 this year. 
How Nas Got Pete Rock To Sing The Hook On “The World Is Yours”

HipHopDX: What do you remember about “Live At The Barbeque?”
Pete Rock: The verse [laughs]. That golden verse about snuffin’ Jesus caught everyone by surprise. That was his introduction to producers in my opinion. It was a dope voice, and the way he flowed over beats…the things he said were attractive to producers like myself.

DX: As far as Illmatic, why do you think Nas earmarked you to sing the hook on “The World Is Yours?”
Pete Rock: [Laughs] You know what? That’s a funny question. I have no clue. Maybe he just heard my humming and thought it could do something on the hook for the song. I don’t know. But I ended up doing it to his liking, and I’m glad that it came out perfect.

DX: You guys recorded “The World Is Yours” at Battery Studios, right?
Pete Rock: Yeah, Battery Studios...there’s a lot of history in there musically.

DX: DJ Premier has gone on record as having sat in on that session. Do you remember who all was on hand?
Pete Rock: I remember Premier being there along with Nas and Large Professor. That’s really about it as far as I can recall. There might have been more people in the room, but I only remember my peers.

DX: How did you find out “The World Is Yours” inspired Premier to rework “Represent?”
Pete Rock: That just kind of came out later down the line. When [Nas] heard the beat, I already had it made. It wasn’t particularly for him. It was just a beat, like, “Maybe he’ll like this.” I played it, and he loved it. It was good that day [laughs].

Pete Rock Explains How He Began Exploring Jazz & Other Genres

DX: There seemed to be a friendly, internal competition between all of you who worked on the album.
Pete Rock: Oh yeah, definitely man. I call myself the Soul Brother #1 in Hip Hop because I’m a big fan of James Brown. He’s the original Soul Brother #1, but I just call myself that in Hip Hop, and I created this aura of myself to start out doing remixes and be the remix king. I went from that to doing beats for people. So I was really competing with myself—not in an egotistical way, but I wasn’t thinking of anyone else competing with me. I was just doing it because I loved doing it.

DX: Why do you think that era was so rich—particularly with you—as far as Hip Hop merging with Jazz and Soul?
Pete Rock: Once I started exploring Jazz, I found there was a lot more. Trust me, Soul has a hell of a lot to offer. There’s endless Soul records out there. But there was something about Jazz in my soul. That music is deep, and you have parts of it that are just melodic. You also have Hard Jazz, Jazz/Soul and Jazz/Funk. With those mixed in all together, it was something very interesting for me to delve into. And that’s what I did.

DX: You’ve mentioned hanging in Queens with Dres and Royal Flush, and Large Pro coming to your crib. How important was that communal vibe?
Pete Rock: Yeah, that was back in the days, man! It was fun hanging with them guys. It can be extremely important, but not everything is peachy keen. That’s just how it is when you’re out here. It’s life lessons, and those guys are great people. They’re great friends, and I’m glad I met them. I’m glad I got to see a part of Queens I’ve never seen through them, and the rest is history. But I feel hanging out definitely adds on.

DX: How would you compare that to the current era, where you have the option of direct interaction or just shooting over a Pro Tools file?
Pete Rock: I come from the era where we worked a little bit harder. Today, with the digital world, things are easier and faster. That makes me look back at my career, and I’m like, “Dag, I did all that work!” And now that I know the new digital world—and everything that’s happening now with Pro Tools and stuff—I’m creating albums in my house now. I’m producing records and making my own albums at home. I had never done that before, so it’s a faster pace with the creation of the music now. That’s not to say it wasn’t fast then, because in my time I was making beats in five minutes. I made “The World Is Yours” in less than 10 minutes…so, yeah.
Let me just say something, man: when you’re born with talent, it’s accessible to you. It’s there. You have the rhythm, you have the feel, you know what music sounds like and you know what good music sounds like. When you hear something that intrigues you, you just make it happen. That’s what happens with me.

Pete Rock Says Nas Is Still Hip Hop’s Best Emcee

DX: When Nas goes in other directions, the first thing people mention is getting back with you, Premo and Large Pro. What makes Hip Hop fans so protective of Illmatic?
Pete Rock: Your first album is always your best. Sometimes your first is your most critical and your most… At that time and that point in your career, your adrenaline is flowing so much that everything you do comes out great. You don’t realize it until you come back to the whole thing. When I listened to the whole album, I said, “Wow! This kid is definitely the future, and he’s gonna be a force.” To this day, right now in 2014, he’s the best to me.

DX: May is also going to be the 20-year anniversary of another album you worked on, Heavy D’s Nuttin’ But Love. You did “Sex With You,” “Got Me Waiting,” and you co-produced “Black Coffee.” What’s your most significant memory of Hev and that album?
Pete Rock: He’s family. That’s my cousin, so we go back since four or five-years-old. It’s always a little bit deeper, and when it’s family-rooted it’s always special. He was the one that put me in the game and said, “Hey, you know what? You’ve got something, kid. Let’s bring that out.”
When we worked together on that album, it was easy. Hev was like clockwork; I already knew what he liked, and I knew how he wanted it. All he does is relate to me, “Hey Pete, the first verse is gonna be 12 bars. The second verse is gonna be 16, and the last verse is gonna be eight. But you’re gonna put a bridge in the middle.” He taught me a lot of that. Just by being around him and other producers like Teddy Riley, Marley Marl, Howie Tee and those guys, I picked all that up. I watched these producers work, and I learned how to structure things and make songs. So Nuttin’ But Love was when we were at the pinnacle of our talent, and we just had fun making songs for that LP.

DX: You’ve also got the 20-year anniversary of The Main Ingredient approaching. How close did the track for “In The Flesh” come to being a Notorious B.I.G. song?
Pete Rock: [Laughs] Ahhh, man! Now that I think about it, I was like, “Damn, he should’ve been on that shit! He should have been on it.” But, he just wanted to see how I did it. He was more impressed, like, “I wanna see how Pete makes a beat.” I did it. When I grabbed the “You’re A Customer” EPMD record, he was like, “What you gonna do with that?” I told him, “These drums—I know you’ve heard these drums before. These drums are familiar to you, right?” So I took them, played with them and did that song.”

DX: You took a different approach in terms of sampling—particularly with Roy Ayers’ material. How much do you think The Main Ingredient showcased your growth as a producer?
Pete Rock: Being on stage with him and seeing musicians and session players had me saying, “Wow.” It just makes you want to touch something, like, “Let me play with this keyboard. Let me pluck some strings on this guitar. Let me see what I can do.” It just gives you inspiration to want to be a musician further in Hip Hop.
I know we love sampling in Hip Hop; there’s no sound that’s better. But when you can make real music too, it’s just a plus. So being a musician all across the board, and being on stage with a guy like Roy Ayers—who I grew up listening to—he’s somewhat of a dad and a teacher. Being around him and being able to ask all kind of nerdy questions about music, releases and things that I’ve heard, is fun stuff.

DX: Since you recently mentioned a sequel to Soul Survivor, how exactly did you end up working with Kurupt on “Tru Master” on the original Soul Survivor?
Pete Rock: Me and Kurupt met back in the ‘90s, and once we met, we just kind of clicked. He showed me how much of a fan he was. Until you meet someone, you never really know how much of a fan they are until they tell you. So when he told me that, I immediately said, “Let’s work.” I’m a huge fan of Tha Dogg Pound. Kurupt is my homie, and I’m actually trying to reach out to him now to do something with me.  


DJ Premier Reveals Early Doubts About Nas' "Memory Lane (Sittin' In Da Park)" Beat
by DANIELLE HARLING   posted April 16, 2014

"DJ Premier says Nas wanted "something more musical and melodic" on "Memory Lane (Sittin' In Da Park)."

On the 20th anniversary of the release of Nas’ debut album, Illmatic, DJ Premier, one of the album’s contributors spoke on the creation of the Illmatic record, “Memory Lane (Sittin’ In Da Park).” As part of The LA Leakers’ Leaks That Collected Dust audio-biography, Premier discussed the record, which he says he wasn’t a fan of initially.

The Brooklyn beatsmith revealed that before the drums and other components, including Nas’ vocals, were added to “Memory Lane (Sittin’ In Da Park),” he didn’t like the song's beat. He also recalled recording the song while Nas had 20 of his friends in the studio.

“‘Memory Lane,’ I didn’t like that beat before the drums and everything was added,” DJ Premier said. “Nas would always sit there with me with all his boys. Back then he was working on Illmatic, he’d have 20 dudes in the room…So, we finally got through that rough part of it…But it became fun to work with them because they all were cool. And they would listen to [us] when we said ‘be quiet.’”

DJ Premier also addressed the sample on “Memory Lane (Sittin' In Da Park),” which came courtesy of "We're In Love" by jazz musician Reuben Wilson. He says that although Nas and his friends clowned Wilson’s appearance on the “We’re In Love” record, upon hearing the song the Queensbridge rapper wanted a beat made from the record.

“When I found that record it was—Reuben Wilson,” he said. “And the way the cover looked. Nas [was] like ‘Look at this dude’s outfit.’ So, they all laughing at the cover. But I put on that ‘doom doom doom’ and he was like ‘Yo, that’s that dude on the cover?’ I’m like ‘Yeah.’ He’s like ‘Yo, make a beat out of that.’ I’m like ‘Eh, the groove is cool, but I can do something.’ Cause Nas always think it’s gotta be dark and mean and ill because of the way his voice is and the way he flows. But he said ‘I want something more musical and melodic. Like we having a good time. So I was like ‘alright.’ And then I looped it up and just threw some drums. Just some basic drums. Little simple pattern. And when he cut the vocal I was like ‘Ooo, alright. I changed my mind.’ The vocals is what did it.”

In addition to “Memory Lane (Sittin' In Da Park),” DJ Premier also produced the Illmatic tracks “N.Y. State Of Mind” and “Represent.” Other producers who lent their assistance on Nas’ debut included Q-Tip, Pete Rock, Large Professor, and L.E.S.

In honor of Illmatic’s 20th anniversary, Nas released Illmatic XX on April 15. The album serves as a special anniversary edition of the rapper’s debut."


Nas Says Will Smith Wrote "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" & Details Career In Reddit AMA
by ANDRES TARDIO   posted April 15, 2014 
"Nas Says Will Smith Wrote "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" & Details Career In Reddit AMA.   Nas also gives praise to Drake, Public Enemy, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Jay Electronica, Rick Ross, ScHoolboy Q, YG, Fashawn and Bishop Nehru, among others.

Nas participated in a Reddit AMA session today (April 15). During the session, the rapper spoke about a variety of topics, including his 20-year-old debut, Illmatic, his view on the current state of Hip Hop and his rumored ghostwriting on Will Smith's "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It." 

"Alright, let's clear this up once and for all. I hung out with Will in the studio. And watched him write it. It was a fun studio session, and I said a line or two or three to him. It wasn't that serious. Will Smith wrote that song. But seriously, I watched him have fun making that record on his own, and Will is a true MC," Nas says.

Will Smith isn't the only emcee Nas praised. The Queensbridge rapper also recognized several other rappers as emcees he is interested in listening to today, including Drake, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Jay Electronica, Rick Ross, Schoolboy Q, YG, Jeezy, Bishop Nehru and Fashawn. Aside from naming emcees he listens to today, Nas also praised rappers who have crafted albums that have been "significant in shaping the culture." 

"Public Enemy's It Takes a nation. Erik B and Rakim Paid in Full. Drake's last album Holy Grail," Nas says regarding this topic. 

Another rapper Nas mentions in his AMA is The Notorious B.I.G. "Class act. Also funny. Naturally funny. And he was a genius," Nas says.  

Below are some select quotes from Nas' AMA. 

Regarding Illmatic's Classic Rating: "Someone asked when I realized Illmatic was classic and what jazz I'd recommend: I would recommend Love Supreme by John Coltrane. And I guess when I played it for my guys in my neighborhood, they told me it was a classic. Really surreal moment."

On His Music's Impact: Yeah, I'm sure man. At least once a year, a fan will tell me that one of my albums helped them find a reason to not commit suicide and to go on. That's powerful. I'm humbled. And it scares the shit out of me too.

When Asked To Tell Jay Electronica To Release His Album:  I tell him almost eveyr day.

Regarding His Favorite Television Shows: Modern Family, that girl, Sofia Vergara, I need her. Walking Dead. House of Cards is my shit.

On Remixes To Past Work: I was not down with it originally. I didn't want to do that. But I was happy it happened afterwards. I like the World is Yours remix by Q-tip and the It Ain't Hard to Tell remix by the Large Professor. Those remixes I love.

When Asked About Past Rap Monikers: Rapper Nas, and another one that I will never tell. MC Nice was one too."


Suge Knight Says Tupac's "Hit 'Em Up" Was Enough "To Make A Grown Man Cry"
by DANIELLE HARLING   posted April 17, 2014 
"Suge Knight Says Tupac's "Hit 'Em Up" Was Enough "To Make A Grown Man Cry"
Suge Knight details the making of "Hit 'Em Up," says it resulted from Tupac's anger following the release of "Get Money."

While speaking exclusively to, former Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight detailed the moments that led up to the creation of the Tupac Shakur record “Hit ‘Em Up,” a diss song aimed at The Notorious B.I.G. and other artists.

According to Knight, Biggie’s former wife Faith Evans was made aware of Tupac’s song and told Puff Daddy and Biggie, who in turn released a similar song titled “Get Money.”

The former Death Row Records head also spoke on Tupac’s livid response upon hearing “Get Money” on the radio.

“Misa and Faith was at the studio, our studio. And the ‘Hit ‘Em Up’ track was playing,” Knight said. “[But it wasn’t] ‘Hit ‘Em Up.’ I don’t think it was Misa cause Misa is too down. And I think I made her feel a lot better than Pac made Faith feel. So, I think it was Faith that went and told him that Pac was doing that track and he was putting some lyrics to it. So, before we could finish that track they beat us to it and put out ‘Get Money.’ But that was already pretty much what we was talking about on the track before the [lyrics were even] laid. So, when Faith whispered in they ear they came out with ‘Get Money’ before us. When Pac heard it on the radio he eventually called me and was going crazy. He was like ‘Man, turn on the radio. You hear this shit? Aw man, they just took our shit.’ He was like ‘I know Puffy baby mama her punk ass told Puffy and Biggie.’”

Knight says that Tupac’s anger at the release of “Get Money” eventually led to the rapper switching the song completely and creating a record he revealed would “make a grown man cry.”

“When we put the track back up, Pac was so pissed off in the studio about them jumping the gun, getting the song,” he said. “Naturally, he turned around and changed everything up and called it ‘Hit ‘Em Up.’ And everything he said was like a knife sticking in somebody’s wound twisting it…He said some shit to make a grown many cry. Talking about fucking your wife…That’s some powerful shit he saying. And he was willing to back it up…It’s one of those songs that it’s gonna be around forever.”

“Hit ‘Em Up” also featured Outlawz and was released on June 4, 1996, mere months before Tupac’s death in September. On the song, Pac takes aim at Biggie, Puff, and others as he raps: “You claim to be a player but I fucked your wife/We bust on Bad Boys, niggas fucked for life/Plus Puffy tryna see me, weak hearts I rip/Biggie Smalls and Junior M.A.F.I.A. some mark-ass bitches.”"

RZA Details His Problem With Twerking

  by DANIELLE HARLING  posted April 22, 2014 


"RZA Details His Problem With Twerking

RZA says Miley Cyrus is old enough to do what she wants, talks lack of discretion among youth.

Over the past few months, the dance craze known as twerking has worked its way into countless music videos and other outlets, but according to Wu-Tang Clan emcee RZA, the trend is something that demonstrates a lack of discretion among young people.

While promoting his new film Brick Mansions, RZA spoke with Vlad TV about those in the U.S. taking advantage of the freedom they’re given. He then referred to that abundance of freedom as something that can at times be a curse.

“My issue is just that the youth is the shortest part of your life,” RZA said. “And most people waste it. The woman won’t realize her womanhood until she’s 30. And then she gotta go back and think about the 20, 30 guys she done slept with or the things she did that’s foolish. That she’s ashamed to say to her son or daughter. So, why put that much karma on yourself? You know what I mean? Grow and develop yourself. Find yourself. One thing about our country in America is that we have so much freedom that it becomes a problem for us. A curse to us. You’re free to do anything that you want to do. If you’re free to do anything you wanna do then you have no discretion on yourself. And I just think that it should be more discretion for young people.”

RZA later defended pop star Miley Cyrus, who he says can now do what she wants due to her age.

He also took note of the fact that we live in a time when everything is recorded or documented in some way, and a video of someone could easily surface years from now.

“Now Miley Cyrus who’s now 22 now, right? She can drink. She can do what she want now,” he said. “But when you’re 15, 16, 17, 18, no. You can’t even go to the store and buy cigarettes yet. And you wanna be twerking? And having men look at you as a sexual item? That’s the biggest thing. People don’t realize that ‘Yo, you’re captured.’”

Over the past year, Miley Cyrus has had the opportunity to collaborate with a number of rap artists/producers including Mike WiLL Made It, Wiz Khalifa, and French Montana." 


  By Questlove (published in


"This is the first in a weekly series of six essays looking at hip-hop's recent past, thinking about its distant past, and wondering about the possibility of a future.

There are three famous quotes that haunt me and guide me though my days. The first is from John Bradford, the 16th-century English reformer. In prison for inciting a mob, Bradford saw a parade of prisoners on their way to being executed and said, “There but for the grace of God go I.” (Actually, he said “There but for the grace of God goes John Bradford,” but the switch to the pronoun makes it work for the rest of us.) The second comes from Albert Einstein, who disparagingly referred to quantum entanglement as “spooky action at a distance.” And for the third, I go to Ice Cube, the chief lyricist of N.W.A., who delivered this manifesto in “Gangsta Gangsta” back in 1988: “Life ain’t nothing but bitches and money.

Those three ideas may seem distant from one another, but if you set them up and draw lines between them, that’s triangulation. Bradford’s idea, of course, is about providence, about luck and gratitude: You only have your life because you don’t have someone else’s. At the simplest level, I think about that often. I could be where others are, and by extension, they could be where I am. You don’t want to be insensible to that. You don’t want to be an ingrate. (By the by, Bradford’s quote has come to be used to celebrate good fortune — when people say it, they’re comforting themselves with the fact that things could be worse — but in fact, his own good fortune lasted only a few years before he was burned at the stake.)

Einstein was talking about physics, of course, but to me, he’s talking about something closer to home — the way that other people affect you, the way that your life is entangled in theirs whether or not there’s a clear line of connection. Just because something is happening to a street kid in Seattle or a small-time outlaw in Pittsburgh doesn’t mean that it’s not also happening, in some sense, to you. Human civilization is founded on a social contract, but all too often that gets reduced to a kind of charity: Help those who are less fortunate, think of those who are different. But there’s a subtler form of contract, which is the connection between us all.

And then there’s Ice Cube, who seems to be talking about life’s basic appetites — what’s under the lid of the id — but is in fact proposing a world where that social contract is destroyed, where everyone aspires to improve themselves and only themselves, thoughts of others be damned. What kind of world does that create?

Those three ideas, Bradford’s and Einstein’s and Cube’s, define the three sides of a triangle, and I’m standing in it with pieces of each man: Bradford’s rueful contemplation, Einstein’s hair, Ice Cube’s desires. Can the three roads meet without being trivial? This essay, and the ones that follow it, will attempt to find out. I’m going to do things a little differently, with some madness in my method. I may not refer back to these three thinkers and these three thoughts, but they’re always there, hovering, as I think through what a generation of hip-hop has wrought. And I’m not going to handle the argument in a straight line. But don’t wonder too much when it wanders. I’ll get back on track.


I want to start with a statement: Hip-hop has taken over black music. At some level, this is a complex argument, with many outer rings, but it has a simple, indisputable core. Look at the music charts, or think of as many pop artists as you can, and see how many of the black ones aren’t part of hip-hop. There aren’t many hip-hop performers at the top of the charts lately: You have perennial winners like Jay Z, Kanye West, and Drake, along with newcomers like Kendrick Lamar, and that’s about it. Among women, it’s a little bit more complicated, but only a little bit. The two biggest stars, Beyoncé and Rihanna, are considered pop (or is that pop-soul), but what does that mean anymore? In their case, it means that they’re offering a variation on hip-hop that’s reinforced by their associations with the genre’s biggest stars: Beyoncé with Jay Z, of course, and Rihanna with everyone from Drake to A$AP Rocky to Eminem.

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It wasn’t always that way. Back in the late '80s, when I graduated high school, you could count the number of black musical artists that weren’t in hip-hop on two hands — maybe. You had folksingers like Tracy Chapman, rock bands like Living Colour, pop acts like Lionel Richie, many kinds of soul singers — and that doesn’t even contend with megastars like Michael Jackson and Prince, who thwarted any easy categorization. Hip-hop was plenty present — in 1989 alone, you had De La Soul and the Geto Boys and EPMD and Boogie Down Productions and Ice-T and Queen Latifah — but it was just a piece of the pie. In the time since, hip-hop has made like the Exxon Valdez (another 1989 release): It spilled and spread.

So what if hip-hop, which was once a form of upstart black-folk music, came to dominate the modern world? Isn’t that a good thing? It seems strange for an artist working in the genre to be complaining, and maybe I’m not exactly complaining. Maybe I’m taking a measure of my good fortune. Maybe. Or maybe it’s a little more complicated than that. Maybe domination isn’t quite a victory. Maybe everpresence isn’t quite a virtue.

Twenty years ago, when my father first heard about my hip-hop career, he was skeptical. He didn't know where it was all headed. In his mind, a drummer had a real job, like working as music director for Anita Baker. But if I’m going to marvel at the way that hip-hop overcame his skepticism and became synonymous with our broader black American culture, I’m going to have to be clear with myself that marvel is probably the wrong word. Black culture, which has a long tradition of struggling against (and at the same time, working in close collaboration with) the dominant white culture, has rounded the corner of the 21st century with what looks in one sense like an unequivocal victory. Young America now embraces hip-hop as the signal pop-music genre of its time. So why does that victory feel strange: not exactly hollow, but a little haunted?

I have wondered about this for years, and worried about it for just as many years. It’s kept me up at night or kept me distracted during the day. And after looking far and wide, I keep coming back to the same answer, which is this: The reason is simple. The reason is plain. Once hip-hop culture is ubiquitous, it is also invisible. Once it’s everywhere, it is nowhere. What once offered resistance to mainstream culture (it was part of the larger tapestry, spooky-action style, but it pulled at the fabric) is now an integral part of the sullen dominant. Not to mention the obvious backlash conspiracy paranoia: Once all of black music is associated with hip-hop, then Those Who Wish to Squelch need only squelch one genre to effectively silence an entire cultural movement.

And that’s what it’s become: an entire cultural movement, packed into one hyphenated adjective. These days, nearly anything fashioned or put forth by black people gets referred to as “hip-hop,” even when the description is a poor or pointless fit. “Hip-hop fashion” makes a little sense, but even that is confusing: Does it refer to fashions popularized by hip-hop musicians, like my Lego heart pin, or to fashions that participate in the same vague cool that defines hip-hop music? Others make a whole lot of nonsense: “Hip-hop food”? “Hip-hop politics”? “Hip-hop intellectual”? And there’s even “hip-hop architecture.” What the hell is that? A house you build with a Hammer?

This doesn’t happen with other genres. There’s no folk-music food or New Wave fashion, once you get past food for thought and skinny ties. There’s no junkanoo architecture. The closest thing to a musical style that does double-duty as an overarching aesthetic is punk, and that doesn’t have the same strict racial coding. On the one hand, you can point to this as proof of hip-hop’s success. The concept travels. But where has it traveled? The danger is that it has drifted into oblivion. The music originally evolved to paint portraits of real people and handle real problems at close range — social contract, anyone? — but these days, hip-hop mainly rearranges symbolic freight on the black starliner. Containers on the container ship are taken from here to there — and never mind the fact that they may be empty containers. Keep on pushin’ and all that, but what are you pushing against? As it has become the field rather than the object, hip-hop has lost some of its pertinent sting. And then there’s the question of where hip-hop has arrived commercially, or how fast it’s departing. The music industry in general is sliding, and hip-hop is sliding maybe faster than that. The largest earners earn large, but not at the rate they once did. And everyone beneath that upper level is fading fast.

The other day, we ran into an old man who is also an old fan. He loves the Roots and what we do. Someone mentioned the changing nature of the pop-culture game, and it made him nostalgic for the soul music of his youth. “It’ll be back,” he said. “Things go in cycles.” But do they? If you really track the ways that music has changed over the past 200 years, the only thing that goes in cycles is old men talking about how things go in cycles. History is more interested in getting its nut off. There are patterns, of course, boom and bust and ways in which certain resources are exhausted. There are foundational truths that are stitched into the human DNA. But the art forms used to express those truths change without recurring. They go away and don’t come back. When hip-hop doesn’t occupy an interesting place on the pop-culture terrain, when it is much of the terrain and loses interest even in itself, then what?

Back to John Bradford for a moment: I’m lucky to be here. That goes without saying, but I’ll say it. Still, as the Roots round into our third decade, we shoulder a strange burden, which is that people expect us to be both meaningful and popular. We expect that. But those things don’t necessarily work together, especially in the hip-hop world of today. The winners, the top dogs, make art mostly about their own victories and the victory of their genre, but that triumphalist pose leaves little room for anything else. Meaninglessness takes hold because meaninglessness is addictive. People who want to challenge this theory point to Kendrick Lamar, and the way that his music, at least so far, has some sense of the social contract, some sense of character. But is he just the exception that proves the rule? Time will tell. Time is always telling. Time never stops telling."


By Aaron D. Johnson

"DMC of the famed and truly groundbreaking hip hop group Run DMC is making headlines with his analysis of hip hop’s current landscape.

Today’s formula of popular mass marketed hip hop seems to be the glorification of violence, guns, misogyny of women, drug culture, prison culture, and excessive materialism. It is almost as if hip hop has become a one dimensional genre whereas once before it was multi-dimensional.

This dominant form of hip hop has been controlled by corporations and receives vigorous marketing. Because there are limited choices that are easily available to the hip hop subscriber, whatever songs are in heavy rotation on the radio becomes popular.

DMC (aka Darryl McDaniels) has stated, “It was inevitable that hip-hop became commercialized but along the way our power got taken away. Now you got the same 12 records on radio being played over and over again. Lil Wayne, Jay Z ain’t hot, it’s just they’re programmed so many times people are brainwashed.”

DMC said that his generation of hip hop which is sometimes referred to the golden era of hip hop had something to say. He believed that artists like KRS1, A Tribe Called Quest, and De La Soul were significant in the genre because of their ability to make being positive a cool thing that young people wanted to listen to and be a apart of.  “We took positivity and made it gangsta. We didn’t want an endorsement; we never knew we would do something historic.”

He admits that the hip hop artists of his era were materialistic. He also explained that they took certain components of the negative drug culture and made it positive. DMC said, “people associated fresh sneakers with drug dealers and black stereotypes. So we sat on stage at Live Aid and showed the world something positive.”

Has hip hop lost its artistry? Has it lost its way?  Is the current state of hip hop  a part of a natural progression or has it been high jacked by corporations?"


Comments :

"I grew up in the 80ties I'm from Guyana came here in 86 I remember when u rarely heard profanity in hiphop now every other word is a curse word these cats are rapping about things they don't do shouldn't do or couldn't do I haven't bought a record since 1990 it was krs1 album I don't listen to the radio actually Rakim is in my disc changer right now we have to stand up for greatness or fall for this fake gangsta rap hiphop was empowering now it's so degrading even embarrassing n disrespectful we need to boycott commercial radio and put an end to this crap."  - Jacinth Michael Thomas

"Hip hop has changed cause us blacks let white people take over our music. Period." - Imani Dhakkar

"Sorry I thought hip hop was peace love and unity nothing to do with your creed colour or religion its all love, beastie boys had the first no1 hip hop album go figure." - Brad Watt in response to Imani Dhakkar

"That's simply not true. The artists of today see hip hop as a pay check. There are many Black artists on many labels owned by whites that haven't lost their sense of who they are. The problem stems for the artists themselves. White people didn't make drinking Moët, getting Crunk, and smoking Dro cool. The artists did that. All the record companies and corporations do is provide the marketing. Get the tracks played on radio stations and promote the artist. That all stems from a change in the mentality of the artists. Back in the day the music was about the struggles, it was about selling drugs to get the money to put together a record and survive. Now its all about who has the most bling, drives the most expensive cars and has the best weed. How you possible blame the change in hip hop on whites? The corporations don't write for the artist and furthermore many old time hiphop artists now have labels that this new wave of hip hop stars are supported by. So how do you explain that? The music business today has many problems as a whole. It's not just the hip hop industry that's lost it's roots. 75% or today's music has lost it's meaning. There are so many artist in the industry that would not survive if it was 20 years ago. The world has changed. You can't be putting the blame on corporations for everything. Music and the artist have evolved into what we hear on the radio. This didn't happen over night and it wasn't white people alone who caused it." - Anthony Longo

"Darryl is right But this always happens , you must go independent & have fun wit it , it changed a lot since corporation got involved. We started hip hop on the west coast with run D. M. C then start writing pilot's & was nominated for academy awards & thay stole the story & gave it to john singleton , so folks thank he his the story teller of Boys in the hood & Baby boy, & that's not the case. It was spank Jackson ." - Sporty-Spank Jackson


"Being an independent music artist is a lonely endeavor. Everybody wants a piece of the pie, but nobody wants to help bake it. Often times aspiring artists are told "if you are so good, then why are you not signed to a major label yet?" Not everyone wants to be signed to a major label. There are some incredible independent artists who just want to remain independent. Attaining a major label deal, should not be the standard measuring stick to gauge an artist's greatness and true talent.

Additionally, as an independent artist or producer, some of your family members may not understand your vision and tell you to get a "real job." Sometimes you can get more encouragement to achieve your dreams from people outside of your relatives. Just because they are related, does not always mean that they are FAMILY.

Likewise, many of your associates often leave your side before you reach the top. It takes years of grinding sometimes before you see your first big break. 

Perseverance is paramount. Do not allow people's scare tactics about the music industry re-route you from pursuing your dream. Half of the people who say that you will not make it will be the first ones on line asking for a handout when you do. Take note!

When Drake first started shopping his music, he was told by the president of a major label that he is not a star. Starting out in their careers, Lauryn Hill, Luther Vandross and Dave Chappelle were all once booed during Amateur Night at the Apollo. Susan Boyle, of Britain’s Got Talent fame, was passed over all of her life, but became a worldwide music superstar at the age of 48. Eminem was booed at several concerts in the beginning. Many people told him to give it up. Michael Jordan did not make the high school varsity basketball team as a sophomore, and Jay-Z could not get a record deal early on in his career. DETERMINATION IS THE KEY. HOLD ON TO YOUR DREAM!

We must develop the fortitude to believe in ourselves when no one else will. Sometimes we spend more time worrying about failure than preparing for success. Re focus your mental frequency to radiate positive energy. You can either find reasons to quit, or you can choose to lead a life of faith and create a legacy that screams NO EXCUSES! Independent artists and producers need to reclaim their personal power, take their careers into their own hands, promote themselves, and create their own lucky breaks. Stop waiting on a music executive to validate your career. If you are making good music and developing fans, then you are already in the game.

On the other hand, if MONEY is your ONLY motive, then your "LONGEVITY" in the game will be SHORT LIVED. Aspire to inspire by pursuing excellence. Investing in your music career is not just about infusing it with cash. It is also about putting your HEART, MIND, and SOUL into it. What you lack in terms of capital and funds make up for it with imagination, ingenuity, and determination.

It is not a question of "Can" you succeed. It is a question of will you make the efforts and sacrifices to succeed. As inspirational author H. Jackson Brown Jr. once stated, "Never let the odds keep you from doing, what you know in your heart, you were meant to do." Study your craft, invest in yourself, and learn the business. DON'T FREESTYLE YOUR MUSIC CAREER! It's time to roll up your sleeves, send up a prayer, formulate a strategy, get a budget, create a team, and execute your plan. Think big! Dream bigger! Plan better! Work smarter! Immerse yourself in music - Live it. Learn It. Be It.

This is an excerpt from my book called "The Independent Music Grind - A Guide To Success For Independent Artists And Producers" written by Jesse Atkinson, CEO of Urban Threshold Inc. All material Copyrighted 2014 (THIS BOOK IS CHANGING LIVES.)"  Get it today at

(click on the photo hyperlink below to be taken to



A Conversation with Big Daddy Kane

Posted on April 4, 2014 by Sherron Shabazz

"The term “legend” gets thrown around an awful lot these days, especially in Hip-Hop. Few artists actually leave an impact on the culture strong enough to deserve that title. Big Daddy Kane is one of the chosen few that has earned the title of “legend”.

A premier lyricist from day one, Kane managed to integrate battle rap, consciousness, storytelling, and love songs into one perfect package. During a time when LL Cool J was the most popular rap artist, Rakim was the most respected lyricist, and gangsta rap was emerging from the West Coast, Big Daddy Kane was at the top of the heap in Hip-Hop.

For my money Kane is one of the top 3 emcees of all-time and that’s saying a lot. He’s influenced the likes of Jay-Z, the Notorious B.I.G., Common, Nas, Black Thought, and Ghostface Killah among others who have gone on to influence a generation of their own.

Kane is preparing to tour Europe this spring with dates in Frankfurt, Stockholm, London, and Vienna among other cities.

Big Daddy Kane spoke to The Real Hip-Hop about his storied career, his 2014 European tour, his influence on the culture of Hip-Hop, and his various upcoming projects.

TRHH: Let’s start from the first album, Long Live the Kane. What were your expectations going into that album?

Big Daddy Kane: Just hoping that people recognize my lyrical skills and look at me as the dopest emcee out at that time. That’s what the whole objective was.

TRHH: I remember seeing you on LL’s Nitro tour and you kind of stole show alongside guys like LL and Slick Rick. Were there any rivalries with those guys who were your contemporaries back then?

Big Daddy Kane: Everybody always wanted me and Rakim to battle. If I did have any rivalries I guess it would probably be him.

TRHH: Did you view it that way at the time or in hindsight?

Big Daddy Kane: Nah. Me and Eric B were close friends. We still are close friends.

TRHH: I always thought you and Rakim might have been cool because you shared the Nation of Gods and Earths and had similar styles, but y’all never hung out like that huh?

Big Daddy Kane: Nah, we never hung. We just really started recently being around each other.

TRHH: Was there any pressure to top the first album going into It’s a Big Daddy Thing?

Big Daddy Kane: Not at all because by the time the second album came I had seen more. With Long Live the Kane I only knew a bunch of local stuff – what I had seen around New York, Philly, or places I had been with Biz [Markie]. By the time I was making my second album I had toured the world. I’d been all over the U.S., London, and Amsterdam.

TRHH: That album cemented you as the top guy in 1989. What was the ride like being number one with that album?

Big Daddy Kane: ’89 was a beautiful year. We covered a lot of bases. We covered East Coast Hip-Hop, West Coast Hip-Hop, the men, the women, the adults, teenagers, and the kids. It was beautiful. So many doors opened after that album. I ended up doing songs with Patti LaBelle, Barry White, and Quincy Jones. It opened doors for me to actually work with legends.

TRHH: And Dolemite!

Big Daddy Kane: Yeah, Dolemite.

TRHH: On Taste of Chocolate you had a song called ‘Mr. Pitiful’ that chronicled what you had gone through to that point your career. I found it to be extremely honest for that time. Did you ever have any apprehension about recording that song?

Big Daddy Kane: No, not at all. This is what was on my mind and I wanted people to know exactly what my life was really like. That was just from the heart – direct.

TRHH: Another direct song was ‘The Vapors’. I interviewed Rhymefest some years ago and he told me that The Vapors was an inspirational song and I never looked at it that way. I thought about it and yeah, it is motivational. Take me through the process of writing The Vapors.

Big Daddy Kane: That’s the moral of the song; you can achieve your goals. Biz had this whole concept of people catching the vapors. It all started about a joke he was making about a girl who went to high school with me and now that we was doing shows she followed me around the mall asking me to take her to Latin Quarters. Biz was walking behind her constantly saying, “She caught the vapors, she caught the vapors.” He told me about the idea for the song and he wanted to talk about people catching the vapors. People that was frontin’ at first and acting funny and all of a sudden they wanna be in your corner and be down with you. I remembered [TJ] Swan telling me a story about how he worked for UPS and how chicks wanted to front then, and I remember when Cool V was working for a record store in Elizabeth, New Jersey. I was basically taking real life stories and showing how it was and how it changed.

TRHH: You were a ghostwriter before they called it ghost writing. What’s your writing process like in general? Do you write to the beat or write whenever a rhyme comes to you?

Big Daddy Kane: Both. Sometimes I’ll get a slick idea and just start jotting it down and going with it. It might be something that I have on stash until I find the right track to go with it. Sometimes if I’m in the studio and somebody is playing a beat I’ll sit and write to the beat.

TRHH: What a lot of people don’t know is you produced a lot of your own records. How did you make that transition from Marley Marl on the first album to making your own beats?

Big Daddy Kane: What a lot of people really don’t know is on the first album that was mainly me with help from Biz on certain songs like ‘Ain’t No Half Steppin’’. Stuff like ‘Raw’, and ‘Long Live the Kane’, them joints was me I just didn’t get the credit. It was nothing new. What was really going on was Marley was mainly engineering a lot of those sessions. He did do ‘I’ll Take You There’ and ‘The Day You’re Mine’.

TRHH: Shan did tell me that. He said his album was the only one that Marley really produced.

Big Daddy Kane: Yeah.

TRHH: On ‘Show and Prove’ you had an up-and-coming Jay-Z and Ol’ Dirty Bastard, before they dropped solo albums. Both men will be loved in Hip-Hop forever, what did you see in them to put them on your album in 1994?

Big Daddy Kane: At that point in time we were trying to shop Jay-Z to get him a deal. He was an artist I was working with at the time. With Ol’ Dirty, me and Wu-Tang did a show together at Newark Symphony Hall and after the show I told my people, “I wanna meet that Ol’ Dirty Bastard dude and the little kid.” I went to their dressing room and they came to a party in Queens with me and hung out that night — ever since we were cool. Ol’ Dirty used to come out to Queens and spend the night at my crib a whole lot. Shyheim, I took him on the road with me on the Budweiser Superfest. He was like fifteen years old, too young to be on a tour sponsored by a beer company [laughs].

TRHH: Chuck D said that Looks Like A Job For… is one of the best Hip-Hop albums of all-time. I think it’s definitely underrated, but it’s not one of those that people mention when they talk about Kane. Do you have a favorite Big Daddy Kane album?

Big Daddy Kane: Oh yeah, It’s a Big Daddy Thing, my second one.

TRHH: Why is that your favorite?

Big Daddy Kane: I just think that it’s one of those complete tight albums. That’s difficult to do when you’ve got so many songs. I believe that there is 16 or 17 songs on there. It’s kind of hard to listen to that many songs from the same person. I think we pulled it off by the different directions we went with that album. There’s a lot of conscious stuff, a lot of gutter stuff, and something for the ladies. It was just a well-rounded album – and the production too.

TRHH: Why did you decide to put the live version of ‘Wrath of Kane’ on the album?

Big Daddy Kane: I thought it would be interesting. I think about the live of version of ‘Let’s Get It On’ by Marvin Gaye from his album when he hit that note “please” and you hear all the chicks screaming and losing their mind. Or the live version of Teddy Pendergrass from the Coast to Coast album where he screamed, “Turn ‘em off!” and you hear girls in the crowd scream, “Turn ‘em off!” The reaction from the crowd, for fans to really experience that like, “Yo, that’s how I was at the show!”

TRHH: Yeah, I feel like I’m at the Apollo when I listen to it. DJ Premier produced ‘Show and Prove’ and some other songs that you’ve done. There’s talk about a Kane/Primo full-length album. Can you give us an update on the status of that project?

Big Daddy Kane: I don’t know. Right now there is so much other stuff going on that it’s hard to focus on that right now. It’s definitely something that I would love to do. Premier is real busy too. If I’m correct, I think he’s getting ready to do some stuff with Nas. If our schedules can permit and you give us the time to really sit, yeah, I would love to.

TRHH: Why was Veteranz’ Day the last Kane album that we’ve heard?

Big Daddy Kane: [Laughs] When we were doing Veteranz’ Day it was the type of thing where at that point I wasn’t really focused and I let people talk me into going and recording an album. I personally think Veteranz’ Day is better than Looks Like A Job For if you ask me. I put a lot of time and effort into that. The people that I was dealing with label wise made it a situation where I was gonna end up catching a charge. I’m getting too told to have to do 10-15 years so I’m good. I just left it alone. We were performing all over the world so I didn’t need to do nothing new. Everybody wanted to hear my catalog. They’re content with that, then so am I.

TRHH: I interviewed DMC and he said after Raising Hell they didn’t have to do nothing else. But if they had we never would have had ‘Down with the King’ or ‘Run’s House’. It was so much more after that to me. But I understand being at the pinnacle.

Big Daddy Kane: Yeah. I’m cool because since then I’ve been fortunate enough to be on the ‘Next Up’ cut with UGK, the ‘Brooklyn’ song with Joell Ortiz, ‘Don’t Touch Me’ with Busta Rhymes. I’ve done a lot of work with other artists doing feature appearances so you still get to hear new stuff. So, I’m cool.

TRHH: Yeah. When I see you perform you stick to the classics, but the last time I saw you, you pulled out the Big L joint, ‘Platinum Plus’. That was a nice surprise. I’m a hardcore Kane fan so I wanna hear the album cuts, but I know you gotta give the people what they want.

Big Daddy Kane: Depending on where we’re at. Whenever I do European tours we do ‘Another Victory’, ‘Young, Gifted, & Black’, ‘It’s Hard Being the Kane’, and I even do the D&D joint ‘Hot Shit’ that I did with Guru and Sadat X. We dig deep in Europe because it’s an audience that appreciates the whole catalog. Sometimes you’re in front of an audience that wanna hear the hits so you give them what they want so they don’t get bored.

TRHH: Tell me about Las Supper.

Big Daddy Kane: That’s my group and basically what we do is combine 60s and 70s soul music with 80s Hip-Hop and do it over live instrumentation.

TRHH: Are you still going out on the road with them?

Big Daddy Kane: Yeah, we just did a West Coast run in Oakland and L.A. We have dates coming up in May after I finish this European tour.

TRHH: Which one of your albums would you go back and change?

Big Daddy Kane: Probably Taste of Chocolate.

TRHH: Really?

Big Daddy Kane: Yeah, because Taste of Chocolate was a time when I was a little upset with Warner Bros. I was upset and was saying to myself, “This is album number three and I only owe them five, so let me just rush through this.” Really I was saying, “I’m a big fan of Barry White so let me work with him. I’m a big fan of Dolemite, let me work with him. Barbara Weathers from Atlantic Starr is fine as hell, let me work with her.” I was making like an autograph book really or a stamp collection. I wasn’t really focused on giving the people what they want. I think there are some nice songs on there. ‘Mr. Pitiful’ is my second favorite song I’ve ever made. There are other nice songs like ‘Dance with the Devil’ and ‘It’s Hard Being the Kane’, but had I been focused it would have been a whole lot more solid — tighter. I had people saying they wanted to work with me like Q-Tip and I’m like, “Ok, what’s up? You’re not going to be in the studio this week? Ok, never mind.” I’d just blow it off so I could hurry up and get the album out so I can move on to album number four.

TRHH: Doesn’t the business of music really mess up the art?

Big Daddy Kane: Yeah, sometimes. Especially during that time period when the majority of the record executives and A&R’s were fresh off of working a Prince record or Ronald Isley and then they’re trying to predict what Hip-Hop song is going to work and they don’t know. At the time Hip-Hop was new to those people because they had never worked a Hip-Hop song. You try to explain to them that the first single needs to be something street – you gotta keep the streets on your side. But they’re like, “No, this song is more radio. This is what we need to go with!” You have those types of arguments or it’s like, “I have this dude and he’s willing to shoot a video for this particular song for just $10,000,” but they wanna spend $100,000 for the more R&B radio-friendly song. You deal with stuff like that and you get frustrated and make you not wanna work with these people. You wanna please the fans, but you wanna please the fans at another label.

TRHH: Going back to Taste of Chocolate, ‘Who Am I’ was another important record. The first verse you spit is one of the most important and underrated rap verses ever to me. “I was born a black man from the motherland/Speaking a language today most people don’t understand,” man, that was incredible! You were talking about us — black people in America. I appreciate you for that one.

Big Daddy Kane: Absolutely, absolutely. Well thank you, I appreciate it. I definitely love that song and I loved working with Gamilah Shabazz, Malcolm X’s daughter. She was such a sweetheart. Just being in the studio with the daughter of Malcolm X was so motivational. It was incredible. That alone had me touched. It was very inspirational.

TRHH: You said ‘Mr. Pitiful’ is your second favorite song, but what’s your first?

Big Daddy Kane: ‘Set it Off’.

TRHH: Why is that your favorite?

Big Daddy Kane: It’s that song that just always gives me energy. It might be a night where I ain’t get enough sleep, I’m tired, or arthritis is killing my back and as soon as we get to that song everything is gone. I don’t feel no pain, I’m not tired no more, I’m ready to go! That song just gets me amped! That’s my “go” button.

TRHH: On that song you said, “I could sneeze, sniffle, or cough/E-e-even if I stutter im’ma still come off.” Big Pun did a similar rhyme where he said, “Even if I stuttered I would still sh-sh-shit on you.” You heard that rhyme, right?

Big Daddy Kane: Yeah, yeah, the John Blaze song.

TRHH: Did you feel like that was paying homage to you?

Big Daddy Kane: Absolutely. Matter of fact, that’s where I met Pun, at the video shoot for ‘John Blaze’. We came on [Fat] Joe’s tour bus and it was the funniest thing in the world. Pun was like, “Oh shit it’s Big Daddy Kane! Yo ma , go get the kids!” [Laughs] It was hilarious. I was like, wow.

TRHH: There is a whole generation of emcees that revere you. I spoke to a 23-year old kid out of Chicago named Giftz and he said Jay-Z inspired him. He said, “People always say they like Rakim and Ghostface but I don’t listen to those people, I listen to Jay-Z.” I said, “Well you know Jay-Z is kind of like an offshoot of Big Daddy Kane,” and he was like, “What? I’ve never heard that!” He said he was at a radio station and the people told him he rapped like a Big Daddy Kane and he said I’ve never heard a Kane song. I told him to go and listen. It’s available.

Big Daddy Kane: You know that’s the way it is with this generation. I think that’s the reason why Hip-Hop is so stuck because this new generation is not really studying their predecessors. I grew up a student of Grandmaster Caz, Kool Moe Dee, and Melle Mel. Your following generation, Nas, Biggie, Jay-Z they grew up as students of Rakim, KRS-One, and myself. Afterwards you had Eminem and Ludacris who were students of them. I think that after Ludacris, Kanye, Lil’ Wayne, and Eminem I don’t think there has really been any new top artists that studied their roots. That’s why now someone is hot for 3-4 months and then gone. We lose our history. It’s hard enough to get a kid to stay in school and stay focused. Even those that listen to music every day only care about what’s poppin’ right then at the moment.

Radio plays a song about thirty times a day so it’s embedded in your head so you’re focused on what’s on and poppin’. Even if they do play something from the past you don’t really respect it as a great song because when they get ready to play it they say, “Back in the days, 1988,” so as a youth you feel like, “Man, this is something for my damn parents to listen to. I don’t wanna hear no old stuff.” That’s sad because in country music Willie Nelson is a legend. In pop music Madonna is a legend. In R&B music Patti LaBelle is a legend. In reggae Bob Marley is a legend. In Hip-Hop Big Daddy Kane is old school. It’s the way it’s taught to the youth. It’s taught to the youth like, “That’s some old stuff, this is what’s poppin’.” So nobody really takes the time to do their history. The youth feels like listening to something old is like doing what your parents do – it ain’t cool.

TRHH: How do you combat that though? I saw somebody recently say 50 Cent was old. 50 came out ten years ago! That’s old?

Big Daddy Kane: You can hear that on the radio. Like I said, go to one of these major stations and they will say stuff like, “Back in the days, 2006”.

TRHH: [Laughs] I’m a Chicago guy and Common is my favorite emcee. He really pays homage to you. He always says you’re his favorite emcee and you can hear the influence in his music. What does that mean to you when somebody like Common says Big Daddy Kane is his favorite emcee?

Big Daddy Kane: That’s my man. That to me is what this is all about. When somebody tells me, “The Source magazine had you in the top 5 emcees,” I’m like, “Ok, that’s cool.” The other four may not be who I consider dope emcees. If you got me with somebody who is there because they sold a whole bunch of records, or they’re popular, or a multimillionaire then I don’t really know if you know what really makes an emcee an emcee. Or somebody telling me, “Rolling Stone had ‘Ain’t No Half Stepping’ as one of the top 50 rap songs of all-time,” and I look at the list of songs I don’t really respect their judgment either. But you know when somebody on the street says, “You’re the reason I started rapping,” or “I always thought you was the dopest emcee,” or “Yo, you know you top three,” and then they say something like me, KRS, and Rakim or Me, Biggie, and G Rap, that’s the stuff that I love to hear. That’s what means something to me.

This was never something I did to sell a bunch of records or become rich from doing. I’m someone that actually loves Hip-Hop. I love it so much I’m someone that tried to open the audiences mind to all the different forms of Hip-Hop. When you look back at Cold Crush and Fantastic these were Hip-Hop pioneers who did singing routines at parties. When you look back to what everybody rhymed off of, ‘Good Times’, ‘Got to be Real’, these are disco records. Kraftwerk’s ‘Trans-Europe Express’ is techno music. I tried to open people’s eyes like, nah, it doesn’t have to always be a gutter beat because Hip-Hop musically has no origin. All it got to be is the break. It could be a break from a pop record or a rock record. ‘Big Beat’, ‘Walk this Way’, those are rock records. I’ve always tried to open the audiences mind to new things because of my love for Hip-Hop.

TRHH: To me you’re top 3 alongside Rakim and KRS. There are so many guys you can mention like LL, Slick Rick, G Rap, Ice Cube, Scarface, Nas, and Jay. One thing I can say about you that’s different from the other top tier emcees is you’re definitely the most versatile emcee. Just listening to you talk I realized nobody had the rough shit, the stage show, and the shit for the girls like you did.

Big Daddy Kane: Like I said, that’s my love for Hip-Hop. I know that there are chicks at the party. I know that people love to dance. I don’t know about now, but back then people loved to dance. I want to be entertaining. I don’t want you to come to my show and it looks like the album sounds. I want you to feel like you left with something extra like, “Yo, these dudes was dancing, jumping over your head, flipping and all types of stuff! Then he did some ill freestyle about such and such, yo, it was crazy!” That’s what I want you to leave feeling like.

TRHH: What’s up for Kane in 2014?

Big Daddy Kane: Right now we have a European tour coming up. We’re creating a TV show. At the present moment I’m the narrator for a new show on Centric called ‘Being’. So far they’ve shown Boris Kodjoe, Al Sharpton, and Wendy Williams.

TRHH: I’ve said this to a couple of people like Chuck D and Willie D from the Geto Boys, but you guys raised me. In my formative years I was listening to ‘Young, Gifted, and Black’ with Farrakhan on the record. That stuff made me into the man that I am. I feel bad for the kids today because I don’t know who that Chuck D, Rakim, and Big Daddy Kane is to give kids those messages. But it changed my life and I just wanted to say thank you for doing the music that you did.

Big Daddy Kane: [Laughs] That’s what’s up, man. Thank you, brother. I appreciate it, man."   





Q&A: Raekwon ‘On Strike’ From Wu-Tang, Blasts RZA for ‘Mediocre’ Music


From Rolling Stone

On the surface, this should be a great time for Wu-Tang Clan. The group is prepping the release of their comeback album A Better Tomorrow, their first since 2007′s 8 Diagrams, while simultaneously upending industry conventions by selling one copy of a different 31-track album titled The Wu – Once Upon a Time in Shaolin.

But the revered hip-hop crew seems more divided than ever, at least among certain members. Earlier this week, RZA claimed that Raekwon has essentially disappeared from the recording of A Better Tomorrow, and that creatively, the two were on “different paths.” Rolling Stone got on the phone with an angry, passionate Raekwon, who rebutted RZA’s charges, accused him of lying and lobbied harsh charges against the Wu-Tang producer.

500 Greatest Albums of All Time: Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx

RZA told Vlad TV, “I haven’t had a chance to really talk to him about why [you're not involved with the album]. But I would say that maybe creatively we on different paths.” What’s your response to that?

I don’t know why he said he didn’t speak to me, because he did speak to me. We spoke about two weeks ago. It was me, him, his brother and business partner Devine and we talked about why I’m not there right now. They know where I’m at and at the end of the day, him saying he didn’t speak to me is a bold-faced lie.

And yeah, we are at creative differences because at the end of the day, I want to win. I’m used to being a winner. Being that I feel the team is being compromised by his so-called “logic” of making music, I have a problem with that because I love my fans. I would never want to give my fans anything other than the best. So when we’re sitting there discussing the creative process of making a great album for the fans, I’m not going to never settle for less. I’m not the only one [in the group] that feels this way too.

What do you mean specifically when you say the team is compromised?

This shit is not right. It’s not making us give the fans the best that we can give them. So of course we have a problem with that. It’s like coming out with some music that you’re not feeling. Therefore, it’s being compromised by RZA and his brother Devine, Mitchell Diggs. My thing is, yeah, he’s right, we’re on different pages when it comes to being creative because RZA, you’re not in the field no more. I’m still paying attention to what’s going on and an amazing group that’s got so much potential to be bigger than what they are if they just focus and come out with great music. On “Keep Watch,” you put this new young kid [Nathaniel] on there who nobody knows who he is – and I’m not taking shots at the kid – but I don’t even know who he is. That song is something that the crew didn’t have knowledge of, from what I’m being told. Dudes ain’t feeling good about it.

What do you think of “Keep Watch”?

I hate it. I hate it. I don’t hate shit, but I hate that fuckin’ record. It ain’t the gunpowder that my brothers are spitting; it’s the production. And I ain’t shitting on the producer because he’s one of our soldiers. But if it ain’t where it need to be… It’s 20 years later. We talkin ’bout a whole new generation is sitting here representin’ and making fiery shit and you telling me that we comin out with some mediocre shit? That ain’t part of our plan.

How much of A Better Tomorrow have you heard?

The bottom line: I’m not happy with that. I’m not happy with the direction of the music and I’m not happy with how dudes is treating dudes’ business. What are we giving the fans? What are we giving the people that help us be here? If it don’t feel right, I can’t be fake. And I’m not the only one who feels like that. Fans want the best and I have to sit here and work that hard to give them the best. Period.

You say you’re not the only one who feels like this, but is this a majority of the Clan or a few members?

I can’t speak for brothers. If they’re going to sit there and allow themselves to be comfortable with what’s being made, I don’t know that part. The so-called “organization,” – the business dudes – they made that decision to come out with that record. That’s where I have a problem. That’s not how it works. As a team, we make these decisions. My thing is this: For every problem, we try to find a solution. But the first thing is, we have to make sure that we’re all comfortable doing business. For me, I don’t mind doing whatever it takes to make sure Wu-Tang Clan has the greatest album that they could ever make. But first things first: Business is business and you gotta respect that.

Where specifically do you feel slighted, businesswise?

In order for Chef to work, the Chef contract has to be correct. It has to be a situation where I can say, “You know what? This is the best situation for me and my family.” That’s who I work for. I work for my family.

It almost sounds like you’re on strike.

It’s the same as being an athlete. I don’t give a fuck if it’s Kobe Bryant or Kevin Durant. They will not touch the floor if their managers or lawyers are saying, “Listen, shit ain’t right.” So therefore, I’m in a limbo situation. So yeah, you’re right. I am on strike. It ain’t the fact that I don’t want to be there. Because of course I want to be there. But if we’re there, we gotta do the best everything. We gotta work 10 times harder, because that’s what I’m signing in for. I’m not about listening to somebody that’s not an artist telling me what the fuck they think is hot.

As far as the RZA, I respect him, I love him – the love ain’t gonna go anywhere – but you’re not in the music world no more. So to me, you need to take a backseat and respect the n—as that is playing the game. I’m always out in the field and finding out what’s going on with the new. Period.

50 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time: Wu-Tang Clan’s “C.R.E.A.M.”

Do you think it’s him or other people getting into his ear?

RZA’s the type of dude where, in the 90s, he ruled. Now it’s a new day. You’re not attached no more. It’s like being a coach and you won rings back in the day, but now your team is in ninth place. It’s time for a new fucking game plan. I sit here with integrity all the time. When it comes to my music. When it comes to my business. When it comes to the fans. I’m always going to give them the best of me. And I know the Wu-Tang Clan is built like that, but if they’re sitting there listening to one man, ain’t no “I” in “Team.”

So what’s the solution that makes you happy and ready to work?

It ain’t about making me happy; it’s about doing business and negotiating the best terms and making me feel like, “You’re not lying to me.” But before anything, everybody else’s business might be taken care of correctly where they can move forward, but Chef is not! My shit ain’t together! I have to deal with that first.

Second, RZA’s saying this is Wu-Tang’s last album? OK. Cool. That’s what it is? You the Abbot? It’s the Abbot show? Aiight, then it’s the last fuckin’ album. I’m cool with that. But at the same time, you’re not going to have me be attached to something that’s broke. Because if it’s already broke, why fix it?

Do you think part of it is the expectations put upon the group after 20 years?

We created something that wound up being so big, it has to sit on a certain kind of podium. It has to be sitting up there shining. It can’t be sitting up there with bullet holes and all this bullshit on it. I love my fans. I would never give them something that I feel is not a hit or a win. We made decisions together when it came to making great music. Today, I don’t know where RZA’s mind is at. I don’t know if he looks at himself as being a top producer. But you’re not the top producer no more. You’re definitely one of the best, but you’re not one of the best today.

We said with this album right here, let’s go use some of the relationships with the producers and artists that we know and let’s make something that the fans can be like, “Goddamn.” You don’t go out there and put somebody on the fucking record that nobody never heard of. That’s an insult to us. I’m just sitting back in the bleachers just watching shit. There’s no animosity with me and my brothers. My issue is with fuckin’ management. And whoever sits in that chair, RZA and Devine, that’s they shit that they have to deal with. You’re not going to bury my career with your dumb moves.

Was there talk about working with other producers?

There definitely were conversations about this like, “Let’s make this a colorful album with some of the hottest producers in the game.” Motherfuckers love and respect us enough where it’s like, “If you call me, it would be an honor to be involved with it.” But RZA, you’re the guy that can do that and I don’t understand why he’s not doing that. We want to continue to hold that belt the way it’s supposed to be held.

Did you ever think about leaving the group?

[Pauses] I would never leave the group. Before, I would say to myself, “It can be fixed.” We’ve done so much work together as a family that I would never turn my back on that. But if my business ain’t right, then it’s causing me to do what my heart is telling me to do.

On a scale of 0-10, what are the odds that you end up on A Better Tomorrow?

We at a two right now. It’s like climbing up a fuckin’ mountain if you got on slippers.

It’s sad. It hurts. It’s all about the fans. It’s all about them saying, “This is my favorite fuckin’ hip-hop group in the world.” I have a job to do for them. And I would never let my fans down and make something I feel is mediocre just to say I made it. That’s not Raekwon. 

The True Meaning Of Hip-Hop Culture  
by Afrika Bambaataa

Introduction by Faisal Ahmed from The Bomb Hip-Hop Magazine #38 (March 1995) :

"He is known by a number of titles, "Godfather Of Hip-Hop", "Master Of Records", "Greatest DJ On Earth" - etc etc. Now while a number of teenage buckwild shorties who score with one hit record inflate their own egos to ridiculous levels through their own blunt-smoke induced gauge of talent, he is a man who truly deserves the above titles and more.

However, if one word can accurately describe Bambaataa Aasim, more regularly known as Afrika Bambaataa, it is intelligence. This is a man who could very easily be living in a multimillion dollar ivory tower, content with his life and focused purely upon money. But not Bambaataa. He recognises that a great deal of ignorance exists within society, and he constantly strives to educate the misguided, indoctrinated masses.

Taking his previous experiences as a gangbanger, he redirects the lessons of the streets into a positive and knowledgeable form. Serving as a source of inspiration and wisdom, he uses a philosophy of not misguiding youth, simply highlighting the facts and allowing people to draw their own conclusions. He does this from the same South Bronx streets he ran 25 years ago with the notorious Black Spades.

The main thing that always strikes me about Bam though, is his genuine approachability and how humble he is about his achievements. He always speaks to you as an equal and he`ll always hug you like a brother when he sees you. Compare this to the behaviour of 95% of the current hip-hop community and you begin to understand the difference between men and boys, and you start to see where infiltrators began to fuck up our culture with that policy of "divide and conquer."

The very fact that you are able to buy and read this magazine means that you owe a debt to Bambaataa, whether you acknowledge the fact or not. Now it`s crunchtime. Read the following and peep out your response. If you can understand and open your mind to the bigger picture, contact the Zulu Nation. If you have difficulty, check your head and ask yourself if you consider yourself to be long term with hip-hop or whether you are treating it as a fad. Remember, knowledge is infinite, and there is no power greater than the power of the mind, but it`s up to you as an individual to use it.
peace, Faisal Ahmed


Hip-Hop vs Hip-Hop (Take it for what it is).

I, Afrika Bambaataa, have heard it all, read it all, in many magazines throughout the world, and seen almost all in this continuing bullshit about which rappers are better, east coast v west coast, Miami bass hip-hop is bullshit, British Rappers sound funny rapping, electro funk, techno rappers are soft, I like hardcore rap and beats, this one group is like that, old school vs new school, Rap wouldn`t be rap if it wasn`t for the battles, I`m the quickest, baddest rapper, deejay around, Go Go music in Washington D. C. is dead. It`s all about hip-house or house music all night long. I dis you, you dis me, my crew will take you out or kick your ass, fuck this or that, Nigger, Bitch, Nigguz, Nigguh, Hoe, Hooker, Bitches with Problems, Hoes with Attitudes. Just look at yourselves, sounding like a bunch of fools, who really don`t have any true knowledge of self and knowledge of hip-hop culture and what it`s all about.

First of all, let me tell you that the music (beats) that makes up hip-hop, comes from different nationalities and races, especially from black people, and if you think I am a brother who don`t know what he is talking about, just check out many of the music, beats, grooves and sounds that many of your rappers use to make their records or rap over. Hip-hop music in general is colorless and not racist.

It comes from many categories in music, for example: Hip-hop music is made up from other forms of music like funk, soul, rhythm & blues, jazz, rock heavy metal, salsa, soca (calypso), TV shows, kiddie shows, horror movies, techno, pop, disco, african, arabic, reggae -etc. . . . and if you use any records from these categories, you will see that the music is made by people from different races or nationalities from all over the planet, but it`s roots start with black people.

I have read many interviews by different rap groups throughout the world, just to see where their heads are at, whether they are really knowledgeable about hip-hop music/culture or whether they are just plain assholes. Many of the rappers will down(dis) another rapper because he or she wanted to experiment with hip-hop by singing or adding a different sound in hip-hop to create something new.
When are all of you in the hip-hop world going to "wake up"? You love to keep dissing each other for nothing and if you were wise in your disrespect of each other, you would know how to make money with respecting your disrespect of each other, if you truly understand what I am saying. Many who are into hip-hop or part of hip-hop culture throughout the world need a check up from the neck up.
In fact, and in truth, the whole human family needs one. Everyone needs to check up on their own roots and culture and seek the real truths on life on this so-called planet Earth. Knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, facts and truths about black, brown, red, yellow and white people and not that brainwash white supremacy shit that white people in power have taught all over the world and to their own people of the so called planet Earth.

Yes there are many wrongs in the worldwide hip-hop community, but there are also many aspects of positivity within the hip-hop community that the media or trade magazines rarely focus upon. Many of you in hip-hop culture don`t even listen to the rappers who are trying hard to wake your asses up to what is going on in the bigger scale than of what you see in your neighborhoods, their message goes in one ear and out the other.

The media does play a big role in destroying the hip-hop culture movement, but many of you in the hip-hop community are the biggest enemies of hip-hop and you will be the ones who will help the enemies of hip-hop to destroy it, or to bring it back underground, because of your ignorance of knowledge of hip-hop. This has started the difference between "old school" and "new school".
To myself (Afrika Bambaataa) there is only one school and that`s the learning, evolving, going through the different phases or cycles school of hip-hop. That is the real hip-hop school. A lot of you in the world of hip-hop better start looking at the problems in your own backyard as well as the world, because while you are enjoying yourselves etc. there are many plots being sprung to destroy hip-hop in the world.

Because many people in government look at hip-hop music and its culture as a radical music that gets straight to the point and music that will wake up the youth and young adults throughout the world. They can also use hip-hop to backfire and destroy itself. You can believe what I`m saying. But time will tell and I see what you see not.

Peace be unto you,

Your brother In music and faith, Afrika Bambaataa.

Related: Afrika Bambaata Bio, Universal Zulu Nation                                                                               The Beat Report: I cover the business of music & entertainment.   Published 7/09/2009  

The Man Who Invented Hip Hop  

by Zack O'Malley Greenburg, Forbes Staff

It’s about an hour past lunchtime, and the man who invented hip-hop is nowhere to be found. The restaurant on Lenox Avenue where we’d planned to meet is closed–and has been for two weeks, according to a passerby. A call from a publicist is even less reassuring. “You’ll know him,” she says, “when you see him.”

Five minutes later, a blue SUV pulls up, and a large bearded man hops out. He ambles over and shakes my hand, his formidable frame draped in a baggy black sweat suit and topped with a cap that says “Zulu Kemetic Muurs.” He smells faintly of peppermint. “Closed,” he muses, considering the restaurant. Without another word, he sets off in search of a new eatery.

Such is the way of Afrika Bambaataa. When you’re the man credited with founding hip-hop–and an accompanying philosophical movement–formal introductions aren’t necessary. “Afrika Bambaataa basically is The One,” says Jeff Chang, hip-hop historian and author of the book Can’t Stop Won’t Stop. “Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash and Bambaataa are the Holy Trinity of hip-hop. Bambaataa’s role was carrying the gospel of hip-hop first downtown to white audiences, then to the rest of the world.”

Though Bambaataa planted the seeds that blossomed into the unfathomable wealth of today’s hip-hop cash kings, he eschews bling in favor of a lifestyle suited toward an urban nomad. With a home base still in the Bronx–”the Brewnx,” as he calls it–he roves the planet as a sort of deejay-emeritus, giving concerts and speeches from New York to New Zealand. He’s not one to downplay his status.
“I was called the godfather of hip-hop culture last millennium, and I was pushed up and honored and moved into a god status,” he says. “They call me the Amen Ra of universal hip-hop culture this millennium.”

The origins of Afrika Bambaataa are unclear, and he offers few clues. He may have just funked his way into the universe, conceived by the holy spirit of rhythm and birthed by an earthly mother. He looks to be about 50 years old, which would place his birth year somewhere in the late 1950s or early 1960s. He came of age in the smoldering South Bronx during the 1970s and used his charisma to rise to the rank of warlord in a local gang called the Black Spades.

After traveling to Africa during that period, he decided to borrow a motto from an earlier decade: wage love, not war. Specifically, Bambaataa decided to use his influence to turn the Black Spades into a peaceful organization called the Zulu Nation.

“Bambaataa had this vision of hip-hop as a force for social change,” says Chang. “He had the history and street credibility to make this narrative acceptable to even the hardest of hard-heads … He was the guy who articulated that hip-hop could be a cultural movement.”

In 1977, Bambaataa started throwing block parties where he’d preach the four elements of the newly coined hip-hop movement–deejaying, painting graffiti, emceeing (rapping) and b-boying (break dancing)–and soon added a fifth: knowledge. People started to listen. Five years later, he and other hip-hop luminaries like DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash and Fab Five Freddy had taken hip-hop across the Harlem River to Manhattan, where it mingled with the post-jazz and proto-punk music floating around Greenwich Village.

By the mid-1980s, Bambaataa had become hip-hop’s Johnny Appleseed. Spinning long, decadent mixes of pop, funk and anything else he could get his hands on, he brought the genre’s first tremors to European clubs. “People were going crazy,” he recalls. “At that time, people didn’t hear long records–the only people that made long, tight records was in the ’60s like Sly and the Family Stone, Traffic and groups like that.” While deejaying a show in France, Bambaataa inspired MC Solaar, who is now France’s answer to Jay-Z. Bambaataa also set up branches of his Zulu Nation in countries from Germany to South Korea.

Today, the philosophy of Bambaataa’s Zulu Nation feels like an improbable cross between Garveyism and Buddhism, with some Islam and Rastafarianism thrown in for good measure. “Everybody needs to show respect to each others’ ways and the cultural life that you get on this planet,” he says. “Don’t get caught up on ‘I’m brown, black, white, red, blue, whatever.’ You gotta ask, what were you called before 1492? All these names we’re using now are just an illusion made to keep us fighting each other.”

Bambaataa has made a habit of trotting the globe in defense of indigenous peoples’ rights. He’s mediated conflicts in Brazil, Australia and others. He says he’s even been invited to Antarctica, though it seems his services might not be necessary there. Murky as his precise movements may be, there’s one thing that’s very clear: Afrika Bambaataa really doesn’t care about making money. “You want to buy cars and houses and castles, all of that’s on you and how America has systematized your mind to be into materialism,” he says. “Hip-hop ain’t got nothing to do with that. I’m glad that anybody making money has picked themselves up–I just want them to give some of it back to the community.”

He holds no resentment toward the rappers who’ve made millions off the genre of music he spawned. Bambaataa enjoys some of the music being made by today’s hip-hop cash kings. “I like Akon, I like some of Lil Wayne when he uses that funky voice,” he says. “Anything progressive.” His only requests: Respect your elders. Keep an open mind about music. “House, rap, R&B, disco rock, they are all part of hip-hop culture,” he says. “Why you ain’t playing Kraftwerk along with Jay-Z?  That’s hip-hop.”

Additional reporting by Zachary Fuhrer. 

THE ART OF RHYME AND SONG                                                                              - by MofoHari

Lets talk about the art of rhyme. When I was at Blackburn College in the UK studying music, the first thing that we were told during the segment on lyric writing, was that there ARE no "rules". So let it be known I'm NOT here to criticize specific styles or methods of writing, but to speak on a few personal thoughts relating to this art of ours.

I have had a lifetime love affair with rhyme and as such, rhyme and how it is presented is deeply personal and important to me. As a lady who started out from earliest memory writing poetry, it was not until later in life that I was drawn to put words to music, which opened infinitely more doors to expression! As a student of the art of MUSIC I always aim higher to find stronger ways of expressing inner feelings, bring out more detail, or better ways to ensure the listener is able to hear, feel and experience the story, vibe or intention of the song as it was be 100% WITH me in essence!  But those are all common sense basics for any aspiring or established artist.

One of my producers with whom I worked for years, was always a very skilled artist who's lyric writing I have long greatly admired. He explained that when writing he is in tune with what he as a listener would want to know and understand, or questions they might want answered when a story is being told. He told me that when you are telling a story DETAIL is important!  Names, dates, places, much as you can give in a lyrical format. Yet you can also tell a story with more sounds, fewer words. You could create a song by just making noises with no words at all. It depends where you are intending to take the listener. Do you want to just want them to feel the vibe, bob their head and not think? Then do that and avoid or limit anything intellectual. Is your aim to get them out dancing and grooving? Then you could include plenty of sounds, stacatto words, short phrases, shouts, grunts, plenty of adlibs, non descript words. Add these to a jumpin tune and you have achieved your aim. Each to their own, but do it with style, sounds or words that do "something" for the song and take the listener where you want them to go. 

Know where you are going and what you want to achieve with the song. Make sure the beat compliments your words either directly, or indirectly..A sound that conflicts with your words can be a dramatic twist too. Listen to feedback and leave your ego behind you. Feedback is NOT all about "YOU"..its about improving the song. Listen, improve and grow.

I'm sure many would not even blink over this, but it grates me to see people throw a few simple rhyming words together and think they are dope. Just because you can throw could, should, bad and had together and a few words in between to fill it out, and mumble the words out semi-rhythmically on any old beat does not make you a rapper. Study other artists you respect. See how they flow! PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE..Record yourself and hear how the words flow, then work hard at sounding convincing, passionate, or whatever emotion you want to convey..but for gawd sake convey SOMETHING other than a few simple rhyming words that sound bland and weak.  If you sing, your voice is an instrument, the sounds you give to each word, the passion or vibe you bring to the table when you are expressing the written word is super ALL counts!!!

Many of us are complaining about the music that is out there from both mainstream and underground artists. Those of us who have been blessed with a gift, talent or skill, are duty bound to give optimum passion and energy to building that, and lead by example. We need to aim for excellence in order to show those who blunder into music thinking rapping or singing is "cool", a way to get laid, or a way to make a fashion statement, that they either need to search deeper and decide to accept the art as way more than that, recognize the rough diamond within them and develop it, or move out of the way and just be content to be a listener.

I am not one to be a teacher by any stretch of the imagination. I don't have an Aretha or Beyonce voice..wish I did! But as long as I live I will continue to work toward improvement both in expression of words and quality of sound. Music is not a game, its an ART!!! An art to be cherished, respected and appreciated.  Do YOU like to listen to wack singers and rappers?? Alright then, WORK AT YOUR ART and don't play!!! :)  That is all. Peace.


by MofoHari

I want to take a moment to thank the associations, groups and movements who have, over the past years invited me to become a part of them. Over the years I've added on to and shown support to many but it was never going to be possible for my connection or work to be with any one exclusively. I realize that in our lifetime we need to be true to our hearts and to ourselves, so for those who haven't known me long enough to know my history I'll try and explain so it will make sense. This is MY story, my reasons, my heart.
Going back to late 2004/early 2005, while living in the UK when I first connected with FaDaze and Marcus Priime, I had never followed hip hop or the music..FaDaze had heard some of my acoustic work on Soundclick and asked if I would be interested in collabing.  I started going through the many tracks on his page and liked what I heard but declined the collab, unsure of how my sound and style could contribute to his genre. One night, out of a sound sleep I sat bolt upright with a sudden inspiration for a song and contacted FaDaze to tell him about it. He liked the idea and, taking one of my acoustic tracks, Marcus Priime worked with it, creating the most awesome instrumental which FaDaze laced beautifully with a positive message to the streets to stop the killing and calling for more unity. I added my own little part to that and our song 'Contemplations' was created..all these years later the song still gives me goosebumps. 

Around that time I was very lacking in confidence and struggling with an illness (M.E./CFS) which at the time had me confined to a wheelchair and I was isolated indoors with only my daughter for company (age 6-7 at the time) It was the creativity that was helping me let off steam and focus on something that was beyond myself or my physical issues. FaDaze encouraged me to connect on yahoo chat and I was hesitant but eventually gave it a try. He was the first person other than my mom who I'd ever spoken with on chat and when I took a breath and gave it a try, it was as if a new door had opened when we began talking about music. He was so motivating, enthusiastic, passionate and encouraging that I wanted to try more.

FaDaze introduced me to his cousin Chrismorale who was looking for an artist to work with musically. I checked out Chris's music and didn't hesitate, already excited to see what would develop. Chris sent me a percussion loop and picking up my acoustic guitar, I jammed with it until an idea came and then wrote to it that way. He liked it, adding more sounds and 'Lifted' was of our many classics that was years later heard by the artist Tiguh, who added a verse to it and made it what it is today.

FaDaze and Chrismorale began mentoring me, between them sending names of artists and crews to check out, such as Nas, Rakim, Boot Camp Clik, Wu Tang, Snoop, Ghostface Killah and many physical cd collection began to grow and is now pretty extensive, as I started to fall in love with the music and culture. What was even more encouraging and moving was the love and support that was coming from the hip hop community..not once since giving my heart and passion to creating with beats and working with emcees has there been any regret for the path I chose to develop..I actually felt that I'd found where I belonged MANY doors started opening in my mind creatively. It was a huge difference to being limited to working with a handful of chords on my acoustic guitar and the limited sound that you could achieve with that. I'd found my creative heaven.

Over the years we have created many classic songs together..but wait, I'm getting a little ahead of myself here. Let me take you back to the moment in 2005 when FaDaze asked me why I hadn't posted 'Contemplations' yet. I told him I was waiting for permission and he said "You are part of MaDD PpuLL now, you don't need permission". That moment of acceptance meant more to me and moved my heart more than he could probably realize or understand. He and Chrismorale worked with me, introducing me to other artists and producers in the MaDD PpuLL network and encouraged me to grow, learn and be the best I could be.

Around 2006 I was introduced to Nya Thryce, a super talented female emcee with whom, along with Chrismorale and FaDaze I would speak for hours on the phone. She too was encouraging and supportive and accepted me whole heartedly as a sister in music and MaDD PpuLL and we all shared creative ideas. Eventually in 2008 I was able to fly to the US and meet up with the three of them and had the best time ever. By this time I had set a goal for myself to get off the crutches which I'd managed to work up to, and aimed to walk off the plane to see my people..the goal was reached and that in itself had meant a lot to me.

My work and affection for MY people, including all those associated with MaDD PpuLL led for me to plan to move to New Jersey in order that we could support each other better and had been making careful plans to come, but in 2009, news that my father was very ill and would soon pass had me rushing the process..In hindsight I was not financially ready but was anxious to get to my dad before he passed. Unfortunately I didn't make it but settled in New Jersey and focused on doing my part in supporting the music of MaDD PpuLL. Since 2009 there has been a real rollercoaster ride with health and financial trials but my focus in what I came to do has never left.

This is a time when my people have scattered, doing what they need to do, dealing with life, love and the pursuit of personal happiness. I wait in the temple of MaDD PpuLL like a labrador at the door..Sister Donna still standing alone shaking her collection plate and working to get the many years of unbelievably skilled work heard by new ears. Why am I still here? Because MaDD PpuLL are still MY people, no matter where they go in life, no matter what they do..they are still my heart. I'm staying true to what I believe..and I believe in my people. And if I am alone at the temple forever more..then so be it..I'll still be here tapping people on the shoulder. I came this far following my dream is my reality..whatever it takes..however long it takes..I will be here to encourage, support and lift my people whenever they are ready just like they did for me..they still have the key and ownership papers, and the temple they worked for years to build will never be abandoned.

I'll show love and support to many artists and organizations that support many have recognized. But, for any solo projects you see me do, any performance that I do solo..know that there is always MaDD PpuLL in the mix..and even when they don't even realize, recognize or are focused elsewhere..the moment one of them asks for a collab or asks for help, they take priority..I would rather sit down and do nothing than turn my back or my heart from my people. It just aint gonna happen no matter what their situations in life, where or what they do. I'll be promised..that's just how it is. If Nas asked me to come work for him exclusively..hand on heart I would decline. And those who know my reverence for Nas will appreciate what I'm saying.  Nuff said.

Support Hip Hop and Indie Artists                                                                          - by MofoHari

Support Local Hip Hop. If you were around in the 90′s and early 2000′s, you may remember a time when artists favored specific music sites such as SoundClick (followed by MySpace) to share their work on. They jumped online with anticipation knowing that  traditionally on a certain day of the week, new tracks would be uploaded on the site that day. It was an enjoyable ritual to check out and support each others’  work.  People networked for collaborations..they connected..they gave feedback good and bad..they communicated..they shared the music  of other artists they appreciated! If they heard something they liked and the artist was not in their immediate circle, they often made an effort to connect two or more good artists to see what they would create together. That WAS A MUSIC COMMUNITY in its glory days. Another thing to remember is, Hip Hop Artists recorded on ridiculously difficult, often expensive analogue equipment in those days. They had to improvise, teach themselves, be creative..they had to be innovative and resourceful…AND THEN Uploading their work in the days of those slow-ass modems meant they must have really wanted to share their work, and folks respected the effort they had to put in to get it there! Not everybody could do it!

FM Radio played a lot of the music everybody loved at that time and wanted to hear more of. Fans would run out and wait in line to buy an album they were looking forward to hearing. To go to a concert and hear these same artists LIVE? HELL YEA..that made life worth living!!! Those things were the talking point at school, work, home and socially for  a long time afterward!
If you were around at that time, you may also remember that at performances of unsigned artists who were not worthy of being onstage, or even a well known performer having an “off day”, they would literally be boo’d off the stage!!! Major artists were generally revered, treated like superstars and divas..and occasionally let it get to their head..but hey, we accepted that was their steez and all part of the entertainment!  They were kept apart from the rest of us, protected and inaccessible..keeping that element of ‘special-ness’ and, in a sense, a little bit of mystery. Kids modeled their futures on their favorite artist..grew up wanting to be them.  Publicists made sure to keep the halo overhead, or at least kept them intriguing to the public and any paparazzi bullshit to a minimum.

Fast forward to the present. Music sites, social networking sites, fan reach sites etc are springing up everywhere you look as well as AM/College Radio and internet radio. Technology has advanced so fast that state of the art recording equipment can be bought by anybody with a little cash, and have been simplified, streamlined and made user friendly..anybody can record! Beat makers (those using instant beat creator equipment as well as those who spend time and effort creating unique instrumentals) engineers and producers of all skills are jumping out at us from everywhere we go. Promotion is now a mega business and companies with ‘entertainment’ at the end of their business name are springing up everywhere to (apparently) meet the needs of these masses of aspiring artists, which, like herds of cattle on a rampage, or more aptly a swarm of locusts descending on the music industry, are literally choking the life out of the internet..and music appreciators too. 
Veteran artists, ever anxious to stay on top of the business and maintain presence, are becoming so accessible you can call them by first name..many have their phone numbers posted on websites, and yet more are posting a little too much personal info on sites such as twitter and FaceBook..Not a good look if you want to be respected by fans for the talent and skill aspects, as opposed to flaws in your actual character.
SO I propose we go back..(to an extent) wait hear me out.. not like ‘oh let’s take it back’..Too many artists love saying those words while closing their eyes, licking an index finger and holdin’ it up to the wind for guidance..naahh not that at all..I’m saying lets go back to SUPPORTING THE GOOD HIP HOP ARTISTS (eh although the correct term is Rap Artist..we all should know that Hip Hop is a culture..Rap is a genre) and being honest with the ones who..(being kind here)..just don’t “have what it takes”..we need to let these folks know instead of patting them on the back and applauding their efforts without moving them back to let the talent of the gifted shine through the masses…the locusts need thinning out..NOT EVERYBODY CAN BE A SUPERSTAR! Many of these coming out now are not willing to spend time, effort and energy to developing themselves..those should be the first to be weeded out. Rappers with ‘that certain something’ need to be pushed forward. They may not have a gift with the flow, but they have a certain style or unique rhythm or “something” that stands out about them..We are both advantaged and DISadvantaged by all this technology..You can get any album for free if you want it bad enough. But that in itself is also killing the art. It is dictating that recording should be a hobby, since it doesn’t pay. Nobody buys!  But if we change how our minds view the whole process, we will realize that every single one of us has to do our part to bringing back the good reaching in our pockets and buying the work they put out, speaking their names out of our mouths, passing the message..GOING to their performances..connecting them with other skilled artists or producers..WITHOUT THAT ATTITUDE the wack artists will continue to swaggify us to death, continue to puff their chest out and tell us they are the best thing we will ever see or hear..and we will smile, nod..maybe listen real quick then look the other way. Do NOT complain about the state of music today..CHANGE CANNOT COME unless each one of us does our individual part to show support to those who are skilled in their art. Start right now, today, with your local artists. Get out there and actively support..LET THEM KNOW you appreciate their work and are behind them.  Spread the work and the word around..send it for them to internet stations or AM/FM stations who accept music from unsigned artists..and keep requesting the tracks! Watch how fire spreads when you light a fire. THAT’S how we do it as music appreciators…the hip hop community needs to work together on this one..its the only way forward.
Side Note: No no I was not ‘around’ the music for the most part of that era, but  I owe a lot to my mentors and others who were there, who experienced it first hand and have stories to tell..they are my inspiration..and I supported them enough to leave the UK and bring myself and my child to start a life in the US to be nearer to and show more support for these artists who I believe in with my life..but that is another story.