The Infamous Queens-HipHop.com Rating System
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Mysonne has something to say.
Download Link: http://hulkshare.com/pokq6m3h2ual
Directed by Ralph Random & Fresh
FOLLOW: @Mysonne @RalphRandom @FreshSouthQNS
Via AllHipHop.com. As KGR prepares to return to the scene with a new album, he takes some time out to talk to AllHipHop about why he cannot get down with social networks like Facebook or Twitter.
Monday, April 25, 2011
(Video) Tony Yayo [ @TonyYayo ] ft. Mobb Deep [ @ProdigyMobbDeep & @TheRealHavoc ] - ''Body Bag'' (Pd. by @tyfyffetv )
I took the weekend off so I'm sure most of you already got your hands on this. Production from the Neptunes, Cool & Dre, Digga, Scram Jones, Hazardis Soundz & appearances from Pharrell, Masspike Miles, Juvenile & more.Via 57thave.com.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Via MissInfo.tv. I agree with P. I thoroughly enjoyed that album. I thought the production and arrangement of the album was very innovative.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Via 57thave.com. Whatever you may think about the controversy surrounding Prodigy's new book, one thing's for sure, that book is single-handedly refocusing the spotlight back on some of your favorite veteran Queens emcees. Not wasting anytime N.O.R.E. is already running with a Prodigy sample from yesterdays Power 105.1 interview. Here is the first release from N.O.R.E.’s Nore’aster EP/Mixtape set to release this Easter Sunday on 57thAve.com. Produced by Scram Jones.
Via Complex.com. Prodigy has been talking about the the Illuminati for years. Long before contemporary hip-hop's obsession with the secret society, P was vocal about the "enlightened ones" who he believes control the population to push their own agendas though food, television, radio and more.
In this exclusive Complex video, he elaborates on the subject, and also speaks on Kanye West and Jay-Z's rumored involvement with the group. "Jay-Z is a crumb compared to these niggas. I don't care how much money that nigga got."
The Illuminati isn't the only subject Prodigy has an opinion on. Check out these excerpts from his new book My Infamous Life and download the Complex-premiered Ellsworth Bumpy Johnson EP after.
Via ThisIs50.com. With the release of his brand new album 'Vigilante Season', and his appeals process moving along nicely, Max B has reason to see a possible bright future despite his present surroundings.
Max is currently serving a 75 year sentence for manslaughter, aggravated assault, robbery, kidnapping, possession of a weapon and conspiracy. The September 2009 sentencing temporarily stopped the big wave Max was riding, but we could see him back up on his surfboard as soon as this summer.
"The appeal process is done finally, been done for about a month now," Max told Mikey T The Movie Star in a brand new interview. "What they do is the prosecutor responds back and you get a letter, they tell you, you gotta wait 8-10 months for a response from the appellate court to get a decision, but they come back way before that," Max explained. "So you might see me [out by] summer [or] by the end of the year."
That would be a great look for Max, if he's out by the end of the year.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
(Audio) Prodigy VS. Noreaga: Prodigy talks about altercation with CNN & alleged Capone snitching incident. Nore responds.
Via Power 105.1. Prodigy talks about altercation with CNN & alleged Capone snitching incident. Nore responds.
Excerpt From Prodigy's "My Infamous Life: The Autobiography of Mobb Deep's Prodigy"
The Time Nore Caught A BeatdownOne night that winter, Hav and I were on the block with Karate Joe, Gotti, Nitty, Trip, this kid we called Bill Cosby, and this other kid Johnny. Havoc started flipping out, saying he heard Tragedy was fucking with his lady Shawna on the low and he wanted to step to Tragedy about it. We all walked over to Capone’s building next door where Tragedy, Capone, and N.O.R.E. hung out. Hav knocked on Capone’s door and asked him to tell Tragedy to come outside. Tragedy came out with N.O.R.E. and Capone.
“What’s up, man, you fucking with Shawna?” Hav asked. Tragedy said it wasn’t true but Hav wasn’t trying to hear it.
“I know you fucking with Shawna, stop lying!” Hav punched Tragedy in the face and knocked him down. While he was getting back up, Karate Joe warned Tragedy, “You better not hit him back!” Hav punched Tragedy and knocked him down again while we surrounded them, watching. N.O.R.E. was getting nervous seeing the nigga who he thought had strength in QB getting his ass beat—he was worried he was gonna be next. So he reached for his gun, pulled it out, and shot one bullet at the ground in between all of us. The bullet bounced off the cement and hit my man Johnny in the shinbone. N.O.R.E. ran for his life out of the projects. Tragedy and Capone ran into the building and someone drove Johnny to the hospital right away. The next day, Johnny came through the block on crutches with a cast on his leg. N.O.R.E. could never show his face in Queensbridge again.
About a month passed and some unknowing fool set up a show for Mobb Deep and Capone-N-Noreaga at a little club called Krystals on Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica, Queens, across the street from the bus terminal and up the block from my grandmother’s dance school. The only reason we went was so we could catch N.O.R.E. and torture him for what he did to Johnny.
The whole crew pulled up and parked our trucks in the bus terminal facing the club to get a good look at everybody out front. Tragedy and Capone were standing at the front door facing us. Nitty spotted N.O.R.E. walking over to them. “Anyone got a razor?” Nitty asked Twin and me, but we didn’t. Nitty, Twin, and Money No approached N.O.R.E. “Come over here so we can talk,” Nitty told him, putting his arm around N.O.R.E.’s neck and walking him into the street. After a few steps, Nitty started punching N.O.R.E. in the face while he had him in a headlock. N.O.R.E. dropped to the ground and the crew jumped him. Gotti, Havoc, and I stood by the trucks and watched them beat the clothes off that boy. Man, I never saw somebody get jumped so bad!Via Complex.com.
They were like dogs fighting over a piece of meat. Karate Joe grabbed N.O.R.E. by what was left of his shirt and dragged him to the corner so he could have him all to himself. He focused strictly on his rib cage, destroying N.O.R.E.’s ribs with punch after punch. Nitty snatched N.O.R.E.’s Jesus piece from the ground and we hopped back in our trucks. While N.O.R.E. was getting jumped, his boys Tragedy and Capone didn’t move. They just stood in front of the club watching the whole thing.
Some of N.O.R.E.’s people carried him to a parking lot around the corner. I already knew what was going to happen next. “You know they’re about to come back from the parking lot with guns,” I told Twin Gambino. We sat and waited. I popped the hood and told Twin Gambino to get my gun out. I’d just bought an automatic .22 with a twelve-shot clip, but like an asshole I’d never tested it out. After a few minutes, just as I predicted, a few of N.O.R.E.’s people came dragging him from the parking lot with a TEC-9. I was sitting in the driver’s seat; Gambino was outside, standing at my door. We had the drop on them, meaning we could move on them before they saw it coming. “Start shooting,” I told Twin calmly, but the gun didn’t fire. The piece of shit was broken! N.O.R.E.’s people started unloading their gun on us. As their bullets started to explode, Gambino got frustrated with my broken gun and threw it at them. Ha! “Shoot him!” N.O.R.E. pointed at Nitty, who was in between my truck and Havoc’s truck. “Right there!” Whoever had the gun shot Nitty in his back as he was trying to jump into my back seat. Plus the shooter dumped the entire forty-two-shot clip at us and not one of the shots hit our two trucks. I was shocked. The only target they hit was the person they were after.
The Time Capone (Allegedly) Snitched On Havoc’s Brother, Killer Black
Havoc thought he found out who was snitching on his brother Killer. At the trial at Queens Criminal Court, the whole crew sat in the middle of the courtroom waiting to see who the DA’s star witness was going to be. We couldn’t believe it when he came walking up to the stand. It was Capone! Was Capone the fucking snitch?
Capone got up there and said he saw Killer pull the trigger and shoot the man in the back of the head. He pointed at Killer. “I saw him do it,” he said. “He shot the man.” He was on the stand snitching like it was cool! Later I heard he was trying to lower a sentence for a case he’d caught for a direct sale to an undercover. Wow.
The false testimony Capone gave wound up backfiring. The autopsy report said that the man was shot in the front of the head, not the back. Killer beat the case. After that, Capone tried telling people that he did that on purpose to help Killer beat the case. What!?!? I don’t know for sure— Maybe he did know what he was doing, maybe his testimony did help. But from then on, instead of Capone and Noreaga, the whole hood called them Canary and Nore Faker.
While Killer was locked up, he became a full-fledged Muslim. When he came home, it took awhile to get used to. This wild-ass nigga is a peace-loving Muslim now? I liked the new Killer, though; we’d have deep conversations about life. I started reading books by Dr. York, a spiritual leader from Bushwick, Brooklyn, who taught about the origin of all races and religions. If you listen to the Hell on Earth album, you can hear how my rhymes started changing at that time. I started rapping about the Illuminati, secret societies, and the corrupt government and becoming more conscious of my surroundings, going through a mental and spiritual change just like Killer. That seed that my moms planted in my head with Malcolm X’s autobio was starting to grow…
(Video) PRODIGY [ @ProdigyMobbDeep ] - 'MY INFAMOUS LIFE' BOOK SIGNING w/ @ToureX : Via BLOWHIPHOPTV.COM
Via BLOWHIPHOPTV.COM. Last night Prodigy of Mobb Deep and Toure of Fuse's Hip Hop Shop came together to talk about P's new book "My Infamous Life." In the book Prodigy not only talks about his career in music but he goes into detail about everything from his romantic encounter with Lil Kim to his beef with Jay Z, Nore and Nas. Giving the audience a candid look into his life in prison and how he's been regretful for his past mistake, Prodigy has returned home focused and ready to make up for lost time. Pick up My Infamous Life: The Autobiography of Mobb Deep's Prodigy at your local major bookstore or log on to http://myinfamouslife.com for links to you favorite online retailer.
My man, Random aka Mega Ran has been a teacher/rapper for several years now, and just recently he made the decision to give his notice at the school he taught, and do hip hop full time. The man's nice with it, and he'll surely be successful. In the past year or so he's released two critically acclaimed albums that were well received by critics and fans alike. Forever Famicom, an album done over SNES/NES sampled beats, and Black Materia, which is a concept album based around the classic video game Final Fantasy VII.
Here's a track of his that's non-video game related, and shows his talent and skills very well. Check him out on Twitter, and you can also check out an interview I just did with him a few weeks ago on my blog Searching For Chet Baker.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Via http://www.creativecontrol.tv. Coodie travels to Queens with Lord Nez to visit Prodigy in the lab. Featuring appearances by @PRODIGYMOBBDEEP @tonyyayo @LordNez @COODIEROCK @thechike & more. Accompanied by snippets from The Ellsworth Bumpy Johnson, EP. Shouts to the homie @LordNez for sending this over. You can download his latest project entitled Mean Streets here.
Spotted on 1073wkcr.com. Via RosenbergRadio. P speaks about his time upstate, his famous family, being too shook to bang Mary J Blige, Jay-Z’s thoughts on him, and much more. If you're in Brooklyn today, stop by the PowerHouse Arena (37 Main Street) for his book signing & interview with Toure @ 7:30 pm.
(Video) Neek The Exotic [ @NeekTheExotic ] & Large Professor [ @PLargePro ] - ''Still On The Hustle''
Spotted on Unkut.com. This shit is wavy, & that sample is mad wicked. Still On The Hustle drops May 17th via Fat Beats Records/Distrolord Inc. #Flushing #Queens.
Via MissInfo.tv. Curren$y releases his collaborative project Covert Coup, entirely produced by The Alchemist. Features on the 10-track project include Prodigy of Mobb Deep, Fiend, Smoke DZA, and Freddie Gibbs. To commemorate the release Diamond Supply Co. has made limited edition merchandise that’ll be available online on 4/20/2011 12pm PST when you purchase a hard copy of the album.
(Download) Curren$y [ @CurrenSy_Spitta ] & The Alchemist [ @AlanTheChemist ] - ''Covert Coup'' LP: http://www.queens-hiphop.com/2011/04/download-curreny-currensyspitta.html
Curren$y releases his collaborative project Covert Coup, entirely produced by The Alchemist. Features on the 10-track project include Prodigy of Mobb Deep, Fiend, Smoke DZA, and Freddie Gibbs. To commemorate the release Diamond Supply Co. has made limited edition merchandise that’ll be available online at 12pm PST when you purchase a hard copy of the album.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Sese is one of the most consistent artist featured in our Artist Spotlight section. This is heat!!! Peep the previous joint we posted aswell. That was fire too!!!
Sese - What A World
Directed by @GDotSolo
Download the new mixtape
"Sese - Your Favorite Rappers Worst Nightmare"
Free @ www.YFRWN.com
(Video) Mobb Deep [ @ProdigyMobbDeep & @TheRealHavoc ] - ''Start of Ur Ending'' Episode 1 (Pd. by @Qbutta )
This is really dope!! Prodigy talks about his time in prison and all the fan mail he got from around the world. He also talks about some rappers he wasn't feeling before he went in & how he came to end up changing his mind about their music. He also talks about reconciling with Nas & much more!!! This is really impressive. Shouts to @QButta.
"Start of Ur Ending"
Produced by: @QButta
Cinematogrophy by: @RuralChild
Scored by: @TheRealHavoc & @RicRude
Thisis50 recently sat down with Prodigy.
He talks about life in prison, dealing with good and bad people in jail, having anger issues prior to going to prison, writing his autobiography, shooting a lot of music videos before going in prison, "My Infamous Life", the recording process in prison & much more!
Via Complex.com. Ahhh yes some new entries into the Dunn language. Also don't forget My Infamous Life: The Autobiography of Mobb Deep's Prodigy in stores today!!!
The Ellsworth Bumpy Johnson EP Tracklist:
2. Go Off (Produced By Sid Roams)
3. Black Devil (Produced By Sid Roams)
4. Twilight (Feat. Havoc) (Produced By Sid Roams)
5. For One Night Only (Produced By Alchemist)
6. Strong (Produced By King Benny)
7. Told Ya'll (Produced By Sid Roams) (Bonus)
Monday, April 18, 2011
(Interview) Prodigy Talks Reconciling With Nas, Capone Snitching, & Why He Thought Biggie Was Corny, Via: @ToshitakaKondo
THE ELSWORTH BUMPY JOHNSON EP available tomorrow via Complex.com.
If Prodigy ends up being another rapper who fell off after doing a bid in jail, it won’t be because he was lazy or lacked motivation. Since being released on March 7, after serving three years for a gun possession charge, P has already locked in features on the upcoming Curren$y and Alchemist EP, Convert Coup, and Jim Jones’ new album, Capo. He’ll also be releasing an exclusive Complex-sponsored mixtape, The Ellsworth Bumpy Johnson EP, tomorrow. If the recently leaked Mobb Deep-Nas collaboration, ”Dog Shit,” is any indication of where P’s at creatively, then fans should expect a healthy dose of murda muzik.
Interestingly enough, even with all these new songs on the horizon, the thing that seems to have people the most excited is Prodigy’s revealing autobiography, My Infamous Life, which drops tomorrow as well. It is chock full of classic stories involving Nas, Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G., Big Pun, Mary J. Blige, and even Lindsey Lohan. With everything going on, when Prodigy stopped by the offices last week, we took the opportunity to speak with him about his current status in regards to G-Unit, and ask about some of the wild stories from his book.
Prodigy takes time out from his rigorous recording schedule to talk about what's in the works & how he feels about the current state of the game.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Via RadioPlanet.TV. Mobb Deep‘s Prodigy called into Shade 45 recently to talk to a very drunk, spunky and moist Alexis Ford and a cooky DJ Whoo Kid!
Is Prodigy‘s beef with Nas officially over? What was on Prodigy‘s mind while being locked up? What rappers did he find whack? Now that he is free, who is he looking to collaborate with? Is he shooting podcast pornos with his wife?
Be on the lookout for Prodigy‘s upcoming book titled My Infamous Life, but first pour yourself some tiger blood and check out this exclusive RadioPlanet.tv audio interview!
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
(Artist Spotlight/Mixtape Download) K.O.N. [ @Kon_Boogie ] - ''Like It Or Love It: The Mixtape'' (Mixed By: DJ Dyllemma)
1. KON feat. G Martin - Like It Or Love It 04:002. My Life 03:383. Just A Friend 03:154. KON feat. Tenille - Anything Remix 02:135. Let's Ride 03:166. KON feat. Otis Clapp, Kalil Kash - At It Again 03:077. KON feat. G Martin - Don't Go Away 03:378. Short Story 03:599. KON feat. G Daphya - Last Supper 02:5410. KON feat. PremRock, Hasan Salaam, Tenille - Someday 03:3811. Hustlin' 03:2012. KON feat. Akwarian Sea Rebel - Shake It Off 03:3713. KON feat. Joaquin - Come Get It 02:5514. KON feat. Silent Knight, Baron of Red Clay - Celebrate Life 02:4415. KON feat. Daniel Joseph - Light Work
Spotted on The Diggers Union. #Flushing. #Queens. Tune in to Toca Tuesdays each and every Tuesday from 8 pm till 12 am on Shade 45/XM 66.
"The Fly 2" mixtape available now.
The new album Cormega: Raw Forever is set to be a 2disc set. One disc will be performed with the band The Revelations. Shouts to @KrookOnline.
Produced by Tone Blare. Directed by @murdoc2013. Off the "HIGH EXPLOSIVES" lp. #Ozone.
R.E.K.S. Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme in stores now.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Off the upcoming "AIR UNLIMITED" project. Follow @Shaznewyorkcity on Twitter.
Monday, April 11, 2011
(Artist Spotlight/Video) Maffew Ragazino ( @RagazinoSr ) - ''Foreign Exchange Student'' (Directed by Mel Phraze)
This is nice. Another video off 'Rare Gems: The Collection' mixtape entitled 'Foreign Exchange Student'. In this song/video Maffew samples a classic tune and incorporates his love for fashion into a colorful, yet straight to the point visual. Directed by Mel Phraze. #Brooklyn.
M.A.F.F.E.W the album coming May 5, 2011 aka Cinco de Maffew.
Get ready b/c RHYMEPAYS!
Rare Gems: The Collection, Hosted By DJ Delz and DJ Dub Floyd
Rare Gems: The Collection (No Tags)
Saturday, April 9, 2011
(Producer Spotlight/Audio) Labor Department 2011 Beat Sampler #1 [ @diggstrumentals @RodDaBlizz @labordeptmusic ]
Got beats? Do the knowledge.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Now available on i-Tunes.
Memphis Bleek speaks with M. Reck on Jay-Z saying he doesn't work hard enough. The Beanie Sigel/Dipset/Tru life situations. The Freeway/Cassidy Battle, plus his new label Kush Gang. Shouts to ForbezDVD.com.
(Instant Replay/Video) (Video) Reks [ @therealreks ] ft. Lil Fame & Attica Barz - ''Cigarettes'' (prod. by Fizzy Womack)
Had this on repeat today. Worst habit I ever picked up in my life. Song is dope tho. Directed by HotMopFilms. R.E.K.S. Rhythmatic Eternal King Supreme album out now.
While I don't consider myself an "interviewer" or whatever, I do like to get in touch with people who I respect and get their thoughts on various topics. A lot of interviews I see online seem to follow a standard format of questions, and they all seem cookie-cutter. I figured if I was going to do an interview I would only interview people who I know (to a certain degree) and/or I respect what they do. So I'm not going to interview some random "hot at the moment" rapper or singer. I'm not going to interview the flavor of the moment, just to get web hits or anything like that.
Because if I could care less about who they are, I'm not going to waste my time or the time of that person to just go through the motions. So if you see an interview on my site, it's because that person is someone I respect and truly like what they are doing.
Which brings me to the man of the hour, Random. This will be my second interview with him (and first repeat interview subject). The man is a jack of all trades, and a master of all. Rapper/Teacher/Hero, Random has had a fantastic last year releasing not only the critically acclaimed "Forever Famicom", with producer K-Murdock (Panacea), but also his own "Black Materia" which was a concept album based on the game Final Fantasy VII, also to wide acclaim.
Click here to check out my first interview with Random.
SFCB: First I wanted to talk about a topic you are a part of, and that's the Education system. In America we seem to lag behind other countries when it comes to Education. The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) recently released a report that has the United States rated as "average" in the evaluation of knowledge and skills of 15 year olds. Out of 34 nations, the US ranks #14 in Reading, 17th in Science and 25th in Math.
In your opinion why is it that America seems to fall behind other nations when it comes to their Educations? Is it a situation of other nations just doing something that we are not, or is it perhaps a societal issue here in America? What can we do, in your opinion, to improve our Educational system?
RANDOM: I really wish I could say for sure. We do rank number one in confidence though! As Bill Maher said, this just means we're proud of the fact that we don't know anything.. While funny, its sad and true.. I haven't been to many of these other countries, so I can only speak on what I see here. I don't think that we in America put enough value into education, and that goes from the television shows we watch, to everything we do here. We don't make education look sexy here in America. Add that in with all of our freedoms and choices, plus parents having to work two and three jobs to support families, kids learn very quickly that working hard is a sucker move. We have to somehow promote education in a way that will convince kids that it's not only cool to be intelligent, but that its necessary.
SFCB: We touched on this briefly in the last interview, but it seems that since then the move to defund the Education system in this country has picked up steam from many on the Republican side. I look at these people who are openly talking about removing money from schools and the education process and feel like I'm in a dream or something. I remember being in school in the late 80's and early 90's and thinking that the schools were really underfunded.
The computers we used were terribly outdated, the "office" type package we used was some random generic brand that I don't think anyone used, which in turn makes it that more difficult for kids graduating and going to work somewhere that has Microsoft or Corel's Word Perfect package, and you're at a loss. And I was at a school that was a middle-class type situation, I can only imagine the porous situation in the inner city schools.
Now these politicians are talking about removing even MORE money from schools, and it makes me wonder if they just aren't paying attention to the realities, or maybe they figure they have enough money to send their own kids to private schools, so it will never touch them.
RANDOM: I agree, it's like a bad dream or something. I'm far from a political propagandist but these Republicans are insane. How in the world can you think that teachers salaries are too high!? How is it okay to strip jobs from hard working people? It's enough to totally make you lose faith in this system. I can't say too much, as I'm currently employed, but I received two pay cuts this year. I'd love to see the stats on who on these boards have children that go to public schools. These are the kinds of things we should be taking a look at. The system is failing us, in my opinion.
SFCB: Recently, I think it was on Jon Stewart's show, they showed this steady montage of one politician after another talking about the teachers in Wisconsin and how much money they made, and saying "they only work til 2:30". That struck me as incredibly ignorant of the real world. I don't know about your schedule, but my mother was a teacher and her day didn't end at 2:30.
There's grading papers, creating lesson plans, often using your off hours to talk to students or parents, and it just strikes me that here we have a case, much like when they're trying to pull funding for low income housing, and heating assistance for the poor, that they're making real life-altering decisions on something they obviously have no real knowledge of, and something that doesn't affect their personal lives.
RANDOM: I don't know any teacher whose day ends at 2:30. IF I go home at 4:15, then I'd have to take a pile of paperwork home with me to grade, I'm normally not out of the school parking lot until 6pm. My entire Sunday is spent making lesson plans. It's amazing how schools can cut pay and alter contracts of teachers in their favor, but a) they never seem to lessen the workload at all, and b) if teachers attempt to alter the contract by leaving early, schools can remove their certification, making it hard for them to make a living. Its really unbelievable what those teachers are going through in Wisconsin.
SFCB: Recently I read an article about Lupe Fiasco's new album Lasers, and how he went through this battle with the label over how they wanted it to be vs. how he wanted it to be. He talked about how he felt he had to sacrifice so much just to get the album out, because they held so many of the cards, so to speak.
It seems to me that as a kid growing up, 15-20 years ago, that was the dream of anyone who wanted to be a singer, rapper or were in a band. To get signed to a deal. That was looked at as the epitome of "making it". And yet as we grow older, and more and more of the industry's snake-like tactics are revealed, suddenly that shine is off. And with the introduction of the internet, and websites like Kickstarter and Bandcamp, which you have used to your advantage, suddenly the labels aren't quite as much of a "holy grail" of success as they once were.
Add to that the fact that people aren't willing to pay 15-20 dollars an album anymore, and you have record sales plummeting as opposed to what they were years back, and despite all that, the industry seems stuck in the same old model. Do you envision the labels ever truly adapting to the new age in order to survive, or do you think they're just going to keep riding this outdated model even after the wheels seemingly fell off, so to speak?
RANDOM: I don't know, but every year labels are reshuffling, firing and downsizing, and I'm just hoping that keeps happening until the whole structure doesn't exist anymore. Right now with 360 deals, labels are even trying to get a piece of an artists merchandise sales, because records don't sell as much. It's unreal.
I used to be one of those "keep it real" MCs in the 90s who dissed record labels just because, and had never even dealt with a label before. Now that I've got some years in the game, this would be the time to be anti-label. The fact is, that a label can't do anything for an artist with a good product and decent following that he or she can't do for themselves. It hurts my heart to see Lupe, one of my favorite MCs, making musical decisions that aren't his own, and releasing songs that he doesn't totally stand behind. That shouldn't happen in this day and age. But, I really can't say too much, because Lasers is selling like hotcakes, so maybe the industry knows what they're doing there. The story was there, the drama was there, now the people are emotionally invested, so they purchase. Great marketing.
SFCB: In addition to your more serious and straightforward hip hop releases, you also have a lot of releases under the Mega Ran moniker, and it's sort of classified as "Nerdcore". Explain for those who may not know exactly what Nerdcore is, what it's all about.
RANDOM: Well in speaking to the Godfather and creator of the term, MC Frontalot, nerdcore is generally hip hop that speaks about very nerdy and niche topics. I had never heard of the subgenre until the Mega Ran album in 07, but since then it has picked up some huge steam. Theres also some controversy in the name, as most of the artists who have made a name for themselves under the Nerdcore banner have decided to distance themselves from the term for fear of being pigeonholed. It's a very interesting dynamic. I make hip hop music, that much is evident. From conscious to nerdcore, people always want to label stuff. I prefer to let the audience call it what they want, and just hope that they enjoy it.
SFCB: Your recent release "Black Materia" has sold very well and has gotten a lot of high profile attention. Talk about how that project came about and how it's gone for you since the release.
RANDOM: Well, outside of Mega Man, by far my favorite and most influential game is one called Final Fantasy VII, which released in 1997 on Playstation. The game, which spanned 4 discs, is a role playing adventure about a kid who struggles with his past to find his identity and becomes a hero. The music was so memorable, and one day while playing it again, I got an idea to create an album about it. I hit up Phoenix based producer Lost Perception, and him and I worked for about a year on the album and released it in January of 2011.
It's already been my most successful project, charting on both Amazon and Bandcamp amazingly. I decided to retell the story of the game, and luckily lots of people have been able to relate to it and appreciate it. Its always a great feeling to have people respond positively to your work.
SFCB: I read a story several years back about how filmmaker Uwe Boll, who's known for his movies that are based from video games, was fed up with all the movie critics who were savaging his films and making quite personal comments about him. So he put out a challenge for any critic who wanted to fight him in the ring to do so, and a small handful of critics actually did so, with unfortunate results for them as Boll is quite a force in the ring.
While I'm sure you've never gotten so angry at negative feedback that you've challenged someone to fight, how do you deal with negative criticism?
RANDOM: That's funny, I just fought a critic the other day! Haha, no but negative criticism is a part of the game. Of course since Black Materia has been my most successful project, it's brought the biggest amount of negative feedback too. I read it all, and I've learned from one of my old Sunday school teachers to take whatever might be true about a negative comment, and use it to better yourself, then throw the rest away, and dont sweat it. Sad thing about most online critics is that theyll only say "this sucks" or "WTF is this" or even "OMG this is epic" without even saying why it's good or bad. If it's not constructive, it's almost worthless. So I can't build off it. Most people don't know why they dislike stuff, because they don't even give enough time to it to listen to it.
SFCB: Over the course of the past 10 or 20 years it seems that the movies that have been made from video games have suffered critically. Movies like the Resident Evil series have been slammed by the critics, and many fans as well. To date there have been very few movies based off of video games that have been successful to the point of getting both critical and fan acclaim. Why do you think these games are so hard to translate to the big screen?
RANDOM: I'm not sure, this is a great question. I loved the first Resident Evil movie. They did progressively get worse though. I think that once the story is out and known, it's just harder to surprise true fans of the game. Luckily Black Materia is 14 years after the release of the game so many people may have forgotten how much they enjoyed it. So maybe game movies need to wait longer to come out. Wait, that didn't help Doom, so that's not the answer. I think Metal Gear or Splinter Cell would make great movies, for example. But they just have to focus on capturing the feel of the game, even if it means being a little campy. Nowadays they just throw millions into special effects and call it a blockbuster.
Then you had Grape Ape, and Kidd Video and other shows like this. Nowadays it seems the shows are just not even close to being on that level. Do you think that's true, or is it just a case of us being older now and having viewed them through the rose colored glasses of childhood? And what was your favorite Saturday Morning Cartoon?
RANDOM: I don't know man, have you tried to watch any of those cartoons lately? Most of them from the 80s didn't age well at all. I tried to watch Voltron on Netflix and I couldn't get through an episode. I do agree that this stuff was amazing for the time, and that it was a huge cultural ritual of the times and kids today don't have that. Even during the week, I used to literally run home after school to catch Bravestarr and Thundercats and stuff like that. Kids today don't have those kinds of rituals like we did in the 80s. Not to say it's better or worse, but it's just...different.
My favorite on Saturdays was Captain N, I loved that. I loved Starcom, Mighty Orbots, Bionic Six, Turbo Teen...Man you're taking me back now, I'm gonna have to go find some of these.
SFCB: Finally, before we let you go, I just wanted to bring up the Kickstarter program. You and Kyle had a successful campaign with Kickstarter in putting out your critically acclaimed Forever Famicom project. I've followed both yours and Kyle's campaigns, along with a couple other people I know and their campaign, and one thing that I think has surprised all of the people who have done this, that I've spoken with, are the things that you never think about beforehand. There are things that were never planned for, such as shipping expenses, and fees from Kickstarter and Amazon. What is some advice you would have for people who are looking at doing Kickstarter to help finance their first album, or putting a DVD or a book out? What are things that looking back you would have liked to have had someone tell you beforehand, which would have made things easier?
RANDOM: I always say, set the bar high. It's not worth doing if you don't get anything out of it. We got almost double what we asked for and STILL had to put our own money into it to get everything we needed to fulfill the orders. I think I just tried to do a bit too much, so that was my own fault. Our project probably could have been 2 separate campaigns, with us doing a DVD and vinyl. I definitely have learned so much, and I'm recharged and ready to tackle the next endeavor!
Thank you very much for the interview Random, and I wish you nothing but success in the future. Where are your next tour dates and appearances?
RANDOM: I'll be back east for the next few weeks, playing Pittsburgh 4/1 and 4/3, and 4/8 in Kutztown, right around my hometown Philly. After that, gotta finish strong in the classroom, standardized tests are coming up!
Thanks so much for the time and platform for a little old teacher-rapper. Peace!
In the last week, news has come out that legendary DJ Mister Cee, who among other things is known for producing the classic Notorious B.I.G. record "Ready to Die", and is currently an on-air DJ at Hot 97FM in New York was arrested for what was deemed a "lewd act".
Then reports came out of what that lewd act allegedly was: Mister Cee was supposedly caught by police at 4am in a parked car getting oral favors from a transvestite named Brook-Lynn PinkLady. Once that came out, predictably all hell broke loose on Twitter and the hip hop blogs, the overwhelming amount of response being negative.
From people declaring that Mister Cee's career was over, to mocking and laughter, to the predictable homophobic comments, people had pretty much deemed him guilty as charged, even before he had a chance to defend himself. I've read the police report, and seen the Smoking Gun piece on it, and to be honest it doesn't look good for him. It seems they have him dead to rights, although I always try to withhold judgement on people until they've had a fair chance to defend themselves or explain themselves.
The prisons are full of people who were falsely accused of things they didn't do. Who had eye witness testimony put them behind bars, and later was revealed to be coerced fabrications. Who had police testimony that later turned out to be lies.
I'm not saying whether or not he's innocent or guilty or not, as that's not my place to judge. What I would like to point out though is how this whole situation has been created out of the homophobia that permeates hip hop culture. It's not just hip hop though, but the entire world really, particularly this country. However, imagine a scenario here: Imagine that it wasn't a scarlet letter to be considered gay in hip hop. Imagine that a rapper could come out or a DJ could come out of the closet and proclaim himself a gay man or woman, and not have his or her entire career dismissed with the snap of a finger.
Imagine people hearing that and thinking, "Well, who the hell cares? Their music is hot, that's what matters.". In a culture where a man's masculinity and manhood is his most important aspect, aside from honor (which often is viewed as one and the same, sadly), it would be a career death sentence for a rapper in his prime to come out as gay. I don't think anyone would argue that. No matter where you would place that rapper on the "Greatest Rappers of All Time" list, it wouldn't matter. They would be done for.
I mean, when Guru passed away last year, there were many who had suggested that he was gay, and who just utterly dismissed all his accomplishments in hip hop because of that. Because of allegations of his sexual preference, his legendary career was just dismissed like that. Now tell me how much sense does that make?
When Elton John came out of the closet as bi-sexual to Rolling Stone in 1976, while I don't imagine anyone was too terribly surprised, it was considered a big deal. However I don't know anyone who legitimately feels that his sexual preference matters at all when it comes to his music. Does Freddy Mercury or Elton John being Gay or Bisexual make their music any less classic than it was?
Does anyone listen to old records of Elton John's Greatest Hits and think "Man this was so much better before I knew he liked dudes"? Hell no. And if you do, you're a complete idiot and a bigot.
But to my point of Mister Cee, I feel this whole situation is born out of the homophobia that persists in Hip Hop. As I said, imagine that that element wasn't there. That a man didn't have to worry about what people thought about him being gay or straight. He could have his own jump off living with him. He could live openly and freely and not give a shit about people wanting him fired from his job, or dismissing his accomplishments in hip hop history.
And most importantly, he wouldn't have to creep around in NY at 4am to get a head start on the morning. Same thing with all these Republican congressmen who are closeted homosexuals who end up sneaking around getting with male prostitutes in hotel rooms. If they could live freely and openly without fear of career suicide, they wouldn't have to do that. They wouldn't have to sneak around while pretending to be happily married to a woman who perhaps has no clue about her husband's true proclivities.
It's this culture in society these days that force men and women to hide who they are because they're so afraid that their careers and their lives will be taken from them because of who they have feelings for. And that's just wrong, people. Who cares who loves who? I realize that as I said the culture is based around macho masculinity and all that. But perhaps there needs to be a change in that.
If there was, people would be more focused on us getting involved in a third war abroad, when there are millions of homeless people suffering here in our own back yard. We'd be more focused on the Republicans gutting Medicare and taking away benefits from the disabled and low income individuals, than worrying about whether or not one man wants to be with another man.
Which do YOU think is more important and actually impacts your life?
"Nuclear Winter represents many things. It represents dark times in our lives, it represents the state of NY hip hop & how I feel about it, & it represents my blueprint on how I think the music should be done going forward into the future. This is my manifesto to all the people that doubted me & the kryptonite to all selfishness. It's a journey from darkness into light, & from bondage & the huge amounts of weight on our shoulders to breaking free and regaining our freedom. Nuclear Winter we're coming to take shine....." - Willie Maze
The Generals consist of emcees Willie Maze & Dime.
Released 17 July 2012 Art & Direction: Willie Maze
For Booking & Info Contact: Williemaze@gmail.com
All Songs Recorded & Mixed by SPKilla Muzik
Cover Artwork: Miami Kaos