One of the most highly regarded underground acts takes time out to answer a few questions about what he's been up to so far, and what he's got planned.
How did you hook up with Uncle Howie?
I met Eclipse through the battle scene, he had heard of me winning battles and then he was the DJ for Rocksteady 2001 and I won it. I had a CD that I just came out with at the time (Revolutionary Vol.1) and he put it in Fatbeats. It sold very well for not having any promotion and I was hustling it as well at the time, so when I couldn't find any distribution for my single at the time Eclipse called me and Uncle Howie stepped when no one else believed. For that, come what may of our business together in releasing material I will always have respect and a mutual sense of loyalty to what is asked of me. It is those people that give you support and believe in you when others doubt that deserve to be placed in a different category of business. Not to say I trust anyone completely but they have earned their props from me. And in exchange I have waved the Uncle Howie flag putting out very successful singles.
Have you ever had any interest from the majors and would you ever consider signing to one?
Of course I have, they've wanted me to ghostwrite, to change my style, soften my image (which is stupid cuz I don't rely on image I just act like me) and all sorts of other things…I have been offered all sorts of things in return but none of these can replace the self respect and the control over my own words/money that I have from being independent. If a label can work on my terms then we can make money together, but these fat muthafuckaz are greedy and arrogant, very few like to listen.
How much of an advantage is it being independent and being in hands on control of every single aspect of your music career?
I control everything about the record, it's sound, it's conceptuality and how it is marketed. I collect the gross Lion's Share of the profits, need I say more?
What are the downers of being indy?
Less money, less exposure, and much more work. But it's all a process, you build up to where you want to get to. I'm not afraid of hard work.
How have other rappers on the scene reacted to you? Have they been trying to get down with you or are they all shook?
Most rappers, either like you or they see you as a threat, they pretend to not give a fuck about you, when they know rhyme for rhyme, song for song you make them look like trash. I have always respected people who respect me, and those who have something to say negatively, I'm always ready for that. I made my name destroying other rappers, so when I want to take it seriously I know I can handle things lyrically, physically, however. Me personally, I mind my business and make moves, I don't worry about what other rappers say or think unless they are willing to commit themselves at risk of personal injury or loss of property for talking shit to me directly. Otherwise, to be honest right now I have so much beef with the federal government that starting shit with other MC's is at the bottom of my list.
When you talk about Industrial Revolution are you referring to the Independent Movement in HipHop?
Not just that, but the way that we do business as Hip Hop in general. Some of the older MC's and people who were born into this mind frame of doing business the way the industry does are conditioned in their thinking. Everything revolves around the label (some room full of rich white people) lending them money, they then work hard to collect on net profits. While the label gets the opportunity to dictate everything from song selection to the type of money the record is allocated to be marketed. I don't like living on borrowed money, I like owning my masters, my complete publishing and having the control over how my music is used.
Your lyrics contain a lot of references to facts the mass media and politicians either avoid talking about or straight up deny, where do you get all this information from?
It's not that they deny it they just see it differently, they don't deny that the US gave Al-Quaeda billions or was sponsoring the Taliban. We never deny that we sent the CIA to infiltrate the Catholic church in Latin America. The argument given is always to the degree in which the information is relevant meaning how it helped the United States in the long run and to what extent it is exaggerated or minimized. I am not a conspiracy theorist, to say that is to the primitive tactic of condescension to deal with facts that reveal the nature of a dysfunctional system that resists reform.
What do you think of Michael Moore?
He serves his purpose and I serve mine.
How did you meet Mumia?
I have never been on the Death Row Bloc so I have never met him in person, we connected through prisonradio.org and my friends at AWOL magazine.
Are you involved in any kind of community action?
Of course, this is one of such organizations… Kickgame.com
Would you ever consider doing whole songs or versions of your tracks in Spanish?
I would have to hear the right track, but I speak Spanish fluently so why not…
When's the new album droppin?
Early next year.
When are you coming to play in the UK?
Early next year.