Read up on a great duo from the states who look set to do big things with their forthcoming debut album 'The Golden Era', featuring DJ Premier, Kool G Rap and many more.
Who are you and where are you from?
Kool Sphere representin' Queens, NYC and MC Reppond from Los Angeles, California.
How did you guys hook up to become Verbal Threat and how long have you been making music?
We met back in '92 on some rhymin' in ciphers type shit. After that we first started a crew called 'Kingdom of Ends'. Original members Kool Sphere, Reppond and Letron aka Leeway, who's been missing for many years. We eventually changed the name to Verbal Threat and started writing seriously.
Being from both the East and West coast, how does this increase the dynamic and appeal of your music?
We have a broader appeal than most as a result. Our original influence is the 1988 to 1992 era reppin' both coasts, like Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, Gangstarr. Then you got Ice T, NWA, D.O.C etc. See, back then it didn't really matter about the coast per say. It mattered how we rocked joints and flipped dope complete songs. That real shit.
How did you feel your debut single 'Reality Check' was received by the scene, and how did the DJ Premier involvement help?
We were originally drawn into making hiphop music in the plan of working exclusively with DJ Premier. So when we were finally able to match up schedules and get down to business, it was a long time coming. We've received nothing but positive response on 'Reality Check'. Pream has been spinning it every week on his Sirius Satellite show, Hiphop Nation, channel 40. The game has been wack for a while now and the all around vibe is that this joint will set up a domino effect, raising the bar back.
It's pretty impressive to get a beat by such a legend for just your first release. How did you guys hook that up?
Again, years in the making. We always seemed to run into Premier from NYC to Cali' and had mutual friends who were excited to make the connection for the benefit of hiphop all together. We collaborated back at Headquaterz from Jump Street, then finished in Hollywood. Pream came through with the dope cuts on the hook. We were all buggin'.
Your first album 'The Golden Era' is out this year. What can people expect from it and how long have you spent on it?
It's been about a full year in the making. We've been very selective with production and dope concepts on each track. Front to back 'The Golden Era' will be a complete classic when all is said and done. We listen for inspiration albums like 'Only Built For Cuban Links', 'Step In The Arena', 'Daily Operation', 'All For One', 'Road To The Riches', 'Long Live The Kane' etc. So you know where we're coming from.
Can you give us a run through of some of the tracks on there, and perhaps what producers and guest spots you have?
A lot of fresh joints fam. Production by DJ Premier, Wu-Tang's Allah Mathematics, 4th Disciple and about five tracks from Bronze Nazareth One, featuring Kool G Rap (Reckless Eye-Ballin), LD Technicali, Reef, C-Dash and we're working on locking down a joint by Da Beatminerz with a feature with Sadat X.
And the album's out on Throwback Records? How did you get the record deal with them?
We had mutual friends in the game and Throwback was introduced to us. We shared the same vision of smashing the game up lovely and decided to go all out!
Did selling out shows and getting lots of press put pressure on you when making the album to live up to the hype?
Not really… Our biggest pressure is living up to our own standards.
You guys have toured with some great names like KRS One and Guru. Do you have any favourite memories of live shows?
Yeah, we rocked mad shows over the years… Our earliest memory was rocking The Viper Room in Hollywood with Pharell from The Neptunes with is group N.E.R.D. We did our set and finished with a song we flipped over Group Home's track 'Up Against The Wall'. Little did we know, Premier was in the crowd and propped us for doing his track justice. We toured with Guru and the crowd propped us for doing his track justice. We toured with Guru and Kool Keith but when we went through New Mexico, we merged with KRS One and Blackalicious. It was basically a sell out with the whole place going bananas.
Have you got many dates planned to promote the album release, and when do you think you'll make it to the UK?
We're working on promoting now. Going back to NYC in June for some radio appearances and Pream's show on Sirius Satellite. We're in talks with a promotional deal starting in the UK, then branching out. We'd also love to come out there for a nice long extended tour. All in the works.
Do you know much about the UK hiphop scene and what have you thought about the stuff you've heard?
Nothing but good words. I hear the original scene is repped hard from breaking to graff'. It a shame the states are caught up in nonsense right now. We're looking forward to getting fans in the UK for sure.
You guys featured in the Interscope film 'The Next Episode'. Would you like to appear on the big screen again some time?
Yeah, we're always looking to expand out the box. We're currently putting together a DVD of all that's been going down, putting this project together.
Obviously you're both strong rappers in your own right. Do you think solo material is something you'll both do down the line?
There's always room for possibilities. Rest assured, that'd be like how Ghost and Rae always appear on other's albums. Separate yet equal. We have a lot of music and style for the world to hear.
What are some of your favourite artists and producers at the minute?
Gangstarr, Kool G Rap, Ghost, Rae, Nas, AZ, DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Alchemist, Havoc, Dr. Dre, 9th Wonder, Hi-Tek, Bronze Nazareth.
From an outsider looking in, it seems like the US scene is going through a great and positive transition. Would you agree?
Not at all. I've seen the game go right down the toilet and wack commercial groups hogging the lime light. This is the year though. That new Busta joint 'New York'. At the end he does a roll call of the real veterans. I saw that as a roll call for the real cats to come back now for the take over. We're here for that son. Word up!
Are you guys involved in any other aspect of hiphop such as graffiti and beatboxing, and how prominent are these areas in the US hiphop movement?
I used to be involved in graffiti around the way style from 1985 to 2006. I'll bust the occasional piece here and there but that's about it. I have a lot of respec' for the original dudes who really did it.
Have you got any plugs or shout out's you wanna send to the UK people?
We know y'all love and respect real legitimate hiphop. We're here to bring the game back to the people on the streets. No fake candy wrap bullshit. Straight up and down sick flows, over some sick ass production, reppin' the game hard. Peace to all the UK worldwide. Queens NYC and the US. Peace to NYC graff' writers from the 80's and all the cats involved with 'The Golden Era'. Peace out money. Kool Sphere. Cop the new Verbal Threat, Dj Premier, Kool G Rap single at www.fatbeats.com