Scaramanga first emerged on the Beat Terrorists EP entitled Big Willie Smith, and went on to drop verses on the Dr. Octagon LP, which he followed-up with an apperance on Kool Keith’s Sex Style. Following these cameos, he released the “Physical Jewels” single on Rawkus. In addition, he put out the “Space Cadillac”/”So Intelligent” 12″ and “Space Cadillac (Remix)” b/w “Gametime” and “Terrorworks” records. In 1998 he hosted The Lyricist Lounge with Kool Keith. Shortly after these appearances, KRS-One featured Scaramanga on The Temple of Hip Hop LP. Finally he released the 7 Eyes 7 Horns LP, with the twelve inches “Special Efx” and “Mind IC Mine”. After releasing this album he did an EP called Big City Hustlers with Don Diva magazine. In 2005 he’s released the Einstein Rosen Bridge LP, the Snake Eyes LP and most recently the Cobra Commander LP. Besides these releases, Scaramanga has appeared on numerous other hip-hop records and compilations. On one of Scaramanga’s most interesting tracks, the Runaways “Levitation (Remix)”, he does a posse track made up of his own different personas…
Keir: Where were you born and raised?
Scaramanga: I was raised all over. I was born in Manhattan in Lennox Hill, I lived up on Sugar Hill where my parents were from in Harlem. Moved to Queens for a while then moved to Hempstead and Brooklyn. At one point I moved to California with Keith for 2 years. After that I moved back east to Florida for close to 4 years. I’ve recently moved back to New York after 2000 and have been back here about 5 years now. Since I’ve been back I’ve been living in Brooklyn, Spanish Harlem and now Uniondale Long Island, where I went to high school with Dinco D and Charlie Brown from L.O.N.S. (Leaders Of The New School) back in the late 80’s.
K: How did you meet Kool Keith, and how did the whole Dr. Octagon projects unfold?
S: I met Keith at a birthday party for Busta Rhymes with my girlfriend at the time named Stephanie (she is from San Francisco). I went to pick her up from this party she was hosting. When I got there I ran into Ced-Gee, Flavor Flav and Kool Keith. I was like “Oh shit!” everybody was in here. So I was like “Yo I spit flames too, what’s up ya’ll want to go on stage and get busy?”. Everybody was getting on the mic – Freddie Foxxx, Lord Finesse, CL Smooth, L.O.N.S., Tip and Phife, Pete Rock, Large Pro and Diamond D – it was out of control! I was hungry dude you know? So I spit some old ill shit at Keith, Ced and Flavor and they took me on stage. After the show Keith got at me like “I got a deal on Capitol and I want you to come to L.A.”. After a long story with Capitol, Lo and Malik who were A&R’s got fired, and Keith’s deal got canned, soon after that Automator approached Keith about doing an LP.
When it came time to record Dan and Keith picked me up at the airport and told me what was what, then they hit me with a few chips and that was that. I laid two tracks on the LP – “No Awareness” and “Biology 101”. “101” were taken off the DreamWorks version so I got even less publishing. I still have a bitter taste in my mouth. Keith was so hype to do the LP, Dan paid him like 30 G’s up front, and he also got like 200 G’s on top of that.
K: How did you get involved with Rawkus?
S: I stepped to Rawkus after I came back from Cali and they were mad at anything I was down to do. I got tired of waiting to put out the album so I bounced over to Fat Beats and banged out the Scaramanga LP. It was crazy, and then all of a sudden Rawkus was all behind Blackstar and Pharoahe Monch. I told them to sign Monch and Big L. When Big L was alive they would not close his deal… then BOOM! As soon as he dies they swoop in and put his record out. They dissed me, I knew they never would promote my shit like Mos Def and Company Flow, but so what it’s in the past. I’ve still got my label and my records and I’m out to make paper to I’m not mad or hating on anything!
K: What about the industry?
K: I paid Don, Diamond D, DJ Spinna and Showbiz out of my budget and nobody can complain, even though the records took years to come out. It’s not like Sun Large Records wasn’t handling business, but my distributors – Caroline, Fat Beats and some newer ones I have – were ripping me off left and right. That’s why hip-hop underground dies, because nobody supports the real cats that make this shit go to the next level. The Menelik’s, the Rass Kass’, the Saafir’s, the Del’s, Pharoahe’s or Jeru’s. They always want to talk shit how we use big words and we’re “Back Packers” but our records sell. Then they bootleg our shit behind our backs. Now all you got is fucking Nelly and Lil Jon, well thank you miss hip-hop! You aren’t shit, you just prey off real MC’s struggling to make it in the game. On that note, holla at the last real poetical one under KRS-One and Ultramagnetic MC’s the real hip-hop shit! Representing the Temple of Hip-Hop…
K: How did you meet Godfather Don?
S: Don was great! He really worked with me to get my spitting razor sharp. That’s my best man right there he got a live band, they’re putting an album together.
K: How did you hook up with so many producers worldwide?
S: I met producers like Headdrillaz and Expansion Union at conferences across America. That’s what happens, I have people who recognize then bamm its on!
K: How do you go about writing lyrics?
S: Secrets… I am still amazed myself grasshopper!
K: What’s the deal with performances?
S: I have done live shows, nothing recent of course. I just can’t afford for suckers to bite my style, you know how it is. Don is the same way, the promoters always want to give us trash money like we aren’t nice or anything, we turn down a lot of smaller venues. Usually we don’t feel the promoters or they’ve got no paper for us. They’ve got two or three acts sitting around watching me and Don to bite our style so they come out sounding like me and Don or doing the same type of shit you saw in our routines… 2K5 is Scaramanga year, its Cyclops year, I will not mess with the lames.
K:Now that you’ve released the three-prong Scaramanga/Sir Menelik album attack what more can we expect?
S: Sun Large Communications/Sports Athletic Management. I’m working with Derrick Blaylock from the NY Jets on some projects to come out, “Chamz 9 times Ultra” My next alias is Sir Menelik A Knight’s Tale, Blood Bath Mafia LP, Dre the Don, R&B Lee and a few other acts I am developing!
Photography by Anais Carayon
Runaways UK featuring Sir Melenik – Levitation [Remix] (Three-Sixty, 1998)
Scaramanga – Mind I.C. Mine (Sun Large, 1999)
Scaramanga – Thorough Niggas (Snake-Eyes LP, Sun Large, 2005)
Cyclops 4000 – Let’s Build For A Sec (Sun Large, 2005)
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