Buckshot – The Unkut Mini Interview
Once again I found myself subjected to indignities of a press day, where you have ten or fifteen minutes allotted to talk to a rapper who has already bored themselves to death speaking to the twenty other jerks before you and some herb always messes up the schedule and as a result that fifteen minutes turns into less than ten. Just for laughs, I decided to stay on the line and laugh at the other shitty questions from the amateur journalists who followed me, while witnessing Buckshot get progressively more confusing the more he drank and/or smoked to make the whole process slightly less tedious for himself. Nevertheless, I still managed to get a couple of interesting jewels from the former Black Moon front man.
Robbie: What inspired you start making music?
Buckshot: My uncle David was a dancer, he was an entertainer and he made dancing a big influence on my life when I was a youngster. He was a dancer for a group called Mtume, they made a record called ‘Juicy.’ I saw him on TV and I felt like he achieved the ultimate impossible and one day I was going to do that and I would achieve the same impossible. I kept going and kept going and I kept dancing. I stopped dancing in 1990 and I became an MC at that point. I always wanted to be an MC but never thought that that was my path. I always thought that dancing was gonna be the way for me. When my MC got locked-up I felt like I had no choice but to continue what we started. When he got locked-up he was like, ‘Yo, keep it going!’ I was like, ‘How am I gonna keep it going? You know what? I’mma just start emceeing myself.’ That’s how I became an MC.
Positive K – Supreme Alphabet 
Here’s a late entry into Pos K‘s discography where he calls in a solid from Jesse West to freak a trusted Bob James break and get belligerent on all the herbs, suckers and chumps out there on the alphabetical slaughter tip.
The Influence of X-Clan on West Coast Rap
While EPMD and Heavy D had already scored hits by looping ‘More Bounce To The Ounce,’ the sound of the first X-Clan album really brought the most out of the whole Parliament Funkadelic movement in terms of flipping it into a entirely new context. Their combination of jazz and soul samples with the heavy funk sound created a sound that was far ‘heavier’ than anything we’d heard from New York, soaked in a cosmic slop that no doubt made an impression on the ears of LA rap producers. Clearly the popularity of Zapp and P-Funk on the West Coast meant that it was always going to play a major role in the pre-synth era (or Before Chronic as I like to call it), but when I had the chance to speak to Brother J back in 2007 leading up to the release of the his new X-Clan project, he confirmed this theory for me:
Robbie: X-Clan was one of the first groups to get deep into the P-Funk samples. Do you think that West Coast artists were influenced by that?
Brother J: I don’t think they took it and ran with it, it’s always been here. I think what X-Clan did was we took music that we love. I never sample ‘More Bounce…’ because I wanted West Coast artists to pick-up on my music, I sampled it because in my basement that’s what we deejayed. You go to the parties, that’s what we put on. I’m from Flatbush, Brooklyn, I wasn’t traveling worldwide when I was making this album. I was 17, 18 years old writing To The East, Blackwards. I wasn’t world orientated, I just knew when we go to the block parties, when they put on that Zapp ‘More Bounce…’ the crowd was crazy! When adults hear ‘Knee Deep’? My father and mother listened to records. I dig in their crates and make my album! I knew what was moving the crowd I wanted to serve. It’s beautiful to see that a lotta producers out here in the west coast say, ‘Man, you inspired me. We used to play your album up on the big speakers when we was making Ice Cube’s album and making this dude’s album and this cat’s album.’ I’ve met a lot of legendary west coast cats that gave me a salute, and I’m saluting them cos they’ve got crystal clean sound. I’m from New York where sampling was king, and these cats are playing stuff over and got the mean band on it and the good engineer on it and their sound was just so much more cracking than what we were getting in New York. I admire Dre’s production, he had the best EQ’s.
Video: M.O.P – 187
This could be the line of the year in reference to popping pills:
“The whole place emotional/wake up, find out somebody Frank Ocean’d you”
Domingo – The Unkut Interview
Domingo‘s latest album, Same Game, New Rules dropped this week, featuring a mixture of veteran MC’s (AZ, Kool G Rap, KRS-One) and new jacks (Chris Rivers, Kon Boogie, Joey Fattz), so I took some time out to discuss some of the highs and lows of his long career in the music game, and found out some amusing trivia about some LL Cool J and G Rap songs in the process.
Robbie: What sparked you off to start making beats?
Domingo: My uncle used to go to radio personality college and he started deejaying for a radio station in Chicago as an intern and then became a radio personality there. He would send me cassettes back of him deejaying and I was always fascinated. When he finally came back home to Brooklyn, he threw his equipment in the basement of my grandma’s house where I was living and he would DJ down there and play the drums. My uncle was very multi-talented, I would just sit there and watch him. I always remember him playing “King Tim” and then he played “Rapper’s Delight” and Kurtis Blow. When “Rapper’s Delight” came out, that’s when I was hooked. One day I started deejaying and then it transcended into me wanting to do demos and write my little raps and do battles in the street. I did my demos with two tape decks, back and forth how it used to get done, then I went on to four tracks.
What was it like growing up in East New York back then?
East New York was homicide central, like Jeru said. I grew up with Jeru, Lil’ Dap – childhood friends. A good friend of mine, his nickname is Froggy, and he’s like family to me. We always say that we “graduated.” We were lucky to live to 21. I could take you to the cemetery and show you a row of all my friends who are dead. East New York was a very rough neighborhood, man. Early childhood memories is gunshots, trains running past my house – the L train, cos my house is right near the corner on Sheppard Avenue. Growing up with my friends – my friends are still my friends to this day! And the fact that one of my good friends named Edison, who I grew up with, if it wasn’t for him putting me in his father’s Chevy Caprice Classic and telling me, “Domingo – this is you all the way! Let’s go see Marley at ‘BLS, he’s looking for people.” If he didn’t drag me there, I would’ve never met Marley.
Video: Domingo Feat. M.O.P and GP100 – We Put It Down
Domingo‘s new album, Same Game, Different Rules is out on Tuesday. Be on the look-out for my extensive interview with the man to drop then.
M.O.P – 187
Fame loops up Cash Money and Marvelous‘ “Ugly People Be Quiet” for a new cut from the next EP.
Video: Ka & Preservation – Still Heir
First video from the 1200 BC EP is business as usual from the rapping fireman – b&w visuals and low-key rap hands.
Illa Ghee – The Unkut Interview
Illa Ghee was known as a Mobb Deep affiliate in the early days of his career, having appeared on Hell On Earth as General G, but his latest LP, Social Graffiti, has allowed him to free himself of any constraints and push his rhymes beyond well-worn street themes. While he was riding the subway the other night, we chopped it up about his early days and how Super Lover Cee inadvertently ended his cousin’s rap career.
What were you doing before you worked with Mobb Deep and Alchemist?
I was still rhyming, but I was more into the street life at the time. I went to school with Prodigy, they got cool with Alchemist and by the time I came home from jail Alchemist was hanging with them all the time so I started linking up with Alchemist too. My first actual CD I put together was called Body Music and most of the production on that was done by me. That was 2003.
Were you taking rhyming seriously at that stage?
I just wanted to rhyme on the radio! There was a show – Pete Rock and Marley Marl – at the time that was on the radio. That’s where most of the things I wrote were pretty much aimed at, just getting on the radio and lose my mind.
AZ – Red Magic
“Been a beast since the Octopus breakbeats.” AZ continues to maintain his CRC-approved status – he’s been rapping exactly the same way for twenty years, just the way we like it. He really needs to bless this UK 80’s R&B banger one of these days though…
Illa Ghee feat. Sean Price – Speak To ‘Em
Another cut from Illa Ghee‘s Social Graffiti LP, which drops 8 July. Look out for my interview with Ghee next week.
Domingo feat. M.O.P and GP100 – We Put It Down
No idea who GP100 is but there’s never a bad time for a new Mash Out Posse appearance. Taken from Domingo‘s forthcoming Same Game, Different Rules LP.
Ka feat. Roc Marciano – Fall Of The Bronze [New Iron]
Ka just dropped a new EP with Preservation titled 1200 B.C., which you can cop for $5 here. It previews a new Metal Clergy track with Roc Marciano, which fades out halfway so we can assume that the full version is being saved for the next project.
Illa Ghee – 90
World premier of the stand-out cut from BK trooper Illa Ghee‘s third LP, Social Graffiti, which is due 8 July. Driven by a breezy Large Professor head nodder, Ghee drops slang technology buttery enough to cover a jumbo bucket of popcorn, slyly informing us that, “Life’s a bitch – better yet a Kardashian.”
Video: Innocent? – Aggravated
BK resident Innocent? has been blessed with a superb Fantom of the Beat (aka Haas G) beat and a suitably low-budget video in preparation for the Love it or Hate it LP.
You Must Learn, Episode 1: Jeru The Damaja – The Sun Rises In The East
New series of specialized podcasts, produced and edited by Peter Oasis, written by Dharmic X, and executive produced by Evan Auerbach (UpNorthTrips), with narration from Soul Khan.
Video: Mic Handz feat. Lil’ Fame – Don’t Get Stomped
Some of that good old Punch Your Moms In The Face Rap, with the obligatory Fizzy Womack feature. Produced by Aaron “Freedom” Lyles.
Shabaam Sahdeeq feat. Tragedy Khadafi – OG Certified
Sahdeeq and Khadafi unleash that gutter speech over a sublime Lewis Parker track and some cuts from DJ Ready Cee. Taken from the Keepers of the Lost Art LP, available now through Below System.
Shabaam Sahdeeq feat. Wais P and Sha Stimuli – That Dope
Something new from Shabaam Sahdeeq and DJ Skizz, from Shabaam’s Keepers of the Lost Art LP.
Sean Price & Illa Ghee – Dave Winfield
New Sean P and Illa Ghee, from the MM. Rick Sorry I’m Late mixtape, hosted by Redman and available here.
Is This The Lowest Point In Dipset History?
Miss Info (aka Queen of the Rap Internets) reported on this basketball game between members of The Diplomats and some of the roster of Fool’s Gold Records. This isn’t exactly surprising considering that Cam’Ron and A-Trak are recording a project together (not to mention that A-Trak’s song with JR Writer, Hell Rell, & 40 Cal in 2007 wasn’t too shabby at all), but the idea of the former Kufi Slapper Jim Jones sharing the court with the likes of Nick Catchdubs is the rap equivalent of finding out that there’s no Easter Bunny or that Kanye didn’t write “Jesus Walks.”
Non-Rapper Dudes Series – Spencer Bellamy Interview
After coming up with Howie Tee as DJ and then producer, Spencer Bellamy started East Flatbush Project and released a series of quality records on his own 10/30 Uproar label at the beginning of the mid 90’s independent hip-hop vinyl movement. Best known for being the man responsible for the legendary “Tried By 12” instrumental, Spencer talks about the ups and downs of his experiences in the rap game.
Robbie: Can you tell me about how you started off with Howie Tee?
Spencer Bellamy: He used to have a crew called Count Disco. We were a local crew – myself, his brother and Howie would DJ – and then he had the MC’s, the Sureshot 4 MC’s, so they would do their routines. I hooked-up with him when I was around eleven years old. We played together for a few years and then we just became cool. After he cut-out of deejaying and went more into the production side of it, I would just watch what he would do. I was kinda like an apprentice, so to speak. From there, I tried my hand at production.
Sean Price – I Shot Tha
A little somethin’ somethin’ from Domingo‘s extensive vaults – Sean P‘s take on the Bob Marley/Eric Clapton/EPMD standard “I Shot The Sheriff”. The first verse was eventually used for “Mark My Words” but the rest of it sounds unfamiliar.
Sir Ibu – The Unkut Interview
Born and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant/Crown Heights, Sir Ibu cemented a place in rap folklore with a record called “Holy War (Live)”, which still stands as one of the rawest examples of beats and rhymes ever recorded, so much so that Ghostface recreated a portion of it on his own modern-day remake named “Mighty Healthy”. Beyond being an influential microphone god, it turns out that Ibu may also have been the first ever Conservative Rap Coalition member, as well as having an obscure connection to Australian culture. Salutes to BK Thoroughbred for connecting me with Brooklyn rap royalty and helping this interview happen…
Robbie: What sparked your interest in rhyming initially?
Sir Ibu: It was my cousin – I think it was back in ‘79. I heard him rapping, and I was like, “Wow! What is that?” So he told me what it was and then let me hear this record. I think it was by Spoonie Gee? I kinda liked that, so ever since then I just started writing. I just used to write about girls – all my raps were about girls. Girls this, girls that, just bragging about how I am with the girls. So then when I ran into Supreme – I would say was about ‘83, ‘84 – he told me, “Listen, you’re good. But you could be better if you changed your subject matter. Instead of talking about how good you are with girls, talk about how good you are on the microphone. How good you are with your lyrics and your music and your rhymes and your vocabulary. Just anything but girls!” I’m like, “Alright.” So I did it and I came back to him and I said, “How ‘bout this?” And he said, “That’s perfect! Do you wanna be part of my group?” I’m like, “Alright, let’s do it.” And that’s how I got with him and his sister. It’s interesting, ‘cos his sister – her name was Ice-T originally when we started – but Ice-T from the west coast started making a name for himself, so it was like, “Listen, you’ve gotta change your name.” So she changed it to Nefertiti.
Jigmastas – The Resurge
Kriminal and DJ Spinna are back at it with their first new music in five years. I’ve been a fan of the J.I.G.’s since day dot, so this is one rap reunion that means something to me.