Continuing from Part 1, Trag discusses dealing with depression, mentoring MC’s and the origin of his military state of mind.
Robbie: Can you tell me more about the fall-out from your second album?
Tragedy Khadafi: I’ve been rhyming since I was nine and I started writing songs when I was eleven, so I’ve been rhyming all my life – and anything I’ve ever put out, people felt! But now, this second album, nobody’s feeling it like that! And it’s bothering me – I don’t know how to take that, I don’t know how to accept that at the time. So I left Atlanta and I decided that I’m going to go back to the mecca – for me. So I go back to the Bridge, and I’m just hanging around the Bridge, vibin’ with my old people, old friends, goin’ back to the block. In the course of that I started writing more joints, recording, and my views changed in the sense where I felt like, ‘I can still drop science – I can still drop knowledge – but maybe it doesn’t have to sound so preachy. Maybe it doesn’t have to sound so direct’. The game started changing, things started shifting. As far as I’m concerned, I always drop consciousness in my records – even if it’s just one line. I always try to find the balance between the streets, music and consciousness, and I try to infuse it all together. (more…)
Tragedy Khadafi is considered to be the blueprint of the Queensbridge style of rhyming, which has become world-renowned thanks to artists like Nas, Mobb Deep and Cormega. Even though he never achieved the commercial acclaim of some of those who followed in his footsteps – due to a variety of personal and professional set-backs – his influence and musical vision is still being felt today through those he mentored, such as Capone-N-Noreaga and Killa Sha. Having just come home after three years in prison, Trag is furiously preparing a number of projects, including a solo album, and collaborations with the late Sha Lumi, DJ Phantom and DJ Fresh. With a new single is due out this November, I took the opportunity to discuss some of his earlier work in the first of this two part feature.
Robbie: Tell us about the Super Kids record, ‘The Tragedy’.
Tragedy: When I first came out, I was probably around 12, 13, and my name was MC Jade. When I was trying to come out and get my name up and be heard, I had an individual from my block in Queensbridge, on the 41st side, named Panic. Panic is like an older brother to me, man. Panic was always that guidance for me, especially when I was younger. He had two turntables and a mixer in his room, so when I would stop by his window I would hear him playing records and cutting-up records, and it always intrigued me. So I stepped to him one day and told him, ‘Yo, I wanna go through your records. Let me listen to your records’, so he let me come in the crib, he would let me listen to all his records and I would write my rhymes while I listened to a lotta old school joints, and we started to form a bond. He was actually my first DJ. He went on to produce some things for Marley later on too, but the turntables he had wasn’t actually his – they were Hot Day’s turntables. So that’s how me and Hot Day met, because Hot Day came by Panic’s crib – took his turntables back – and obviously I went to Panic’s to try to make some more music and Panic was like, ‘Yo, I had to give this dude his turntables back’. That’s how I got introduced to Hot Day, and from that point on me and Hot Day started making tapes together. (more…)
If you caught the Special Edition of Marley Marl‘s In Control Vol. 1 then you would have caught the commentary from the man himself introducing each track. According to Marley, Tragedy’s second verse on ‘Live Motivator’ was the official birth of the QB style: