Lord Finesse – The Unkut Interview
At long last, I got around to interviewing the great Lord Finesse officially. I’m also deep into completing the first proper book of Unkut interviews, so I’m saving the second half of this piece for print, along with a whole bunch of recent follow-up interviews that I’ve been doing. That being said, I didn’t want to hold back everything, so I had to drop a chunk this discussion with the Funkyman to keep your ears ringing until the print edition is released in early 2015. Lord Finesse needs no introduction, as he’s the man who built on the punchline foundations laid down by Big Daddy Kane and paved the way for the next generation of MC’s. We kicked it about his experiences with record labels, his love of the SP-1200, plans for the future and the and the infamously misunderstood Mac Miller lawsuit.
Robbie: Did you feel like you were prepared when you started making Funky Technician?
Lord Finesse: C’mon man, you can listen to that first album and it was dope, there was structure, but nobody was telling me, ‘You should do sixteen bars here, you should do sixteen bars there!’ I was rhyming forever on some of those records.
Nothing wrong with that!
[laughs] Most of that album was written while I was going to the studio or the day before. Some of it was freestyle stuff, but connecting it and doing it all together I had to write rhymes around some of the stuff and make ‘em songs. If you listen to the battle with me and Perc you’re hearing a nice amount of Funky Technician in that ‘89 battle.
So they were your stock battle rhymes?
When it’s time to make records you take ‘em and you re-craft them for the record.
Did any labels try to make you compromise your sound or image?
I didn’t even get that far. I went from Wild Pitch, which was a label with really no money and no promotion to take artists to the next level at the time, to being at a label with a lotta money. They got everything to take me to the next level, but they don’t understand who Finesse is as an artist! It’s like the popular gun that everybody’s talking about, you’ve gotta have the gun, not because you’re a shooter or you go to the gun range. You just want the gun because everybody else got the gun. Then when you get the gun, you don’t know nothing about the gun, you don’t know how to shoot it! You don’t know the mechanism’s of the gun so you kinda toss the gun to the side cos you don’t what you purchased! That’s how I feel when it comes to Giant. I’m there, but they don’t really know what they got! ‘This is the dude everybody was talking about! OK, we got him! Now what do we do with him?’
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.
Tragedy Khadafi – Free Thinkers 2
New Trag track, taken from off Pre-Magnum Opus dropping Nov 24th. Produced by Audible Doctor.
Great Moments In Rap: LL Cool J Sons Run At The Roxy
A great moment in rap – the time that LL Cool J went at Run at The Roxy:
Dr. Butcher: That was not Jam-Master Jay, that was [Jay] Philpot [the second Cut Creator] his DJ on the turntables when he was rhyming. Run-DMC was performing after him, so when he’s freestyling he’s talking about Run in that rhyme. They were walking in and that’s why he wouldn’t let go the mic – he had something to say to Run because they weren’t getting along. Then they took the mic from him and pushed him off stage so Run-DMC could perform.
Stream: Diamond D – The Diam Piece Album
Empire Music have posted the new Diamond album on their YouTube channel for your enjoyment. Here’s a re-up of D-Squizzy’s track-by-track breakdown of the album here while you listen. Available now on CD and digital.
Diamond D: It’s more or less a production LP, about two and a half years it took. A lot of tracks I didn’t even use. I had about 27 tracks but I only used 18. Some of the artists I was in the studio with, and others – because of their touring schedule and my touring schedule – I just sent them music and they sent me the session back. If the track that I give them has a sample in it that’s giving it direction then they’ll follow that. If there is no sample or concept at the beginning I just let the MC’s paint their own pictures and try to figure out how can make it connect. I use a lot more live instrumentation now. I still chop and manipulate samples, but my sound just sounds bigger now. Just using better equipment so the sample frequencies are better.
Large Professor Feat. G-Wiz – In The Scrolls
Paul Sea returns with this tribute to the legacy of Nas‘ first album, with a track from the next Large Professor project, RE: Living Legend.
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”
Your Old Droog feat. Prodigy – Hoodie Weather
Marco Polo produced this new cut from that Coney Island dude and Snowboard P.
Spotted at Ego Trip.
Video: Psycho Les feat. Royal Flush, Tragedy Khadafi and Illa Ghee – Thunder Bells Teaser
This is the definition of Conservative Rap Coalition-approved rap. All four of these gentlemen do themselves proud with their vocal performances here.
Challace feat. Boldy James and Big Noyd – Let You Go
Killa Kidz graduate Challace enlists Bold-Faced James and Rapper Noyd for this cut from the forthcoming Paybakzdagetbak mixtape, produced by King Benny.
Video: Ed OG – 2 Turntables and a Microphone
Pete Rock produced lead single from Ed’s next LP, After All These Years, dropping 9 September.
Diamond D feat. Pete Rock – Only Way 2 Go
Second release from The Diam Piece. Will Black Rob steal the show on the LP as he did on Cormega‘s new album? Odds point to yes.
Spoonie Gee – The Unkut Interview
Thanks to Will and Aaron from Tuff City records, I had the chance to speak to pioneering Harlem rapper Spoonie Gee last week, who set the standard for street tales and slick talk on his earlier work for Enjoy and Sugarhill before he enjoyed a late 80’s comeback with Marley Marl and Teddy Riley providing the cutting edge beats. After enduring some rocky times for most of the 90’s, he’s currently in the process of recording one last project before he retires from music for good.
Robbie: Being from Harlem, in the early days before records, did you have to travel to see shows?
Spoonie Gee: I went to The Bronx, that’s the first place I saw Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five. First time I seen him, I think it was P.A.L on Webster Avenue. I used to go see the Funky 4 + 1, Fantastic Five.
How had you heard about them?
I heard a tape of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Four MC’s at the time, this was before Raheim joined them.
M.O.P – 187
Fame loops up Cash Money and Marvelous‘ “Ugly People Be Quiet” for a new cut from the next EP.
Cormega feat. Craig G, Masta Ace and Kool G Rap – Industry [Juice Crew Remix]
Large Professor‘s majestic track gets an injection of much-needed J.U. Ice as Craig G, Masta Ace and Kool G Rap give Cormega an assist for his musical update of Rule #4080.
Download: MC Eiht – The CRC Collection
It goes without saying that the first three Compton’s Most Wanted albums are an essential part of any Conservative Rap Coalition members collection, but just in case you’ve neglected MC Eiht‘s extensive feature work and b-sides, I’ve assembled a collection of eighteen more pieces of Eiht hype that will please the ears of East-Coast Elitist’s everywhere.
Download: MC Eiht – The CRC Collection
Video: DJ Skizz feat. Roc Marciano, AG, OC, & Godfather Pt. III – Light Years
Rap Game Superfriends (if you ignore Mad Skillz’ old crew), from last year’s BQE LP.
Buze Brovaz feat. Sadat X – 100 Proof
Fresh off lacing the Counterstrike 2 tape with an exclusive burner, Him-Lo has thrown me a new track with his brother Clever One and The Great Dot X, aka three seasoned gentlemen who will drink you under the table without a second thought.
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…
Busta Rhymes feat. Eminem – Calm Down
Who’d thunk it? Scoop DeVille flips the intro horns from “Jump Around” for Bussa Bus and Slim Shady to get unleash speech over. File under: Surprisingly enjoyable.
Doo Wop & Don Blaq – Gotti and Preme
These Wop and Blaq leaks are sounding effin’ great, as they bring it over Onyx‘s “Last Dayz” instrumental.
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.
Mikey D and Devastating Tito – Got’m Say’n Hey [Produced by Large Professor]
Mikey D and Devastating Tito [Fearless Four] have just teamed-up over a catchy Large Pro production for some of that good old back-and-forth rhyme routine action.
Mikey D and Tito also kicked some rhymes for 45 King‘s Making The Beat show the other week:
Video: Ruc Da Jackel feat. Blaq Poet – Catch Your Drift
New clip from former Killa Kid Ruc Da Jackel as he recruits QB legend Blaq Poet to bless the booth.
A Tribute To Father Shaheed of PRT
DJ Father Shaheed of Poor Righteous Teachers was killed in an accident while riding his motorbike on 26 May, 2014. After releasing “Time To Say Peace” on the independent North Side Records in 1989, Wise Intelligent, Culture Freedom and Father Shaheed (who was going by the handle of Devine on the original pressing), they were picked up by Profile Records, who re-issued the single with a remix and followed up with the Holy Intellect LP the following year. This contained what turned-out to be their breakout single – “Rock This Funky Joint.” Offering perhaps the rawest 5% rhetoric of the era over addictive rhythms, PRT made quite an impression and quickly gained a loyal fanbase. Their manager at the time, Kevon Glickman, who I interviewed in 2007, had this to say: