pretty good. I'm just living life. Being a father, husband, and producer
at the same time is a tough job.
you want to go with Drama for the "Separate but Equal" tape?
Drama is a dope DJ. Sometimes videos aren't the only way to promote a
record. What better way to do it than a mixtape series, and his is probably
the top one out there. We're all from the South. That's who we are. We're
all Southern, so we decided to go with him.
you put the tape together?
It just sort
of came together. We did a lot of the tracks in Bassline Studios in New
York. Everybody just joined in to support good music. That's what it was
about. This made it a lot easier. That's how all music needs to be. We
all just need to get together and do music. The game is messed up when
you need to go through a bunch of people to do a song.
it working with Mos Def?
Mos Def is
a funny dude. He's very insightful. He knows what's going on in the world.
The conversations that we had were very enlightening. We were talking
about regular stuff. That's how he is. He's a movie star, but you'd never
get that from hanging around him. He's very down-to-earth and he's one
of my favorite rappers. It was a joy working with him.
the Bun-B collaboration happen?
in an interview that he was a fan of Little Brother and he understood
what "The Minstrel Show" meant, but he wanted us to understand
that people could misconstrue what we meant. People support more than
you think. Musicians like other musicians' music. Hip Hop has lost its
way with that, but us doing a track with Bun-B is trying to get it back.
mainstream finally catch on to Little Brother with the Drama co-sign?
I think so.
I think sometimes people need co-signs just to pick up on something. Sometimes
people need a little boost. Sometimes people need to know that it's cool
to like them now. That's how some people think, unfortunately. We got
some big help from Drama, because now they say if Drama messes with them,
I can mess with them. We were everybody's dirty secret, like they liked
us but didn't talk about it because no one else did. Drama's helping to
happy with the response to "Separate But Equal" so far?
From the hood of the hood to the suburbs of the suburbs, everybody likes
the joint. There are a couple of cats saying that we're trying to sell
out. We got kids to feed and we're talking about the same thing we talked
about on "The Listening": our life. We're always talking about
what we see everyday and what's going on in our lives. It's the same songs,
but it changes from time to time, but it's still our life and we have
to talk about it. Everybody likes it so far.
album that's getting a lot of good response is "Murray's Revenge."
Are you happy with how that turned out?
Me and Murs have a weird chemistry. We fight like brothers in the studio,
but the end result is "3:16" and "Murray's Revenge."
Some cats are saying "3:16" is better than "Murray's Revenge,"
and some cats are saying that "Murray's Revenge" is better than
"3:16." That's what we want. We don't want one to be way over
another. They both have different feels to them. I'm happy with the outcome
of the album. Me and Murs have a weird chemistry, but we really work well
in our interview last week that he leaves North Carolina hating your guts.
I'm a producer, and I hear things that some rappers don't. I'm telling
him to trust me. You have to let your producer go by his ear. I have ideas
behind the beats I make. He leaves hating the songs and then after awhile,
he'll say, "We got a great record," and then we start getting
the great reviews on it.
you usually go with the first take when recording songs?
natural. It's rap. Some people over-think rap too much. It works. On "Planet
Rock," your boy goes, "zz z zzzz z zz zzzz z zz z" because
he forgot his words and it worked. It's classic. The first take is the
most natural take. It's rap music. We're having fun and getting paid for
how Little Brother's music is recorded as well?
and Pooh don't do it over and over and over. That's not our style. We
don't get it like that. We make our own rules in North Carolina. That's
how we make our music. Let the consumer be the judge. That's our ideology.
also saying how you don't ever let him double his vocals.
his voice is very powerful. That dubbing your vocals is that late '90's
stuff. He's got a real powerful voice with swing to it. I like that. Doubling
takes away sometimes. People think they have to double their vocals in
the industry. We don't have to do that. This is rap.
as though Murs has a lot of respect for you and lets you do what you do.
It's a fight to get it like that, but once we get it going, we come out
with some good stuff. I can't wait to get in the studio with him again.
I think the next time we do it, it's going to be me, him, and Jean Grae.
That's going to be fun.
happened to Jean Grae's "Jeanius" album?
all over the net. That's how it goes sometimes. We're working on a new
one called "The Phoenix." We haven't gotten a chance to finish
that yet. We're always going to make new ones, so we're good.
frustrate you that it's not coming out?
I don't know
who actually leaked it, but there is still people that have never heard
of Jean Grae, me, or Murs. There are still people picking up "The
Chemistry" album. The internet is not the end of it. There is still
a population of black Americans between the ages of 29 and 37 that grew
up in the Golden Age and don't get on the internet looking for music.
If you went to college in 1990 to 1994, you're probably not going to get
on the internet looking for music. That's who cats forgot about, and I'm
one of them. We still have to get the music to them.
think "Jeanius" will ever come out?
I think it's
over. I don't think it's ever going to come out. If it does come out,
it will be for the cats I was just talking about. It won't be for the
cats on the internet.
your "Dream Merchant" compilation coming?
It was supposed
to come out before "The Minstrel Show." It's still hard to get
some of the people I want on it because of money and "who are you?"
and "go talk to my manager." People don't do music anymore.
I look at what I got and it's an extension of me. I'm not just one way
all the time. I'm just trying to get that out. I have just two more tracks
and I think I'll be done.
tell us who you have so far?
Saigon is on there. Phonte and Pooh are on there. Joe Scudda's
on there. My manager Big Dho is rhyming on there. Sean P is on there.
There are a couple of new cats that I'm trying to get out there, and I'm
still waiting on a couple more.
you want to drop the album?
sometime between August and September.
happy with the response to "The Minstrel Show" so far?
I am. It's
not reaching who I'm thinking it needs to reach. It's not reaching my
peers. I'm a black 31 year-old living in the South and it's not reaching
enough of us down here. My peers are not always around music all the time
because their lives have changed and their not 18 and in college, but
they're married and living the family life. We've been on MTV and MTV2
at weird times in the morning
We're not put in our peers face enough.
What Phonte and Pooh talk about is what people talk about after they get
out of college. They talk about life, marriage, and kids. To an 18 year-old,
that can be boring, but to me, to hear that in a rap song, that's exciting
to me because that's what I'm living. The people who are living that life
would love "The Minstrel Show." I think if you get it more to
those people, then we'll have a different outcome. It is what it is and
we're going to keep it moving.
started working on the next Little Brother album?
No, not yet.
Hopefully sometime this year we'll get started on that one. We're going
to have a good time doing that one. We have a lot of good ideas and we'll
keep it moving.
you want your next album to be different from "The Minstrel Show"?
I don't know.
We're going to wait and see what Phonte wants to do. You'll all have to
see what kind of diabolical plan Phonte comes up with. We follow his lead.
That's what we do. I'm supplying the beats for it.
your main focus right now?
of things. I need to craft my beats better. I'm trying to do more R&B.
We're at a point where there are two rap generations right now. There's
the '80's to '97 and '97 to now. If a DJ is playing "The Humpty Dance"
and only three people are dancing, then that's a problem. The times change.
I take it as it is and instead of trying to change a 12 year-old's mind,
I need to try to preserve my generation's music. That's what I'm going
you want to say to your fans?
Just keep supporting the music. This is our life, and keep checking us