The Formula is dropping online before it’s in stores. What made you want to do that?
Just the fact that there’s a lot of people, what I call, “in the know.” And there’s a lot of people who are not in the know. So the ones that are in the know, those are the ones who have to get it on the internet. Those are the ones that I gave it to early and I know that those fans, those people, are really dedicated to music, not just Buckshot. They’re dedicated to music and I love that because there’s a lot of people who just wait for music to come out and there ain’t nothing wrong with that either, but you have to respect the ones who actually go all out for it.
Just like your single.
You gotta go all out, just like the single. You gotta go all out, man, just like T.I. Word up.
It makes sense for the self-proclaimed Dot Com Don to release the album online first.
Yeah, man. That’s something for the people who know what Buckshot has been doing for the past three years. A lot of people are like, ‘Buck, what have you been doing?’ You mean you’re not in the know? You don’t go to these websites and look at the websites that are now in the know? Then there’s something wrong with you. What are you doing? I know about Murs. I know about Little Brother. Name them. I know them if they’re making moves in the underground, independently or wherever.
Did you and 9th Wonder change anything up on The Formula, which is your second album together?
We just kept it the same. Whatever sounds better or more elevated is a product of its time. We kept it the same. We worked harder but we didn’t change the format of the music. We worked on the songs together. That concept don’t change. Me and 9th worked on the concepts together. We just have a good chemistry because we work on everything together.
Did you want a different style of beats from 9th this time around?
Nah. I didn’t want anything different from 9th. I just wanted 9th to be himself and that’s what he did. And I’m good with that. I didn’t want anything changed. It ain’t rocket science, man. I didn’t want 9th to do anything other than be 9th. I can tell you the one thing that is a little different with this album is that we’re speaking to the females a little bit more. I was dealing with a lot of issues and when you listen to the album, you can hear me really wanting to address these females and talk to them about a lot of everyday issues that we deal with too, man. It ain’t just about rapping. It’s about speaking to the world and when you speak to the world, you’re going to affect them in good ways and in bad ways. That’s what makes us who we are and that’s what separates Buckshot from Redman and Redman from Dr. Dre and Dr. Dre from Snoop. We all have our different styles.
When a lot of rappers say they made more songs for women, that usually means they made more club songs. That’s not the case with you.
I’m not trying to talk to them. I spoke to them because that’s what I was dealing with in my life. So those issues are real. If you could have talked to me at the time, I would have been like ‘Fuck a bitch’ at certain times. I was just dealing with a lot and I wanted to reflect on that. When I’m dealing with a lot, other people are probably dealing with these same issues, so let me speak on it. Hey, look, I don’t do those types of concepts, as far as “I’m going to make a club record or a lala record.” If I had the formula to do those shits, I would do them, but I don’t do that because that’s not my formula. My formula is to make good music. I don’t try to make music that will bang in the club.
You had less features on The Formula than you did on Chemistry. Was that a conscious decision or just the way it worked out?
Just the way it worked out. Everything happens naturally with Buckshot. I went down to North Carolina by myself. I have a North Carolina connection with guys like Swan. Those are the kids of tomorrow. That’s important to the Duck Down movement. That’s our future. Who do you want to help take over or help hold it down?
Did your single with Talib Kweli, “Hold It Down”, go as far as you wanted it to?
Oh yeah. It’s whatever. Yo, it’s whatever. Pardon me. Somebody just tried to sell me a leather jacket. It’s blazing hot outside and they’re trying to bother a nigga. That’s not how you sell nothing anyway. You need to pardon me, man. (pause) Somebody just tried to bark on me and sell me a leather jacket.
I don’t think they’ll be interning at Duck Down anytime soon.
Get out of here, man. You’re trying to sell me a leather jacket on a hot day? It looks new, but are you that down on your luck that you want to disrespect people?
The good thing about me right now in my position is that everything I do, I do it naturally. I’m happy for the people that I support and the dudes that are next, all the new artist and all the new production. It all started from Sean Price and 9th Wonder anyway. Sean Price and 9th Wonder, they set off the Triple Threat which set off Chemistry which set off everything else, from Kidz in the Hall to Special Teamz to KRS-One. The Formula, that’s a summer album and I didn’t make it in the summer, but it’s a summer album and I just think it feels like the summer. It comes out April 29, so you can see that I’m not trying to schedule it to come out in the summer, but it is a summer album and it can be played in that kind of weather. I’m not selling you on that concept, but that’s what I felt when I heard 9th producing and I heard his productions.
What was it like having Charlie Murphy in your video for “Go All Out”?
Charlie is a really, really good friend of mine from ’94 or ’93. I knew Charlie since he had the K9 Posse. A lot of people don’t know he had a group called the K9 Posse back in the day. Charlie is hip-hop for real. And Charlie’s a street nigga.
What’s it like hanging out with Charlie Murphy?
I can’t describe it. All I can do is say to hang out with him. I would never be able to hang out describing with Charlie. Charlie is bananas, man, and the shit I love about Charlie is he’ll be smoking and Charlie will fall right out with everything in his hand, with the blunt and drink in his hand. That’s my dude though. Charlie is my dude. And Rich is the older brother. It’s Rich and Charlie that hang out most of the time. Eddie, Eddie (laughs)…Eddie is something!
Do you see Eddie Murphy a lot?
Eddie, put it like this, Eddie is crazy, for real for real. Eddie is cool, man. He’s one of the coolest dudes, period. You’ll never know it until you hang out with these dudes, man, but your life will never be the same after hanging out with any of them. If you ever meet Eddie Murphy, son don’t tell jokes. And I don’t hang out with him a lot, but the occasions that we do, that’s how it’s been.
Was it difficult for you to write “Only For You”, which dealt with the death of a close friend?
It was difficult. It was real hard. I still don’t believe it today. I believe it, but I don’t believe it. It just seems like Lou is on a long vacation and I don’t know where this nigga is at. I just look at it like that. That nigga has probably got some fly shorties and Lou liked to stay fly. He’s one of the coolest niggas in the world. That was my little brother’s best friend. I see Lou on the regular. He got shot outside of a club not too long ago. He was an innocent bystander and a shootout happened. He got hit. And he wasn’t supposed to get hit. He didn’t have any beef with anybody. And he got hit.
And those are reasons why if you think I’m going to over-glorify guns and killing people, that’s why I don’t do it. Let one of your best friends get affected that much and then you will see if you have the power to be rapping about bullshit like that. That may be where we are and our reality, but don’t glorify that. Don’t glorify that. 2Pac’s not here and my man Lou is not here. These are people who were very close to me and they got taken out. That doesn’t make sense to me. If you knew ‘Pac, then you knew ‘Pac was a cool nigga. He would be flipping because his heart was in it. He wasn’t flipping for no reason. He was flipping because he had to.
Do you try to get your message to the young guys coming up or do you let them figure it out on their own?
First of all, I created Duck Down records to where I could have my own money and niggas couldn’t tell me nothing. Me owning Duck Down means that you couldn’t be doing it for the money. You can’t. I don’t survive off of my record sales or as Buckshot as an artist to survive. I don’t have to. Whatever I rap about or whatever I do, I do what I want because I don’t have to sell to pay my bills to survive. I got other movements and other artists to make sure that happens, so when I make my own music, it really is the music that I want to do. That is who I am and I think that it’s true when you have that in your heart, you just naturally make the good records that the people will like. I think when you try to make records for people, you’ll have them telling you, “I never told you I liked that.” People start saying that you’re trying to make a club record or a radio record and that’s not good. It’s not good to try to do that. I know about all of that, but there are certain things that I don’t do.
Let me explain something to you. Let me explain something to the world. I’m a natural-born artist. I really want the world to know that. I did not pick up a mic and become an artist, man. If that ruins the image and the love for Buckshot with some people, then I’m sorry. If your world and your image of me is ruined of me being a hardcore rapper who busts guns all day, I’m sorry. But that’s not me, that’s not my character and that’s not my style. First of all, I owe it all, talent-wise, to my homie Jamie B. That’s my father’s youngest brother and he’s the one that is our talent source, as far as my family. And we’re a talented family. We’re artists, construction workers painters and dancers…We all do our own thing.
I started off as a dancer in ’87 and going into ’88. I was still dancing then. Hell yeah. That was ‘88 and then when the ‘90s came in, that brought in the house era. That’s where Tribe comes from, Black Moon, Leaders of the New School…Certain groups, you can tell they come from that era because they’re very animated. And those were it. And then we went from that era to dark hip-hop. We went to midnight hip-hop, or what they call horrorcore rap. In the sense, it wasn’t horrorcore hip-hop for us, but we brought it so dark that they called it that. It was the Gravediggaz and all of that.
And a lot of people don’t know their hip-hop history. They say they know that shit but it’s like they just got into basketball because they saw Michael Jordan. But they don’t know nothing about Patrick Ewing and they don’t know nothing about Magic Johnson. So stop fronting like you do rap when you don’t know nothing about the history really. And then you say to me, “What happened, Buck? What happened to everything?” Do you know how hard it is to do this rap shit? Do you know how hard it is to get in the magazines and on the radio? Get the fuck out of here. I had to put that work in. I had to put in the work and do the music together. I had to keep trying. Talent it talent, brother.
I was sitting in a Brooklyn restaurant around my way, doing an interview and listening to Mariah Carey. That shit is fire, my nigga. And anybody who will tell you that it’s not, I will tell you that they are not in tune with Mariah Carey. And she was always a good artist. Nigga, you know you was vibing with her when she had those hot records. So what, you’re not vibing with her because she’s not in the spotlight or you’re doing what everybody else is doing? You’re just a fucking dickrider, aren’t you? Instead of simply going, ‘Oh, that’s Mariah!’ That shit is fire.
And it don’t matter to me who you are or what you are. If you got fire, it will burn. If you’re in Japan, fire is the same as it is in Australia. It’s a flame that burns. So that’s how I look at life. If you have fire as an artist, I fuck with you. And if you got fire, I’m going to appreciate that. If you don’t, I’m not going to shoot you down because this rap shit is not easy. If you think it is, get onstage. If it looks so fucking easy, then grab the mic and not worry about if people are staring at you or booing you or looking at you happy, sad, not paying attention or whatever. If you think that shit is easy, then the next show, let me pass you a microphone and see you do that. It’s not. I look at KRS and I say the same thing, this is not easy for you to do what you’re doing. This shit is not easy. I’ve seen people who have No. 1 singles on the radio and they get onstage and it’s like, ‘What the fuck are they doing?’
How much work goes into running Duck Down on a day-to-day basis?
Duck Down, to me, it’s like Pinky and the Brain. I’m like the Brain. I’m this short little guy with a nigga’s brain. I don’t have to be running around all day to handle Duck Down. Duck Down is ran through me and Dru Ha building every day. Duck Down, for me, I’m always moving around. My hat goes off to Dru Ha and No Ha, because they’re the ones, without those two, there would be no room. They’re the two walls. They could do the day-to-day. We’ve changed the music industry. We’ve changed the conventional way of doing things. We’ve even changed the conventional way of running a record label. We don’t need no office. For what? For what? So I could have a whole bunch of staff people running around, looking like they’re important? I got my whole office on my computer, on my laptop. Why do I need an office? I was paying $350,000 for overhead on Duck Down when I was on Priority. Do you think that I want to do that shit again? $350,000 every year, just to run that company? Come on, man. That’s money that’s in my pocket. So I came up with the new concept. Fuck that, Dru, let’s do it like this. Dru Ha is a VP over at Cornerstone Marketing. You know, how do you run Duck Down and then run a marketing company that has nothing to do with Duck Down? He’s doing that with the same concept that we’re using to run Duck Down.
Kidz in the Hall, they’re my heroes because Kidz in the Hall, they’re doing what I always wanted to do when it comes to hip-hop. They’re performing. They’re blending live music with raw hip-hop. I’ve had Duck Down since 1995ab andab I’ve always been one of the dudes to bring live hip-hop with raw hip-hop. There was nobody doing it like we were doing it. There damn-sure wasn’t no Talib Kweli. There damn-sure wasn’t no Mos Def. These artists didn’t exist back then when I watned to do the live music and I did. And it was a sacrifice. And I did it. And I got booed. I sacrificed back then. But Kidz in the Hall, they are now the ones that are like, ‘You know what? We’re going to do it now. We’re going to do it. We’re going to do it, Buck. We’re going to bring in that hip-hop with the live band.’ I grew up on live music. I grew up on Bob Marley. What the hell? How can I blend live music but then I’m too hip-hop for live music? You stupid fucks! There are some people who do shit like that because they’re nothing but followers. They need to have it pointed out and then they’re like, ‘Oh, my bad. I didn’t know.’ You stupid fucks, I’m not a follower, son. I like a lot of live music and I make hip-hop. You don’t have to be hardcore just because you’re a raw nigga. I know some of the rawest niggas who will fuck around and do ballet and they’ll burn your head off. They do that just because ballet is what they like.
Do your fans understand you?
I know they don’t. I know they don’t. No, fans do not have the right conception of Buckshot. Hell no. Some of them do, but there’s a large majority of people who have their own version of Buckshot. I hear about that all of the time. They all have their own version of Buckshot. I can’t always tell you the real-real-real. Some people, it would shatter their fucking dreams if they knew how Buckshot really was. They think I’m on the corner all day long and I keep a big gun in my waistline and I run a company where I scream on people all day long and we just listen to hardcore shit. I mean, there are so many images that people have of me and it’s not their fault. It’s really just what happens when they don’t get the chance to meet me. It’s not their fault. And I’m not going to make it my business to put this image of me out there. I don’t care. It’s not that I don’t care, but look, I’m not going to go out of my way to live up to an image of me. I’m not living for you. But I definitely learned from the mistakes and about doing things the right way and the wrong way.
KRS being on Duck Down shows the strengths. Me and him have an album coming out and it’s like a Batman and Robin thing. People can get a snippet of it on YouTube. Kris is a phenomenal MC. And it’s not me rhyming behind KRS-One at all. I don’t care if you don’t think he’s in his prime or whatever he sounds good and he better not get booed after it either. I keep stressing this shit because people are so quick to judge you and judge what you do like that shit is easy, but these motherfuckers, when you give them the same mic and opportunity, they don’t know what to do. I don’t do that shit. I don’t have an opinion every five minutes to condemn a person because it’s not up to par like that. I had two new artists come up to me that I had never met in my life, but because they put in so much work, they got to perform at the show last night and I could remember back in the day how I was doing shit the same way. Even if they gotta send in tapes of them backflipping, they would do that because they wanted to perform. Those types of niggas never get on because they always got a reason for why they don’t do what they want to do but they always have a reason for doing what they don’t want to do.
How is your album with KRS-One album coming?
It’s fire. Me and Kris are going in on Thursday to finish up more of the album. We have 13 songs done already. To me, that’s phenomenal. Me and KRS-One have 13 songs done. I’m still saying at the end of the day, “Wow, I did a song with KRS-One!” Come on, man, that’s a fucking blessing. And the songs are coming out crazy and no, they’re not “veteran songs.” Nope. When you put our shit on, you’re going to have trouble. Our shit is not dated and it’s not new. It’s nothing. If you spit, then you’re going to have a good challenge with me and Kris at a show because if they mic is there and if we see any MCs and we start spitting together and your shit ain’t up to par, don’t get on the motherfucking mic talking about how your ice freezes and your neck is frozen. That’s cool for records, but when you get onstage, you’re going to look average. They’re going to want to get you out of there. You’re not even using more than five words. Who let this guy past the MC line? Who let this guy past them? That guy probably could make some good club records. All that good clubby-dubby shit. There was always a Will Smith in hip-hop and I respect Will Smith too. We need those. If that’s the role you want to play, we need those. We need those niggas. We need those niggas. We need every nigga. I brought the Vincent Price shit to this rap shit. It’s not always positive all the time. I brought the night shit, the dark shit, the midnight shit. I brought the Black Moon shit. That’s not appealing to everybody. It’s not me to be commercially-appealing to the masses. It’s just not.
Have you and 5 FT. been back in the studio working together?
Hell yeah. I just left 5 last night. We’re working together. The next Black Moon album is going to be dope and it ain’t just because the moon is black. It’s going to be fire. It’s going to be fire. It’s going to be a good album. I just know that the energy of it, we’re going to do good things, man. We’re going to do good things.
What’s your focus now that The Formula is dropping?
Giving the people the best performance onstage whenever. I’m a fan of this album and that is very rare. That is very, very, very, very, very rare. For me to become a fan of an album that I’m working with, let alone that I made, that’s impossible. But I am. I’m a fan of this album and I’m a fan of the music that 9th brought to the table and the choruses and all of that stuff. That’s why I like this album. Me, as a fan, I’m like, ‘Wow, I did this!’ I’m not shocked that I did this, but I’m happy that I did it. I get to perform it. When you’re making these records, you’re not making it out of egos. Every record you make, you’re praying to God that it comes out good. Every record that you make is a roll of the dice. I don’t care whoever tells you that that is wrong. They won’t tell you that’s wrong. Everyone will tell you that hell yeah, it is a dice roll. Some people will front in interviews like their shit is hot, but it’s okay. So my focus is going to be to do shows, do good shows, and give these people a performance that the average person ain’t giving them. I want the performance challenge right now. I want to battle niggas on that stage now. And I hope you got a good club record. I hope you got a “Smile For Me” and all of that. I hope you got a good record that will bump in the club. I want you to do good on that stage to bump when I come to serve you. I come from the era of James Brown and Sly and the Family Stone and Stevie Wonder. He’s from my father and them’s era, but I grew up on that shit. I don’t play with that.
Check out the Official 9th Wonder & Buckshot 3D Animation "FORMULA Video"