How did you and Killah Priest link up to record your collab album Beautiful Minds?
Basically my man DJ Truth over at Good Hands came to me with the idea. We thought it would be a good idea to merge those two worlds together and that’s basically how we got it popping off. And then a couple of months after that we got up with Priest and Priest was down to do it. I flew out to L.A. and just got it done.
What was it like recording in L.A. with Killah Priest when you’re usually recording in Philadelphia?
Nothing really changed. I’ve been out on the West Coast for a minute and I’m pretty much at home in whatever studio I pop up in. (laughs) It was good. I hadn’t been out there in awhile and I had some stuff that I needed to focus on. It was like a vacation and it was all good. I ran into some people that I hadn’t seen in awhile. It was all good doing it like that.
You and Killah Priest sound pretty good going back and forth. Why do you think that is?
I mean, first and foremost, I think we’re both astronauts. I think we both come from that age of just lyricism. At the end of the day we both got a respect for the lyrics. I always had respect for Priest as a lyricist because he was a couple of years before me and he laid the groundwork for me to come and do my thing. A lot of us just have that respect for that golden age hip-hop. We pretty much were on the same note. It was crazy, man.
We didn’t have to think about nothing. It just happened. We just went in the studio and made it happen. That’s it. That’s literally how we were banging the songs out. It was pretty much one, two, three. We didn’t even think twice about the songs we did. We just banged it out. I think it was just a love for the lyrics and trying to keep that real hip-hop alive. I think that played a lot into it also.
Were you a big Killah Priest fan growing up?
At the end of the day, GZA out of the Wu was the dude that I always liked the most when I was first coming up. When I first heard GZA’s album it was strange to me that you had this kid at the end of the album where this kid was on this one song and GZA wasn’t on it. You have to be a live lyricist to have your own song on someone else’s album! That was just deep. I had never seen that before. And then “B.I.B.L.E.”, that just set it off. Any hip-hop heads that came up around that time had to show love for that. And then I got introduced to Priest through my man at Lost Children of Babylon. He put me up on cats that was down with the Wu besides the immediate Wu. That’s how I met a lot of cats and found out about them, like Hell Razah. But I always dug Priest since the first time I heard him. There always was a respect there.
When fans say your dark and spiritual style reminds them of Killah Priest, does that make you feel good?
Oh yeah. Anytime you get compared to someone who established themselves and laid the blueprint for you to follow, I’m always good with that. And he set up a lane for certain kinds of MCs to come through, period. Nas set up a lane. Jay set up a lane. Priest is one of those guys who set up a lane for cats to come through and I’m one of those guys that came through and walked in that lane. The comparisons I expect because that’s our lane. So anybody that’s laid something down and established it for me to come and follow, I’m good with that. I look at him as a legend at the end of the day without even looking at record sales. He was the first to do what he did and you can’t take that way from him. He’s an MC’s MC. I know what he did for the game so a lot of my respect, it goes back like that.
How did you approach your rhymes on Beautiful Minds?
You know what? It was kind of weird. I used the same formula. I never really strayed from my formula. Wherever we’re at with it, that’s where we’re at with it. I really had no problem adjusting to the song concept. Wherever we’re going with it, that’s where we‘re going with it. Priest is the same way. We could have went and just did a street album. We could have went and did anything that we wanted to do and as a lyricist you should be able to do that. Wherever Priest wanted to go I went and wherever I wanted to go he went with it. Nothing was really outside of our boundaries where we could have went with the project. I came with my gameface and just tried to make good music at the end of the day. There was no pressure, man. It was as easy as cake.
What’s your favorite song on the album?
I don’t know. I actually can’t really say. I like the whole album actually. I pretty much like the whole album. I don’t really have a favorite joint. I pretty much like the project overall. I’ll have to go back and listen again. (laughs)
Do you enjoy doing concept albums like Beautiful Minds?
Yeah. I might do more. Priest is probably banging out another album. We just gotta get in there and record. There ain’t too many dudes that I really want to get in with and do a project with. I’ve been in the game since ’98 and there ain’t too many dudes on the scene that I haven’t recorded with besides maybe Nas and a couple of other cats. There ain’t too many dudes that I’m looking to do songs with at this time. I’ve done the cameo thing to death at this point. Off the top I can’t really think of nobody that I want to work with right now.
What’s been going on with your group The Juju Mob?
It’s just in the air, man. It’s something that can always be done at the drop of a dime. It’s just that everybody is focusing on their respective projects. I’m trying to get something back on track by the New Year and hopefully gear up and drop another album. Charon is doing his thing and everybody is pretty much handling their business and stuff like that. Hopefully we get our Transformers on and everybody gets back together and we make it happen. It’s on hold right now. It’s temporary.
Is everybody still cool with everybody else?
Yeah, pretty much. I see Reef more than anybody. But I don’t really get a chance to talk to Charon like that. Everybody is pretty much straight. Everybody is just in their respective areas.
It’s been five years since your last solo album Cult Status dropped. What’s going on with your solo career?
It’s doing what it do. After this I’m going to drop a digital album sometime. It’s called Clock of Destiny. It’s pretty much like my anniversary project. (laughs) But yeah, man, I’m on the road. The new album should be out, my official, official solo joint, should be out in the first quarter, like in February or March. But this EP I’m working on should be out sooner than that, probably no later than November. So we’re keeping it moving, man. We’re keeping it working. My solo career is on deck.
I’ve had a record out nearly every year since ’98. In some form or fashion I’ve been on a record since ’98 and at this point, it’s still kind of strange how people just don’t know who I am. I done been here, there and everywhere and done this shit to death. I got something after this Priest joint to set them up and from then on it’s going to be a whole new Chief Kamachi experience. After the Priest album on, there’s going to be a whole new thing. That’s where we’re at right now.
At this time I don’t think I’ve really gotten my just due from my city. I’m one of the only dudes from my city to really do it like I do it. If they don’t want to give me my respect I’m going to take it. I’ve put my work in and I’m going to keep it moving and I’m going to take it up a couple of notches with this next project. Cats should definitely be on the lookout for this next project in the next couple of weeks.
I still don’t think dudes respect me for being an MC and for me doing what I do. I’m at the point where I have to put a lot of people on the spot because I helped a lot of people out and some people couldn’t get projects out unless I was on the project. At this point it’s time to clean house and just straighten everything out. That’s pretty much where I’m at right now. I have to keep my cameos coming and just do it. I’m just staying sucker free. Staying sucker free, man, that’s my focus right now. I got a couple internet companies and stuff under development.
A lot of people don’t know what I’m doing behind the scenes besides the music. We’re just getting focused. We gotta promote and get the Beautiful Minds album where it needs to be at, in the fans’ hands. That’s where I be at, trying to stay in the grind and swim through this crazy music business. It’s crazy out here right now. I’m just trying to tour too. I definitely want to tour for this project too so I’m working on that too. I definitely want to tour for this album. It’s pretty much the regular stuff that goes with the game.
When you talk about putting people on the spot, are you talking about Vinnie Paz’s group Army of the Pharaohs?
I mean, you know, at this point, I need a pay raise! (laughs) At this point I need a pay raise. It’s all good but at this point, after, like, two albums and 50,000 records, we gotta come to come some type of understanding. So right now that ain’t really my focus. If I contribute to an album I want to be able to tour and that’s not able to happen right now. It’s all good. There’s no beef or nothing but I gotta look out for myself and look out for my best interests. You can’t keep being a part of these big projects and then not get your just due. I have to do what I have to do for myself. And after awhile it gets worn out. You can only do the same song so many times. Something new has to go down. I’m in fall-back mode. I probably won’t be on that next album. You probably won’t hear me on that next album. I’m pretty much sticking to the Chief Kamachi stuff.
Do you have any problems with Vinnie Paz?
Paz do what he do. I just have to establish my own. I’m not a dude to walk in nobody’s shadows. I’m not that dude. There won’t be a Jedi Mind Tricks Present Chief Kamachi. It will be Chief Kamachi presents Chief Kamachi. I came in the game in ’98 and I’m not going to be behind nobody’s shadows. I’m equally as good of a lyricist as anybody else. That’s why I roll the way that I roll. You won’t see me everywhere and you won’t. That’s not going to happen.
But Paz is straight but at the end of the day I have to do what I do for me and he has to do what he do for him. At the end of the day I can’t be on no project and not tour and not be able to get on the shelf. I was a part of the group before nearly anybody and at the end of the day I represent that. All of my music revolves around that ideology and it always has. It’s always been personal. And at the end of the day if I participate in that album I want to be on the tours. Why am I on half of the album am I not there? That doesn’t make sense to me. Why am I not there? That doesn’t’ make sense to me and it’s not equal. I’m not there and I’m not going to keep doing that. At the end of the day I have to make sure that I take care of mines.
There’s no beef with Paz. I just have to keep doing what I have to do. You’re not going to hear verses here and there. That’s ridiculous. We should be on the road together at the end of the day. I can’t be out promoting it and then not even be on the tour. If I can’t be out on the tour promoting it then what’s the point of me being on it? Then you feel like you’re being used. Where are the fringe benefits? I don’t need to be on the Army of the Pharaohs project. I don’t need that. Some dudes might need that. I established my own fanbase and it may not be as big as Jedi but they respect me and they respect what I do. At the end of the day I’ve been able to build up my own and that’s just me sticking to my guns and I’m going to keep on doing what I’m doing.
But if I can’t benefit from what I’m doing then I don’t want to be a part of that and it ain’t really help me out none. It might have helped someone else out but it didn’t help me out. I got the same people that support me anyway. But you know, I just can’t play like that. I have to do what I got to do. I got to do what I got to do. I’ve never been on a Jedi show or tour ever. I’ve never even be asked and you would be surprised to hear that. The fans would think otherwise but I’ve never even been asked to perform at a Jedi show before.
Why do you think that is?
It ain’t even about the money or none of that because I don’t even care about the money. That’s degrading right there. You can’t find no footage of me online performing at a Jedi show, not a tour, no nothing, You won’t see it. At the end of the day I’m from Philly and I rep. You don’t think I want to come out and rock too? At the end of the day I’m cool to come to the studio and lay verses for cats but when it comes to getting on the road they ain’t got no holla. You gotta cut that short. I gotta focus on what I need to do. That’s just crazy. That’s just insane to me. But I never speak on it. But at the end of the day it’s just like, ‘Wow. Can I get on an AOTP show? Wow. Can I get on one? Can I sell a shirt?’
Are you cool with everybody in the group?
Yeah. All these groups, I’m going to tell you about that shit. For real for real, a lot of the niggas don’t even like each other. (laughs) A lot of them don’t even like each other. There be a whole lot of backstabbing and back and forth shit. The thing with me is that I don’t even depend on that shit so it don’t even matter to me. I know who don’t fuck with who and who’s tired of who but don’t nobody put that shit on the table. That shit is like a time bomb and it’s going to come back. But for me, I don’t really give a fuck because I don’t depend on Army of the Pharaohs or Jedi or none of that shit to put none of my records out. I don’t give a fuck but there’s a whole lot rot dissension in that shit.
I know a lot of dudes that don’t really like me. I don’t really like Apathy. I don’t fuck with Apathy like that. He’s like a girl to me. He’s one of those crybaby dudes. He might not fuck with me but I don’t need him for nothing. At the end of the day dudes gotta start speaking their minds because at the end of the day they’ll call me up and tell me stuff about other people. I don’t even go on tour with nobody so whatever you say to me, you can’t shut my shit down. I know dudes would like to do it but they can’t do it because I’m not a part of that arena that y’all are a part of. I’m not a part of that arena and I don’t depend on y’all for nothing. But there’s a lot of dissension in that shit and a lot of dudes don’t even fuck with each other. They say the other one is wack and this one is wack and it’s ridiculous. It’s like a miniature Wu-Tang but I don’t need that shit in my life. I got the Juju Mob shit. I got my own shit. That’s how it is though. That’s how it feels right now.
A lot of dudes don’t really like Paz but he don’t know that shit though. He don’t know that. A lot of those dudes don’t fucking like him. There’s serious jealousy shit with that shit because they feel like Paz should be breaking off more than he’s breaking off but that’s him being a businessman. Whatever he do, that’s him. Find your own fucking lane and then do what you do instead of waiting for somebody to see you. That’s where a lot of the problems come in because a lot of the dudes, they have this thing with him where he ain’t really supposed to be like that. They think he’s some sucker-ass Italian dude and then the next week they’re like, ‘Okay, I got my bags. I’m ready to go.’ I don’t do that. He’s got a lot of dudes that dickride and if he cuts that chain off, what are they going to do? They can’t hold their own weight by themselves so they gotta follow his lead. I don’t have to do that. They have to. I’m not going to do that.
I’m in fall back mode and I’m focusing on my own shit. I’ve helped a lot of niggas and that shit doesn’t come back. I got shit popping up on records and I don’t even know about it. They’re like, ‘I meant to remind you that I used your verse for this song.’ I didn’t get that. I didn’t get any part of that budget. For me to stay off the street stuff and the knucklehead stuff, I have to do Chief Kamachi because it’s only a matter of time before I start telling cats how I really feel. I have to really fall back because it’s really a bunch of phony shit and I don’t really have time for that shit. That’s why we have Beautiful Minds coming out! (laughs) We’re making adjustments! We’re making adjustments, man.
Did you and Apathy just never get along?
You know what it is? I don’t like phony-ass dudes. He’s the type…He sent me a beat and I’m the type where if the beat is wack, the beat is wack. Just because you’re my man and I know you and you send me tracks, every track is not the shit. A lot of times Paz will send us a lot of beats and we might have 50 or 60 beats. He sent me one and I was like, ‘That shit is wack. That shit needs work.’ But he’s the type to be like, ‘Fucking ‘Mach don’t know what the fuck he’s talking about.’ It’s crab shit and you can’t take no criticism about your shit. That’s pussy shit to me. If I hit you up about something, just hit me back. If I hit you up about something, hit me back. If you don’t fuck with me just tell me you don’t fuck with me. I’m in the movie business too, which a lot of people don’t know.
I hit him up about some shit and he’ll see the email and not hit me back or he just won’t fuck with me. Tell me what it is. I’m the type of dude that will tell you I don’t fuck with you. I just won’t fuck with you. He’s a fucking girl. A lot of dudes in AOTP don’t like him. I’ll throw that out there. They don’t. They can take it up with him and I’ll say it out my mouth that I don’t like him. They won’t say that though. They’ll hit him up and try to get a beat from him. Fuck it. I don’t need no beats and that’s one of those problems and shit. There’s a lot of dudes like that. They talk under their breath about Kamachi and this and this and that but then when they see me it’s all fucking peaches and cream because they know I’m from the street and this rap shit, I don’t really care about it.
Half of these dudes I wouldn’t even deal with if I wasn’t in the music game. Me and Doap Nixon were talking about that. We wouldn’t even deal with them if we weren’t in the music! I don’t have time for the phony shit.
Dudes act like I don’t put my work in. I put mines in and I’m still putting more in and I accept all challengers! You know what I mean, Brian! I accept all challengers and I haven’t had any in awhile. If Ap doesn’t like this, he can put his 16 on YouTube five minutes after reading the article and at the end of the day, he don’t really want that. A lot of them don’t really want that. I’m still playing the tiptoe gangster with them. I only give them 50% because the spotlight is not right yet. When the spotlight is right then you can see all the jewels. I only give them 50. (laughs) But it’s a new year and a lot of people don’t really like what I got to say and a lot of people don’t like me anyway so fuck them.
I got shit and I gotta speak my mind. I’m from the block and I confront situations at the end of the day. The one thing about me that I want a lot of dudes to understand is that when you hear my spiritual revelations and all the things I’m bringing into the music, that’s an attempt for me to break from my crazy lifestyle because if you come to Philly and you come to where I’m at, you’ll see that I’m in the middle of the jungle. I’m in the middle of the jungle and I don’t rap about none of that shit. I don’t have to rap about none of that shit because I don’t have to. I’m trying to break away from that shit. People think I’m on this Mic Messiah shit. No. I come from killers and drug dealers too. At the same time, this is my attempt to break away from that. Dudes always want to bring you back to that and they always want to judge a book by its cover and then they open it up and a snake jumps out and bites them in their face.
I could have been in jail for murder a month ago. That’s no bullshit. I was going to be in jail for murder just last month. Fuck Beautiful Minds. So when I come across these felonious acts dude that talk crazy, it’s crazy to me because they’re pump faking. I know they work nine to five jobs and they’re straight-laced dudes. I came up with criminals. Whatever kind of dichotomy that is, that’s where I came up and I always made it my thing not to get into the streets too heavy because I don’t want to exploit the streets like that. I can go hard and do a street album better than the dudes that do it but it’s more of like an ethical thing for me with that. I try to bring the other lyricism into it.
At the end of the day I have to let dudes know where I’m from and if you listen to my lyrics, this is where I’m from but I think dudes think otherwise. When you come at Chief Kamachi, you’re coming into the jungle. There ain’t no strawberries or nothing. I don’t even got trees around in my neighborhood. There ain’t even no trees. It’s straight up concrete.
Let dudes know from the bricks, first and foremost, don’t get that shit twisted that I’m on some spiritual backpacker shit. They try to put that stigma on backpackers. That just means that I have books in my bag, you ignorant motherfucker. That just means that I do something that other motherfuckers aren’t doing. I accept that label wholeheartedly. I got books in my backpack. And a gun! (laughs) I got a bookbag. I got a gun in that joint too! That’s real rap for HipHopGame! We gotta make this shit fun again. We’ll see if these dudes is built like that. If Ap is really built like that then we can have a nice little battle. If he is then he will say something. Ifs not then you won’t hear nothing and there’s your verdict! (laughs)