We’re all waiting for your new album Born and Raised. How much longer are we gonna have to wait?
You’re not going to have to wait much longer. Right now I’m in the studio putting the final touches with Large Professor. Say Whaddup, Large.
Large Professor: What up, B!
Cormega: That’s Large Professor!
When we first talked about your new album Born and Raised you talked about enlisting some of the best producers in hip-hop and it sounds like you did just that. Are you looking at this album as an event?
Looking at this album and all the work that went into it, anything less than an event is a failure due to the producers and the time it took to make this album.
What was it like working with guys like Large Professor and Primo again?
It was great. It’s always great. Every time I work with guys like that it’s always a learning experience.
Are you most proud of this album in your discography so far?
I’m proud of all my albums. Every album I’ve ever done is like a child. Your albums are all like a kid. One kid might achieve more than the other one but you love them all. The Testament, that was my first album when I was really making it and it never materialized when I was supposed to make it but I have so much good memories form that album. The Realness, I’m proud of that album because that was my first debut and that showed people that I could make an album.
And then The True Meaning, that album got me a Source award and an Impact award and it showed growth. That was the first album where I got to work with Large and Buckwild and a few other producers that I always wanted to work with.
So every album holds a special part in my heart but this album holds a real special part in my heart because I got to work with some producers that I never got to work with that are dope producers and then I got to reunite with some of my favorite producers and then I got to work with some of my favorite artists ever.
Like the song “Fresh,” I didn’t make that song for radio and it might not get no radio spins and it might never blow up but it’s a song that I’m going to be proud of because I remember the days when I had Kane’s poster on my wall and I had CDs and cassettes and KRS-One records. Those are people that I always look up to so for me to do a song with Kane and KRS-One and Puba and P.M.D. and then have Red Alert on it, that’s one of those proud moments for me. I’m not saying that song’s going to change my life. I’m not saying that song’s going to keep the lights on in my house. I’m not saying that song’s going to make me platinum but that song, I could be 60 years-old and I can say that I worked with Kane and KRS-One. That’s one of those songs that I can look back on and be proud that I worked with these dudes.
I’m a rapper and I’m trying to pave my way and these dudes are solidified greats. There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. That’s the thing that’s special about this album. I got to work with solidified greats. I might never reach the level that they’re on but just me working with them, I’m proud of it. It’s like you might not be a starter but you were on a team with Kobe or Jordan. I was amongst greatness and greats on this album >That’s what made me so proud about this album as opposed to all of the other ones.
You haven’t released a lot of new music lately. Do you have some coming?
Yeah. I’m going to start leaking out shit. I’m working on a mixtape now. I’m just going to do a lot of freestyles and start leaking them and then I’ll start leaking songs slowly but surely. I usually don’t agree with the free download thing but necessary times call for necessary measures.
One thing I’m going to do is have a show at S.O.B.’s on March 19 where I’m performing the entire ne album so that show is goingot be an indication of how good or bad my new album is. If I wasn’t confident about this album there’s no way I’d do that show.
Are you concerned at all about the sales for Born and Raised?
I’m more concerned than ever because unlike my other projects, this album was entirely me. It wasn’t funded by a distributor and the climate for music sales has changed. I can just hope for the best and hope my fans are there.
How did you get all these big producers and MCs on the album with no major label budget?
Three things – money, relationships and luck.
You could have easily gotten beats from up-and-coming producers for a much cheaper price. How important was it to you to have legendary producers on Born and Raised?
A cheaper price isn’t always the best value and I give new producers the intro on my solo albums. But a man is judged by the company he keeps so if I’m in the company of greatness and they live up to their names we have a great product! I helped a lot of up-and-coming people in the industry and only three showed me love back – Sha Money XL, Maino and Choke No Joke. Somebody showed me an interview where Sha Money said I was the first person to give him a chance and that he would give me a beat for free. At a rap convention he said the same thing so I was touched by that. People always tell me Maino shouted me out on the radio so I’m not surprised because real niggas do real things. Choke No Joke had me on BET recently and he called me to be in movies with big actors a few times but I was just busy so I missed out but I never forgot, so in some ways, I don’t care about up-and-comers because a lot of people showed me their true colors when they got on!
You’ve always made it a point to give shine to new producers and artists on your projects. For example, you had Maino on your Legal Hustle compilation before anyone knew who Maino was. What new artists are you working with?
I fucked with a lot of artists before people were up on them but it’s fucked up that a lot of people don’t see artists for what they are. It’s hard to get on nowadays. It’s hard to be a new artist. When’s the last time you heard a brand new artist from New York blow up that’s not affiliated with somebody? It’s hard to be a new dude and just get right in the City.
What did you see in Maino back then?
I respected his hustle. I think I met Maino in 2003 and at the time I met him he was making mixtape after mixtape after mixtape. How can you not respect that grind? This is before I even heard him. I just respected his hustle so much. And I met him who a friend who’s a real nigga. Mo Dawg, who I was locked up with and is a real nigga, was locked up with me and he was fucking with Maino. If he’s trying to get on and I’m in a position that I can maybe help him get on, it’s only right that I do that. That’ show it is. You show love and you get love. Most of the time it’s reciprocated and sometimes it ain’t. But it is what it is. That’s the type of person that I am.
Dona was another talented up-and-coming MC you featured on the Legal Hustle compilation. Whatever happened to her?
She had a baby recently. I think last year she had a daughter. She’s still out there. I spoke to her recently. She had to go through growth. She was running around and sometimes people have to go through adversity to learn. Struggle builds character or it could break you. She had to go through what she had to go through to learn about the industry.
Are you happy with the Knicks’ play so far this season?
For one, I think D’Antoni is a good coach but I think he’s too stubborn. I think he has to really learn how to master defense. I think they’re overrated. There’s no team in the whole NBA where Nate Robinson would shoot 22 shots. We’re giving this little nigga 22 shots! He was 9 for 22 the other night! Kobe doesn’t shoot 22 shots! Iverson doesn’t shoot 22 shots! That’s the reason why the Knicks needed Stephon. They needed the superstar. He’s going to bark on a player like Nate Robinson. I love Quentin Richardson’s heart. He’s a vocal leader but we don’t need a vocal leader on the Knicks. We need somebody to lead in the stats department. He’s inconsistent. Then you got David Lee. I like David Lee because he hustles. He hustles. He just has to play a little more D.
I think the biggest mistake they made is trading Zack Randolph. They traded him so they could get under the salary cap and they could get a new power forward but who’s going to be available? There’s Amare or Bosh. They’re putting up the same numbers as Randolph! He’s a 20 and 10 guy! We don’t have nobody that can bang with the big boys. David Lee is dope but if you look at him with any game with a big center or power forward, he gets handled. I like Wilson Chandler.
But a lot of players on that team are suspect and the GM made a lot of bad decisions like keeping [Anthony] Roberson, that was a terrible decision. You said he could shoot and now he’s not even playing. The GM’s decisions were stupid. You might as well sign Patrick Ewing’s son for two reasons. One, he plays defense and two, he’ll be a fan favorite because his father is one of the most beloved Knicks of all-time. They should sign Patrick Ewing’s son out of respect and to win the fans over. The Knicks are stubborn.
D’Antoni, another mistake he made was he’s not consistent with what he says. When he first got here, him and Walsh said that everybody there gets a clean slate. Every Knick fan knows that. How are you going to give everyone a clean slate and then not play some of them? Stephon is still the most talented Knick and if they’re getting a clean slate they should be forgetting about the past.
When they did that look at them now. Duhon is hurt and I didn’t like him but he earned my respect but when Duhon’s out, we don’t have a point guard because Nate Robinson is trying to get his stats up. We’re fucked. I’m keeping it so real. I was at a Knicks game last month and I wanted to leave. The only reason I didn’t leave is because I was with people and they didn’t want to leave and they were friends with a player on the other team so they wanted to stay for the game and kick it with him. But I’ve never wanted to leave a Knicks game, ever. That’s what it is.
What’s the next move for Mega?
A lot of work. The Queensbridge album is almost done. The Cormega album is done. We’re just doing the tweaking and then it’s going to mastering. The Queensbridge album is almost done. It’s very raw. It’s very fucking raw. There’s artists on there that aren’t even the top artists. They’re known but they’re not really that known but they have some of the hardest records on it. There’s underdogs on there that’s kicking ass on it. Screwball has a song that’s going to fuck you up and a lot of people aren’t even up on Screwball like that. And Havoc has some beats on there that are tough. And my man Jaguar is doing some production on there. He’s making his debut on there. He did like three joints on there.
I’m working on a Legal Hustle Volume 2 soon after that. I’m going to start on that probably next month. I’m just going to be doing a lot of work, man. I’m going to make up for all the years that I was gone.