Your third album Stick 2 the Script just dropped. What makes this album stand out from Smooth Assassin and Lead Pipe?
Obviously there’s the time difference. A lot of time has gone by and a lot of shit has changed. The formula and the style of hip-hop changed. I’m able to do whatever the fuck I want to do. This right here is basically like a compilation of joints that I did last year and some shits are from this year. I was sitting on a whole bunch of shit and I was like, ‘Fuck it, let me put this shit out’ because it made no sense to sit on it. The shit is still relevant right now and the shit is still hot. I said, “Fuck it, let’s go.”
You’re still here today after all these years. What does that say about you as an artist?
Obviously I must be a real nigga because I ain’t changed. A lot of niggas, over time, a lot of niggas turn soft. That’s everybody. You calm down and you become more humble. But certain niggas get money and certain niggas get in a certain lifestyle where they change and they outgrow where they came from and that shows in their music. It shows that they can’t make music for the ‘hood and music that niggas can still relate to. That ain’t me.
How have you managed to have the longevity that you have had in the game?
If that shit is in you, that shit is there. Certain niggas, they can lose it for a minute, but if they snap out of the bullshit and come back to reality, they can find it. A lot of niggas still got it, but they just can’t dig it out because they’re not in the environment or they’re not around the right people to keep them grounded and to keep that true shit flowing.
Did anything specific inspire your single “Same Fight, Different Round”?
Yeah, a lot of shit, like what’s going on in the ‘hood. The same shit going on now is the same shit that was going on in the beginning, it’s just a different way of putting it. It’s like the saying, “Same shit, different toilet.” I just put it in different terms. We’re all in the struggle, it’s just a new day.
Has that struggle gotten better with time or do kids today have it worse than kids who coming up in your day?
I think it’s the same thing, but in all reality, it is worse for the young niggas now because back in the days, we had different morals and shit. Right now, niggas don’t look to nothing but rap and motherfucking sports. Back in the days, they could hope and try to be a doctor. Niggas don’t want to work nowhere. Back in the days, niggas would get jobs. If you were a senior in high school, you would go get a fast food job but niggas nowadays, they’re not trying to work nowhere. They’re all fucked up. They’re all fucked up behind the video shit. They want to be Jay-Z and there are all these other motherfuckers that they want to be like. We had a better grip on reality. Niggas are trying to make it out of the ghetto. That’s what it all boils down to.
Is it harder to get on today making real music than it was when you were on Cold Chillin’?
Corporate America made it that way. They said, “All you have to do is get a clown-ass single that people will catch on to and we’ll make you a millionaire. It’s not going to last, but all we need is one single.” Nigga are getting endorsements now and all kinds of dumb shit.
You’re releasing Stick 2 the Script independently. Do you prefer that route?
Yeah. I do whatever the fuck I want to do. It’s my label. Nobody can tell me nothing. The only thing they can tell me is the release date, and that all depends on when I give them the motherfucking album. Nobody can tell me to do nothing.
How much easier is it recording good music when you don’t have to answer to anybody?
I record better music without that kind of influence. You can do whatever the fuck you want to do. The only thing about that is that you can get lazy because you can do whatever the fuck you want without any deadlines. You can get lazy. As far as creativity, you can do whatever the fuck you want to do.
How did “Ghetto Blues” with 2Pac come together?
This cat had some shit popping off in Oakland. He had paid the nigga ‘Pac to reference the vocals for him because he was going to do it, but he wasn’t a rapper. He was a money-maker. What happened is the nigga ‘Pac had died before they got to do it but the cat wanted to capitalize off of that, obviously. So he called my man to do a remix and my man, he was stuck so he called me in because I make beats as well. They gave me the accapella for the remix and that’s how that shit happened. Me and ‘Pac, we weren’t like that. When I had the beef with Treach, him and Treach were mans. Me and him never popped off like that. That was a business deal. I just had the record, so I was like, ‘Fuck it, I might as well to put that shit out.’
You’ve worked with DV Alias Khryst a lot. What’s it like working with him?
That’s the fastest-working nigga, period. He comes in, gets the beat and does it. He’s a bad nigga. That’s my man. I’ve been fucking with Khryst since he was young, before he was even trying to rhyme. He used to just be a dancer for Trigger and Smoothe.
You also worked with Marco Polo on Stick 2 the Script. What does it mean to you to have producers who grew up with you now want to work with you?
That just means that my shit must have been official. Real recognize real. Cats like Marco Polo, that nigga right there, he’s worked with everybody. I think he’s one of those beat niggas coming up. For him to recognize my shit, that’s good shit, no doubt.
Are you trying to have the kids today listen to you?
I’m trying to get the niggas to know. I’m not aiming for the young kids. They want that dirty South shit and they want to dance and do the Superman. Nah, that ain’t for me. That ain’t for me. I mean, if they catch on, that’s good. If not, then fuck ‘em. I ain’t aiming for them.
Some critics say that fans from the golden era of hip-hop “outgrew” hip-hop. Is that possible?
They outgrew hip-hop? They didn’t outgrow hip-hop. They outgrew what was playing on the radio. Hip-hop, to me, is the boom-bap. I haven’t listened to the radio in so long. A lot of people say they’re done messing with hip-hop because they don’t see the underground scene, where all the real shit is. A lot of niggas still have tracks out but the fans don’t know when they don’t look in the underground.
DJ Jazzy Jeff called his last album The Return of the Magnificent “adult contemporary hip-hop.” What do you think of that term?
There’s a market for anything, but that’s like “neo-soul” or that “backpack” shit. There’s definitely a market for it. Smooth hip-hop with a hard beat under it is hip-hop. I wouldn’t call it “adult contemporary hip-hop.” Hip-hop is hip-hop. If it’s got that boom-bap, that’s what it is.
Is labeling different forms of hip-hop music a bad thing?
I wouldn’t really call it a bad thing. You have to label shit, to me. That’s just my opinion because if somebody says it’s a hip-hop show and I go to that shit and they have a whole bunch of dirty South shit, I’m going to be mad. I want to know exactly what I’m fucking with. A label isn’t really bad to me, but I don’t think all of that labeling is necessary.
What are your goals for Stick 2 the Script?
My goals for this project are to get out there and to let niggas hear what I’m doing and to let them know that I still got it. My next project is going to be that next shit. I’m not saying that this project isn’t the shit, but this is just something to whet a motherfucker’s taste buds until we come with that next shit. I could make 1,000 joints in a month because that’s what I do. That’s all I ever did. I never worked nowhere. I just do music. People haven’t heard from me in years and I was still doing music. I got piles and piles of shit and I can put out an album every week if I wanted to. It’s nothing for me to throw something out, but Stick 2 the Script is like that jab before the haymaker.
How’s your next album coming?
It’s coming out hot, of course. The shit is right. On this one, I want to work with more live musicians and shit, but it’s still hip-hop. Don’t get it fucked up. It’s going to be that boom-bap and have that live instrumentation.
How much producing do you do today?
I was in the process of making a beat right before you called. I got a couple of joints. I’m working with Fes Taylor. He’s a new cat. He’s a Wu-Tang affiliate. I’m on his upcoming joint. I just do whatever, man. I just do whatever. I don’t give a fuck what it is. If you’re paying for it, I got it. And I even throw niggas beats on the low if I feel the artist. If I feel the artist, I’ll throw the nigga a beat.
How have you grown as a producer over the years?
Really, I’ve been doing the same shit forever. I don’t switch with the times. I just stick to my sound. I stick to my sound and the people can come check for me. I don’t switch up my sound or try to follow the next trend or jump on something else. Every real producer has their sound. You hear certain tracks and you know that’s Primo or someone else. I stick to my shit.
What equipment do you use today?
I got the SP 1200, the old dinosaur! (laughs) I got the MP 4000XL. I got the Phantom keyboard. I just got Pro Tools. I don’t even know how to work that shit. My man is supposed to help me with that shit. That’s it, really. I got the old Proteus sound module too.
When I interviewed N.O.R.E. awhile ago, he said you were one of his favorites. What did that mean to you?
That was big. When I had first heard that shit…Me and N.O.R.E. fuck around. That’s my man. When I first heard that, I thought the nigga was fronting. I called the nigga up and we kicked it. N.O.R.E.’s an official nigga, man.
Do you get the props you deserve in the game today?
Nah. Hell no. I don’t know why. I ain’t get it when I was first supposed to get it. I’m going to get it now though.
What’s the next move for you?
The next move is to get this project out and I’ll probably put out some of the next rappers. I want to work with some next niggas, some serious motherfuckers that are really dedicated to the game.
What do you want to say to everybody?
Just go cop the joint. This is just the jab, the setup, for the haymaker. This is just something to put out there and let niggas know what time it is and that I’m still sharp. I’m working on the haymaker now. If any niggas want beats or you want collabos, you can hit up my MySpace. It’s all gravy.