good right now. I'm in my best shape ever. I'm just going hard right now.
I got sweat dripping all over me right now.
off we're sorry to hear about the passing of Allah Sun. What can you tell
us about him?
I can tell
you he was a real talented brother. He never really got his chance to
shine but a lot of people were living off his style. He was real spiritual
and deep. He was a real good brother. Shout out to Daddy Rose and the
whole Rose family. That was another branch off our family tree. I can't
take that hurt. I lost my moms and 75% of my best friends. It's been kind
of crazy. I don't know. It just shows you have to cherish what you've
heard too much from you lately. What have you been up to?
this DVD right now called Underground Hip-Hop Volume One. I've been working
on that and a mixtape with DJ Rated R and DJ Diggz called Burn Babylon,
Burn. I did a deal with Mercury Entertainment and the DVD is going to
be distributed through Koch. I've been working on the album. That's coming
out through Caroline Distribution. Nature Sounds is involved. I've been
working real hard. I've also been working with this group Tribes of Judah.
They're coming from Maryland. I've been working with them. One of the
brothers from the group just got locked up. I'm just working on putting
together more and more projects. We're finishing up the Maccabeez project
and all that.
your solo album coming?
a lot of hard work, but I feel good about it because I'm the A&R.
Nobody's telling me what beats to pick. I A&R'd the Sunz of Man The
Last Shall be First album. I've never put out an album by myself. I've
always been a group member. I've done Sunz of Man, Black Market Militia,
and the Maccabeez. This album is real different from working with a group.
When you're in a group, you have to deal with people's opinions. On a
solo project, you get to paint the picture. A lot of the themes of this
album are the artist painting a picture. That's why I call myself "The
Renaissance Child." It's like watching a movie. The way I did this
album is seriously like watching a movie. It's going to shock and surprise
people when they hear how I'm coming with it.
of artists who have been in a group their whole career have trouble making
whole songs by themselves. Have you had that problem?
I've always been the person who could write hooks. If you go back and
check my history, I've written a lot of hooks on songs we've done. I've
always been a hook person. I don't even go by the sixteen-bar rule. I've
always been lyrical. I'm used to writing a song. The whole thing of being
an MC is being able to make a song. You can rap all day long, but a lot
of these cats can't make a song. They're more like mixtape MC's. That's
what MC stands for now, "mixtape cats." Back in the day, it
wasn't like that. You had to make a song. When Eric B. and Rakim came
out with "Microphone Fiend," that was a song. I have a song
called "Buried Alive" and I made sure every line I wrote was
something deep. I want you to be able to tell I didn't just go in the
studio, smoked a blunt, drank some liquor, and said something. I want
you to be able to tell that every line I said, I meant it. I also know
how to perform by myself. A lot of artists don't know how to perform.
They may have one part of the chemistry, but they're missing the other
half. I know how to perform by myself. At the same time, I know how to
make music. Real music with hooks that people can feel, absorb, and play
years from now.
been in the game for a long time. Why haven't you dropped a solo album
I was in
a lot of bad contracts. My contracts were set up for me to do solo projects,
but also to come out as a group. It started out with Killah Priest dropping
Heavy Mental and View from Mesada. I was getting out of my contract and
I was getting that straight because I was supposed to release an album
before the label went into bankruptcy. I was supposed to drop a Hell Razah
album around the time of Heavy Mental. We had to get out of a lot of bad
contracts. I was stuck in situation where I had to fix it. Now I own all
my publishing and I have my own company, Hell Razah Music. My music is
coming out through me. I have a partner, Nu-Kemit. We're going to make
a killing because I own my own music instead of everybody owning a part
of me. I feel better about the album coming out on my label instead of
somebody else's and being somebody's puppet.
things be different for you if you had a few albums out already?
I always elevate. It would be the same script, but with different actors.
Nobody's talking about the stuff I'm talking about in music. They're either
too afraid or they have an A&R telling them that's not cool or that's
not hot. I'm in control of my situation because I'm not signed to anybody.
I'm comfortable with what I'm talking about because this is me and my
team. If I came in and started doing something different, my fans wouldn't
even have any love for me. I'm just going to elevate. If I sounded like
I did in '95, imagine what I'm going to sound like in 2006.
is this solo album?
man. Way overdue. It's so overdue that I have to drop two albums. As a
matter of fact, what's going to happen is I'm going to drop the Hell Razah
album which is The Renaissance Child, and then I'm going to do the Heaven
Razah album. That's the Kingdom of Heaven. That should be out early 2007.
This music is going to make you feel real good about hip-hop all over
again. When you hear my music, you're going to be pleased somebody's still
doing it and bringing it back. I have lyrically-inclined cats on my album.
It's so overdue that I'm giving them two albums. The Hell Razah album
is going to show my street side and the Heaven Razah album is going to
show my spiritual side.
spirituality's place in hip-hop?
Look at Kanye
West and Nas. It has a strong impact. Everybody has Jesus pieces. Everybody
wants to dress like Solomon. King Solomon had fine linen. Look at 2Pac
with his whole Makaveli thing. Look at Biggie doing Life After Death standing
by a casket and later on it happens to him. Whatever you say can happen.
If you name your album certain titles, like if you name your album "I'm
Going to Die Tomorrow," you're liable to die tomorrow because there's
power in words. Words become flesh. The words have power and life in it.
If you read the beginning of the Bible, it tells you how God created the
Heavens and the Earth. The vibration of sound gave light.
have a lot of people who don't believe in the same religion, they get
offended. If you're a Muslim, you're going to have a Muslim fan-base.
Muslims may not buy Mase's record. Spirituality plays a major part in
music across the board. The Jews run most of the business. You're dealing
with the Jews, Italians, Irish, and Russians. Now China and Japan have
stepped in now.
why there won't be any Islamic rappers is because there aren't any Islamic
labels. If there were Islamic labels, you would have Islamic rappers.
If you have labels that are mafia-related, you're going to have mafia
rappers. At times, spirituality can look like it's corny, wack, tarnished,
or whatever people want to say. But here's what you have to remember,
they make things that are good look bad and things that are bad look good
to the eyes and the soul. You have to remember that. Look at Langston
Hughes and the cats before him. It all goes in to who we are now.
see yourself and MC's like Killah Priest being the new generation of poets?
We're rapping about the Twelve Children of Israel. We're bringing that
to the hip-hop music. Everything's been done before. Priest first tapped
into it when he did Heavy Mental and he did "B.I.B.L.E." From
there, I have a song on this album relating to the Scriptures and Deuteronomy
28:48. That's going to really show real, lyrical emceeing. It's going
to show artistry, originality, and poetry.
Me and Priest
actually just got finished filming for our DVD. That's a good brother.
I respect that brother a lot. He's enlightened me a lot. I don't hang
out with no wood because you can't get sharp on that. I sharpen his steel
and he sharpens my steel and together, you could forget about it. We're
already doing an album. It's going to be over for cats. Once everyone
hears The Offering, oh my God. Wait until you hear my verse on The Offering.
It's crazy. It's a crazy song. We did two songs.
you feel about Prodigy's verse on "Pearly Gates"?
I heard it,
but I didn't study it. I was like, "Maybe he just doesn't believe
in God." Let me tell you, God is spiritual. He's not going to give
you material things. God is the reason why you're breathing and why the
sun is shining right now or why the moon is lit and why the stars are
lit. For you to be able to be a rapper, you wouldn't even know anything
about no whips or anything without the Most High. The Most High makes
everything possible. The rappers out there talking about that are talking
about Satan. Do what you do but that's why I'm the Human Torch. I'm calling
myself "Raziel." For those who don't know, look it up. It means
"Messenger of God." The Maccabeez are riding out on people like
that. You don't come out disrespecting the Most High. Cats recognize it's
just wrong, man. You're going to get to hear some positive, basement shit
in a minute. You already know we get it in, so it ain't nothing. We're
still street niggas, but what we say and what we do, we try to make a
change within ourselves. You can't live in the past. That's how we do
it, and I don't care. That's why I'm on some Renaissance Child shit, to
let people know who God really is. The reason why people feel that way
is because they have no knowledge of God. They've never done any research
on it and they're happy with where they are in life. I'm not here to judge
nobody, but at the same time, if I can be an example, I'm going to be
an example. This hip-hop shit, we live this shit for real.
you start calling yourself the Human Torch?
you're dealing with fire, lava, and things of that nature, the heat purifies
things. The Human Torch is like a Clark Kent/Superman thing. It's showing
people that I'm about burning and purifying anything that comes in my
way. I'm trying to get the children with this too. My man Scientific is
working on drawing a character for it. It's crazy right now. For the children,
we're going to take our words and powers to another level. We're like
the X-Men out here. It's no different from Johnny Storm. I'm a regular
dude during the day, but when I get into my zone and I start spitting
that fire, that's it, that's the Human Torch. I'm boiling it down, basically,
that's it. If I get into my Human Torch-mode with these MC's, it's over.
the Maccabeez project coming?
Timbo King is real serious with it. That brother right there is a real
pioneer who I respect. We've had the Maccabeez project in the making for
a long time. We also have the Tribes of Judah group I'm working with too.
They're affiliated with the Maccabeez. We also have a production group
in Amsterdam holding down the Maccabeez. We've got our producers on lock
and we're doing it like that. The Maccabeez album is real, how can I say
it, it's like Public Enemy. It's going to be on some Fear of a Black Planet
Part 2-type shit. We may even get Flava Flav on the album.
the Maccabeez project drop?
be dropping in the winter. We should be releasing a single after my album
working on a new Black Market Militia album?
been reaching out to Talib Kweli about that. Killah Priest has been talking
to Immortal Technique and Saigon. Any respected MC's who want to be a
part of the movement can get at me, get at Priest, or Timbo King. Any
of the three of us you can get at. This is some power-moves shit. Hip-hop
is missing this. It's like you have appetizers like chicken fingers and
french fries but you don't have any real meals. We're bringing that meat
to the table.
happy with how the last Black Market Militia album did?
with how it got out there. It could have done better. What happened was
that in the middle of the album, a lot of shit happened. Basically the
album got out there. For those who don't know about it, you missed a crazy
album. I have a song on there called "Mayhem" which is ridiculous.
The second part is going to be building off the first, so before you check
out the new one you have to go back.
of Man any closer to working on a new album?
into a lot of shit right now. Prodigal Sunn is into a lot of filming right
now. He's working on taking that to the next level. He's been working
with Showtime for a minute. I'm going to hold down my square, Priest is
going to hold down his square, 60's doing his thing, and Prodigal's going
to do his thing, then we're going to show everybody what we've been working
on. We're still working, but now we're going to be able to attack from
different angles right now. Everybody wants to rap and be a producer now,
but we need to put out books and newspapers. That's why we're working
on comic books to go along with our music. When you hear Sunz of Man,
you should think of superheroes.
stage in your career, do you get the respect you deserve?
you like this: honestly, I'm a lot of favorite rappers' favorite rapper.
I'm not saying that as a slogan. A lot of artists and producers stepping
to me telling me about my music. A lot of the new cats are stepping in
off the Biggie or Jay-Z era. We were there when Biggie was coming up and
we did shows together sometimes. I went to school with Foxy Brown. This
hip-hop shit to me is something for real. I was born into hip-hop. It's
crazy for me.
At the same
time, I look at it like I have to reeducate people. That's why I named
my album The Renaissance Child. Renaissance means rebirth, and the word
child symbolizes purity. I'm reinventing myself. A lot of cats don't know
about Hell Razah. The ones who do, I'm going to satisfy them already.
The ones who don't know will be satisfied and they'll be soldiers. They
have to start out at stage one and build it up. I'm taking them to the
breast milk of the Black Madonna. They're going to think Sunz of Man is
brand new. They're going to be like, "That is so spiritual"
and they're going to love it because they've never heard anything like
it before. They've heard the Nas' and the Kanye West's, but they've never
heard it like this. When you hear The Renaissance Child, you're going
to know it's some different shit and you're going to say, "I ain't
never heard nothing like that before."
the best way to get the kids to listen to Hell Razah today?
have to check my music. I can give them information and that's good for
me. I make people feel good about what they're doing. For the cats who
want to get busy and if you're a part of the movement, let's do it. Anybody
who's in our way is getting run over. That's it. We're going through hell
and hot water to get to where we're going and to say what we're saying.
They're putting people in prison and people are talking all of this gangster
and street shit but they're living in Hollywood. The people are trying
to live out what they're hearing in the music and they get locked up and
they don't have no future. By the time they come out, it's twenty or thirty
years later and there's no telling what's going on then. We've been talking
the New World Order and Da Vinci Code shit and look what's happening now.
This is to show you that nothing we said was bullshit and we didn't say
these things for nothing. We're going to keep giving music for the people
and we're going to keep prophesizing in the name of the Lord.
you want to say to everyone?
and check out some of the bangers I have on there. Definitely go cop any
albums that we did. If you don't have Sunz of Man's The Last Shall be
First or any Killah Priest albums, you're missing out on a lot of shit.
If you don't have Black Market, you're really lost. Keep supporting what
we're doing. To producers who want to get with us, we're not going to
brush you off. We're always looking for new talent. If you're going to
support real hip-hop, it's going to support you. Fuck these A&R's.
Don't listen to them telling you you have to make a down south record
to sell. Be original and listen to older hip-hop CD's. Slick Rick, Big
Daddy Kane, and KRS never sounded like each other and each one is a monument
for hip-hop. You can do the same thing. Don't try to be no gangster if
you're not a gangster. Don't be a murderer if you're not a murderer. Don't
be a drug dealer if you're not a drug dealer. That's not cool. You can
put out classic music and be remembered for the rest of your life and
We have to
support each other in this hip-hop community. Don't just support what
you hear on the radio. Say something that has some meaning to it. There
are children who buy these records and asking their mothers or sisters
and brothers to buy these CD's. At four or five years-old, they know how
to repeat what they hear. Not everybody has to do what I'm saying, but
you know what I'm talking about. Stand up. Cats can't be coming out and
disrespecting the Scriptures and talking out on God and all that. First
of all, that's blasphemy. Don't be biting anyone's style. Be original,
man. You can do something and let people know what you can do. Where's
the originality right now? Niggas need to be original.
is coming out and I'm about to drop the single. Fabrizio Sotti did the
single and the b-side. He's over there working with M1. Everybody who
heard that knows what I'm talking about. I also have a Sunz of Man song
on my album. It's called "Chapters" and it's crazy. You know
that's got to be crazy. It's 4th Disciple and it's Sunz of Man. It's going
to be crazy. The album is crazy. I'm happy right now.