I’m feeling good. I’m alive. I’m supposed to be dead but I’m not. I have a job and a son, my fam and I’m good. I’ve weeded all the negative out of life and things could always be worse. That’s my philosophy.
The last time I saw you was in the hospital after that motorcycle accident.
That changed my life a lot. It’s true you don’t appreciate something until it’s taken away. Life is never appreciated until it’s taken away. You have to be almost dead to appreciate it. I have a bunch of scars and a bunch of shit to remind me that I’m supposed to be dead and I’m not. You look at life from a whole different point of view. I’ve always been grinding, but I’m grinding even harder now. Before the accident, I wasn’t ready for kids. I’ve grown up a lot and you never know what’s going to happen. I could die tomorrow so you have to enjoy the moment. So if I want to buy something, I’m going to buy it, whether I have the money or not. If I want to do something, I’m going to do it.
Have you gotten on a bike since the accident?
I can’t shift anymore. The van hit me and severed a nerve in my knee. I can’t even lift my left leg up to shift. Plus if I got on another bike, I think my family would kill me before the bike could. I loved the freedom of being on the bike by yourself, away from the world. You could drive real fast and real far away from everything. I don’t have that so I went back to my music. That was always my outlet for when I was stressed and depressed. Now I’m focused on my music and my album. Now I see points of views that I never saw before. I think on Hunger Pains (Manifest Destiny album), I spent a lot of time hating on a lot of commercial things, but the reality of the fact is, everybody does their own thing. Now I figure if you want commercial success and you want to do commercial songs, do them if it makes you happy. If you’re a gangster and you want to do gangster music, then do that gangster music. If you want to just be an MC and hit them with raw rhymes, do it. You just have to be the best at what you’re doing. I’m happy for anyone having success as long as they’re being real about it.
What did you learn about yourself after the accident?
I learned I could survive anything. My girl at the time walked away from me at the hospital. I couldn’t walk for a year. You learn pretty much that humans in general, they can adapt to anything. Some humans can’t. But I learned what doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger. I heard that before, but I learned that. I know I can conquer anything. I have to grind way harder now to make up for that year that I lost. I have to do things twice as fast now, but I can do it. I’m way stronger than I thought I was. I feel very confident right now. The accident showed me that I was stronger on another level.
I was mad depressed for awhile too. You feel like the world is going to end, but it doesn’t. It keeps on turning. I’m way calmer now. I used to be a lot more wild. I used to overreact to a lot of shit and this accident calmed me down. I don’t get mad anymore because I realized it’s negative energy. Being negative and having stress takes years out of your life. I’ve learned to be very calm and think before reacting. I used to just react and that shit gets you in mad trouble.
What does the Meet Da Evils mixtape mean to you?
It means the ending of an era. This is probably the last project for awhile that you’ll see with all of us as a whole. Everybody’s doing their solo projects. I’m doing my solo project and everyone else has their solo projects. This is the ending of doing everything together, but it’s also the beginning of us branching out into our own directions. We’re all different people and you can see that we all have different personalities when you listen to the Meet Da Evils mixtape. Before, we always showed our differences on songs together, but now we’re going our own separate directions. I have a certain way I like doing something and the others have their own ways they like to do things. This is marking the end of the day when everything we do is connected to each other. This is the first time we’re all going down different avenues.
What challenges did you face putting the mixtape together?
Part of it was losing that year to the accident. Plus we’re all at different points in our life. E-Mid has his own priorities and responsibilities just like me. For the first time, all our priorities and responsibilities aren’t the same. Since they aren’t all the same, we weren’t on the same page and it took longer to do things. We pulled it all together and we were able to get it out with the help of you. We did a lot of work together and we made it work. There were times when I wanted to quit, but what I learned from the accident is that you have to finish what you start and nothing is impossible. God is going to keep throwing challenges at you that He knows you can handle. There were a bunch of obstacles that we overcame and now we got a cool product. I’m looking forward to the reviews and how everybody will react to it. I feel it was worth it. That music is from the heart. This mixtape explains what we were going through when we were making it. It’s a heartfelt mixtape and it breaks the mold of what a mixtape is. It’s more of an album with freestyles. I think a lot of people can relate to it.
What are your goals for Meet Da Evils?
I’m looking at this project to serve as a platform for my solo album. I guess this is a platform for all of us. Of course we’re going to sell it on the streets and get our investment back. When you do hip-hop for the love, a lot of times the profit is very small, but it’s all good. I want this project to reintroduce all of us to the world. Since 2003, people haven’t heard a lot about Manifest Destiny. They think we disappeared but we didn’t. We’ve been grinding and I hope this introduces us to the rest of the world.
There’s also no rhyme or reason why we collaborated with each other on some songs. It’s all about who’s in the studio at what time. I hope this shows us as solo artists and that we all have different identities. I hope this can serve as a platform for this. I hope people can see me as Intellect and Ceez. Intellect is more idealistic. He wants to offer a lot of help and make a lot of changes and Ceez is more realistic and just makes comments on how shit is fucked up. Intellect has a lot of ideals and Ceez is more like a commentator for the environment and the world he grew up in. I want fans to get into the world of Ceez as well as Intellect. I also want this mixtape to show all of us as solo artists.
How do you like working by yourself on songs now?
It’s kind of easier now. We’re all men and are very different, and there were times when E might not have related to my ideas. Us going solo is allowing us to do things that we didn’t do together. E might have a topic that he wants to write on and I just can’t get with it and vice versa. We have totally different life experiences. This is giving us an opportunity to develop ourselves. When you’re doing things as a solo artist, you don’t have to worry about anyone else’s schedules. I can go to the gym and record in the morning, but with Manifest Destiny, we had to plan everything. Now I can do the topics whenever I want to do them and use the beats that I want to use. I actually feel more free as far as not having to consider anyone else to get something done. I’m sure E feels the same way. Now we both have studios in our homes and we’re both so busy that we couldn’t always record together. Now we’re not waiting on each other. Since we’re both such busy people, I think this is allowing us to be more efficient.
I’m always going to rep Manifest Destiny until I die. That’s where most people know me from. E, Nut and Nite are all family. I rep Triple-Deuce all day. As far as if there will be an MD project in the future, I’m sure there will be. It’s just that right now our life focus is just completely different. Our music will be different and we’re getting the opportunity right now to do music that we want to do. We’ll all have songs that we could never do before.
It was challenging at first because it’s easy to write one verse in a song. Now I’m writing songs with three 16’s. It’s harder, but it also allows me more creativity. It’s a challenge and anything new is good. If you never try nothing new, you’ll never grow. Right now, I have an opportunity to grow as an MC, an artist and a person. I’m loving it.
As Manifest Destiny, you did a lot of legwork, released an album, Hunger Pains, and did a lot of shows. Do you have any regrets over how the situation turned out today?
No. At first it was awkward and it was weird. I’ve known E my whole life. That’s my family and I love him. Me, him, Nite and Nut are blood and we’ve been side-by-side our whole lives. But we were also doing Manifest Destiny since we were 14 and I’m 26 now and E’s 25. Now we’ve developed into men. Before, when you’re younger, you’re not as secure with yourself and you’re not sure what direction you want to do and you need people around you to boost your confidence. Now we’re comfortable. I can go into a battle or I can go into a show and do it by myself and feel comfortable knowing I could rip it myself.
When we were 14, we were still becoming good MC’s. I’m not sad because I don’t think it’s going to be forever. I think we just have to do what we have to do and go our separate ways, because when you always have people around, you never do anything yourself. You use other people as crutches and you never stand by yourself and you become weak. I think branching out will make us stronger. When we first started, we needed each other. The next MD album will be ill because we’re going to approach it as grown-ass men and we don’t need each other to feel comfortable. We’ll just want to make dope music.
How’s your solo album coming?
It was good. I’m extra picky with my shit. I’m working with Abuse, who produced pretty much all of Hunger Pains. We work together almost every day. I’ve been talking to new producers like Lokken Load. I work with Joe Flame too. He’s the one who really got me into the game and taught me a lot about this music shit. My album will probably have about 16 songs and before I start picking album tracks, I want to have 25 or 30 done. I’m at the halfway point of where I want to be as far as recording songs.
I also put some Manifest Destiny songs out through the Wonder Twinz to let everyone know we didn’t go anywhere. E just dropped some solo shit too.
A few years ago you recorded a banger with Ralph Dog and Immortal Technique. Are you still in touch with Ralph Dog?
Yeah, Ralph Dog is still my peoples. I got mad love for him. Ralph Dog is crazy. I don’t think I’m crazy, personally, but people tend to think I’m a little off with it. I always appreciate people who speak their mind regardless of the consequences. I respect anybody who doesn’t give a fuck because it’s a very strong person who can do that. That song was dope. That was an older song and it took a little while to get everything together. When you have that many people involved in the project, it takes that much longer to get the project done, just like with the Meet Da Evils project. But when you have a bunch of different schedules and a bunch of different personalities, it takes a lot longer. I think that song reminds people that we’re still here and we’re not going anywhere. We’re still rhyming and I’m never going to stop rhyming. I think that song was a good look because everybody was on there.
What’s your focus going to be for the next couple of months?
I’ve been building with a lot of people. I’ve always had the mindset of being an MC and saying “fuck everything else” including the radio. I know I’m an MC and I know I can do that at heart, but I’m going to try to make some actual songs. I’ve never really tried to make a song. I’ve always tried to have the illest punchlines and concepts. My name is Intellect. I have to. My album is going to be Intellect and Ceez. Intellect reads and philosophizes while Ceez goes to bars and gets blazed. Ceez knows how to party and Intellect knows how to think and how to educate. I don’t want to be considered an underground or commercial rapper. I want to hit every single aspect. I want to do songs that can go anywhere. I want to be able to hit every single aspect of my personality with my solo project. With Manifest Destiny, I wasn’t able to do that because our topics had to be what we had in common, and that was the intellect side of things. Now I get to do songs that represent my other characteristics.
What do you want to say to everybody?
Good looking on reading the interview. Support the album and mixtape. Look out for us and check out our site to get an understanding of our past and background. Our site tells a lot about what we’ve done. Let me know what you think about the mixtape. I’m open to all types of criticism. If you loved or hated something, leave me a comment. Everybody has their own way of doing shit, and even if you don’t agree with it, appreciate what people bring to the game. I just want everybody to listen to all of the songs and to hit me with some feedback. And look out for the Ceez the World album. Nut’s dropping his solo soon too. He’s got a lot of stuff ready to go. Look out for all our stuff.