all right, man. I'm doing all right.
you feeling about Feedback right now?
good about it. It's a funny thing. It's like a two-way street. I'm feeling
good about it but I'm also nervous as hell because it's been a long time.
It's going to be hard for me. It is hard for me. It's really hard for
me. What I like about it is that it's finally coming out and we get to
go on the road. The other thing is that first week of sales. Will the
label still be behind us after that? It's one of those bittersweet things
because everything ain't going to go the way I planned it. I know somewhere
God has his own plan and I'm going to have to succumb to that. It's bittersweet.
I'm excited but at the same time I'm nervous as hell. We'll see.
almost four years since Power in Numbers. Do you have to reintroduce yourself
to a new generation of hip-hop fans?
have to reintroduce yourself every time you come out, but you damn-sure
have to come with a brand new house after four years. Usually you can
just throw some paint on it and it will look good. We have to build a
whole new foundation. We have the people who liked us, but it's been four
years and they got older. I don't know if they're going to be there. Are
they going to show up? I don't know. You have these new, fickle fans and
you don't know if they'll ever show up. You go out there and throw your
dick in the wind and see what it'll catch.
crazy answer behind it. Actually one of the cat's wives thought of it.
After four years, you're going to have a lot of feedback from the last
your long-time fans who caught on with Quality Control. Will those fans
because you have to be real careful. I think we changed, but we also stayed
the same. This album has some stuff on it like that Quality Control era.
That's to keep the core fans satisfied. We're also trying to stretch a
little bit with this Dave Matthews song and "Brown Girl" with
Scott Storch. You can't go all left. Common did it with Electric Circus
and it didn't work. He tried to do what he had to do and people didn't
want to hear that shit. He had to go back. I didn't want to hear it and
I like Common. You have to be real careful when you try to expand because
that shit isn't always a hit out the park. Sometimes it backfires. We
are who we are on this record. You'll hear this J5 shit. It's like a curse
doing that old-school shit. I would have never thought in a million years
that people would hate to hear that old-school shit. People act like old-school
owes them some money and shit and they hate to hear it. I don't know.
Matthews single "Work It Out" is definitely a reach from your
other debut singles "Quality Control" and "What's Golden."
What's the response been so far?
a reach for us. When you have five people in the group, the tastes vary.
It wasn't a reach for us. In this game, you have to be real, real meticulous
with how you do certain things. You can't just do what you want to do.
You're in the business of selling art. Some of the greatest artists in
the world didn't get any love until they fell off and died. Then the abstract
stuff was so great, but when they were on earth nobody wanted to see their
shit. That's how this industry is. You can do songs with Judas Priest
but are people going to dig it? You're in the business of selling art.
I think the core fans probably aren't going to like it. Some of them will,
but the majority will probably not feel it. I can't let them dictate my
feelings and what I should be making. I respect them, but I can't let
them dictate what I'm doing.
at that and where the Black Eyed Peas have gone
Man, I wish
I was a Black Eyed Pea! Man, I would give anything to be Taboo right now.
I would give anything! I don't care what your readers say after they read
that. You know why? Let me tell you why. People had them dead. People
had them dead in the water. You know how when something dies they come
and scoop the shit up so it doesn't pollute the rest of the water? They
left them there in the water for the fish to eat. The Black Eyed Peas
kept their pulse and now millions of people love them. They are the best.
They're like Cinderella Man. Have you ever seen Cinderella Man?
You have to see that. It's about a boxer who lost everything and he was
at rock bottom and he got a second chance. He's like the Black Eyed Peas.
They sure give me hope. I'm not at rock bottom, but I'm damn-sure not
at the top.
see J5 evolving the same way the Black Eyed Peas did and going the commercial
to say. We threw the Dave Matthews song out to see how it would do. I'm
not going to be eager to get with Mariah Carey the next time. If it blows
up, I can't say that I'm not going to want to do anymore hard hip-hop
shit. I just want to see what it does. If it was all about doing the type
of music we do and the type of music people are accustomed to, we would
have been popping. A lot of people ask us what kind of music we make.
I need to ask the consumers what type of shit they want to hear. People
swear they don't like the candy shit, but when you turn around that's
all that's getting play and it's selling millions of records. That "real"
shit that people swear on their mothers that they love don't get no love.
We've gone that route. I'm not going to come out with a twelve-track pop
record. I'm not going to do that, but what do you want me to do? I tried
to do it the way I knew. I tried to do it the hip-hop way and y'all didn't
want to accept it. Y'all would rather hear "They see me rolling."
I'm not saying that's not hip-hop, but that boom-bap shit that you supposedly
love, when J5 did it, they didn't want to hear it. Should I apologize
for the Dave Matthews song? I shouldn't have to apologize. When we came
out with "What's Golden," some people felt it but the majority
didn't. This Dave Matthews song may not do anything. We don't have a history
at radio stations. They might say, "I know what these dudes are about.
It's not going to do anything." I'm going to have to accept that
with a grain of salt and keep it moving. I don't want the people to be
mad. I want them to have the same understanding that I have even though
I know that I'm wishing. I would like for it to be like that.
you describe the rest of Feedback?
guess people aren't usually stumped about their own shit, but give me
a second. (pause) I guess I would describe the album as giving you the
best of what we had at that particular time. I usually like to let people
get their own opinion of it. Maybe that's wrong and I should tell people
it's the bomb album and they need to pick it up and if they don't they're
tripping. We have some shit that people are accustomed to and some shit
they're not. Quit thinking you know what we're about and just listen.
things change without Cut Chemist being a part of the group?
to be honest with you. Well, that sounds bitter and it's not like that.
The creativity changed. We don't have a gang of those intricate skits
that Cut Chemist is known for. We don't have a lot of that and it's not
that I don't miss it. It's either-or for me on that. It depends on whether
or not the people like it. The production didn't stop because we were
able to go outside to other people whose music we respect. We were able
to go and do that. Anytime you start out with somebody, you definitely
lose a little bit. Cut is J5 because that's where he got his start at,
but at the same time you have to keep moving and keep walking and fill
whatever hole he left. He's only one dude. If all five dudes left and
left one, then I would tell that dude he was in trouble. If one dude left
five and if we can't fill up that empty space, there's nothing wrong with
Cut. He was the smart one if we can't plug up the hole that one man left.
with other producers is a first for J5. How did it feel going outside?
I loved it,
and that's not to take anything away from the other cats. I loved it because
we got to work with Salaam Remi who did a lot of Nas' work and the Fugees'
work. It was nice to see how other people got down and he was pulling
stuff out of us that we ain't never thought of. It's the same with Scott
Storch. We're working on a different caliber. At the same time we want
to find our niche with these cats because I already know what Salaam Remi
can do for Nas and what Scott Storch can do for Fat Joe. You get in there
and see what they can do for you and if that will mesh. It was dope and
everybody does that. I think at first it was a little funny for people,
but as far as the MC's, we were going to do it. This is what it's about
and I'm not about always holding everything in-house and not letting anybody
touch it. You don't want to make people think you're better than them
and all that. It was dope though.
wish you had gotten some outside help for Quality Control and Power in
I'm not going
to say that because we were happy to be in the game and you always want
everybody to shine. If we would have coat-tailed off of somebody, we probably
could have been blowing up. I didn't want to do that. I wanted to make
it on our own. That's where I was at. And if I had to do it over again,
I would do it the same way because I feel better about it.
your view on the industry changed from the early days to today?
harder. As far as the record business, that shit is in shambles. It's
looking bleak right now. It's looking bad. Hip-hop has changed in two
ways. Financially, it's great. You have people owning basketball teams
and you have Snoop Dogg doing a commercial with Lee Iacocca. You would
have never thought you would have seen that. Creatively though, that shit
is terrible. Creatively, the wack shit is the fly shit now. If you try
to do some shit and be creative, you're looked at like a damn fool. Financially
it's great but creatively it's terrible.
J5 can go on the road.
for touring and thank God we're able to do it, because if we didn't I
would be under a bridge crying with a "Will Rap for Food" sign.
Thankfully that's been keeping us afloat and hopefully it will continue
to keep us afloat. Touring is great. I love it.
time do you put into your routine?
All the time.
Sometimes we're practicing on-stage. If we have new shit we want to incorporate,
we do it right there. You don't know if your show is cracking until you
go out. Some people think their show is the greatest but they're cupping
the mic, they're overly hyped, they're losing their breath and that's
because they've been performing in front of the homies who haven't told
them anything. When you're performing for people who paid their money
to see it, they don't give a fuck. If they're paying money, they're going
to let you know if you're wack. That varies from venue to venue. Just
because the 9:30 Club loves us, we may go down the street to Howard and
they'll find us wack. A lot of it isn't what you do but how you do it.
We've done shows where people don't know who we are, but after they see
us, they're like, "You guys are tight." With five people on-stage,
we all have our time to shine and we're harmonizing and all that. People
love that. It's not so much about what you're doing but how you're doing
it. If people don't like you, they're at least going to take notice. They're
going to notice that we do know how to perform. They may not buy the record,
but they know we can perform. That's all we got right now. J5 is known
as being a touring band. That's all we're known for.
the tour bus?
but sometimes you just wish they would leave. It's like living with your
parents past a certain age. You mom may say some slick shit to you and
you may storm out of the house, but you still love them and you still
come back. That's how we are. I can say this, nobody has ever said some
foul shit like "I hate you" or "I wish you were dead."
It's always some "clean up your bunk" or "put some stronger
deodorant on." Nobody's walking around just saying mean, spiteful
shit to people.
have any plans to go solo?
to see me go solo. Nah. (laughs) To be honest with you, Brian, I'm going
to be honest with you and don't let this get out: I'm lazy. I don't know.
You know how some people write everyday
people are going to read
this and say, "That's why this nigga is wack." I want to do
it just to do it. I have a few solo songs that I'm wondering what to do
with it. Maybe I'll put some 12"'s out. I kind of like it, but I
like working with everybody else. I've been with my group so long that
it's awkward when I'm not with them. You never know. If I'm going to do
it, I have to do it now. I can't wait four years to do it. If I'm going
to make a move, I have to do it now. Chali has a solo record he's been
working on. I don't know when it's coming. Numark has put out two solo
records. Mark7 just wrote a movie and Ice Cube's company Cubevision picked
it up and they're going to do it. There's other shit going on here.
going to be singing more?
I can't sing
the way I used to. If you would have caught me in '83
were you born
I could sing.
My throat is kind of messed up now from not singing the proper way. I
could maybe hit a note or two now where you could say, "That boy
is good." It wouldn't be enough for you to want to interview me if
I put out a singing album. I don't know. I just dabble in it a little
going to get into more acting?
I want to,
but it's hard. My acting shit would have to springboard off of this because
I'm not in the position to say, "Hey, I'm just going to act."
I can't do that because this is my bread and butter. Acting would have
to springboard off of J5. It's hard. If we were a super-famous group,
I could do it. I've had the opportunity to do some things and I want to
do more. Quiet as kept, I'm an interesting dude. My mama told me I was
interesting. I'm just looking for the opportunity to do some more shit.
going to be as long of a delay between Feedback and the next J5 record?
No. I can
confidently say that. The next record is going to come a lot faster. You
can quote me on that. If you can't quote me on anything else, you can
quote me on that. We fucked up on that. We fucked up real bad. The next
one will be coming much quicker.
you want to say to everybody?
the record and give us the opportunity. See if we have something on there
that you could enjoy. Come out to the show and we're going to keep giving
you what we've been giving you, and that's 100% of us. Hopefully you enjoy