HHG: I know you guys worked with a ton of artists in your careers. How was it working together?
KRS: That shit was hot. That shit was crazy hot. It was actually a dream come true. You could imagine what it’s like to record with somebody you always wanted to record with. That’s a dream come true. It was brilliant. You see, what’s Survival Skills is going to do as an album is really show what the excitement is about in Hip-Hop with us coming together. When you come together with certain artists, they don’t have the same appeal. Like it was a good project—it was cool, but it didn’t show you anything different from what you already knew. This project I think with its international appeal, with its street-toned yet conscious lyrics, the amount of producers, guest appearances--who grew up with us, really made it dope. It really made it creative.
HHG: Now this question is directed to you Buck. How did the album for you come about?
BS: I like the concept of reminding everybody that the rhymes don’t play a part. I mean we could sit here, and take all the credit, but we’re not. I’m sitting here and learning more and more each day that it’s really a thing of believing in yourself, believing in the creator, and believing in like things like this will happen. It really is that powerful. I wouldn’t sit here and say, “Yeah, me and Chris were thinking about getting on the stage to put together this album, represent what we do together on stage, and give the people what they want.” But, all these things were already in the works of the creator. We’ve been receiving messages, and we’ve fine-tuned that. You know what I’m saying? And we put that together in the form of an album. This is something that people are going to appreciate. This is gonna change the world man. It really is. It’s gonna change the world because the buzz of the album is dangerous. You know, it’s there because it’s unifying both fan bases, both cultures, both everything. Oh my goodness man. (Laughs)
HHG: What was the recording process like?
KRS: Quick, pumped.
BS: (laughs) Man Chris (KRS) is a genius. We did a song called the “Clean Up”.
HHG: I heard that.
KRS: Were you able to hear the album yet?
HHG: I heard half of it. It was pretty dope. I heard the “Clean Up”, and the joint you have with Mary. I heard pretty much heard the first half.
KRS: No doubt. The reason I asked is because as you listen to the album itself, it really is a thirst quencher in every true sense of the word. We went from Mary J Blige, to Knaan, to even us like KRS-One &Buckshot. When you listen to the album itself, I don’t miss anybody. Everybody is where they’re supposed to be. Everybody is coming exactly in where they were supposed to come in at. Like what Buck was saying just now about the most high, a lot of times we get in our own way. A lot of groups man—get in their own way of trying to think their way through instead of allowing themselves to be guided; to ground themselves, and to be led through the process. This is an album that we allowed ourselves to go express our soul. There wasn’t no A&R person on our back. There wasn’t no set of pressures that we had to meet. When it comes to recording, any artist will tell you, when you get the chance to go in and record, and represent the minds of the people, you draw fans. You know, this is one of the better projects I must say. I must say of this year, this is the hardest project out.
BS: Word, word. You know all the artists heard that. (laughs)
HHG: Speaking of “The Clean Up” track Buck, do you think it’s possible that you two collectively can clean the game up yourselves, or, do you need a strong effort from everybody to bring the essence back to the game?
BS: Man, we need an effort from everybody.
KRS: That’s exactly what I was going to say. It’s really everybody’s responsibility. I mean if you want to walk around dirty—not saying they do—but go for it. But now, there’s a Clean Up crew. Everybody knows Hip-Hop needs a little cleaning every now and then. It’s funny because only a few dudes pick up the responsibility of cleaning up. So really, all day we could talk about this album, and with that said, a few other Clean Up Crews have come to mind as well, like Redman & Meth, and Slaughterhouse. Those are Clean Up Crews too. You listen to their albums, and they’re trying to keep a traditional lodge as well. But, you have solo artists as well that are coming. Like, for instance, Erykau Badu is part of the Clean Up Crew. It’s for people who are concerned about Hip-Hop’s state. Hip-Hop is about what it means, how we use it, and how we gotta go. Now, that’s reserved for a group of people, and that’s always been the case. It’s either you’re a civilization builder or you are not. We’re all walking around to be civilizations, but, only a few of us are walking around and are actually building civilizations. In one breath, it’s easily the responsibility of everyone, but there’s only a certain people that are going to wise up, and take that responsibility. That’s why I think that song “Robot” was so timely as a subject matter because we needed a song that went against the grain, against the entire strain of what’s going on, and only Buckshot & KRS could have put that record out. I don’t think anybody else—even Jay-Z—I don’t think he could have initiated that kind of discussion. He probably did think it—no doubt—but to actually come out with it, and be like “This is my lead. This is what my album is going to sound like. This is the subject matter we’re dealing with, so fuck you, and that commercial bullshit.” Now, to come out like that, you gotta either be real with your shit, or you gotta be crazy. And you could take your pick. (laughs) There’s only a certain group of people that even have the heart to do it, because it’s not even heart, it’s true. You should have the courage to stand back and put out the songs that people feel. They need that people music, struggle music, and survival music. That’s why we called it Survival Skills. That’s what it is today. Twelve million people are out of work. We’re talking survival skills. Other cats are trying to take people who are unemployed to rescind their debts. This shit makes no fucking sense. This album is TIMELESS, and matter fact, TIMELY. That joint with Mary J on it, singing about the working class, that’s that subway music right there. These are the things you gotta hear.
HHG: It’s funny because people don’t know this, but you guys were the first to knock the Autotune record with the track “Robot”.
BS: Man once again, Chris did that years ago. Chris’ foundation is like “Yo. Get out of here.” (laughs). Like yo, I remember I walked into the club, and I don’t remember who got on that, but I, personally, Buckshot, saw when he blew people off the stage. I was there, in the club. I was right there. It was just crazy for me because once again, I was like “Son is an extremist, like me man”. And the one thing you have with extremists man is that everything we do, we’re going to take it to the facts. We’re extremists, and that means we’re extremely good. If we’re warriors, then we’re going to be extremely warrioristic, and shit. When we’re mad, we’re going to be extremely mad. If you don’t get the not so positive sidebars, then you’re going to get it extreme.
KRS: That’s really the level right there. Do you take your craft to the extreme? We’re all doing half-assed, mediocre shit. We’re just trying to get over—one more mortgage payment, one more cell phone payment. We’re just doing the mediocre, trying to get over. That shit need to come to an end for real. I mean that’s on some American politics shit--and to bring it over to Hip-Hop? Come on man. Cats are putting out mediocre albums. Not to diss anybody’s art, but there’s a standard. There’s a standard. We know what Boom Bap is. We have records out that will show you the standards. Here’s what everybody says that’s Hip-Hop. But nope, cats want to experiment, go off the deep end, do shit, and then call it Hip-Hop. Then, they’ll be mad when you say “No. It’s not.” And then, you got a problem, because now, you’re considered bitter and old school. I should just sit back, and let you fuck up the culture, because you’re not saying nothing. And, I’m allowed to be mediocre and average with something that was never mediocre and average? And, I’m supposed to just do that, and you’re supposed to be like, “Well, those days are over.” But what I’m saying is, here we go again, with another one 1-2 punch. We keep putting songs out. We keep putting records out. You know, Buckshot was correct on the fact that my legacy was based off “Get the Fuck Out of Here”, and I will confirm that. No Doubt. I mean if Hip-Hop is going to turn to into a culture—pussy—then I’m going to be the one dickhead running around.
BS: (laughs) I like that shit.
KRS: If yall niggas want to be pussies, then I’m going to be the Dickhead, and that’s it. We’re saying it in your face like, “Yall niggas is wack.” No, we’re like, “How you going to the club, saying “Yeah nigga yeah”, but we here.” Like, how did that happen father? How that happen? Lets really dig in on that for real.
This is what Hip-Hop’s culture is about. It’s all about that extreme part, because extreme is extreme. If you’re not extreme with your shit, then you’re not really reaching perfection. Mediocre is mediocre. But go ahead, and get your last question out.
HHG: Well I’m curious as to why do you think a lot people confuse you guys’ concern for the love of Hip-Hop as being a form of resentment?
KRS: Because they’re pussies man. There’s no other explanation for it. There’s no information for it. They’re PUSSIES. When I say they’re pussies, I mean, they’re weak, they’re faggots, they’re punks, and they have nothing to do with Hip-Hop. Even if they have a hit record out, and they’re playing it everyday on the radio, and they’re rapping, they still ain’t have nothing to do with Hip-Hop! We stand up, and say the radio is bullshit. Now if anyone says “Yo. You bullshit, the radio is dope.” That’s your opinion, and you ain’t down with us. We know that there’s a couple of millions of people that agree. The radio is bullshit. Now there’s a few radios that won’t agree. Clear channels won’t agree. Like, “How could we be bullshit? Nooo!” But there’s a couple of millions of people, and you gotta decide, which god you’re going to serve. Are you going to serve the Corporate God, or the Cultural God? That’s what opinion matters. If you’re serving the Corporate God, then get with your program, and serve that god. Serve that god well, and he will serve you well. That’s your corporate life. Now there it is. But, if you’re a cultural person like we are, if you’re down with the struggle, if you come from the lines of the African Bambatta, Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, and all the way back down to Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, and even Harriet Tubman blah blah blah blah blah. Then, you take that shit even further back to Moses, and you’re shit comes from there…then these corporate niggas are motherfucking faggots. Their opinion are irrelevant.