man. Just working hard, on the grind. I just released my album The World
is Ours, but the release show is August 25 so that's like the real release
date for the album. Most of the artists on the album are going to be there.
Right now we just leaked it for the real heads and to showcase our production
team which is me and my partner Beatnick.
a dope concept behind the record. Can you talk about that?
is Ours means a couple things. One of the main things The World is Ours
represents is that we as struggling people are going to take back what's
been stolen from us. We're in a position where a very small percentage
of people own everything and the rest of us are stuck doing slave jobs
and all that other shit. I'm fortunate to have grown up in a household
where I learned how this country was really started with slavery and the
genocide of my native brothers & sisters. When I grew up I was kind
of wiser than other kids who would just believe the books and the news
and everything else that was put in front of them. I always questioned
everything. I was always taught not to accept the way it is. I was taught
to fight for the way it should be.
is Ours is also taken from Tony Montana. I'm trying to reach the streets,
not the hippies. I'm not trying to shun anybody and I appreciate everybody
who likes my music. But The World is Ours is for the streets. It means
that we have to make it.
the response been so far?
The people who have the record have been giving me an amazing response.
The real promotion hasn't really even started yet. The artists from dead
prez to Saigon, people are loving the songs they did. The people who have
heard the project are loving it and I feel like that's a blessing for
us. Me and my partner Beatnick are trying to take it to another level,
not to diss other producers. What sets us apart is the integrity that
we have. We're not just going to produce for any artist. We're going to
work with who we respect. We'll sell beats, but not to Brooke Hogan or
Paris Hilton. We're actually trying to do something positive with our
music. Right now it's all about money and it shouldn't be like that.
you and Beatnick work together?
is a real talented cat. He's a multi-talented musician, producer and engineer.
Even though the album says K-Salaam, Beatnick is just as important. He
likes to stay out of the spotlight but I have to give it to him.
The World is Ours come about?
I actually met him a year after I had started the project. I had my own
production but I also had other producers. I had a goal and I wanted to
send out a message, but I didn't want it to be corny and have people thinking
it was some preaching bullshit. I had an idea of the artists I wanted
on it and pretty much everything worked out the way I wanted it to.
track we made together was the Saigon track when 'Nick replaced the kick,
added a bassline, and touched up on some of the other sounds. After that,
we heard how crazy the beat was and I asked him to do the album with me
and he was down. He's a younger dude. That's when the production team
started. It just started popping off and I had a goal as far as getting
the reggae artists. I had to go to Jamaica to make that happen. I was
really focused and was thinking of six to seven different ways to get
to the artists. I'm really proud that everything came together. Now it's
time to promote it and get it out to the people.
your criteria for selecting artists for this project?
all, I wanted some diversity. I listen primarily to hip-hop and reggae.
That's what I like. The drums are all hard hip-hop on here. I wanted established
artists. Even Papoose and Saigon who haven't put out albums yet have a
lot of mixtapes out. dead prez is legendary for what they've done. I really
wanted artists with integrity whether it be Talib Kweli or Sizzla, I wanted
an album that would not be just a 2006 album. It's going to be a 2006
album, a 2016 album, and a 2056 album. I know that's a bold statement,
but I can still see people down the line listening to this album.
a lot of variety on The World is Ours.
That's from me being a DJ. I haven't been doing a lot lately because I've
been focusing on the production game and working on the album. I love
all music. I can get with any type of music as long as its not soft rock
or country. I like a lot of down south music, especially the artists who
actually have a message like Da Backwudz. The reggae artists like Capleton
and Sizzla are legends. Capleton's family gave me a place to stay. I wasn't
expecting all that. A lot of this project ended up being good karma coming
back to me from working hard and really trying to say something positive
and not leaving it as a gimmick. People who meet me and have a chance
to sit down and talk and look me in the eye, they know I'm real about
what I'm doing. Me, Beatnick and my business partner Kaveh really worked
hard on this and it's a blessing to have worked with these artists from
Saigon to Capleton to Papoose to Luciano. It's a blessing to work with
these brothers. It really is.
it having Bobbito rep for you on the album?
That's dope. Awhile back when I was living in Minneapolis and I was DJing,
I had put a lot into my DJing and mixing and it wasn't really going anywhere.
I had put out a mixtape and somehow Bobbito got a hold of it, I don't
know how he had, and he said the mixtape made him cry which had never
happened before. He reached out to me and he said he really appreciated
that. It gave me a lot of confidence and it really meant a lot to me because
I was depressed at the time. It's hard when you're putting a lot of time
into something and nothing is happening. He gave me a lot of confidence.
After that, we stayed in touch and now we're friends. I wanted him to
talk about something that was real to him and it was Vieques. Puerto Rico
was a bomb test site for awhile. The people of Puerto Rico fought it and
the U.S. government stopped, but it just goes to show how we as people
of color are treated like we're less than human. We have to look at that
and see how it relates to everything over here in the streets and in the
prisons. It's the same thing, a complete lack of respect for us.
you come up with the cover?
Peter Rickards in Jamaica took the picture and then a brother by the name
of Tischen Franklin did the artwork. The cover is basically me with a
boombox. There's not really any specific, deep meaning to it. I had my
guy mess with it and I just thought it looked so dope. I put the logo
on there with a lion. That stands for so many things. It's an Iranian
symbol and it's also the Lion of Judah. The cover means so many things,
but me with the boombox is me letting the world hear my music.
Iranian-American, have you been treated differently since 9/11?
definitely. My family is from Minnesota and five of the hijackers had
ties to Minnesota. There's such a small number of Middle Eastern people
out there. We've been through hell. I'm a real light-skinned dude so I
don't get harassed in the streets. I was trying to get out to Jamaica
recently to do some business and they wouldn't let me go. It really bothers
me how my family who doesn't speak English gets treated. They're afraid
to go outside and this is supposed to be the land of the free. It's a
different world in the Midwest. I could go on for days, but we've been
a lot of that same ignorance in hip-hop.
a lot of ignorance in hip-hop. The big corporations push that because
they don't want to push people actually saying some real shit. I'm a real
person. I talk about what we go through but I'm not afraid to talk about
the Arab people who go into black neighborhoods and are disrespectful.
We should treat them like they are our allies. Sometimes we play ourselves.
After September 11, we knew white America had no love for us so we ran
to black people to accept us but a lot of them felt like we abandoned
them. We have to be smarter than that. Farrakhan is one of the only people
who speak up for the poor people dying in the Middle East. We have to
start returning the favor. The major corporations want us to talk about
jewels and pimping. I mean, America is all about pimping, so I'm not going
to judge, but this album is just saying, "Yo, let's come together
and we can all do what we do without exploiting somebody else."
How would you compare The World is Ours to your previous projects?
No comparison. This is on a much bigger scale. All my other projects were
just mixtapes. This is all exclusive tracks. This is on a whole different
scale as far as the production level and what I'm trying to do with it.
There is no comparison.
original message for this project come through like you wanted it to?
I feel it really did. I didn't force any of the artists to talk about
what they talked about. I told them my basic idea for what I wanted. I
wanted to do songs about revolution and about the system and they came
clean. I'm glad I didn't try to say, "Do a song about the war"
or something like that. I told them to fit into the album but do what
sparks your creativity and don't let anything hold you in. These artists
came 100% correct. I didn't get any half-ass songs from any of these dudes.
I'm very happy with the way it came out.
awhile since a producer-album with a concept behind it dropped.
is something new from the level of production. This is a completely new
style. The whole album is different across the board. I feel like it's
a breath of fresh air in music.
your plans for promoting The World is Ours?
I plan to
get more into the production game. So far a lot of big things have already
happened with production. We're really trying to make the production thing
happen. As far as the message being behind it, that just comes from the
way I've been since I was a kid. I have a lot of respect for my family.
Whatever I do, having a message is always going to be a part of me. I'm
not going to let it pigeonhole me, but this is my life. I don't consider
it conscious rap. It's music and as far as where do I take it from here,
the sky's the limit. We're just going to keep it coming and make decisions
started thinking about your next project?
Yeah. I don't want to talk about it too much, but big things are going
to be happening.
you want to say to everybody?
Pick up the
album, and watch out for me and Beatnick. If you don't buy the album,
I feel like you're really missing out on some banging-ass music. I don't
expect you to listen to the album and not feel anything. Shout out to
Beatnick, Kaveh, my big homie Xavier Hargrove and everybody who helped
with the album.