Album is finally out in stores. How do you feel?
I feel like
a kid in a candy store. It's a beautiful thing.
is this album?
I guess you
could say it's very overdue, but at the same time, it's perfect timing.
is The 5% Album for the hip-hop community right now?
I think anything
different from what's out there is needed. I'm not going to say what I
make is just music. I definitely feel that what I'm saying is not only
important to hip-hop, but to the world, period.
you want to give people with "Deep Space"?
like every song I'm trying to necessarily give a message. On some, I'm
just trying to take you into my mind. It's just a metaphor for being inside
your mind and I really just wanted to be creative with it.
and RZA built a lot over the years?
we see each other from time-to-time, we definitely build. We've always
had intentions of doing stuff, but he has his life and I have my life
and sometimes they don't interject right away. We finally were able to
make that happen.
you want to talk about the 5% Nation so much on this album?
I've been dealing with for twenty-three years now. It's something that
has helped shape and mold hip-hop from the beginning and I feel we've
been kind of overlooked as of late as far as our contributions. I just
wanted to make knowledge born that we've been here, we're here, and we're
not going anywhere.
the Nation of Gods and Earths been overlooked?
talk about the greatest MC's, they don't go to the gods first. A lot of
our greatest MC's were influenced by the gods if they were not gods. A
lot of the people who you feel are the greatest MC's know they've been
touched by the gods in a way that's bettered their lives. People talk
about Biggie, 2Pac, Jay-Z, and Nas, but you can definitely come with the
Rakim's and the Big Daddy Kane's and the people like that.
the gods get overlooked?
a trend in hip-hop to dumb hip-hop down. If you exalt the intelligent
people, then you're being counterintuitive to what your plan is. If you're
going to dumb it down, why would you want to promote what we're doing?
It's seen as some "Black shit" that's threatening to the power
structure. It's just too difficult to deal with for a lot of people so
they'd rather take the easy route and talk about bullshit and candy and
keep it moving.
ever wanted to do some tracks like that but felt you couldn't step outside
I think people
expect a lot from us (Brand Nubian) because we put ourselves in that position
of responsibility. Even if we turn around and talk some bullshit, which
we wouldn't do, we would get criticized. I speak on it on the song "Givin'
Up." I was saying how you can't give up rap until you give up your
principles and morals and it's talking about seeing if you really have
that love for hip-hop and the people, you don't do that. You rep for the
people and you stick to your guns. It's been hard staying on that course
at times, but if I did that, I wouldn't feel right inside of myself and
at the end of the day I feel like I would fail.
doesn't have a lot of knowledge about the 5% culture, will a lot of things
on the album go over their head?
I think if
you listen to this album and you have no knowledge of the 5% Nation, you'll
get a good understanding of what we're about. Of course you're not going
to get it all from an album or a book because this is a life. You have
to live this to fully understand it. On "Supreme Mathematics,"
I let you know what each number means. That can help you in your life.
All of that is helpful. I can't sit here and give you all the lessons,
but I can definitely give you a basic understanding to help y'all see
clearly. Of course there's always room to grow. Knowledge is infinite.
It never stops. I can't give you the high sciences, but I can take you
to a degree and let you grow from there. That's how we do it anyway in
this Nation. You start from a basic degree and you grow.
see the 5% culture misrepresented by those who aren't aware of it?
I've heard people say "earth" and "wis," like "wisdom,"
in their records. I'm bringing it back to when we were stronger and I'm
getting the gods united and we're not going to allow you to use our language
get angry when you hear that?
I have a
different emotion. This is something I really love. I guess a part of
you can get a little bit angry. Me, I just get motivated. I'm the type
of person where if I'm not happy with something, I'm going to do something
to change it. All these motherfuckers are talking about their radio show
and all that. My brother and I started our own radio show, OTBRadio.com.
We play the shit we want to fucking hear. Now when I get up and I get
on the internet, I'm hearing real hip-hop and I'm fucking loving it. That's
my philosophy. I made an album I wanted to hear. This is some shit I really
want to hear. I'm a god and I want to hear gods glorifying the gods on
some hot hip-hop shit. Nobody else did it so I guess I had to do it.
other gods promoted the 5% Nation as hard as you are doing now?
to have to ask them that question. I would venture to say they don't think
other people don't want to hear it. I'm doing this for a specific group
of people. I'm doing this for the Five-Percenters first, then everyone
else can like it. Then I'm doing it for the real hip-hop fans. The 5%
Nation is going to love it. I don't have to worry about the pressure.
Once I made that decision, the pressure was off. I don't have to worry
about who likes this song and that song. As long as my family likes it,
of feedback have you gotten so far?
phenomenal, from the oldest to the youngest. It's ridiculous. The motivation
I'm seeing now is what I wanted to see happen, and it's happening right
before my eyes and I'm loving it. Even the non-Five-Percenters are loving
it because it's good music. It's a well-crafted and well-put together
album. There are a lot of white kids where I'm at and they love hip-hop.
They're not necessarily old school or in the Five Percent Nation, but
they bought my album, read my book, came to my show, and are loving it.
It's bugging me out a little bit. That was my focus. It's something that
people can feel. People feel the energy I put into this shit. I put my
heart and soul into this fucking album, I bullshit you not. This is not
something you can make in just two weeks. I've been working on this for
over a year.
you go about doing the book?
was talk of doing the book from the beginning, I thought a writer was
going to come in. Then I found out I was expected to write the book. I
was like, "Oh, shit." It was a little intimidating. I got it
done and I got some excerpts from some books. I compiled pictures from
older gods and just put it all together. I wrote things that I thought
and we had a 90-page book.
be proud of that.
I am proud
of that. When you're a little kid, you think writing books is impossible.
When I was a little kid, I thought it was hard to write a book and I've
always been intimidating like that. Now I see how the process goes and
it's definitely doable.
have plans for more books?
at the moment, but I feel like I could do it again if I wanted to. I try
to write in a way that would make you want to read it.
fans listen to the album first or read the book first?
To me, that's
neither here nor there. You choose how you want to do that. I don't care,
as long as you take them both in. As long as you do both, the order is
up to you.
Gods" must have been a special track for you since you worked with
Yeah. I worked
him like any other artist I've worked with. I put his ass in the booth
and I had him say his shit until it was right. That's how I do it with
any artist. I pretty much know what artists can do. He's been recording
songs since he was seven or eight years-old. He's used to being in the
studio and saying lines, so I knew what he was capable of already as far
as his energy and all that. I just put him in there and I made him do
it how I make anybody else do it and it was good and at the end, I was
happy with it and he was happy with it. I was happy that I worked with
my son and that he's on the album. If he chooses to rap, this is an opportunity
for him. I'm not trying to make him a rapper. I don't even think he necessarily
wants to be a rapper, but he's doing it. It's not like he has a bunch
of demos. We do it because it's something to do like a father/son thing.
intimidating for him to be in your shadow?
I guess it
can be. I just want him to be a part of the song. I couldn't have other
people's sons on the album and not have him on the album.
Lord, Young Justice, and Young Dirty, are we going to see a new generation
of rapper's kids on the mic?
You also have Lil' Eazy out in California. For a lot of them, it just
might be in their blood and DNA where they want to fuck with this rap
shit because it's in them. Hopefully in the future we'll have more examples
of what rap is that's more than what we're seeing now like that "Laffy
Taffy" bullshit. I'm happy with anyone getting their money, but if
that's where their skill-level is (exhales), then how am I not on the
radio, not that I've tried.
you blame for all this dumb music?
the fucking rappers making it, and the people buying it. The rappers are
making it, the people are buying it, and the radio stations are playing
it. That's who the fuck I blame.
of people say southern music is feel-good music. Don't you want to get
back to where you can have some positivity in party tracks?
That's what we were known for when we first came out. We had party music,
but it was positive. That's what people loved about Brand Nubian. There
are songs on this album that's feel-good music. And I'm not calling my
shit "positive" or "conscious" right now. It's hardbody-godbody
music. "Conscious" and "positive" have become code
words for soft shit that is not relevant. Don't call my shit "conscious"
and don't call my shit "positive." You can call it "intelligent,"
but I'm also hesitant to say that too. My shit is hardbody-godbody.
you see your influence in the game today?
We, as a
group, have been underrated the same way the gods are. There were a lot
of groups from our era, but a lot of times our name gets left out. I feel
like that's bullshit because a lot of these guys ate off what we brought
to the table. We're not crying. I'm just doing what I have to do.
Brand Nubian overlooked? Were people scared of the lyrics?
It's a combination
of things. It's that, plus we had the break-up and we didn't solidify
things that could have been solidified better. There was confusion with
our fan-base and it's easier for you to remember A Tribe Called Quest
because they had no turmoil and they just made good records.
Is a new
Brand Nubian album coming?
in the studio now, but we probably will be soon. X is doing an album because
he's going to have to do eight months for some shit he did. I'm getting
ready to help him on some of that. We're going to do another one probably,
but right now, this album is my focus, and there's nothing wrong with
that. Everyone has their time. Everyone else in Brand Nubian has at least
three solo joints out. Right now, it's my time to focus on me.
back on Fire in the Hole, are you happy with how that album did?
No. It could
have been better. A lot of things could have been done better on our behalf
and the record company's behalf and people in general.
The 5% Album is out, what do you have to do from here on out to make it
as successful as it can be?
I have to
get out there and do these shows. They need to see my stage show because
I have a lot of energy and that's always been good for us. You might like
our music, but when you see us live, it takes it to a new level. You might
like my music, but when you see me live, you're going to like it even
more because it's real hip-hop and it's a real hip-hop show. We're not
doing that stupid shit. I just have to get on my grind.
see this album raising more awareness in the hip-hop community for the
It's already done that and it can only do more. The cream rises to the
top. That's what this album was crafted to do and that's what the album
is doing as we speak.
doing a good job of promoting the Nation of Gods and Earths?
See, the wise man can play the part of the fool but the fool can never
play the part of the wise man. I always knew Busta had knowledge of self,
but he never made that completely aware to the world. He got paid and
when he saw they were trying to blackball the gods, he said, "Ok,
I'm godbody, but I don't necessarily have to let them know that."
That's a strategy. Now that he's in there and he's selling all these records,
now he can shout out the gods and bring people's attention to us. Even
though he didn't do a whole album for it, he put the bat signal up and
now I'm coming out of the cave. He's bringing an awareness and now I'm
following up with the information.
to be loving the timing of everything.
Oh, am I!
The Source and FEDS Magazine did an article on the 5% Nation before this
album came out. It's definitely a good time for this album and I'm seeing
the responses I'm getting from the gods and the earths across the globe
on my MySpace. The response is ridiculous. The one word I'm really seeing
is "motivation." They want to tell people about it and they
want to be a part of it. I'm loving that.
the next move for Lord Jamar?
Get out there
on the road. I'm trying to get on somebody's tour...Rakim, Method Man,
somebody that makes sense. I'm trying to get out there and sell these
albums. I'm going to support this record and build my connections with
the Nation of Gods and Earths and keep it moving.
have any more acting gigs coming up?
Yeah. I have
an independent film called Just My Friends that I did. I think that's
supposed to be coming out pretty soon. I'm also the voice of Major League
Soccer right now. I'm doing some voiceover commercials for Major League
Soccer. There's also some other things going on that I can't talk about
you want to say to everyone?
for the support from people who have been down with me from Brand Nubian
or if they've been down recently or if they only know me from Oz of something
else. Thank you. I'm always going to give you quality whether it's producing,
putting out an artist, whatever I do, there's going to be quality behind
it so you don't feel like you've been raped and robbed.