you been since our last interview?
been promoting and we did what we wanted to do with "Institutionalized."
It's important for me to touch the streets and reflect on what I've been
through. "Institutionalized" showed the quirky nature of my
personality. Now we have "Revenge of the Spit." Everybody always
has mixtapes with their guns out and their so hood with it, but I'm like,
"Whatever, I like 'Star Wars.'" We're going to keep it gangster,
but I'm going to use a light-saber instead of a gun. I wanted to do this
to let you know there are people out West doing big things. I got Dow
Jones, who as far as I'm concerned is the hottest DJ on the West Coast,
to put it together. We've been blessed with a lot of good response and
feedback from it.
the only one that could make Yoda seem gangster.
It came out dope! The light-saber is Xzibit's. George Lucas gave that
to him. It's one of his toys at his house. Every time I'm over there,
I fuck with it like, "I love this toy." My homegirl Tiffany
wanted to take a picture of me with that with a mink on. X was laughing
at the pictures, and I told him I was going to do a mixtape with that
to go to those Star Wars conventions to sell the tape.
what, I should! I don't think I'd get permission. I don't think George
Lucas would be fucking with me. I kind of did this under the radar. It's
definitely a Hip Hop mixtape. There's a lot of spitting on there. If the
Star Wars people wanted to fuck with it because they're Star Wars fans,
great. I'd probably sell thirty-million of them.
not dressing up as Luke Skywalker?
not going to happen. I love Star Wars, but I'm a normal dude. I was looking
at the pictures of me and laughing. I don't give a fuck. I wanted to step
outside of the conventional rap. The Hip Hop heads are so "keep it
shell-toed Adidas," and the industry dudes talk about how many guns
they have. I think they're both equally cliché. People identify
with a group and then they look like them, and that shit is corny. I'm
an individual. This mixtape is me expressing my individuality.
your state-of-mind on "What If"?
I don't know,
to be honest. It was something that was kind of personal. You always think
in life that "what if I did this?" and the causes and effects.
I was thinking about how us as a people, or me specifically, how we would
react to different things.
to be dope working with G. Rap.
I've always been a fan. That was a blessing. He showed me so much love.
I reached out to him and he reached right back. That was peace right there.
Royce seem to have great chemistry. Have you ever thought about doing
a project with him?
homie. We get along real well. I respect him as a person and as an MC.
I respect him on some real shit and we go at it. It's like two homeboys
boxing against each other.
your track with GZA come about for the "Think Differently" album?
my man. I had met GZA a couple of times. I don't know him as well as Killah
Priest. Priest is my friend-friend. He just reached out to me and he said
he would like for me to do this project with GZA. I said, "Of course."
He's one of the greatest lyricists ever. He sent me two beats. I did the
wrong beat first. (laughs) That was his fault. Then I went back and did
the other one. It was cool for me because I laid my vocals and I never
got to hear what GZA put on it until the finish. I like doing songs like
that. I like doing whatever the beat tells me to feel and letting them
put it together to see how it gels.
all the members of Wu Tang, do you feel like GZA would be your best fit
to work with?
in my opinion, the lyricist out of the Wu. I fuck with everybody in the
Wu. I think they're an incredibly talented team. Me and RZA did a song
together with Easy Mo Bee and it came out crazy. I think I would work
well with anybody's that dope because we all offer different facets. It
just depends on picking the right song and direction for a particular
did a drop for your tape. What's going on with you and Al?
buried the hatchet. I was supposed to get with Al this week. We're about
to start working ASAP.
want to say that Chace Infinite helped mend that, and Dilated Peoples
helped mend that, and Shade45 and Al helped. Al continued to reach out
and I was stubborn, but I had to grow up and get over it and move on and
try to do something constructive. Me being stubborn and everyone else
pushing us got us together. We're both West Coast dudes and we have to
try to support each other.
been in a lot of beefs throughout your career. Why is that?
Let me try
to say this without being arrogant. No rapper has ever wanted beef with
me. On some street shit, we're all about even. On the mic, it's unfair.
I'm the big bully. I think that's the big part about why I never had beef.
Biggie Smalls was like, "More money, more problems." When I
sell three-million records, I'm sure someone will try to take a potshot
because they're haters. Then they'd win based on the attention they'd
get from the beef. I think it also has something to do with my personality.
I'm a cool dude. I say what I do and I do what I say and my music reflects
who I am. You don't meet another motherfucker after hearing my music.
A lot of artists are like that. They're not who they say they are. I'm
able to get along with people because I am who I say I am.
ever worry about your humor going over people's heads?
A lot of
times, it does. I think that's the cool thing about my music. Some people
have told me it's a hindrance. You can pop my music in and get something
different on the tenth time you hear my song. Or it can be a year later
and you'll pick up something. It's like a grab bag. You get something
different each time you reach into it. It's entertaining, and at the end
of the day, that's the reason why I make my music.
from our last interview said, "I find it hard to listen to new Ras
Kass music. I find it to be lacking the substance his earlier music had."
How do you respond to that?
If you can't
get with it, don't get with it. You can't please everybody. I know my
first of all, after "Nature of the Threat,"
I should never have to say anything substantial again. So anybody that
has anything to say, you can suck my dick. I'm not angry. I'm just saying,
"Suck my dick." Nobody did that kind of research. Do you know
how much time it took to research that shit? Fuck them. I'm not here to
make "Nature of the Threat" parts two, three, four, ten, because
that would be corny.
I said at
the beginning of my career that I'm Descartes' "Duality of Man."
They didn't even catch that, but they expect me to always say some pseudo-political
shit. They don't even know what politics are. Descartes' "Duality
of Man" is talking about your high and low nature. You talk about
when you're mad, you're sad, you're happy, you want to fuck bitches, you
want to smoke cigarettes but you can get cancer, and you want to have
unprotected sex but there's AIDS out there. Whatever. I talk about everything.
If you try to criticize me for being honest, that makes you the idiot.
I don't go to sleep at night feeling bad. If you think I'm going to sit
around wearing African medallions and saying, "Fuck George Bush"
all day, then you're out of your fucking mind. I don't sit around all
day thinking that. I do think about it, and I'll put it in a rap and keep
it moving and talk about some other shit.
R.Kelly in some songs and also that you only mess with girls twenty-one
and up. How do you feel about pedophiles?
I'm not trying
to single anyone out, but I'm not with that. There's too many grown women
on the planet. Step your game up. If you can't get a grown women and you
have to get little girls, you're weak.
you feel about the way the media is covering Busta Rhymes' shooting?
To be honest
with you, I haven't been following that. All I can say is "God bless
the dead." I wish Busta the best and my heart goes out to everybody,
especially the wife and mother of the man that was slain.
you feel about the "Stop Snitching" movement?
LA and you don't tell. I've gone to jail for my homeboys. We have to protect
ourselves. The code of the streets say that you don't tell. I don't tell.
new artists are you feeling out West?
so many talented dudes. Of course I'm pushing for my team. I want to see
my team do their thing. The artists that Re-Up entertainment will eventually
have. Look out for 40 Glocc, who's Infamous/G-Unit. Spider Loc who's coming
out on G-Unit. Xzibit and Strong Arm Steady, my cousin Bleu da Vinci
looking to sign artists?
I have to
help myself before I can be a vehicle for someone else. There is definitely
a lot of talent that hasn't had an outlet to be heard because our industry
is kind of monopolized on the West Coast.
you learning about developing artists?
people, either you have the natural talent or you don't. I was only going
to take directions from somebody I trusted, and I can only take it to
the point where I'm comfortable. Eminem was not the same artist, he was
the same rapper, but he wasn't the same artist he was after he went to
Aftermath. He had to be around someone he trusted to change. If being
Marshall Mathers got him that far, it can be hard to see why you should
change since you got signed for being yourself. I don't want to have an
artist come in and then we treat them like shit. We have to respect each
other. They'd have to listen to my suggestions and try it. If it's trash,
we don't do it.
Four Horsemen project any closer to coming out?
I have to
handle my business. Xzibit said it the best. He said, "Handle your
business before your business handles you." I had to get rid of the
situation I was in and we're almost at the end of that. We're going to
do the Golden State Project and the Horsemen. There's a solo Ras Kass
that's thirsty, begging to come out. The sky's the limit after that.
Saafir been up to?
now starting to rhyme again. For awhile he was just getting his spirit
together. I don't want to say what his religion is because he may not
want me to. He felt it wasn't his calling to be an MC anymore, but now
he's coming back because he feels he wants to.
your label situation right now?
We go to
court and pray for me that this will be the last one. It appears that
we're going to amicably be parting ways. That's all I really wanted. That
really shows what kind of character Capitol Records has, that they would
force me to go this far with it and for so long when they never did right
I wish I
had a bigger outlet. I would just ask people not to buy their records,
period. The way they treat their urban artists is slavery.
you blame for that happening? The label or the artists that keep signing
It's a two-way
street. I knew it was dangerous when I took it, but I didn't know how
dangerous it was. I definitely picked one of the harder places to get
something accomplished. I don't cry about it. These labels don't give
urban artists the same value they give their rock artists or their pop
artists. It may be subconscious, but it's racism. They treat us bad and
they treat white artists good because it could be their son or daughter.
We're something different to them and we could be car-jacking them, so
they think they're doing us a favor.
artists be treated better?
happening. That's why Jay-Z did some of the things he did because of what
happened to the Cold Crush. Think about jazz music in the '40's when we
couldn't even put our faces on the album. Slowly but surely, we're making
millionaires every year off of our talent, but a lot of great talent is
broke. At least we're getting a little bit of our forty acres and mule.
Killah Priest's "The Offering" sounding so far?
crazy. He has a song with Nas that's crazy. We have a Four Horsemen song
on there too. Priest is definitely very underrated and a very smart dude.
happy with how "Institutionalized" did?
not trying to put it in Tower Records. It was for the streets. I don't
want a plaque for that. "Institutionalized" was for people that
supported me and for my friends and family that kept my head up when I
was in that hellhole. I'm happy with that. I'm doing "Institutionalized:
Volume Two." We'll let "Revenge of the Spit" do what it
does, and soon we should be going into the next project. I'm very optimistic.
It's going to be a beautiful thing.
are you working on?
thing, my biggest project after all that, is helping Xzibit with his next
do you want to work with now?
It'd be disrespectful
to make a list because there are so many. I've been fortunate because
I've been able to work with some of the greatest. I just want the opportunity
to work with any and everybody. I don't care what you sold, even if you
sold one because you had to buy your own record. If it's dope, let's work.
you want to say to all your fans?
supporting. I appreciate all the love and I'm trying to give it back with
the music. If you can get with it, get with it. If you can't, I'm not
mad at you. Aside from that, catch me on MySpace and RasKass-Central.com.
with Ras Kass at http://myspace.com/raskass