Oh man, I
just saw "V for Vendetta." Have you seen that joint?
to see it. It puts you in the mind of a terrorist and lets you see that
maybe they're right. But what's up?
you been up to lately?
grinding. I'm so happy. They threw "Dynomite" on iTunes and
it got over 200,000 downloads. That's the joint that Just Blaze produced.
That lets me know that Hip Hop is not dead and that maybe major radio
has it wrong. It should give other artists inspiration to follow in the
footsteps of Rhymefest, Kanye West, and Common.
"Dynomite" come about?
It was not
anything that was supposed to be released like it was. Just Blaze does
some of the hardest Hip Hop tracks out. When he gave me the beat, there
was something about when it says, "Dyno-miiite." It was something
about that that made me snap. It made me inhale and I exhaled on the beat.
I talked about some explosive issues like Sadaam and the Patriot Act.
We are what they made it for. You think it's about them? I was talking
about that. "I'm going to stand here like a killer or a man/Or a
giant when he stands/I open my palm and I got the world in my hands."
If you really listen to that song and what it's saying, it's really something
else. I wanted it to be the first song you heard on my album, but it was
of the album, how's it coming?
is done. I want to build up enough excitement about it so that when it
does release, it doesn't flop. I want people to know that what they're
getting is a quality product. It's coming late June or early July. It's
called "Blue Collar" and it's coming out on Allido Records.
I also have a Plug City mixtape coming out. That'll be out this week.
You can always go to my MySpace page and see how you can get more music.
has MySpace been to building up your fan-base?
I try to hold political discussions and make social and Hip Hop comments
and talk to all my MySpace friends. I do respond personally. I don't have
a web-client manager. It may take awhile to get a response, but you will
you name your album "Blue Collar"?
the MidWest. I'm from Chicago. This is a very blue collar city. When you're
talking about Detroit, Indiana
these are industrial areas where people
are grinding in jobs at factories and all that
out of all that, stars
are produced. Stars aren't made just in New York. You can work a job and
that is still hustling. You don't have to be dealing dope and pimping,
and you can still be from the streets. This album is also a symbol of
my career beginning.
Mark Ronson and Kanye West help?
and they talked. I've had a lot of great features. When I was a battle
rapper, Kanye saw that I had writing ability and taught me how to write
a song and have fluctuations and all of that. Mark Ronson taught me music.
He got me guitar lessons and vocal lessons so that I could hold a tune.
He brought me an alternative edge to my music where Kanye helped me put
my soul into music. NO ID produced a lot of the album. He did Common's
"I Used to Love H.E.R." and did a lot of work on Common's "Can
I Borrow a Dollar." He did G-Unit's "Smile. He's one of my teachers
right now and we work very closely. I got production from Cool and Dre
and Just Blaze. Instead of getting a lot of guest appearances, I got real
musical people to hold me down.
you and Kanye West work together?
and people who can talk to each other. He's a perfectionist and I'm a
perfectionist. I work hard and have values and give him a great product.
We find ourselves working together very well. He'll stay up all night
working. We have a great working relationship on top of a very good friendship.
the main messages you want people to take from your music?
Do you think
people want messages? From what I'm hearing, people want it dumbed-down.
Do you think that's true? I can give you my dumbed-down response. If they're
looking for a message, I can give you that. I'll let you make that decision.
fans are unfairly stereotyped as being dumb. I don't think that's the
case and I think fans want a message.
How can that
be when Little Brother sold so few albums? How can that be when dead prez
can come out and sell so few albums? Are people slaves to marketing and
promotions? If so, isn't that a form of being dumbed-down? Are they seeking
music? How can it be that being called a backpacker or Hip Hop these days
has negative connotations? It's called Hip Hop. What the hell is that?
called a backpacker offend you?
No, it doesn't
offend me, because if somebody calls me a backpacker, they're showing
their ignorance on the music and culture and themselves. Once they do
that, then I treat them a certain way. I like it when people expose themselves.
When somebody calls me a backpacker, they expose their ignorance and I
know how to deal with them. Hip Hop was never supposed to be labeled anything
other than "Hip Hop." You could listen to Rakim, KRS, X-Clan,
I never said "Rakim is Hip Hop." Look at it this way:
what if someone said "Marvin Gaye wasn't from the streets."
How ignorant does that sound? It's the same ignorance that says "Kanye
isn't real because he's not from the streets and Jeezy's more real because
he's the snowman and he's selling dope." Nothing against Jeezy and
nothing against none of them rappers, all I'm saying is that good Hip
Hop is good Hip Hop and judging music off of street reputation is ignorant.
Rhymefest is street. Rhymefest is Hip Hop. Rhymefest is expression in
music and fun.
it feel winning a Grammy for "Jesus Walks"?
feels good to be rewarded for your triumphs. I know that whatever happens
from this point on, I've already done a part of my mission.
get a lot of offers for ghostwriting right now?
your realistic goals for "Blue Collar"?
I feel as if I can sell a million records. I don't know about five or
six, but I know I can sell a million. The reason I know this is because
people are starving. All they need is to hear it and know that it exists.
That's proven by 200,000 downloads of "Dynomite" in one week.
They need something with substance and something that's enteretaining.
A lot of people don't listen to Hip Hop anymore because it's so wack.
It's not dead. Look at Kanye, Outkast, T.I., Jay-Z, Nas, Ghostface, Little
Brother, Rhymefest, Common
there are things about Hip Hop that are
still dope. You still have to be able to rap to be a superstar in Hip
Hop. I can't think of too many superstars that don't have talent on a
certain level. Look at Nelly's swagger. That's something to learn from.
Hip Hop is still healthy, but the over-saturation of everybody wanting
to be a rapper is unhealthy. The shorties that are coming up now came
up under Jay-Z and 2Pac. They only have two rappers to go off of. That's
wack. I say that generation may be off. The generation coming up under
them is exposed to Rhymefest, Common, Kanye West, T.I., Jeezy
next generation of rappers will be better equipped.
tired of people talking about "bringing it back to '95"?
People are haters. Everybody wants to romanticize '95, but at the end
of the day, there were a lot of wack rappers in '95, but we don't remember
that. We only remember who we liked. We remember Marvin Gaye and Stevie
Wonder, the best of the best. We remember the shining stars, and I'm going
to be one of the shining stars.
you want to say to everyone?
this long-ass interview, I want to thank them for their patience and their
intellect. If you want to debate me, if you agree with me and want to
salute me, if you want to join the movement that we're starting, hit me
up on MySpace. I will be getting back to you.
with Rhymefest at http://myspace.com/rhymefest