Are you happy with how fans are responding to your new mixtape Shell Shocked?
Yeah. I love the response. I love the way we put it together and all of that. Man, I just love my work. It’s a beautiful thing. Bottom line.
How did your focus change for Shell Shocked with your attempted murder charge?
It made me record “Attempted Murder”. Other than that, Shell Shocked was already a project in the works that was almost done before that whole fucking mess popped up. Not guilty.
Why do a mixtape instead of an album right now?
Because I haven’t put shit out in forever. Promotion. I’m not planning on quitting this record business no time soon so I used this album to promote the next one.
Even though you’ve popped up on a lot of features, especially with BCC artists, have you been gone for too long as far as having a steady supply of Rock music out?
There’s no such thing as too long as I ain’t dead. As long as I can still bust a rhyme and make people say, “That was hot” and mean it, it’s never too late. I don’t give a fuck if none of you niggas remember me because when I come back I’m coming back with that fire. I’d rather be the new hot shit than the old hot shit, so if you motherfuckers forgot, forget on, man.
Have you found that a lot of Heltah Skeltah’s early fans are still riding with you?
Yeah, man. Most likely they still mess with me.
From listening to Shell Shocked, it’s clear you didn’t let the attempted murder charge change your lyrical content?
Yeah. For that matter when I stop doing what I do then I might as well go take whatever two Nocturnal's are on the shelf and whatever Magnum Force’s are still on the shelf. It makes no sense. I might as well destroy my whole body of work because we’re afraid a few motherfuckers are going to take shit a little too literal. Get out of here. Get the fuck out of here! I didn’t do this shit! I’m already 125 short. What the fuck? I can’t make no more money? Suck my dick. Get the fuck out of here. So with that in mind I just went back to work.
Has the charge affected your new music at all?
It ain’t really a situation no more. It’s just I got work to do and I’m going to do it. Everything else is going to work itself out.
What inspired you to write your song to New York in “NYGritty”?
You heard the beat? It’s just so fucking hard. I just had to do what the beat say. I’m not really, really, truly on no “bringing New York back” shit. I’m a real New York nigga and niggas know we don’t like each other. I’m more concerned with bringing my team back. That’s basically what it is. It was a hot beat and I wasn’t going to disrespect it by talking about anything else.
Are you tired of hearing artists claiming they’re “bringing New York back”?
You know, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Fuck it. Niggas made a beat that was banging and I’m going to rhyme on that shit. It’s not like New York belongs to anybody, but anything that you choose to represent, if there’s a problem and it's losing that flair, that light, that shine, you’re going to always want it back. You’re gonna. It’s just natural. So I understand it and all of that. But, you know, I’m New York all by myself when I want to be. I represent New York by itself. Me and the entire Boot Camp have been married to that. We’re from different parts and that’s what it is. If me and my whole squad that have to get back to get in the position where everybody’s looking then niggas will say that New York is back. Niggas are still riding around New York with some of the styles that we gave them.
Is Shell Shocked a good indication of how your album Monster Music will sound?
I don’t know. I don’t know because I got some shit on my album. On Monster Music I got some wild shit. I got some other wild shit going on. D.I.R.T. is the perfect mix of Ruck and Rock. You’ll never get that from anything else. And Monster Music is going to be a monstrosity. Look forward to that right there.
How’s the long-awaited Heltah Skeltah album D.I.R.T. coming?
We’re basically done with that. Kaput. That’s coming out in fall in September. We got extremely busy on that. We just made it bigger. We made it bigger. It’s Ruck and Rock at our best. It’s incredible. We’re busting your motherfucking brain.
I got one word for this album: Incredible. That’s the ‘I’ in D.I.R.T. That’s what it is. Trust me. Niggas can’t rhyme this good. And we ain’t going over anybody’s head. Some MCs rhyme over everybody’s heads. I can’t say we didn’t go over somebody’s head. Some stuff is going to fly over some people’s consciousness. But for people who want to hear from us, this is fucking brain food.
Has your chemistry with Ruck changed at all with this album, especially since it’s been 10 years since the two of you recorded an album together as Heltah Skeltah?
We were always recording songs and doing shows together. It’s just that we were two men on our own mission. When me and son get together it’s almost like cheating. Sometimes it gets too easy.
What’s going on with your group The Rock Brothers?
You’ll see an album. I don’t do shit for nothing. You think we’re doing this shit for play-play? We don’t rhyme for ourselves. Hell yeah. You’re about to see a Rock Brothers mixtape. Why wouldn’t I? This is how you promote. This is one of the tools of promotion these days. I went to myself and my whole team and all the people that ride with me to use all the tricks in the book, all the ones that I know and all the ones that I think are helpful. Of course you’re going to see a Rock Brothers mixtape.
How do you guys work together?
It’s the same old shit. Niggas will get some beats and we’ll write. It’s the same old shit. It’s either that, what I just said, or it could be any other variation. It’s magic. It ain’t no factory. Somebody might wake up with a beautiful idea and be looking for a beat. He might not have nothing. All he might have is an idea and he has to search for all of the ingredients, man. It just is what it is.
Have you guys started recording the next Boot Camp Clik album?
Kind of. There’s a bunch of us. If me and Ruck is focusing on mixing down D.I.R.T., why can’t Tek and Steele focus on starting that Boot Camp Clik album? If Steele comes to my crib tonight and smokes weed and eats seafood, well, he’s a vegetarian, but if they come to my crib tonight and we’re smoking and we end up talking about what we are going to do on the album then we have started working on it already. Once the thought is in process and once the thought is put in motion than the process has begun. I don’t care what it is, I’m stealing ideas for my music. I don’t care what I’m talking about, I’m stealing ideas for my music. If you were to ask me a question that I’ve never been asked before that might make it to my music. I think I’ve been asked every damn question in the book so shoot, go for it.
You’re putting me on the spot.
It’s worth a spot on my album. (laughs)
How much do you love being woken up for interviews at 12:30 in the afternoon?
This is what I do. What’s really funny is what time did I go to sleep? Hold on a second. What was the last hour I saw? 10 am or something like that.
Two and a half hours of sleep?
It’s all good. Sean P has a show in Philly tonight. I might go down there. I’ll give him something to think about. I’ll threaten him about that and make sure I get there on time. It’s all in a day’s work. I don’t care. This is what I get paid to do. All of this shit leads to food on the table. If you don’t feel like doing it…You might not feel like putting on a clean shirt but putting on a clean shirt might lead to the job so you gotta do that.
Don’t you need eight hours of sleep each night?
Actually the doctors are lying to you. You actually need 10 hours of sleep. But what are you going to do? The doctors have been lying to all of you motherfuckers! Eight isn’t enough. You’re supposed to get 10, technically. You’re shortening your life every time you don’t get 10. A wiseman told me that. The doctors don’t want you to know. Eight or 10, fuck it, I’m not getting neither. I’m the hardest working monster in the game.
I just shot a video for “Fuck That Rapper” the other night. I’m working on the Shell Shocked DVD. It’s going to be a beautiful thing. We just shot a video for “Fuck That Rapper” and we have a lot of videos for other songs. Just be on the lookout for Shell Shocked: The DVD. I mean. I do this shit not just because I need the money. I do this shit because I love it too. And the money that I’ve been getting and the money that I have, there was times when I could have gotten the same money doing a regular job on some regular shit. I mean, I do this shit in my sleep. Why not flood motherfuckers?
It doesn’t sound like you have any regrets over your decisions either.
Nope. I ain’t got no regrets. And I ain’t got no plans of stopping doing what I’m doing. I’m getting this fucking bread. That’s it.
Do you believe Sean P saying he’s done after his next solo album?
Why is that?
No. Hell no. I mean, if he do he do. You hear how that boy rap? Do you hear how that boy rap? That boy raps like somebody who’s planning on getting better his next album and is planning on getting better in his next rap. Why would you still be trying to get better if you’re finished? You gotta understand something. My son enjoys being ignorant. He gets a little pissed off if his rap makes too much sense. I’m like, ‘Son, you’re smart. You can’t just be stupid all of the time. You’re smart. You can’t avoid it.’ Do I believe he’s retiring? Hell no. I mean, if he do, fuck it. But I’d be surprised. But he won’t, though. Get the fuck outta here. You know what will piss him off? A lot of times niggas get pissed off at the game and the circumstances of the game and how the cards are being dealt.
Was there ever a time when you seriously thought about quitting?
No, not really. I’ll think about that shit for, like, five minutes but then I’m back. I am this. This isn’t something I do. I am this. That idea is almost impossible for me to really think about seriously.
Where do you do your best work?
That’s something you can’t really say. Sometimes I work better with people and sometimes I don’t. My whole shit is unpredictable. I’m working all day whether I’m up and out or whether I’m in the studio or whether I’m in the crib. I’m working on things. I take shit straight out my dreams and put them in my music. I’m working on it all day. It all depends on what mood I’m in. Sometimes I want my niggas there. Sometimes I want nobody there. Sometimes I just want a couple of people or one person. I write in the bathroom, on the plane, on my phone, on the paper bag holding the dutches I bought from the store.