Your new album Silverback Gorilla is finally out. How does it feel?
I’m excited. I feel great. Me, personally, I’m onto the next album, the D-Block compilation. I’m getting great reviews on this project as well, but I’m already onto the next one.
You showed a different style on “Think We Got A Problem”. What made you want to do that?
It’s funny. Everybody’s saying that this is my best material yet with this album as far as the beats and concepts. They’re saying I’m on a whole other level. “Think We Got A Problem”, I just felt like I heard Game on there. I just heard it. I heard Bun-B on it. Something just stood out to me on that track. I held onto that track for a minute. B-Roc of The Knocks did that beat. That was crazy. I held onto that one.
On the song Game said that you should make him a member of the Lox. I don’t think anyone is expecting Game to actually become a new member of the Lox, but would you ever consider adding a new MC to the Lox?
Nah, not to the Lox. But for what we’re trying to do with the movement, hell yeah, and we have. We’ve added Bully, Straws and A.P. Shout out to all the artists that we’re dealing with right now. The Lox is in stone already. That’s legendary already when you bring up groups.
“We Comin’” featuring Unk is definitely outside of the signature music fans love from D-Block. How important was it to you to show different sides of you on this album?
If you hear my whole album, I tried to come so different. Let me bring it differently. I knew automatically that people would say that they already heard this from me. On my whole album, I tried to make it different. Even on my last project, Fatman Scoop had told me that the “Kiss Ya Ass Goodbye”, he had heard that record before. I’m switching it up on them.
Is “Getting Stronger” featuring Styles P and Jadakiss a good indication of how the new Lox album will sound?
Yes, sir. You can also take it from “Gangster, Gangster” off Styles’ album. You can take it from a bunch of stuff that we’ve been throwing out.
As far as getting stronger in hip-hop, there’s been steroid allegations on a lot of big rappers. What do you think of that?
I think it’s stupid. I think it’s so stupid. I understand that it’s illegal, but so is weed and everything else. Come on, man. It’s so stupid. To even bring up someone like Mary J. Blige for using steroids, that’s so dumb. Come on. They’re not playing sports.
Why do you think such a big deal was made over that?
As far as sports, I can understand it. It can make you hit the ball farther. It can make you run faster. It can make you jump higher. For music, it’s just to make your body look good and it’s just so the media has something to run with.
What inspired “That’s A Soldier”?
It’s basically written off of everyday experience and knowing certain things and bringing a story to life about O.G. niggas who come home and think it’s a certain way. It’s a metaphor. Shit is changing out here. What you were used to is not the same anymore. These young boys are not doing what they used to be doing. It’s a change. Respect the change and at the same time, respect the O.G. also.
Is there respect between the young and older generation today?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Definitely. I know I can speak for us and I can speak for me. Hell yeah. Lyrically, with me and my camp, none of these young niggas can fuck with us, period. None of these young rappers can fuck with us. They’re not lyricists and all that no more. It’s all about the dance.
When I interviewed Cormega, he said dudes over 30 should leave guys like Soulja Boy alone and just let them do their thing. How do you feel about that?
He’s right! There’s no need to! I know everybody’s taking shots at Soulja Boy. Dog, what’s the lil’ homie, like, 17 or whatever? Go ahead and do your little dance and have fun with it. Enjoy that.
Hip-hop purists say that Soulja Boy is terrible for hip-hop and there’s other fans who don’t mind music like Soulja Boy. Will those fans ever see eye-to-eye?
Nah. I’m not going to go argue with my son about what’s the latest sneaker. He might not think Dad’s sneakers are that nice. It’s hard to argue with the little dudes on what’s hot right now. We won’t like it because we’re cut from a different cloth and we’re from a different generation. When I was younger the cartoons were totally different and now their cartoons are totally different, man, and everything else too.
How important is it for you to give a realistic and honest point of view to your listeners like you did on “Keep Pushin’”?
It’s important. It’s important for me. They know that our ears are to the ground. They know that we’re grinding. I know what it is and I know what’s popping. I know what’s going on.
Are you happy with how your single “Good Love” is doing?
Hell yeah. Yes, sir. It’s a top 10 single. It’s been on MTV and BET and it’s No. 1 on everybody’s countdown list. Hell yeah, I’m ecstatic about it.
Did you think “Good Love” would do as well as it did when you first made it?
Not at all. Not at all. I just knew it felt good. I knew that record felt good and I knew that it was definitely something that I wanted to do. It’s definitely a hot record and at the time, I was thinking about doing a different record but all the DJs were calling me because I leaked that record on the low. The DJs were going crazy so I switched it up on them and gave them and the streets what they wanted as well as the ladies.
What was the studio session for “D-Block/Dipset” like?
You know Jim comes in with a bunch of liquor and weed and we just put it down at D-Block studios. Hell Rell came in and laid the last verse.
How important is it to do songs together with artists instead of everyone sending their verses through email?
It’s important as far as to get the vibes from each other and to get everybody’s verse and to come up and freak it together. But in today’s game, I know that everybody is busy and everybody has something that they’re doing. Right now I’m on the road and people are calling with mad shit for me to do. They’re going to have to send me the beat and I’m going to have to get it to them. Everybody’s got deadlines.
It seems like on most collaborations you have the first verse. Is that a conscious decision?
When I go first sometimes, it’s strictly to set the tone of the song. I like to kick in that door like, ‘Yeah, whaddup!’ That’s the way I do it. I don’t need someone else coming in and setting it off. I’m good. I got it.
I was always wondering if there was a reason for that.
Yeah. There’s definitely a reason. Definitely. If it’s going to be a slow song or whatever, I’m going to set that tone immediately. If it’s going to be an energetic song, I’m going to set that tone immediately so they know how they better come.
You’ve done a lot of good work with Pete Rock. What’s it like working with him?
That’s crazy. I spoke to him the other day. That’s my homie. He’s an O.G. in the game and he’s still giving everybody that fire. He’s a good dude. He’ll come in with part of the beat done and ask you if you’re feeling it and he’ll work the beat right around you. It’s crazy.
What was it like recording “914” off his album NY’s Finest?
It was hot. Pete will give us the basic beat and the concept and then by the time you hear it, it’s got so much added to it and all that.
You’ve been working with Red Spyda for awhile…
(interrupts) I love Red Spyda! Spyda’s my go-to guy. Spyda’s my go-to guy from “Kiss Ya Ass Goodbye” to “2 Turntables and a Mic” to this “Good Love” record. Spyda will give me five beats and he’s confident that one of those is it.
How have you been helping your younger artists like Bully and A.P. grow?
What it is with them is that we bring them everywhere. They chop it up with the DJs themselves. We make them seen and we make them visible. It’s the same process that we did with Hood and some others but we take it to a different level.
Have you heard from J-Hood lately?
Nah, nah. We don’t fuck with him. And we’re not looking for him neither. I’m pretty sure he’s writing something about us or about me or everybody else!
What did you think when you saw Prodigy made a blog post with you listed as one of the rappers who he doesn’t feel?
You know what I thought? ‘Yeah, Sheek, you’re doing your motherfucking thing!’ (laughs) I promise you, and that’s not being sarcastic, I said, “Yes, you’re doing your fucking thing, big homie! Look at the list you made!” (laughs)
A lot of people say hate is the new love.
It could be, especially with a list like that! It’s different with me and my niggas. We don’t do that. If you ask me about a certain song, I’ll say if I like it or not. But talking and moving like a bitch, we don’t move like that. If there’s somebody that I don’t like, you’ll know about it. It will be a little different.
Would you have respected Prodigy more if he had come to you and told you he didn’t think you were a good rapper?
Nah! Hell no! Even with Prodigy, like, I still like the Mobb. Havoc, I like him even more. I always have. I never really, really was ever tight with Prodigy. Ever, ever. He doesn’t have to explain why he doesn’t like Jay-Z or Sheek. That’s his opinion. Now would he ever reach his hand out to give me a pound or any of that? Nah. I’ll break his…that would be something crazy right there. I’m talking as a grown man, on some G shit. I don’t know how grown niggas move like that. Havoc is my nigga. Havoc’s my nigga but I could see how homie is just thrown into a whole bunch of shit.
Havoc must have to do a crazy amount of damage control.
(laughs) Oh, man. Yeah. And you see it too. You don’t hear nothing about Havoc or Noyd or none of them. They’re good dudes.
You could see what it is and what attention people are seeking. But as far as me, I still like the Mobb. Anything else, please let it go, little homie. I still like the Mobb. I like Havoc even more. But lyrically, physically, anything, please let it go.
Does hate from artists or fans bother you today?
Nah. I think that’s always going to happen no matter who you are. Hov is at the top of his game and he can’t everybody. I’m a big Nas fan and he can’t please everybody. You name the rapper.
What can you tell us about the upcoming D-Block compilation?
It’s fire, man. We got a lot of records, man. As far as all the artists on it, it’s raw. It’s straight raw. It’s straight hip-hop. We got a couple of singles on there and everybody is on their A-game as artists because they know this is their chance to shine and their chance for them to come out with their own solo projects after that.
When do you think the new Lox album Live, Suffer, Celebrate will drop?
We’re looking at hopefully if not around back to school time then somewhere right after that, shortly after that.