Edo G: We’re good, man. We’re good!
How did Special Teamz come together?
Edo G: Basically me and Jaysaun had done a couple of albums together with a couple of other artists and it didn’t work out. In a nutshell, we needed another member to take the place of the other two cats to fill the void. So we reached out to Slaine three years ago and he was the missing link. And we took it from there. We had been working on the record for the last year and a half. We linked up with Duck Down after we went on tour with Sean P. He went back to Dru and let him know about us and the rest is history.
What did Slaine have that you couldn’t find in anybody else?
Edo G: It was just that fire. He was from a totally different part of the city and he’s a whiteboy. Besides having DJs and whatever, I was never in a group with a white dude before where we were going back and forth. He’s a hungry young cat. We saw his fire and his passion and he was real committed. That’s what we couldn’t get from the other members. We needed that commitment and he was 110% on board. And we’re here.
Slaine, was joining Special Teamz an easy decision for you to make?
Slaine: Yeah. Once we got in the studio and the chemistry was there…I’m a real hungry dude and I love rhyming and I obviously had a lot of respect for Edo and Jay going into it. I obviously knew who Edo was from when I was younger and I knew who Jay was. It was a pretty easy decision once we got in the studio and everything clicked right. We just started banging out songs at a tremendous pace. The studio we recorded at was an hour out of the city but we would be going there once or twice a week and staying there until 6 in the morning.
Does your mentality change from recording with Edo and Jay to La Coka Nostra?
Slaine: I signed a production deal before I linked up with Edo and Jay with DJ Lethal. Danny Boy was overseeing the project but Ill Bill jumped on later with La Coka Nostra. Danny Boy is my brother and Lefty and all them dudes…So when La Coka shit started going on, I was still doing Special Teamz. I love being in the studio and I love rhyming, so either project, I love it all. Otherwise I wouldn’t be doing them.
How did you guys approach making your debut album Stereotypez?
Jaysaun: It really wasn’t a thing of trying to get three people together because me and Ed had already been together from back in the day and from being on tour. So we were basically in the same place as far as our mindstate and how we were handling our business and where we wanted it to go. When Slaine came in, it was like a trial period. I had met Slaine in the studio when he was working with the Kreators and he had asked me to come and lay down a song with him. We laid it down and it just clicked. Edo was there with me sitting in on the session. He didn’t get on the song, but at the end of the session, me and Ed were talking like, ‘What do you think about this Slaine kid?’ We knew that he had the skills and that he was nice because we had already been criss-crossing with him in studios around the city, but we just didn’t know if our personalities were going to vibe. So in the middle of recording the Special Teamz album, we were doing a lot of shows and recording and spending a lot of time together and we were getting a better idea of how the personalities were going to work. When you’re in the hotel and writing together, if it’s not going to work, you’re going to know. We just continued to record.
How did “Long Time Comin’” with Devin the Dude come together?
Edo G: Devin was up in Boston and was doing a show. We talked to him up there and we basically got him on a joint. We had the beat and we knew what we wanted him to be on. We gave him the song and he laid the hook down and we laid down the verses. We just knew he was hot and we wanted to work with him. When he’s hot and we’re hot you usually get a hot song.
What was it like putting together “Boston to Bucktown” with Sean Price and Buckshot?
Edo G: We had a bunch of Pete Rock beats and the guys all wanted to do something else. I was like, ‘Nah, we’re going to use this beat for this because it’s hot.’ I just want to let it be known that that’s how it was. I laid my verse, Jay came and laid his verse, Slaine laid his verse and then Sean P and Buckshot came through. And DJ Jayceeoh did the cuts and it just meshed.
What did you guys want in the production for Stereotypez?
Jaysaun: We were just trying to reach out to everybody that we had good relationships with. We had a good relationship with Pete because Ed did the My Own Worst Enemy project through Fat Beats with him. We spent a lot of time with Pete then. We had already crossed paths with him. I don’t think that we set out to have it come out in any particular way. We just wanted to get hot shit. We had other producers come through like Young Cee, Marco Polo and Ill Bill. It was really just us pooling our resources in. Edo and I had both done a song on Marco’s album Port Authority, so it was easy for us to pull Marco in. We did a hot song and we just decided to run with it.
What kind of vibe did you want Stereotypez to have?
Slaine: We didn’t really set out with a sound like, ‘This is how we want the album to sound.’ I think it happened with Jay and Ed’s relationship with Pete Rock and my relationship with Ill Bill. We tried to tackle all angles. We tried to just take it from every angle we represent and put it all together. You can hear each shade of each person’s background in the record and at the end of the day, that’s what it was.
What made you guys want to go with Duck Down Records for Stereotypez?
Jaysaun: We had a deal, actually, with a Universal imprint up in Boston. They were actually offering up some good money, even more money than we were going to be getting with Duck Down, but we just felt like the vibe wasn’t right. They really didn’t have the background in putting out hip-hop like Duck Down had. We wanted to take the money because we’re greedy, but we knew it wasn’t going to work. We had some apprehensions about it and we hadn’t signed to Duck Down yet. What really separated it was going to Canada with Sean Price and he basically came back and renewed those talks. I don’t know what he said to Dru, but he said something about how we were nice and how they had to fuck with us. Basically when we turned down the Universal deal, we had no deal. We were in the early stages of the Duck Down deal and Sean P came back and made it happen and now we have Stereotypez.
Jaysaun: And look at Duck Down’s history with all New York cats. Boston and New York has a rivalry and most of the time you would think that we couldn’t be together. We made it happen. That’s what I think makes us real special. We’re the first group out of this whole Boot Camp movement that’s ever been signed to Duck Down and the fact that we’re from Boston just makes it that much crazier.
What are your goals for Stereotypez?
Edo G: To sell a lot of records, first and foremost, obviously. We want it to reach as many people as possible. We want to get on the road. Our live show is definitely a big part of what we do and performing the album. And plus the whole album, we just brought together three different neighborhoods in Boston and three different races. I’m a straight black kid from Roxbury. Jay is mixed. He’s half black and half Jewish. Slaine is from South Boston where it was just mainly a whole bunch of Irish cats. He’s an Irish dude. We’re letting the world know that music brings people together. And Jayceeoh is a Jewish cat. We got a big, multicultural crew and if it wasn’t for the music, we wouldn’t even know each other because we’d be running in different ciphers and circles.
Not to sound like a Disney movie, but you guys really do get along.
Slaine: Yeah, that’s the thing about it. It’s not like a Disney movie. We didn’t purposely make this multicultural experiment or do it on some gimmick shit. With all the racial stereotypes, we all chill and we’re cool but we snap on each other with racial jokes and I think that’s what breaks the tension between us. We had issues that bordered on cultural differences and it is what it is. I think you can hear that on the record. But at the end of the day, we’re all peoples and we’re all cool. It’s not on no corny Disney shit. That’s just how it is. That’s how the world is. People coexist and the world is changing. It’s not like how it was when we were growing up in Boston. Things are changing all the time.
What solo projects are you guys working on?
Edo G: I have a couple of projects in the works. I have another group called 4-Piece. We’re doing a lot of social and community-oriented hip-hop and a lot of kid-friendly stuff. And I’m working on another album with Masta Ace that’s coming out early next year in the spring. We’re actually in the studio recording that as we speak.
Slaine: I got the La Coka Nostra project that we’re doing and that’s probably about 80% done. We have Muggs, Alchemist, Bun-B, B-Real and some other stuff. I also have a solo project that’s pretty much almost done too. We have the Special Teamz record now and La Coka next, so you probably won’t see a solo record from me for another year. I’m also in a movie with Morgan Freeman and Ed Harrison called Gone Baby Gone and we got a joint in the movie too. It’s based on the a novel by Dennis Lehane, who wrote Mystic River.
Jaysaun: I got a mixtape that I actually held back on because of this album. I didn’t want it to fall by the wayside and have this album overshadow it. I wanted to use the momentum off of this record to push that. Jayceeoh mixed it. it’s called Special Teamz presents Jaysaun – Hands to the Face. I got a solo album that Marco Polo is producing half of. I haven’t named the other producers but I’m only trying to work with three other producers. We want to push the Special Teamz record because we want to keep that popping.
DJ Jayceeoh: I got a mixtape series called The Masters – Ace in the Hole on some straight party, mash-out-type shit. It’s getting pretty popular and I’m doing mixtapes with other artists. Be on the lookout for that.
Slaine, What was it like shooting Gone Baby Gone?
Slaine: Dennis Lehane writes crime novels based in Boston. The Boston Herald wrote an article on me and I woke up and saw that I had 50 – 60 missed calls and a bunch of messages. I got a call from the people shooting Gone Baby Gone to come down. I went down and did about 10 shots. Ben Affleck gave me the script and Alan Alda pulled me into it because he thought I was perfect for my role. He didn’t want to get a Hollywood actor to play something that only a Boston dude could play. I had a good part in the movie. I’m looking forward to doing more stuff.
Are you the next Mark Wahlberg?
Slaine: have you seen my stomach? (everybody laughs) I don’t know if I’m the next Mark Wahlberg, but I’ll take half of his career. At the end of the day, I like storytelling. Whether I’m rapping or acting, I’ll take it. I’m just happy that I’m not sorting mail.
What do you have to do from here on out to make sure that Stereotypez is successful for you?
Edo G: I think the visuals are very important. We’re about to shoot two videos before this month is over. We’re going to flood those all over the internet and everywhere so that people can get a visual of us. We’re getting on the road and promoting as heavy as possible and staying in people’s faces.
Slaine: We’ll probably be working and touring for this record early into spring probably. The album drops September 25 and we’ll probably be touring November through March. It’s not going to be a record that’s going to do big numbers the first week. It’s going to do better as time grows. It’s a good record and it has a lot of substance and it’s better than a lot of records that are out. It’s not like it was thrown together and it was bullshit.
Are we going to see another Special Teamz album or is this a one-time deal?
Slaine: We were just talking about that on the way down to New York. While we’re touring we’ll be going through some beats and writing and hopefully we’ll have something out for early summer. Everybody has their projects that they’re working on and I think that’s the key to success in the new landscape of indie hip-hop where people aren’t buying records at a constant rate. I think you have to give it certain looks. I think Special Teamz is hopping right back in the studio. We haven’t really hit our peak yet. We’re just getting to our best part now. We got a studio in Dorchester that’s kind of like a central location for us now. Our buzz is building up and a lot of people want to throw us beats. We’re looking forward to doing a lot of work in the future.
What do you want to say to everybody?
Jaysaun: Buy our album on September 25. It’s on Duck Down. We appreciate the support and we love the support and we love y’all. We want to see y’all on tour soon.