you been lately?
just grinding. After I finished recording the album, I've been focusing
on family. I'm trying to get back into the music now. It takes some adjusting
because I've never stepped back from music like that. I haven't recorded
a song in six months.
feel out of touch?
I do, but
it only takes a couple of songs to get back in it.
been following you since "7 Years of Bad Luck," how have you
grown since then?
I got married,
had my second daughter, and that just changed my life altogether. Plus,
I lost my grandparents. They raised me, and losing them made me more focused
on what I want to do. I surround myself with more professional people
now. I learned from my past experiences with labels, I just got my head
Letters" is about to drop, are you happy about how it came out?
There was nobody A&R'ing the record, nobody telling me what to write
about. SoulSpazm gave me complete control. I wish it could have come out
earlier, but you know, I'm glad it's finally seeing the light of day.
Ain't Me," you touch on a lot of different issues. Do you feel like
people expect a certain sound from you coming from North Carolina?
from the South, they expect you to be crunk or on some country shit, but
that's just one side. I'm definitely trying to break down the stereotypes.
I'm not knocking crunk music, because there's room for it, but I also
wanted to show people that there's people down here with skills that can
rhyme. People usually just think of beats with 808 drum kits. We're just
trying to show people that there's more to the South than what they're
seeing on TV.
been out before Little Brother. Do you feel like the way the J.U.S.T.U.S.
League is setting a precedent where if you're not crunk, people will expect
you to sound like them?
In a way,
I think a lot of Hip Hop Heads would expect people to come out of North
Carolina to sound like them, because they're making a lot of moves. But
there's so many sounds coming out of North Carolina. I get confused a
lot by people because they think I'm in the J.U.S.T.U.S. League because
I work with Phonte, Comanche, Ill Mind, and Nicolay. I don't think I sound
anything like them. It's a whole different vibe, and I could never knock
them because they're doing their thing.
a lot of different sounds and styles, how important is diversity to Supastition
as an artist?
important. The reason people don't know where I'm from is because I started
rhyming in 1986. That was when there was no West Coast, Southern music
was just able to develop my style and be influenced by anyone. I just
try to keep things diverse and touch a lot of different concepts that
other people wouldn't touch on. I think a lot of people expected angry
songs from me on this album because of my label situations, but I'm past
your inspiration for the Jake One-produced "Hate My Face?"
A lot of
producers out there, after "The Deadline" came out, they wanted
to show love, but then they'd knock me. The exact same dudes that said
I was one of the illest, after they sent me a beat CD and I didn't like
it, I wasn't ill anymore, I was just "ok." I wrote that song
from a lot of criticisms that I was hearing from people. I felt like a
lot of people were mad because they wanted to be in a position that I
was in. If you're not there, they don't care about you, but once you're
there, they want you to take them with you.
it working with Jake One?
coolest dude. Working with Jake is like working with one of your boys
that you came up with. There's no egos involved. We used to have the same
management, and he heard some tracks and wanted to be a part of the album.
It's real cool to work with him. He's real laid-back, straight-up, and
he handles his business.
you end up linking up with Nicolay?
up with him after I heard the Little Brother joint, "Light it Up."
I heard Nicolay was working with different people in North Carolina, so
I assumed he was from North Carolina. One of his boys hit me with his
e-mail and website, I checked it out and liked what I heard. I sent him
an e-mail with my music, he replied saying he liked what he heard, and
we were able to work together. He's a real cool cat.
the significance of the title "Chain Letters?"
I want you
to pass it on like a chain letter. Word of mouth, that's what a chain
letter is to me man. Also, the way people look at chain letters now, people
are like "aw fuck that, I don't want to look at this." That
goes on my feelings of getting cheated by a lot of labels.
out "The Deadline EP" last year, what made that project come
Deadline" wasn't in the picture. We actually missed our deadline
to turn in "Chain Letters." I wanted to keep my name out since
I had just been on the OkayPlayer album. I had a lot of songs that I was
shopping to labels and mixtapes, so we put that together.
was it to you to improve your production on "Chain Letters?"
For me, it
was always about stepping up, but I didn't have access back then. I didn't
have loot, and you really have to know certain people. I always had a
good ear for beats, but I couldn't get what I wanted. Now, I was able
to get everything I wanted, from Ill Mind to Nicolay. I feel like they
all brought their A-game.
easier is it to get beats today?
A lot easier. Cats in North Carolina wanted to charge me two G's for beats
when they didn't even have a name. Now, I can work with someone from another
country and they don't even talk about dough. That's how "Chain Letters"
went down. We weren't going back and forth on how people were going to
get paid, that wasn't even an issue.
at your label experiences, what's been the biggest lesson you've learned?
money up front (laughs). Don't sign anything longer than a one album contract
if they're not talking about any big money. Keep your own publishing.
Choose your own beats if you're capable of choosing your own beats. Some
people are not capable of doing that shit right. Be yourself. Don't sell
yourself, unless you're getting paid for it. I'm not willing to sign a
three or four album deal unless they're willing to take care of my family.
Don't let a label bully you around. You have to realize that it's your
you want to go with SoulSpazm for this release?
I like the
direction they're going with their music. They're not putting out anything
that doesn't fit what they do at Beat Society. They're some straight-up
guys. They weren't trying to sell me a dream. They let me do what I wanted
to do with turning in a finished product. Not a lot of labels would let
you do that.
the OkayPlayer look help your career?
a lot. I never realized how important a co-sign was. I could have put
out "The Williams" as a 12" or on "Chain Letters"
and nobody would have noticed it. Because it was on the OkayPlayer album
and ?uestlove picked it, people listened to it. Shout out to them. I never
asked for anything else after that from them.
lot of people would kill for co-signs
I never really wanted a co-sign from anybody. I don't feel like I could
leach off of anybody's name like that. It would discredit everything I've
done up to this point. I wanted to make it on my own and not be affiliated
with other people. I don't want someone to be able to say "I put
Supastition on." I just try to steer clear of that. I can't knock
anybody that's done it, but that's just the way I like to go about it.
I like to do everything on my own. I'm self-managed, I do my own contract
negotiations, and I do all my own booking.
is it to not only be an artist but also a businessman?
important. You have to know where your money's going. You don't have to
worry about a middle man screwing up anything because you are talking
directly to everyone. And no one can bullshit me today because I know
the business. I've dealt with some inexperienced managers where I didn't
feel they focused on my career as much as they should, and I felt that
I could do better by myself.
we cop "Chain Letters?"
If you want
to hear some dope rhymes, dope production, just the shit that Hip Hop's
about. I'm not selling no gimmicks. I don't wear a costume or have gotten
shot, I'm just a nigga that raps.
doesn't come with a t-shirt?
We'll have some t-shirts soon. Everybody's been shot, I'll just get a
t-shirt with bullet holes in the front and sell that. It's funny, every
new artist a magazine talks about is about all the bad things that happened
to the person. It's like "damn, what does that have to do with the
music?" They're just selling an image. I got family in jail. They
don't want to come out and glorify that shit, that's the worst part of
does the music matter right now?
of the industry is about music, for mainstream and underground, I'll say
that for sure. Even the underground isn't about music no more. It's about
radio promoters and publicists. If you look at the college radio charts,
it's not about who has the hottest record out, it's about who's got the
best person working the record. Commercial is the same thing, but on a
has it been trying to get more people to listen to your music?
I used to concern myself with trying to get my name out there. Right now,
I feel like word of mouth will filter out everything. I don't want any
hype. If you over-hype something you may end up hurting yourself.
you want to say to everyone out there?
Cop the album
"Chain Letters." Dope production and dope lyrics. I don't want
to say it's taking Hip Hop back to the basics, this is just taking it
up to another level. It's good, quality music with some dope concepts.
And for everybody that's heard my previous releases, it's nothing like
the older releases. You're not going to hear "7 Years of Bad Luck"
or "The Deadline" here.