you doing Kool?
good. We're about to drop "Reality Check" as a single. That's
produced by DJ Premier. We just finished the b-side with Bronze Nazareth
on the beat and Kool G. Rap as a feature. That one's called "Reckless
that song come about?
We were working
with Bronze for awhile and we just wanted to flip some street shit. Once
we knew Kool G. was down to flip on some shit, we just ran with it. It's
definitely one of our best joints.
Verbal Threat come together?
In '92, I
came out to California from New York and hooked up with my boy Reppond.
We had love for the real shit. That brought us together. We were on Gangstarr,
we were just real infatuated with that real shit. Once
we saw the game slipping and getting more commercialized, we felt the
need to get involved and bring the game back to the things we came up
loving. From there, we've just been building. In the last couple of years,
we've been taking it seriously and we've been fortunate that we've been
able to work with the people we came up idolizing. We're trying to flip
it back to the '88 to '92 shit with a 2006 sound.
you guys work together on a song?
We feed off
of each other. We have that mind-state of trying to bring the game back
to what we love. We have high standards. Every time we get in the studio,
we lay out concepts and flip verses. We critique each other so deep. We're
in the studio 24/7, banging out concepts and writing verses back and forth.
If we don't feel it's up to par, we scrap it. We compete against each
other and try to bring the best out of us.
dropped the "Under Pressure" album in 2003. How did that do
an experiment. We've been MC's for a long time and we've done shows and
battles for so many years. A lot of times you'll have dope street rappers
that can't make songs. With us, we were at a time in our career when we
had to make that transition. We were working with our first producer,
Clark Davis in Atlanta. We put that together in a four-month span out
in LA. That was our first experience recording and doing what we felt
you tell us about your DJ, DJ Flict?
We got hooked up with him out here when we were rocking shows. You have
to have DJ's rocking back there too that knows what they're doing. MC's
can only do so much on stage. We got hooked up in '99 and he's been down
with the team. He does his CD's on the side. He's been dabbling in production
and he's our main man whenever we have scratching on a song.
it so rare for artists to have DJ's now?
is a sad story. Hip Hop is really big right now, but the pioneers who
really cared about it, nobody gives a shit about what they stood for anymore.
Everyone's going to CDJ's and Serato. Everyone's looking for shortcuts.
To me, that affects your whole show. The instant replay is fine, but you
have to have somebody back there cutting that real shit.
"Reality Check" with DJ Premier come about?
years in the making. Me being from New York, I was going at Premier for
a long time trying to get hooked up with him. Finally, after years, it
just seemed to work out. My people connected with his people and the relationship
grew. When he'd come out to LA, we'd be in the same spots. When the time
came, we were able to connect our schedules together. We flew back to
New York to do it. That's also when we got on tour with Kool Keith. Premier
came out to Cali working on Christina Aguilera's album. We were putting
the finishing touches on our song and Nas came thought and Primo introduced
us to Nas. After a couple months, we had "Reality Check."
your inspiration for writing "Reality Check"?
We were so
fed up with the game. With us, our whole vision of getting into Hip Hop
music was to work with Premier. If it was up to us, Premier would do all
of our albums. We know how Premier feels about the game getting sold out.
We had real production and we were going to come in with the real shit.
The game needs a reality check. Real beats, real lyrics, real scratches.
That's what we're coming with.
was Primo in the making of "Reality Check"?
He was playing
a lot of songs trying to find one that would match our style. That's what
I appreciate about him. He didn't just tell us to rap over one beat. We
were listening to the song and we came up with the title "Reality
Check." Primo started laughing because he had done a mixtape two
years ago called "Reality Check." I asked for a dope introduction
and he definitely surprised me with that slow piano at the beginning.
with Premier gives you instant credibility.
had been trying for so many years. My man says this in a verse: "It
took us thirteen years for a single." We had to get ready for this.
ever a time in those thirteen years when you thought about giving up?
When you're doing your music and everyone else is doing some commercial
shit, you start to have an identity crisis. Should I switch it up and
get played on the radio and make money? It paid off for us because we
stuck to our guns. That's what you have to do and hope that it works out.
"Reality Check," you shout out greats like DONDI, how important
is it to remember legends like him?
I used to
come up to New York in '85. I was inducted to the game then. We would
break on cardboard and all my boys were graffiti writers. Coming up in
that whole era, DONDI was the whole king. Us shouting him out is showing
our love and appreciation for that aspect of Hip Hop. That whole movement
is very important to me.
still writing today?
designs for Wildstyle Technicians. That's a clothing line in San Diego.
They'll also set up some walls for me to do some wildstyle pieces. Me
and my boy did a piece in Hell's Kitchen that came out dope. My involvement
now is doing a piece maybe two or three times a year.
your songs have a real focus to them. How important is that?
your album more interesting. The first time you hear people flip dope
lyrics, it's cool, but it gets tiring after awhile. If you listen to Gangstarr's
catalog, there are always dope concepts throughout their albums. The first
time we get to the studio, it's always easy to flip metaphors, but it's
dope if you can flip dope concepts with dope lyrics. It makes the song
more complete. If you can hit the concepts, it shows your maturity and
versatility. We want people to look back on us as really laying it down
and being one of the best.
have toured with legends like KRS, how was that?
One minute we finished "Reality Check" and then we were on the
road with KRS, Guru, Kool Keith
it was dope for us to be able to
hop on a tour with no new jacks. We were running with cats that we idolized.
Filthee Immigrants were doing their thing. Blackalicious hopped on the
tour too. KRS is the largest in the Hip Hop game to me. It was dope to
be hitting venues like Arizona where the room was packed. It was dope
to see support. It was a dope experience.
stage show dying out?
Cats have to really work on their live show. I was so mad at their shows
that I stopped going out. Nas and Jurassic 5 can really put it down. If
you have a DJ, MC's, and a live drummer, those are avenues that can keep
people's interest. There have been shows when I want to fall asleep. I
have never been to a wack KRS show. It really depends who you want to
see. I've always been impressed with Guru. New cats don't feel they have
to put a lot into the stage show. They think just being on stage is enough.
That's when you see the difference between a real MC and a commercial
you going to drop the album?
at putting it our right before the summer. Probably in May or June. We
wanted to record about thirty songs and then weed it down. Right now,
we have ten joints recorded. I'm trying to see who's on our level and
what guest appearances we need. We don't need a lot of guests. We already
have DJ Premier and Kool G. Rap. Anybody who is on our level, production-wise,
we're looking for. We want that real solid production. We don't want the
motherfucker on the corner who's hot right now. I'd like to see what's
up with Mathematics, Pete Rock
we want to keep it on that same plane.
looking for a major label right now?
to an indie label right now, Throwback Records. We have a couple majors
that have been interested, but at this point, our main focus is just trying
to put out the best Hip Hop that we can do right now. It's coming through
be watching for next from Verbal Threat?
to shoot a video in New York in the next couple of months. Premier has
his radio show on Sirius and he's been banging our single. We're going
to come through on his show and do an interview. We're also working on
a tour in the next couple of months. We just have to decide who's going
to go on tour with us. When we go on tour, we want the other people to
have the same style. We have the single coming, the b-side with Kool G.
Rap. We're just trying to get the single out and we're working on the
tour for the summer.
you want to say to everyone?
Cop the album
and cop the single when it drops. We're trying to bring that '88 - '92
back with the 2006 sound. Right now, I'm still not satisfied with Hip
Hop. We're finally getting into that driver's seat to bring it back to
that real shit.