"I just did an album with DJ Muggs on Universal" "I’m working on a “mix-tape” album"

Discussion in 'Hip-Hop Central' started by D_Y_O_Z, May 23, 2005.

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  1. D_Y_O_Z

    D_Y_O_Z .

    Jun 24, 2001

    Know the Legend
    By Jarrod Miller-Dean AHH

    Over the years there have been many MC’s that have dropped albums with lyrical content of phenomenal feats. One of the secrets and main skills to being a true formidable MC is adaptation. Some can pull this of well and are accepted by fans. Others get mocked and criticized for losing sight of their original goals. In other words, they become forgotten memories. Only through true self-knowledge can one attain a higher state of being.

    AHH: Because it’s Hip-Hop Appreciation Week, let’s take it back a bit. What was going through your mind during Words from the Genius?

    GZA: At the time, I was just trying to get an album done. It was my first deal. I had been shopping around for six or seven years at the time. It actually felt like forever. I was in a real lyrical mode and was just trying to get my music heard. I got on with Cold Chilln’ in 89’ or 90’. I went out on tour with Grand Daddy I.U., Masta Ace and Kid Capri. It felt good to kick it with them, but I never really felt like I was apart of the label’s family. I never felt a real connection with the label. It felt like they weren’t really interested in the album.

    AHH: You and RZA were the first Wu members to get signed to a record deal.

    GZA: Yeah, I was signed to Cold Chilln’ in 1989 or 1990. RZA was signed to Tommy Boy around the same time. We both released some single and a few videos.

    AHH: That would be some serious Wu treasure if still available. I bet heads would be bidding in the $100’s for it on Ebay.

    GZA: I’m still looking for the stuff myself. I would like to put together a video compilation or portfolio.

    AHH: Going way way back, let’s talk about All In Together Now.

    GZA: The All In Together Now Crew was me [as] “The Genius”, RZA, “The Scientist.” and Dirty, “The Professor.” It was our group I the early to mid 80’s. I had a song called that. Me and Dirty performed it together. He was on the human beat-box, because he was ill at it. It was mostly just a few demos and routines. It was a long time ago. We were mad young. It was never laid on wax or anything. It was way before CD’s. There were a few tapes circulating around. Actually a cat was recently telling me that he had a copy of me and Dirt performing it in 85’ or 89’. I don’t think that you could find any of that unless you knew someone that had it.

    AHH: On Return to the Liquid Sword, there was no swearing. At the time, I heard that you felt that MC’s focused too much in profanity and less on their lyrical content. Do you still believe this?

    GZA: It was something subconscious at the time. No, actually I was conscious of it, but that’s just the way that I write. Besides the album that I recently made with D.J. Muggs [of Cypress Hill], none of my tracks really have swearing on them. Don’t get me wrong, I swear in my everyday life all the time, and I may drop a “f**k” or a “n***a.” When I write, it’s just the way that it comes out. “I’m an obscene slang kicker/ With out an obscene sticker.”

    Ya, know? Some times you do need to swear to make a point, but if you make a video and half of your lyrics are swearing, you loose a lot. It gets censored out and you miss half a sentence. It’s not really a good look. MC’s should practice that style of writing. You have to learn to adapt. As a child, you didn’t curse in front of your mother. You can say what you want, as long as it’s clever.

    AHH: What record label are you on right now?

    GZA: I’m actually free-lance right now. Like I mentioned earlier, I just did an album with DJ Muggs on Universal. There is not release date yet. I’m working on a “mix-tape” album. It’s going to be coming out on the Babygrande label in August or September. I’m also working on a script.

    AHH: Over the years, Hip-Hop’s sound has changed drastically. How have you and the other Wu members survived in Hip-Hop so long?

    GZA: By always being true to one’s self. You do what you know is right in your heart. You can change your style, but you must be yourself first. Lyrics used to come first, but today it seems like the beat comes before the lyrics. I always stuck to doing what I liked to do. You may not hear Wu on the radio all the time, but we’re all always writing or working on something. The fans stay loyal and true. I sometimes like to walk through the city and people are always stopping me and saying, “Yo, we need you guys back.” We were in Europe and the crowd was from the ages of 16 to 23. That means, somewhere, heads caught on. We still have a young crowd base though. It’s a great feeling to still be respected after all of these years.

    AHH: Not to say that Wu-Tang will never put out another album as a collective again, but you are all well established solo MC’s. Who do you think still carries the Wu torch?

    GZA: I think that I do. When I say that, I mean my son, Justice. He has an album coming out later on this year. He makes a few appearances on my mixtape also. In the future, you should be on the look out for more releases from Wu affiliated members.

    AHH: Wu tracks have often had more than one meaning. When a person hears a track for the first time they may hear one thing, and then later on realize that it has a dual meaning.

    GZA: Yeah, there is always more than 1 meaning. You have to look deep. They should be thought provoking. You shouldn’t make lyrics so complex that you need a thesaurus to understand them. They should be clear and intelligent. What one MC can say in 16 bars, I can say in four or six. I may only have 20 rhymes in my arsenal versus someone with 200, but he can’t handle them. Sometimes, less is more. Knowledge is key. Through that, we look, listen and observe. What we don’t say, can actually mean a lot more than if we were to speak. That is the key to good writing.
  2. D_Y_O_Z

    D_Y_O_Z .

    Jun 24, 2001
    AHH: Friends passing pause tapes has always been an important part of Hip-Hop. How do you feel about bootlegging music?

    GZA: I think that it hurts more than it helps. Bootlegging has positives and negatives. It’s negative because it takes money away from your pocket. Me personally, I don’t by bootleg albums. I like to see the lyrics, the book jacket and the album art. If you buy a cd off the street and it’s scratched, you can’t go and get your money back. More than likely the guy is gone.

    AHH: And if he’s not, hell probably laugh at you for asking for your money back.

    GZA: Exactly. If I buy an album from Tower Records and it’s scratched, I can go and exchange it or get my money back. More than likely the guy on the street will just give me another album and it probably is the same quality as the other. I sometimes just buy music and don’t even listen to it. I will give it to my son to listen to and he’ll tell me what he thinks of it.

    AHH: What about DVD’s? You’re a movie buff.

    GZA: DVD’s are a different story. Sometimes, the movie isn’t available in the store. I can get something that I normally couldn’t get or before it comes to the states.

    AHH: Hit us off with new kung-fu flick that we should be on the look out for?

    GZA: You have to ask RZA, but Ong Bok and Kung-fu Hustle were dope.

    AHH: Did you see Sin City?

    GZA: Yeah, but I need to see it again. There was so much going on at once. The look was great and everything was dark. It wasn’t too comic booky, but it had a real dark comic vibe to it. The scenes and the actor were great. Who was that, Mickey Rourke? He looked just like his character from the comic. Nothing has ever been made on that level. I still want to see it again, just to catch the part that I missed.

    AHH: When I saw it I thought that RZA should have done the score.

    GZA: I agree.

    AHH: Are you still affiliated with the Five Percent Nation of Islam?

    GZA: I’ve learned a lot, but I’ve grown. First and for most, I am Self. People get categorized as a whole and that’s how people begin to perceive them. The Nation of Gods and Earths was just the first stop. I am still Justice. I learned mad lessons back in the day. I am a part of the Nation, but I wouldn’t say that I am a Five Percenter.

    AHH: What was the reunion show like? Was it like back in the old days?

    GZA: Yeah, it was great. It was the first show that all 10 members [including Capadonna] had performed together on stage in a long time. The vibe and feeling were on point. Dirty was sounding amazing. Before the show, on the stage, and afterwards; cats were getting crazy. It’s a piece of history to carry in my pocket.

    AHH: You’re going on tour soon again, solo.

    GZA: Yeah, I’m doing nine dates. I’m going to hit up New York City, Connecticut, and Maine…

    AHH: Maine doesn’t exactly seem like the Hip-Hop capital of the world.

    GZA: Yeah, but there’s fans there. It’s big. I bet there are probably some astronauts in space banging a 50 Cent CD or something. Hip-Hop is universal.
  3. kyza soza

    kyza soza This way up.

    Jan 5, 2004
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