Black Sheep
Change Clothes

blacksheep1.jpgIn the early ’90s, the Native Tongue collective influenced a generation with their thought-provoking lyrics and light-hearted, anything-goes presentation. Amidst De La Soul, the Jungle Brothers and A Tribe Called Quest, there was the black sheep of the family—Black Sheep. The duo, consisting of Dres and Mista Lawnge (now known as Mr. Long), released A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing in 1991 to critical acclaim and widespread praise. The hit single, “The Choice is Yours,” can still have an entire party picking it up to this day. Unfortunately, the group didn’t maintain the same longevity.

After dropping the unsuccessful Non-Fiction in 1994, the duo officially split in 2000 to pursue their own independent projects. Eventually, they linked back up to work on their new album 8WM: Novakane, a soulful, surprisingly mature effort from a group that has been all but forgotten by today’s hip-hop audience. While the album was originally slated for a 2005 release, Dres took the time to establish his own label, Bum Rush, on which he finally dropped the album last week. Who’s a Black Sheep? What’s a Black Sheep? Dres sits down with XXLMAG.COM to talk about his relationship with Mr. Long, why hip-hop is finally starting to grow up, and why people need to give respect to those who’ve paved the way in hip-hop.

Listen:
Black Sheep “Whodat?” (2006)

Black Sheep “Grew Up” (2006)

Black Sheep “Shorty” (2006)

All taken from 8WM: Novakane (2006)

What’s been the hardest part of starting your own label?
There was stuff that I had to re-learn. It’s hard to run your own label, when you’re one of the controllers of your own destiny. The labels don’t have respect for that or artists themselves. I’m a little bit ashamed of cats in New York. We’re all from the same place and we’re all worried about being a “king”. That’s sad, especially when no one owns any of these blocks, corners or buildings. I’m looking at hip-hop on a much more global level. Other places outside of the States are knowledgeable about the game and I just want us to grow up and do something more responsible with the power that we have. We’re frontin’ on ourselves so hard that it’s sad. We need to start talking about different things with the music that we put out. We don’t have to play those games anymore. If you got a hustle, there’s nothing that a record can say to make that any different. You got people out here looking at basketball and being a rapper as career options. There are a hundred ways to make money, instead of just aspiring to make a rap record for attention.

What were you up to before you started working on the new album?
Just living life. I bought a crib down in Charlotte. I stayed active in music. I did an online project. I was even fortunate to jump in a film with Laurence Fishburne called Once In The Life. I really was focused on getting myself back on my feet and growing up. I’ve bumped my head more than a few times, but it’s not how many times you hit your head, it’s really how you deal with it and pick up the pieces. I’ve never felt like hip-hop was validation for me like it is now. I didn’t feel like I had to do this shit just to be known. I wasn’t in it for the chain or glory. I never felt like I had to do hip-hop in order to be who I wanted to be. But the game is different now. People come in here now to validate themselves. Cats from my era must be cut from a different cloth. Maybe that’s why people rhyme about the things that they do now.

The album was supposed to be released last year. Why did it take so long to come out? Did it have anything to do with you and Mr. Long going your separate ways?
Nah, it was more that I was trying to find a [label] situation. On the real, Long and I were going through some internal stuff, but we also had some deal offers that didn’t feel right. So, I kind of backed up from it and started to retool the album. I wanted people to see the work that was being done. I felt like I wasn’t getting the help that should’ve been there, but it also led to me switching my mind frame. I wanted the album to come out on its own accord. I feel that it’s better because of the time taken out to work on it. It’s like how they say, “No wine before its time.” Now, it’s the time. I was able to get my own situation off the ground. Thank God, because Bum Rush is established to not only represent me, it’s there to represent my other artists as well. But with Long…he said that he was tired of waiting. And to me, it was just a funny statement because I felt like I wasn’t holding him back from doing anything. So, I didn’t want to be the catalyst for him not doing him. He wanted to do the solo thing.

How much input did he have in this album?
He didn’t have much input on this project. He was living in Miami and I was in New York. He got on his feet at the end of the project, but he also let his ego get in front of him, and that’s unfortunate. He wouldn’t allow himself to not have credit on the album. I thought it wasn’t that serious, but I wish him the best through it all. I hope that he doesn’t step out of character because, on the real, that’s my little brother. But people get caught up in the perception of who they think they are. I just feel that with the moves that he made…he made a mistake.

[Interview continued on next page]

  • kenny

    WHO REALLY GOING TO GET THIS?

  • the one

    Free Chi Ali.

  • http://www.grandgood.com cv

    the truth =

    “Grand Master Caz is one of the dopest emcees now! He could get on the stage now, next to any emcee, and he could get busy better than them. Not even on no old school shit, he’s just dumb nice.”

  • 11kap

    Unfortunately, most of Hip Hop has been overtaken and mass-produced by the wrong people, so many but not all the positive brothers who paved the way are not getting their message across anymore like the old days and many have been forgotten as pioneers of this great talent. It’s all about divide and conquer now, but it is still and will always remain one of millions of black ideas that corporate america wears out over and over again. They make more money off our stuff than we do, and that’s messed up. Just keep in mind before you become a star, YOU will be exploited and eventually forgotten about too.

  • Ghost of 2Pac

    Engine,engine number nine.lol Those was the good old dayz.

  • Pingback: Dres Interview Praising Grandmaster Caz at GRANDGOOD

  • SEAN P

    THE NIGGAZ NICE BUT SERIOUSLY WHOS GONNA COP THIS SHIT

  • tomA

    There are many people out there, so the matter is not who is gonna cop that shit. The matter is that he has words to express, and he took an opportunity to try and get it out to the mass public. He may not have the attention of the flash of the pan fan, but he still has something to say, and somebody will listen.

  • My Big Balls

    I’ma buy that shit just because I’m 37!

  • http://www.xxlmag.com L.A.’s Finest

    Good interview, these fools were bad back in the day. Good Luck homie!!

  • Heart

    If that album is out there, I’ll get that! I haven’t bought anything since Slum Village’s last album, Hip Hop is wack right now, I don’t even listen to radio, theres only a couple artists I like in mainstream the rest are underground or not getting the attention they deserve. Companies like promoting bullshit, get it out like fast food, seeing how much the people will take, “look how gangsta I am, how many rent-a-bitches in my video, how much money I got”, I’m happy you got all that money, now do something constructive with it.

  • Big Chops

    Dres definetly has made a lot of points. Hip Hoppers under 28 should really read & take heed!!!!!!!!!

  • Knowledge Speaks

    Pure unmaterialistic Hip Hop.Thats how it should be, but it’s good to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that this music hasn’t completely faded out. No doubt I’m copin’ this shit.

  • mr. rock

    Real talk man real talk!!!! New york needs to support there old school vets the way the south does it shit would be ok. 8 ball,UGK,scarface all these guys get love from the current south emcees. Cl smooth,Kane,G Rap,Dres, N.Y. don’t give a fuck about their elders thats the problem. N.Y. don’t love they own UGK came out in 1991 and they are still here cause of southern support CASE CLOSED!

  • MK

    You niggas need to bury that “old man Rapper” bullshit. Hip Hop has grown, so why wouldn’t the emcee grow with it? You know what’s really ignorant? You niggas is saying that when you turn 30 and up you shouldn’t be rapping. But check this. Who is more ignorant, the nigga that is 30 and up who listens to 19 year old rappers or the nigga thats 30 and up who listens to real shit from motherfuckers in they’re age group? You niggas in here is like 19 – 37 and the majority of you talk about listening to some kid shit. Fucking stupid.

  • http://XXL Jay Arrington

    Ayo Sean P, I’ll tell u exactly who’s going 2 cop it: REAL HIP HOP HEADS. U see, it’s cats like u that Dres was talking about exactly. U don’t respect the ones that came before u. Who gives a damn how old he may be. He can probably rip any artist that u may like nowadays. Just like he said Grandmaster Caz and any other pioneer around that time can still hang with the best of them. And u missed the point of the whole interview. Hip hop didn’t start off of some materialistic stuff IT WAS TALENT, TRUE EMCEES. DO YOUR RESEARCH SEAN P!!!!

  • http://XXL Jay Arrington

    Ayo Sean P, I’ll tell u who is going 2 cop his album: REAL HIP HOP HEADS. U see, it’s cats like u that Dres was talking about exactly. U don’t respect the ones that came before you. Who gives a damn how old he may be. Just like he said, Grandmaster Caz and any other pioneer that came out around that time can still rock with the best of them. And u missed the whole point of the interview. Hip Hop didn’t start off of materialistic stuff, it was TALENT AND TRUE EMCEEING. DO YOUR RESEARCH!!!!!!!!

  • 11KAP

    TO ME, HIP HOP IS SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT BLACK PEOPLE AND OTHERS LEARNING FROM ONE ANOTHER, BECAUSE NO MATTER THE AGE, WE HAVE A LOT IN COMMON. MOST OF US GREW UP THE SAME WAY. RAP USED TO BE ABOUT OUR COMMON STRUGGLE MAINLY, BUT NOW IT IS ABOUT SOME DUDE TELLING YOU HOW MUCH BETTER HE IS THAN YOU, AND THAT IS NOT REVOLUTIONARY. A LOT OF THE OLD HIP HOP HAD CONTENT WAYY BETTER THAN THE TIRED STUFF OVERSATURATING THE MARKET NOW.

  • bongolock

    good interview. and the album is quite good. i was somewhat surprised. maybe i’ll buy it to support homie but i’m pumpin the d/l for now.
    good luck

  • http://www.Myspace.com/ShackyGspace Shacky G

    I hope Dres do his thing

    but aye, i got dat gully shit

    FREE DOWNLOADS http://www.Soundclick.com/ShackyG

  • lisadoesdetroit

    this nigga sucked then and he sucks now .. why on earth would he drop another whack ass album ? don’t come to the D with that bullshit homey

  • Halona

    The Mr. Long CD is hot.

  • Candy4sale

    You know what’s funny to me is I can tell who the haters are and who the realists are up here. It reminds me of an interview Diddy had with a journalist where he said he was being booed by a man @ the Source awards, yet dude was wearing Sean John…the irony of how disorganized we are as a people because we just didn’t have what these dudes had to make it is disgusting.

    So while you’re hating, you realize that the joke’s on you, because you cared enough to listen and write something up here…so who’s really wack?

    Long live real MCs like Dres…you won’t find another realist who isn’t fazed by the next man’s goods.

  • Pingback: Dres Interview (xxl) at GRANDGOOD

  • BS FAN

    w0w glad to see a new black sheep cd is out! I JUST BOUGHT IT (digitally) i have been waiting for it since you toured with Z-Trip. BUT since you & Lawnge are no longer a group (again) I really think that it should be another DRES cd & to feed off the fans that this is in fact a “Black Sheep” album is totally false. hey i know it is a great cd but come on THIS IS NOT A BLACK SHEEP CD it is in fact another DRES solo album & yes better than his first. Thanks & cop this cd it is worth it.

  • G

    Ayo Sean P, I’ll tell u exactly who’s going 2 cop it: REAL HIP HOP HEADS. U see, it’s cats like u that Dres was talking about exactly. U don’t respect the ones that came before u. Who gives a damn how old he may be. He can probably rip any artist that u may like nowadays. Just like he said Grandmaster Caz and any other pioneer around that time can still hang with the best of them. And u missed the point of the whole interview. Hip hop didn’t start off of some materialistic stuff IT WAS TALENT, TRUE EMCEES. DO YOUR RESEARCH SEAN P!!!!

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    NIGGA U MISSED MY WHOLE POINT I FUCKS WITH THIS SHIT WHAT I MEANT WAS NIGGAZ DONT SUPPORT! IF NIGGAZ DONT SUPPORT MY MANS GHOSTFACE,THE ROOTS,GZA/DJ MUGGZ AND THE NEW MASTA KILLA THEN WHO THE FUCK IS GONE COP THIS SHIT? AND BY THE WAY IM 31 FOR ALL YOU PEEPS STUCK ON AGE

  • SEAN P

    Ayo Sean P, I’ll tell u exactly who’s going 2 cop it: REAL HIP HOP HEADS. U see, it’s cats like u that Dres was talking about exactly. U don’t respect the ones that came before u. Who gives a damn how old he may be. He can probably rip any artist that u may like nowadays. Just like he said Grandmaster Caz and any other pioneer around that time can still hang with the best of them. And u missed the point of the whole interview. Hip hop didn’t start off of some materialistic stuff IT WAS TALENT, TRUE EMCEES. DO YOUR RESEARCH SEAN P!!!!

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    NIGGA U MISSED MY WHOLE POINT WHAT I MEAN IS NIGGAS DONT SUPPORT SO WHO’S GONNA COP THIS SHIT NOBODY FUCK’S WITH THE REAL IF THATS THE CASE NIGGAS LIKE GHOSTFACE,LUPE,BUSTA,DANGERDOOM,GZA/DJMUGGZ AND THE NEW MASTA KILLA WOULD BE PLAT EVERYBODY SUPPOSED TO BE A REAL HIP HOP HEAD AND COPPING THESE ALBUMS WOULDNT BE NO TIME FOR THE DICKSET,G UNIT AND ALL THIS OTHER RAP AND BULLSHIT(R&B) THE QUESTION IS HOW MANY HIP HOP HEADS ARE LEFT? FOR EVERYONE THAT CLAIMS TO BE THE GAME WOULDNT BE IN THIS STATE IM 31 AND I DONT LISTEN 2 SHIT PAST 98 UNLESS ITS GHOSTFACE,NAS,JAY,KOOL G RAP,GANGSTARR,GZA,MF DOOM OLD BIG PUN &BIG L OTHER THAN THAT FUCK HIP HOP

  • SEAN P

    OH FORGOT AZ

  • The Chancellor

    I am a hip-hop head and im only 22. This interview was some of the realest shit i ever heard in my life from a prominent MC. Hip-Hop is so much more than bitches, diamonds and guns. These kids want to emulate what we do and no one really cares until it’s out kids that want to do it. I remember when all we had was the music, and while its cool that hip-hop has progressed over the years since its inception, i think that people and not just the artists forget that without the music there would be no clothing lines, no sports franchises and no rappers sure would be going to africa trying to make changes. Its not that everyone thats out now doesnt have anything to say cause it cant be all one person or group, but i think we just get confused sometimes and lose sight. Also another point i want to address, is the age factor. Im so sick of artists abusing their power to try and knock older mc’s who are legends and get ridiculed because of their age. It is the most ignorant shit i ever heard. Dres was right when he said Caz can still rock the mic no matter how old he gets. The truth is its not like these rappers wont get old they just dont have that sense of self to embrace and live with it so they knock it. You all know who im talking about

  • MM

    Damn…. some folks, yo… can’t u jus be happy that sum1 who made some of the best hip hop & music period and has been away for over 10 yrs is back n sayin somethin other than what u hear on the daily? U know who u r, non-progressive, ignant non-entity… u non-believas r the reason that sum shit is in the charts rite now that has no credit to upliftin the human race – fuck the color shit – cut any 1 n I defy u to see any other color but red…. bitch.

    Bring on the Black Sheep Lp to show these new age zombies what the antidote sound like.

    one

  • grumpyk

    The new album is nice…period. It is not a comeback album, it is just a natural progression of Black Sheep.

  • Pingback: “NY State of Mind” « Real Recognize Real

  • brooklyn 4 eva

    Now that was real talk. Sun is NOT old school jimmy spicer is. You know him? you cats under 25 will be lucky if you live to see a grey hair. Dude grew up nothing is wroung with that? It’s bigger then hiphop my niggas.

  • whyteboi

    Sean P, you’re a walking contradiction…you say you don’t listen to anything pass 98 and rhymes off like ten artist. I dig hip hop when it’s pure…what happened to “I’m the best MC and I’m going to show you.”? This bling shit is wrong, but it really is a phase…the same happened in the 80′s for rock: Glam hair bands, dudes that looked liked chicks. what I’m trying to say is that hip hop is going through its hair band stage…the dust will settle and people will see the big picture..true hip hop doesn’t need to sell to give it credibility…what needs to stop is those damn wannabe white gangstaz…they are killing hip hop and keeping the bling hip hop alive…but in the end, THE CHOICE IS YOURS!

  • whyteboi

    …Black Sheep is the ish!! Support Dres and any MC that speaks the truth…

  • E-DOT

    Hip-hop aint about an age, thats why our music is timeless! Poverty doesnt have an age, police brutality doest have an age thats why hip-hop will always live! It will always be a voice for the voiceless, so no matter 8 to 80 this aint POP this is HIP-HOP!
    when we age rejoice black people and keep supporting your favorite EMCEE’s as long as they spit heat burn Billboard we never realy neede the industry!

  • http://www.myspasce.com/16kingz ALLMIGHTYMUDDUCK!!

    ALL THESE OLD NIGGAS TRYNA ADVANCE!!!
    beat it grandpa!! ain’t nobody coppin’ this shit doggy you goin’ strait triple oak man!!

    Old School:SHABANG!!! anotha old nigga kufi smacked in the name of thugs!!!

    STAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARvvvvvvvvviinnnnnn!

  • HarlemHustla140th

    On some real, all you people that’s hating old emcees that’s trying to drop jewels need to wake up. It’s sad to hear responses that’s saying these guys are done or they had their time, which some of which is probably valid. But when these guys are trying to drop jewels on what’s important, y’all need to listen. It seems like anything ignorant that’s glorifying violence, women, and bling y’all soak right up. That shit right there isn’t important. Yeah, at the end of the day it’s important to gain financial wealth and all of that, but there’s other things that are more important than that. Please reread this article and take notes.

  • PADDY RANTING

    EASY, GOOD LOOK DRES,THE UK MASSIVE GOT YOUR BACK!IN THIS FICKLE WORLD OF HIP HOP IT’S GOOD TO SEE PEOPLE STILL MAKING THIS MUSIC FOR THE LOVE AND NOT THE MONEY.ALSO NUFF LOVE FOR BRINGING THROUGH NEW YOUNG TALENT ON YOUR LABEL,UNITY IS STRENGTH.AND FOR ALL THE HATERS OUT THERE STAY OF HIS BOZACK,BLACK SHEEP ALONG WITH DE LA SOUL,JUNGLE BROTHERS,CHI ALI,MONIE LUV,QUEEN LATIFAH,AND EVEN UK ACTS LIKE THE STEREO MC’S,CHANGED THE FACE OF HIP HOP FOR EVER AND WERE AT THE FORE FRONT OF THE AFROCENTRIC MOVEMENT-SO IF YOU DONT KNOW,NOW YOU KNOW………….
    ONE LOVE FROM ALL THE GHETTO BLASTA MASSIVE IN THE UK AND IRELAND……..LS6 YA LARGE……..

  • http://none killa black

    First i must say FREE CHI ALI my bronx brother, yo chi, stay up, love is love my nigger, i ask pretty tone about you all the time. Now dres i feel you on how hip hop will change it goes thur a change every 10 years and it will happen. But i feel it will have to happen with someone new, not to say you cant do it again, cause i feel you will, but it was always new blood to bring it back, the last time was BIG,AND WUTANG to do it, not old school cats. I feel its the crabs in the bucket factor, no one wants to see some one else eat cause for some reason they feel that GOD gives out one blessing every ten years, like if he blesses you,he wont bless me. And thats a shame, so if your not a hater, and you can help change the game, then check out,(BLU-BLACK)at myspace.com/blublack. stay up.

  • http://none killa black

    First i must say FREE CHI ALI my bronx brother, yo chi, stay up, love is love my nigger, i ask pretty tone about you all the time. Now dres i feel you on how hip hop will change it goes thur a change every 10 years and it will happen. But i feel it will have to happen with someone new, not to say you cant do it again, cause i feel you will, but it was always new blood to bring it back, the last time was BIG,AND WUTANG to do it, not old school cats. I feel its the crabs in the bucket factor, no one wants to see some one else eat cause for some reason they feel that GOD gives out one blessing every ten years, like if he blesses you,he wont bless me. And thats a shame, so if your not a hater, and you can help change the game, then check out,(BLU-BLACK)at myspace.com/blublack. stay up.

  • http://kingtime.ru/ KingTime

    Какая прелесть!!!!!!!!!!!!)

  • http://ukrproekt.com.ua/ Александр

    Так зачитался, что пропустил бы футбол :D