Lake
Me Against The World

lake1.jpgIn the rap game, who you roll with is nearly as important as the music you create. Big-name cosigns have helped catapult the careers of new school head-turners like Lupe Fiasco, and they’ve rejuvenated the careers of industry vets like Common and 50 Cent. But Queensbridge MC Lake isn’t blessed with such allegiances. After a public fallout with his former business partner Nas, Lake is holding it down for both New York and Suge Knight’s Death Row—two affiliations that won’t be winning him any popularity contests in today’s hip-hop climate. But he’s tackling everything head-on: he released a collaborative album with fellow Queens rep Cormega, My Brother’s Keeper, this year, and he’s been taking notes from Suge in the hopes that he can catapult Death Row East back to the status it had in the mid-90s. In an interview with XXLMAG.com, Lake talks about Suge, Nas, and his new situation.

Watch:
Lake feat. Cormega “The Oath” (video)
Lake feat. Cormega & Mr. Cheeks “Q.U. Side” (video)
both from My Brother’s Keeper (2006)

How were you first approached by Suge to be down with Death Row?
A friend of mine named Meal Ticket, he’s based out of California, said he had a line to get with Suge. So, we sent the music and he got at Suge a few times. Suge was like, “Alright, come to the office and play it. I hope the music is what you’re saying, for your sake,” because a couple of kids were telling him about me. So Suge heard the music and called me directly on the phone like, “Yo, your music is like that, when can you get down here?” I went down and talked to him. I said I wanted to do Death Row East. He was like, “Alright, let’s do it.” We’ve been laying down the flag since then.

Suge Knight’s reputation precedes him. What was it like working with him?
It was good. I have a street background. There’s no type of individual you can name, character-wise, that I haven’t already encountered on the street. So, I really don’t have a problem dealing with anybody. Regardless of the person, I want to sit down and see if we can do business. One thing that I thought would be a benefit is that we had similar values in certain areas, so it wasn’t a problem. Suge was about his business, and when got to meet him, I appreciated that because I’ve dealt with a lot of individuals who wasn’t about nothing and didn’t have the same values as me. I appreciate loyalty.

Are you two still trying to sign Shyne to the label?

No. Shyne is my dude. Before he got [his own label] Gangland, me and Shyne were vibin’. I was checking for him on the Island and then he went back up North. We used to call him, he would be hollering. I was trying to work certain things out with him before he got Gangland. Then when he got Gangland, I was supposed to get down with him and come out, but they did the lawsuit where they froze his money up, and that pretty much shut the situation down. While he was going through that, I was checking on him to see if he was alright, going up there to see him and still networking. Me and him, we still homeboys. Whatever he do, when he comes home, and if Gangland poppin’, I’m down with him. I’m gonna support him in anything he do. Just like he supporting me in everything that I do. I ain’t even worried that I’m gonna sign him or if that’s gonna happen. We gonna work and be supportive of each other on the fact that we homeboys.

What steps are you taking to build Death Row East as a brand?
Just grinding on the street. Getting connected with the street and having people appreciate what we doing on the street. It’s a movement. And once people identify with what we’re doing and appreciate the music, we’re gonna build it from there. I’m not trying to come out and jump on the screen and forget my foundation; I have to establish myself, and that’s what I’m doing. That’s why I put out the My Brother’s Keeper album with ‘Mega, a street album. That was strictly for the streets. So now, I’m just going to build myself slowly but surely and have people recognize and respect my talent and my ability. The same thing they did on the West, we’re going to do it over here on the East. The only benefit that I have is that I have Suge and the insight that he’s got. When he started it, he didn’t even have the opportunity that he has now, he didn’t have the resources. Now, with the knowledge that he got, and the ambition that I got, it’s gonna be a good situation.

About a year ago, you had a falling out with Nas. How did that happen?
That was behind us establishing [the record label] Ill Will, and then that not happening. People were depending on me, I was waiting on him, and the people that was waiting on me got caught up in the situation. Federal cases got built up and they went to jail, and one of my friends was killed before they came in and locked the other seven of my homeboys up. So, enough was enough. That was something that can’t be repaired. I can’t just get on and blow and change that situation. Nothing was going to change that. I was done with waiting and dealing with that.

Would you say that was strictly professional, or did it have an affect on your personal relationship too?
If you got somebody you care about, you’re gonna do what you say you gonna do. If you’re not gonna do something, then let that be established. If you say you gonna do something, and you’re in a position to really do that, then do that. You know you’re dealing with somebody, and you’ve respect the person’s intelligence. You know this person’s intelligence and they gonna recognize you’re doing some bullshit. With all the stuff going on, there was no reason for that to happen. If this is what it is, cool, we can rock with that or find another approach. But as long as something can be changed, and a person can change it and they not changing it, then of course that’s going to have a damper on the relationship, personally and professionally.

lakecormega.jpgHow did you feel when you found out when he signed with Def Jam?
It was crazy to hear that. I guess it was about the money. It was a good situation for the paper at the time or whatever, and he did what he had to do for money. But it was wild, because a lot of people was standing behind him and really riding for him and what he had them believing in, then he just switched over totally. It’s like, Damn, you know people was really following you and believing in you and trying to be part of your cause, and then you just flipped and did something totally opposite. That was crazy. Whatever’s in your heart, that’s what you’re going to do. I guess that’s what was important to him, to get the paper. In his heart, it wasn’t as serious to continue keeping his distance with that situation. It was bugged though. It was ill.

You think a lot of people who supported Nas before felt the same way?
It depends on the individual and how serious they take things. You got people who really believe in you and are ready to ride for you. They’ll go to the end of the Earth with you. There’s other people who just like your music and are only trying to find something good in what you doing. It just depends on the individual. But a lot of people was affected by that. It caught them off-balance.

Everybody know that because the situation [with Jay and Nas] went really to the extreme with what was being said verbally. It went beyond music. It got real personal. Everybody in the world knows what those individuals were saying. When certain things happen, you can’t take it back. When you switch up your whole approach, it’s like changing what you stand for. So you start losing some of the foundation that you built on. People want to claim you because of your words and what you represent, and that’s why we got into music: our integrity. Once you lose that, you can’t get it back. That’s something that can’t be taken from you, you gotta give that up. Some of that definitely was lost in that situation.

Your first album, 41st Side, was critically acclaimed. Would you ever do another Queensbridge compilation?
Maybe one day, after many things are established. If I lay down what I gotta lay down, get myself into a position that makes sense in the streets, I’d do it for the fans, maybe. But more than that, I wanna do it with a lot of dudes out from different areas, different regions and put an album out with them. That’s why I reached out and I’m trying to do music with Fat Joe and a record with Shyne and do records with artists in the South and the West because we can do the same thing as the 41st album with people from across the nation.

  • Three4

    Cormega is so much better than this dude…and Death Row…that period is over,face the facts!

  • e

    Bad move signing to Deat Row Lake.. Petey Pablo signed and all his momentum died.. Karma’s a bitch

  • Million$MotivatedMailiciousMonarchMoneyMakin’Marc. O!

    Damn, nobody even bothered to say 1st on this bullshit…

  • SHITTYSIDE

    does everyone who ever known Nas has to be asked about him and his situation at Def Jam??? let it go!!!

  • cormega

    cormega is ill. lake is just alright. death row is shit

  • Indeed

    Fuck both them none rappin’ negroids.

  • BIG K

    LAKE IS THE TRUTH!

  • Dablockkid

    lakey da kid + Death Row =
    terrible music

  • OG Frank

    Death Row??

  • http://xxlmag jay and nas

    everyone here is stupid and like to watch the teletubies except for me.

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    Cormega “The Realness” was hot shit

  • TWON

    let it go nas is the greatest stop using his name to sell records

  • Stax On Deck

    Dat nigga looked like Busta Rhymes in that picture

  • koofiesmacker

    Lake for real B, Death row ? fuck out here & you calling Nas the sell out. Fuck out here, and keep My nigga’ Shyne name out your fucken mouth.
    Lake needs to fall back & play his position, This nigga needs to Know the Team bringin NY back is set, and that he coming off the bench and don’t get it twisted is for garbage time….and go pick up the New Nas when it drops biaaatch

  • Mr.Me

    Nigga looks like a gay Crooked I

  • http://myspace lilmrak@hotmail.com

    41ST SIDE ALBUM WAS OK.
    LETS C WUT THESE GUYS GOT TO BRING TO THE TABLE.

  • http://www.snatchatape.com MAZZA ONE

    LET IT BE KNOWN,

    LAKEY THE K.I.D.D. IS THE STREETS.

    HE HAS MORE CREDIBILITY THEN ANY RAPPER IN THIS INDUSTRY AND IS ALSO VERY WELL RESPECTED.

    IF ALL YOU JOCK-RIDING NAS FANS REALLY LISTENED, YOU WOULD REALIZE THAT ALL NAS LYRICS WERE SPAWNED OFF STORIES LAKEY GAVE HIM. THAT’S BECAUSE NAS NEVER DID NO REAL DIRT IN THE STREET. YALL STILL FEEL CONFIDENT ABOUT NAS & ALL YA CORNY, NO SUBSTANCE STATEMENTS AFTER HEARING THAT??

    ALL YOU LIL KIDS YAPPIN’ THE HATE, WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO APPRECIATE THE MEANING OF THAT. BECAUSE YALL TO BUSY IN HERE WETTIN YA PANTS OVER A WEB ARTICLE, STRAIGHT PATHETIC.

    -PEACE

  • http://www.myspace.com/ghettofabgang Bigg Ray

    Are Yu People Serious…
    Stop Hatin On Death Row…
    Death Row Iz One Of Tha Greatest Thingz To Happen In Muzik….
    Suge Knight Izza Mutha Fuckin Boss…
    Respect Tha Hustle… Lakey Goin To Tha Row Iz Dope… Niggaz Talkin Bout Death Row Don’t Release Shyt, Well Perfection Takes Time… Unlike All Thiz Otha Bullshit Comin Out Nowdayz… Muzik Ain’t Been Tha Same Since Death Row Dropped, Be Real Wit Ya Selves…

  • http://xxl.com Gutta Aka paper boy

    Death row This nigga above me was high when he wrote this shit. Nas had all the reason to abondon his ass. He was dragging nas right along wit em. Shyne? You saying that shit cause shyne is in jail.lake, NIGGA SHUT YO ASS UP O PUNK ASS BITCH BEFORE I GRAB MY PISTOL AND GO SOUL SEARCHING BITCH! big giggles.

  • mvance

    death row who the fuck are they bullshit / lake ,nas,mobb deep,mega, so stupid queen could be still ill u ass

  • lakeycormega4eva

    dis dude did 7years for shooting someone n came home n caught a case for shoting at da police n beat it he may lack the talent of nas but he spit real shit u can feel his vibe like he realy lived wat he spit

  • Crazy A

    All ya fake ass niggas talking shit about Lakey, say that shit to his face. Ya niggas a bunch of Nas dick sucking mother fucker, and for that nigga that say he will pitol whip Lakey shut the fuck up you internet gangster, before I put mu dilldoe in your ass you bitch ass nigga, and for all yall niggas hating on Lakey, suck Nas dick and choke on it bitch asssssssssss!!!!!!

  • T-Biz

    Yo koofiesmacker I know who you are you homothug, shyne is not your friend so you keep his name out your fucking mouth for I smack the shit out of you. My girl told me her ex-boyfriend fucked you in the ass last night stop playing like you ganster and get off Lakey. Bitch ass nigga change your name maybe people would not know who you are everytime you come on the internet, dick sucking bitch, and stop trying to get with my girl you know you like dick.

  • H.B THE BOSS

    YALL NIGGAS IZ WILDIN LAKE IZ THE TRUTH FROM THE 41SIDE 2 REVOLOTINARY WARFARE ON NAS GODSON 2 LAKE FEAT CORMEGA MY BROTHERS KEEPER HEAT STOP DICK RIDIN NAS WIT HIS WASHED UP ASS MASTERMIND OF GODSON STRAIGHT LAKES STYLE DEATHROW EAST THE MOVEMANT IZ MOVING GET DOWN OR LAY DOWN ALL U HATERRS WILL SOON BE FANS

  • vindi
  • fcukisthis?

    Lake is a monster. He spit that grimey shit only real niggas feel.

  • GETDAGWOP

    DOES THIS NIGGA REALLY THINK HIS ALBUMS COMING OUT ANY TIME SOON?

  • RC

    Lake has gotten much better since i heard him on Revolutionary Warfare w/ Nas

  • ajthrowback

    I don’t even have to know much about Lake to know that he’s about as naive signing to Death Row as anyone is signing to Jive. Tha Row has been over and there’s no hope for Lake to make any real progress as a rapper being down with Suge. They have not done anything relevant in the past 5-10 years that would make anyone pay attention because Suge forced all his best artists to leave. Hell, even Daz eventually left to wake and smell the coffee (although I don’t know if going to So So Def was a smart move either because he’s too hard for JD). If Lake wanted to make some headway in the game and carve out a name for himself, then he should’ve reconsidered his course of action instead of jumping on a sinking ship that’s obviously got flames rising from the boiler room.

  • cashrlue

    yo 4 real this niggaz th truth only coward cant appreciate real niggaz

  • Fly Dizzle

    Man, what exactly is he talkin’ bout. Definately the wrong move out west. Anyhoo, didn’t Suge just get sued for a hunid sumpthin Mil. That nigga Lake promotion and career is screwed if he stay fuckin’ w/ Tha Row.

  • YB

    Lake got waaaay more street cred then your 5 favorite rappers combined. what other so called gangster rappers has served time for attempted murder,armed robbery,threatening a witness,aggravated assault and possesion of a deadly weapon? Dude went in when he was 17 and came home when he was 25 so y´all hardcore internet thugs can say that y´all gonna do this and that but the truth is that Lakey would stomp the shit outta you and any of your 10 friends by himself. the album with Mega´s banging, the QU Side is the shit and all real Queens niggas are riding with Lake. he be out here in Ravenswood all day with his QB and Baisley niggas.

  • 50 cent

    fuck the bullshit. death row needs to grab a couple hot producers and bring that shit to the south

  • JonnyE

    ummmmmm. who’s Lake?

  • http://xxl.com Young Gutta Aka paper boy(Long live da king) MW

    Ay crazy A you nut cracking prankster…who da fuck iz you talking to…lake is garbage and so was deathrow..wit out tupac dem niggas was left overs…fuck you and dem nigga you faggot.