The Lonely Island, the comedic, hip-hop-inspired trio, consisting of Saturday Night Live talents Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, will be releasing their sophomore album, Turtleneck and Chain, this Tuesday, May 10.
Featuring songs with rap favorites such as Nicki Minaj, Snoop Dogg, Akon and Rihanna, the disc finds the group doing what they do best: making fun songs in which they spoof pop culture through rhyme.
XXLMag.com recently had the opportunity to chop it up with Samberg and Schaffer about working with E-40, wanting to collaborate with Cam’ron and their controversial Grammy nomination. Cue the laugh track. – Jesse Gissen
XXLMag.com: You guys are big hip-hop heads. Talk about some of the music that inspired you all to start penning your own rhymes.
Akiva Schaffer: First off, I’d never say we pen our own rhymes. [Laughs] We do write words. We make jokes in the form of rhymes… sometimes. All this started in high school, Andy? What do you think? In the beginning of high school?
Andy Samberg: As far back as like Run-D.M.C., Too $hort, N.W.A. Everybody that was on “Self-Destruction” and “We’re All In the Same Gang.” My older sisters listened to a lot of “Roxanne Roxanne,” too.
Schaffer: We were in high school around the era when… for the East Coast it was like Nas’s first album and [Wu-Tang Clan's]36 Chambers. And then, Black Moon and a lot of Tribe.
Samberg: Yeah, Black Moon and Showbiz and AG. And that Black Sheep record was huge.
Schaffer: And because we were West Coast guys, The Pharcyde was huge for us and Hieroglyphics and Souls of Mischief and Del and all them. E-40 and Too $hort out the Bay were huge for us, too. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard our first record, we actually got E-40 on a song.
XXL: Yes, yes. What was it like working with the Ambassador of the Bay?
Samberg: 40 water? With 40 water himself? It was the shit. [Laughs] I would describe him as a gentleman.
XXL: So he didn’t bring any groupies in the studio with him?
Schaffer: No because the week we recorded it we were in New York and he was in the Bay. He heard the song and we talked to him a bunch of times. And then he went in and we gave him a list of possible subjects because it was very clear to us that he had to come from the perspective of Carlos Santana— it was very specific. We gave him a bunch of bullet points like, “Here are things Carlos Santana did. He’s from the ’70s. He has long hair. He wore a bandana. He fucked all the ’70s girls.” And then he wrote his rhymes, which were obviously awesome. Getting it back was like opening a present. Like, “What did he do?!” [laughs]
Samberg: And turned out he blessed us with a classic.
XXL: Which other folks did you work with in the studio?
Schaffer: Nicki Minaj.
Samberg: Akon. Santigold.
XXL: What was it like working with Nicki? I’m sure that was an experience in itself.
Samberg: She’s fresh, man. She beasted the booth, without a doubt. [laughs]
Schaffer: That’s the kind of way we talk. We say things like, “She beasted the booth.”
Samberg: I’m constantly saying that. [laughs]
Schaffer: We probably invented that. I’m sure somebody else would argue. [Laughs]
XXL: I’ve never heard that term before.
Samberg: Yo, somebody says that. “I’m an animal. I beast the booth.” I feel like it’s on Ghostface’s record but it’s not him. It might be like Masta Killa or some shit.
XXL: Speaking of Ghost, which Wu-Tang member would you most like to work with?
Samberg: Probably Ghost, but we like them all.
Schaffer: I’m a Raekwon guy.
Samberg: I’m a Raekwon head. We love RZA. We love Meth. If you meant like if I had a time machine, probably ODB.
XXL: So ODB’s the number one?
Samberg: I think so—well I don’t know, though. Their darts are all pretty sharp.
Schaffer: We like working with people that are a little like… I don’t want to say crazy, but like a little out there and ODB was definitely the most out there member.
FOR MORE OF THE LONELY ISLAND, GO TO PAGE 2