I’ve known you for almost ten years. And every conversation we’ve had, you’ve always expressed a passion for making music. Anybody that hears your records, can hear the hunger like it’s 1990 or 1991. But have you ever lost interest in making music for a period of time? Have you ever gotten tired of the music game?
I never got that feeling yet. I don’t put age on music. I don’t think no one has been able to put age on music. We may have been able to put age on a sound or particular style of music. But we’ve never been able to put age on music. Music has always been something that the closest example of exemplifying timelessness for every generation that has come to past or will come to past in the future. It’s something about that shit that documents a moment in time that never gets old to the people that that moment in time is significant too. For some reason, that moment in time gets carried on to the net generation. Our parents always love their Smokey Robinson shit. Even though we love our current shit, we always respect that Smokey Robinson, James Brown, Otis Redding as you can see today happening with the Jay-Z/ Kanye record. It don’t matter how the music changes, that element of going in the crate of digging up some shit from the ’50s and the ’60s and ’70s and sampling it and bring into a current state of swag that makes it appreciated by the now generation. So even though we got our now shit, we respect that shit was before us and we pass it on. You may have a handful of muthafuckas that don’t appreciate the old shit, because we have to find our own shit. I make sure I keep my finger on the pulse of what’s going on with the current. I’m a make sure I value the importance of what’s needed to go in the future. I make it a conscious effort to set a standard in addition to being in tune with the current. Once I lock that shit in, I make sure I bring some of the tradition with me.
I was just talking to NORE and he told me of how you inspired him to make some of his new music. Lil Cease has said the same thing. Everyone knows how you were inspirational to Raekwon in making Cuban Linx Part II. Who inspires you?
Brothers like you do that. You calling me to tell me you want to do an article like that is an inspiration. Our brother Sway, gives me those conversations. Q-Tip gives me those conversations. Diddy gives me those conversations. I don’t know if you know, but it’s quite obvious, Khaled’s inspiration is unprecedented.
Khaled, I call him the Hip-Hop Vince Lombardi. He’ll have you feeling like you can run through five brick walls.
He needs to be a coach. Khaled’s talk game makes you feel like you’re the greatest ever. Spliff star and my immediate family, they don’t let me make wrong moves Those are niggas I worked many years and surrounded myself with that aren’t the cliché “yes men” niggas. That say shit that they feel they need to say to secure themselves amongst the circle. I have people that genuinely care. They’re like, “I know you have to turn that verse in tomorrow, why don’t you go to bed, wake up and listen to it with fresh ears?”
It sounds like you can go for another 20 years.
I’ve been blessed to be in this shape for a long time, but from young. I’m still a 38, 39 year old nigga. I have a lot of peers that are older than me. At the end of the day, I can only speak for me, I’m just finding a new fresh powers source that’s gonna make things a lot more difficult for niggas if they wanna stand next to me and compete. I take great pleasure and great pride in respectfully competing. I don’t know it no other way; as long as everybody keeps it respectful.
You told me your new partnership with Google Music as a “chess move that leads by example and sets the template for the new 21st century artists.”
It’s displaying a new way of releasing music. It’s gonna be a grand, festive moment for hip-hop overall. It’s show people how greatly we can look forward to the growth of doing this shit the way it’s supposed to be. I couldn’t be more grateful for a better time in my career and evolution process at this point.
You talk about releasing music in a new format. I think what Jay and Kanye did was genious by releasing Watch The Throne digitally first and not having leaks. It’s up to people like yourself and the OGs of the game to show the new artists the way of doing it. From the start of your career with Leaders of the New School. That name doesn’t die because the group is not here. People still look at you to be a leader such as this new way of doing business.
I’m real glad you touched on that. Being in Five Percent, I was always told that the name you have as Five Percent is not just your name, but your attribute. The attribute is something you live by. You gotta live that name when we got that name leaders of the new school, it was just something that sounded cool, its something we wanted to live. The fact that you’re acknowledging that attributes being timeless and beyond the group’s demise is rewarding for me. It is exactly how I prioritize in the way I go about the decision-making processes both professionally and personally. I wanna always lead new shit. I want to always be the leader of the new shit. I wanna introduce things.