Rapper Rampage is best known for his guest verses on Craig Mack's 1994 hit "Flava In Ya Ear (remix)" and the 2002 Mariah Carey-assisted Busta Rhymes' record, "I Know What You Want." But now, Busta's first cousin and the Flipmode squad member is planning a musical comeback.

Now residing in Arizona by the way of Flatbush, Brooklyn, Rampage talks to XXL about diving back into the hip-hop game, his new record with T-Pain and working on his very own cartoon.—Mark Lelinwalla

XXL: Rampage, what's up? What have you been up to?

Rampage: I’ve been in the studio working on my new album, working on some singles and letting everybody know I’m back to the streets, creating a new vibe, creating a new look.

Talk about the single with T-Pain.

It's something that fell into my lap and it leaked out to the DJs, so I decided to go with it as my single, “Motivated.” The DJs said it was dope, so I continued to move with it. I dropped other records. One called “Ambush,” another record called, “Pump Up The Volume” and the DJs were like, "Keep it Coming." I had the “Motivated” record in my lap for a while and then it leaked.

How long have you been living in Arizona?

Roughly between two and three years. I been back and forth between New York and Arizona.

Why did you decide to move from Brooklyn to Arizona?

The reason for the move was every time I came out here I loved it. Plus, I have family out here. My sister was out here, so I just stayed. I was just back and forth between New York, LA and Atlanta. I came out here and I saw that the cost of living was good, so I said, "Man, let me make a whole new change." When I moved out here, my mind was right, my soul was right, spiritually I was right, so I decided to stay.

When people think of Rampage, I think they think of Flipmode Squad and your big guest verses...

I got classic verses on "Flavor In Your Ear" remix with Biggie Smalls, LL Cool J and Busta Rhymes. Also classics like "Woo Ha" and "Wild For Da Night." A lot of artists aren’t on too many classics, so I just stay grinding and stay pushing. It’s been a minute for me.



What else are you working on?

I got a cartoon coming out, I got clothes coming out. I’m creating my awareness with the DJs. I tell artists that it doesn’t matter how many years you stay out the game, as long as you stay pushing and stay sharp with your MC official darts. I’m an MC who can stay out the game and come back and smash the game.

What made you do a cartoon?

Me and my patna from Uptown Tommy Ruffin…he told me, "Man, I got a cartoon situation I want to do with you. It’s called the Legend of the Black Caesar." Again, God works in mysterious ways, so you got to accept opportunity. A lot of artists sometimes miss opportunities. If you do your research, you’ll see cartoons sell more than movies. I got an opportunity to do this cartoon and it’s been very successful for me. We leaked this cartoon, which is about money, power and oil. We got Styles P in the cartoon, we got 40 Cal in the cartoon, Special Ed, the real Rick Ross. Everybody I know and have good vibes with, I put them in my cartoon. The cartoon is iller than the Boondocks. You can catch the webisodes right now on YouTube.

How often do you speak to Busta and Flipmode?

Flipmode is still the squad. We speak and we always spoke. Busta is my first cousin. I love Busta. He taught me a lot about the game. Flipmode is still the movement and maybe some time in the future, we’ll get it together and put out another Flipmode joint. But right now, Rampage is just working on his solo situation.

Finally, tell readers about your upcoming album.

Yes. The Ambush 2.0. I’ve been working on it for a minute, but right now I’m in the studio creating a bunch of singles. I’m in the zone, where it’s like smack-down wrestling.