Can you tell us about your upcoming release “Rigmarole”?
Rigmarole is my second commercially released album. I’ve had other projects in between that we sold on our website, the Hiero site. Ascension was my first commercially released album then there was Ascension Side C then after that there was a the foundation album, like a compilation of songs that I’ve been featured on. I did some new lyrics on there too. Then we have Rigmarole which is a project that just came about from me hanging out at the studio and working with some new producers.
How is “Rigmarole” different from your last solo release which was several years ago?
It’s totally different. It’s based on the life that I’ve been living. Being immersed in music and being at the studio all the time. It’s the first record that I’ve done that I’ve put everything together myself. I didn’t actually produce all the tracks but its pretty much all recorded in my studio. I recorded pretty much everything myself. My vocals and everything. It’s a step towards independence as an artist.
Being a member of the Hieroglyphics, and their status in the hip hop community, did you feel any additional pressure when doing your solo projects?
Not any more than usual. I guess it was kind of more pressure before because I think there was more of a competitive thing going on. Not in a bad way. It was friendly competition. We would interact more on that level and now its kind of like everybody does their own thing and when we come together, we come together. I didn’t really feel any additional pressure at all.
You’ve been in the hip hop game for almost 20 years now, and you’ve obviously grown as an emcee, how does that factor into your music?
I guess the evolution, maturing. You think a little bit differently and your perspective is different. My vocabulary is more advanced than maybe it was when I was younger just throwing out words and trying to make them rhyme. Now I think I actually have more clear thoughts that I want to express.Because as you get older your mind is more sophisticated
“Hip Hop my Friend” is one of our favorite tracks off Rigmarole, and it addresses some issues in the industry. Can you tell us the inspiration for that song?
Yea, its pretty straight forward. Instead of complaining about the way things are as far as the industry, some of the things that have made hip hop be kind of more narrow as they refine down to what is the popular culture aspect of hip hop. It’s more broken down. The things that I think can be solved commercially like what’s cool, I guess.
Do you feel that Rigmarole is more for heads, or for the masses? Who did you make this album for?
I made it for the masses. I always feel like there’s an opportunity to reach a larger audience. That’s one of the things that is inspirational about doing music. I wouldn’t say that I stylized my music for the masses because that gets into all kind of stuff like whats hot on the radio, how many BDS spins can I get with this and all of those things that fall in between the goal and the actual goals. I don’t really play that game as an artist I do what and I do and I feel like I’m good at it. I feel like I’m good at it enough to where I will be received and people will recognize what I’m doing because of the artistic value. I feel like there’s always the opportunity to reach the masses.
In “I know this Pain” you tell us how hip hop and writing rhymes is therapeutic for you. Can you elaborate on that?
I guess in a certain way that song. That’s kind of like the continuous theme of this album of how music is therapy for me. Whether it be through reflecting on things, I actually have a song called “Reflections”. You poke fun at yourself a little bit about whatever things that may actually be somewhat real or actually stressful to you, but in life you gotta smile basically. That’s what I would say is expressed. The whole therapy in music and writing that’s kind of like the soul and essence of Rigmarole.
If we were fortunate enough to take a peek at your rhyme book, what would we find?
You would find all kinds of stuff that never gets heard. Mainly you would find at this point songs. Before you would find all kinds of verses about girls and anything that I might be mad about at the moment just all kinds of stuff. One of the main things I write about is stuff that I feel like is gonna be uplifting. Take me from one mood to another mood. If I’m thinking about like food or something like that, I will sometimes, and this is just having fun, I will actually write a rap about what I want to eat and how I’m gonna cook it or what I gotta do to get the food. Just as an exercise. Those are raps that people never hear or see and that’s why I probably will never let anybody look into my rhyme book.
Who are you currently listening to?
I haven’t really been listening to anyone specifically. I got like all kinds of Pandora stations, I try to get back up on new hip hop I know about all of the new cats. I know about Odd Future, and A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar and all of these new dudes. I know all of those names but I’m not necessarily listening specifically to anyone. There’s just so much out there. Don’t get me wrong I don’t say because I don’t listen to them they’re not good, they are. It’s just like a storm of stuff right now and its hard to hone in on one in particular that I feel the connection with. At least I haven’t been able to yet with the new school artists and just all the artists that are coming out right now, its kinda crazy.
What can we look forward to from you in 2012?
More new music. This album is coming out on March 6th but I’m working on a new project right now. We got a good amount of songs already recorded. I think I will have this project done soon but I’m not sure if its gonna come out before the year is over with but is a possibility. I’m actually on tour with a reggae group called Rebulation and that’s been really great. Most of the shows have been sold out. It’s been a great opportunity for me to expose and promote my new project to a whole different audience of just music lovers and its cool because I think that’s where hip hop is headed as it matures. It’s not about just young kids, it’s about everybody. It’s not just about specifically urban and street kids it’s about everybody. Music is about bringing people together. With my music and essence of what I’m trying to do is reach everybody and show them that hip hop has a common bond with music in general.
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