Q: What are you currently listening to?
A: Right now I am currently listening to a lot of throwbacks, I listen on Pandora mostly. I’m tuned into Roc Marciano’s station, Im tuned into my own station of course. I like what the A$ap Mobb is doing, I love every single beat that A$ap Rocky rhymes on and I also like A$ap Ferg. Action Bronson, anything Alchemist produces. But on the other side of the globe Im also digging Ab Soul, im not really big on the dro rap but I like lil herb. Of all the artists that are springing up out of Chicago I definitely feel Lil Herb. He’s giving me old soul, he’s rhymin’ rhymin’. Its almost like he’s adapting Chief Keef and Common and together its creating like MOP or something, hes awesome shout out to Lil Herb. Theres so many, I listen to everything and everybody, I cant think of anybody I don’t listen to. The Barrel Brothers (Skyzoo & Torae), anything Duck Down, Childish Gambino, Chance The Rapper, Pusha T. My scope is wide, Im definitely feeling a lot of cats. Theres a lot of dopeness out there.
Q: Who is an artist or producer that you’ve always wanted to work with but you haven’t had the chance to do so yet?
A: The Alchemist, and I would really like to work with Lauryn again. I feel like I am someone who is very effective at bringing the day one emcee out in people. I just know that when I collaborate with people that songs turn into bigger things. I know that I am a postive force in that way, I definitely would love to have her in a room and say look this is what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna take it back to “Cowboys” and here we go! That would be awesomeness to me! I gotta get something going with my sister Jean Grae. We’re definitely sisters in rhyme and we’ve gotten close over the years and its time that we work together. I was friends with Redman for about 20 years but we just barely made our first record together in 2010. Things happen like that, some people are just friends so you dont go there. But yeah, I got to get another joint with Redman. But I like things to happen organically, I don’t want to just do joints with people because they are hot. Its like I almost have to meet them first and just get to know them. Then we’ll be together and say ooh we should do a joint together and its just a natural progression as opposed to just “hey have my peoples call your peoples” and then you have emailing back and forth. I dont like it like that.
Q: When was the first time in your career that you knew you had made it or that you had arrived?
A: I think it was the first time I heard my song on the radio. I didn’t even realize it was on the radio. I had a cassette tape in my car already with the demo version of “Tight” and I was on the way home from the studio. I pulled into my parking spot and I realized that “Tight” was playing. For some reason I thought it was actually the tape and it took pretty much half of the record for me to me to realize that my tape cassette was broken. So it was like wait a minute, thats not the tape. Thats the radio!? I let out the biggest scream and I was filled with adrenaline. I pulled back out of my parking spot and drove all the way back to New York for no reason. Just so i could be driving down a New York street with my song playing. I had no destination or anything but hearing my song on the radio just made me take off.
Q: I’ve heard you speak on MC Lyte in the past, can you tell me what she means to you?
A: MC Lyte symbolizes the woman’s perspective of hip hop in a time when I was learning about it. For all the Big Daddy Kane’s and Kool G Rap’s and all of the male perspective that I got from it. She was the one that brought the female perspective to me and it gave me a will or a confidence to do it. It made me feel like I wasn’t crazy to pursue this male dominated genere called rap. She made it seem so doable. The females before her presented the same thing. Like Roxanne Shante helped me formulate rhyme flows and learn all about what it means to rhyme off the head. But MC Lyte put out a project that was just undeniable from front to back. She really molded me, it was like, this is what female MC’s are supposed to sound like. I still feel like, I want to sound like MC Lyte. I don’t want to be a character, I just want to be myself from the hood with some intelligence.
Q: In terms of the culture, how if at all is Hip hop different from when you were coming up?
A: I think the culture now is more accepting of anything really. I feel like once upon a time we really cared about the morals. Overall rap music was put here to empower inform the inner city youth. At some point it just stopped becoming that and just became about how many records you could sell. Now, you can say whatever and do whatever and as long as it makes money its acceptable. But when I was coming up, it was important that certain messages got out. like Public enemy talking about Elvis being a racist. The music taught us. But i just don’t feel like the music is teaching us anymore.
Q: What advice would you give to an upcoming MC?
A: I would tell all MC’s to just do as much homework and research as possible. Don’t just settle for the music thats getting shoved down your throat. Expand your music knowledge. Go online and stay up on the blogs and see who people are talking about. Don’t let the commercial side of things be your standard. You gotta know that there are some dope artists out there that aren’t getting that crazy exposure. I just try to keep myself at that level with those dope artists. I urge other artists to do the same. Keep your ears to the street.
Q: If you could pick three of your songs. One from the 90’s, one from the 00’s, and one from the 10’s. What would be your favorites?
A: From the 90’s im gonna have to say the “Tight” remix with myself and Pharoahe Monch. From the 2000’s its a toss up between “Life is a Movie” and this song I did with Busta Rhymes called “Day at the range” which was a Dilla joint. For the 2010’s im gonna go with two. First a freestyle I did over “New Slaves” entitled “New Hoes” and secondly a song called “You Got It” produced by Nottz off my album Classic.
Q: What is the most memorable show that you’ve done?
A: The highlight of my career was preforming for Michael Jackson. I met that man, I shook his hand. You cant tell me nothing. To be honest I dont even know how I got selected. They just needed a rapper to go on his Heal the World Tour. I got the call and I was honored and felt accomplished. I felt like I can be me and remain raw and still get recognized by the best.
Big thanks to Rah Digga for taking the time to speak with us at Word Is Bond