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What took you so long to drop this album?
Well for one, I stopped recording it to work on the "Seventy-Ninth" movie project. I was directing, writing, and producing it with really no budget whatsoever. It was all a dream, really. Jen Sacaru and Heavy Bread were both great at acting and allowing me to direct them. At times, I felt like they thought that I was crazy, because I would tell them to "act natural," then turn around and tell them "not too natural" because it still has to be "dramatic". But that was a nine week project, that took about another two months to edit. During all that time, I kind of lost focus on this album. I had already recorded about three or four songs before I put this project aside to work on the movie. It wasn't until "Seventy-Ninth" got canceled that I started recording again. I also got very sick recently and took some time off to detox and meditate.
What's the difference between this album and "The Animality LP"?
I never even planned to drop the "The Animality LP". It just sort of happened. I was getting my hair braided one day by this girl who was addicted to Lil Wayne's music...I mean addicted like she doesn't listen to anything else but Lil Wayne. This was around the time that that song "Prom Queen" was big, and he had that rock/rap sound. I was very intrigued by that sound. I grew up listening to Jimi Hendrix in the house. My dad would smoke weed and blast Jimi for hours on end, trying to duplicate that sound. I also became addicted to rock music when I was dating this girl who listened to nothing but Korn, Disturbed, and Evanessence. I was DJ'ing at this strip club in Boston around the same time, and no hip hop music was allowed. A lot of the dancers would give me lists of songs that they wanted to strip to, so I spent hours trying to find similar songs to the ones they had given me. But I am a hip hop artist first. So when I was studying those songs, I knew that I would love to make music like that, but I was always worried that I would sound corny. It wasn't until I heard those Lil Wayne songs that I knew I was ready to experiment with that sound. I had actually wrote most of the "The Animality LP" songs to completely different beats, but I went and found a lot of rock/rap beats when it came time to recording. I knew I wanted a hardcore rock/rap sound for that album.
With the "The 2nd Fatality" album, I am returning to my roots. I really don't think about the beat or what I'm going to say. I just flow and release stress. Whatever is on my mind, I just say it. I'm not trying to shock anyone, but these songs are what really is on my mind most of the day. If I couldn't record music like this, I honestly believe I would have killed a few people by now. Everyday I run into someone I would just love to blow their fucking head off. Most people don't THINK. They just REACT. I am a natural born hustler. I walk around the streets all day and try to sell my movies and cd's to people. I see people as targets. I'm not afraid to walk right up on somebody and start talking to them. You have to be more aggressive than the average bear. You can't worry about what they are going to think or say. You just shoot to kill. This is a small part of the "Fatality" mind-frame. I have to eat them to live. "The 2nd Fatality" gives me the motivation that I need to keep pushing. Keep hustling.
What was it like working with Young Church?
Church is the best artist that I have ever worked with by far. By a long-shot. He has this hunger that is rare. You expect him to grab the mic and just start saying "Fuck this, fuck that, fuck you, fuck her, fuck him..." but instead, he starts crooning and it pulls you right in unexpectedly. You never see him coming. He is also the best engineer that I have ever worked with because he's not afraid to tell me that I fucked up or I could do a better take. I have recorded with a lot of engineers in the past who seemed so intimidated and shocked by my lyrics that they wouldn't tell me to rerecord a verse because I guess they thought I would bite their head off. Also a lot of engineers are lazy. But I have also engineered so I can understand that...but this is also why I NEVER get like that. It is difficult to sit for hours and listen to an artist put a song together, especially if he sucks. But I have never seen Church act that way. He is always down to do a track. We have knocked out like eight tracks back to back and he would be like "Man, Blao let's keep going." I would be high and drunk tired, all cross eyed and shit, and he would be like "What else you got?" I would be looking at him like "What the fuck is wrong with this guy? He's a beast." I have never met an engineer with as much energy and passion as him. Now musically, he is a genius. I could just tell him what I want a song to be about and kind of hum the hook a little bit, and five minutes later he could come back with a masterpiece. I think he has spirits following him around, whispering little notes in his ear or something. He walks back and forth in a room for about five minutes, then scribbles some words on a paper, then jumps in front of the mic, and BAM! You got a hit record. I would just sit there stunned. He is truly talented.
Who else is featured on this album?
Of course Wyzdom and Heavy Bread are on the album. I also did a track with Infamis and Trey-Day, who absolutely hated each other at the time. I had to keep it a secret that they were going to be on the song together or there would have been no way that track would have got done. Young Church did a few records with me. Marisol Celestia from Boston did the lead track "What Do You Want From Me". Working with her was fun...she had an entirely different sound from what I was used to working with. My nigga Sko did a song called "Shot Clock" with me, which was fun. I really don't remember actually recording it because we were drunk and talking so much shit to each other that recording the song was the easy part. He brings out a competitive side to me that is rare. It's like picturing Jordan and Pippen sparring in a one on one game with nobody watching. You know they are gonna go for each others throat's but it's all in good competition. I did a song with Soye about pimping that was fun. That dude is a serious artist. He doesn't fuck around when he comes to the studio. I mean he has a gallon of water when he shows up. He takes his time with every take. Our energy is good because his birthday is a day after mine, so it was kind of like working with myself. He has a good vibe. I had also started a song with my brother Styxx that never got completed, as well as a song with Courtney Scott that got canned because we fell out. But once the album came together, I was happy with the way it sounded so I didn't try to force anything. I feel excellent about the way it sounds.
What was it like working with Marisol Celestia?
That girl was a gem. I traveled all the way to Boston and brought her back just to work with her. We had did a few freestyles and practice recordings before we came up with "What Do You Want From Me." In fact, she was the one who originally was supposed to be the star of "Seventy-Ninth". She brought out a creative side of me that I thought had died. I regret not being able to work with her more before she went back to Boston. We used to stay up until like 4am recording and writing. It caused some problems with my girlfriend, but she believed in us. Marisol is from another planet. When we recorded it was like two worlds coming together. I would have love to have seen her do some recording with Young Church. I'm sure they would have came up with some good records.
Why didn't you finish the "Seventy-Ninth" series?
Very good question. I don't want to blame anybody but myself, but there was nothing else that I could do. I was against all odds from the beginning. If you have ever seen "The Adjustment Bureau", or know the character Agent Smith from the "Matrix", then you can kind of relate to what I am talking about. For every action that I did, there was an opposite and equal reaction. First of all, the original lead female role was supposed to be Marisol Celestia. We fell out on bad terms, so Jen Sacaru replaced her, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise because she is a brilliant actress. Then my brother backed out on me as far as being the camera man. This is why if you study the shots in Episode 1, you will notice that they are much more creative than the other shots throughout the series. Then Armeina, the girl who played Heavy Bread's baby mom, moved to St. Louis. Then Jen would show up late every week, or sometimes not even show up at all. In fact, she dyed her hair in the middle of the series, which ruined a lot of the continuation scenes. I had to throw out an entire scene with her and Infamis because of this. I also had to walk on egg shells to borrow the camera from my brother because during one shoot, somehow the camera filter got stuck to the lens and he wanted to assassinate me. In fact, he lived on the complete opposite side of the city from where we did the shooting, so I had to deal with traffic. Then Young Church moved to Florida. Also Katie Fregeau, the girl who played the thief prostitute, got arrested and had to do a bid. Trey-Day, Heavy Bread, and Kash (the graphic artist) started doing their East House Graphics campaign on the same day that we were supposed to be shooting, which I still don't understand why til this day. That caused conflict on the set because they were answering phone calls, showing up late, and leaving early. It wasn't like they were getting paid either, so instead of letting it turn personal, I decided to cancel the show and keep my friends instead of letting the show rupture my friendships. But it was a lot of fun while it lasted.
What type of sound were you going for on this album?
Anything that doesn't sound like that "Short Bus Shorty" sound. If you have seen that Youtube video, then you know what I'm talking about. Most rap today, you have to sound either ignorant, borderline gay, mentally disturbed, or "niggerish" to become successful. Another thing that I have noticed is that if you actually try to sound corny, then the mainstream respects that more than someone with a real story. Our culture is "manufactured". It's not real culture. Like I remember hearing that song "Runaway Love" by Ludacris featuring Mary J Blige on the radio. And he's trying to give a message about how this girl was getting raped so she ran away, but they are cutting out damn near every other word on the radio...and they weren't even swear words. I notice that about a lot of hip hop songs on the radio. They cut out words that aren't even swear words, but then you cut on primetime television, like "Law and Order" or "CSI", and they actually show girls getting raped, and murdered. All types of guns and dead bodies...they say "bitch", "ass", "marijuana", "cocaine", and everything. But it gets cut out of rap songs and rap videos. I've also noticed that on BET when they show hood movies, they will allow guns to be shown and other things that they would never put in a rap video. This is proof that our culture is manufactured by agents who dictate what can and can't be shown and heard. So when I make my music, I'm killing all that shit. I break all the rules. I say what the fuck I want to say and I don't worry about what the mainstream thinks. This is why it is vital for people to listen to my album because it is REAL CULTURE. It's from the REAL STREETS...scratch that. It's real HIP HOP. Real rap. It's shit that if you go to the corner store and stand their for ten minutes, you'll hear niggas saying the same shit. I know because I'm at the damn corner store. That's what inspires me to write the way I do. I ain't never went to the corner store and saw a nigga talking about how he's selling bricks of coke, or pull out a $100,000 watch. He would get his fucking head blown off and niggas would take his shit. These are the type of niggas that I'm around all day. I can't say that there aren't any niggas like that out there, but that's not the culture. The culture that I'm exposed to is niggas trying to spit game at a girl so she can clean him up and take better care of himself. Niggas selling nickle-bags of weed to niggas who wanna take their mind to a higher plane because they can't deal with the stress of unexplainable day to day bullshit. Brothers spending two hours cleaning their Cadillac. Death coming in threes. Niggas walking around with guns hidden in their jeans but scared to use it. People eating six dollar gyros and stealing out the liquor store. Niggas cracking jokes on each other til the sun goes down. That's the culture that I know. That's the type of shit you're gonna hear on my album. Not no facade or catchy hooks made to sell a record. That's fake culture. That's what I'm killing.
How was it seeing Wyzdom again?
It was like seeing a family member that you haven't seen in years. But I think he thinks that I'm crazy. He has really turned over a new leaf. He has a family now and beautiful children, so when I show up talking about pimping, smoking, drinking, and recording, it kind of causes chaos in the house with him and his family. So on one half, I'm really excited to see him, but at the same time I know it's never gonna be like how it used to be when we were goons. He has too much to lose now. Plus he's on probation. Ten years ago, we really had nothing to lose, so we would stay out in the streets til 4am in the rain hustling til the last raindrop. Now I show up trying to do the same thing, and he's like "Nigga is you crazy? I got kids." Kinda makes me feel like I'm getting old. I'm not saying he don't be doing grimey shit, he just toned it down a bit. But it felt amazing to hear his raspy voice going back and forth with me on records like back in the day. Musically, we never missed a beat. He done stepped up his flow at least five levels. In fact, he didn't even right any of the verses on this album. He just sat next to the speaker for like fifteen minutes, then said "Alight," and got up and spit it in one take. I was like "Nigga you think you Hov?"
What was the biggest problem while recording this album?
The first answer that comes to mind is "WOMEN." If it wasn't my woman, it was one of my nigga's woman. If it wasn't one of their woman, it was the female artists that I was working with. Sometimes I think women see our music how we see their emotions. They just don't understand. They think it's just a faze that we'll get over it. They don't understand that music is in our DNA. It's running through our veins. We try to act like it's not a big deal, but it means the world to us. Some of us love our music more than our woman. Don't ask me to choose. I have left many women because they didn't understand my passion for music, but the woman I am with now is the most amazing woman that I have ever been with. She wouldn't ask me to choose. I'm fortunate. But a lot of brother's I work with have women that feel like they are being ignored when they go work on music. Some women secretly believe that their man just isn't good enough to make it. They'll give that bullshit on the radio more respect than they will their own man's music. A nigga will see this and won't even say shit. But when it comes time for him to record with me, she will raise hell, all while listening to some garbage ass music. I know some of my fellow artists are going to read this and think that I'm talking specifically about them, but in fact, we all go through it. That's why I made that song "All Day" with Soye. It's about how women rupture a man's masculinity. They make us feel bad for being a man. We trade in all of our dreams for their dreams. We cave in and it's still not enough. We don't know our own value because we base it on what our woman thinks. They see this and take advantage of it every time. It's not like I hate women, it's just that I know my value, and I'm not apologizing for not lowering it. Of course there were other problems like scheduling, computer's failing, moving, distractions, and shit like that. But overall, women.
What type of growth have you had on this album?
Even though I was aggressive on this album, I've toned it down a lot. I try not to offend people as much as I used to back when I dropped the "The Brutality LP". "The Brutality LP" was just that...brutal. I was trying to piss everybody off. Scratch that...I just wanted people to THINK. Back when Bush got elected for the second time, I was like "Are you fucking serious?" Everybody was pissed off back then. We all saw it coming. But I think when there is a drought or a Republican in office, we tend to challenge ourselves more, musically. We make the best music when we are down, not when we are up. So when Obama got in office, we just wanted to celebrate and party. But I wasn't sleeping. I knew he was a puppet from day one. So I used my intuition. I used my wisdom. I used my Tehuti. I met a guy named Poetic, who had to be one of the wisest brother's I met in my life. He taught me how to raise my perception to the point where I could see distractions before they come. This really helped me mature as far as chasing women, smoking weed, drinking, and staying out all night hustling. My woman was always telling me these things, but I always brushed it off as "She just doesn't understand." It wasn't until I heard that shit from someone who was where I was from and just like me that I really appreciated what he was trying to tell me. I also started stuyding PUA, which is "Pick Up Artist", which exposed me to a lot of things about women that I had always noticed, but couldn't identify and put into virtues. It also taught me how to know my value and respect it. It got rid of a lot of contradictions and insecurities in my character. I stopped taking myself so serious. All of this went into my recording of this album. I just didn't want to piss people off...but I wanted them to see the growth. Not just in my punchlines, bars, and flowing, but in the meaning of the songs. Like the song "Medusa"...I could have never recorded a song like that back when I was doing "The Brutality LP." I was too immature back then. I wanted to be a boss. I wanted to be a pimp. I wanted to be a hustler. I wanted it so bad that I was brainwashing myself into thinking that I actually was. But now that that point of my life is over, I can retrospect and give real advice to those people trying to carry that cross, even though I know they aren't going to listen.
Part two of this interview coming soon!
Go to www.HOODX.com for updates on the "2nd Fatality LP", dropping February 14, 2012!