He was basically the original Joey Bada$$. But 20 years after the then “Buckshot Shorty” first laced up his Timbs, threw on a hoodie and began “spittin’ verbs like an automatic weapon,” the co-founder of one of the most consistently impactful independent Hip Hop labels of all time, Duck Down Music, has progressed to the point of wanting to speak on a subject beyond sucker emcees: Politics.
Even though Buckshot explained during his recent politically-charged conversation with HipHopDX why he believes “Politics is played out,” the Boot Camp Clik head honcho is now fervently tackling the type of subject matter more commonly discussed on Sunday morning talk shows than during an interview with a rapper in 2012.
And one-third of the historic group Black Moon (who will celebrate the 20th anniversary of their classic debut album, Enta Da Stage, in 2013) is planning to trail his third collaborative project with producer 9th Wonder, The Solution (due November 13th), by unleashing the type of attack on wax of the powers that be that many a B.C.C. devotee likely never expected to hear the B.D.I. Thug record.
During his discussion with DX, Buck revealed how he plans to shift gears on his next solo LP, and how the forthcoming project is being inspired by his legendary One Nation collaborator’s ominous final recordings. But before making that surprising announcement, the newly reborn political poet offered up plenty of challenging commentary to President Barack Obama regarding what the Commander-in-Chief must do to appease the Hip Hop community that may very well decide whether or not he serves a second term.
HipHopDX: The first and most important question I have for you during these closing weeks of election season 2012 is … has the impersonation you do of President Obama improved at all since that comical promo video you made for Survival Skills back in ’09? [Laughs]
Buckshot: That’s funny ‘cause I don’t even be remembering that. [Laughs] I guess. I probably heard him and studied him a little bit more so subconsciously it comes off a little bit more. I definitely study people. And I studied him, so it probably [comes] off a little bit better. I hope. [Laughs]
Buckshot Criticizes Barack Obama's First Debate Performance
DX: [Laughs] You plan on doing any more promo videos as Obama?
Buckshot: Yeah, we was gonna do some skit basically just mimicking the last debate.
[During] the last debate the issue might’ve been this, that and the third but the main topic that stood out was like, Who fighting for the middle class? Who’s gonna get the middle class vote or love? It came down to that.
It was almost such an embarrassment to see Barack put himself in that position. It was an embarrassment. Like, [with] Mitt Romney, how you gonna let duke blow you out of the frame in the presidential debate? The first time you didn’t go by the book, you didn’t go by scripts, you went by your heart. You had a real genuine feeling – people wrote stuff for you but you learned how to use that to your advantage.
This time it was like working for a bank that [is telling you like], “Look, this is how the bank runs. You can use your own discretion, [and] whether you wanna work for this bank that’s up to you after this point, but this is how we run our bank. You ain’t gonna be talking like that now that you work for the bank.” I think that’s what happened [last] time.
DX: I just read a piece in which Rhymefest compared the presidential debate to a Rap battle and said that Obama showed in that first debate that “he’s not a battle MC he’s more of a songwriter/performer.” Do you agree with that assessment?
Buckshot: I would probably agree that comes closest to some type of analysis to saying that the first time he came with – like I just said – what he truly feels. Just like Kanye West came out [on “All Falls Down”] talking about “I ain’t gonna front, I went to Jacob with 25 thou. I did it then and I’ll do it again.” Like, you had good lyrics back in the days and it was sentimental lyrics, somewhat, that hit the hearts of people. Then once you got on you raped the people with the – well it’s Pop talk, Pop culture and whatever-I-gotta-do-ism.
And I don’t got nothing against Pop culture. Pop culture’s a culture; I love it. But, people like Kanye that came out and was like, “Yeah my brothers and sisters with the black nappy head and the red, black and green shirts” and when he got put on he was like, “Man, fuck that red, black and green shit. I’m strictly white girls and Italian clothes.” Like, that’s just how it go.
DX: So how does that tie in to the presidential debate?
Buckshot: Because that’s the same thing that Barack Obama did. He came in [singing] “Jesus Walks” and all that and then when he popped off he came with the “wanna make it stronger, faster” or whatever.
He took it to a level where the people in the middle could still relate to him but they kinda was scratching they heads like, “Huh?” And the people above him was like, “We can understand you but we really still can’t understand you.” Like, no matter what you say White people, the Pop culture and some people are like, “We understand you Kanye but ultimately we still can’t understand you.”
Buckshot Explains What Questions He Would Ask In A Presidential Debate
DX: This second presidential debate is gonna be a Town Hall-style session where undecided voters are gonna ask each of the candidate’s questions. If Buckshot could be one of those questioners, what would be a few of the questions you would pose to the President and Mitt Romney?
Buckshot: The number one question I would pose to the President is “For real, what do you mean you’re cutting off 700 and something [billion dollars] from Medicaid?” Like, don’t just tell us that. I’m in the neighborhood right now [and] as long as it doesn’t affect the people that’s in this hospital that I’m particularly in right now and certain hospitals, but it is!
And that’s my point. Look, the Hip Hop community wants to tell you one thing Barack Obama: we put your ass in place and we will take your ass out. And that’s not a joke.
That’s just saying that really, really, really I hear all of this stuff that’s going down – all of it – but these magazines and these media [outlets] better start taking their props. The same way rappers take props, the media better start saying we want our props. ‘Cause if it wasn’t for us, Barack Obama wouldn’t be in. We all played a big part in that, but the media – which is all of you guys – played a big part. I would tell him, “Look, make sure that the media gets they props.” Because if you noticed this time around the reason why Barack Obama don’t got that same flow or spark is ‘cause the media is [hesitant] like, “I don’t know.” He ain’t getting that same media love.
And it is like a Rap battle because when he got on the stage against Mitt Romney if he’d a talked a show the next day the papers woulda been jumping about “Barack did his thing” and da, da, da. But he didn’t; he got taken out by Mitt Romney. And Mitt Romney didn’t do shit; Barack just got beat because he really didn’t do shit.
So I would say to Barack, “Yo listen, Barack Obama, you need to acknowledge this community.” Like, you need to acknowledge the music community, the entertainment community, ‘cause we are the most powerful community in the entire world. The entertainment community is bigger than the political community; it’s bigger than the police force; it’s bigger than the military. Ain’t no industry or nobody bigger than the entertainment industry. … Entertainment is the one political force that changes the world. We the ones that got China trying to be like America and be down with Buckshot. So you over there trying to pop shots at China but if you would just bring Buckshot over there China might show you some love.
DX: [Laughs] I guess I just don’t understand what he can do to appease the entertainment community in these last few weeks of the campaign season. Like, should he be droppin’ Jay-Z lyrics during speeches and the debates?
Buckshot: No! No! No he shouldn’t sit there and drop Jay-Z [lyrics]. He don’t gotta prove to us that he’s no more blacker than he already is.
But what I’m saying is that now is not the time to distance yourself as far as performance. Someone has to tell you Barack you did a good job with performing and don’t lose that. It’s almost like somebody told him to tone it down and he listened! Someone said tone that Pop, Hip Hop shit down.
It keeps getting back down to that. I call it Hip Hop, but it’s not Hip Hop it’s just hip culture. But at one point in time when you first came in you had the hip culture, and by having hip culture the people related to you. That’s why Mitt Romney is at 48 [%in the polls] and he’s at 47.
I’m looking at some stuff and their talking about how Barack Obama – these are regular people saying Barack’s budget plan to cut Medicaid fucked us over ‘cause we’re poor. A lot of those programs that he fucked got people like myself [upset]. When you make it impossible for people to get medicine then that’s a big problem.
So no, I’m not one of those Barack bashers all of a sudden just because I didn’t see a big 20-block radius welfare cheese line giving out free cheese, butter and money in the name of Barack Obama so now I can say “no, no, no, he did something.” ‘Cause, that’s what it woulda took for everybody in this country to say “yeah, yeah, yeah, he good.”
We have technology; we’re not stupid anymore. You can’t fool people through politics. Politics is played out. Politics used to be hot when nobody understood your language. That’s when politics was poppin’. And, I wanna spread the message across America that we starting to learn politics. Thanks to the computer and every other form of technology, we starting to learn politics no different than a friendly game of basketball. It’s no longer – When they say that’s politics, that’s political language, we used to not understand what that is. We never understood what the deficit is. Now we understand that the deficit is just money that we borrowed from a world bank and we gotta get that money back. It’s that simple!
DX: So, is there anything that Obama could or couldn’t say in these next couple debates that might actually sway you away from voting for him - not necessarily voting for Mitt Romney, but just not voting to re-elect the President?
Buckshot: Um … yeah. This issue with Russia and China needs to be spoken about. ‘Cause, you got people from all different parts of the U.S. that’s started talking about how they gonna not fuck with Barack Obama or try to get him impeached because of the fact that he is causing a problem with China right now over these electric factories. He’s causing problems with China, and China is linked up with Russia. And Russia never liked us, and China is now starting to not like us. And this is real big stuff. We’re not talking about the old crap no more. We’re talking about right now he’s on TV talking about, Yeah, China, we told y’all y’all couldn’t build nothing over here. Well now you got beef with China.
We do, and I do, a lot of business with China, and what we need to know is is there gonna be a situation with China the way it was with Iraq and all the other places?
DX: Are there any other issues – ‘cause the foreign policy discussion’s gonna come up in I think the last debate – you wanna see Obama address directly?
Buckshot: You call it “foreign policy,” right? Like I said, that used to sound fly. Now we understand that it ain’t nothing but policies overseas. It ain’t nothing but programs in a foreign country. It’s a policy in a foreign place, that’s why they call it foreign-policy. Back in the days people wouldn’t have even thought about breaking that down.
So, why are we so interested in foreign policy today? ‘Cause we got the Internet, we doing shows over there, so of course we interested in knowing what the policy is overseas. I don’t really know foreign policy in-depth but I know this: you need to have some type of balanced trade agreement in that foreign policy. Basically, you need to say, “Listen, China, you fuck with our entertainment industry and we’ll fuck with your entertainment industry.” You feel me?
Don’t you notice that young Chinese muthafuckas by the hundreds of thousands all wanna be like us? They got Rap music from America, and that’s the only thing that’s keeping their little dudes from taking on [their government]. You got little niggas in China, they want a democracy. You got little niggas in Sudan, Africa. You got all these places, you go to all these places now and all of them want to be down because our music got the young people going “I could be like them too.”
And everybody wants popularity and acknowledgement. Everybody wants acknowledgement or popularity. I don’t want popularity, sometimes I look for acknowledgement. But that’s what everybody wants, some form of it. So when you start giving little Chinese niggas that’s 12-years-old and letting ‘em know that they’re gonna be a star, them muthafuckas will stop giving a fuck about war or all this political stuff ….
We’re not gonna make no progress by talking from one politician to the next. Two political parties ain’t gonna change the world.
Buckshot Analyzes Tupac's "Black President" Lyric
DX: Now, I wanna wrap up this Q&A by asking you a sort of related question …. Since you were close to Tupac, I was just curious to know if he ever said anything during private conversations that possibly explained his motivation for declaring on “Changes” that “We ain’t ready to see a Black president”?
Buckshot: Um … what do you mean? Are you talking about in the form of Killuminati or are you –
DX: Just during private conversations did he ever sort of allude to anything that could explain why he would have said something like that? ‘Cause I know at the time, in the mid-'90s, Colin Powell was flirting with running for President [and so I figured the topic might have come up].
Buckshot: I mean, like, [Tupac's] motivation for saying that we wasn’t ready for a Black president primarily was based around what we was going through at the time. Like, him saying [that was implying] that we needed to get our shit together first. If we can’t get along in our own neighborhood, why do we want a Black president? We can’t even get along in our own backyard, so what we think that’s gonna do for us?
And that’s why he created “Killuminati” … because he was killing the bullshit. He said I’m killing the concept of Illuminati. That shit is garbage, it don’t make sense; it’s bullshit. And it is! Let me tell you something, man, if muthafuckas was to know the plan how would you know the plan? That was the main thing that ‘Pac was saying: How the fuck y’all jail niggas know the Illuminati plan and y’all in jail?
Our people is running around and we’ll believe anything. That’s our problem; we’ll believe anything. And because we’ll believe anything, you could just do whatever you wanna do, like put Barack Obama in place – the first Black president – and instead of the whole Hip Hop community and everybody buck whylin’ we was there for the first five minutes, just like any other Rap record.
That’s why I said if we all gonna get together this time, if you gonna make a statement you gotta do something bold, man. You can’t do nothing like no regular shit; you gotta say something like the Hip Hop community threatens that we ain’t voting for Barack if he don’t acknowledge us this time.
DX: Well let’s end on that note. … I’m trying to hopefully get this up to the site by Monday, before the next presidential debate on Tuesday.
Buckshot: I was about to ask you about the next one.
DX: It’s gonna be a Town Hall-style thing where they have people in the audience ask questions. But it’s gonna be like prescreened people and prescreened questions and that kind of thing.
Buckshot: Well of course. But the sad part is no one knows who and how to do that. How do you get prescreened? Because, I’m saying there’s no way that – I can understand that Buckshot himself ain’t gonna get past to be pre-screened, but how is it that we don’t have all the media from Hip Hop stand up and say let one of our media representatives from Hip Hop be there? Whether it be BET, MTV, whoever the fuck. But we need somebody to represent us in that Town Hall meeting or else we just gonna be looking from the outside.
I think that would be just as controversial as the presidential election itself. Like, if you sat up there and you saw Barack Obama and he said “I’m taking the next question” and it was BET, that would have the whole world stunned. Or if they said “It’s HipHopDX,” you’d be like, “Whew! How the fuck HipHopDX get the power to make it all the way there?”
And that would also dead the Illuminati bullshit about how Barack Obama is down with the fuckin’ Illuminati and the Rothschilds and all this other monkey-bullshit.
I can’t wait, ‘cause after this album - I got one more album to do and then after that I’m going in. And I ain’t really told nobody that because I don’t like when people say that and then they don’t do it. So I’m like, look, after this one album I’m definitely going in, and it’s gonna be hard for people to run from that vibe right there. I’m attacking on where ‘Pac left off at, which is killing that Illuminati bullshit. And anybody that wanna challenge me, you better bring the biggest, heaviest guns that you got. And there better not be no pictures of nobody putting up a fuckin’ sign with a circle on it. Don’t show me bloodlines; don’t show me who was related; don’t talk about the Bohemians; don’t talk about the Bilderberg; don’t talk about none of that ‘cause I’ma chew that shit up like cheese. And I’m challenging the whole world – industry and everybody – to come with all of your Illuminati shit and I’ma tear all of it down from every angle.
It’s so crazy and hilarious how we got all of this Illuminati shit, but there’s some niggas called Watch Change or some shit like that and these muthafuckas got an interview on YouTube where they somehow someway got to every member of that so-called Illuminati Society and a lot of them niggas was in Manhattan trying to take a cab to go to they crib! Now you would probably always assume that Buckshot always get in the car, he never take a cab. Meanwhile, you catching the fuckin’ 4 train. So it really ain’t that serious to me …. I just wanted to say that. Maybe that’ll be the next HipHopDX interview: “Buckshot Challenges The Illuminati.”
DX: Yeah, let’s do it. I definitely wanna hear that music though. I thought General Steele did a really great job with his politically-themed album, [Amerikkka’s Nightmare Part 2: Children of War], so …
Buckshot: Whew! But my shit is – I’m going ‘Pac crazy. I’m not really doing the “all my peoples, we gotta get together and learn.” I’m not doing that; I’m doing the “yo, I will smoke your muthafuckin’ ass with a four-fifth faster than a cigarette if you come to me with any of that bullshit.”
DX: Okay, Killuminati Vol. II coming soon!
Buckshot: That’s right; there you go, that’s it.