So you're not really mad?
The problem is people take my aggression as anger. I'm really on the side of the little man. What I'm trying to do is show you some of the bumps and bruises that I've had in my past. People are so brainwashed by the corporate structure that they don't get to experience anything different. They look at everything different as wack. You can tell this is evident, the first thing that anyone says when they hear music is, "Who did the track?" Since when has that become more important than the artist himself, unless it's an instrumental. That just goes to show you that they [corporate America] got the stick shift and they're in control of the direction of game. They can say we're not going to make the producers as popular anymore, let's make radio jocks popular. That's very sad because people's personalities are extinct and they're going out doing things outside of their character to stay popular because they need to make money. It ain't that I'm mad. I'm trying to help people find a direction about staying in the culture. I want people to respect hip-hop as a superpower. The undertone of my album is war because that's the time we're living in right now. People should think about that. Singing about peace and love is only part of the solution. You have to also make people aware of the fact there's war. I'm not trying to be difficult or angry, just giving you my perspective on the game. Konexion is about me locking in with the culture.
Did you work with Pete Rock on this album?
This album was supposed to be completely produced by Pete. But I didn't want to infringe on Pete's time, so I fell back from that idea. But at the same token, I got tracks from Pete that I will release on my singles. On each single, I got an unreleased cut that won't be on the album
How was it working with DJ Premier?
Premier is one of them producers that I believe can never, ever lose his flair. He's so deadlocked on what he does. I always like the fact that his production ability extends further than just tapping out a beat. He really listens and his ears are incredible when it comes to studio work, as far as mixing and making sure the quality of the song sounds good. His ability to mold and shape sounds is real serious. He directs the MC where his voice sounds strongest. Premier is a real artist.
Do you think hip-hop is too focused on beats right now? Or are we getting back to real MCing?
When hip-hop starts to get focused back on what people are writing, that'll tell you who is reading. You can't be a writer if you're not a reader. At the end of the day, hip-hop is being dictated by corporate America and corporate America is not hip-hop culture. It's hard for anyone outside of the element to dictate what the element is. Anytime people invest in something, they usually have some sort of creative say-so about it, which is what corporate America has done. What our part should be is to teach them [corporate America] what the culture is so we can enhance it. It's not about lyrics at this point. Especially when every battle rap that you hear, the MC is dissing the other rapper. He's totally forgotten about stage presence, his ability to breathe, flow. His every rhyme style is exactly the same.
But there are some MCs that are lyrical