Washington D.C. native Fong-Sai-U was groomed in the game by greats. Black Thought of the legendary Roots crew and the late Guru of Gang Starr saw promise in the young emcee and schooled him on the ins and outs of the sport called “rap.”
After releasing his debut album A Soldier’s Story in 2011 to a lukewarm response, Fong-Sai-U returned to the lab for four years to craft a 19-track album called Ballads of a Massacre to be released on June 23.
Never one to hold his tongue, Fong-Sai-U told HipHopDX exactly why he dislikes New York rapper Troy Ave, why the people and protesters are partially to blame for violent run-ins with law enforcement throughout America, and he reiterates his disdain for controversial producer Solar.
Fong-Sai-U Explains His Place In Hip Hop & Disdain For Troy Ave.
HipHopDX: Where does Fong-Sai-U fit in today’s Hip Hop landscape?
Fong-Sai-U: I don’t know, brother. Because we’re in an era where it’s good to lie to get on. We got all these niggas cookin’ crack, everybody whippin’ cocaine, everybody got 50 ki’s. I have been there. I was in the trenches, but you never hear me talk about it on a song. That’s my personal. I like trap music. I’ve lived it. I’ve been locked up, but you won’t hear me parade it on a song. That’s not what my art form is about. It isn’t here to glorify me going to jail. It isn’t here to glorify me staying up all night selling nicks and dimes. I feel like the only good thing about me coming in this day and age of bullshit is that it’s different. Now it’s different to be lyrical because you got so many people that are not. Not being lyrical is mainstream now. To be lyrical, you’re like a unicorn out here. There are a lot of lyrical cats and I salute them, but we’re like unicorns. It’s the opposite. Back in the day everybody was lyrical and you’d have a couple of wack dudes. Now it’s the other way around. You got a couple of dudes still spittin’ from their heart and that makes them different, period!
DX: Who do you listen to right now?
Fong-Sai-U: I’m listening to guys from home like Fat Trel, Gordo Brega, Dew Baby, Black Indian and Gods’Illa. If it’s not from home I listen to Peewee Longway, Boosie, and Solo Lucci. I listen to a lot of trap music even though I don’t do it. In New York, I might listen to A$AP and Maino. Anybody but Troy Ave. Fuck Troy Ave! He’s the nigga that was calling Kendrick “weirdo rap,” but look where Kendrick is. I salute Kendrick every day because this nigga is on a level of being lyrical and being himself that a lot of cats ain’t on who are rappin’ that bullshit. You got a whole bunch of yes men, and the radio plays you 1000 times a day in your city so it makes you feel yourself. You feel like you fuckin’ important. You feel like you on top of the world, but your shit ain’t getting spun in L.A. or Atlanta. In your city, they burnin’ you up – you the shit. I call it “you the shit” syndrome. A lot of niggas got that disease. They wack as fuck, but because they getting burn on the radio they feel like they the shit.
The only reason I mention that brother — he might be a good dude personally — but his music is trash. It’s trash, period! If I’m a diss a nigga or say something foul or crazy about somebody that’s lyrical, I’m a make sure my darts is sharp. I’m not gon’ say shit and my darts are weak. I’m not going to call somebody a weirdo rapper and my shit’s trash. There was an incident where ILOVEMAKONNEN said one of Troy Ave’s dudes tried to snatch him off the stage. I don’t give a fuck. At the end of the day I wish a nigga would, ‘cause I ain’t that nigga! It’s not on that level. Who the fuck am I? I’m not saying it to be reaching [or] to try to get on, or to get people to buy my album. I’m just saying: Fuck Troy Ave. I’ll say that shit ‘till I die. The nigga is garbage. He sounds like a broken 50. Him and 50 got a new joint. That shit aight but 50 could have done it himself. I usually don’t speak on niggas. I keep my mouth shut, but too many niggas are getting passes.
I’m from the era where niggas were battling each other. It wasn’t fuckin kumbaya. Everybody wasn’t friendly. It wasn’t street beef, it was on wax. Nowadays, everybody wanna keep shit subliminal, hold hands, and run around under fuckin rainbows and shit. That’s why when Kendrick spit that one joint everybody ain’t know what to do with they self. He was rippin’ the mic like a regular emcee do. That whole T.D.E. squad I fuck with. I fuck with everybody, really, but that nigga just rubbed me the wrong way with his demeanor and his character. He thinks he the shit but the nigga is a broken 50. Every time I see him I cringe. You trash, dog. You think you dope, but you trash, nigga. How the fuck you got classics? You come out with a song and I forget that shit next month. That’s not a classic, that’s garbage. Anybody I fuck with in New York will be A$AP.
I sit back and do music and watch all this shit happen. We doing so much shit to pollute the seeds minds, brother. We not doing shit but being savages. When is there going to come a point in time when somebody really sits back and says, “I’m a spit these lyrics, but I’m not gon’ spit lyrics to make somebody think they gotta whip crack.” Nothing against that. Your element is your element, where you’re from is where you’re from. I have been in the streets since I was 15, but once again, you ain’t gonna hear it in my lyrics. You got niggas that really done it and niggas that ar doing it for music. You got people that’s doing it to get a deal and people that really got them things on ‘em ‘till this day. Most of the ones that do, you’re not gonna hear them talk about it. All the OG’s I know you’re not ever going to see them on Instagram or on music talking about they got kilos or none of that crazy shit. I used to stay in Atlanta and I respect them trap niggas ‘cause they really be doing it. That’s the difference between niggas doing it for a heist and niggas thinking it’s the quickest way to get a record deal.
Fong-Sai-U Details His Thoughts On The Baltimore Riots & Police Brutality
DX: You mentioned the youth, what’s your take on the number of young black men in America being killed by police and not being charged?
Fong-Sai-U: Stay out them people way. I always taught myself that. I have been locked up a lot, my brother. My cousin told me a long time ago, “If you stay out them people eyesight you have no reason to get locked up.” If you stay from around them you have no reason to get locked up. If you know the corner hot why you gonna stand on the corner all night when you know they got jump out riding all night? You’re not that invincible. They got helicopters and radios. With the Baltimore situation that young boy wasn’t supposed to get locked up. He didn’t do anything to warrant even getting harassed. At some point, you gotta be like, “Goddamn!” It’s sad, man, and they getting off left and right. You think Baltimore riots are something? Let them police in Baltimore get let free, they ain’t seen shit yet. That’s one thing I love about our people. We got people that protest peacefully and rioters because sometimes you got that much anger built up inside you. You also got people doing it for a come up to get a free TV or a free pair of sneakers. A nigga never stands for shit till somebody die and when that fad is over with they go back in the house not standing for shit. When it’s going on they the first niggas out the door screaming, “Mike Brown!” to get a free TV. I’m not down with that shit. If you’re going to be for a cause, be for a cause all the time, my brother. Stand for something all the time – 24 hours a day, every day.
Be that influence to your son or daughter that you stand for something. Going out here when a nigga get killed and then you ain’t doing shit the rest of the year don’t add up to shit. It’s a lot of brothers out there their bark is louder than their bite. Not all police is bad. I got cats in D.C. that’s young that I used to rock with that are police. There’s been times on the block when I had something and police threw it out and told me to go home. All police ain’t crooked police. You got bad apples, white and black. It ain’t about white police ‘cause you got black police that are bad apples trying to prove a point.
Seeing that shit really made me look at my son. My son is 7, dog. I can see how Killer Mike was crying because it makes you feel like, “Yo, this the shit they gotta grow up in?”
Fong-Sai-U Clarifies His Solar “Mind Control” Claims
DX: The last time we spoke a lot was made about your comments regarding Solar having mind-control over Guru. Is there anything you wanted to clarify regarding that statement?
Fong-Sai-U: [Laughs] Yeah, man! When I said that shit that was personal. I was telling you the truth from my occurrences and recollections on everything that went on between me-and-that-man. Today I’m still like, Fuck Solar! Solar and Troy Ave can go have a baby together. Solar was fucked up. I was reading the comments on HipHopDX and I think Solar was one of the niggas on the comments trying to defend himself talking about, “All these nobody niggas wanna come out the woodwork.” Let me check this nigga real quick. I was rockin’ with that nigga and I knew about Solar. Guru told me about Solar. Solar knew Guru wasn’t fuckin’ with him like that in the beginning. He waited until that nigga was by himself because when a nigga feeling vulnerable is the best time to go at him and fuck with his mind. Guru was a strong brother. He wasn’t negative or foul. There is nothing negative I can say about that man. First of all he was my elder. He’s been through way more shit than I have. When we was at the bar and he told me that nigga seven thirty, I was like, “Okay.” I was ready because that was the climate at the time.
Guru is my brother. We had our spats and when he start fucking with Solar he didn’t fuck with nobody but Solar! Ain’t nobody sad because the nigga ain’t talk to them. It ain’t no girly shit. It’s the after effect that everybody had a problem with. If it was Solar it wasn’t nothing about nobody feeling lonely or fucked up ‘cause they were by themselves. Shit, at the end of the day you did what you did, dog. It got so bad everybody knew what you were doing, especially when the brother died. He tried to do a quick will or something and Premier found out it was fake. Phat Gary and I talk a lot. That was Guru’s manager for years. Phat Gary is my people and I go to him for a lot of jewels. There’re times I wanna say certain shit out here in this world but I know people feed off of what you say. I get mad at certain people and I call him up and he’ll throw some knowledge at my head. If it was up to me I would just be airing out every goddamn body, but that don’t get you nowhere. You just sound like a disgruntled employee and the job is Hip Hop. Solar’s a bitch, he gon’ die a bitch. I hope somebody piss on his grave and everything else.
DX: Are you concerned about the possible repercussions for things you’ve said in this interview regarding Troy Ave and Solar?
Fong-Sai-U: Nah! Fuck no! At the end of the day it is what it is. I’m from D.C., man. We don’t talk. Ain’t no talking. We don’t joust. All that shit pussy to me. It ain’t nothing to want an altercation unless a motherfucker want it. Who the fuck am I? If I don’t like it, it’s just me that think it’s trash. The whole world could love it – good. Somebody might not like my music – great. It’s my sole opinion. Lyrically he can never, ever, ever, ever in his motherfuckin’ life come to my stage and think that he could win. I’m not going to the physical because I don’t talk. When it go down you ain’t gon’ know and it’s not even that serious. It ain’t no beef or no body harm. This is an emcee talking about another emcee. I got niggas in my city. I’m good so I got niggas everywhere. I don’t fear, period, so I definitely ain’t worried about what a motherfucker will say – if they say anything. On the music tip, it’s trash. Maybe the nigga might come up with a good song but my whole pet peeve was he came at Kendrick and a lot of other niggas with that weirdo rap shit. Kendrick is doing a song with Taylor Swift, who the fuck you doing a song with, young boy? If you would have came in the game humble I would have looked at it a whole different way, like, “That brother trying, he alright.”
He not garbage, he alright, but at the end of the day ain’t none of that shit standing the test of time.
Fong-Sai-U Talks His Album Ballads Of A Massacre
DX: You and I spoke last year and you said the album would be dropping at the start of 2015. Why was it pushed back?
Fong-Sai-U: It was pushed back because at that time I didn’t have a label yet. I was going to put it out on my own. I didn’t have a situation yet. I was basically trying to wait for a situation. I’m doing it the indie route but now I got distribution. Before it was no label, no distribution, just trying to do it the old school Internet way. I just kind of took a pause because the reality is unless you’ve got a lot of money to put into your project that shit doesn’t work. I moved with my old label because they offered me a good situation. The ball got back on a roll again and it was time to go, full steam ahead.
DX: Are you pleased with how the album came out?
Fong-Sai-U: Hell yeah, man! I banged it like over and over again. I’m really pleased with it. The title of the album got across. I feel like it’s a good product. That album took me 4 years to make. I had nothing but time and life situations to make it dope.
DX: Tell me about the single “Jack Sparrow.”
Fong-Sai-U: That was always my alter ego. That was the guy that goes to the club, drinks all night, and wilds out. You got Divine, then you got Fong-Sai-U, the entertainer, and Jack Sparrow. How Jack Sparrow is in the movie is how I was in my life. Everybody got a Jack Sparrow in them because that’s the person you let loose when you really don’t give a fuck. You throw your hands up and feel free in life. Everybody’s got a Jack Sparrow in them, its just some people don’t know how to use them correctly. It’s not homage to the Pirates Of The Caribbean. I just like the person he was.