Lord Jamar (Brand Nubian) - conducted by Todd E. Jones
Lord Jamar (Brand Nubian)
MVRemix: Where were you during September 11th terrorist attack? How did you deal with it?
Lord Jamar: I was living in Brooklyn at the time and I just finished taking my son to school. I live in downtown Brooklyn. You could see the Twin Towers as clear as day. I was walking through my courtyard and I see my superintendent on the roof. I couldn't understand him because he is from Ecuador. He yelled 'The Twin Towers are on fire!' I looked and said, 'Oh sh*t!' It looked bad. I knew people were dead. I didn't know anything about planes or anything. I keep looking and all of the sudden, the second plane hit and I saw the biggest explosion I ever saw in my life! I knew it was some terrorist stuff. I am not the type to automatically think it is Bin Laden. I'm more like Jadakiss asking 'Why did Bush knock down the Towers?' So, that happens and I went to the crib to watch the news. They showed the footage. I was mesmerized. When the 2nd tower got hit, after the explosion, I saw it leaning. Sure enough, that was the first one to go down. When the other one came down, I got scared. I ran across the street to my daughter's school and got her. I went to my son's school and got him. His school was right by the water. They had a perfect view of what was going on. I'm sure it was crazy for them. I took them back to the crib and all the smoke came towards us. People walking across the bridge were dazed. They had soot all over them. Right after they fell down, on the news they showed Afghanistan. There was mad bombing over there. You don't hear about it anymore. It almost seemed like it was a response to what happened but they never talk about it. I know a girl who lost her fiancée in there.
MVRemix: How has being a father affected your approach to hip-hop?
Lord Jamar: You know, I guess it changed it as far as it gave me another degree of knowledge when I'm writing and sh*t like that. It is not necessarily that I will not say a certain something just because I have a child. If I feel that it is not appropriate for my child to hear, I'm not going to let him hear it. My son knew I was on 'Oz' but he never saw me on there because he didn't see the show. He had to go by people's word.
MVRemix: What have been in your CD player or on your tape deck recently?
Lord Jamar: The new Brand Nubian album. When I put something out, most of the time, I am listening to what I do. Know what I mean? Whether it is out or not, I am listening to artists that may not be out or that I know. I don't really but people's albums too much because most albums are so disappointing. It is hard to get an album where you can play it all the way through.
MVRemix: The 'Fire In The Hole' is not a very long album, like most hip-hop albums released these days. Was this done intentionally?
Those long albums, sometimes, it is overkill. Technically, back in the days, an album used to be only 8 songs. That is what an album is supposed to be. Somewhere along the lines, it got crazy. I think De La Soul came with 20 something joints on one LP. Some of them were little skits. After De La Soul did that, people started doing around 14 tracks on an LP. We came with 12 on this joint. The number 12 has certain significance. When I am telling you about knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, those are numbers as well. 1 is knowledge. 2 is wisdom. 3 is understanding. So, we put knowledge and wisdom together, you add 1 and 2. That makes 3.
MVRemix: Outside of Brand Nubian, you produced many songs for other artists. You did 'Ladies N Gentlemen' for Buckshot. You did 'Collaboration Of Mics' for Artifacts. What production collaboration are you most proud of?
I would say 'Propaganda' by Dead Prez.
MVRemix: Word association…I'm going to say an emcee or name of a group and you tell me the first word that pops in your head….So, if I say 'Chuck D', you may say 'revolutionary'. Ok?
Lord Jamar: Ok, I got you.
MVRemix: Jedi Mind Tricks.
Lord Jamar: I don't know too much about them.
MVRemix: Kool G Rap.
Lord Jamar: The father of gangsta.
Lord Jamar: One of the best doing it right now.
MVRemix: Dead Prez.
Lord Jamar: Keeping within the tradition.
MVRemix: Gil Scott Heron.
Lord Jamar: Classic.
MVRemix: George Bush.
Lord Jamar: Stupid white man.
Lord Jamar: One of the best doing it right now. Does that sound crazy coming from Brand Nubian?
MVRemix: No. He has skills. You have to respect skills.
Lord Jamar: Exactly! And, I'm not like 'He's a white boy!'. He's more creative that half the motherf*ckers out here! Y'all can learn something from this guy!
MVRemix: What is the biggest misconception of you, Lord Jamar, or Brand Nubian as a whole?
Lord Jamar: That we hate white people. Some people think we hate white people as a whole and that we are homophobic or something like that. It's those 2 things right there. We had a problem with G.L.A.A.D. for 'Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down'. When we were writing that song, we weren't thinking of it as an anti-gay song. When we said the word 'faggot', we were saying it in a street way. It's like if you are around any person you have a problem with, whether they are a heterosexual or not, you are going to call them a 'faggot' or a 'bitch'. It doesn't mean that that person is an actual female dog or an actual homosexual. You just call them a 'faggot' because that is a derogatory name. We used the word 'faggot' in a couple of songs a couple of times. Even though we did say 'Don't understand their ways, and I ain't down with gays', that is different than telling people to go beat up homosexuals. 'Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down' was against people who come against us.
MVRemix: Brand Nubian was a group where the music always got me through a tough day. Was that an intention?
Lord Jamar: That is what we are trying to do. We are trying to make intelligent music that you can use in your everyday life. Some of the music I make, is for the future. If some revolution type sh*t ever goes down, there will be certain music that you will need to sustain yourself with. You will need a certain motivation. That is when a lot of our music will come in handy. That is when people are going to understand what 'Soldier's Story' or 'Pass The Gat' or 'Down For The Real' is all about. A lot of those angry type of songs are going to be greater later.
MVRemix: What is the biggest mistake you have made in your career?
Lord Jamar: Breaking up so early and not taking advantage of everything that we could have taken advantage of right at that time.
MVRemix: What is in the future of Lord Jamar and Brand Nubian?
Lord Jamar: We just did a video for 'Still Living In The Ghetto'. We did that on Sunday. We are getting ready to start this tour tomorrow. Then, I'll be doing an album on Babygrande. We will put out more Brand Nubian joints. You'll probably see me doing more acting. I did the show 'Law & Order' too besides 'Oz'.
MVRemix: Any final words for the people who are reading this?
Lord Jamar: Thank you Todd Jones for supporting us through the years and also, for this interview. Thank you, to the real fans. That's who we are really doing this for. Those are the first people we think about when we make the records. We do not think 'Let's try to get Puff Daddy's fans'. We have our fans already. Maybe we do not have a million all at once. I don't know. Maybe the potential is there. I do know that we do have fans and I do not want to alienate them. If we can get other fans too, that's great. First, we think about the fans we already have. We try not to let them down. We try to give them what they expect from us.