The Queensbridge phenomenon that shifted independently more units than most can fathom most recently dropped "The Testament" on Legal Hustle. The album was recorded in the late 90's during Cormega's time on Def Jam. But, until recently, 'Mega didn't have the rights to his own material and so it stayed upon the shelf. Now, in 2005 with the rights in hand, the entrepreneur managed to put out his first work and I sat down to have a little chat about this release and the next.
MVRemix: Do you think "The Testament" shows how much you have grown over the years?
Cormega: I think so.
MVRemix: The artwork is very close to the advertising originally put out by Def Jam way back when. Is it the same or just based upon the originals?
Cormega: It's somewhat based upon the originals but it's not the same.
MVRemix: What are your thoughts on the recent events with 50 Cent and the new beefs he solidified with "Piggybank"?
Cormega: I mean that's irrelevant. I don't have any thoughts on it.
MVRemix: Okay... Do you have any comments on Hot 97's airing of the "Tsunami song"?
Cormega: I think that was repulsive.
MVRemix: Any new info on "Urban Legend"?
Cormega: KRS One, Big Daddy Kane, PMD and Grand Puba are gonna be featured on one song with me. Production by Lil' Fame of M.O.P., Nottz, Emile... All I can say is it's incredible. And if you look at any interview I've ever done; I've never said that about my own work.
MVRemix When's that likely to actually surface?
Cormega: That'll probably be out, maybe by the end of the year...
MVRemix: What does the average Cormega day entail? I heard you have a very strong work ethic. What sort of hours do you pull?
Cormega: I mean if you look at the more recent photo's of Cormega, you'll notice I look tired. I have bags under my eyes sometimes. Sometimes I don't get no sleep. Like last week I drove from Washington, D.C. to Boston. Washington is closer to the South and Boston is one of the further east states - I did that and I didn't even go to the hotel to get any sleep. I did that straight. In-between that time I went to Philadelphia and taught a class on Hip Hop at Temple University.
MVRemix: Do you still drink and smoke?
Cormega: Hell no! I wouldn't be as focused if I was a smoking.
MVRemix: With your success, what's your current goal? Are you looking to make music forever or are you looking to make the perfect album, what's your aim with music? I heard after "Urban Legend" there are rumours of you retiring and such...
Cormega: [chuckles] I don't know. I can't call it until after "Urban Legend" comes out. But to be honest with you - I don't know if I could top "Urban Legend."
MVRemix: And so the mentality is once you've done the best you can do, you'll leave it at that?
Cormega: It just depends on my motivation because I'm tired of looking for something to inspire me. Being an artist, being an actor or whatever is very time consuming. You give so much of yourself. If you go on the road to promote a project - you're gone. And when you're in the studio, you're gone. So there's a lot of times when you really don't have a social life or time for your family. I'm tryin' to figure out "Is it really worth it?" Like, I love my fans but it's something I have to consider because nowadays the fans love you ratio is not as great as it once was. I bust my ass and if I don't see the love reciprocated by the fans, then I'll tilt my hat and go out on top.
MVRemix: If you could change something in your career up until this point, what would you, if anything?
Cormega: Only thing I would change is doing "Legal Hustle" on Koch. I wouldn't do that.
MVRemix: Do you think they promoted it poorly?
MVRemix: What's going on with "Who Am I?" DVD, you've been working on it for a while now... I remember interviewing you in 2003 and you talked about your "Day In The Life" DVD - is this the same one?
Cormega: It'll be out this year. It'll be out soon... Sooner than "Urban Legend."
MVRemix Can you give me some details on what's on the DVD?
Cormega: It's gonna be all kinds of stuff. Behind the scenes footage, show footage, in the studio footage, unreleased videos, interviews - all kinds of stuff. You're gonna see stuff that you've never seen before like in the movies. You'll see. I've got a lot of people anticipating that.
MVRemix: A friend passed on a beat CD to your manager in LA for a producer named DJ Kno. Have you had a chance to listen?
Cormega: DJ Kno?
Cormega: That's ironic, I was just thinkin' about that. Somebody gave me the CD but there's so much talkin' in the background - drops or whatever.
MVRemix: Yeah, he's doing a production album with Masta Ace and The Beatnuts...
Cormega: Yeah, you hear so much talkin' in the background. I could understand a producer doing that so nobody jacks his beats, but I couldn't feel the beat 'cause every few minutes it says "Such and such, such and such," so I couldn't get into it. I want to hear his beats. Tell him if he wants me to hear his beats to give it to someone that's cool with me and give it straight to me. He don't gotta worry about anything funny happening.
MVRemix: How do you typically handle receiving beats? Because I know it was passed onto your manager. Do you personally scan them, does someone else before it gets to you?
Cormega: It's my own thing 'cause I gotta live with it at the end of the day. I'm the type of person - somebody brought his name up to me. If somebody brings your name up, it's gonna give me more of an incentive to listen to it 'cause you've got that credibility... People have spoken highly of him, so I really was interested in hearing his beats. There was so much drops in the back; I couldn't hear the music. When I tried to hear the music I'd hear "Such and such, such and such..." Usually when somebody give me a beat CD, this is what I do; I listen to anybody's beat. A lot of my peers will get a beat from somebody, and I've watched guys just throw the CD away and I say "You can't do that. Just because the guy isn't known doesn't mean he isn't talented."
MVRemix: What are your relationships like with Buckwild and Ayatollah, any projects happening with them?
Cormega: I would do anything if Buckwild needs me. Buckwild is one of my favourite people period in the industry. He's just got a good heart. There's not too many people like Buckwild. Ayatollah - we was workin' on the Ayatollah project. We'll probably throw that out in the summer or the winter.
MVRemix: Any more charitable plans?
Cormega: Yeah, I'ma do a big cookout just for my site - for the people that come to my site that's able to be in the tri-state area. I'ma do a cookout just for cormegasite.com. I'm tryin' to do a song right now talkin' about the Tsunami situation and the 9-11 situation, just all about tragedies. And I'm gonna donate the proceeds to charity, to somebody that we know that's gonna get the money to where it's needed. I've already dropped my verse. I'm waiting on the other artists to participate.
MVRemix: What's currently going on with Donà and Legal Hustle?
Cormega: Oh, Donà's focused. Donà's gettin' beats right now. She got a few songs done and Donà's album might be out by the fall.
MVRemix: Any ideas of a title?
Cormega: "My Brother's Keeper."
MVRemix: Any last words?
Cormega: Go buy "The Testament," it's in stores now.
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