|Hell Razah, nee' Chron Smith, and the alternative production duo Blue Sky Black Death, comprised of members; Kingston and Young God, have joined forces to form the ultimate triumvirate. Fresh on the heels of Razah's debut solo album, Renaissance Child, and B.S.B.D.'s, collaborative sophomore effort, Presents: The Holocaust, featuring the Wu-Tang Clan affiliate of the same name, the Brooklyn, New York rapper, also known as Heaven Razah, and the S.F. Bay Area based beat-smiths are introducing their own unique brand of Hip-Hop. MVRemix recently caught up with the former Sunz of Man emcee, and his latest musical partners, on the eve of the release of their very first joint project entitled, Razah's Ladder, on Babygrande Records.|
MVRemix: Let's just jump right into this brand new Blue Sky Black Death and Hell Razah record - Collectively how did you guys even come together?
Hell Razah: We hooked up through My Space first, and the rest was history.
Blue Sky Black Death: Originally, we hit up Razah to see what he was working on to submit some beats, and we just built off that. The chemistry was there with the beats and sound, so we ended up turning it into a project.
MVRemix: Aside from the fact that it features another emcee - Musically, how does it either differ and/or compare to your other records?
Blue Sky Black Death: This album differs from B.S.B.D. Presents: (The) Holocaust because it's not entirely dark tracks. Although we did stick with our layered/dense production style, we tried to provide a range of moods for Razah to record and we are really happy with the outcome.
MVRemix: The album is titled Razah's Ladder - What does that name represent both to and for you?
Hell Razah: Razah's Ladder represents my elevation, and the ladder is the messiah that raises me out of hell to be a Heaven Razah.
Blue Sky Black Death: This album is about elevating through struggles. There was a lot of stressful situations going on during the process of recording this album - Family members died from Razah's and Kingston's families. R.I.P.
MVRemix: When it comes to the actual production aspect, how much input do you all usually let the emcee have?
Blue Sky Black Death: We like to get an idea of what sound the emcee is going for, and just craft the song around that. We are really open to input from the emcees we work with. Everyone's gotta be happy with the final product.
MVRemix: Did B.S.B.D. have any influence over the lyrics you contributed?
Hell Razah: A little bit. The influence comes from pain, blood, sweat and tears, and the beats married my feelings perfectly.
Blue Sky Black Death: Sometimes we throw around concepts for songs, but in general the music is the main way to influence the lyrics. Good emcees match whatever you throw at them.
MVRemix: Walk me through a typical B.S.B.D./Hell Razah studio session…
Hell Razah: Studio equipment, Hennessy bottles, spiritual books, sour diesel, and a box of dutches. No groupies, just work. I like to be concentrated on my music, I ain't with all that.
Blue Sky Black Death: We show him a lot of beats, and he would vibe on them for a few days before he chose which ones to move forward with. The vocals were recorded at Top of the Building Studios by Chokehold, out in Brooklyn.
MVRemix: Take me back…When did you first become interested in music?
Hell Razah: Since I was young, my pops was into Doo Wop and my moms played all the oldies in the house.
Blue Sky Black Death: Young God came from a family that had a lot of musicians, Kingston got into Hip-Hop at a very early age in the mid-eighties.
MVRemix: Coming up, who were your biggest musical influences?
Hell Razah: My oldest brother who gave me that spark, ‘cause he was doing it in the early 80's, and I watched him and learned how to be an emcee.
MVRemix: Where did the name Hell Razah originate from?
Hell Razah: My name was originally Reality the Hell Razah, and people kept calling me just Hell Razah. So, I just stuck with that. Now (they) just call me Razah Rubies or Heaven Razah.
MVRemix: What does the moniker Blue Sky Black Death really mean?
Blue Sky Black Death: It's a skydiving phrase alluding to beauty and death.
MVRemix: How do you describe or define your sound and style?
Hell Razah: I would say spiritual, political, conscious street music, with a lot of soul - I call it Hell-Hop.
Blue Sky Black Death: We don't really like labels. As producers, we are pretty diverse. We produce pop, Hip-Hop, acoustic stuff, dub, whatever, but it's all got our sound to it.
MVRemix: What has been your secret to success?
Hell Razah: Stay hungry, loyal and dedicated. No matter what goes on in this business, keep being creative and stick to your guns - "If you good with swords use a sword!"
Blue Sky Black Death: It's a little premature to label us a success story, but we've accomplished what we have just by nonstop grinding. You really gotta be devoted. We are really happy to have had an outlet to share our music with people, and work with some of our idols.
MVRemix: Do you have any outside aspirations?
Hell Razah: I would love to open up a Hip-Hop school one day - One for every continent.
Blue Sky Black Death: Becoming Trillionaires!
MVRemix: Are you happy with the current state of Hip-Hop music?
Hell Razah: Not really. That's why I make the music I'm making, because these record companies know exactly what they doing because Hip-Hop is a powerful tool, and they want to control that, too.
Blue Sky Black Death: It is what it is!
MVRemix: Biggest Hip-Hop moment?
Hell Razah: Recording ‘Shining Star' off (Sunz of Man's) The Last Shall Be First (album), with Earth Wind and Fire, Wyclef (Jean), and O.D.B. R.I.P. Nothing still can top that.
Blue Sky Black Death: Getting sued.
MVRemix: What is the biggest misconception about you as an artist?
Hell Razah: I'm not heard enough.
Blue Sky Black Death: That we've never used samples.
MVRemix: What do you enjoy doing in your off-time?
Hell Razah: Being a father to my seeds, a husband to my wife, (and) building and studying with my brothers.
Blue Sky Black Death: There's no such thing as time off.
MVRemix: What does your future hold?
Hell Razah: I am the future. Since I dropped Renaissance Child the future (has) begun - I'm about to raise the stakes after this Razah's Ladder.
Blue Sky Black Death: The future is now.
MVRemix: Any parting words?
Hell Razah: Thanks for the support! Lookout for my future projects; the Heaven Razah album, (The Ghetto Govt. project called) Article Two Right to Bear Arms (with) 4th Disciple, and always remember (to) put God first, and everything else will fall in place.
Blue Sky Black Death: Thanks for the interview, big up to the site and everyone on the album, and everyone who shows us love - Peace!
Bathgate 2007 Interview by Todd Davis