These are the transcripts of an interview with the Usual Suspecs. The interview was conducted by Phayde on January 24th, 2003. Usual Suspecs were formed in 2000 and have established a name for themselves in Vancouver's reknowned hip-hop scene through well-received promotional material such as Jackin' for Beats. Their debut album entitled Heat Therapy is to be released mid-2003.
MVRemix: So how did Usual Suspecs come to be? Edge.1: We actually met in the summer of 2000 through a mutual friend and producer Agent X. He was trying to hold an audition of emcees around the city so... he had about 20 emcees in his one-bedroom apartment and we all just stood in a circle and rhymed, and I basically I heard Web, he heard me, and out of the eight people that he picked to form a group we just branched off and became our own thing.
Webmatic: Yup. Basically. That's about it.
MVRemix: How'd you get the names Webmatic and Edge.1? Jungle (manager of Usual Suspecs, on cell phone): Yo are you guys picking up my conversation over here? I hope not.
Edge: Yeah probably.
Well now we are. Thanks. Edge: [laughs]
Web: Yeah he's kinda scared... he's a criminal. Anyway, my name, Webmatic, it just comes from, Web, which comes from a name I got as a child cuz my toes are webbed.
[Phayde chokes on her drink]
Edge: [laughs] Phayde!
Web: That's no bullshit! I'm not joking. Well not all of my toes… people out there don't think I'm fuckin' weird or nothing. Nah, it's just my two middle toes are webbed and I got that name as a child and then Webmatic… I dunno, it's just like sprayin' lines like a semi-automatic, you know. Just straight to the point, fuck it. Sprayin' in every direction, hittin' everything possible.
Edge: See, his name's all cool, my name's a little more nerdy I think, and it goes into an explanation but… basically Edge stands for Eternal Determination Grants Everything, don't ask about that, that's a long, long story.
Web: He calls himself Edge cuz he used to be a biker and it was cool.
Web: He didn't like the name Psycho so he changed it.
So yeah, Eternal Determination Grants Everything.
MVRemix: To someone who's never heard of the Suspecs, how would you describe your style? Web: The Suspecs… how would we describe our style? Just like, you know, reality.
Web: Reality. Realness. No bullshit. Straight up, no chase, you know.
MVRemix: Okay a lotta people know you guys for Jackin' for Beats. Both: Oh!
Edge: Aw, Jesus. Fuck.
Webmatic: [laughs] Sorry.
Speak on it in regards to what it is and how the idea came about. Edge: Basically, Jackin' for Beats-
Web: Fuck Jackin' for Beats, to start off with!
Edge: Basically Jackin' for Beats came about… Web and I were in the studio and we had all these extra instrumentals around and we didn't know what the hell to do with them so we just started writing these five-minute verses over hot beats.
Edge: So I looked at Web and Web's like, 'Hey man, why don't we, you know, make a promo CD, get a little buzz going in the city.' So Web, Jungle, and I all worked on this project called Jackin' for Beats and put it out. We put out 500 free promo copies and from that we got a bunch of shows and people started knockin' on our doors, we gained a little buzz in the city, and that's it.
Web: You know, Jackin' for Beats was good for us because it was a vehicle to carry us, and that's where it started and that's where it stops, you know.
Jungle: It put you on the map.
Web: Yeah it put us on the map, really. Jackin' for Beats was a free CD that we just handed out to whomever, you know. And it was a good marketing tool but-
Jungle: To basically say, 'Hi, we're here. We're the newcomers.'
Web: Yeah. Hey, hey, this is our interview, not yours there, Spooky.
Web: Nah look, Jackin' for Beats was a vehicle. It got us on the map; it did a lot for us. It worked out but honestly man, I feel like Jackin' for Beats… I wish in some ways I could wipe it off the face of this earth because it expressed a lot of opinions that we had that we could have saved for more serious matters. Plus, a lot of it was just like…
Edge: Bullshit verses.
Web: Yeah, bullshit verses. Like 5-minute verses that we had.
MVRemix: Alright so what are your thoughts on artists that are out there really jackin' for beats like Jay-Z with Me and my Girlfriend and J-Lo with Jenny from the Block? Edge: That's something totally different.
Web: My thoughts on that are basically… I think remakes are dope, you know. Like if someone wants to take a beat and then put their own ideas to it…
Edge: If it's authorized! If you just jack somebody's beat, like J-Lo did to the Beatnuts…
Web: Oh no man, that's bullshit. J-Lo, if you're reading this, quit jackin' people!
They're trying to say J-Lo had nothing to do with it and it was all on Sony… Web: That's bullshit.
Web: The way I see it's if you want to remake a track, cool, but let it be known that you're remaking that track and give props to the person that originally did it. Don't just come out with a track and have these little 14-year-old girls thinking that it's, you know, the first time it's ever been made.
MVRemix: Yeah. So who or what are your musical influences? Web: Edge can go first.
Edge: Um, right now, the only thing I'm influenced by is pretty much underground New York mix tapes. I'm listening to a lot of Joe Buddens, Grafh, Saigon… guys that just, you know, that are just street. Gutter. Nothing polished about it.
Web: Well my musical influences are a little bit more um, interesting.
Edge: [laughs] Ooooooooh!
Web: I basically… my musical influences, they come from all over the place. Hip-hop wise, I listen to a lot of Nas, I like Jigga, Eminem, you know, the regulars. But lately I been listening to a lot of Soundgarden, ACDC, a lotta rock music. Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and stuff like that.
MVRemix: So at your houses right now, what are some of the CDs you got in heavy rotation? Web: Actually tonight before I came out I was listening to the Ramones. And uh, actually I'm looking for this CD, and if anybody can find it… it's this CD, I can't remember, I think it's like Johnny Cash's 46th album or something. But there was this one song that he got on there, and uh, I can't really describe it, but uh, I'm looking for a Johnny Cash CD. I dunno, hip-hop has a lotta boundaries and barriers on it so I tend to venture out into other things because I like listening to stuff where people really get experimental on it. Hey fuck head, what's in your CD player?
Edge: The stuff I was just talking about, pretty much. All the New York underground mix tapes. All the grimy shit. I listen to a little bit of rock too but lately it's been straight mix tapes. I like Incubus, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, stuff like that. Stuff you can just, you know, listen and zone in on. Sit at home, play Under the Bridge and just, you know…
Okay well I think Weapons Galore is an amazing track. Web: Thank you.
And while it is more on the artistic personification tip than actually talking about like going out and killing someone- Edge: Thank God someone recognized that.
Web: Yeah no shit.
Do you feel that certain hip-hop and rap lyrics can actually be held accountable for some of the violence out there? Web: NO!
Edge: I think so, because-
Web: NO! Fuck off!
Edge: because when you have little kids in the suburbs listening to this shit, you listening to 50 [cent], and you got these little kids going out like, 'okay, I'm a gangsta, I'm gonna be a gangsta, I'm gonna go do this.' And it does happen, man.
Web: Nah man, in a lot of cases, nah man, in a lot of cases those kids who think they're Snoop Dogg go out and get their asses kicked and learn their lesson.
Web: I tell you this man, and this is a message for everybody out there who listens to 2Pac, puts a bandana on, and gets 80 of their friends and beats the shit out of one person…
Web: Look, you are not 2Pac! You are not a gangsta, go back to your suburban household, tell your mom you love her, give her a kiss goodnight and lay down, jerk off a little and have some fun.
Web: Do something with your fucking life; you are not 2Pac! Put the 2Pac down! Put it down!
Edge: [still laughing, bangin' on the table] He's nuts!
Jungle: … put the 2Pac down?
Web: That was 2Short, k? Now sit the fuck down.
MVRemix: Alright, movin' on, movin' on… Okay on Mindjuice, I think it was Edge but I'm not sure of this… Web: Okay.
… said "Words can mold a nation…" Web: Aw yeah that was me.
Edge: That was Web.
MVRemix: Okay. But yeah, "Words can mold a nation, but a single thought could change the planet." What do you mean by that? Web: Um, you know where my inspiration for that came from? When I wrote that part of my verse, I'd just actually watched a movie called Swing Kids, and it's about the swing movement in Nazi Germany and I was watching how Hitler, with words, not even with actions, managed to change everybody's ideas and opinions and beliefs. So basically words can change a nation, you know, but a single thought can change a planet. Being the same thing, Hitler changed a nation with his words but his thought changed the whole planet because after the Holocaust, we really got to see what evil looked like, you know. And that was my idea, it's like, you know, you can talk all you want, you can change somebody's mind, but one thought, for one second, can change time itself.
MVRemix: Wow. What are your thoughts on the Canadian hip-hop scene right now? Edge: Garbage! It's garbage!
Web: Go home!
Phayde: They are home. This is Canada.
Web: Yeah no, I'm saying, go home and get in your bed cuz we're gonna fuckin' kill you.
Web: I like Brassmunk right now… I'm feelin' Brassmunk, Solitaire, Kardinal. Like there's certain people that are dope but overall, the whole scene is garbage.
Web: Yo what up to Brassmunk. Yo one person I really miss in the Canadian scene, and I loved his shit to death, is Mathematik.
Edge: Mathematik and Infinite, man! All those guys are dope.
Web: Mathematik man, dogg get at me. Seriously. Suspecs and Mathematik. Brassmunk, get at us. If you're not Brassmunk or Mathematik, stay home. [laughs]
I think you're sleepin' on a lot of dope Canadian shit. Edge: Name somebody that you're feelin' right now.
Phayde: Canadians? Monolith crew.
Epkott (sitting in for the interview): Nahhhh, Monolith, man? Hell no, those happy-go-lucky niggas?
[Edge and Epkott laugh]
Web: I'm not sayin'… nah I'm not sayin' Monolith… I'm talkin' bout who I'm feelin' personally. You know, Dan-e-o, he's got skills.
Edge: Classified's actually pretty tight.
Phayde: Dan-e-o, Classified, D-Sisive, Saukrates…
Edge: But Jeff Spec? He's ill.
Web: But basically, the way I see it, is like, you know, you gotta do more than rap a lot in one verse. You gotta do more than rhyme 80 times in a bar. I'll tell you who the greatest rapper in the planet is and I'll tell you why. Okay? Greatest rapper in the planet, his name is Nas. And the reason why he's the greatest rapper on this planet is because he manages to speak to the average everyday person. He manages to cross borders and boundaries and not a lot of people are able to do that. That's my goal as an individual, not just as Usual Suspecs but as Webmatic. My goal is to be able to cross boundaries and not just talk to some kid in the hood, talk to some kid in Suburbia, but to talk to both at the same time and have them both feel what I'm saying. And that's what Nas manages to do. Not a lot of rappers can do that. And people I feel are able to do that, there's not a lot of them, I'll tell you that.
MVRemix: But then again that could be a personal bias because maybe Nas does get through to you but he doesn't do shit for somebody else. Web: Um, true. It could be a personal bias. But from the things that I've seen, and the way that he's approached certain situations… you know what, honestly, I hope one day I'm able to get to that level, you know. That's a person that I hold up and say… You know, I don't wanna be him, you know, but I would like to get to his level of art. Artistically, I think he's incredible. As I do Edge. Honestly, and anybody reading this right now, Edge is the best rapper in Canada. Come fuck with him.
Edge: [laughs] I don't know what the fuck you're talking about.
MVRemix: Alright so what's a typical week like for the Suspecs right now?Both: Aw fuck!
Edge: You don't wanna hear about my week.
Web: Hook it up.
Edge: Okay. My basic week… since Gordon Campbell fucked my job over and everything and I have all this free time now…
Phayde: What do you do?
Edge: Uh, Jesus Christ… it's a government job. That's the best way of putting it.
Web: AKA Welfare!
Edge: I critique porn and I collect welfare heavily [laughs]. I'm joking, I'm joking. No, I take political opinion polls for the Liberals and since Gordon Campbell got in his drunk driving accident my job is screwed, but that's on another story. Basic week involves a lot of going to the studio, getting new beats, writing to beats, filling out factor forms, talking to Jungle, making sure, you know, the whole team's together and on point. And, anything having to do with shows, getting organized. Jungle and Web and I will all come together and work as a collective and make sure that the whole week's planned out if we have any event or shows… any interviews to go on. And basically it's just music the whole week and at night… you know, a party seems great but it's been excessive lately so I think I'm just gonna calm down on that. Focus more on the music and just chill out for a bit.
Web: For me, I get up at 5:30 in the morning… I work 'til 3…
MVRemix: What do you do? Web: Uh, I work for a car rental agency. Customer service, shit like that.
Jungle: [laughs] You're kidding, right?
Web: Yeah I'm kidding. I do construction. [laughs] So yeah, listen to music, listen to shit that inspires me. Try to pull out some inspiration to write something new. Get some beats, talk to Edge, talk to Jungle, get yelled at by Jungle, talk to Edge, get yelled at by Edge, talk to my mom, get yelled at by my mom [laughs]. Then I go to sleep and do the same shit over the next day.
Edge: It's a vicious cycle. Quite the vicious cycle.
MVRemix: Where do you see yourselves in 5 years? Web: The king of the world, baby!
Jungle: Sleeping in a coffin.
Edge: Hopefully in a mansion in Tokyo somewhere, with a thousand personal servants and a Bentley in my driveway. That's, you know, realistically speaking.
Soiled Japanese underwear vending machines in your own bathroom? (stemming from a previous joke before the interview) Edge: Yeah man, you're disgusting. [laughs] That's so sick.
Web: No man, in five years, I don't care where I am, what I'm doing, I want one of those panty vending machines man.
Edge: Fresh panties? Fresh?
Phayde: Freshly worn?
Web: No, no, no, edit that out of the interview, man.
Phayde: You know damn well that's going in the interview.
Edge: Enquirer, holla!
Web: Five years from now I'm gonna be on the cover of the Enquirer: Webmatic likes schoolgirl panties. And all you see is my scruffy ass… I haven't shaved in like five days, walkin' up to this vending machine with my quarter. Webmatic live from Japan, holla! In five years… seriously though, I just plan to be living. Have a wife, couple kids. Nice house, Cadillac Escalade…
Edge: You wanna get married and have kids at 25?
Web: Yeah I figure. You know.
Edge: Are you serious?
Web: I'll probably have my first child when I'm like 23, 24. I want kids.
Edge: I want kids too but I wanna wait.
Web: You gotta remember, I've raised three brothers on my own. I'm good with kids. Kids love 'matic. That's the slogan for this interview: Kids love Web. Not like that though. No, no, uh like-
Edge: No R. Kelly shit [laughs].
Web: No, Webmatic don't love the kids like that, you know, just like, you know… alright edit the fuck that out of the interview [laughs].
You know that's going in the interview too. Web: Aw, fuck. Name of the interview is 'Matic loves kids.' You can just see it tomorrow in the newspaper coverage, couldn't you? 'Accused pornographer.' You just see me, with my fuckin' mug shot like, "fucccck."
MVRemix: Alright Edge, you got some material out under the name Captain Nasty right now. Speak on it. Edge: The Captain Nasty mix tape is basically just to keep our name fresh in the city while we're working on the album and putting finishing touches on getting it out. The whole mix tape thing is really big in New York and we're trying to bring it out here and show people that in between albums, if you have enough time man, put some stuff out to keep your ear to the street, you know? You gotta keep your name in people's heads cuz if not when your shit comes out they're just gonna forget about you and they won't care.
Web: Stay in the streets!
Edge: It's all about the street, man. Fuck all the glossy hype.
Web: Fuck all that glossy bullshit… commercial-suck-my-dick A&R fag shit. I'm talking about the real shit, you know. I'm getting in touch one-on-one with motherfuckers, you know.
Edge: Yep. Oh yeah, and I swear a whole fuckin' hell of a lot on that mix tape too. We swear a lot.
Web: Oh yeah, yeah, Webmatic and JayKin got a mix tape coming out, it's called Showtime: the Rebuttal, so check that shit out too.
MVRemix: Alright well if music wasn't an option, what would you be doing right now? Web: Oh… dead.
Edge: I'd probably be working in a kitchen somewhere, spitting in somebody's food. No, just joking I don't spit in food. I actually used to work as a cook but that didn't pan out cuz I'm too lazy for that kinda shit. I just wanna make music. Music doesn't take the type of physical effort that other things do, so…
Web: If I didn't have music to take out my aggression and my angriness and my frustration, I'd be doing 25 to life after I fucking robbed a bank and shot 80 people.
Edge: Automatic weapons are great.
Web: To everybody out there who may think this shit's a fucking joke and that hip-hop is just something you do for fun… if I didn't have music… if I didn't have my writing, I'd be no where right now. I'd be sitting in jail looking like an asshole.
MVRemix: If there was a movie- Edge: Yeah-
Oh sorry, were you still talking? Edge: Nah I was just gonna say something about these guys pimping me out to you for four days. I just wanted to comment on that. Sorry. (Again, stemming from a joke prior to the interview)
Web: $80 a day and you can have him. Don't need contraceptives, he's clean. [laughs]
Hahaha… a little bit of editing on my part… right here…
Web: No, don't edit that! She wants Edge's bum! She wants his bum! She wants his bum hard! [laughs]
Edge: Woah, okay skip that part!
Web: Yeah she's into bum guys. Watch out. She likes bums. [laughs]
Epkott: Homeless bums, or just…bum bum?
Web: She likes black bum. Watch out. Edge is ashy. He ain't pretty. You know what I'm saying? [laughs]
MVRemix: [laughs] Alright, alright! Moving on!
Epkott: Nigga saw a piece of coal and the coal got jealous! [laughs]
Web: Edge could hide in his own shadow, you know what I'm sayin! [laughs]
Edge: For the record, I am black [laughs]. I am black.
Web: For everybody out there who don't like dem dark skin, you know… I heard Idaho got more KKK in it than anywhere in the world.
Web: Wanna go to Idaho, Edge? [laughs]
Edge: We'll set up a record label there.
MVRemix: Alright… my career going down the drain… Edge: [laughs]
Web: [makes flushing sound]
MVRemix: If there was a movie about the Suspecs, who would you want to play you and why? Edge: Oh, shit. Web would be McMannis cuz he's the fucking wild-
Web: No but who would you want to play you?
Edge: Oh Fenster for sure.
Web: No, but who would you want to play-
Edge: Oh, I thought you were talking about the actual movie.
Web: If there was a movie about you, who would you want to be you?
Edge: Uh, I'd probably say…
Web: And don't say Wesley Snipes cuz you ain't no Wesley Snipes, nigga.
Edge: Oh no, I wasn't even gonna say-
Web: Seriously, you more like a Morgan Freeman [laughs].
Jungle: You know what, honestly though, he looks more like a Samuel L. Jackson.
I could see that. Web: Nah Samuel L. Jackson's got a mug on him man… Edge's too cute.
Edge: Samuel L. Jackson?? Okay why is this interview all about me? Just shut up.
Web: Okay dude who would play you?
Edge: I don't know man, it's not a question I've ever put a lot of thought into.
Web: Alright I'll say it first. Who would play me?
Edge: Billy Bob Thorton [laughs].
Web: [laughs] Who would play me? I don't know… Nah you know who would play me? Bubbles.
Edge: Yeah, J-Roc!
Web: You know what, I don't know. It's a really hard question.
Edge: See, that's what I was saying. You were like, "Answer it!"
Web: I guess maybe I would play me. I don't know cuz I don't really watch the movie stars too often. I'm not sitting there on my couch at night eating bon bons thinking, 'Oh Benjamin Bratt is hot!" [laughs]
He's not hot. Web: Benjamin? You don't think so?
Web: He's very manly.
Edge: Holy shit! [laughs] That was wicked!
I don't know what to say to that. Web: Who would play you?
Phayde: I'm thinkin' Bjork. Bjork knows her shit. She got points for knockin out the reporter.
Web: Yeah man, she's fucking crazy. But seriously I don't know who would play me. Whoever the fuck wanted to. I don't know to many people that would take the job [laughs].
MVRemix: Alright I'm gonna leave that one. In like 40-50 years from now, what do you guys wanna be remembered for? Edge: One of the best lyricists people have ever heard but if that doesn't happen then just someone that came and made his mark on the city.
Web: Yeah, a legend, man. One of the greatest songwriters of all time. Not a lyricist, just a songwriter. Not even a songwriter, just a writer. A great thinker, you know. Kinda like uh… not like Pac where everybody just wants to be him, just kinda like one of those cats everybody respects because his thoughts were on-point and what he said was on-point.
So in your opinion, like Nas. Web: Yeah I guess. Nah I don't know, not necessarily. A lot of times… Nas has his downfall. For me, I just want to be remembered as Web and Edge, the two that came, saw, and conquered.
MVRemix: When can we expect the album [Heat Therapy] to drop? Edge: Ooooh, that's a really touchy subject.
Web: That's like a knife in my heart. Um, hopefully between April and June.
Edge: Realistically speaking…
2005? Edge: [laughs] No, no, no… I'd say between June and August, some time mid-year. Something like that.
Web: Make it even hotter than the summer is, you know.
Edge: But if someone wants to scoop us up and gives a deal like right now, it'll be out soon [laughs].
Web: [leaning into recorder] If you have a million dollars, call us!
Edge: Holler at us, please!
MVRemix: Alright last question: Anything you guys wanna say to current or prospective fans out there? Edge: Watch out for the man JayKin! He's comin' up in the game.
Web: Oh the Kid! Fans? We ain't gonna disappoint, man. We're here and we're doing this music for people to listen to it. I tell you this, anybody out there who listens, or reads, or however you're seein' this, man, if you want to get into this your whole heart, your whole life has to be in it.
Edge: It's not a weekend hobby.
Web: Yeah. It's not a hobby. This is the hardest, roughest, thing I've ever been through in my life. This is the biggest uphill battle I've had to deal with and uh, if you want to do this, you just gotta keep in mind that if you wanna be an emcee or a rapper of any sort you're fucking with cats like us who don't really have any other choice so basically do what you do but work your ass off. You can't look at it like there's always tomorrow, cuz in our world there is no tomorrow. If shit is gonna happen, it has to happen now, and if you don't do it now, it's never gonna get done. Edge?
Edge: What Web said [laughs]. Yeah man, take care of yourselves, be healthy. Much blessings.