Chief Kamachi - conducted by Bill "Low Key" Heinzelman  

Chief Kamachi

May 2005

If there is one thing the City of Brotherly love is known for in regards to Hip-Hop, its uncompromising street music. From the State Property crew, to Jedi Mind Tricks and Outerspace, Philly is a breeding ground for hardcore Hip-Hop. Chief Kamachi is no different, as the gruff voiced emcee epitomizes that early 90's boom bap feel. After paying his dues in the underground scene for years by appearing on various 12-inch singles, the The Army Of The Pharaohs member finally released his debut album Cult Status in 2004. The album was easily one of the year's most slept on LP's, as the album's intense energy and unique flare made it the debut we all hoped for. Now a year later Chief Kamachi is back with the JuJu Mob for their debut Black Candles. Just like Cult Status, Black Candles relies on the same fierce energy and take no shit approach. MVRemix tracked down Kamachi to talk about Black Candles, as well as Cult Status.

MVRemix: What was it like growing up in Philly over the years?

Chief: Growing up in Philly its pretty much do or die, there's no middle ground. You either make something happen, or I'll be stepping over you on my way to the top. That's the mentality here, no unity here whatsoever.

MVRemix: What is your first memory of Hip Hop?

Chief: I was born into Hip Hop, I knew the lyrics to "Sucker Mc's" when I was 7, and had already won a breakin' contest by the age of 5. After I saw Krush Groove, it was basically over.

MVRemix: What was that one album you constantly listened to growing up?

Chief: There are too many to name, but I studied all the legends. I made it my business to master every style of Hip Hop, from the streets to the geeks. I can do it all, and people up to this point, haven't really heard Chief Kamachi, all they have heard is one percent of my ability as an artist.

MVRemix: How did you first get into rapping?

Chief: I have been writing rhymes since I was 9. My teachers thought I was crazy because of my content. O was talking about Lucifer, and all that religious shit in grade school. I won my first rap contest when I was ten, and I haven't stopped since then.

MVRemix: How did you start to make a name for yourself locally, and eventually branch out even more?

Chief: DJ Drama from Atlanta, well he's originally from Philly, but I was on his first mixtape ever, and the song I did on the tape got me buzzin' through the city. I had did a song with Maylays Sparks called "Unusual Styles", and it became a big record in the underground. But my first official single was "The meaning" feat AG, and "Nile Nutrition" with Last Emperor. Those records helped me get in position, plus I won the first Braggin' Rights battle against Virtuoso in Philly. And then I got with Vinny Paz and did the first Army of the Pharaohs record, and Violent By Design.

MVRemix: Before Cult Status, you were known for all your 12 inches. So was it frustrating waiting all that time for your album to drop?

Chief: When you listen to Cult Status, you can easily hear I was snapping. After a certain point I wanted to see if the mic would explode, that's how I felt holding in all that material. Some of that shit I wrote 12 years ago, it was just a relief to get it off my chest.

MVRemix: Lets talk about Cult Status. Personally, I felt it was the most overlooked album of last year. So were you happy on how the album was received and promoted?

Chief: As far as starting with a new company from scratch, I think we did a very efficient job at getting the word out, and its just getting bigger and bigger. We got the response we were looking for, and that's was for cats to take notice. Cult Status is forever.

MVRemix: EC Records was one of the most dominant underground labels 3 or 4 years ago, but now they have slowed down. Do you agree and if so, what would you attribute to that? I spoke to Tame One and he agreed and said it was due their distribution problems.

Chief: Nothing lasts forever, and everybody has to step down at one point. Its the law of cycles, but they are coming back.

MVRemix: One of my favorite tracks on Cult Status was "Still Searching". On that track you state, "I'm starting to think that the church is stealing my gravy. Is it so? Cause if it is, than me and you need to rap. Because I wasted all these years, and for you, fucking up a little child's head like that". Can you talk about that a little more in depth? Are you a religious person? Do you feel the religious system/church is corrupt or brainwashing people?

Chief: I am a student of the occult, and I wrote "Still Searching" to blast the church. I spent years following that bullshit, and when you start looking for answers outside of yourself, you are already lost. A lot of brothers feel this way but I expressed it. When your prayers are not getting answered what do you do? I said fuck it and made something happen for myself. I answered my own prayers.

MVRemix: Lets talk about your new album with The JuJu Mob Black Candles. What is the personal significance behind the title Black Candles?

Chief: The black candle is usually the last one to get burned, after the rest of the candles are gone.

MVRemix: For those who don't know, who does the JuJu Mob consist of? How did you hook up with everybody?

Chief: The JuJu Mob consists of Reef, Charon Don, and State Store. They all have solo projects on the way, as well. Reef is starting it off in September with his album "Feast or Famine". My prediction is that he will be in your top ten in less than 6 months, and Good Hands will be godfathering the next wave of indie Hip Hop!

MVRemix: How would you say this album differs from Cult Status?

Chief: Black Candles is a easier listen than Cult Status. Cult Status is me just in a zone, and if you couldn't get in that same zone than you couldn't appreciate it. You have to actually get high, get the lyrics sheets, and listen to Cult Status, and u still might not get it. You get a better grasp on Black Candles. Its just straight up front, not a lot of puzzles!

MVRemix: Who is doing the production?

Chief: Production on Black Candles came from, Edan, DJ Huggy, Mighty Mi, J-Duce, Dev Rocka, Diesel, and Eyego. It's pretty much the same team from Cult Status.

MVRemix: What is your relationship with Good Hands Records like and how did you hook up with them?

Chief: I'm dropping my second album in less than 11 months, so I think its a very good relationship! We are getting the job done, plain and simple, no talk just execution. We met thru a mutual friend, and talked about one single, but it turned into two albums.

MVRemix: What has been the biggest headache you have had to deal with in this Hip Hop game?

Chief: Getting paid! I think that's the million dollar answer for every artist.

MVRemix: What do you think about underground Hip Hop right now?

Chief: Underground Hip Hop is out of control, its the land of the lost!! I consider myself a rock star. I'm like Fela Hendrix now, that's where I'm headed next, fuck these underground dudes. They think they on some shit cause they selling 30,000 records, but Jay-Z got 30,000 people in Madison square garden, you do the math. We're virtually invisible, except on the net, and in peoples imagination. When people have your fan base all at one show, you need to humble your self, or get the fuck out the game. Cult Status ain't going platinum and I don't expect it to. And I'm not a hater either, that scientifical rap shit ain't never been big!

MVRemix: What is your main career goal?

Chief: My main career goal is to keep breathing, so I can enjoy my career.

MVRemix: What else do you have going on in the future?

Chief: New Chief Kamachi album, and a new JuJu Mob album, amongst other Surprises.

MVRemix: Any last words, shout outs, or plugs?

Chief: I'm still here!! No matter what, my name is always in the game, and when I drop my next album its a done deal. Time is up, and I'm coming for the crown! I had fun with these guys on the underground, but I must make my exodus to the top! I've been playing possum, but soon the real gorilla will emerge!

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"...when you start looking for answers outside of yourself, you are already lost. A lot of brothers feel this way but I expressed it. When your prayers are not getting answered what do you do?"