Cormega conducted by Hugo Lunny  

Cormega Interview


Cormega started out with notoriety rolling with Nas and being spoken about on the classic album, "Illmatic." After being released from prison, Cormega signed with Def Jam and briefly joined the rap group The Firm. Def Jam didn't seem to support Mega properly and his album was delayed a number of times to the point where it was never released with him and Def Jam parting ways. Also, a rivalry with Nas had Mega leave the firm.

Since then, he has established himself securely as one of Queensbridge's biggest talents. Many 12"s, mixtape and guest appearances, as well as White Labels helped solidify Mega's reputation and two solo albums later, Cormega owns his own label. Later in 2003, he will release a compilation and in 2004, his third album "Urban Legend."

MVRemix: Tell me about Legal Hustle, the label.

Cormega: Legal Hustle is basically my label. It's just the streets manifested on wax. That's basically what it is. I use the same principles that I use on the streets to do certain positives.

MVRemix: Do you feel that being your own boss is better than say, having the support of a major label like you did with Def Jam?

Cormega: I don't feel that being affiliated with a major is something that's a necessity for me right now in order to be successful. Because right now, it seems that major label's are having a hard time distinguishing rap from Hip Hop. And promoting Hip Hop as such. So, with the recent decline in sales, and with the recent closure of a lot of labels. And, the recent decline in the artistic value of music. I feel more fortunate being able to do it independently.

MVRemix: Kind of following on from that, with the track "American Beauty" (where Hip Hop is described as a woman with failed potential), do you feel the genre has the potential to regain what you say it once was destined to have?

Cormega: I don't know. Right now it's so hard to say. In order for change... change is caused by effects. It's not like a lot of artists are taking back the initiative to bring back "real" Hip Hop. You've got a lot of artists that are selling out, and a lot of my heroes. A lot of them aren't being appreciated like they should be. PMD recently came out. Freddie Foxxx, Main Source, Large Professor, Craig G... these are artists. A lot of these artists released shit recently and didn't receive the notoriety that they should have. I think a lot of artists nowadays are scared of failure. That fear of failure is making them seek something else, to seek those bad intended goals such as making those radio songs etc. etc. As long as that keeps happening, then the song "American Beauty" will have the same meaning it had when I first put it out.

MVRemix: Do you feel that there are any artists in the mainstream right now that are doing the opposite of that? That are putting forth positivity and creativity within the genre or not...

Cormega: The only artists that I feel tried to push the envelope recently and tried to bring it back was Nas. And Scarface has stayed consistent for what he's been loved for, for the past ten years. Those two artists. But everybody else in the mainstream has a flow-orientated style. It's like everybody is trying to be like Jay-Z.

MVRemix: Though I wasn't actually going to touch on the subject of Nas. I was actually trying to have the first Mega interview where he wasn't mentioned. Seeing as you brought him up, what's the situation between you two now...

Cormega: [interrupting and laughing] We're not gonna mention it! I just gave him a compliment for his music. That's it.

MVRemix: Aside from the Craig G's, Freddie Foxxx's and PMD's of this world. What other influences have shaped you and your perspective on life? Maybe movies or books...

Cormega: Nothing influenced my life as far as life influences. My life isn't based on movies or fiction, it's based on reality. A lot of the best ways for me to express my feelings is through writing. I'm not a very vocal person. My best form of expression is when I write.

MVRemix: The DVD that you have coming out from excerpts has been labelled as a "Day In The Life." Now various artists around your level, like Killah Priest and Inspectah Deck have come out with similar DVD's. What is it that you think is appealing about your day to day life more so than the average person?

Cormega: I just don't know. Every human being is their own universe. Everybody has their own mechanisms and things that attract people. But I can guarantee, and you can quote me on this. There will be things on this DVD that have never been seen before. I didn't do my DVD overnight like a lot of people because DVD's are hot now. I'm not doing my DVD because it's fashionable to, or because this artist had a DVD with his album and his album sold. I'm doing a DVD because this is something I wanted to do and I've been working on it for close to a year. It's gonna be interesting.

MVRemix: What's going on with regards to the Ayatollah EP you were working on?

Cormega: The Ayatollah EP actually, I've put on hold. I'm working more aggressively on the Cormega album and on this mixtape album ("Cormega Presents Legal Hustle"). Whenever we finish the Ayatollah album is a whenever, whenever situation. I'm putting all my energy into my album and the "Legal Hustle Mixtape," which will be dropping very soon.

MVRemix: What can you tell me about those releases?

Cormega: The production on "Urban Legend" (Cormega's forthcoming album) will rival that of the last two. I brought back Emile, the guy who did the introduction for my last album. I've also brought new producers and I'm also working with J. Garfield again. The reason this album is gonna be so dope is "The True Meaning," was a good album with its own identity. And, "The Realness" was a good album in its own entity and it had its own identity. This album, I have producers from both of those. Whoever didn't appear on one but did on the other is on this album. Like Big Tai, J Supreme - I'm mixing. It's like a combination of both.

MVRemix: Tell me a little about Donà (Legal Hustle's first signing) and what's going on with the label in regards to signed artists...

Cormega: Donà is hard for me to explain. Donà lives in Brownsville in Howards projects. It's one of the grimiest projects, way grimier than Queensbridge. Her introspective on life and the ways she expresses her views are incredible for a woman. When you hear her... I'd never heard anything like her. The last thing I heard that even resembled her was Foxy in her earlier stages of her career. The way she rhymes is like a hunger that hasn't been seen in rap for quite some time. Especially not these days. Then, the thing that makes her more intriguing is she's beautiful.

MVRemix: Not bad at all. If you could resurrect an artist that has passed, who would it be and why?

Cormega: Oh my god. That's too much of a responsibility, too big of a question. To resurrect one person would be unfair. If I could work with some of the artists that are no longer living. First and foremost would be Marvin Gaye, because he was an incredible person. I would want to conversate with him. I'd love to work with John Lennon, and conversate with him. The same with Bob Marley. Then Biggie and Pac of course.

MVRemix: Any last words or comments?

Cormega: I would just like to say to "Prepare for real Hip Hop." Because that's what I'm about to bring. "Urban Legend" is gonna be a defining moment in my career.

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