Journalist conducted by Hugo Lunny  

Journalist Interview

May 2002

These are the transcripts of an interview with Journalist. The interview was conducted by Hugo Lunny on May 22nd, 2002. Journalist is best known for his work with Canibus. He recently released his debut album; 'Scribes Of Life' on Motown Records.

MVRemix: How did you begin?

Journalist: In ' mean as a rapper?

MVRemix: Haha, yeah.

Journalist: In '89, '88 - the Krush Groove era. Lookin' at the rappers, it caught my attention. I just wanted to be in the game, to have the fame, the women. That's what caught my attention and made me want to start.

MVRemix: Now, although those that have heard 'Dialogue' from your album will be familiar with the answer to this question, others aren't, so...why the name Journalist?

Journalist: It was given to me by a cousin. He gave me the name "Mad Journalist" at first, but I didn't really like that. I just took the "Journalist" part of it because it kind of explained me as an artist too. Basically telling my story - how it is. If I'm not mistaken that's what journalists do. So, I ran with that.

MVRemix: Who do you look up to within the talented Philadelphia scene? Who would you most like to work with, within the Philly scene?

Journalist: I like everything that's coming out of Philly right now, everybody that's getting they break out. I did some stuff in Philly that was played locally with Beanie Sigel and Major Figgaz. Me and Tariq were meant to do some stuff for his album, but we didn't really get the chance to do it. I like all of them, I wouldn't really mind working with none of them.

MVRemix: What's the situation with Canibus and yourself? Why wasn't he on the album, and why weren't you on his last etc.? What's the current standing between the two of you?

Journalist: I feel that the respect is still there. We've both got mutual respect for each other, but, it's just the timing wasn't there. He'd been doing his thing, I'd been doing mine. The reason that we don't hang like we used to is a situation that probably just went crazy. People that he was working with, people I was working with weren't getting along so that kind of drew us apart. But, I spoke to him a while ago and everything is still cool. He was supposed to come do a jawn for this album, but the timing was crazy.

MVRemix: Are there any concrete plans to do any collaborative work in the future?

Journalist: Yep, I'm gonna reach out to him and probably get him on the next one.

MVRemix: Who do you think has influenced you the most in the musical scene?

Journalist: I'd have to say Nas. I think Nas definitely influenced me, he's one of the reasons that when I took a gap in the game - when I heard 'Illmatic,' he drew me back in.

MVRemix: I'm taking it that you were on Nas' side in the Nas vs Jay-Z battle...

Journalist: Nah...

MVRemix: You're not?

Journalist: I'm not taking sides. I like both them dudes, I feel that Nas definitely won the battle. As far as song for song, but I respect both of them as artists. I've not really taken sides.

MVRemix: What was the first mixtape you were featured on and which DJ do you think has shown you the most love?

Journalist: The first mixtape, that was really a big hit for me was DJ Clue's 'The Great Ones: Pt. 1.' I feel the DJ that has shown me the most love was a DJ based out of Philly and New Jersey, Lazy K, DJ Wreck. I really haven't touched Clue and Kay Slay, Stretch and Absolut. I ain't really touched them since the first time.

MVRemix: If you could see any battle take place who would it be between and why ? Past or present.

Journalist: If I could see a battle go on?

MVRemix: Yeah. For example, right now there's Dre vs JD. KRS vs Nelly etc. who would you like to witness go at it?

Journalist: The truth is that the battling thing to me is nice, but I don't really co-sign in it. They do what they do. Even though battling was a part of the game, after the Biggie and 'Pac thing - it's like "Yo, just do your thing." Don't start a war unless war is brought to you. I wouldn't want to sit here and say "I'd like to see this rapper battle that rapper" because I know sometimes it can get out of hand. Unless a battle is brought to me, I don't co-sign a battle.

MVRemix: How did you hook up with M.O.P.?

Journalist: Through a friend, she works with Crazy World entertainment and I told her I needed M.O.P. on my album. She got the numbers for me, got us to meet, we met and got it down. That was one of the biggest records for me because it featured M.O.P. It was one of the most exciting records. If I didn't have any more artists featured on the album, that's who I definitely wanted to get.

MVRemix: Due to the abundance of material around, why should I come and pick up a Journalist record? What makes your material worth my money?

Journalist: To know that you're gonna get lyrics. If you're looking for lyrics, you're definitely gonna get them. Definitely gonna get some nice production, and you're gonna get originality. Those three things I think you're definitely gonna get on any of my albums.

MVRemix: How do you come up with your concepts? Are they provoked by situations, moods...what?

Journalist: Situations and moods are definitely a part, but there's more than just that. For instance, if a producer came in with a track right now, and that track talked to me. Then I've got to talk back to it. There are times where I'm sitting, listening to a track and a situation automatically comes to mind. Like that beat was made for me. A lot of times it lies upon the producers that bring me the beats. Also I may be in a certain mood, I want to just put a song down and then look for a beat later.

MVRemix: Tell me about 'Scribes Of Life.'

Journalist: It's me. On that whole album, it's me. It's me telling you more than what you think you already know. It's like you hear me on mixtapes get it down. What can that cat make, what can that cat talk about. And that album is definitely giving you that. It gives you me putting my life in song format, with the scribes, I bring forth the writings of my life.

MVRemix: What have you completed that has yet to be released and what are you currently working on?

Journalist: Right now I've got a lot of unreleased songs that I've recorded, that are probably gonna come out on the next album. But the next single I want to bring across, I want to let the listeners hear the album, get it out there more before I make a decision. I want them to know. I made a whole album that I feel I want to listen to, and I want to get the listeners involved. And for that next single, I want to hear from as many people on the outside which they liked the most, and go with that. So there's a couple of songs on there that I'ma bring forth.

MVRemix: What do you forsee occurring in the next year for Journalist?

Journalist: I see a lot of people waking up to what I'm trying to do. Especially on the next album.

MVRemix: Do you have any last words you'd like to put to your fans and potential fans?

Journalist: Yeah, definitely, I'd like to say thanks for checking me, thanks for checking on this. Keep holdin' me down, I'ma keep holdin' you down. For those who don't know, just go get the album. Study it, sleep with it, just be a part of it. Be a part of Journalist.

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