MVRemix: Do you think that success and credibility are mutually exclusive?
Kazé: Yes. I think that is definitely true. Whether it is real or not, the actuality of it is, you start out and build your fan base from the underground. You battle, do your thing, and people love you because you are this new and unheard artist who is all their own. They found a new cat that nobody else knows about. You get more popular and then, you are hot. Sure, you’re dope in the first place, but once you get to a level, like Kanye or Eminem, old fans may not like you now. You may fall off. At the same time, fans are entitled to this. Artists get disassociated from the environment that made them. It’s different when you are starving to death in 8 Mile and writing raps than living in an $8 million penthouse and writing a rap.
MVRemix: True. 50 Cent didn’t die, but he did get rich.
Kazé: (Laughs) That’s real! He didn’t die, so he got rich. That’s real, Todd. I know a lot of the cats who are holding the torch for me now. Those are the lyrical cats who like the boom-bap on that level. Now, I’m into boom-bap, but I’m not trying to please anybody. I want to do what I want to do. I don’t know how cats take it when I put it out. I hope cats rock with me regardless. I’m underground right now. I’m broke and underground right now! I’m going to always have that mentality. I want my records to be raw.
MVRemix: Although racism is a major problem in America, racism is much different in the Southern states. How different is the racism in North Carolina?
Kazé: What lends to it more, is the history here. There are actual things that are going on and that were going on here. In the town I live in, there were people who were lynched. My mother and father went to segregated schools. I think there is a lot to the history down here. I’m not going to say that it’s the ‘Heat Of The Night’ out here. It’s an unsaid thing, but it is in your face. It happens when you try to go to certain clubs or other places outside of where you work or go to school. That’s only because of life integrated. Churches are not integrated. Neighborhoods aren’t integrated either.
MVRemix: Word association. When I say a name, you say the first word that pops into your head. So, if I said ‘Public Enemy’, you may say, ‘Revolution’ or ‘Fight The Power’.
MVRemix: Flava Flav.
Kazé: Legendary. That’s the first thing you heard from PE. You wouldn’t even sit there and listen to Chuck D if there wasn’t this crazy bastard running around going, ‘Yeah!’. Flava caught my eye at first. Then, Chuck D’s words got in the way.
MVRemix: Phonte of Little Brother.
Kazé: The future.
MVRemix: 9th Wonder.
MVRemix: C Rayz Walz.
MVRemix: Del The Funky Homosapien.
MVRemix: Pharoahe Monch.
MVRemix: Wu-Tang Clan.
MVRemix: Edgar Allen Floe.
Kazé: My homie.
MVRemix: George Bush.
MVRemix: What is hip-hop lacking these days?
Kazé: Honesty. A balance is needed right now. I’m not an art snob or musically arrogant. A lot of cats don’t want both sides. There are underground cats who don’t want to fuck with what they think is mainstream or commercial bullshit. Mainstream cats don’t want to fuck with what they think is backpack bullshit. What they need is the yin & the yang, the pendulum. I need an authentic story to the right of me and I need an authentic story to the left of me. Right now, we need balance. Back then, you could have N.W.A. out at the same time De La Soul was out. We don’t have that balance now. I see it a little bit. It’s trying to make it’s way back.