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One.Be.Lo - conducted by Todd E. Jones  

The Birth Of One.Be.Lo

March 2005

MVRemix: What was the transition like from being in prison to finally being free?

ONE.BE.LO: I spent my whole time looking at dates on a calendar. I was reading, planning, and plotting. It is scary because I was approaching this date, which was the moment of truth. It was the date I was waiting for. By then, there is this mindframe where it is easy to sit behind bars and make excuses. Now, it is time to put plans into action. I put a lot of pressure on myself. It was all me. The one thing that helped me out was becoming a Muslim and believing in God. If I have God on my side and supporting me, thatís all I need. I didnít come home with the mentality that I needed a record label and I needed a manager. I had to do this because I have a talent that God gave me and I donít want to miss out. Nobody can stop me. If God canít stop me, nobody can.

MVRemix: Has being a Muslim changed your approach to music?

ONE.BE.LO: Definitely, man. I went through different stages. I recently took a trip to Mecca. It was 5 weeks. I used to just be a creative, lyrical emcee. I just wanted to say the illest thing I could think of. I was all about metaphors and punch lines. Now, I love the Binary Star album. Even though there was some substance, people focused on the punch lines. To me, ĎS.O.N.O.G.R.A.M.í has dope punch lines but there are intense themes and true soulfulness to it. There is more substance to it. Iím trying to inspire people. Hip-hop was the big brother I never had or the father that didnít teach me. I learned about Malcolm X through being positive in hip-hop. I learned about being an entrepreneur and being independent through hip-hop. I didnít take classes.

MVRemix: What producers would you like to work with in the future?

ONE.BE.LO: The only people I could think of are Pete Rock and DJ Premier. Large Professor here and Diamond D there. I would go crazy if I could do tracks with Ali Shaheed Mohammed of Tribe Called Quest.

MVRemix: Which is the better album by A Tribe Called Quest? ĎThe Low End Theoryí or ĎMidnight Maraudersí?

ONE.BE.LO: Thatís hard, man. I have to say ĎThe Low End Theoryí. On every song, Q-Tip had a different rhyme style. As much of a classic that ĎLow End Theoryí was, we didnít think that they could do better and they achieved that with ĎMidnight Maraudersí. Thatís why ĎMidnight Maraudersí is a classic too. They did what the average group could not do. They made another classic album after they made a classic album.

MVRemix: What artists would you like to work with in the future?

ONE.BE.LO: I would love to do something with Krs-One. I donít really want to work with anybody. If I work with someone, I want to work with the best. I would like to do work with Nas. I would like to do a joint with Pharoahe Monch or CL Smooth.

MVRemix: What do you think of Nasís new album ĎStreet Discipleí?

ONE.BE.LO: I think itís alright. Iím an emcee. I appreciate those lyrics over wack ass beats. Iím not saying his beats are wack. Iím just more into lyrics than into production. Thatís why I canít f*ck with somebody like Group Home. They have classic production by Premier but the lyrics arenít there. Personally, I had issues with Nas, as a fan with ĎNastradamusí but I like the direction heís going in now. I still like whatís good. Michael Jordan is still Michael Jordan. Heís not slamming anymore but heís still one of the greatest basketball players that ever lived. Thatís how I look at Cube, Q-Tip, Nas, and others.

MVRemix: What was the last incident of racism you experienced?

ONE.BE.LO: I was in a restaurant. I was talking on my cell phone and they ignored me the whole time. Their excuse was that I was on the phone but they didnít bring me water or even a napkin. When I approached them, they said I was being rude because I was on my cell phone. There is another time too. I was on a road trip this one time and we stopped at a gas station. When I was standing in line to pay for the gas, I see somebody getting out of their car, get inside our car, and start driving our car and pulling it out. I go outside and there was this old white dude in our car. He couldnít wait so he got in our car and pulled it off to the side. This was flat out reverse racism. If I opened up somebodyís car door and got inside, they would call the police and the police would either arrest us or beat us. The only thing saving this dude was that he was like 70 years old. To me, it was more of an incident of indirect racism. I was so pissed off that I told my friend to handle it because I knew that I would say the wrong thing. If I did that sh*t, nobody would have laughed.

MVRemix: Word association time. Iím going to say a name of a group/emcee and you say the first word that pops in your head. So, if I say ĎChuck Dí, you may say ĎRevolutioní. Okay?

ONE.BE.LO: Okay.

MVRemix: Nas.

ONE.BE.LO: Chipped tooth.

MVRemix: Xzibit.

ONE.BE.LO: Corn rows.

MVRemix: The Roots.

ONE.BE.LO: Malik B.

MVRemix: Pete Rock.

ONE.BE.LO: Top spot.

MVRemix: Slum Village.

ONE.BE.LO: Jay Dee.

MVRemix: George Bush.

ONE.BE.LO: The devilís advocate.

MVRemix: Why did you choose the producers you used on ĎS.O.N.O.G.R.A.M.í?

ONE.BE.LO: Itís just me and my crew. They are just the cats that I used with all of my sh*t. I worked with Decompoze because we have a history and chemistry together. Weíre not the best producers in the world or the best emcees in the world, but when that sh*t comes together, it comes together the way I like it. I want people to know that Trackazoid have beats. I was feeling the beats. Some people donít know this but some of the beats on the album are older than the beats on the Binary Star album. Iím putting out 1999 sh*t that is being put out with 2005 sh*t.

MVRemix: Do you go into the studio with pre-written lyrics and themes, or do you hear the beat first and write the lyrics, then and there?

ONE.BE.LO: There ainít no one way to do it. Sometimes, I write a rhyme to the beat and sometimes, I write the rhyme first. I prefer to write the rhyme to the beat and match it to the beat. Most importantly, I have to ride the beat like ainít nobody else riding the beat. You can change the fluctuation of pre-written lyrics, but I have to do it when the inspiration comes. I may listen to the radio and write to a Lil Jon track because that is what Iím feeling at the moment. I know that I wonít rhyme to that beat though.

MVRemix: What is in the future for One.Be.Lo?

ONE.BE.LO: Good music. I may be solo or with a crew. Iím just trying to make good music and get my spot in this world called hip-hop. Iím trying to make an impact. However big or small, Iíll make an impact.

MVRemix: Any final words for the people who are reading this?

ONE.BE.LO: Check out and get with the movement! Iím trying to do something that is bigger than me. I could be king but I want to bring a dynasty to the table. If you have a chance to see us live, thatís a whole other story. Try to see us live and you can find out what we rock about. Peace.

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"I think itís alright. Iím an emcee. I appreciate those lyrics over wack ass beats. Iím not saying his beats are wack. Iím just more into lyrics than into production. Thatís why I canít f*ck with somebody like Group Home. They have classic production by Premier but..."