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Prodigal Sunn - conducted by Todd E. Jones  

Prodigal Sunn Returns To His Hip-Hop Home

August 2005

Every family has a son who leaves home and embarks on a dark journey. Some boys never find redemption while they wonder the modern concrete jungle. Others return as wiser, respectful grown men. In the expansive family of music, many of our sons have become lost within obscurity after they leaving music for the chase. They chase acting careers, drugs, quick money, or solutions to their burdensome problems. One of hip-hop’s many children, Prodigal Sunn began this enigmatic journey with good intentions. He has now returned from a journey through the vast wasteland of the entertainment industry. Weathered from the stormy industry, he sailed home from his odyssey with the gifts of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding within his music. Within the minds of some fans, one question remains. Will his musical family welcome him home with open arms?

In the family of music, The Wu-Tan Clan has an inestimable amount of offspring, cousins, uncles, etc. Originally an affiliate group of the prodigious Wu-Tang Clan, The Sunz Of Man was categorized as close cousins. The Sunz consisted of Prodigal Sunn, Hell Razah, 60 Second Assassin, and Killah Priest. Released by Red Ant & BMG, “The Last Shall Be First” was their slept-on debut album which earned respect by true Wu-Tang fans. The Wyclef produced single, “Shining Star” featured Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Earth, Wind & Fire. The song possessed deeply hardcore lyrics over a catchy beat and the classic Earth, Wind, & Fire chorus. Other tracks like “Cold”, “Flaming Swords”, “Next Up”, and “The Plan” formed their signature sound of exuberant spirituality over gritty yet cinematic production. Killah Priest devastated the group’s fans by pursuing a solo career. Priest’s debut LP, “Heavy Mental” appeased some fans but confused others. Throughout the years, Priest continued to release albums solo albums but never officially returned to the group. “Freedom of Speech” (Cleopatra Records) was presented by Hell Razah & 4th Disciple. Cleopatra Records also put presented “Elements” (by Sunz Of Mann), a re-release of 1999's "The First Testament" LP. Hell Razah and Killah Priest joined forces with Tragedy Khadafi and Timbo King to form Black Market Militia. The super-group’s self-titled album (on Nature Sounds) reminded fans of the intensity within the members of Sunz Of Man. While Killah Priest and Hell Razah were getting some limelight, the rest of Sunz Of Man were almost forgotten. D3 Entertainment released The Sunz Of Man’s sophomore “Saviorz Day” LP but little promotion and manufacturing problems stifled any hope of success. Sunn’s role as Executive Producer initiated him to the behind the scenes world of the music industry.

As years passed, Sunn did get some chances to shine. His first burst of light shined when he formed his own company, Godz Incorporated. Then, he produced and starred in cable’s most aired hip-hop documentary, “America’s Rap Stars”. He was first African-American male actors (let alone emcees) to appear on HBO’s “Sexy & The City”. Currently, he is producing a documentary about the illegal world of pit bull fights. Throughout the years of chasing the television and films, Sunn’s love of music prevailed. He contributed verses on various Wu-Tang collaborations. The final track on Ghostface Killah’s “Bulletproof Wallets”, “Street Chemistry” became a modern classic. “Whatever” (produced by Mathematics) was a shining moment on Masta Killa’s “No Said Date” LP (on Nature Sounds). The fans who depended on the signature Wu-Tang sound felt satisfied by the song’s power. Sunn’s other magnificent collaborations included, “Feel Like An Enemy” (from “Beneath The Surface” LP by Gza/Genius), “Protect Ya Neck II The Zoo” (from Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Return To The 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version”), and “The Whistle” (from Rza’s “The Birth Of A Prince” LP).

A true emcee will always return to the microphone. After a sinuous struggle within the entertainment industry, Sunn finally felt complete when he resumed his role as emcee. Like true brothers bounded by family, Prodigal Sunn and the mic resumed their relationship, as if they never endured a separation. Still is developing films / shows and receptive of acting opportunities, Prodigal Sunn remains a true lover of music. He hooked up with Free Agency Records to record his debut solo album, “The Return Of The Prodigal Sunn”. Soulful, gritty, honest, and intense, “The Return Of The Prodigal Sunn” LP showcases a different side of the emcee without abandoning his true fans. “In My Life”, “Soul Survivor”, and “Love Is Love” are emotionally rich songs overflowing with his passion for life. “Brutality” and “Manhunt” maintain a hardcore edge. The vivid wordplay in “Betrayal” exhibits Sunn’s astute storytelling abilities. The exuberant tracks, “Lovely Ladies” and “Sunshine” create a sense of balance within the album. The album’s guests include 60 Second Assassin, Madame Dee, C.C.F. Division, 12 O’clock, Free Murder, Yung Masta, and others. Production is handled by The Rza, B. Original, K Beats Kolossal, and Filf Rich. “The Return Of The Prodigal Sunn” truly marks the homecoming of a survivor with stories to tell and lessons to teach. Just as his collaborations shined with an intense charisma, this interview sparked his chilled and magnanimous personality. A cool atmosphere was created as mutual respect flowed within our conversation. From the temptation of stardom to industry problems, Sunn remained true to himself. Although he never completely abandoned music, the world of television and films pulled him away from his true love. The Prodigal Sunn shines with the warmth of redemption. Like a phoenix, he rose from the ashes of industry pitfalls. Finally, Prodigal Sunn has safely returned home from his odyssey throughout the dangerous land of entertainment. His hip-hop family has been waiting for him with open arms. Welcome home, brother!

MVRemix: What goes on?

Prodigal Sunn: Chilling, baby! I’ve been grinding, all day, everyday. I’m putting out this record. Interviews, T.V. shows, deals, soundtracks. Rhyming, baby!

MVRemix: Your debut solo album. ‘The Return Of The Prodigal Sunn’ was just released. Tell us about the LP.

Prodigal Sunn: ‘The Return Of The Prodigal Sunn’ is my own little masterpiece. That’s my little life, trials, and tribulations all in one little CD of 15 tracks. Each track speaks for itself. You have life. You have death. I’m a ‘Soul Survivor’ who is ‘Moving On Up’. You have ‘Procrastinators’ and ‘The Traitor’. That’s ‘Betrayal’. I stay ‘Campaigning’ because that’s what you have to do to eat. It’s a constant ‘Manhunt’. Then, you have to calm down. After the ‘Manhunt’, get some ‘Lovely Ladies’. The way the album is, every title connects. When you drive through Brooklyn, that’s all you see.

MVRemix: Who handled the production on ‘The Return Of The Prodigal Sunn’?

Prodigal Sunn: I’ve got production my Rza and J.Wells. I’ve got a couple of in-house producers from my newly formed company. I formed my own company called Godz Incorporated. I have B Original, K Beats, and Magnatta Productions. I have a guy named DJ Battle, who is out of France. He works for The Source magazine in France. I was on a tribute for Ol' Dirty. It was this mix-tape that was being put together. He told me that he did tracks. He sent me some music. It was all live. There is a live band out there. Track 2. It’s called ‘Soul Survivor’. Rza did ‘Lovely Ladies’ and ‘Brutality’. I did those tracks last. The other songs, I had.

MVRemix: What song on ‘The Return Of The Prodigal Sunn’ took you the longest to complete?

Prodigal Sunn: ‘Betrayal’. It was a story. It was written like a story, with the skit, the song, and the actual breakdown of what was going on. It’s about 2 cats who betrayed me and how you never know who to trust.

MVRemix: The song ‘Betrayal’ is dope. The first time I heard it, I caught someone in a lie and I was furious. Driving around, I was listening to the track. Not only did it help my anger but it gave me perspective on the situation of betrayal. Is ‘Betrayal’ a true story?

Prodigal Sunn: Fragments of it. For the most, it is. You know how things are written in parables? I wrote it in parables. There are pieces of all things in my life, in that rhyme. It happened. You know what I mean?

MVRemix: Do you have a favorite song on the album?

Prodigal Sunn: My favorite is ‘Soul Survivor’. I like that one. I like ‘Godz People’ too.

MVRemix: Besides it being a solo LP, how is ‘The Return Of The Prodigal Sunn’ different from the last 2 Sunz Of Man albums (‘The Last Shall Be First’ and ‘Saviorz Day’)?

Prodigal Sunn: It’s different because it’s coming from just me, P Sunn, The 4th chamber of the Sunz Of Man. The others had 4 pieces on the chess board. You have to limit your angels with a group. Now, it’s on me. All my creativity and energy is put in. I am the Executive Producer. I had to make sure everything went the right way.

MVRemix: You started Godz Inc. How did you get Godz Inc. started?

Prodigal Sunn: I started it from doing the knowledge of years and years in the industry as an artist. My brother, Rza was the executive from the gate. Wu-Tang! I analyzed and saw what it really was. All hustles are the same. It’s just a different route. I just applied the hustle that I already had. Throughout the years, I never took sh*t for granted. In the beginning, you do, but you learn that you can’t do it again. You can’t take sh*t for granted. The things you take for granted can be your downfall. You know what I mean?

MVRemix: Were you taken for granted back then?

Prodigal Sunn: I can really say that I was taken for granted. I trusted motherf*ckers. You know what I’m saying? Knowledge. I had knowledge. You have to really be on point. You have to have the knowledge. I’m happy because I’m glad I went through everything I went through. If it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today. I gained knowledge through the years from just being out there. I’m grateful that the opportunity came. Music.

MVRemix: Just the fact that you are still on the mic, shows that you are a survivor. Some people never come back. How did you do this?

Prodigal Sunn: I respect that. Thank you. Music is my art. You know what I mean? When I did it, I always did with me first. It’s real.

>>> continued...

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"My brother, Rza was the executive from the gate. Wu-Tang! I analyzed and saw what it really was. All hustles are the same. It’s just a different route. I just applied the hustle that I already had."