MVRemix: I heard it was your birthday last night, is that true or is that just a rumour?
Rhymefest: No, it is true that George Bush and I share the same birthday. But hopefully we won't get attacked at the same time... North Korea won't mix it up and come after me, thinking I'm him.
MVRemix: It was the Dali Lama's birthday yesterday too...
Rhymefest: I know, and I think and I'm not sure - but I know that 50 Cent is a Cancer and I think that it was his birthday too.
MVRemix: That's a powerful starting four...
Rhymefest: That's a starting line up [chuckles]
MVRemix: Lets talk about the music a little bit. You dropped an indie album a couple of years ago... I think in 2001. But your major label debut "Blue Collar" comes out on Tuesday. What does it feel like to be on the eve, so to speak, of this release?
Rhymefest: Let me tell you somethin', I been signed to J Records for two years and my manager, I kind of forgot about how it feels to be trying to get a record deal 'cause I've had one for a minute, I've been working on my music and this album for a minute. So I asked my manager, I said, "Yo, how hard is it now to get a new record deal if you're a new artist?" He said, "Well out of 100%, only 10% will ever get a major deal." He said, "Out of that 10%, only 5% of those will put an actual record out." And I started thinkin' about all the artists in Chicago with deals that can't even put an album out... He said, "Out of that 5%, only 2% will ever be successful." And I just thought, "Well, damn! I'm in the top 5% startin' Tuesday!" So now all I'm thinkin' is how can I get in that top 2% and that's where we're goin'.
MVRemix: How long have you been working on material specifically for this album?
Rhymefest: Man, I been workin' on this all my life. I mean it's a culmination of my life's experiences. It's a culmination of everything it took for me to get to this place; the work and the struggle. That's why I called it "Blue Collar," 'cause this is a documentary of struggle. But, as far as these songs are concerned; Mark Ronson and I worked on these songs for about a year.
MVRemix: I know you've got a tonne of songs, but I noticed a joint called "L.S.D." featuring Carl Thomas is not on the final tracklisting. How did you decide which songs to cut?
Rhymefest: Well, the "L.S.D." joint is crazy, but it's similar to a joint on the album called "Sister." So what I did with the "L.S.D." song was I put on the "Plug City" mixtape. My mixtape was different because you're not getting me rapping over everybody else's beats; you're getting a lot of original songs. I've got songs where I play what if your favourite rappers battled each other, I play Ghostface, 50 [Cent], KRS One, Nelly goin' at each other... I got songs like "My Producer" disses, dissing all the producers who charged me too much for beats...
MVRemix: Like which producers?
Rhymefest: I can do the rap... [starts rapping] "Tell Pharell go to hell / Tell Chad he can stay in the pad / His brother's chargin' an arm and a leg / Makin' me lose my head, I made my own track instead / These are overrated ass bitches tryin' to buy they all / I can sell a few tracks, I could buy my home / Producers ain't real when you get your deal in / They give your ass a bill and it's 80 billion! / Dog, that'll hurt your feelings! / I ain't stupid, I gotta recoup that! / All you did was chop it and loop that / I wrote the rap, how you produce that? / Scott Storch, I ain't feelin' him / I'd rather rap and make beats like Eminem / Like I was a black Eminem, look at him, it's Bleminem / Yes, Rhymefest again / Oh hey Kanye, hey Cool & Dre / I love that track but I can't pay / I'll have to put some down on lay away / What the hell ain't Rhymefest signed to J [Records]? / Hey, don't talk about my business / On these streets go get these beats and I won't have to up my piece / Blauw! Your brains out in these streets / I know this dough is how we eat but when they cheat, man, I can't sleep / And I won't make a promise that I can't keep / Look man he broke, nah dog, he cheap / Well maybe I am, but you a scam / I'll do my own track bitch, this my jam"
MVRemix: That's crazy man, are there gonna be any additional volumes of the mixtape like "Plug City" volume two or something?
Rhymefest: "Plug City" is the name of my crew, so all the new mixtapes you're gonna get are gonna be Rhymefest, Plug City and whatever the title of the mixtape is. Plug City is something that we're doing that no matter where you're at, what city, what state you're in - if you're serious about business... We're not just looking for rappers, we're looking for radio disc jockeys, producers, DJ's. We're trying to say, "Look, we can all be plugged together and we can all help each other in all our different markets." Because I've been experiencing certain DJ's in certain cities, wanting you to pay them to play your record. That shouldn't be like that. That should be like in Chicago, in my city, you've got DJ's who be like, "Rhymefest, we'll play you but can you give us 2G's to do your mixtape?" I'm like, "Hell nah!" I think about my people in Seattle or DJ Hyphen playing us for free... 'cause they love music, 'cause they about Hip Hop. I'm sayin' if all these people are like minded, we can all be plugged and we don't have to go through these fake dudes. If anybody wants to know about Plug City, they can hit me up on my MySpace...
MVRemix: I was gonna say this sounds like a MySpace ad - get all connected. Cut out the middle man... no labels...
Rhymefest: [chuckles] No, no, you get the thing - "Join Rhymefest and Plug City Group." But nah, it's real biz, it's serious, and we've got a lot of brothers already in it. Not rappers but my manager, who's one of the top black attorneys in the country, Matt Middleton is a member of Plug City. We have a store owner who owns his own line of clothes, Jeff, he owns his own line of clothes called Plot. He's in Plug City. We have a videographer, we have an author, so this isn't just a rap thing - this is a "We gon' take over type of thing..."
MVRemix: Speaking of over hyped and over-priced producers, who are some producers on the record?
Rhymefest: You're like [chuckling], you're so hilarious, G. Speakin' of overpriced, how much your record cost?
MVRemix: Who are some of the producers that submitted invoices?
Rhymefest: Amazingly, some of the producers I named in my song. You got Kanye, Just Blaze, Cool & Dre, No I.D., Mark Ronson and an up and coming producer duo named Animal House who produced the record that I heard you played called "Stick."
MVRemix: So talkin' about "Stick," I know for a minute "Fever" was gonna be the current single. I know you had a video for it and everything, did you feel you had to compromise yourself when you made that choice? What's the deal with that track?
Rhymefest: Anything I make, I never feel compromised. Number one, the song comes from me, I write my own raps - nobody writes them for me. But I tell you what, when I made "Fever" and I made "Stick" and I gave it to the DJ's, "Fever" got nine spins, "Stick" got fifty - in a week.
Lâ€™Orange and Stik Figa â€“ The City Under The City album review
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MVRemix Urban | Online Hip Hop Magazine | US and Canadian Underground Hip Hop - exclusive interviews, reviews, articles