Rhymefest conducted by DJ Hyphen & J. Moore  

Rhymefest: Sunday Night Sound Session

July 2006

MVRemix: I think we gave "Fever" three of those nine.

Rhymefest: Whoa! You gave me three of those nine!

MVRemix: That's holding down a third man, right there.

Rhymefest: But you know, there's a bigger problem man. The bigger problem is this; people think Rhymefest, Lupe, Common - you know the rappers that can actually rap... They think we're supposed to be a-sexual. They think like, "Y'all can't rap about women. Y'all supposed to rap about rap"

MVRemix: I always thought that Slum Village was a perfect example of that, they're just too normal for the underground scene - I don't know if you know who Slum Village is...

Rhymefest: If you say that to me one more time! "I don't think you know who Slum Village is..."

MVRemix: Hey man, we get some of these MC's on "I ain't tryin' to rap - I'm just a hustler!"

Rhymefest: Don't play me like a moron.

MVRemix: Nah, we know you know...

Rhymefest: What was you sayin' about Slum Village?

MVRemix: People kind of forget that Slum Village is one of the most mysogynistic groups out there - nothin' wrong with that, I like a little mysogyny...

Rhymefest: They are misogynistic! They made a song about a threesome... Wanting to be with all types of girls and have threesomes...

MVRemix: People assume you have to have a radio/club single to catch listeners ears, but do you think that the average rap fan today is gonna be able to digest tracks such as "Devils Pie" or do they prefer the fantasy world that most Hip Hop and TV offers today? The hyper-sexed, ultra-violence...

Rhymefest: I think most of the problem in Hip Hop is that it is the underground versus the commercial. I think that this is a new phenomenon since Tupac, Jay-Z and Biggie and I'll give you an example; when you look at Big Pun, when you look at LL... When you look at anybody; Big Daddy Kane, everybody we love has always had a balance and this is the first time in Hip Hop where there has been no balance and we've taken sides. "I want conscious rap, I want this..." Or, "You a conscious rapper if you love Big Pun or Big L..." What are you talking about? Pun was ultra misogynistic, and successful! Sometimes I think that with underground, if we can't have an artist all to ourselves, if the rest of the world loves him - even if he's good, he can't be that good. There was a thing where the underground was like, "Well Jay-Z isn't that hot," whereas now we all know he really can rap, really good. Like one of the best rappers in the world. And so, my thing is we all need to get off that b.s. I'll give you an example, Geto Boys talent. "Day by day I feel it's hard to cope / I feel like I'm the one that's doing dope," when he said that I'm the dope dealer and everything, but I still feel like I'm the vulnerable one. The problem is that in commercial rap, there's no vulnerability, there's no balance. Even if you look at "Stick," whether you like the song or not - I'm sayin' "Look, I just got off of work and all / and I ain't think I'd meet a girl who could work it off." I'm sayin' look, I'm still blue collar, I'm gettin' off of work like, "Hey, what is this over here?" Why do I gotta be a-sexual? I hate it, I hate the way we think about music because everybody, even the people who love Hip Hop, has taken a side. Really, you should just look for a good artist that has talent.

MVRemix: That's definitely true, and that's why groups like Little Brother are one of my favourite groups, they just seem like everyday people making dope Hip Hop. You are one of them. We even mentioned this to Na'ledge, we interviewed him a couple months ago. We noticed that Chicago has produced multiple kinds of these dudes, like you, Lupe, Common, Kanye, Na'ledge. What is it about Chicago that brings that out in MC's?

Rhymefest: I'ma tell you one thing now, when you said that list, all the gangstas in Chicago are pissed off right now. They're like, "Who's tellin' our story?" It's like, "Don't worry, they playin' T.I. on the radio. You know your story." But yes, Chicago is not a city with a sound, it's a city with a sensibility. Like this is where the National Headquarters of the Nation of Islam are, this is where the National Headquarter of Rainbow Push. Chicago was discovered by a black French-man named [Jean Baptiste Point] du Sable. Chicago, even if you the most ignorant dude, if you Don Juan Bishop Magic whatever the clown name is, even if you that dude, you have a certain awareness of yourself and your culture, and your people and so, when we make our music it shines through. I mean you naming those people, but name Twista, name Shawnna...

MVRemix: Bump J...

Rhymefest: Yeah, all of these people can rap too! You cannot come through Chicago and get on and not be able to rap.

MVRemix: One of my favourite MC's, Juice, obviously legendary freestyler and I know you freestyle, you battled... did all that. Have you had any famous run ins with Juice?

Rhymefest: Two or three times, yeah.

MVRemix: Two or three times? You kind of said that like it's no big deal.

Rhymefest: I love talking about the battle raps and I know this is an underground show. But to me, rap battling was what I did to number one; earn my stripes like, "Yo, this is a real MC." Number two; hone my skills as a performer. I wasn't up there Rhymefest Interviewbattling my opponent; I was up there battling myself. A lot of times, people say that battling is like the And 1 of Hip Hop and now I'm in the NBA. So it's like, "Yo, have you ever played against Hot Sauce?" "Yeah, I played against Hot Sauce. But now I'm playin' against Dwayne Wade." You know what I mean? So we can talk about Hot Sauce, or we can talk about my run in with Kobe.

MVRemix: I don't know about the run in with Kobe.

Rhymefest: I ain't had it yet, but it's comin'.

MVRemix: Lets take it back to the music, to the album. Who are some of the guests on the album? I know you've said on a bunch of interviews that "This ain't no mixtape." This is your album, you're gonna be on it. But I know you have a couple small guests on there...

Rhymefest: Oh yeah, yeah, and I've said before - this is not a mixtape, this is not a compilation. You're not gonna hear my album and then hear me on one verse and I'll be like "Yo, my song with Nas is crazy!" Or "Yo, my song with Jay-Z - look at that one!" I will say that we've got the late, great ODB on there. Mario, he's on J-Records. We got Bump J and Mikkey showin' that "Chicago-Rillas," and of course, my brother Kanye. When I did this album, I didn't want to do features just because they in the top, top rap food group. I work with people I love. I work with people I know and know me and know how to make music with me. This is real G, this ain't no game for me.

MVRemix: Did any real life experiences inspire the track with Mario, "All Girls Cheat"?

Rhymefest: Yeah! Hell yeah! I just saw this TV show the other day, and they asked the women. "If your man was locked up for five years, would you hold it down and be faithful to him?" All the women was like, "Yeah, yeah!" Then they asked the guys, "If your woman was locked up for five months, would you be faithful to her?" All the audience was like, "Hell nah!" And so right then I said to myself, "All these women is lying." What made me know is that my song is true. Women cheat, but men have a thing of we want people to know our accomplishments. Like we cheat, to have notches on our belt. Women cheat to try to find happiness. They go from man to man, trying to find the one man that'll make them happy, or, a combination of men that can make them happy. It's not for a title or trophy - it's for their own self happiness. Not that you should look at a man for happiness, but they do. Because of that they don't tell, they do it ordered. They're more maniacal, they're more dissecting about how they do it. I felt that somehow I ought to talk about it, and hell, if Chingy ain't gonna do it. I'll do it.

MVRemix: Word, so the Chicago connection got you some of those producers. No I.D. I think is kind of overseeing the whole album, how did you initially link up with Mark Ronson?

Rhymefest: I went to a Jewish secret society meeting and they said, "Heeeey, hey, what are you doin here...you aren't Sammy!" sammy davis junior by the way, who was a black Jew - for the ignorant ones out there - he said "Hey, what are you doing here? Who Mark Ronson? Take him and see what you can do." And here we are. No actually, a friend of mine introduced us. I don't want to laugh at Jews, that ain't funny. Actually, a friend of mine, DJ Indiana Jones introduced me to Mark and I knew what he had done, at least accomplished songs that he had done and I loved that. So Mark brought me out from New York, he was doing an album for Elektra called "Here Comes The Fuzz." I explained to him, "Do you know the fuzz are the police and that won't go down well with the black community?" He had no idea, but he did the album and it was the first major project that I was part of. We did a song, it was myself and Anthony Hamilton called "About To Get Ugly." It was kind of like a Rock/Folk song, and I had never done anything like that before and I liked the chemistry that he and I had. So if you look into the "Blue Collar" album, you'll hear songs like "Feel Me Up," "Devils Pie," "Tell A Story" or "These Days" which are all Mark Ronson produced songs, and you hear that chemistry that we have. So when he offered me a deal, I took it.

MVRemix: Was there ever a chance to choose between Kanye's label and Mark? I know a lot of fans have been like, "Yo, I know Fest and Kanye are real close - how come he's not on G.O.O.D. Music?"

Rhymefest: Yeah, Kanye offered me a deal after Mark Ronson offered me a deal and I felt like "Well, hell, Kanye we've been together for several years... We're buddies and don't offer me a deal just 'cause another guy offered me a deal. Offer me a deal if you believe in me as an artist 'cause you feel I can be successful. Just as successful as you..." He said, "Well I do, but now I'm in a situation where I can make it happen." And so at that point in time I felt as though Kanye is my friend, and he is the star of his label. Know what I mean? There would still be no way I could compete with Kanye on his label. I'm not tryin' to compete with him now, but I didn't know when my album would come out if ever or I didn't know what the politics of that would be. I would rather not break up a friendship, 'cause I've seen it happen over and over, left and right in the history of rap music... Pete Rock and CL Smooth.

MVRemix: That got ugly...

Rhymefest: "I heard the Fat Boys break up / Now I gotta wake up to this?" How was that friendship divided and broken up? So I signed with Mark Ronson, Ye and I are to this day are brothers, best friends, still do music together. If Mark Ronson and I fall apart, then hey, it was just a Jewish guy and a black guy, it's just businessmen.

"Sunday Night Sound Session" with DJ Hyphen and J. Moore airs every Sunday night on KUBE 93.3 FM (Seattle) from 11 PM PST - Midnight.

http://www.kube93.com to stream online.

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