Steele of Smif N Wessun - conducted by Angus Crawford
Fifteen years is a long time. But fifteen years in the temperamental world of Hip Hop, where time should be measured in dog years, is a couple of lifetimes. Since 1992's release of Black Moon's "Who Got Da Props", The Boot Camp Click has been consistently dropping quality material and some classic material along the way (every fan needs to own Enta Da Stageand Dah' Shinin', no questions asked). One of the many reasons BCC is still together, is the loyalty and respect they have for their other members.
Recently Steele of Smif N' Wessun sat down for an interview with MVRemix to discuss their upcoming projects, tours, past material and why The Camp is still going strong today. Despite his "mellow" mood, the zen-like Steele was able to remind fans of why "Bucktown" and "PNC" still get heavy rotation in the Ipod to this day.
MVRemix: When is the album coming out?
Steele: The Bootcamp album, Casaulties of War, comes out August 14th.
MVRemix: Nice. So when all of you get back into the studio together, how do you decide who raps on what tracks?
Steele: How do we decide?
MVRemix: Yeah are you like this sounds like a Smif N' Wessun beat, let's do this....
Steele: Well, some of them are ideas that Buck might have come to the table with, some of them were ideas that Dru man come to the table with, some beats we had gotten from random producers in the studio, and we just sifted through a lot of beats. Some beats cats liked.
MVRemix: So how do you decide who is going to be one each song, instead of having eight guys rapping, how does that work out?
Steele: It's kind of like Chemistry man. Sometimes you just hear beat and you be like "Damn I can hear Louivelle on that, I can hear Top Dog on that, you know what I mean, I can hear Smif N' Wessun" or sometimes a cat might just get on it and give you a vision or something different. Like with "B.K. All Day" we tried to get as many people as possible on that, like everybody was supposed to be on that and that was a vision that Dan The Man had, saying "We got to start with Rusty" which is the new young gunna we got coming out on Duck Down in ‘08, and it was perfect that 5 [5 Ft. Excelerator] was here, out of prison, and was able to bless that track. Some things just work out good. You got to try shit sometimes and you can't be afraid to make some wack shit.
MVRemix: [laughs] Smif N' Wessun has album coming out right?
Steele: Smif N' Wessun comes out late fall.
MVRemix: Do you guys work on the albums simultaneously?
Steele: Actually we are at the mixing stage right now. We went overseas and worked on some shit with a couple of producers over in Scandinavia, produced by my man Ken Ring who did "My Timbs Do Work" and "Trading Places" on Last Stand. We just stayed with him for a couple of weeks and just traveled around and fucked with him Tommy Chee, two other producers Collen and Web and we recorded 35 tracks and just sifted through which ones we'd think would work and we still in the ending stage. Like we in the 4th quarter of work, we got photo shoots that we trying to finish.
MVRemix: I got to ask you, did you go to Amsterdam?
Steele: Yeah, actually before we went and started working on the album, we were in Amsterdam because we were on the Bootcamp tour, so directly after we left the Bootcamp tour we spent some extra time like four days before we went to work on the album.
MVRemix: How does it compare to the U.S.?
Steele: Amsterdam is dope for me man. Anywhere I can go inside a shop and buy weed without having to worry about police is a beautiful thing.
MVRemix: [laughs] I just want to talk about the Da Shinin' real quick. Back in ‘95 you got Cypress Hill, Snoop Dogg, Method Man and Redman but Da Shinin' a lot of the songs are about smoking weed, but I never felt you guys got the same notoriety or credit that those groups did, do you know what I mean?
Steele: I mean its still noted as one of the classics, you know what I mean. It did what it did and I appreciate the love that it did get. It helped make us what we are today so its still good, you know what I mean. I would like to see that shit a little bit more in the history books, you know.
MVRemix: It's definitely one of the most overlooked albums.
Steele: It was a good time still though, so just the experience of being in that era alone was good so you can't really complain. That's the one that set it all off [For Smif N' Wessun]. That's the one that enabled us to go out and spread out.
MVRemix: What's you favorite song on that album?
Steele: Off Da Shinin'?
Steele: Oh man, shit...fuck...I don't know man...probably "Cession at the Doghillee" that's the first song where we got all the homeys on there. That was big, that was some personal shit. "P.N.C." is hard too.
MVRemix: Yeah those are two of my favorites. Are there any songs that the other members of Bootcamp have done that you think, "I wish I did that song"?
Steele: Not really. I mean when I hear it and one of my peoples is on it, I feel like I'm on it too. It's like the extension, I feel like I'm a part of it. When I hear a Sean Price song, I feel like I did it, you know what I mean, I feel like that's me rhyming like that's my brother. When I hear "Boom Bye Yeah", I don't feel like Smif N' Wessun could have done a better job. He's perfect for that shit. I celebrate with him. I be hearing songs and them shits be making me feel crazy, and be like "Yo we need to do a remix of that shit though" [laughs].
Steele: Word. Like Buck got a song called "Reality" like that beat is bananas. Like to this day, that's one of the illest samples.