Sticky Fingaz will go down in history as one of the illest emcees in hip-hop. From the classic performance in Onyx's "Slam" ("I'm a B-Boy / In my B-Boy stance / Hurry up and give me the microphone before I bust in my pants!") to a dark and moody performance on "Last Dayz" ("Thinking bout taking my own life / I might as well / Except they may not sell weed in hell!"), Kirk Jones always brings an ill vibe to the microphone. Lyrically and flow-wise, he can rock over the best and worst beats.
Throughout most of the Onyx songs, Sticky Fingaz' final verse was the one we all waited to hear. We were never disappointed. The critically acclaimed classic "Black Trash: The Autobiography Of Kirk Jones" was Sticky's solo debut. It was an audio-movie where every song connected into a narrative tale of ghetto life, hip-hop, jail, family, women, money, sex, violence and God. Even though every song connected and told the tale, at the same time, every song made sense and stood strong on by themselves. Sticky was not just an angry yelling emcee. He was a very deep thinking man.
Underneath the yelling, the anger and the vicious aggression, an intelligent ghetto philosopher and artist lived. From talking to God ("Oh My God") to the point of view of a dollar bill ("Money Talks") to wondering what it would be like if he was white ("What If I Was White") to singing Louis Armstrong ("Wonderful World"), Sticky gave us a classic hip-hop LP that was aggressive, grimey, hardcore, creative, funny, poignant, and intelligent. There was even an entire court case with an assorted cast of characters that had rappers Rah Digga, Canibus, Redman, and more on the same track.
During this time, Sticky Fingaz made quite a name for himself as an actor. Appearing in movies such as "Clockers" and "In Too Deep", as well as TV shows, Sticky Fingaz is the hardcore emcee who is literally everywhere. Fast forward to 2003… While starring in a brand new television show on UPN called "Platinum", Sticky Fingaz released his highly anticipated sophomore album on D3 Entertainment called "Decade (…But Wait It Gets Worse)". Always ready to rock the mic and take what is his, Sticky Fingaz is doing is own thing… always. On a hot evening in May, I had an in-depth conversation with one of the illest and hardest emcees in hip-hop.
MVRemix: Your new album is called 'Decade (…But Wait It Gets Worse)'. Why that title?
Sticky Fingaz: It's been ten years since Onyx came out, more or less.
MVRemix: Why did you give it that 2nd title 'But Wait It Gets Worse'?
Sticky Fingaz: Because there's more to come. I feel like the 3rd solo album I am working on right now is going to be the illest album ever!
MVRemix: Tell us about it? Who are the guests on it? Who is producing it?
Sticky Fingaz: It's produced by a whole host of producers. Scott Storch, DSP, S-Man, myself... It's kind of hot. It's like a club album, a truck album, a street album. You know what I mean?
MVRemix: Your debut solo album 'Black Trash' had more well-known guests and producers. Was this a conscious choice?
Sticky Fingaz: Yeah, man. But my brother, X-1 is on it. He's always on my stuff.
MVRemix: Do you have a favorite song on 'Decade''?
Sticky Fingaz: 'I Love The Streets'
MVRemix: Omar Epps is on that song. Did you hook up with him when you made that movie 'In Too Deep'?
Sticky Fingaz: Nah, I knew him before that but that's the first time we worked together in a movie or whatever.
MVRemix: I never knew Omar Epps could rhyme.
Sticky Fingaz: Oh, he's nice. He's hot.
MVRemix: Why did you choose D3 Entertainment?
Sticky Fingaz: Because basically, I'm into owning my masters and getting the most from my work. I'm getting like 7 dollars a record over here. Basically, they are just like a distributor and the label is really OPM aka Other People's Money.
MVRemix: Your last solo album ('Black Trash') was on Universal but the last Onyx album ('Bacdafucup Part II') was on Koch Entertainment. Are you not cool with Koch anymore?
Sticky Fingaz: Nah, we had a one album deal with Koch. I had a one-album deal with Universal. It was for a one-off. I was like, 'Yeah, I'm going to come and do an album over here and see how it works out'. We've been doing this for a minute and not every company is equipped to market our kind of music. So, you don't want to get caught up in multi-album deal especially if the label cannot do your sh*t right. You'd be stuck over there. We are doing just one-offs right now until we get it right.
MVRemix: Why did Onyx leave Def Jam so long ago?
Sticky Fingaz: I guess when we first signed with Def Jam, we were much younger than we are now. We didn't have as much power then. As far as contractually, we didn't own our masters. I'm not saying they jerked us or nothing like that. Business is business. If you agree to it, then hey! How is that getting jerked? At that time, we just wanted to get our foot in the door and put the album out. We were all thirsty, gung-ho, rip any second kids. So, we signed a bum deal. So, we had to get out of that basically. We had to get more on our back end. We had to own our music more.
MVRemix: How did Onyx come together?
Sticky Fingaz: Onyx was already together before Sticky Fingaz got involved. It was Fredro Star, Big DS, and Sonsee. They had this group Onyx and had a single on Profile Records called 'Aw, We Do It Like This'. They weren't really getting along with the Profile guys I guess. So, they got off of Profile. When I got into Onyx, we started shopping our deal to Def Jam.
MVRemix: How did you meet Jam Master Jay?
Sticky Fingaz: Actually, Big DS and Sonsee met Jam Master Jay at Run's wedding, I think. They gave him a demo and he was feeling it. Asked him for some more stuff and then we just got it popping from there.
MVRemix: I am heart fully sorry about Jam Master Jay. I know you were close friends. He was your mentor. I want to pay my respects. It was a horrible tragedy. The hip-hop nation lost a great man.
Sticky Fingaz: Definitely.
MVRemix: Where were you when you hear he got murdered?
Sticky Fingaz: I was in the studio in LA.
MVRemix: There were rumors going around that you were going to release an album on Dr. Dre's Aftermath label. Was that true? If yes, what happened?
Sticky Fingaz: Yes. I ended up going with Universal Records.
MVRemix: How did you get the name Sticky Fingaz?
Sticky Fingaz: It was given to me like 100,000 years ago. It stands for everything I touch, I take.
MVRemix: Do you go into the studio with pre-written rhymes and themes or do you hear the beat first and write then and there?
Sticky Fingaz: I think I hear the beat first, and write it from there even though I may have some pre-conceived thoughts before hand. I may not have the whole entire rhyme ready but I may have like a clever bar or 2 or 3 or 4 or something just in my head. I may hear the beat and think that I need to take it this way and find some way to incorporate those bars that were in my head if they are hot enough. So, it's both.
MVRemix: The album 'Black Trash' sounded like such a well thought-out album. Every song had a specific theme and the songs all strung along to make a narrative. So, was that album specially prepared with pre-written material? It seemed like you wrote the whole thing first. How did it happen?
Sticky Fingaz: I wrote the script first. I wrote the outline. I wrote how it would begin, how the middle should be, and how the end should be. Then, I got more specific when I went into the studio. Still, a lot of writing I did on the spot. I had the concept before I went into the studio. So, I went into the studio to pick out the right beat. Then, like for one track, Rockwilder had the right beat. I wanted to talk about me being money, a song through the eyes of money, the narrator is money. If money had a voice, what would it say? I had the idea, so I went into the studio and just sat at the board for a good hour or whatever, and just jotted it down. Sometimes, it takes longer. Sometimes, it takes 2 days. Sometimes, it takes 5 minutes. Like the song 'Money Talks', I wrote that sh*t pretty quick. The first 2 verses I wrote in 5 minutes straight. 1-2 boom! The third verse… I wrote in 2 hours! But I don't even think that the 3rd verse is the illest one. I think the 1st and 2nd verses are the illest ones. The 3rd took me a longer time probably because I took all the information already.
MVRemix: Are there any songs from the 'Black Trash' period that were not released on that album but you really loved or should have been released? Or songs that were dope but didn't fit into the narrative?
Sticky Fingaz: Yeah, this joint that's going to be on my next new solo album. Not the one that's out now. My next solo album is going to be the masterpiece of all masterpieces. It's going to be iller than 'Black Trash'. The song is called 'Nightmares' and it's about Sticky Fingaz having nightmares about all the rappers trying to kill him. It's crazy.
MVRemix: So, what's the next solo LP going to be like? What's it going to be called?
Sticky Fingaz: Yeah, but I can't tell you that. It's a secret. It's too early to tell you that.
MVRemix: What emcee/group would you like to collaborate with in the future that you haven't worked with yet?
Sticky Fingaz: Wow! I worked with a lot of people. I want to work with Portishead. I like their beats. Their sh*t is kind of crazy. Isaac Hayes too. Bald heads together! That'll be crazy!
MVRemix: That lead singer of Portishead has a solo album out.
Sticky Fingaz: Word! What's her name?
MVRemix: Damn.. I forgot.
Sticky Fingaz: (Laughs). You smoke trees, don't you?
MVRemix: Well, yeah.. actually… Beth Gibbons! The lead singer of Portishead is Beth Gibbons!
Sticky Fingaz: Cool.
MVRemix: What about producers? Are there any producers that you would like to collaborate in the future?
Sticky Fingaz: Right now, one of my favorite producers is definitely Scott Storch. I worked with Dr. Dre. He's hot.
MVRemix: I thought you killed it on 'Remember Me' from Eminem's 'Marshall Mathers LP'. I think it was the best verse. In my opinion, you stole the whole song.
Sticky Fingaz: Sneaky, sneaky! Yeah, that was a hot verse. And that wasn't even supposed to be on the Eminem album! It was supposed to be on the 'Chronic 2001' album but Eminem wanted it for his album.
MVRemix: What LP or CD has been in your turntable or your player recently?
Sticky Fingaz: Actually, I've been listening to the mix-tapes, man. I've been listening to Clue, Kay Slay, Envy, The People's Choice. I've been really listening to the mix-tapes. Nowadays, people got like 1 hot song on an album with 16 cuts on it. So, get a mix-tape. That way, they take all the hot songs and put it on one mix tape. So, you have a hot album. That's why mix-tapes are getting big right now.
MVRemix: On 'Decade', your style and voice is much different. There is much less yelling even though the voice still sounds very sinister. Was this a conscious decision?
Sticky Fingaz: If I meant to be sinister, I don't even know. I just did it. You know what I mean?
MVRemix: How do you feel towards 'Decade' compared to how you feel towards 'Black Trash'?
Sticky Fingaz: To be honest, I feel like this album is like the purgatory album. I don't think it is wack in any way. I feel like it's hot but I think I have hotter stuff and I threw that out there pre-maturely. I don't think it's a proper follow-up for 'Black Trash' but the next one is going to be the illest album ever heard from me. I still think folks should go pick up 'Decade'. It's definitely hot. It's more insight to the streets.
MVRemix: What was the last incident of racism that you encountered?
Sticky Fingaz: I don't know man. I look at things differently. I look at it as ignorance and dumb people. So, I may not be looking at the situation as racism. I just may look at it like 'This person is stupid.'
MVRemix: Where were you on Sept. 11th, The World Trade Center terrorist attack? How did you deal with it? How do you think it has affected or will affect hip-hop?
Sticky Fingaz: I was in L.A. and I was sleeping. Fredro called my phone and told me but I thought he was playing or whatever. So, I went back to sleep. Then my girl woke me up and was like 'You got to look at the TV!' I looked at the TV and it was ridiculous.
MVRemix: Was that Onyx song 'Feel Me' really recorded on Sept. 11th?
Sticky Fingaz: Yeah. That night.
MVRemix: I think that song 'Feel Me' is one of the best tracks on 'Bacdafucup Part II'.
Sticky Fingaz: Yeah, it's one of my favorites too.
MVRemix: What do you think hip-hop needs these days?
Sticky Fingaz: More creativity, more imagination. Exactly what I'm going to bring into it.
MVRemix: If you could remake any classic hip-hop song. What song would it be?
Sticky Fingaz: 'Rock-Box' by Run-Dmc.
MVRemix: What is your all time favorite collaboration you did so far?
Sticky Fingaz: Wow! It was funny. I just bought the Onyx 'Shut Em Down' album the other day. I ain't heard it in a while. That's my favorite album right there, from Onyx. I like that Wu-Tang collaboration right there. Me and Method Man with the routine, going back and forth. It was hot. But, I think that my favorite one was the song 'Remember Me?' on that Eminem album ('The Marshall Mathers LP') because that rhyme was just murder. I killed a lot of sh*t with that rhyme. I think what you said was true. (laughs).
MVRemix: You had a boxing match on Mtv against Simon Woodstock… did you really think it was unfairly judged?
Sticky Fingaz: I ain't hit the mat, you know? I never hit the mat in my life! I'm no boxer and the dude that I was fighting was an amateur boxer. I'm just from the streets. But Ananda Lewis was holding me down! (laughs) Word! That was crazy! That was fun. I'd do it again! Actually, I wanna do it again! Rematch! I need somebody bigger next time though. Simon Woodstock, or whatever his name is… he's not big enough anymore.
MVRemix: What was the worst hip-hop fad?
Sticky Fingaz: I don't know.
MVRemix: On the LP 'Decade', you have a song called 'I Don't Know' with children singing the hook like Jay-Z's 'Hard Knock Life' or 'Get Out' by Busta Rhymes. Where was that sampled from?
Sticky Fingaz: That's not even a sample. The producer who did that track..(Porky) that's his daughter. She came up with that chorus too. She was actually talking about him. I heard that and I was like 'Whoa!'. Actually, Fredro heard it first and was like 'You got to hear this beat!' The beat was wild. I heard that and was like 'Yo! That's what's up! Gimmie that and that and that too!'
MVRemix: Are you living in California now? The sound of your music reflects that. Do you think that the move to California had an affect on the outcome of the album or the sound of 'Decade'?
Sticky Fingaz: Not really…but if anything, maybe production-wise or beat-wise. I used a few dudes who are from out here in Cali. Maybe they're from back East but they are from out here now. It's affected them but I don't think it has affected me because everyone who I be with out here is from New York. It's like New York in L.A. right now, you know what I'm saying? No disrespect to L.A. but it's like New York out here. The whole New York is out here. I got all my wolves out here and all the L.A. cats that I hang out with, they live!
MVRemix: Tell us about your new show on UPN called Platinum.
Sticky Fingaz: That's the future of hip-hop right there! That's what TV was missing. That's what TV needs. It's a big step for hip-hop and big step for urban dramas, our dramas. It's a classic show. It's not one of those shows that's just going to come and go. I think it's a real classic show. It's so edgy but it's bigger that it's on UPN. They have more viewers. It's almost HBO-ish but it's on regular TV.
MVRemix: Word association time. I'm going to say a name of a group/emcee and you say the first word that pops in your head. So, if I say 'Chuck D', you may say 'Revolution'. Okay?
Sticky Fingaz: Yeah, cool.
MVRemix: Wu-Tang Clan
Sticky Fingaz: Suuuuuu!
MVRemix: Phife Dawg
Sticky Fingaz: Can I Kick It?
Sticky Fingaz: Nas.
Sticky Fingaz: God's Son
MVRemix: Pharoahe Monch
Sticky Fingaz: Hmmm. The dude with the chicken. (laughs). Nah, that's my homeboy. Uh.. the word I would use is.. Queens.
Sticky Fingaz: Bling bling.
Sticky Fingaz: Turned out by Erykah Badu. (laughs).
MVRemix: 50 Cent
Sticky Fingaz: React.
Sticky Fingaz: Got.
MVRemix: Gil-Scott Heron
Sticky Fingaz: Whoa….. that's my answer.
MVRemix: Do you have a favorite movie?
Sticky Fingaz: Nah, I'm a movie fanatic. I love a lot of movies, man. 'Falling Down' and 'Reservoir Dogs'. I love mad movies! 'Lock Down'. Right now, I'm waiting to see 'The Matrix Reloaded' and 'The Hulk'. I saw 'X-2' and it was kind of hot.
MVRemix: What is The Fingaz Foundation?
Sticky Fingaz: That's my company. Nowadays, most people don't know but to be a citizen today and get around a lot of things, law-wise and stuff, you have to be a corporation. People treat you differently when you are a corporation. All the rich folks have corporations. So all the people reading this, go get a corporation. You have to be a business. You can't look at yourself as a person. You have to look at yourself as a business. If your want to do business…
MVRemix: Do you have a favorite type of gun?
Sticky Fingaz: Mmm-hmm. Mack 11.. and a P-89.
MVRemix: There is an excellent but un-labeled song (NOT on the "Shut Em Down" LP) that was on one of the "Survival Of The Illest" compilations that came with the debut Dmx CD. You rhyme: "My dad was just another coke slinger / He tried to kill me with a metal coat hanger." It's an incredible track and it doesn't even have a hook. What was the name of that song?
Sticky Fingaz: It's called 'See You In Hell'. Yo! Go to Onyx's website. It's at www.onyxdomain.com It has everything! It has everything from back then to now, songs, videos, the little patches we used to sew on our clothes, everything! Damn, you did your homework, Todd. You knew more than I thought you knew. When you said the sh*t about the first Dmx album and 'See You In Hell', I was like 'OK, he knows what's up!'
MVRemix: What are some major misconceptions that you think people have of Sticky Fingaz?
Sticky Fingaz: Major misconceptions of me? I think people think that I'm the meanest person in the world. I'm really not. I'm not just the meanest person in the world. I'm a complete person. I'm also the nicest person in the world. I'm not saying that I'm not mean. I'm saying that I'm not just mean. I'm nice too. People think that I'm just mean.
MVRemix: Is X-1 coming out with an LP?
Sticky Fingaz: Sure is. Comes out at the end of this year. It's called 'X Marks The Spot'.
MVRemix: Is your next LP coming out on D3 Entertainment?
Sticky Fingaz: I don't think so. We do one album deals.
MVRemix: Wasn't there supposed to be a movie for 'Black Trash'? What happened? Will there ever be a movie for 'Black Trash'?
Sticky Fingaz: Everything didn't really pop off the way I wanted it to.
MVRemix: Come on, what's the next LP, your secret masterpiece, going to be like?
Sticky Fingaz: My next album is going to be like this. It's called 'A Day In The Life Of Sticky Fingaz'. The whole thing is almost like 'Black Trash', like a story where the whole thing connects but each song makes sense and stands alone by itself. The whole sh*t is one day. The biggest part of the album is that I'm introducing a new age in albums. You know you said that people are waiting for the 'Black Trash' movie and they have the album? The way this album is, it's not even an album. It's a DVD. You know how you can play a DVD in a stereo too? You'll be able to play it or watch it or do both simultaneously as the songs go. It's a DVD album from beginning to end. It will be visual while the music is going. It's almost like a hip-hop Broadway play but ill style! It's acting out everything I'm saying while the whole thing takes place in one day from beginning to end. It's going to be crazy! It'll be a new age in music. People will either have to catch up or drop off.
MVRemix: What do you want on your epitaph (your gravestone)?
Sticky Fingaz: He's not dead because he never lived.
MVRemix: Any final words for the people who will be reading this?
Sticky Fingaz: The future is a mystery. The past is history. Today is a gift and that's why they call it the present. The future is now.