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The Cornerstone - conducted by Ryan McManus  

The Cornerstone

February 2007

With D.One signed to Upscale records following a chance run in with label head Manny Mijares in L.A., it was time for D to get together with some of his boys back home on the opposite coast. And now you've got The Cornerstone. Putting together four lyrically talented MC's rep'n the grind of Boston Mass. New England hip hop heads have known these MC's for a minute. They have always had the ability, but skills don't guarantee record sales. Now, with the west coast connection, their spring 2007 release "Groundwork" is sure to keep the heads bobbin' whether your New Era's claiming 'B' or 'LA'. Boston's got something to brag about it with rhymes so good, they deserve a rewind. And if you didn't already know, The Cornerstones got hip hop on life support, refusing to let it die.

D.One has been interviewed for MVRemix in, both 2005 and 2006. This time he brought The Cornerstone with him. They might be "off the radar" for now, but sucker-MC's beware, they are about to blow up.

MVRemix: Thanks for taking some time out for D.One this is not your first time featured on the spot, but for everybody who don't already know, introduce the group for me.

D.One: "The Cornerstone" is Minus, Mike Burna, Lace Payne and D.One. We're all from in or around the Boston area. Anyone who is a D.One fan has heard Lace all over my solo projects, and probably some joints I've had with Burna and Minus. We've all jumped on tracks with each other in the past, and now we're all coming together for this one; an official album, and it's gonna be something to remember.

MVRemix: You had yourself a solid year in '06, with the new album droppin' in, how's the New Year shaping up for The Cornerstone?

D.One: The album is close to done. We did a photo shoot while I was back in Boston in December. I'm back in Cali now - just sent Minus my last couple of verses. Him and Burna are handling the finishing touches on everything. I had a window where I was writing real heavy for this project, and now I'm going down the home stretch with my Upscale contract which is up in July- really focused on trying to get a major label deal for myself right now, but I am still playing a part in putting 'Groundwork' together.

MVRemix: You guys all go way back in your careers; did you guys know each other before you got into the Boston scene? And what's Boston got to brag about?

Lace: Nah, I met D.One I believe in 01 or 02. I was burning down the bean when I was screaming a group I had called Life Sentence. My homie Evik got up with this dude named J. Greede he met I believe while in school. D. One was rocking with Absolute Proof at the time and just finished a project with El'A'Kwents. I didn't meet Burna or my man Minus until mid 05. Boston don't gotta brag about a motherfucking thing. Real recognize real, Boston has a lot of unexploited talent. Just like every major city we got a story to tell also. Shit, let it be known, Boston is the first city, town ever established after them pilgrim motherfuckers suckered the Indians Thanksgiving day, feel me. We don't gotta brag about shit but we have a strong voice for every level of society.

Burna: Me and D met in like 99. He was finishing his group thing with Absolute Proof then and I was partying my ass off doing shows, signing skin on chicks, making beats, making people laugh and cry. Pumping burned CDs and clothes.. We were both flat out making music - our own kind of music. Then we collaboed on a Mixtape with someone D intro'd me to and it went on from there. That is around the time I met Lace, I heard his shit 'Piece of Mind' and said, "Who the fuck is this?" Minus called me up out of the blue a couple years ago and said, "Burna, your hooks are fire, what's good?" Outside if this music thing though, these are my people, my brothers. I'd kill for them. I don't want to kill anybody, I haven't killed anybody, understand that... but I will. And Boston - it can brag about The Cornerstone next year.

D.One: Like Burna said I met him first, a while back. Burna plays acoustic guitar and sings too - that's his other life! Haha. But yeah I was a big fan of his musical talents and ear for hooks. Lace was on the Greede Records label with me in 2001 and he became my favorite rapper - I had never heard anyone come with that Wu-Tang style spit in Boston and I really looked up to him. We recognized and respected each other's skill, but it took a while for us to become real close, being from two different worlds, but after a while he was my ace. We split from the label in 2003, and kept making music and doing shows together. I met Minus about 2 years ago and we clicked on the business side of things and had a lot of talks, giving each other advice, then he asked me and Lace to get on that "We Don't Play" track with Krumbsnatcha for his LP.

Minus: It's pretty funny, cause we all used to record at the same studio since way back, and that's where I first heard about D. We linked up on some projects, and like D said, since then we just stayed in touch. Same with Lace and Burna, talent recognizes talent. And I'm definitely gonna agree with Burna, that although Boston has a lot to brag about, next year they'll be able to brag about The Cornerstone

MVRemix: Now D, did you head back to Boston to record this one with your boys?

D.One: For a couple of tracks…but most of my verses were laid down out here, and sent in. It was a tough situation as far as that goes, it would have been nice to vibe in the lab more, but I haven't come home much lately…and I get free studio time at Upscale so it made sense for me to lay my shit down out here.

MVRemix: So how do things work in the studio for you guys, coming from your individual MC careers? Is one guy behind the boards and another working on the beats? Who is diggin' through crates? How does it all go down?

Burna: I break up the Chronic, Minus rolls it in a Backwoods, Lace Lights it, and... It's like this, me and Minus shopped for a ton of beats, we all listened, agreed on a dozen or so, talked on some concepts and then we hit the lab. What happens in there. That is quiet.

>> continued...

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"Boston is the first city, town ever established after them pilgrim motherf***ers suckered the Indians Thanksgiving day, feel me."