Timbo King (Royal Fam) conducted by Hugo Lunny  

Timbo King (Royal Fam)

April 2000

These are the transcripts of an interview with Timbo King. The interview was conducted by Hugo on April 21st, 2000. Timbo King is a Wu-affiliated rapper and member of the group Royal Fam who are set to drop their first, long awaited LP in September of 2000.

MVRemix: Okay, firstly, I've heard people say that the group consists of 6 members (Timbo King, Poppa Wu, Y Kim, Dark Ages and Q Base). I've heard it consist of three (Timbo, Dreddy Kruger, Stoneface) and I've heard two.

Timbo King: Dreddy, Dark Venom, Brickface and Stucko, I got two producers on the production.

MVRemix: How did you all meet and how did the group form?

Timbo King: Well we formed up in like Public schools, on the streets man, everybody lived in the same area, because we're all from Brooklyn, so different sections of Brooklyn is not too far apart. There's like a twenty block radius from Bed-Stuy to Brownsville, from Brownsville to Bushwick, from Bushwick to East New York so Hip Hop music had a big influence on us. As far as going to school I mean with the Fat Boys, Run DMC, Kurtis Blow and 'em, and it's like, growin' up in that era (because I'm a 70's baby). You know when I grew up my Pops and my Moms was listenin' to Motown and all that good stuff. So, by the time I got to real, real, real street stuff, that's the Kurtis Blow joint, that was in the 80's. So I was like "Yo, I really like this music, I'm diggin' it" you know, I'm a 70's baby, so I got that all in me. And plus my Uncle, he played a major part in my life too because he brought me around Hip Hop. He used to go to T-Connection, The Beaver, he used to go to all the clubs and he used to be the re-run of the hood. He used to go to the clubs, and tape all the shows, like he used to be the first bootlegger I've known. He'd go to the shows with a little tape recorder and tape the shows of the Cold Crush Brothers battling Treacherous 3 and Sha Rock and Busy Bee and them. And he used to come hope with tapes, like every day after school I used to run home, I mean I never used to, because my Moms used to have me strict, you know she never used to let me go outside. I was like yo, every time I go down stairs, I'ma go to the basement to my Uncle. And then from there, it's like listenin' to everybody, you know, like I could do that, it's nothin' but putting words together in a rhythmed form, and at the same time, Dark Venom, he was like the neighbourhood ranker. He would rank everybody out, so, he never used to rank me out, maybe me and him would go or somethin'. He used to see me like "Yo, yo, yo," just the energy, and Mighty Jarret, he was in the Reggae world because his pops was the legendary Mighty Jarret. So, it's like we grew up around Hip Hop and Reggae music for like at least ten years and we just used to combine it 'cause my name's Timbo King, so we just combined everything together and just like whatever we hear in the neighbourhood we definitely come out with. Reggae music on the corner, Hip Hop music on the corner, and you know we just put it together.

MVRemix: Which other groups are you affiliated with/a part of?

Timbo King: Meaning?

MVRemix: I mean you're in United Kingdom

Timbo King: Yeah, I'm in United Kingdom, I'm in Royal Fam, and I'm also part of the Wu-Tang family tree.

MVRemix: Yeah...

Timbo King: So, it's like, you know, it's like I'm in a cut like peroxide now

MVRemix: In 1996, I heard the dope 12" 'I Declare War'/'Summin Gotz Ta Give.' Since then I haven't heard anything from Royal Fam as a group. I know you've got the album coming up, but can we see a single in the future or...

Timbo King: The single's out now, it's called 'Fire.' With Makeba Mooncyle. That's like the hidden queen of the Royal Fam. All the pieces are gonna expose themselves within the next six months from now. So you gonna start seein' all the chessboards, I mean a whole chessboard pop up. Because everyone thinks that Royal Fam is Timbo King, but, you know, I was developing the family making sure everybody gets their right position, everybody on point.

MVRemix: What exactly happened with Royal Fam and Capitol Records?

Timbo King: Oh, Capitol Records? Capitol Records did they thing for us, puttin' out our single, our video, puttin' us on a promo tour with the Def Jam on The Show with Russell Simmons. What happened was we had management that was representin' us in the wrong way, they was lookin' out for our best interests, he was lookin' out for his best interests, acting on his own while we was on tour. And, 1 came to 2 and 2 came to 3 that's it, you know?

MVRemix: Yeah, what about your album? A promo has been leaked into MP3 with 12 cuts, and I have heard that version. That was pretty dope.

Timbo King:
Eddie (Royal Fam's manager): Hold on one second, can you repeat that? You said it was leaked to MP3?
Which one ?
Eddie : TWELVE SONGS ?!?

MVRemix: Yeah, 12 songs are in MP3 right now.

Timbo King: See someone came inside The Castle and tried to take one of the sapphires, but they took a brass nugget. That wasn't the whole, see they tried to come inside the treasure chest and before the nobles came and we got to whip they ass, they ran off with one of like, like a brass nugget, so they just got like 1 minute, 2 minutes of the song, that's not like the whole treasure chest right there.

MVRemix: So, what exactly is the album going to be. Like, who's guesting, who produces, how many tracks etc.?

Timbo King: The album's gonna have like 14 or 15 tracks, it's not gonna be none of those twelve that's out there. It's like our preliminary stage, like exercise for, to do calisthenics with Hip Hop, you know? You know, push ups and jumping jacks out here, you didn't even get to hear the hundred yard dash or all of that good stuff, so.... the boxing and all that wrestling stuff.

MVRemix: So, when is it likely to drop?

Timbo King: Um, we're looking at a September-back to school with Royal Fam. You know, so..

MVRemix: What are your thoughts on MP3's?

Timbo King: MP3 ? The computer as far as the Internet and all that

MVRemix: Well...

Timbo King: I feel that, that's great, but, it's gonna stop like peoples publishing. Because when you get a deal with MP3's, I mean you could get record sales, but...I mean the jam's gotta be on the radio, so you can see what their publishing is like so..

MVRemix: How has your style elevated over the years?

Timbo King: Elevated? I've improved to a grown man, I got the Yin and Yang with me, I got the little boy and the grown man with me. I come with, how can I say it, we've got the family style. So you know what a family does, you've got the brothers, the sisters, the Aunt, the cousins, the Moms, the Pops. Ain't nobody messin' with that. If the little brother went and had a fight outside, the little cousin would come in and tell the family and everybody gone come out. Even Grandma's comin' out with a knife. We comin' out with that style, the brother, the Uncle, the Uncle flow, we got the cousin Willie style. You know, how he dress, you know how you got that cousin how he always dress fly?

MVRemix: Yeah...

Timbo King: Well we got that type of songs. Boom. You know that Aunt, that Aunt that always tells you the good and bad, "Do that, do that, stop doin' that." We got that, we just got family values. So that's how I've grown, to tell you I get closer to my family the more better the music comes out.

MVRemix: Amelia, Makeba's manager told me you would be dropping something on Loud Records with Makeba...can you give me more details ?

Timbo King: Yeah, we got the 12", but we just giving it to all the DJ's now. As far as a commercial single, it's not a commercial single as yet. We workin' on the video to find out who can do the video for this. But we're gonna keep it to ourselves until then.

MVRemix: How did you come up with the group name/your name?

Timbo King: What? Royal Fam?

MVRemix: Yeah

Timbo King: Basically, we just the Royal Fam. I mean, point blank. Royalty is just the highest form of success, Family, is dealing with success through organization, like one blood line. So, it's like we all come from the same mother, so I'm like "Yo, we Royal Family." My name Timbo King, reason they call me Timbo King is because when I was little I always used to wear Timberlands. In the hood they always used to call Timberlands, Timbo. I always used to be like an addict for them, I didn't like want no Pumas, no Adidas or none of those, I just told my mother to give me nothin' but Timberlands. And she'd be like (voice gets higher) "This thing cost like a hundred and somethin' dollars" (voice returns to normal). But I told her I'd like make a meal with it, I told her "I'll get good grades, you give me the stuff I need." So I started bringin' in good grades, I'd get all the Gortex, the country stalkers, the chucks, the chuckers. See Timberlands played a major part in the hood. Far as walking your dogs, taking care of business. Fuck around you get beat up in a pair of Timbs. So I took that as the rugged terrain of the Timbo's, nahmean? Like the stompin', the stompin' kings. You know what I mean? That type of shit.

MVRemix: So, who's been the most influential person in your life?

Timbo King: My Moms and Pops ! Major part, because if it wasn't for them I wouldn't be on the phone with you right now. They played a major part, I mean I got a lot of my ways from my Pops. 'Cause, he was like, my Pops' a traveler. He don't got no car but he get everywhere. My Pops be everywhere! I be like, Cut, my friend, he be like seein' me on the street sayin' "Yo man, your Pops' on a Greyhound bus goin' to VA." Like that. I be like "How'd you know it was my Pops?" And he was like, "Cause he was talkin' to me" you know like "I was just talkin' to the brother." He said he said "Yo, you know my son?" and he'd be like "Yeah, yeah, yeah" then he'd say, I used to saw the sea in the beginning. I don't know man. Shit's crazy. We livin' this Hip Hop man, we take it to streets, to clubs. Know what I mean ? It's payin', it's payin' rent man. It's been for about 15-20 years, and people complainin' but it's payin' they rent, takin' they kids out. You know, giving them what they need. Supportin' they family, and it's providing jobs too, because I feel every rap group should be entitled to at least 25 employees. Everybody gotta have a position or somethin'. You know, when you're making a substantial amount of money, you gotta put other people on. And like, in the beginning, you're doing it yourself, but when you getting a lot of money you gotta put people in positions so they can, you know, feed they family 'cause you got it now.

MVRemix: How has being an affiliate with the Wu affected your career? Name some advantages and disadvantages that fans may not be aware of.

Timbo King: The advantages was that I was with a family that I ain't even have to come out to eat. Know what I mean ? Seeing as like, yo, GZA album comin' out, oh, aight, cool, my album aint comin' out right now. I could do two verses on GZA album and eat for two years. Without takin' minimum wage, it's like different advantages. It's like I went to Paris, you hear the fire truck (fire truck sounds in the background) ? It's real, comin' right past. You hear that right ?

MVRemix: Yeah...

Timbo King: That's 'Fire,' Makeba Mooncycle, Timbo King, Royal Fam. I'ma let that, yeah, hear that, it's coming right past here.

MVRemix: How do you feel about hip hop in 2000 so far?

Timbo King: Hip Hop is doin' great man. We're sellin' records, people gettin' to know the business for what it really is man. It's like, you can't hide that no more, it's like everybody know. It's like everybody know what they're doing, and they takin' their time with it more. It's not, before it was like a rush, rush, people takin' their time with it now, they're growin' with it. 'Cause you can't stunt growth, you know? You can't hold back too much pressure. It's gonna burst sooner or later.

MVRemix: I recently heard that Gee Street went under, and Gravediggaz album bein left out in the cold, along with others on the label...do you know much about it and what are your feelings on it?

Timbo King: What you mean?

MVRemix: I've been told Gee Street is folding

Timbo King: Okay.

MVRemix: It's no longer in business and that would mean that it's no longer going to be able to release the new Gravediggaz album

Timbo King: Um, well, if Gee Street is like that, if Gee Street folded, that don't mean RZA...See RZA's in a powerful place right now, he's a powerful man right now, if that's the case, he could put Gravediggaz on his own label and still come off. See that's the advantages we have, it's like we could do business with other record companies, and always look forward to, if there's no new goods, then we got the RZA to put us out. That's what the foundation is. We can't forget about that.

MVRemix: So, who would you like to work with at the moment?

Timbo King: What happened?

MVRemix: Who...would you like to work with at the moment? Like...rappers outside of the Wu...

Timbo King: Uh, Tragedy. I like Tragedy Khadafi. Me and him are on the same type of lyrical plain. I like his steez, um, Tragedy, um, let me see.... I'd wanna do something with Lil' Kim, Queen Bee, I'm feelin' that Royalty she's talkin' about. Know what I mean ? I'm all about that. I'm feelin' her, I'm feelin', who else.... On the West Coast, I wouldn't mind with Ras and Kurupt, I feel they Hip Hop, I feel them cats. I wouldn't mind doing some joints with that cat LV, you know that gangster singer cat, I like his tone.

MVRemix: Will we be seeing a Timbo King solo album any time soon?

Timbo King: Solo ? With King's good rhymes ? Um, if it's gonna be a Timbo King solo, it's gonna be on my label. I know how to control me, I know what Timbo King wants. Nobody else knows what I want, and I think that'd be on my own label, I'll save the best for last. See it's like I'm a fresh MC, I aint get burnt out yet. Not used or abused. I'm in a job where people have done like four albums, and I'm in the same period of time as them. See, I'm like an assassin, like the Ghost Dog flick, like I'm in that movie. He had twelve contracts in four years, it's like me, I've had five deals! And I aint come out yet, shit is crazy. I mean that's a blessing, but shit is crazy, I dropped one time, one album

MVRemix: Yeah, and you've still got quite a big fan base

Timbo King: My catalogue, I've got over 166 songs. From all the deals. So Royal Fam is Royal Famous right now, the circle of us is together. The circle is one, and it's us that is one. At first, you know we went through the worn and damaged stage, you know, we starvin'. That's the beginning, so. We doing it man, I just feel good, I feel fresh, I still ain't showed my lyrical ability to the world. So, I got fresh ideas for everybody. Representin' Hip Hop man, the culture, just doin' it.

I wanna know...did you ever hear of this group called IAM?

MVRemix: Yeah, that 'La Saga' track..

Timbo King: Yeah, I won a Grammy overseas for that joint. They flew me out there and everything, it was like "Oh shit!" I won a Grammy in Paris, not the United States where I'm from. It's crazy, I got it over there instead of over here. Feels good, you know ? Best video of the year...it was like some big time, big time stuff over there. They boarded us around, as far as the red carpet, they gave us everything. I was like "Daammnnn, a Grammy, that shit is crazy." Oh shit, I was supposed to get that at home, but yo, I got it. I brought it back home. That's the deal, I brought it back.

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