iHipHop Interview- General Steele: Basic Training…

Written by Serge Fleury

Thursday, May 14th, 2009 at 2:19 am
Views: 1890


steelebucktown_phixr2For many Hip-Hop connoisseurs, the 90’s are often referred as the “golden era.”

A time when Hip-Hop was like a farmers market of sorts with many different fruits and vegetables to choose from, rather than the same old bland produce that flood the shelves today.

That organically homegrown nourishment might face resistance due in part to the ring tone/Auto Tune rap of the 21st Century, but a handful of farmers still have their crops freshly planted into the ground as they did almost 20 years ago.

Throughout every fad or trend, the Boot Camp Clik have managed to remain note-worthy by doing something many people are terrified of—being yourself.

Not one to be shy about his own individuality is Smif-n-Wessun’s Steele, and he proved that by releasing his own project, Welcome To Bucktown [Click to read review] (a project based on the 1975 movie) not too long ago.

Filled with the familiar voices from the whole platoon, the one half of the duo that brought the world songs like ‘Let’s Git It On’ still served as the commander-in-chief.

So was it hard rallying up the troops to head back out onto the front lines? Not when you have a decorated soldier like this laying out the battle plans…

iHipHop.com: Recently, you dropped Welcome To Bucktown [Click to read review]… What gave you the idea to initially put out the project?

Steele: I always want to do that… Once Smif-n-Wessun dropped the Dah Shinin’ with our first single, which was ‘Bucktown, I had no idea on how big it was going to be…

When we first came out with that single, we had no idea that there was a movie out with that title at that time; or I should say before that time which was called Bucktown

So during our travels, we experienced a lot of different things from the ‘hood, and being the businessman that I am, I’m always trying to look for more ways to be innovative…

So I just wanted to add onto what we were already doing… I think it’s appropriate because the people who know we put out ‘Bucktown’ the song aren’t aware of Bucktown the movie…

iHipHop.com: The record is being released from the Bucktown USA imprint, and that’s your own label right?

Steele: It’s not a label, it’s a multi-media company, and it started out with my partner who’s from 88 Hip-Hop… She put me onto being a personality who interviews cats, and I was like, “Cool, lets do it.”

One of the first groups we interviewed of course was Black Moon, and from there we just been doing it, and it’s going on our fifth year now… From there we started shooting videos, which opened me up to directing and editing… I’m like one of the illest editors right now, word up!

Anybody who needs editing, holla… My editing skills are PHENOMONAL! I’m chopping, and my chef game is crazy!

iHipHop.com: [Laughs]… Was it a little awkward going away from Smif-n-Wessun and doing this project?

Steele: Nah, not at all because if you go back and listen to any Boot Camp [Clik] album, we’re always been talking about self determination… Jay-Z said it: “If every n*gga in your clique is rich, then your clique is rugged.”

I don’t think that’s just a Brooklyn state of mind, I think that’s a state of mind for anyone conscious in what they do… So we always practiced that, and it gave birth to the Boot Camp [Clik]… If someone is always trying to make something happen and something pop, then we’re always going to be strong…

iHipHop.com: After this, can we expect more solo ventures from you?

Steele: Absolutely… I always wanted to do a solo album, but I never put my solo album before my Smif-n-Wessun album… [Ruste Juxx walks in] What’s up Juxx!!! [Laughing]… But yeah, we’ve always talked about solo albums, and I remember reading an interview with Ja Rule once where he said, “You only get one chance to make a solo album.”

One of my roles models is Sean Price, and Sean Price did two… [Laughs] Sean [Price] is not a feature album type of guy, he’s really self-centered, and he knows what he wants, and I look up to cats like that…

So as an artist, I DEFINITELY think that every artist should do something that they want to do whole-heartedly, without any boundaries…

bcchelicopteriHipHop.com: Speaking of Sean Price, Ruste just walking in, [Laughs] and the whole Clik, how do you think you guys have remained to be such one cohesive unit without any public drama, breakups, or any other negative stuff?

Steele: Families have breakups, but we’re family so you can’t breakup that much… Like we’re REALLY family, and we’re not fake family…

If I say I don’t mess with Ruck or Rock, that can be like for three weeks, then I’ll go to an event and I’ll their cousin, uncle, aunt, or nephew, and I’m going to see them there too…

So you have to grow up instead of pouting up your lips, and talking about how you don’t like a certain person… If it’s beef, it’s beef, but we don’t have any of that around here, because beef is dangerous…

With beef you can put it on the grill, cook it, and serve it to the people; or you can do the other thing, and a lot of people don’t want to get involved with that…

So that’s how we keep it, and all praises are due to the most high, because we all have fights, and we’ve been fighting since we’ve been in the Goddamn game… That’s what makes it more beautiful that we’re still together…

iHipHop.com: How do you feel about current-day Hip-Hop? Do you feel as if people are trying new things, or that people are just copying each other?

Steele: I think that it’s a package deal… When I say that, I mean like 60 percent of the rappers that are coming into the game now really respect the game… They’re coming into the game looking at what it has produced…

They see that it’s produced richness beyond measure for regular cats, so they also want that… I think it’s at a fine point, because you still have an open forum to inform cats, but what you don’t have are the magazines such as yourself constantly promoting it…

You might put this interview next to the chick booty clapping, and you already know which one is going to get the most views… You don’t want to hear a n*gga talking about what’s really going on, you want to see that booty, and I want to see that booty too! [Laughing]…

smif-wesiHipHop.com: [Laughs]… So over the years have you found it challenging to keep yours or Smif-n-Wessun’s name as a whole relevant and in circulation?

Steele: Honestly man, it’s extremely challenging, but I accept the challenge…

I think that the challenge keeps me strong and keeps me young, and it lets me know if I’m sure or not… If it was easy, I probably wouldn’t know what good times were…

There’s nothing easy for Boot Camp [Clik], not even at the beginning with Enta da Stage with Black Moon

We always had to work, and we still have to… I’m a glutton for appreciation… I like to know that what I have, I earned, and if I have it, then I can appreciate it… Other than that, I don’t know if it’s real or not…

iHipHop.com: Obviously throughout your career, you’ve always been true to yourself and your art form. But do you think that trueness has hindered you a little bit from reaching wider audiences?

Steele: Absolutely fam, absolutely… If you think about the 1968 Olympics with Tommie Smith and John Carlos, and the way they raised their hand after they won, did they think that was going to hinder them from doing anything else afterwards?

They were banned after that, and they couldn’t even remain in the Olympics after they did that… But at the time they were doing something that represented people around the globe… You have to stand for something, or die for nothing…


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