While Immortal Technique has been busy at work on his forthcoming “Middle Passage” album, he recently took some time out to sit down with URB Magazine for his first cover story. Look for the Immortal Technique issue to hit newsstands early next month.
ByQuibian Salazar-Moreno Mr. J, Res and Stro the 89th Key are not your average hip-hop group. When asked about any crazy stories from their world tours as The Procussions, the best they can come up with is Res tripping on a curb in Europe and twisting his ankle while his luggage fell around him. That’s not your average hip-hop tour story. “We don’t really do the groupie thing, or mess with the drugs or get all drunk,” Mr. J explained. “We hang out, read books; we’re some pretty straight edge guys.” These straight edge guys met while living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. As part of rival hip-hop and b-boy groups the trio used to see each other around different shows, battles and other events in the Springs and Denver area. They finally came together in the late 90’s to form the Procussions, which started off as a larger crew and then was pared down to three. They opened for everyone from Tha Alkaholiks and The Pharcyde all around Colorado. But because of the lack of support for local hip-hop in Denver and Colorado, The Procussions made the move to Los Angeles in 2001 and subsequently released their debut, As Iron Sharpens Iron, on their own label, Basementalism Records. The album harked back to the Golden Age of hip-hop and the early 90’s sound with horn loops, bluesy basslines, and boom bap beats. Lyrically the group covers everything from their love of hip-hop to one’s spiritual identity. With their latest album, 5 Sparrows for 2 Cents, on Rawkus Records, the crew sticks with their signature sound but also brings in other influences from reggae, rock, and funk. Stro the 89th Key, a trained musician, produced most of the album and is on his way to the upper echelon of hip-hop’s top beatsmiths. The fellas are slick on the mic as well, bringing more meaning and purpose to their words instead of your run of the mill braggadocio type of rhymes. From the way we’re raising our children in “Little People”, to dealing with daily hardships in “The Storm” to the story of a lost soul on “American Fado,” The Procussions give the listener something to think about. But don’t get it twisted; the group can get the party started too with high energy cuts like “Fight Here”, “Shabach” and “Anybody”. This is an album you definitely don’t want to miss. We caught up with Mr. J and Res (Stro was absent due to a family issue) and spoke about the new album, their situation with Rawkus Records and how their beliefs shape their life, music and careers. The name 5 Sparrows for 2 Cents, how did you come with that name for the album? Mr. J: We came up with the name of the album before we even did a song, and we set it as a standard. It was our staple and our standard to remember what was important. Five sparrows can be sold for two cents, yet not on of them falls without God knowing about it. It’s kind of like reminding ourselves of the importance and detail when it comes to purpose, focusing on everything that matters and how God sees everything that’s going on in your life. It was important for us for the album to focus on the important things in life, the importance of people and the human spirit and how sacred it is. It’s not just sparrows, it’s just not an item to be sold, it’s not ‘wow, we’re on Rawkus’, or cool and hip it’s really about really focusing on people and the little things that make us human and the little things that aren’t seen. The video for ‘The Storm’ is real fresh, how did you come up with the concept? Res: It was our man Hilton Carter that came up with it. Hilton went on tour with us and was a tour manager. The interesting thing is, he’s a film student, and he went on tour with us was to get new experiences. A film director is sort of like an emcee in a sense; they’re writing people’s stories and their personal experiences. So he went on tour with us just to witness some experiences. So during the tour, we saw some of his reels and they were completely amazing, this guy is super-talented. So we told him that we got to work together. So time moves on and we wanted to get community involved with this album and The Procussions. So the video is actually mostly funded by people who were just down for The Procussions and really wanted to support what we were doing. Hilton came in and said, you know what, I have a treatment, and he brought us the treatment. So the video is basically us building something, there’s this crazy storm going on, causing all this havoc and mayhem, and we’re down in the basement trying to do something; trying to stand up, trying to make a difference, trying to be that difference that we want to see. So we’re trying to build this thing to stop this storm. So we take it up to the roof switch it on, it starts working, then all of the sudden it completely fails. The most important thing about it is, we see the failure and we go back downstairs and start again, just like in life. You build up something, you have so much passion for it, but when things don’t work out like you wanted it to, you have to start over again. So basically that’s the concept of the video. You’re always going to be in trouble, you’re always going to be in a fight but you got to keep on going. How did you guys get your deal with Rawkus? Mr. J: When we put out As Iron Sharpens Iron there was kind of small industry buzz here and there because we were on our own label and we were from Colorado and we had some how locked some international distribution, we did shows in Japan, we did a lot of things that a lot of groups weren’t able to do on their own. So there was an industry buzz that was around. We already had 5 Sparrows completely done, we had the video done, and everything was done. Some people had our album here and there and some other groups we were working with and it finally got around to Rawkus. Brian and Jarret (Rawkus owners) had called us and wanted to meet with us. They really took a lot more steps than any other label was willing to take to lock an artist down. Other labels sent interns or the man in front of the man in front of the man, who’s never heard the album or any of the songs but kind of wants to keep you around. We had some major label interest and some independent label interest and we had some indie labels that are great in the scene right now but didn’t want to put our album out for another two or three years. You know when you meet somebody you know when you feel like you’re connecting? A lot of these business relationships, we need to be able to connect because our music is important for us, you know, this is our careers. So we couldn’t connect with a lot of people. Brian and Jarret understood where we were coming from, they heard all the songs, we had a big talk, we hashed it all out. We have creative control, we’re helping market the album and it’s more than just a group that Rawkus is getting, they’re also getting a marketing team. They can hire it out, they got the money to do that stuff, but they’re allowing us to control the element and image we want to put out. We just locked that down and been moving ever since. We don’t want to make everything about Rawkus, we want to make sure our career is our career. It doesn’t matter if we’re on Rawkus, or on Geffen or on Basementalism, we’re going to put the album out and push The Procussions as hard as we can. There is backlash towards Rawkus, everybody has their opinion and even magazines have their own angle to create drama but at the end of the day, no one is talking about music, but they’re talking about absolutely everything else. What’s important about to us is the group, forgetting about drama, we don’t even put that into account. We’re just like who’s going to put out the record, who believes in it, and we’ll just go from there. But was Rawkus’ history in the music biz even a concern to you at all? Mr. J: Yeah, it was a concern to us in a way where we wanted to know like, “Hey, how do you handle your business?” But if you look at the large scale of things, honestly, all labels are nasty. All labels, one way or another, are going to want to make money off of you. That’s good; I want a label that wants to make money because they need to have an interest in it. It’s too much to ask someone to do something for you purely and to share your vision 100 percent. It’s way too much to ask, people got lives, they got kids to feed, they got other things and if their only influence is to get money, then that’s fine, as long as they keep their hands out of music. So we heard some of it, and we talked to artists too and heard what they had to say and when it came down to it, it came down to contracts, actual words that were being said and the fact that we have a really good lawyer on our hands. So we hashed all that stuff out at the very beginning and we take gamble with any label, and we felt that Rawkus was our best gamble. You guys are pretty open about your Christian beliefs but don’t really force it on anyone. How has your faith helped you in your careers? Mr. J: The idea that there is a reason to it, that there’s a purpose. It’s very important to know what you want out of music, it gives me a standard and it gives me an understanding of who I believe people to be, which is creations of God. We need to encourage each other to reach this place that we’re trying to reach which is whatever people say it is, heaven or a place without pain, and worrying and anxiety and all these things we experience before we even get the experience ourselves, all these external things that keep us from our potential as a person. And if you’re not reaching your potential as a person, you’re not reaching you’re potential as a family, as a community or even greater as a world. It’s so personal and up to every single individual, every individual matters. You got one person who can create a war; you got individuals whose personal beliefs can dictate how the world works. You got George W. Bush who can do what he wants to do, you got Che Guevera who can do what he wanted to do and Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr., you know you got good and bad. So it’s very important to be rooted in some core value of what we believe. And in my faith that’s what I’ve been able to come up with and be able to understand. And I feel blessed that I know what I believe, people need. It’s important, the sacredness of the human spirit, to honor that and keep that and the idea and concept of agape love. It’s unfortunate that because so much is going on with Christianity, the religion of it, and what George W. Bush is doing with it and it’s like how much are we going to talk about this element outside of its core? We’re never talking about the core issue. We can talk about George W. Bush and we can talk about Pro-Lifers and people burning down abortion clinics for days and we will never get to the core value that really has nothing to do with other people’s interpretation of it like the external things. So what we do with our faith and our music is we try to get down to the core values and give people the opportunity to see them and try to understand them for themselves. Agape is what I think it comes down to, the idea of agape love, not a romantic love, not even a friendship love, something greater than that, something that goes beyond, where you love your enemies. Not because they’ve done something special for you, or because you feel bad for them, but because they’re important and God loves them. The reason that God loves them is because they’re his creation and we’re supposed to have that respect and that same love. Also take a responsibility. A lot of Christians tell me I have a special responsibility because I’m in the limelight, and I think that’s baloney. And I’ll tell you why, everybody is in the limelight. There could be a kid who is his father’s biggest fan; his father is in the limelight. Everybody has that responsibility, whether I’m on stage or off stage, to present not myself but an idea that’s greater than me. So I will come across as a hypocrite sometimes because I’m talking about perfection here, I’m talking about ultimate love, unconditional love; you know things that I’m not able to fully attain. But it’s something I want to talk about, something I want to get out in the air.
By: Rizoh Rapper Snoop Dogg (born Calvin Broadus) was arrested Thursday at Bob Hope Airport on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a gun and transportation of marijuana, authorities said. Airport officers stopped Snoop Dogg at about 3:45 p.m. for an alleged vehicle code violation in the passenger loading and unloading zone, according to Burbank police Sgt. Kevin Grandalski. Police said they soon discovered a gun and marijuana in Snoop’s vehicle. The 35-year old rapper was then taken to the Burbank Police Station Jail where he was booked on gun and drug charges, said Grandalski. "There was no basis for this arrest," the rapper’s attorney Donald Etra said in a statement. "We believe that once this is cleared up, all charges will be dismissed." Snoop was released on $35,000 bail. Arraignment is scheduled for Monday in Burbank Superior Court. It’s not the first time Snoop Dogg has ran into trouble at an airport this year. As we previously reported, the Dogg Pound veteran attempted to smuggle a 21" collapsible baton into an airplane last month. The baton was confiscated by airport authorities and Snoop Dogg was allowed to continue his flight.
By:Rizoh Will Smith will soon join fellow hip-hop artists Jay-Z and Nelly as co-owners of an NBA franchise if his bid for a stake in the Philadelphia 76ers goes through. Smith,38, is one of several investors interested in purchasing the Philadelphia 76ers from Comcast Spectacor, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. Four groups are currently in the running, including one that led by Hall of Famer Julius Erving. Erving played most of his professional seasons with the Sixers before being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993. Two finalists will be announced by the end of the month with the winner selected by the end of the year. The winning bid is expected to exceed $400 million.
By Quibian Salazar-Moreno Pitbull just released his debut album, M.I.A.M.I., in 2004 but it feels like he’s been in the game for much longer than two years. Still thriving off the hit singles “Culo” and “Toma”, Pitbull is set to drop his latest album on Halloween. Leading off with a new single called “Bojangles”; Pit’s new album El Mariel feature guest appearances from Pharrell Williams, Wyclef Jean, Lil Jon, Ying Yang Twins, Fat Joe, Ken Y, Rick Ross, Trick Daddy and DJ Khaled. "They have this misconception," Pitbull said about the hip-hop industry trying to classify him. "They’ll say, ‘He’s just this Latin rapper, he’s a reggaeton act, he’s crunk.’ They don’t know what to say about me. [After El Mariel] a lot of folks are gonna start saying, ‘You gotta watch out for that boy Pit.’" Production duties are being handled by Pharrell, Wyclef, Lil Jon, and Mr. Collipark. The album title, El Mariel, is named after the infamous Cuban boatlift that relocated almost 125,000 cubanos to Florida in 1980. You can also listen for Pitbull in the new video game, Scarface: The World is Yours as he voices one of Tony Montana’s henchmen.
By: Dee This picture of Lil Wayne and Baby caught mid-kiss has been making it’s way all over the internet. Some people say it photoshop, some people say it’s real. It looks real to me, but it could be the angle of the picture that is making it look like Lil Wayne is aiming for Baby’s lips. He could have been going for Baby’s cheek. There have been accusations in the past from rappers saying that they’d seen Lil Wayne and Baby kiss each other on the lips. Young Buck said it before and Philly rapper Gillie Da Kid said he’s seen him kiss Baby on the lips before as well. Whatever, I don’t know, check out the picture for yourself. Click the link to watch a video of what else Gillie had to say about Lil Wayne… Watch here
By: Dee On October 25th Jay-Z’s "Roc the Block" tour madeit’s way to Sydney, Australia. He brought along his Def Jam labelmates Rihanna, Ne-yo and Memphis Bleekto join in on the fun.With Rihanna around,you know Beyonce wasn’t far behind. She arrived with Jay-Z to Australia on October 22nd…
By: Dee Reports are stating that Diddy has been throwing"diva fits" all overthe place while promoting his album "Press Play". He reportedly threw tantrums, cursing everybody out, whilein the Sirius satellite radio station because he was unhappy with the way his management team was handling his promotional sessions around the station. He later forced a DJ at the club Marquee to play his new song and another DJ to play the full album on another floor of the club. Diddy may have been acting like an ass while promoting his album, but he must’ve done something right. His album debuted #1 on the Billboard charts this week. Source
By Quibian Salazar-Moreno Jay-Z agreed to be a secret character in NBA Live 07 for Xbox 360 and PS3, but if you expect to see him in the recently announced Def Jam: Icon, think again. Last week EA Games announced the development and release of Def Jam: Icon for Xbox 360 and PS3 in March 2007. Past games have featured most of Def Jam’s roster of artists like Ghostface Killa, Ludacris and Slick Rick, but never Jay-Z. And he won’t be on this one either. "Jay doesn’t do fighting games," Former Def Jam prez Kevin Liles said at an EA PS3 event in San Francisco. "He’s an avid gamer. He’s a ‘Madden’ fan. He’s a great friend of mine. But that’s not something he does. I guess it’s important to him to keep a certain cool that he has." So that dream matchup between Nas and Jigga? Not gonna happen. Apparently Hova doesn’t want people fantasizing about beating him up.
By: Rizoh Esteemed southern rap duo UGK returns with a self-titled double LP this December. It’s the first UGK longplayer since 2001′s Dirty Money. The album, Underground Kingz: Return to Trill is slated for Dec. 19 via Jive Records. It will feature 20 songs including the Jazze Pha-produced the first single, "Stop & Go." Other producers on Underground Kingz include fellow Texas great Scarface, Lil Jon, Swizz Beatz, as well as UGK’s Pimp C. Perhaps the most eye-popping collaboration is a track titled "H-Town" which features Kool G Rap and Big Daddy Kane, with Marley Marl on the boards. Guest rappers include Rick Ross, Slim Thug, and Sleepy Brown. UGK helped popularize southern rap with their 1988 debut, The Southern Way. Their gargantuan reputation earned them collaborations with a wide range of artists. In 2000, Bun B and Pimp C made a notable appearance on Jay-Z’s "Big Pimpin’," which peaked at No. 3 on Billboard Hot 100. In 2005, Bun B made his long-overdue solo debut with the gold-certified album, Trill. Pimp C released his own solo disc, Pimpalation, in July 2006.
By: Rizoh Producer/rapper Jermaine Dupri has confirmed widespread speculations that he has stepped down from his top executive position as head at Virgin Records. Dupri, boyfriend of Janet Jackson told The Associated Press that he has resigned as a President of Urban Music department at Jackson’s label, Virgin, amid poor sales of her new album, 20 Y.O. "Since there are so many rumors running rampant about my position at Virgin Records, I feel that it is necessary to set the record straight," Dupri said. JD also shot down rumors that he was given the boot as opposed to leaving on his own. "I was not forced out of the company, I made a decision that it was in my best interest to leave." Janet Jackson’s new album was outsold by Ludacris’ Release Therapy in the opening week. According to sales figures, Jackson’s currently occupies the No. 28 position with a total of 443,076 scans. It has not been established yet if Jermaine Dupri will also move the distribution of his label, So So Def, from Virgin.
By: Dee Ludacris is featured in the latest issue of Ozone Magazine with his daughter Karma, check out the pictures.The picture ofthe twoof them is adorable. Speaking of Ludacris, he will be featured on Tupac’supcoming album alongwithSnoop, Ashanti, Keyshia Cole, Young Buck, TI, Bone Thugs N Harmony and Snoop. The album, "Pac’s Life", will be in stores on November 21st.
By:Quibian Salazar-Moreno What started off as just a mixtape has evolved into a full-fledged compilation album featuring the Shady Records roster. The Re-Up mixtape was initially supposed to get the spotlight on new Shady artists Stat Quo, Ca$his and Bobby Creekwater, but Eminem wanted to take it a step further. “What happened is that the material was so good and the tracks were getting produced like a regular album,” Eminem said.“Instead of putting it out there rough and unfinished, I thought we should add some other new tracks, make it a real album, and put it in the record stores to give these new artists a real boost.” The album was executive produced by Em and he also produced most of the tracks along with The Alchemist. The album is set to drop on December 5 and features not only the new cats previously mentioned but also Eminem, 50 Cent, Obie Trice, Lloyd Banks, D12, and Akon. The rumor of unreleased Proof and D12 music to be on the compilation is false, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t coming. “The D12 album and those unreleased songs with Proof are coming,” Eminem said.“But The Re-Up is about these new artists and these new songs.It isn’t fair to them or to the memory of Proof to mix them up.”
By Quibian Salazar-Moreno Admit it; the melody has been stuck in your head for months. It’s probably because Jibbs hit single, “Chain Hang Low” has sold more than one million ring tones, the second artist to ever do so (the other was Rick Ross). The jewelry praising song is the first single off of Jibbs debut album, Jibbs feat. Jibbs, which dropped this week. Jibbs also announced that he will be joing the Scream Tour alongside Yung Joc, Omarion, Ne-Yo, Pretty Ricky, Sammie and One Chance starting in November. Here’s the itinerary: Wednesday, November 22nd Miami, FL American Airlines Arena Friday, November 24th Greensboro, NC Coliseum Saturday, November 25th Birmingham, AL BJCC Arena Sunday, November 26th Atlanta, GA Philips Arena Friday, December 1st Memphis, TN Fedex Forum Saturday, December 2nd St. Louis, MO Savvis Center Sunday, December 3rd Kansas City, MO Kemper Arena Friday, December 8th Oakland, CA Coliseum Sunday, December 10th Los Angeles, CA Forum Thursday, December 21st Hampton, VA Coliseum Friday, December 22nd Philadelphia, PA Wachovia Center Saturday, December 23rd New York, NY Madison Square Garden Tuesday, December 26th Detroit, MI Joe Lewis Arena Thursday, December 28th Chicago, IL Allstate Arena Friday, December 29th Cleveland, OH CSU Wolstein Center Saturday, December 30th Baltimore, MD 1st Mariner Arena Sunday, December 31st Washington DC Verizon Center
By: Rizoh Rapper C-Miller (born Cory Miller), currently under house arrest, has been barred from giving interviews to promote his new album, says the judge overseeing his case. The Louisiana rapper, formerly known as C-Murder, is awaiting a retrial for the murder of teenager Steve Thomas in Louisiana in 2002. "I guess the music will have to speak for itself," said Louisiana District Judge Martha Sassone. C-Miller, 35, was jailed for life in 2003, but won a retrial because prosecutors withheld information about witnesses. Miller’s current house arrest is part of a condition of his $500,000 bail. He had requested permission to give promotional interviews for his upcoming album, but prosecutors argued that he had only been given bail to help prepare for his retrial. "Capitol Records will have to find another way to advertise it," said Ms Sassone. "There’ll be no interviews, no music videos." The good news, however, is that Miller will be allowed to have his photograph taken, and the judge also agreed to let him into his back yard to play with his children. "I would like for him to spend time with his kids," she said. C-Miller recently appeared alongside Ludacris, Beanie Sigel and Pimp C on a 5-minute track titled "Do Your Time," from Luda’s Release Therapy. Miller’s retrial is scheduled for February 2007. His album drops the same month.
iHipHop Blog Team