camp-lo-article_phixr7Before the term “swagger” became a pop-culture phenomenon to be said by everyone from the inner cities all the way to most affluent suburban neighborhoods; the Hip-Hop veteran twosome of Camp Lo already made their presence felt.

Before it was cool to actually wear your correct size when it came to putting on a pair of jeans—Camp Lo had established that too.

They didn’t proclaim themselves to be “swagga-licious,” and in fact the word never left their mouths, instead, they let their aura do all the talking for them.

Releasing classic hits like ‘Luchini (This Is It)’ and ‘Coolie High,off their debut album Uptown Saturday Night back in 1997; MC’s Salahadeen “Sonny Cheeba” Wilds and Saladine “Geechi Suede” Wallace made an instant impact during the latter half of Hip-Hop’s golden era.

Their 1970’s personas mixed in with a unique blend of lyricism catapulted them into the next millennium, but not without taking industry-related hiatus’ in between projects. After re-emerging again last year, their song ‘Lumdi’ quickly became part of the rotation on New York’s Hot 97 radio station courtesy of Mister Cee and DJ Enuff. From there, records executives at SRC Records started calling, and as they say: “The rest is history.”

With a fresh deal on the table, and a new project in Stone And Rob: Caught On Tape next on deck, it certainly looks like the natives from the Bronx are headed back to having more “Good Times” than J.J. Evans How’s life been treating you guys lately?

Geechi Suede: Everything is smooth… Talk about your new project, Stone And Rob: Caught On Tape. What can people expect to hear from it?

Geechi Suede: Stone And Rob: Caught On Tape is something that we wanted to throw out there for the people, so they can get ready for A Piece Of The Action. We just kind of went BX on them, we just BX’ed the project, right Chee?

Sonny Cheeba: Yeah, we BX’ed on them, and we gave the people certain things that they wanted to hear for a minute. So it’s kind of like a combination… Is that why you released this project as a mixtape as opposed to making it an official album release?

Geechi Suede: Yeah, because our official project, A Piece Of The Action has a different dynamic than Stone And Rob. This is just to hold you down until we prepare the full course meal for you; you know what I’m saying?

So that’s kind of what Stone And Rob is. We’re looking to present A Piece Of The Action on a different platform than that… Did you two change up your formula a little, or did you keep it the same?

Geechi Suede: I think at some level you’re going to always hear them joints, but just the overtone is going to give you that “uptown” feel. But as you get deeper into it, you’ll find out that we’re on some new stuff as well… How did the deal with SRC/Universal come about? Did they reach out to you?

Sonny Cheeba: Actually it started off with them hearing the song ‘Lumdi,that Mister Cee and [DJ] Enuff were playing on Hot 97.

Then they had reached out, and wanted to know who was doing the song, and at the time I don’t even think they knew it was “Lo-ah.So once they heard it was us; that’s how the SRC thing went down. How have you two managed to keep it together all of these years with no public fights, no drama, and no breakups?

Geechi Suede: We go through our stuff; you know what I’m saying? But [Sonny] Cheeba has always been like a big brother to me…

So we go through our big brother/little brother stuff, but we realize that what we’re doing is bigger than us… So it’s nothing… You may get in this beef or that beef; but brothers always stick together…

Sonny Cheeba: And on top of that, I think genetically both cats hate to lose, you know what I’m saying? I never want it to be said that we left the music, or whatever it is we’re doing because of something so small compared to the big picture. So the big picture is “Lo-ah, you know what I mean? So doing solo projects never crossed your mind once just to see how it would be?

Geechi Suede: I started out on the solo tip, and then I pulled Chee in as a guiding light, and as other sh*t… I always ventured out, and f*cked with music, but I always visualized that if I came through with a project on my own it would be through the Lo family, and that Chee would have an influence and be attached to the project—and hopefully be attached to everything that I do… Is there anything that bothers you two about modern day Hip-Hop?

Sonny Cheeba: Only problem I have are the radio circuits… It’s like the lanes aren’t opened up to everything… They just beat you in the head with the same thing all day, and that’s the only problem I have…

As far as the quality, I think that it even trickled down from TV, man… Right now even the things on TV are microwavable, you know what I’m saying?

Everyone’s attention span isn’t like that anymore, so it’s like they just try to hit you with a quick buzz for you to catch a fix on the next song. But there is a lot of ill music out there; it’s just that cats don’t know about it, because they’re not hearing it.

loGeechi Suede: I agree… Right now there’s just not a variety out there as far as what the TV and the radio are giving…

Like Chee said, there is a whole bunch of good music out there; and that’s been going on for a while now… It’s not like that just started happening…

When Uptown Saturday Night was out, there were still a lot of good artists who weren’t making it to radio. Right now it seems like that stuff will never make it to the forefront, and I just think it needs to be a variety of stuff out here.

Sonny Cheeba: Maybe they need to find a new name for that style of radio… [Laughs]

Geechi Suede: And I’ll say that there is a big difference between rap and Hip-Hop, and Hip-Hop obviously not getting the light that it should be getting. Rap is the offspring of Hip-Hop, so it’s good in that aspect, but the essence of Hip-Hop is not getting the lights, camera, and action that it should be. I think once they open up that lane where everything can flow together…

Sonny Cheeba: Once they open up them lanes, everything is going to be all day! Suppose you want to check an artist that you think is hot, when it comes to a network or a radio show, what are you going to check him on? Everything is kind of different right now. Right now do you feel as if you’re competing with the younger artists who are coming up and making a name for themselves?

Geechi Suede: Nah, and I think that’s the best thing about Camp Lo, because from the beginning we never thought we were competing with anybody… We’ve always been in our own class, and even now to this day, we don’t feel like we’re competing with nobody.

We feel the same way now that we did back then, and we don’t think about the time. We’re always going to approach it from an angle that you never heard or seen before, and if you have heard or seen it before; it’s only been from us… You guys have always prided yourself on individuality, do you think that concept is lacking nowadays?

Geechi Suede: HEAVY!

Sonny Cheeba: [Laughing]…

Geechi Suede: It’s lacking big time… Put it like this: My favorite album right now, is the Ryan Leslie joint… [Click to read album review] I think the last Hip-Hop album I bought was Nas’ newest one, but you always know what to expect from Nas.

But the one I’m bumping right now is that Ryan Leslie… So that’s how I feel about that… [Laughs] [Laughing]… After you guys came out with Lets Do It Again back in 2002, you didn’t release another album, which was Black Hollywood in 2007. Why did it take so long?

Geechi Suede: Well now Chee and me have our own imprint, and that’s what we’ve been doing… The creativity has always been there, but it’s the business part of it that we really had to put into perspective…

When we did the Black Hollywood project, we got the idea of how we wanted to move from then on business-wise… If you guys could go back and start your careers again, would you change anything?

Geechi Suede: The two things we always speak about is the fact that we should have probably put ‘Spanish Harlem’ out as the third single behind ‘Coolie High’ and ‘Luchini,instead of ‘Black Nostaljack.

We should’ve put ‘Spanish Harlem’ out instead of ‘Black Nostaljack.Also the time between Uptown Saturday Night and Trouble Man, which was a white label joint we threw out there in 2000—probably between ’97 and ’99. If we knew then what we know now, we would have put out more stuff…

At that time we were going through label stuff, because the label was being bought out, and we were taking our time when we should’ve been putting music out on our own, just as we’re doing right now.

We should’ve been doing that then, and those are probably the only two things that we would’ve done… Just making ‘Spanish Harlem’ the next single, and flooding the market with Lo when were going through all that label stuff…