How has the group change since you reunited?
We’ve changed members. There is about 2 more members that there’s used to be. We were a band of 6, now we are a band of 8. Also 2 members left, so basically we have 4 new members and 4 old members. That’s what it boils down to.
Your artistic advances in music have been widely recognized. You won a Grammy and received an award from the Rolling Stone magazine. How are you able to still diversify your music after so many years?
For me it’s always been a true passion for music and for creativity that keeps me going. Things have changed over the years but what keeps me going is I really really enjoy music. I’m very passionate about it and the more I can do the more I can broaden it, the more excited I get about it. It comes naturally; the music is my first love as opposed to fame and the accolades and recognition. Those things are good but music comes first.
A lot has changed in the past almost 20 years of the band’s existence. Do you feel that issues you always brought up in your music changed much?
I think that it is unfortunate that most of the music from the South that’s getting promoted tends to be one style. So for instance the crunk music style is very cool its just that that’s the only style that’s being promoted from the South and there’s so much down there… I think that’s the injustice and we’ve got to change it.
You are working under your own label, Vagabond Productions. Do you feel that it’s better to have more creative even if less distribution?
You know it depends. It’s really up to the fan base. If they really support I think it can be much better. We’ve had both experiences. We’ve had huge records with major labels where we sold 5 million albums and we’ve had records that we released by ourselves and they didn’t sell as well because we didn’t have the knowledge and the know-how to market it and promote it really well. So we’re hoping that this record we’ve learned from some mistakes. We are an independent label, we are ready to market it in a better way, spend our money very wisely and get it out there in a great way. If that happens correctly I think we gonna have a more financially lucrative record but also a more creative career overall as we won’t repeat our mistakes. We are distributing through Red Eye, which is an independent distribution company. They do Public Enemy, they do a lot of other bands as well. They’re a fantastic company. We really enjoy working with them. This is our first record we’ll do with them.
Since the Last Time was not released in the US. Why?
We were literally waiting foir the right situation. We released the record in Australia. We released it in Euroipe, in Japan and we’re about to release it in Singapoure and the Pacific Rim. US will literally be the last market where we’ll release it. This is home and we want to make sure however we released it it had the right kind of push, the right kind of excitement behind it. Again we’re are not looking for another 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of… necessarily. We more so just want a more thorough fan base. A really well done campaign to push this music. But it doesn’t have to sell millions and millions. If it’s received well that’s just great.
What should we expect from your new album?
I personally think that this record is a breath of fresh air for Hip Hop right now. It’s very warm. It feels light in a sense, compared to some of our other heavier material. I think that this record is a good record to put on just for a party and have a good time to it.
The word ‘party’ is almost a dangerous word in Hip Hop now. What does a ‘party’ mean to you?
To me it’s just what we had tonight. We had fun, without any violence. It’s just people partying, dancing, enjoying themselves. That’s what I feel it’s all about. You know Afrika Bambaataa, one of the founding fathers of Hip Hop, he said a phrase: ‘Peace, Love, Unity and having fun’. And I feel like that’s what just happened tonight.
Do you feel that the fans of today are far less interested in conscious music and more in how danceable the music is?
I think that the fans today are more susceptible to be led. And that’s the unfortunate thing. In other words many many fans today, [are led by] huge forms of mass media that have become more prevalent. TV and radio became more powerful than ever before. It’s all very conglomerate. Radio stations are owned by 1, 2 or 3 companies and you have a smaller playlist. People are sort of led like sheep or cows, like cattle, down a similar road. But I don’t think that it’s really their taste that’s leading them. I think it happens to be the way mass media has been in these days.
On that note, how much focus do you put on the beats as opposed to the lyrics?
I personally love both. I am a lyricist so with any music or any artist out there I tend to focus more on what they’re saying. I love words, I love the power of words. But I do appreciate a great beat, I really do. For me personally I’m slightly an intellectual too. I think I lean a little more to the lyrics.
Is there anything you’d like to add?