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1 January, 2001@12:00 am

In the early 90′s, before the indy movement, there were a number of hip-hop artists and acts, that major labels put their money on, in hopes of discovering the next stars. Groups like The Pharcyde, Black Moon, Hieroglyphics, and countless others are among the many that put out one or two albums, and then fell off the face of the Earth, thanks to bad contracts. Among these artists is Casual, arguably Hiero’s nicest emcee, who turned heads with his LP, “Fear Itself”, and of course, his historic battle with the Hobo Junction. With the help of, the three-eyed emcees have maintained their place in the underground spotlight, and Casual has decided to creep back out with a new deal under Stimulated / Loud.

So, the question is, why has it taken so long for Casual to come back out?

Basically, I had to set aside things for my personal career and to establish the Hieroglyphic record company. We are spending all our time to get backing with the album. Also, I have had kids….twin girls of 3. I just got a recording studio, we’re always working, it’s just financial. I am planning to re-present myself in 2000. I have got wasted music. It’s not about not working or not recording. We are just want to be here to the end.

Now you got the new 12″ on Stimulated. Do you have plans for an album as well?

Right now I am just floating around, it depends… The situation is that I did a single deal with the option for an album, which may or may ot happen depsneding on Loud. It doesn’t matter to me which way, because I can put it out independently….

Which is your favorite track on the new 12″?

“I Gotta Get Down”, produced by Alchemist.

How did you hook up with the Alchemist?

Al? I met him in NY and I heard a beat tape first. I met his music first, then I had to find the person who made that music and it was Al. He was a friend of Dante’s (Ross). We first met in ’93 on a promo tour, but I didn’t know that was him. The first time we really got down was in ’98.

What other projects are you working on? Hieroglyphics as well?

Del’s album, “Both Sides Of The Brain”. His album should be out in late October. The single is out now. We are doing another Hiero LP, Souls is working on their album. Pep-Love’s debut is coming right after Del. We want to branch out and do other things with other artists and producers. There is also the “Monty Python” project between Souls Of Mischief and The Pharcyde.

Who are your favorite emcees of all time?

Chill Rob G, Lord Finesse, Too Short. Chill’s first album had rhymes that would rip emcees today.

Who are some of your favorite emcees of the moment?

A lot of these cats is tight. The standard of rap has improved to me and the majority of music is tight to me. There is always that nasty shit. Mos Def, Mobb Deep, and Jay-Z got rhymes; Memphis (Bleek) is tight to me.

Who is producing for you?

Domino and Del, in house, but we’re looking to expand with a few outside cats. Del is working with Automator, I plan to work with Alchemist again.

Tell me a bit about Stimulated. This new imprint under Loud? What does the label wish to accomplish?

They are like an underground label under Loud. They want to be a large underground label, and they have the hot shit, I mean thay got me, Missin’ Linx. But, I don’t feel like I want to be underground all my career. I don’t know If I have the same vision they have. I could compare them to Rawkus in the future, given a little time.

What do you think about when people say the west is falling off?

This is all peridoic. There is a time table to things, shit repeats. As soon as I release, it’s going to be back on the west. I think the South is kinda holdin’ it down, the West is hibernating, I guess. A lot of the groups from the west aren’t around anymore. The Pharcyde? Are they still together? Cube? What can you look to him for? Mack Dime, Eiht and them are servin’ it up, but they are overpowering us and outnumbering. Hiero is like five west coast groups. We need to get our act together and bring the west back to the forefront. We got hitters, Tash, Xzibit, the Liks….

What albums are you listening to now?

Mobb Deep, Violators are the only two tapes in my deck right now.

What are the advantages and disadvantages to being signed or being unsigned?

In this case, sometimes it is lucrative to work with the machine, but you see more money for less record sales on the indy tip. If you have talent, it will work both ways. If you blow up on a label, they won’t be mad, but if you flop they might have some issues. You’re going to be 10 times richer indepedently. They (labels) don’t really like this shit. Jive? Clive Caldler? Going and remixing my songs? That’s unacceptable, he could’ve got dusted. It would be different if Russell (Simmons) was doing it, he knows the music. It can’t be no Clive.

  Mixtape D.L.
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