HHS: Right off the bat, my first question is what was the inspiration behind “Trust” (B-side to the “Gotta Pay” 12″), as it seems that you had a significant message you were attempting to convey with that song.
What inspired me to write “Trust” was my daughter Donae being born. As a father or even just a man you tend to think about if you have a daughter, how different she’ll be treated by guys. You plan to look out for her best interest. Also I figured the songs I write are like messages or chapters she can refer to as she grows up.
HHS: I managed to scrounge up a tracklisting for your new album, “Mirror Music”, and found that you have Kenn Starr, Oddisee, Masta Ace and Punchline as well as some other artists as featured vocalists, but I couldn’t find any production credits. Who ended up handling all of your production for you? I’m assuming some from Oddisee…
Well on the production side I have Ayatollah, Beatminerz, Oddisee, Curt Gowdy, Frequency, Dox 1, Dave Dar, Belief, R-thentic, Sebb, DJ Static, and Dj Avee and 3d (The courts productions).
HHS: Why did you decide to go with upstart label Halftooth and not an established label that has a proven, or at least well-documented, track record?
Well simple, they gave me an opportunity without wondering what big names were attached to my project. I was the big name and they believe in my music. You don’t want to be with someone that could care less about your music, but about who you know. Also I felt I could help build the label and they would give me the freedom to make my music.
HHS: I’m sure you probably love your entire album, but which of the 18 cuts is your favorite or do you see as the most important for listeners…?
I love “Be A Man” because of its soulful feeling and the content. That’s what a lot of us go thru as we try to find confirmation in to manhood. But some may disagree and say “Shoulder” is the best joint on there.
HHS: With your long history of writing for various mediums (school assignments in rhyme, television shows, and your music), what do you have planned for the upcoming year as far as writing is concerned?
Well I’m trying to have a screen play done about my college years. That’s one of my focuses, but I’m really trying to promote the album as much as possible.
HHS: Can we expect another Punch & Words album, or have you two moved too far apart as far as content or style is concerned that such an album would lack seamlessness or creative focus and clarity? Is such a full-length collaboration feasible anymore?
Punch and Words is still a possibility if there’s a focus for the album and not just random banter. We definitely would have to see how both of us have grown as artists and decide what we want to represent with the music. It could happen if it’s worth doing.
HHS: When years down the road you decide it’s time to hang up the mic and retire (and not the kind of retirement where you make occasional guest appearances, but done for real), what sort of legacy do you hope to leave behind? Or to put it less melodramatically, what do you hope to achieve in the long-run as far as hip-hop is concerned?
I hope I lead a legacy of having a message in my music that inspired any up and coming artist to not be afraid to say what’s on their mind. I want people to hear my music and realize they are not alone and that the dilemmas they face aren’t solely theirs, but I relate to them. My blood and air is my music. Also I want to represent the total package; a dope songwriter and freestyler.
HHS: And on that note, what inspired you to throw your hat in the ring to begin with? What came before Lyricist Lounge, before Rawkus collaborations, before all that…
Well Melle Mel, Run-D.M.C, Kool G. Rap, Kane, it goes on and on. They were all sharing different perspectives and while being heard I was captivated by the music. So I was just a kid rapping in the elevator and in front of the building. I was in a group called Incognatives with me, Punch and my boy Sono. When Sono left to Atlanta, me and Punch kept rhyming, hence Punch and Words. Stretch Armstrong and Bobitto was before Lyricist Lounge and Rawkus, Bobitto named us Punch and Words. That show is why the world knows me today.
HHS: You’re involved in Slam Bush, can you explain that campaign and your involvement in it and why you chose to involve yourself in it.
Slam Bush is a campaign to get people to vote and rid of George Bush from office. I got involved because I figured, to complain and not try to make a difference is hypocritical. I feel the youth that can vote need to have hope; and that sweeping things under the rug isn’t a good attitude. It wasn’t till the nuclear weapon search came up empty and we still went to war, that I really became interested. It’s wild to imagine that you’re sent to war to fight after the weapons weren’t found.
HHS: Do you think all artists have a responsibility to use their position in the spotlight to motivate constituents to enter the voting booth or to advocate positive change in some other manner?
Yes, we definitely must use our notoriety to inflict change. That’s why we do music to have people feel our emotions and evoke mood swings. As far as getting people to the voting booth, yes, if you believe in it. Advocating positive change is our responsibility because we inspire people to become artists or dream seekers. The gifts we’re given to be in the spotlight are because we’re chosen to make change.
HHS: As an eloquent, educated and obviously politically-motivated individual with an affinity for being able to clearly explain your thoughts, do you see politics in your future or is that too far-fetched? Do you see a voting population putting an MC in office?
I’m not sure if politics is my thing, but I’ll try to support what I think is right. You never know though, I’m still young and don’t know what I may be interested in accomplishing later. Yeah, I believe an M.C. can be voted in office, not sure when, but Hip Hop is becoming so overwhelming, there are no boundaries.
HHS: Back to the music for two more questions. How does this new album differentiate itself from all your previous material?
It’s has more substance than just how ill of an MC I am. This album is personal to me, to you, and anyone you know. It’s a reflection of the worlds beings, hence Mirror Music.
HHS: Do you plan on touring to promote this new album?
I plan on touring this album, not sure exactly where yet though. Those dates are being solidified now.
HHS: Any last shout-outs or websites to mention…
Yeah, check out www.wordwidecommunications.com where you can pre-order the album. Also www.Halftooth.com and www.Hiphopsite.com thanks for the exposure. To all the fans, thank you and there is no me without ya’ll.
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