The more we do these things, I’ve learned a few things…
1. Editing is a motherfucker because you don’t want to leave anything out. Everything said in the conversations seems like a crucial information that needs to be shared, read, heard. So that leads to….
2. I’m so fuckin glad I don’t work for a periodical so that we can publish this whole thing in it’s entirety. If you choose not to read it all, that’s on you. But I promise you’re gonna miss some entertainment if you don’t.
(Want your artist here? Contact us – firstname.lastname@example.org)
In a utopian world, these dudes would need no introduction whatsoever because their music would already be known to the masses.
But we live in America…corporate America at that.
That means artists like Little Brother, who put out quality hip-hop music, are often overshadowed by our cultures obsession with all things controversial, violent & ignorant.
It is what it is.
What that does for those of us who tread off the beaten path is allows us to enjoy crews like Little Brother without anyone polluting our listening experience with the group, but instead allowing the group to create their image for us with their work.
Little Brother and the words critical darlings seem to go hand in hand…and they make damn good music. As members of the larger collective the Justus League, the group consists of two MC’s, Big Pooh & Phonte, and DJ/producer 9th Wonder.
We had the chance to rap with Phonte…and what started as a brief AOL chat turned into a smoking session that lasted two or three hours, until after 3AM.
Phonte: yo..its Tay.
TSS: aiight…what’s good brother
TSS: I was bout to give up on you & turn in lol
Phonte: yeah…I was just up trynna watch this Mike Epps special on HBO. It’s not that funny tho’ so I logged back on…lol
TSS: man you buggin’ lol. Mike Epps is a fool doing standup. I seen that dude one time & son was dumb high just straight freestylin’ his whole routine lol. Funniest shit I ever seen
Phonte: ehhh…That’s the thing tho’.it may have been funny as hell IN PERSON.. but watching it at home on TV, that shit doesn’t translate…
TSS: I watched that shit. I guess I’m still seeing him like, envisioning him as he was on stage
Phonte: It’s like watchin a nigga that can freestyle his ass off but you ain’t tryna buy an album of that shit…
TSS: b/c I agree the shit seemed like it wasn’t structured…like he didn’t transition that well btw jokes
TSS: we’ll start it off easy……favorite guilty pleasure listening?
Phonte: Guilty pleasure? hmmmm…well, I don’t really feel guilty about anything that gives me ‘pleasure’..but uhhh..
TSS: Yeah but that one joint you cut down when others come around lol
Phonte: I guess I’d probably say D4L or Dem Franchize Boyz…..
TSS: haha…oh wowâ€¦ now you bout to start some shit right here lol
Phonte: yeah…that and all my AM rock white boy harmony bands that I like America, Toto, Little River Band, Bread… I fucks with all that shit…
TSS: How the fuck the current reigning champs of the underground gonna rock with D4L?
TSS: you gonna lose some fuckin fans for real man! the innernuts love you all but that’s gonna throw’em for a loop
Phonte: well, like I say all the time…..I’m not bumpin the shit in my iPod ’cause that’s not the place for it, for me at leastâ€¦but if it comes on in the club, I’ll dance to it. And I don’t think “Laffy Taffy” is any more ‘harmful’ to the culture than “Whoomp There It Is”
TSS: That mentioning of the club scene leads into my next question. You’re a recording star, why are you home on a Saturday night?
Phonte: recording star my ass…I’m one of the most boring niggas you’ll ever meet.. I’ve been out on the road for the past week, so when I come off I always take time to spend with the family, and just chill..
TSS: Man…I don’t think there’s anything wrong with “Laffy Taffy” or any of that shit. I’m like you…if it’s on in the spot, I ain’t gonna front like I’m not gonna move w/the crowd.
Phonte: yeah, I feel youâ€¦like I always say..I think that people’s anger with that song, has more to do with the fact that they don’t hear much of an alternative to it, more so than the actual song itself..
TSS: yeah…you all are from the south and so am I. Do you defend the south or take offense as well when you hear artist from other areas saying “the south is ruining music”?
Phonte: no, I don’t take offense because the South isn’t ‘ruining’ music..if anything is ‘ruining’ music, its the radio stations and media outlets that play the same songs every hour..and don’t give people a variety and/or an alternative.. like, if you’re gonna play “Laffy Taffy” fifty times a day…at least give niggas some Lupe or whatever 30 times a day.. its the age-old argument of ‘balance,’ I guess.. but I honestly don’t see shit changing….
And as for my need to ‘defend’ it…well…I’m kind of like Chris Rock…’I love hip-hop, but I have trouble defending it’…lol
TSS: haha…good summationâ€¦Now, straight up, no punches pulled… like I said before, we rapped with Kareem Johnson and we had a real long long talk and he brought you guys up. he seemed sort of disappointed by the media’s role in this shit as well.
Phonte: yeah, Kareem’s a good dude…real cool peoples
TSS: When we spoke with him, we briefly spoke on the BET bullshit
(“Little Brother video won’t run on BET”). Hypothetical situation – You & a few Viacom heads are in a room together, no political correctness allowed. what do you say to them? do you take your watch off, roll up your sleeves and tell’em to meet you outside?
Phonte: lol….nah, not at all..I would say, “hey guys…you’re doing a great job”. Your job is solely to make money, and that you’re doing very well…I just can’t fuck with it no more…
TSS: What would you encourage your fans to do in support of you regarding that situation? “hey ya’ll boycott BET”or do you sit them down like a parent and give them a lecture relaying the importance of supporting artists in other ways so that bigger entities in turn HAVE to take and give notice to the artists?
Phonte: Yeah, I’d probably go the other way with it…its not as easy as ‘boycott BET’….I mean, I don’t watch BET….but that’s because there’s really nothing on there for me. It has nothing to do with my personal feelings about the company. I would urge my fans to do the same…
TSS: Man…I ain’t watched BET in years lol…they took Tavis off so I bounced lol
Phonte: I think that was my turning point, tooâ€¦from them taking off Teen Summit to the ixnaying of Tavis, that was the downfall for me….lol
TSS: heheâ€¦I’m with you all the way. Let’s dumb down for a sec. Ananda (sp) from Teen Summit or Rachel off that one show?
Phonte: I liked Ananda…..Rachel seemed like an airhead. She used to host Caribbean Rhythms right?
TSS: haha…I was about to ask you the same thing and say it was some Caribbean islands type shit. I just remember she had some tig ol’bitties and that smile
Phonte: yeah, she was cute….but seemed dumb… dumb ain’t sexy to me…
TSS: You mentioned being home from the road…so when you’re not working, who gets the most of your time?
Phonte: My wife and kids… I’m Superman on the road, but I come home to Clark Kent statusâ€¦baby earlin ‘on my shirt and all that shit..
TSS: Do you have any old enough that they’re listening to music? And, if so, what do you have them listening to? I know they don’t wanna hear daddy rap all day
Phonte: lolâ€¦oh, man….my sons are 5 years and 6 mos. old, respectively…and they listen to everything I listen to… LB, Radiohead, Jazzanova, Lewis Taylor, T.I., Bun B.,…..just good music, man..
TSS: Okay so it’s safe to say they’re listening to “Lean With It..” too lol?
TSS: Hey you said it yo
Phonte: I ain’t bumpin’ “Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It” in the car, but I’m sure my 5 year old hears it on the radio….as long as he knows there’s soooo much more music other than what he hears on the radio, its all good…
TSS: yeah, I got a 7 yr old and luckily she don’t really care about radio shit or rap too much. she’d rather sing the shit on Disney and maybe some R&B tunes. But hell, I have to watch R&B shit closely too lol
Phonte: That’s good, although Disney’s been sucking lately…. Lion King 1.5? the FUCK was that…..lol. they fucked up by letting go of Pixar….
TSS: Favorite song off “the purple tape”?
Phonte: it’ll probably be “Rainy Dayz“. I still bump that shit….
TSS: wow….interesting choice, but, damn son…you depressed lol? All the upbeat heat on that tape and you choose “Rainy Dayz“?
Phonte: Man….that shit is so perfect, man….it really sounds like a rainy day….plus, the way Ghost sets that shit off…..c’mon, man…I haven’t had a hip hop record hit me like that in a while…
TSS: aiight…I’m just frontin on you. the whole tape is certified and really plays itself like a movie in my mind. But..I dunno man. every now and then, a new track will come out and just get stuck on repeat for me. When I heard “Live In The Sky” on TI’s new joint, I swear I listened to it at least 15x
Phonte: maaaaaaaan…going back to the ‘purple tape’
TSS: (nerve touched)
Phonte: We had a discussion about that on our message board and cats were basically saying that, if you’re gonna diss Jeezy and Cam or whoever for making dopeman rap…then you gotta diss Cuban Linx as well…which I agree with in theory, but I always wondered…was I the ONLY NIGGA who missed all the drug references in that album? Lol like, seriously…..
TSS: Oh man….I think that’s the thing
Phonte: I didn’t realize they were talking about coke until YEARS later..
TSS: A lot of cats say “Jeezy ain’t lyrical”. Jeezy’s saying a lot of stuff, just like ghost & Rae were, that if you ain’t aware of the lingo it goes right past you . Oh man, in reality…Rae & Ghost been speaking on sniffin coke for years and I STILL don’t think cats recognize it lol. Various members of the Wu. I remember when Meth came out, first track…Tical…cats was like “that’s ‘Lace it’ backwards”
Phonte: Well, that I disagree on…I think Jeezy’s coke references are waaaay more literal than Rae and Ghost’s…
TSS: Yeah…don’t even think I’m puttin Jeezy on that level but just touching on the references to drugs
Phonte: Yeah, well,then again, I’m speaking as a 27 year old man..maybe if I was 16, I would miss that ‘birds fly south for the summer’ shit too, y’know?
TSS: lolâ€¦shit, not these kids today man. I think at least half of them know since they’ve been seeing and hearing it their whole livesâ€¦the media today educates & exposes our kids to way way more early these days
Phonte: I feel you there..
TSS: Last book you read or favorite book to reread?
Phonte: Last book I read was Who’s Afraid of a Large Black Man by Charles Barkley…read it in a day between layovers at the airport and shit…pretty good read.
TSS: So do you read a lot or just when you have time?
Phonte: Nah, just when I have time..I really should read more, as I find it very relaxing…..but most of the time I’m listening to music…it’s my one true addiction.
TSS: Things you spend a lot of money on? like the thing the wife says “Tay you know you did not need another ______”
Phonte: CDs. I buy music like crazy… but luckily I can write it off the taxes, so its all good…
TSS: last 5 cds you copped?
Phonte: last 5 joints…hmmm..Tool- 10,000 Days, Ghostface – Fishscale, Eric Tagg – Dreamwalkin, Jon B’s Greatest Hits, and T.I.- Kingâ€¦.I still haven’t made it through that Tool joint yet. Their albums are like movies…
TSS: Man…the more you get in depth with artists, the more you realize that they don’t listen to hip-hop all day. I wish more actual fans could understand that, esp. these young cats who’re making music
Phonte: Yeah, man….I try to tell cats all the time…just because you work in a steakhouse, doesn’t mean you only eat steak everydayâ€¦ a nigga can appreciate some chicken, fish, and pork too..
TSS: lol..word. i’mma bite that line
TSS: “if I wasn’t rappin baby/I would still drivin’ Mercedes“….what would you be doing?
Phonte: if I wasn’t rappin’, I’d be somewhere workin’ an odd job still trynna rap… probably writing or something…
TSS: Writing a novel or poetry?
Phonte: Hmmmmm…..probably a collection of short stories or something..I definitely don’t have the patience to be a novelist..
TSS: so at heart, art would be your life either way it goes?
Phonte: oh hell yeah…without a question….I’ve quit every job I’ve ever had lol.
TSS: LMAOâ€¦sorry man but I’m dying off that one
Phonte: Yeah man, I never could fit into that way of life, man…its really repressive spiritually.That shit can turn you into an old man quick..
TSS: Yeah I know what you’re saying…cats will be like Willie Lomax in Death of Salesman living a 9 to 5 life. But when did you make the decision…”fuck it, i’mma go all out w/this rap thing”?
Phonte: Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaan…..crazy shit..true story……my last joint…it was 2002….
I was working at Belk, a department store..fucking HATED it…anyway, I was supposed to be at work on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving..niggas had me on the schedule for 6 AM, yo…..at a fuckin’ RETAIL STORE!
Phonte: Anyway, I call out the day before….and my manager is like, ‘okay Phonte that’s cool….but you’re gonna be here on Friday rightâ€¦I’m like “yeah, sure I’ll be there….” I ain’t been back since and never looked back….
TSS: lol…they’re opening a Belks down the street. I’ll be laughing every time I see that shit
TSS: You mentioned you all were on the road last week….” when we performIt’s just coffee shop chicks and white dudesâ€¦” Is that how it usually turns out for your crowds since you are again “the reigning champs”? I know where I’m at these black folk absolutely do not come out for shows unless you a big mainstream actâ€¦ or is it diverse & the whole hood comes out to show love?
Phonte: Actually, it depends on the city. When we’re in Cali, its normally pretty diverse..
TSS: Word. What about back home, or close to home…say DC?
Phonte: Now in DC and Maryland, that’s when the hood comes out…
Phonte: Shit is lovely, yo…you’ll be onstage and see 20 niggas with doo-rags and tattoos and chains singing “Shorty on the Lookout” and afterwards niggas come up to you like, ”yo fam, we just wanna let you know that y’all LB niggas is good in B-More, son….anything y’all need….anything….” and then they lean in on ‘anything,’ which lets you know that they could be referring to anything from sneakers to strippers to crack cocaine….lol
TSS: What album stands out most to you in regards to your memories of your parents & childhood?
TSS: Like I can think of several experiences
TSS: 1. Prince’s “Erotic City“…pops wasn’t lettin us listen to that lol
Phonte: lol..”Erotic City” is the jamâ€¦ it still ain’t toppin’ “17 Days” tho.
TSS: Yeah man, I think that’s why my sister loves Prince to this day…still rebelling lol. But what was it for you?
Phonte: Man…well….my mom was only 15 years older than me…..so we were real close…like, everywhere I went, she went. So my earliest memories of music were Saturday morning cleanup at my grandmother’s houseâ€¦we’d listen to Johnny Guitar Watson, Stevie Wonder….I had an uncle who was real big into P-Funk, so that was an influence..
My first hip-hop experience came from when I used to go with her to the park with her friends..remember, she was like, a sophomore in HS when she had me…..so she was still a teenager hangin’ out for the most part. We’d go to the park jams and cats would be playing Newcleus, Shannon, all that early 80’s Prelude, roller-skating shit…
TSS: Haha…my son said Newcleus. I had that fuckin tape and cherished it lol.
Since we calling off roller-skating stuff, Midnight Star for you? “No Parking On The Dance Floor” lol
Phonte: Ohhh man…”Curious” is my jam
TSS: Haha word
Note â€“ If you all hear LB sample anything Midnight Star contact me so I can get my royalties for creative influences.
TSS: I promised to come back to the whole internet thing so let me take you to downloading, your presence online w/the forum, being here now and all….How does Tay feel personally about all of this? Do you think cats way across the map would know LB without the worldwide web?
Phonte: I fucks with downloading, man…..a lot of the artists I listen to now, and ended up buying all their stuff on the strength of downloading..
TSS: Basically, I hope that’s what a lot of people do honestlyâ€¦get open to some shit because it’s free, love it and then show their full support financially
Phonte: I know LB wouldn’t be ANYWHERE without the power of the internet. It’s more than one way to make a dollar, man..I tell cats all the time, look at your CD’s as a loss-leader just like Best Buy sells their CD’s at a loss, hoping that you’ll walk in to buy the new Ne-Yo CD for 3 bucks, and walk out with a DVD player. That’s how you have to look at your career as a recording artistâ€¦believe me, I know…lol. You’re not gonna make much money of your CD, unless you do crazy numbers. So you pretty much use your CD as a way to make other streams of income. So if people download the CD, but come to a show ($20) and buy a T-shirt ($25), you’ve won…
TSS: What is a major misconception you feel people may have about you or your crew? Like, I heard someone say “Basically the hype is… they ain’t coonin like their fellow southern artists. Big whoop di-do.” I just shook my head
Phonte: lololâ€¦well…. I think right now, its fashionable to hate Little Brother, whereas in ’03 we were the poster children for ‘real hip hop,’ nowadays cats are going out of their way to hate on us..Maybe it’s because Minstrel Show didn’t sell as they expected, and its on some ‘kick ’em while they’re down’ shit (“Critics Praise Little Brother’s ‘Minstrel Show'”)….I dunno.. But the thing is, I’m not down…I’m touring, making money, making music, making a living doing what I love… which is much more than ALOT of people can say (see: Belk employees) lol
TSS: hahaâ€¦true indeed
Phonte: as far as ‘misconceptions’ go..I think people look at LB and think that we’re ‘purists’ (read: music snobs)
Phonte: â€¦.which is not the case at all…
TSS: far from it
Phonte: but y’know man…. people are always gonna try to box you in to make themselves comfortable…
TSS: well…maybe you need to put some guns & dope…maybe a Jeezy appearance on your next album
Phonte: nah, that ain’t gon’ happen….lolâ€¦change my name to Cadillac Tay… Cadillac Tay, Pimpin’ Pooh, and 9th 9 Milli are Lil’ Bruva. Check their debut album, The Glistening out on Dopespot Records/Money Laundering Entertainment
TSS: hahaâ€¦so okay… how are you gonna stay out of the box they’re trying to put you in? are you gonna pull an Andre 3000 or a Prince switching to a sing shit to throw’em off?
Phonte: nah….I ain’t gon’ pull no Andre 3000…although I see how people like him and Q-Tip can get bored with rhyming and try their hand at singing or whatever…
TSS: aiight….now who’s REALLY the best singer out the crew since we’re headed that way?
Phonte: lololâ€¦ well, I’m definitely the best singer….but 9th’s got a pretty good tenor, though. Pooh is flat out tone deaf.
TSS: LMAOâ€¦oh manâ€¦Best dancer out the crew? Like who the one who comes home sweaty from the club
Phonte: best dancer….probably me……although Pooh’s two step is pretty mean…
TSS: you’re in rare form. I’ll be sure to make sure they see this shit
Phonte: lol… as far as the question you asked about ‘staying out of the box; I just focus on making the best music I can make…niggas can call it what they wanna call it… bottom line is, I’m not gonna make myself look ignorant just to be ‘cool’ to these niggas.. you can never please everybody, so just please yourself… fuck ’em girl…fuck ’em – Martin lol.
TSS: What would you say is your ultimate goal as far as the music industry is concerned? I assume it’s not gonna be plaques, paper and pussy. So when you die, what do you want your epitaph to read or the funeral program. Direct it towards the industry though…
Phonte: I want my epitaph to read: “I sold a lotta records and alotta people know me………NOW WHERE’S MY GODDAMN TROPHY!!!!” (c) The Honorable Willie D.
TSS: they ain’t gonna know nothing about that man lolâ€¦.that’s some straight south shit right there lol
Phonte: I know man…..that was waaaay before their time…lolâ€¦but seriously, I guess I’d want my legacy or whatever to be of a person who made as much of a difference off stage as he did onstage. I’d hope my actions as an emcee, as well as a simple human being, would inspire people. Inspire people to do something positive, I guess..that’s really it, man..
TSS: Man you gotta know it’s some kid out there who ain’t a hooper or who’s 16 just like you were and don’t know shit about dope…but he relates to you alll namean, because of the things you say and do. He’s prolly on the ‘net like me & you now and when he reads this he’s gonna crack a smile
Phonte: I hope so…
TSS: …and go do his homework…or quit his job @ Belks
Phonte: and to that kid, I would say “keep doin’ you, man.” Don’t let the TV fool you, homieâ€¦.its more niggas at Belk than it is dopeboys..
TSS: haha…say word. I been zoning out to Kanye’s “Spaceship” all week. now that, that’s my “Rainy Dayz” track right now!
Phonte: lolâ€¦man, that song is so real… he flipped that “Distant Lover”‘ shit..
TSS: yo fuck it….favorite Jay song over a 9th track?
TSS: I started to ask you who does jay sound better over, ‘Ye or 9th lol
Phonte: I think 9th’s best remix was the “Lucifer” joint…the way he recreated that “Devil’s Pie” bassline was geniusâ€¦.I mean….I’m not playing favorites at all because 9th has definitely had stuff that’s missed the mark in my eyes. But his Black Album remix shitted over everybody else’s…I remember when he was doing it. dude spent WEEKS doing that shit….which, for 9th is like a lifetime..
Phonte: nigga remixed “Allure” like 4 times before he decided on the final version…he was really in a zone on that one, man..
TSS: well tell him Gottyâ„¢ and a million more motherfuckers loved that shit
Phonte: no doubt….will do..
TSS: final questionsâ€¦upcoming projects, shows, aspirations?
Phonte: well….me and Pooh have started preliminary work on the next LB album..And, me and Nic have started planning our attack for the next FE recordâ€¦then, of course our team, Hall Of Justus is gettin’ ready for the fall… we got stuff comin from Joe Scudda, Darien Brockington, Chaundon, and The Embassy (Legacy and Chaundon group project)
TSS: I’ll expect an advanced listening of all of that! How much work actually goes into that advanced planning? Like how do you all determine which direction an album will go?
Phonte: well, for me…the direction for an album has to do mainly with two things: a) the direction of the LAST album, and b, where I am creatively. So, if creatively I’m in a place where I wanna smack hoes and sell dope on record, I can’t really do that all out if I was hugging trees and preaching Black nationalism on the last record….lol. It’s all about trying to find that balance, and making sure that all your releases make sense going from one to the other…
TSS: haha…yeah, you might gain a few but you’d lose a lot of folks . that’s a switcharoo like BDK pulled on us back in the day
Phonte: exactlyâ€¦It’s pretty much picking out tracks….and developing concepts…that’s kinda my pre-production phase..
TSS: you know…most fans see rappers as just going in the studio, laying tracks, and picking out some shit & putting them together
Phonte: well, sometimes it happens like that tooâ€¦Separate But Equal was done like that in parts..
TSS: man I meant to askâ€¦what sparked the Drama collabo? Shit came outta nowhere to most fans
TSS: straight up
Phonte: man, me and Drama have known each other since ’03 and we’ve been mutual fans of each other’s work..
TSS: I’ve been bumping one of the Aphilates mixtapes this whole sessionâ€¦DJ Jamad â€“ Afromentals Vol. 22â€¦it’s run at least three times already, getting ready to play for the fourth time.
Phonte: yeah, they’re really on their game..
TSS: shit”s banging
Phonte: yoooooooooâ€¦Jamad’s my dude…I just did a guest DJ spot on his show for Sirius radioâ€¦they’re talking about possibly hooking me up with my own show on Sirius, on the strength of my playlist…..shit was crazy…
TSS: Sirrius radio and Tay? Wowâ€¦
Phonte: yeah, man….
TSS: where can I see your playlist? I’mma copy it and say it’s mine and tell’em to give me the show
Phonte: they haven’t aired it yet…
TSS: I need the paper worse than you lol
Phonte: sheeeeeeeeeit…maybe not. You seen the sales figures for Minstrel Show?
TSS: lol…good you’re taking it in stride
Phonte: man, its all good….
TSS: Ohh man…that write-up you did on Mobb was nice too. I posted it so I wanna touch that real quick before we quitâ€¦.so, do we dislike Mobb?
Phonte: maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan….the Mobb joint….I was waiting for you to bring that up….
TSS: They paid their dues, can they go the g-unit route and get paid? Or is that like a Red Sox player becoming a Yankee? “The Evil Empire” lol
Phonte: exactly…but then they go to the Yankees and don’t even win lol
TSS: haha…nuff said sir
Phonte: nah, lemme set it straight man…
TSS: go head
Phonte: I’m a Mobb Deep fan til’ the death… a fan meaning, I’ll always check for the stuff they release…whether its on G-Unit, Cash Money, or Money Laundering Entertainment..
TSS: jea I’m hip, same here…just the old Mobb Deepâ€¦the old 50…the old Camâ€¦I’m for growth but not regression
Phonte: well truthfully, I like the new 50 waaaay more than the old Fif.. Power of the Dollar was dope, though…but GRODT is a classic….nobody can front on that. But anyways, back to Mobb..
TSS: He got his share of solid tracks…I guess it’s the overexposure and the whole slew of club songs
Phonte: Exactly! It’s overexposure more than anything….that, to me, is where the Fif hate is coming fromâ€¦.’cause his music, for the most part, has remained consistent. And that’s what I was saying in that whole Mobb Deep piece I wrote..
TSS: so 50’s been him…but Mobb ain’t doin them?
Phonte: to me, the last classic Mobb album was Murda Muzik and their last two albums were just “aiight” by most standards..
TSS: Murder Muzik was fiyah! production, lyrics, all thatâ€¦.
Phonte: dude. that shit was the soundtrack to my summer in ’99â€¦I had the bootleg joint…that shit was crack. But what I was saying is, Mobb for the most part has been making the same music…but in the eyes of the fans, they’ve crossed over to ‘the darkside’ as you put it. So when you cross over to the darkside, and your album is anything less than classic, then there’s gonna be hell to pay…I thought the album was just aiiight…..Pretty much the same way I felt about Infamy and Amerikka’s Nightmare. But now that they’re on G-Unit, its a heavier cross to bear….you feel what I’m sayin? And thing is, man, I wrote that shit on our message boards….just fuckin’ around at the crib and I woke up the next morning and that shit’s everywhere like, “yo….this nigga Tay dissin Mobb and G-Unit!!” I just shook my head, man….cats are always gonna misconstrue what you say…
TSS: yeah, that’s Americaâ€¦take a piece of it, misquote and run w/it. I think the people who took the time to read understood that…It was more of an assessment & almost a plea to them dudes “don’t forget your core & what made you”
Phonte: I mean….
TSS: but word is…them boys got robbed so much they had to get money w/Fif lol
Phonte: you wrong for that one.
Phonte: but the thing that sparked it, was when I read an interview and P was talking about what made ’em sign, to G-Unit, that is..and he was like, ‘yo, we always had the streets….but now we tryna get the white people’ or something to that effect. It was like he had aspirations of doing GRODT numbers…and I just shook my head like, ‘dude, that’s NOT gonna happen’. Not for you, not for Yayo….hell, that might not even happen for 50 again! GRODT was a movement….. just like Purple Rain was a movement…and Thriller was a movement..
TSS: I think fans are left to wonder, how does a crew get so misguided to believe that they can pull that shit off when it wasn’t poppin previously
Phonte: man, I seriously don’t know…that’s why I pray, manâ€¦ I pray that through whatever trials this industry puts me through, I can remain sane and realistic of my goals…
TSS: “stay in your lane”…speed up, keep pace…but don’t fall the fuck back like that
Phonte: exactly….just stay in your lane..
TSS: word up man, you seem realistic about it all and you’re still enjoying it
Phonte: like I say all the time, man…I never got into this business expecting to get rich….
Phonte: Americans don’t realize how good they have itâ€¦even Black Americans…
TSS: jea we hear a lot of complaining…my question to leaders isâ€¦.ok, you complain…but where is your plan, your solutions. Personal question, you’re in the limelight we’ll say…you travel…you meet people….this is one I struggle w/quite oftenâ€¦who are our Black leaders today? Previous generations had theirs. Who are ours?
Phonte: Young Jeezy
TSS: yeah man…that’s the sad part
Phonte: seriously….I think Bun B. should be a senator or some shit, man..
TSS: why Bun?
Phonte: that nigga’s speeches would be so immaculate…..dude’s the perfect politician…
TSS: expand on that
Phonte: and not ‘politician’ in the ‘lemme kiss everybody’s ass and make ’em like me’ industry way…..I mean it in a sense that he has a way of expressing his opinion and making it so that even if you don’t agree with him, you have to respect where he’s coming from, b/c its based in fact..
TSS: ok so you’re one of usâ€¦how did you feel about the whole Byron Crawford â€“ Bun B thing
TSS: this is off the record
Phonte: nah, we can keep it on the record….its all good…I look at Byron Crawford as a shockblogger…. he knows how to push people’s buttons and get niggas’ attention… that’s his whole steez..
TSS: jea, we know that…some readers don’t and, well, he got Bun’s attention lolâ€¦
Phonte: yeah, he didâ€¦and I’m with Bun on that oneâ€¦If you’re gonna criticize someone’s music, then fine….but Byron implied alotta sideways shit about Pimp that I thought was outta line. I looked at it as Bun defending his brother, who was being unfairly attacked. The main thing that was on point to me was when Bun said that the South has supported NY through ALL their various forms, from the ‘positive’ medallion wearing 80’s, to the drug lord/ illuminati/ 5% psychobabble of the 90’s…
TSS: that shit is all the way true though. WE HAVE and that’s sort of the hurtful part of all the swipes the south receives
TSS: yeah I know “snap” music is whatever to hip-hop but shit, let us bring our shit to the table for some people to enjoyâ€¦
Phonte: when that nigga Bun, in an interview said “Do you know how hard it was for niggas down south to try and understand mathematics?” I damn near LOST itâ€¦’cause that’s JUST how I felt….(see: the missed Cuban Link drug references) lolâ€¦I fell out laughing at that shit, man…’cause it was true..
TSS: C’mon man, I’m from below the Mason-Dixon as well. At one point and time, all we had was ‘east coast” rap. So that’s why it bothers me personally. Sometimes it only makes me more ignorantly support some of the dumb shit in public. but like you said, behind closed doors let cats know that shit is weak lolâ€¦hip-hop’s a buffet…you don’t like it, move around, there’s something for everybody. But, do artist really check for the internet…I mean sites like ours, Byron’s and such?
Phonte: I think so nowadays more than ever….I think artists are becoming more aware of the power of the internet, and are checking for the blogs and shit to see what cats are saying about it..
TSS: You know we do a lot of “filesharing”, for close to a year now…and we’ve only had one label complain…and it was a small ass label. In fact, we get more under the table love than anything
Phonte: That’s wassup, man…
TSS: Here’s oneâ€¦Lupe’s joint leaked. what would you do? Do you rush it, scrap it, remix it, what? (“Lupe Fiasco: Leaks & Patches”)
Phonte: I have a theory about that….I would do this…see what people’s reaction is, and re-work your project based on that…
TSS: THANK YOU
Phonte: If EVERYBODY’S saying that track 4 is wack, then take track 4 off. But you still drop the record…
TSS: I think his thing was really displaying his initial reaction online and that threw people off
Phonte: I think Lupe’s gonna be alright though…I actually spoke with him on the day his
record leaked…I called him on some joke shit like, “Happy Album Release Day, nigga!”
Phonte: We both laughed about it…lol. I think his response was honest…I’ve been there..It’s a mixture of happiness because you’re glad that people are checking for you, but also disappointment because you know its not the finished record, and its not the way you intended people to hear it…
TSS: Man he’s gonna be aiight. tell’em to please keep doing what he’s doing. people are really really lovin it. he’s got a good thing going whether he realizes it or not. he’s won over a lot of fans in a short amount of time and actually lived up to the majority of the hype
Phonte: Oh yeah…he realizes it….dude’s got a good head on him, man…he’s gonna be cool….out of curiosity, where are you based?
Phonte: word to Count Bass D
TSS: haha…whathcu know about that? My sis went to college with dude so I been hip to his music since the early early 90’s.
Phonte: Man….Count’s my dude…he hit me up about doing something for his new record…but I ain’t heard from him since…his first album was the original College Dropout
Phonte: “T-Boz Tried To Talk To Me” is Kanye all day…
TSS: Dude I used to hear about him so much I sorta mimicked his style at one point at time lolâ€¦aiyo, it’s getting late on this side & the shorty will be up looking for her Eggo’s fam lol
TSS: So I better read and rest a lil
Phonte: yeah, I had to run upstairs and put my lil’ man back to sleep..
Phonte: no doubt, fam… it’s been fun..
TSS: we’ll rap soon
Phonte: I hope this proves to be one of your best interviews..
TSS: Oh yeah…last one….what’s becoming one of our signature questions…..What would you say now to the first female that broke up with you?
Phonte: I would just look at her and say, “damn…..your life flopped.”
TSS: and what if she saysâ€¦
Phonte: “…well, nigga so did your album’
TSS: great minds
Phonte: I KNEW IT!!!!
TSS: aiight so what’s your comebackâ€¦”trick, I was onstage with Questlove last nite!”?
Phonte: “I can record another album…..you can’t get another life.”
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