The first shall be last and the last shall be first…
Just as predicted, the last track on the GZA’s seminal classic Liquid Swords was the first time much of the Hip-Hop world was exposed to the spiritual diatribes from one Killah Priest. Much like the diametrical views displayed on “B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth),” Priest has continuously challenged listeners with his illuminate visionaries of religion and surreal experiences while still remaining a fierce presence on the microphone.
In case you lost track of Priest’s whereabouts, he’s never stopped putting in work since that unforgettable cameo over a decade ago. Still freshly removed from his last album The Offering, which was released last August, Priest is set to deliver yet another project—Behind The Stained Glass as takes as few moments to give all the details to TSS Crew’s TC in between a busy day of photo shoots and video spots.
TSS: What’s good Priest?
Killah Priest: Yo, what’s the deal!
TSS: What video you shooting for today?
Killah Priest: I’m shooting “Profit Of Man” today. This my fourth video I shot so far. I shot “Ghetto Jesuz” from The Offering and I shot “Hood Nursery” from the new album. There’s going to be four videos from this new album.
TSS: Oh so you still promoting The Offering too?
Killah Priest: Nah, that’s just a video that me and the producer wanted to do from a while back, but I’m basically still pushing everything ya know?
TSS: That’s what’s up. And you still being grindin’ and pushing albums, but it’s been more on the low-key end. You think you’ll ever bounce back on a major (record label)?
Killah Priest: I don’t even know man ’cause the way things are going, everything is coming towards independent anyway. And I don’t even know if the majors would ever want me again anyway. (laughs). I’m major and I’m trying to make it major, feel me?
TSS: No doubt, basically doing your own thing. But give us some insight on where the inspiration for the content of your lyrics comes from.
Killah Priest: The inspiration comes from different sources of life. Predicaments, dealing in the spiritual sense. For Black people, we’re always dealing with that spiritual connection so the lyrics stem from that.
TSS: Did you ever study theology in school?
Killah Priest: Nah, but I definitely went through all of that. Studying bibles, Mathematics, theology. I learned mine straight from the street. In school, I did the reading and writing, but I did my own research too and that’s where I gained the most knowledge. You can do your best learning by traveling and so forth.
TSS: Of course: life experience. And you’ve been described as prophet by your fans. Do you view yourself as such?
Killah Priest: (Laughs) Oh man. Well I just wanna make a profit in the pockets (laughs). But nah, if a prophet consists of telling ya’ll the truth, then that’s what it is. If it’s telling to truth to shame the devil, then yeah. I wanna be more than a prophet, because they prosecute them and I just want to tell the truth.
TSS: And what can we expect from seeing Killah Priest live in concert?
Killah Priest: It’s an experience. I take control of the crowd while having fun at the same time. People will tell you, “Priest does his thing.” And that’s what kinda kept me alive to be real.
TSS: So tell me about your latest Behind The Stained Glass?
Killah Priest: It’s basically leaving off from where “B.I.B.L.E.” [Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth] left off. It’s a real personal album, touching on my sister passing away because I was really hurt behind that. My nephew, life on how I see it, and my future. It’s really just an uplifting album. It’s the fastest I ever followed up on an album because I got so much energy right now. I got Part Two coming right behind that. I know I promised the people I was gonna do a double album, I may even have enough material for a triple, but it’s a different time then when I came up with the concept. Because Pac and B.I.G. did it, Nas, even the Wu, so I was like it’s “Priest Time” now. But I talked with my man and decided to throw this one out there, changing with the times, so the 20th of May is the next time you can hear Priest spit.
TSS: Speaking of “B.I.B.L.E.” you’ve created your own movement, distinctively away from the Wu since you came out, but is there still any connection there?
Killah Priest: It’s definitely still a connection. I tour with GZA here and there so it’s still love. The Wu right now, even though brothers are going through problems or whatever, everybody comes together to do shows and at the end of the day everybody’s grown men. So it’s like business before pleasure. Everybody got families, so I get in where I fit in. I also create my own lane too, I got a fanbase too.
TSS: Yessir. And when you’re not touching on your spiritual side, you can be a pretty intense battle rapper. With the current climate of the game, does that provoke you to let loose on anybody?
Killah Priest: (Laughs) This album ain’t the battling Priest though. You know if push the right buttons, I’ll get ill. But I haven’t heard anybody come at me with no foulness so this album is more laid-back and focused. I don’t even know what’s going on in the industry right now, I just deal with the outdustry (laughs). The underworld. It’s buffoonery right now, a buncha clown stuff, ya know sambos and whatever. “Give me a check and I’ll sing mammy for you.” (Laughs)
TSS: (Laughs!!!) So you feel you don’t fit in the game right now as far as going through the motions and dropping singles and the traditional practices?
Killah Priest: Yeah man, I ain’t wit’ all that. I’m still the new, improved, updated, upgraded Negro. I’m not sittin’ up here asking for no watermelon and chicken…I eat egg whites. (Laughs). Hold up, don’t get me wrong, watermelon is good as a motherfucker, it’s natural fruit from the Earth. But I’m just setting my trends on the outside, let them follow, I’ll keep it moving.
TSS: As you carving your lane, you got any artists you working with?
Killah Priest: Yeah, most definitely. I got Tragic Allahs and Vendetta Kingz. Also got Lost Children Of Babylon as soon as we fix their situation with Babygrande. I also got some new cats like Victorious who’s been with me since the Daddy Rose days and Jeni Fujita who’s on “Redemption” from Behind The Stained Glass, and Ole Emanuele who killed that song because she was singing so beautiful. So I got a lot of music coming.
TSS: Do you feel like you get to reach everybody you possibly can?
Killah Priest: Nah, on a broader scale, I feel like I’m always fighting for that household name I feel I deserve. I hear it from every dope MC, all the fans, but I still haven’t hit that “home” yet, know what I’m sayin’? I spoke to Kanye, and he did the “Jesus Walks” but even he recognizes that the first real record was “B.I.B.L.E.” to deal with situations like that. So I knew it was special even back then, because we never even put that out as a single, no videos, no nothing. Looking back, I’m seeing stuff I could’ve been doing back then…that I’m doing by myself now. But I’m not complaining, there’s no regrets because minds are forever. Priesthood is for eternity.
TSS: And in your constant growth, I hear you “unofficially” dropped the “Killah” in your name. What’s that about?
Killah Priest: Yep. Just call me “Priesthood”…a.k.a. “Yahweh Bin Yahweh” (laughs). I got kids now, it’s about re-educating and bringing up now. Now there’s a more serious, more focused Priest so I can do what I really want to now. I’m not battling anybody, I don’t have no competition right now so I’m just doing me. Don’t sleep for those MC’s who’s mouth is watering now, I can take it back, but I’m just doing me for the time being.
TSS: I hear you. Well I appreciate the time in between your busy day of press. One last thing question. What’s coming out first: Detox or 4 Horsemen?
Killah Priest: (Laughs) Horsemen, hopefully.
TSS: (Laughs) Alright, man keep doing your thing.
Killah Priest: Thanks man, peace.
Listen to Killah Priest’s “I Believe” from the album, Behind Stained Glass.
Behind The Stained Glass in stores 5.20.08 via Good Hands and Priest’s own imprint, Proverb Records.
For more info, visit www.myspace.com/killahpriest.