In an engaging sitdown with the Crew’s TC, the newly formed conglomerate discuss Hip-Hop in full as they reveal their mastery in longetivity. Relax and take notes. You’re bound to learn from the T’Cha and the BDI Thug.
TSS: You both have been involved in numerous collaboration projects previous to this. What separates Survival Skills from the rest?
KRS-One: Without bias this is one of the strongest albums I’ve been a part of. The beats, features, and lyrical content help to create a relevant project that sounds current. Buckshot did an incredible job formulating hooks and from there I went in!
Buckshot: Yo, I’m glad you did mention that there were previous collaboration that were done between myself and certain artists. That’s always been my character block of history since the very beginning. If you even look at Boot Camp Clik — that’s a collaboration! [Black Moon’s] Enta Da Stage came out first and then we brought BCC together. I’ve always been a unifier. That’s always been my role in Hip-Hop. Everybody has a position or role to play. Mine is the unifier. So I did that with Boot Camp. Did it with 2Pac [One Nation.] Did it with 9th Wonder [The Formula.] And now it’s with KRS-One which will be another chapter in history. It’s really a history thing with me. I don’t do it for sales or recognition. But quiet as kept, I have done quit a few collaborations.
TSS: What’s the concept of the album as a whole; what is the name Survival Skills alluding to?
Buckshot: Besides a big fat warning sign to everybody in the business?
TSS: (Laughs) Yeah. What initial message are you guys trying to get across?
KRS-One: If you analyze where we are today we’re clearly in a crisis. People are jobless, but it doesn’t mean you can feel sorry for yourself. In the track with Mary J. Blige called “The Way I Live” I say when you lose your job, you find your work. It’s in you, it’s called Survival Skills, that entrepreneurial spirit we have to build up!” We owe it to ourselves to find self worth and there are plenty of resources out there for people to grab hold of. It’s like the album cover artwork. In a sense a fan may view that and think that I’m pulling Buckshot up the mountain. However, the way I see the cover is that Buckshot is GROUNDING ME. He’s leveling me. Use people around you to pull strengths out.
Buckshot: I mean you got KRS-One & Buckshot on an album…together. And it ain’t even the rhyme skills everybody should be worried about. It’s the amount of knowledge they should fear. It’s not even the album and the creativity and the skills to get on that stage and rock a crowd blowing MCs out the frame by going off the top of the head for hours on end. None of those things got me. What got me is that KRS-One is a verbal threat when it comes to being influential to the people and Buckshot falls behind in the same category. So when you listen to the Survival Skills album, it’s really dedicated to telling people: EVERYTHING has come to a cease and a new light…new energy is here. Like Barack Obama say “Change is Here!?” We definitely are here.
When they hear Survival Skills, it’s basically intentional to say anybody who feels they can get on stage and cover the grounds that we cover, BRING IT ON! We invite you! But we gonna burn that shit down. We gonna blast that stage in half and personally, I don’t think there’s anyone out there that can hang with us. And I don’t really care who it is. Like Kanye West or those other guys can have a lot of purple and white suits or pink colors at their show but we will show everyone how to properly do this. Like when Pac said “I’m tired of people not rockin’ this right.” I’ll show you how to do this. And if you give me none of that, I will show go up to your show…and tear it down! You may do a great job! But I’ma tear that shit down.
KRS-One: And we’re never talking about anybody particular.
Buckshot: Yeah, we’re not one of these people who fall in line with “Buck said this, Kris said that.” We never discredit any of our brothers in the Hip-Hop community no matter who you are. It’s all about being Black, young & gifted, talented, whatever. My whole thing is when you bring competition, it brings out the best in all artists.
TSS: Tell me about the song “Clean Up Crew” Kris.
KRS-One: ROCK went in on this record. He turned up the energy to levels one can’t imagine. Within this song is a powerful message. Those working in the service industry are often undervalued, but they are the backbone to our living especially in public spaces. I make the analogy that I’m the janitor I’ve come to clean up quick, the mic is the mop I clean the streets up with quick. It’s one of my favorite tracks on the album and is fittingly in the #4 slot on the album otherwise known as The Clean Up.
TSS: Agreed. But there is a fine line between competition and beef. Would y’all say beef is a distraction nowadays?
Buckshot: Beef has not only been a distraction but it’s also a copout. From the start, beef was always the easiest thing to come up with. Like in the golden days, two people would battle. And then they were ready to fight each other right then and there because one of them said something something that would make them just lose it. And if anytime that happened, anytime there was a slip-up like that, there were judges, a crowd, people who were probably tougher than you, everybody would go “BOOOOOOOO! Get the fuck outta here! Get him off stage yo!” Ya know? He ready to beat niggas up? Cuz there ain’t no suckas over here.
It did work for one person at one point in time because his was a true situation. And what had happened was because he blew off of that, everybody else start figuring out that maybe they could do the same or have the chance to. Some people did it intentionally and some did it unintentionally because they were products of the fact that rappers in the industry get publicized for the negativity. Someone could say “Fuck you” and then “My bad” later but the press would only put out such and such says “Fuck you.” But as long as we don’t pull the guns out because that’s just taking it waaaay over the line; doing way too much.