Riotsound.com U-God Interview

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After staying relatively dormant for several years it appears the tribe of nine lyrical swordsmen known to fans around the globe as the Wu-Tang Clan is experiencing a resurgence. With multiple clansmen due to drop solo albums in the coming months, momentum is building for yet another monumental Wu-Tang LP. However, the tragic passing of the late great Ol’ Dirty Bastard as well as internal conflicts within the group coupled with external industry pressures have left some doubt as to whether the legendary battalion of MCs will ever record music again as a group. Despite the looming uncertainty, hungry fans are set to embrace forthcoming solo releases. With his second solo album Mr. Xcitement set to drop September 13th, we had a chance to sit down with U-God and talk about everything from Wu-Tang to the state of our society today. In case you didn’t know, the U in U-God stands for Universal. Recognize.

RiotSound: What’s your outlook like today as far as bringing the truth to the fans in this age of glamour and glitz? It seems that everyone in Hip-Hop wants to go Hollywood and as a result of that a lot of the morals within the music and culture are suffering.

U-God: I gotta go with the flow of traffic that’s going on right now; there’s more ignorant people than there’s sensible and knowledgeable people. And right now being the era of a lot of ignorant shit going on the radio it is called for cats [to say something]. But the way you give it to [the fans], you can’t be preachy; you gotta like spoon-feed it to them. You can’t just bombard the little kids nowadays like – “don’t do that ‘cause that’s going to lead to this and that” – they don’t want to hear that ‘cause they ain’t even listening to their parents.

These kids nowadays is rebels man; they against everything they feel might have something to do with knowledge. Not too many kinds want knowledge nowadays; they just want to be gangsters and get they money and they cars; and that’s [being a savage] in pursuit of happiness. A lot of these kids don’t know the difference between being a savage in pursuit of happiness or being a civilized man or being a righteous man in pursuit of happiness. And that’s having morals about yourself; and as far as certain situations – especially these females nowadays. There’s a lot of disrespect going on with the females, females is disrespecting theyself nowadays.

Look at Superhead, she running around proud that she’s sucking dick for a living. And you got little girls running around out here acting like that shit is real, they looking up to that shit like “I’ma be a Superhead; I’ma be sucking dick for two hours, I’ma break the Guinness Book world record for sucking dick”.

R: That’s terrible.

U: Yea, it is terrible, so we going backwards in certain situations man, but I can’t be here to save the day. I’m not going to be the one that’s going to sit here and try to save the fucking day. I’m not going to do it because we’ve tried all that for years and that got us nowhere. That got us thrown off the radio. At the time we was trying to wake niggas up and they wasn’t playing our shit on the radio no more. They knew it was coming, they knew what we were trying to do.

We were trying to bring self awareness to people and get cash to do certain things but we was bringing too much awareness; we was showing motherfuckas how to get in the game, how to get out of the drug game and get into music, we was giving them the formula for it. They had to shut us down, they had to ‘cause we were waking up too many people, too many kids. So ever since then we’ve been having problems getting on Hot 97, we ain’t been able to get on the radio station, they giving us problems to this day, till this day we still having problems man, for nothing.

We ain’t hurt nobody, we aint kill nobody. We sold records, we represent New York. But I guess what we represent is just too strong and too positive and too powerful for ‘em and that’s why they gotta keep us in the dormant state. And that messes us up as far as making our music; we start thinking our music was wack and that we need to start sounding like [this one or that one], so that all came into play. A lot of shit took place in our situation with Wu-Tang, I gotta story like a motherfucka in here as far as the external shit and the internal shit that was going on.

R: Yourself and Rza have been in conflict of late, how do you feel that situation is going to play out?

U: Right now I’ma give you the truth dog, I don’t know how it’s going to play out ‘cause we supposed to put an album together, Rza ain’t calling me, we had a falling out so we ain’t talking really too much. He saying what he saying; he’s hiring cats to do certain things and cats are talking to me a certain way and I don’t feel like it’s real like that, so really I don’t know what’s going to happen with me and Wu-Tang dog.

It ain’t a Wu album without me. So you can do what you wanna do and say what you wanna say but it ain’t a Wu album without U-G-O-D on it. Right now I got my album coming out September 13th and that’s what it is, I gotta take it one day a time because I’m not stopping, I’m not giving up for nothing, I don’t care. If they don’t want to use me, if they don’t want to rock with me, then fuck it, that’s what it is.

R: Your new album Mr. Xcitement touches on a lot of different topics, how did it all come together?

U: I got a lot of shit to talk about man. I recorded over sixty songs and a lot of them songs have samples on them and I couldn’t get some things cleared so I had to put up with certain things and I had to put certain things together a certain way. How I get my inspiration is just through the shit I live, the shit I go through – with women, my mother, my children, the shit in the streets – and I put it in rhyme mode and it just comes out of my pores.

R: Who do you got featuring on the album?

U: I got my man Letha Face, I got west coast dudes on there, my man Boo Kapone, my man Squeak, MC Eiht and basically its me [laughs] – that’s it man. People always say “oh, you need this dude in Wu-Tang or you need that dude in Wu-Tang”. I like to prove niggas wrong, that’s just my whole philosophy. I just show them how strong I am – I can do a song without a hundred niggas on my album. I can do tracks that are hot without a hundred motherfuckas on the album, so that’s the reason that I did it like this. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have my Wu brothers on there but like I said, I got something to prove.

R: From a musical standpoint, what’s the mood and feel of this new album going to be like?

U: The feel of the album is that of a universal album, everything I always touched was a universal album which means that you could play my shit in the midwest; you could play my shit down south. My style, like my name Universal, is infinite; it has no shape, it has no form, I can do any style of rhyme on the mic ‘cause that’s just what I learned how to do being down with Wu-Tang since I always had to fit in certain places.

I can terrorize an up-tempo beat just like I can go to a slow beat. The music and the situation at hand is just different right now. I can’t even put a finger on it and say “this is the style of music that I am using”. You have to hear it and judge it for yourself. This album definitely has more light to it, its not funeral music, it’s not dark. I got a couple of dark tracks in there but it still has a little bit of light on it. I ain’t trying to be dark, that’s why it’s called Mr. Xcitement, I’m trying to show you the light side of me.

R: How would you say Mr. Xcitement compares to your solo debut Redemption?

U: I’m blowing that out the water. At the time when Redemption came out Priority Records was folding, they went bankrupt. My first week I had the number seven single in the country; I dropped my album and I did like 120,000 that first week and then the company just went bust. I felt like – damn, I let myself down and to the world it’s like “oh, you garbage”, but they didn’t know that Priority went under. So that kinda scarred me when other labels were trying to pick me up as far as people believing in my talent, that was the situation with that.

Then, as far as me making the album – I remember one time I was shook, I was in the studio by myself, I ain’t have no music [laughs], the air conditioning was blowing and the studio was like ice cold in there and I ain’t know what to say to the beat. It was just me and the million dollar board. It was just terrible; it was a very frightening experience. So when I got my first song done that’s when more courage came in, my second song came in and I got some more courage, my third song, my forth – and that’s when I started getting more and more confident in myself .

My whole style is totally different right now; I grew into something totally different. I’m much more clearer, I’m not jumbling my words – my first album to me, I go back and I listen to it and I could hear the errors in it. Right now I’m trying to be perfect with my wordplay where I’m trying to let you hear every word that I’m saying, I don’t want you to miss one word. So this album is more clearer to the ear and better for the ear.

R: Going back to before Wu-Tang Clan came together, when would you say you first started rhyming?

U: I’m what you call a late bloomer and that’s why me and Rza don’t get along at certain times because he feels that I’m a late bloomer and late bloomers don’t bloom. My whole shit is – late bloomers sometimes bloom more brighter than a lot of motherfuckas. But I started rhyming like 1985, Cappadonna was the one who got me rhyming. I started fucking with Rza, we was down in Stapleton and we would just come up to the studio and do joints. We had this joint called I Get Down For My Crown and all this other shit. We had a lot of joints that was hot.

So I started taking it more serious after I got locked up and came home and saw what we built was coming to fruition. At first I ain’t know nothing about writing songs, I ain’t know nothing about melodies, I ain’t know nothing about mixing boards and Pro Tools and equalizations, you know what I mean; it’s a whole realm of shit I ain’t know about. For all the years that I’ve been down with Wu-Tang, I’ve been learning more or less everything I needed to do which geared me up to be the way I am right now.

R: Having toured all over the world, how would you compare the fans in the U.S. with fans abroad; a lot of people say they appreciate Hip-Hop abroad nowadays more than they do over here?

U: The U.S., they spoiled over here man, everybody is over here, that’s why. Over there very seldom do they see cats, so when you come over there they give you the red carpet treatment. It’s just what it is. And when the music comes on they give you more energy ‘cause they don’t see us like that. Over here they can see the Jay-Zs, you can see the 50 cents, you can see Jadakiss uptown, he could drive through and go get his food, you always see dudes over here. Even in L.A., you always going to see stars in L.A.

But then [here in the U.S.] you also got the rock and alternative crowd who just a totally different people than [black people]. Its like black people got a certain way about them, they won’t get sweaty. They don’t want to mess up they nice clothes. They come out to get fly, get fresh, they don’t want to get sweaty and get their sneakers all scuffed up. Whereas the alternative crowds, they in the mud and motherfuckas is hosing them down and they throwing toilet tissue and the moshpit is off the fuckin’ heezrack and you can jump in the crowd and they catch you and then they want you to sign they face [laughs].

They tattoo your fuckin’ shit on they ass and shit. So they more diehard with it, you know what I’m sayin’. So I mean I can’t really say – I love all that shit – but just the energy level of some cats is just way more, it makes you feel like a star more, you feel greatly more appreciated by certain things that people give you in return.

R: You got Mr. Xcitement dropping September 13th, what do you got planned after that?

U: I really don’t like to talk about what I am going to do because cats always got a problem with trying to beat me to the damn punch. Take this album, eat that first and then look out for some other notorious shit that I’m gonna do ‘cause I’m going to fuck you up again [laughs].

R: If you can say one thing to anyone who may be reading this, what would it be?

U: Don’t judge me by what you see on TV and don’t judge me by being down with Wu-Tang. Dudes don’t know me; you don’t know me and you don’t know what the fuck I’ve been through to get where I had to go. I’m right here right now. All these dudes running around here running they mouth or got something to say, [they] don’t know me man. And you really don’t wanna know me in certain ways; if you wanna know me you wanna know me on the friendly tip, you don’t want to know me on no enemy shit man; ‘cause for real for real, I ain’t with all that funny style shit on the mic and niggas saying little fly shit about you under they breath, all this little corny shit. I ain’t with all that dog, I’ll fuck this rap shit up, I’ll punch a rap nigga right dead square in his face man, I’m not playing this shit.

They want me to bring the streets to cats, I’ll bring the streets to cats in this rap shit with no problems, with no fuckin’ problems. Ain’t nothing for me to run up on a nigga’s stage show and just bust you upside the head with something or catch you off guard somewhere. Ain’t nothing ‘cause its just so open like that. So cats just respect my gangsta and just leave me the fuck alone man, if you don’t like my style then fine, keep it movin’ and for those who love me you got good taste.



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