Rebel INS interview

Attention: open in a new window. E-mail

News Stories - InspectahDeck

How have you been lately?

Im just working man. Ive been on tour for awhile, now Im about to sit down and put another album together. I have a lot of songs, but it has to be right.

Hows the album coming?

I got a whole lot of songs, but the whole thing is being up-to-date. Im trying to be innovative, Im trying to be tomorrow.

Have you found that youve had to adjust your sound over the years?

Im Wu-Tang for life. It gets to the point where the sound evolves. Right now, you have a whole different wave and a whole different generation out there. I think Im versatile, whether I get with classic Wu-Tang or other stuff. I feel like I can go out on anything. But in order to sell records, you have to remain true to who you are and you have to remain innovative and give the people something to feel. I learned one thing, if you can be first in this game, youre good. You could be the person who started wearing throwback jerseys, or how Shyne came through rocking the fitted hats a size too big to cover his head. It seems insignificant, but if you could do things like that, you could survive in this game. Its a big-dog game. Its like Vegas with million-dollar poker hands. You cant sit at the table unless you got a million.

What have you been up to since you dropped "The Movement?"

Im fortunate that theres still those cats out there that love Hip Hop, so Im able to survive doing shows without having a record out there. Right now, its all about ice and all that, and Im fortunate to be able to say that theres still fans that allow me to survive. Without a record out, Ive been on the road making them jump and go crazy with "Uncontrolled Substance," "The Movement," and all the Wu-Tang songs I did. Its a blessing, being in the game for 15 years, I think of it like that.

Do you ever get frustrated with the way music is today?

I dont get frustrated man. Two, three years ago, I could say that I probably got frustrated. I thought this shit was wack man. Everything was wack to me. Im a 70s child. I was born in the soul era. Im the type where I had to appreciate rap like how I appreciate other music for what it is. If you listen to Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson or James Brown, those niggas werent jacking each others beats and doing remixes of their shit being cheesy about trying to get songs out, and it didnt take away from their music. And their music is 30 years old and classic music. A lot of rap music isnt going to be like that. Theres a lot of Wu-Tang music that is going to be classic because we came at a time when we werent jacking nothing. We had karate chops in the beat. Our whole sound was innovative with eight men coming together as one when everyone else in the industry was going solo, Brand Nubian, EPMD, the Hit Squad…everybody wanted to go solo and everybody wanted to be a star. We set off the Hip Hop game to being where it is now. We were pioneers, and we never glorified ice and things like that. We always told you to use your mentals over everything.

What message today do you want to send your fans?

Right now, too much of the population is ignorant, so Im not trying to preach to nobody. This album right here is a flashback of what made me love rap. I dont hear nothing too inspiring except for my usual favorites. When I drop this album, this album is going to be me at my lyrical best, even though lyrics dont sell records. Theres going to be the Wu-Tang production with heavy basslines and fast hi-hats. What would Wu-Tang sound with an 8Ball or MJG track, or Ludacris "Pimpin All Over the World?" If I have to make a "Pimpin All Over the World," I want it to have a Wu-Tang sound. I want it to sound big. All I want is a big sound man. You may not like the song, but itll sound tight.

How would you describe your state-of-mind today?

Right now, pretty good. Im about to have a baby girl. Ive learnt a lot, Ive accomplished a lot, and Im not a new artist. Im established in this game. All I have to do is come with some material thats above-average. Im not running around like Im the illest, the toughest, the most-gangster. Im just a Black man in the struggle trying to survive. Its like what KRS said, "rap is something you do, Hip Hop is something you live."

Whats your new album called?

Its going to be called "The Rebellion." Like Dirty said, "while Im shaking you with the right hand, Im stabbing you with the left." Im incognito. Let me in and Im going to flip the script, Ive been doing this for 15 years. Ive put out one gold album and the other record sold about 50 to 60,000 on SoundScan.

Are you happy with how "The Movement" did?

Its not a disappointment to me. I feel like I rushed. I could have waited. For the most part, Im happy with the impact I get when Im on the road doing songs from it. I was in the right frame-of-mind, but maybe I could have taken more time. I learned that with this album. "The Rebellion" is taking me a long time to put it together. When you hear "The Rebellion," youre going to hear the power of "Uncontrolled Substance," but the foundation is going to be much stronger.

When do you want to put "The Rebellion" out?

Im thinking first-quarter. Im going to let the big names do what they do. I dont want to get caught up in the swarm. Ive learned that over the years, let them come out and get their shots out and then Im coming out of the darkness with some light for their ass.

Whats up with House Gang today?

House Gang is doing their thing. Were working on another mixtape. Its definitely a movement, were all underdogs in this game. I look at it like big-brother-status, where Im trying to teach them what RZA taught me.

Whats it like having the responsibility to teach young MCs coming up?

Thats giving me a chance to teach what Ive been taught. The greatest reward is teaching someone else what you learned. Thats a blessing. With House Gang, theyve been doing what theyve been doing for a long time. They let me be down with them. Im not the leader of the group, but I am the leader in the group because everyone looks up to me like Im a veteran. I use my veteran status to give them whatever wisdom I can to further them.

Whats up with Carlton Fisk today?

Hes the future. Hes insane with it. Those dudes are animals.

What producers are you working with today?

Right now, Ive been working with Green Lantern, Scram Jones, Phantom of the Beats, and Ayatollah, as well as myself. Im just putting a mad mixture of different flavors together. This one, I want it to big so I had to go outside the Wu-Tang chamber as well. I definitely have RZA involved in this. I also have some guest stars, but I dont want to give any names out. Im reaching out to the Dipset, the Boot Camp, trying to keep that classic Hip Hop alive.

When you produce, what kind of sound do you want to give yourself?

You know me, Im a RZA student. I want to give you some hard shit. Hard, but soulful. What Kanye West is doing, Wu-Tang has been doing it. Him doing it in 2005, 2006, hes the future of that sound we created. Im coming back with more of that, that soulful sound.

How come you didnt produce on "The Movement" album?

I was just hungry on the mic. Phantom or Ayatollah would just throw a beat on. In the end, I think it was a good album. We didnt have the money to get spins or video play. But you take it for what it is and you move on. With the new project, I learned what to do and what not to do. I learned more about sample clearances and all that. Its all jewelry. I call it jewelry, when you learn something. Thats jewelry.

Looking at everything Wu-Tang has done, do you feel like you get the respect you deserve today?

Theres a lot of people that say Wu-Tang fell off. I hear all that gossip and shit. But everyones got their own struggle that theyre going through. As for me, I had contract issues that prevented me from recording outside of the Wu-Tang bracket. Sometimes you have to hold your own. If you check the history of Wu-Tang albums, they only come one every one to three years. Between those three years, you have to do something to occupy yourself. I just went through at least 30 to 40 countries in the past couple years. Im talking about Czech Republic, Budapest, London…you name it, Ive been there, and they love Hip Hop.

Whats been your favorite experiences on the road so far?

I just did a Hip Hop Festival in the Czech Republic. There was about 25,000 people there, a real young crowd. And they knew every song, line-for-line. They were going crazy for it. To me, that was worth it. It was worth me getting on the plane and going out there.

Do you feel that youre more appreciated overseas than in the states?

Ive just realized that New York, we stopped trend-setting and started following. Im accepted wherever I go, from Brooklyn to Budapest and understand Wu-Tang. We got banned from one of New Yorks biggest radio stations. Weve been black-balled, and for us to survive the way we survived and accomplish what we accomplished, I dont care what nobody says. Wu-Tang is responsible for at least 50% of whats going on right now in Hip Hop, like letting these so-called thug niggas even get in the door. It wasnt even possible until we got on. They wasnt giving no deals to no thugs.

Wu-Tang has so much extended fam, and now you look at groups like Dipset who has Purple City, how do you feel about that?

Thats all part of what Im talking about. We sparked a lot of that. Dudes get group deals, and then solo deals from the group. Were one of the first people to spend $1 million on a video when we did "Triumph." The only other videos that cost that much at the time was Shaquille ONeal and Biggie Smalls "Hypnotize." Ive been there, and Im not searching for that anymore. Im trying to show and prove to these young people that theres alternatives out there for what theyre listening to. Not everyone can be gangster. You cant be gangster 24/7. You cant be killing people in every verse or catching all those bodies. Everybody is doing something to your wig and trying to leave your brains on the sidewalk. Its getting repetitive. Some of the most classic Hip Hop ever, Slick Rick "Mona Lisa," Kool G Rap "Road to Riches," Big Daddy Kane "Raw," some of the most classic shit ever and theyre not catching any bodies. Bodies get caught. I live in the hood, I know that. Even when we came out, you had N.W.A. if you wanted that hard shit, and you also had Scarface, De la Soul, Jungle Brothers, Queen Latifah…there was so much out there that you didnt have to be stuck with the same thing. You could be somebody. You had Father MC, the first commercial MC. Father MC would sell 12 million records these days had he would have come out in this era. Black Moon, and everything that they did. Theres too many people out there to name. For the most part, Im trying to bring that forward. A lot of people want to "bring it back," but you have to bring it forward, to the future. Im like Michael J. Fox right now, I might call my shit "Back to the Future" because the shit Im coming with is 2009, vocabulary-wise. Ive never been the consistent beat connoisseur, but Im trying to step that up and give niggas a chance with something that may not sound like nothing. I understand what the fans want, they want me to hit them upside the head and thats what Im going to do.

Where do you see Hip Hop going?

I see Hip Hop being like the NBA. Theyre going to start salary-capping this shit. Theyre not going to let any individual entities grow to where they get so big. To come in with your own label, theyre putting a lid on that, when you can become a Cash Money Millionaire. Theyre about to start salary-capping where you may not be given more than $400,000 for your first deal. I see that type of shit happening, as well as the music itself. Its like the blob, its eating up all other types of music. You got Hip Hop and country, Hip Hop and gospel, Hip Hop and blues, Hip Hop and jazz. You have Hip Hop and everything. I just see it becoming more of a blob until it takes over every shape and form of music. Thats what I see it doing.

You went to public school with most of the Wu…looking back, how have you changed throughout the years?

For me, Im the same person, personally. Mentally Ive changed, Ive grown wiser. Physically, I still have the boyish looks. Im 35 but I look 25. So I got those things working for me. Im the same person man. I still have the same passion for things that I do. I dont feel old at all. My rhymes are getting a lot sharper. I feel like this album will be the best material that you ever heard from me, and thats why Im taking my time in putting it together because Im not just rhyming, Im talking to you.

What do you think youd be doing if you werent rapping?

I dont know man. Id be doing something because Ive seen jail. A lot of these cats havent seen jail, Ive seen jail and thats not the right move. I survived jail, and I wouldnt glorify that shit to anybody. That is not the place to be. Id be doing something to get money, whether its legally or whatever. I didnt see myself trying to sell drugs too much longer. And I cant even say that I wouldnt have because situations are so real that you dont even know what youd do until it comes down to it. I might have shot somebody and be doing life or I might have been a nerd motherfucker. But when RZA threw a plate in front of me and said "we can eat together or you can watch me chow down." I was there, I left all that shit to pursue that shit. I was tired of running from the cops. I still have to run from them though. Nine times out of ten I dont even tell them who I am. I might tell them my name is Marvin or some shit like that.

Jail gets glorified a lot and a lot of kids get the wrong idea on jail, what would you tell the kids that get the impression that jail is cool?

I would tell them that Ive been to jail for a third of my life man. Ive done years. Ive been in Rikers Island, Ive been upstate, and Ive never claimed to be a killer or gangster. Im a real nigga that survived in the streets. Ive been locked up with those loudmouths that have blades on them and catch more bodies in jail. If thats the thing to do for you, thats the thing to do for you. For me, jail wasnt the place to be. You may catch an ice pick in the ear and never be able to hear again. Ive seen so much. Today, its like cats dont fight. You either have to pop somebody and go to jail and come out with the same sneakers and jewelry, and cats will respect you like you did your time and came home with no scars on your face. A lot of people will tell you theyve been living in jail like a beast but they were in jail living like a crackhead. Me, I didnt even care about all that shit. I wasnt trying to be like Nino Brown. I was using the phone making my phone calls, and niggas want to step to me to fight, I got stitches in my head, I got the scars man. Niggas never took nothing from me in jail. I got robbed in the street but I used to be that same nigga doing that shit. What goes around comes around. RZA came to me and gave me a blessing, and it wasnt like I didnt have anything. I was a sharp nigga. I had a good support system, family, I went to college, I had a real job, and I was surviving before this rap shit. I wasnt trading kilos of coke but I was that nigga on the block, in the stairways, on the roof, doing what I had to do to eat. That was a daily routine. You front on my hood, we front on yours. Its still like that to this day, but the young ones dont have no rules today. The older cats schooled us. The young kids today, you cant school them, theyre too wild. I done shed blood on these streets so you can life safe on these streets, and youre going to pull out on me? Its a real world out there, I dont ever let that celebrity shit go to my head.

What would you say the most important lesson RZA taught you is?

He gave me many jewels. But the illest jewel he gave me is when he told me "the women that youre with, if you love her, stay with her. Its going to get real. With groupies and being on the road, youre going to be tempted." That was one of the illest jewels he ever gave me.

There seems to be a Wu Renaissance taking place, whats up with all this new material coming out?

The takeover comes when all of us get together. Thats what the reality is. The industry takeover will come, just like when they say "the revolution will be televised." The takeover will commence once everyone gets together. As a fan, if you want that Hip Hop shit back, stop buying the other shit. Punjabi MC can come in and sell records, but Talib Kweli cant sell a million. What the fuck? Yall are claiming that you dont want that other shit, but you dont want that shit either? All cats want now is that party shit. You cant party your life away and smoke your life away, because your kids will grow up the same way. If youre in the club all the time, your daughter is going to be wondering "wheres Mommy" or "wheres Daddy?" Theyre going to grow up in search of the club, because thats what they heard about. Then they spend their life in there. Or if you tell them to get out of the room so you can smoke, theyre going to wonder what that cigarette or blunt is. Thats how it is man.

Whats it going to take to bring the Wu back together?

Man, I wish I had the answer to that shit. Im being real. If I had the answer, I would reveal that shit. I just think that cats need to handle the individual struggle that they have in their life. Im about to have a child. Once that happens, I think more doors will open up for me. For the most part, Im taking part of everything I can take part in. Im doing shows. I just came off the road with Raekwon, U-God, RZA, Meth, Masta Killa, Prodigal Sunn…for the most part were staying in tune with one another. The industry is not ready for us to put another album out. Its too cosmetic. I call it microwave shit. That shit takes three minutes to make. Youre jacking beats, jacking flows, getting someone famous on it, you know the formula. Theyre not ready for that home-cooking.

Youve got a lot of classic verses, whats your favorite?

Man, I got a lot of shit. Damn near everything. I think Im one of the most illest motherfuckers on this microphone, and I say that because I know I can go toe-to-toe with anyone out there. Im one of the most underrated. Its not even on the battle tip. Its just to match wits with niggas. Im about to put a book out with all my rhymes so niggas can see what Ive been saying. "This is MC wizardry, Killa Bee invasion, mental effect, blessed with wisdom of the ancients." Its going to blow your mind when you see how I do my wordplay. And Im not stuck on myself. Im doing my new label, Urban Icon Records. "The Rebellion" is going to be the first album coming out on that. House Gang will be featured on that, and House Gang is doing a mixtape also featuring 2-4 Warriorz. Im trying to go through Virgin. Im talking to my man JD up there. Im coming with some real fire. I dont even want to be talking. I just want to throw the CD in and blow niggas wigs off.

Whats a normal day like for you?

Im just on the internet jacking tunes. Im trying to find a few samples. I dont want to tell you what Im reaching for, because that would defeat the purpose. Im trying to come big with my beats. Most of my shit, Im not trying to sample. Im trying to play and be real creative with it.

What do you want to say to everyone out there?

Hold me down. Hold me down, Im coming. Everybody goes through what they go through. I went through a learning experience with contracts and how to get paid. I didnt know all of that. I came from the block onto the chopping block. I jumped out of the frying pan into the fire. And Im not a camera dude, I dont want the camera in my face, but I learned how to utilize all that, and youre going to see a brand new nigga this time, but its the same old cat. Inspectah Deck, "The Rebellion" on Urban Icon Records, House Gang, just remember that.

By Brian Kayser

Comments (0) Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger