Friday, 30 May 2008

EXCLUSIVE - Lil Wayne and Juelz Santana Official 1st Single - This Is HOT!

EXCLUSIVE - Conspiracy Worldwide Community Count Bass D interview 2008


If well deserved respect was bankable currency, this idiosyncratic multi-instrumentalist emcee-producer would have become a zillionare years ago. Dwight Farrell has worked with many a giant of modern jazz and legend of underground Rap - and yet, his riveting (and heavily bootlegged) rough’n’ready records still, somehow, remain absent from too many Heads’ collections. Here’s what Dino found out about The Count’s creative process, professional goals and attitude toward the record industry in an interview originally conducted and published in the autumn of 2006.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and has made the Lord his hope and confidence.”
- Jeremiah 17:7

“Your Father knoweth what things you have need of before you ask Him.”
- Matthew 6:8

It’s easy to believe that higher forces have, for some time now, been exerting a gentle guiding hand to keep this preacher man’s son on his right path. A precocious musical talent at an early age, Dwight Farrell was awarded a scholarship to the Wyoming Seminary Boarding School in Pennsylvania. It was there that he would have his love of Jazz well nurtured and his drum, keyboard, bass and guitar skills honed. It was at this school moreover, that Farrell would discover both a love for and an impressive mastery of hip-hop’s musical elements. Still in his teens, Farrell (adopting the Jazz-inspired alias Count Bass D) got himself signed to Hoppoh Records (Pete Nice and Bobbito’s Columbia imprint) through which he dropped a largely overlooked landmark live hip-hop LP. At a time when most of the big names were looping up either P-funk or Stax samples, Pre Life Crisis found Count Bass D rapping, scratching and playing most of the beats’ live instrumentation.

“In time of trouble . . . He shall set me upon a rock.”
- Psalms 27:5

The following years may have seen Count Bass D fall through the cracks in the record industry but his intense creative urges and admirable work ethic would never be left to go to waste. A parade of high-profile, high calibre musical names have always been quick to line up to help the Count to realise his own potential. When times have been good, collaborators have included Dionne Farris, Van Hunt, MF Grimm and 7L & Esoteric. When times have not been so good, such artists have been even quicker to lend a hand (or their drum machines) to enable Farrell to conceive, develop and deliver his own ideas into the world.

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might.”
- Ecclesiastes 9:10

Much like hip hop itself, Count Bass D and his sound have come a long-long way from the straight-forward boom bap of the South Bronx. A Tennessee native ever since the launch of his rap career, the Count long ago eschewed the compromises of formal conventions and genre boundaries in order to say and play whatever he’s felt in his heart – and he stands by his refusal to paint by numbers within any set lines. He’s released many records (both on several different labels and via the DIY route) and thirteen+ years into his recording career, he remains as enthusiastic and driven as ever. Nowadays, the Count stands by his decision to eek out a hand-to-mouth existence; making the most raw and honest music he can and answering to no one but himself and God.

“Seek ye first his kingdom and righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.”
- Matthew 6:33

Some seek stardom and for most that do, Rap “stardom” is embodied by the unholy trinity of fat stacks, flash cars and cheap women. With a CV spanning two decades, Count Bass D has
apparently done well enough for himself to drive a stretched limo seen - but for this happily married father of four, this seemingly extravagant vehicle is in fact a practical necessity rather than a trapping of success. Count Bass D does what he does to express himself and to help the Farrell family go wherever they may want to go in the future. Despite maintaining a safe distance
from the Rap Star crab barrel, Count Bass D is anything but reclusive. When it comes to building and maintaining a rapport with his ever-growing cult following, if he’s not rocking shows he’s blogging and chatting with his fans online.

“The Lord will guide you always, he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land. You will be like a spring whose waters never fail.”
- Isaiah 58:11

The prolific Count may play down his abilities and ambitions in order not to jinx himself but he’s clearly deserving of greatness. Today [October 15 2006] this remarkably self-effacing artist is here on to publicise the release of his latest album, Act your Waist size. Here’s what he had to say for and about himself- enjoy…


Hmmmmm….Where to start? Given your track record – and now that you’re releasing this LP via Fat Beats – can you tell me, have you got your own gear now? Have you now got your own sampler or are you still begging, borrowing and stealing?

Count Bass D: Hahahaha! Yeah finally! By the time I did the Nine years 12”, and there was like a Seven Years 12” I decided to do all those bonus beats with my own MPC60. That was like the first thing that I had since about 2002. It was a good four years of a blank period. I had some equipment when I started but there was that period in between when I went without for a while. But Yeah I do have a few things now.

So what have you got? Because in your latest album’s lyrics, you refer to both the Triton and the Trinity?

Count Bass D: Right now I use a SP1200 – but mainly though the MPC60. For this album I used the Casio CZ101 and I think my next project, I’m going to start working with the EPS, just for fun. I like to work with new equipment – just so it doesn’t get boring y’know?

Okay then..we’ll move on to talk about your creative process a bit. Can you tell me what is the first thing you pick up when you start making music? Do you pick up an instrument first or do you head straight for the record collection or…?

Count Bass D: The best thing I try to do is not to have any pattern at all. A lot of times, I get inspired from listening to some of my favourite records but outside of it spawning from records? As for the process of how I record and how things are connected into the Digital-Audio workstation? I try to make sure that everything is new each time. That’s the only way I can keep myself from doing the same things over-and-over-and-over again.

But do you have a preferred instrument to work out ideas – y’know, to work out melodies, riffs and ideas like that?

Count Bass D: Not really I don’t. I just have the Casio CZ101 which has to be my melodic tie between anything I was using from records and anything I wanted to do musically. I just used that to embellish anything that I was tieing together and that was it. I don’t have a guitar at all anymore. I don’t have a bass guitar or nothing anymore. I don’t have anything but those things. I’d have like a little toy drum set I’ve been using for a couple of months now but I don’t even have a drum set now. I don’t have any instruments – and even if I did have them, I don’t even have the microphone to record them. So instruments is like the last thing from my mind right now.

When I spoke with Doom a few months back, we talked about his creative process and he said how he quite likes to go into seclusion when he’s writing. I gather you’ve got quite a big family there (with four kids and your wife ‘n such) so how do you find the creative process with a big family around you?

Count Bass D: It’s tough because I usually like to be in seclusion myself. I like to just steal away – at least into a room of my own in the house – but the house where we’re at now, I didn’t even have a door on the place where I made the music so the kids were just around. I have a two-year-old, a five-year-old, a seven-and-a-half-year-old and I have a nine-year-old and they could come and go as they pleased so it had to just become part of the music. Sometimes you might even hear – well you’ll think to yourself “do I hear a child in the background?” And you probably do. I just got to the point where it had to be real that way because I didn’t have any means of going to the studio or of isolating myself in the house. Understand me man, you’ve just got to make do with what you’ve got and make it work. If it’s in you, you will be able to make it work –that’s how the people started making instruments out of turntables. I’m sure Jazzy Jay (or any of these guys) didn’t have a studio; they just had a little bedroom in their house and that’s what they was making their hip-hop in. I still look at it like I’m Kenny on Beatstreet: I just take a whole bunch of junk and try to make a good sound out of it – and it’s a lot more fun that way to me. That’s all.

When you do compose, do you compose with a genre in mind? Because I’ve listened to a lot of your stuff and it’s all sorts of music on the one record

Count Bass D: Nah, I’ve never been into being genre-specific. My music is just Black Music of some sort. I don’t really try to step out of the Black Music comfort zone – that’s just basically my forte. So anything that’s steeped in some sort of Negro Spiritual musical base – whether that be Blues or Rhythm & Blues or Rock’n’Roll – well I can handle that. But if it starts coming down to some of the other genres? That’s just not me, I just can’t do it and I’m not going to try either. I may enjoy listening to other music but I just physically don’t have the ability to do it. But I don’t even try to do what I’m doing. I really don’t even know what to call it and what to define it as. I’m just happy that the people give me some kind of voice to continue doing it.

Your latest album is on Fat Beats. Did you come to them with a ready-made product or did they give you a remit of what to do?

Count Bass D: Nah it wasn’t a ready-made product. I did have maybe four or five songs finished – or at least ideas pretty finished. But no, it wasn’t a full product done. I finished recording the record from…well I started recording it last October and turned it in on February 15 of this year.

What sort of guidance did Fat Beats give you if any?

Count Bass D: I’m not sure.. I don’t know how I can really answer that question and be fair about it…. I’m not sure if they gave me any guidance. I think it was just a situation where I do what I do and people just have to deal with it – because I have to deal with it. I don’t have the ability to do anything else. There is no tweaking or things like that that go on with me: it’s just kind of a free-flowing art stream with me and that’s basically it. I don’t have the ability to polish it up and do pretty things with it.

That leads me to my next question. How do you know when a song is finished? How do you know when you’ve finished one of your short or long pieces and its time to stop fiddling and tweaking?

Count Bass D: I’m not really sure. For me, it depends on what kind of mood I’m in. When CDs and then mp3s came along, I think my attention span for music just got a lot shorter. I found myself listening to maybe the first verse, the chorus and then moving on – or maybe the first verse, chorus, second verse and then as the second chorus got to the bridge, I might move on. So I would find myself not really like when I used to play vinyl records and let them ride – or with cassette tapes when you’d have to fast-forward or wait for the next song. So I think that changed my thing to where now I just like it to be very concise and so I can allow the new digital mediums to just play and run. A lot of my newer compositions’ll be a lot shorter and there’ll be a lot of them. I think it’s just a situation where, as soon as I begin to feel as if I’m labouring over the music, I’ve just been in a mode to where I’d just cut it off at that point. I just go ahead and rap it up at the ideas stage and say, “that’s all it needs.” When it starts to become a chore, and you’re starting to say, “I just need some horns here for horns’ sake” you’re running into problems. Grindin’ is one of the greatest beats I’ve heard in the last ten years and that beat didn’t need much of anything


Count Bass D: Yehehehh. It was just pure brilliance. Sometimes you’ve just got to know. They could have really ruined that beat had they started layering a bunch of bass lines and things like that on top. It just worked out.

In terms of form and structure of your work, I feel you’re going in the opposite direction to somebody like Buck 65. He started out doing albums of untitled tracks and then albums with say four tracks comprising lots of little songs…and then he moved onto the conventional verse/chorus full songs. Whereas as you’ve evolved, you’ve kinda gone the other way in that your stuff is becoming more and more conceptual and more to be appreciated as whole albums or EPs. Would you say that’s a true assessment of your work?

Count Bass D: It depends on when you start y’know… I did the album pre life crisis – I’m looking at the 2” reels now – it was January 20, 1994 and here I am and it’s twelve-and-a-half years later (nearly thirteen years) – and I’ve done so many different things up to this point so right now, I don’t have any rhyme or reason for anything that I’m doing. I honestly don’t know how I’ve been doing it this long. I was on a radio show the other day for two hours and we barely only played six-years-worth of the records I’ve put out. We didn’t even get to Begborrowsteel, Dwight spitz or anything like that. I don’t know… I’m happy that everything’s just flown past me because I think that if I just sat back and just thought about everything I was doing, I’d get stuck trying to do it again. So I really don’t know. I’m living life from hour to hour and that’s pretty much the end of it.

You’ve said in previous interviews that you’ve made certain decisions just so to feed yourself and your family – and you’ve said that you’ve got a non-musical, “blue collar” day job. I was wondering that given you have got such musical chops, why don’t you go into things like commercial production or incidental Music? I mean, have you gone down those avenues at all?

Count Bass D: That’s what I’m saying though y’know: I don’t know how great my musical chops really are. I like what I do and I think for hip-hop, it’s fine. But when I play with guys like Victor Wooten and some of the guys I’ve had a chance to play with, it just changes my whole spectrum as far as what I’m even aiming towards as a musician. I know my forte and my direction is definitely in a different direction. And also, even in commercial production and things like that, they don’t use music anymore – they’re not even musicians who are doing those things anymore. They’re just a bunch of computer wizards who know how to piece together a lot of different sounds and that’s not my forte. I don’t even have Pro Tools or anything like those types of programs. And not only that but the situation with me is, once I do something one time, I’m onto the next thing so to have to come back and tweek things up or if they wanted me to change a line here or there, that really wouldn’t suit me. That’s something I would have to more train myself for. I really don’t have the chops to really handle those types of gigs. It takes a special type of musician to be able to do that – just like it takes a special type of musician to be able to make these big songs on the radio. I don’t have the chops and the ability to do that. I’m not like Will Iam: he can just say, “Look. I’m finished with this underground thing here for a minute so let me just jump over here” and he had the ability to do that; that’s the reason why he’s here doing it. When Ja Rule decided he wanted to stop being in the Cash Money Clique and that thing dissolved and he wanted to blow himself up? BOOM! He had the chops to do that. Even if I tried, even if I started carrying a pistol around and started doing a bunch of things, I could never cross over…I wouldn’t even know where to start. I wouldn’t even know how to even feed myself without doing just what I’m doing. I think that’s what makes people gravitate towards me because they see a one-way collision-course between me and art happening and I think they just try to check it out for what it’s worth.

Now I feel that’s a bit of modesty on your part because I know you are a professionally trained musician and I’ve seen a list of some of the people you’ve worked with. You’ve worked with Branford Marsalis

Count Bass D: True

And people like that…So…

Count Bass D: I like what I do and I like my abilities but...I think of Bill Evans when I think of a piano player. I had an experience where I ran into a keyboard player when I was eighteen. He’s a friend of mine now (he just did a couple of songs on Christina Aguilera’s new album) but he and I were friends and he was the first keyboard player in my first band. After I met him was when I really knew that I was not a keyboard player. The standards I have for my stuff and what I aspire to and the musicians that I’ve met, I just knew that yes, for hip hop I could be considered – I could walk around and smell myself and act like I’m really great – but there are people who would destroy me at every instrument that I even claim to play. There aren’t too many people who I feel could destroy me on the sampler anymore so I just kinda work towards my strengths. I respect everybody but I don’t feel like I could get destroyed by anybody (on a sampler). But at the same time, when it comes to the keyboard, there’s people in every city in America who would destroy me – so I just hold reservations as far as calling myself any type of musician in those terms. My goal has been to legitimise the art of using the drum machine because I feel like that’s my instrument. Using a drum machine is a lost art so that’s the reason why I have the SP1200, the MPC60 and now the EPS thanks to Captain Coolout. I’m just running those and entertaining myself – not relying on records because I only go record shopping a few times a year. I don’t rely on the records: I’m relying on the instrument. So that’s more the musical sense that I’m coming at it from. I’m trying to find more ways to make it more musical.

On the subject of buying records, I’m quite interested by your choice of samples –
especially on begborrowsteel. There’s the Bob James samples…There’s the Grandmaster Flash samples

Count Bass D: Heheheheh: Is there? Is there!? IS THERE!?

Yes there is. They’re all quite well known samples so I take it you don’t have any snobbery about samples? Because previously there was quite big conservatism within hip-hop where by you had to find the most obscure breaks. I take it you don’t subscribe to that school of thought?

Count Bass D: There was a time when I went through an elitist phase – when my friend Egon [Egon Alapatt of Stonesthrow] was finding all the ill records and I felt like we had commandeered the record corner of the world. But after a while, I never even used any of those records he found. He was the main digger out of the whole situation: I would just kinda go along and, once in a while, they’d throw me a record here and there. I’ve never really been all super hardcore into the record shopping. I’ve always been a fan of the cheesy pop music. I like the old cheesy jazz (the stuff that they considered cheesy even back then). If it’s cheesy pop from the eighties? I like that and that’s the type of stuff I use. It’s not even like I’m breaking the bank or anything like that. It’s a situation where none of the people who put my records out really pay me so it doesn’t even matter – it’s just a matter of just getting the records out and getting my name known. It’s a situation where I’m just happy to be able to do whatever so none of that stuff even comes into play. But as far as trying to find the illest break and trying to find the most obscure thing? I think that was cool back in the day when everybody was finding it by honest means but after Google, the secrets kinda burst open – yeah the veil was rent in two and all the secrets were opened. Now it’s a situation of “well Okay: what can I do with the things that are right in my face?” And I think that’s when you notice some of the beatmakers even starting playing the samples first (at the top of a track) like “I’m going to show you what I’m going to do to you first because you wont get the full scope of what’s happening.” It wasn’t until the honourable MF Doom dropped Operation Doomsday which really blew wide open the notion that the obscure is more chic or more underground. I think that at that point, Operation Doomsday blew everything open. I think that album is what completely blew the lid off of this whole rap thing and saved it for a few more years… It was like a defibrillator [Count proceeds to impersonate an EKG flatlining and somebody then applying the cardiac defibrillator].

Okay you’ve mentioned MF Doom. One thing that’s kinda distinctive about your latest project is the amount of namedropping and referencing of other rappers

Count Bass D: Uh-huh?

Can you tell me, was that a deliberate decision to do that and if so, what was the thinking behind that decision?

Count Bass D: I always have. I always do – If you listen to my music, that’s just something that I always do. I like to send shoutouts to the people whose work I appreciate – so if, at any time, I mention your name in my music, it’s just because I like to send shine out to anybody out there who I feel is doing good things. I always have – I think one of my first lines off my first album I shout somebody out so y’know…I’ve always done that.

And given the nature of how you write and record, I’m quite surprised why you haven’t done more guest spots or taken the career route of the cameo rapper? Or maybe I’ve missed something and you have done?

Count Bass D: I’ve done some of that

Yeah I know you did the interludes on the Meet Jon Doe album by Jon Doe

Count Bass D: Oh yeah… I do a lot of that in Japan. You got a discography [] there man? You should see it because it will blow your mind open to see how many records I’ve been on in like just the last couple of months. I think I’ve been on four records in the last couple of months. I’ve done some work with a lot of different genres and that’s the thing about me. I’m a musician and that’s what a lot of people, a lot of times, have a hard time grasping. There’s never been somebody who gets respect in the music world who gets respect in the underground rap world. There’s a lot of rappers who get respect in the music world but not in the underground rap world. So I’m doing things, like you said, with Branford Marsalis or Victor Wooten or Van Hunt and it’s a situation to show what sort of range I have. I’m not on a commercial level. I’m not a major label cat. I’m not a big dog. I don’t know nothing about that lifestyle so I don’t even know how to do that. But in other genres, I do do a lot of guest appearances.

Which brings me to my next question regarding your discography. You have a lot of Japan-only and Europe-only releases. Is that by design? If you had a second chance to reissue everything would you like to go via, say, a Warner or a Universal and release your whole back catalogue?

Count Bass D: Nah. Nah that’s silly pimping right there. I would never do that ever. That’s my kids’ money right there: that’s not my money. Second of all, as far as signing with somebody like that? I only mess with who’s messing with me. I’m not going to go to labels’ doors, knock them down and shop myself like that. When I put Begborrowsteel out, I went down to Kencos, made up a business card, pressed up one hundred copies, signed them and sold them. This is just something I do to keep me afloat. I don’t care about getting famous from it. I want to own it so I can do it just how I want to do it. If somebody’s willing to come and licence it and put it out under our terms? I fine with that. But never will I try to do something just to blow it up, get it big or to get a lot of money or something like that. The only reason why a person should sign a record deal is out of desperation. Never should you sign a record deal to try to be famous – that’s asinine.

With this release on Fat Beats, are you signed to them now or is it a one-off deal?

Count Bass D: I don’t comment on my business dealings as far as my record company situations. I choose not to comment on that.

That’s cool. Okay then. Coming back to your work: given that you do have a background in “proper” music, when it comes to live performance of your work, do you like to rework and build on what you’ve got or do you stick closely to what you’ve recorded?

Count Bass D: I usually just stick with what I’ve recorded. Budgets for rap artists (especially underground rap artists) don’t really come through for the expectations of the kind of catalogue I have. Usually I have to end up giving them more of a “Rap” performance – which is cool – but I think a lot of people don’t really have the type of energy to handle that. It takes a lot of energy to make up the difference for not being able to have more instruments and instrumentation on stage with me. So the live Rap performances really take a lot out of me because I try to make up the difference with just performance, energy and sheer showmanship. So it’s really hard but it all depends on what the compositions call for – because I’m not just trying to have a big stage show just for the sake of having one but if the compositions call for more instrumentation on stage, then I’ll do it. But I think that the compositions should dictate what type of show you make.

Who do you turn to for feedback and quality control on your work? Who do you trust to say, “this is good” or “take this back to the lab?”

Count Bass D: I don’t follow the Barry Gordy method. I don’t play my music to people with the intention of getting feedback. As a matter of fact, when I send music out to people, I tell them “The only thing I ask of you is that you don’t give me any feedback what so ever. Nothing positive, nothing negative, just nothing. This is just something I want you to have and that’s it.” I prefer not to have any feedback what so ever. It’s not because of anything other than if somebody tells me that they like it, man, they can’t like it as much as I like it. When I’m in front of that microphone, I feel like I’m the most arrogant son of a bitch ever in the world. That’s just the zone that I get into and that arrogance belongs there and it stays there. When I don’t like what I’m doing, I feel like I’m the worst artist…worse than anything ever made EVER – to the point where I get super depressed about it. And even with the songs that people might like, if there’s something about it that I don’t like, it tares me up inside for a good while until I get over it. I really hop on my old mistakes on my past albums and when I work on new material, it just gives me a fresh canvass to do over. Now that’s a terrible way to create because you really have to put yourself through drama in order to do it but hey! That’s how I’ve been doing it ever since I’ve been making music. When you’re a church musician, you kinda get like that. If you play a service and the people don’t really shout a lot or if you don’t really feel like the offering plate really got filled up, then you kinda feel bad about it. Yu feel like you let the church down; you feel like you let god down; you feel bad about a lot of different things. So I think that musically, the demands that I put on myself are just beyond anybody else’s’ opinions. When I feel like I have to start getting peoples’ opinions to decide whether or not I like my own shit, then Imma stop doing it because it wont be me. I have to like it for I like it’s sake – that’s the way songs like T-Boz got out there. That’s the way songs like New Edition karaoke got out there because if I was to play that for somebody and ask them what they really thought? I dunno: they might have just laughed or whatever. This is just what I do: I just have fun, I don’t give a shit and that’s the attitude that I hope everybody has when they listen to the music (that I’m not really taking myself too seriously).

Now this is what I find interesting because you’re one of those artists who has quite a close and open relationship with their fans. You’re one of the first artists to do the all direct-web-marketing and blogging and all that – which most rappers try and get away from as soon as they release a record. Do you think that’s something you’re going to continue doing (having such a close relationship with your fans) or do you see a time when you’re going to have to cut yourself off and employ more publicists?

Count Bass D: I think that if I get into a situation where I keep exposing myself to a lot of people who aren’t necessarily looking for music like mine, I may have to do that. If some of those people start to buy my records that buy some of the records that I’ve seen them buy by other people, then I can tell that they’re not going to fit into the vibe that I have on my message board or to the way that I post on my journal. They’re not going to really get it and understand it and I think that at that point, it’s not going to be fun to do like this anymore. I just hope that I’m able to stay under the radar and not blow this up too crazy because I’ve seen what happens to the biggest rappers of all time and what happens to those considered “The Greatest of all time” – they’re just no longer here. I’m not trying to do that to my family and I think that’s the only path you can go through when you start blowing up in this weird genre and culture. It’s a terrible thing. Me? I’m able to stay close to the people who support my music because I see them as people. I’ve always wanted to be an artist to where, even if you hated my music, you would still like me. There’s a lot of friends that I have who don’t necessarily like my music. My best friends listen to other forms of music but we like each other as people. I want people to be able to see “Count Bass D,” not as one of these “Rappers” or as one of these “Recording artists” but simply as a cool-ass nigga. That’s it. Like “when I ran up to dude at this club he gave me a pound and said ‘thank you. I appreciate it’ and I’ll support a dude like that.” That’s the only dude that I’m really trying to be in this whole music thing. I’m not trying to be cooler than the next man or anything like that. I’m definitely trying to keep up my chops as a musician because that’s what I do – but the only thing I’m trying to do outside of that is to be the most down-to-earth dude with the same problems as everybody else has to go through. I’m wearing the same clothes that I’ve been wearing for the last twelve years. If you go back and look at old photo shoots, you’ll see the same clothes. I don’t buy clothes or none of that shit. I’ve got like four pairs of pants; three-four shirts; a bunch of t-shirts - but I don’t have much clothes or nothing like that. I don’t buy new outfits or nothing like that. I just want people to understand that I’m the same thing as them. You don’t have to treat me any different and I don’t expect you to treat me any different.

Do you have a goal or notion of success because it’s obviously not the popular notion of “success.” Is there something you are working towards?

Count Bass D: Yeah my bills being paid. That’s it. As long as I can cover my bills around this house and for my family, I’m 100% a success. Like I said to you, there is no Grammy award that I could ever receive that could make me feel better than when I’m standing up in front of the mic. There’s a song I have that I haven’t even released yet called Speaking that shit and it was probably the most elated that I’ve ever felt about myself and I let the world know that I felt like I was untouchable no matter who, what where when or why. That feeling is a complete, full on high that can’t be touched by anything. It’s almost like a gambling rush. I can’t get that from outsiders: this is only something that I can give myself or God gives me when I feel I’m doing the right thing. I don’t feel like any type of success as far as with monetary excess. Don’t get me wrong, I love nice things and I would love to be able to do nice things for my wife and do nice things for my family and things like that so they could have that type of experience. But I’m not in a race to be more rich and more famous and more successful than anybody. There’s only a certain level of dough that I’m really trying to have period because I can’t see myself standing here with a couple of hundred million dollars whilst my sister has to have a day job or my mother is working or some stupid shit like that. It shouldn’t be like that. I don’t think that anybody in your extended family should have a job if you have a couple hundred million dollars – but that’s just me though. I’ve never had a hundred million dollars so I don’t even fucking know what I would do. I could become some greedy bastard. I want completely just wide open, to leave it wide open, don’t make no judgements, don’t make no absolutes and leave it wide open to whatever’s going to happen because I never know. I’ll just follow the music and see what’s going to happen with it. It’s really-really wide-open Jack. I really have no goal as far as trying to get this. I would like to have an honorary doctorate from some college somewhere. That’s one goal I’d like to achieve at one point: I’d like an honorary doctorate. But I don’t know if I’ll ever get enough money to donate to a college for them to give me one heheheh. So that’s probably the reason I gave up on all those goals and all that stupid fame shit. When you see the inside of how it all works, you can lose focus. I want to do different things.

Speaking of academia, I’ve read that you actually home-school your children?

Count Bass D: I don’t, my wife does. My wife went to college and got her degree to teach other children in public schools so we said, “who better to teach our own children if their mother is trained to be a teacher?” We just decided that rather than having my wife run and go get a job simply to make all that money just so we can pay for day-care and all that, we just set it up to do it this way. We had this crazy idea and we tried. Just the same way people try to get by day-to-day, we try to get by day-to-day – except we try to get by doing unconventional things like home schooling our children. That’s all. I don’t think it’s for everybody but it’s definitely for us.

I take it your kids are aware of your musical career?

Count Bass D: Right.

So how do they feel about you in relation to what they see on BET or MTV and such?

Count Bass D: My children toured with me for the last two weeks so they see it full on. My children will be able to see the ins and outs and the ups and downs of this business and if they decide that it’s something they want to do, they’ll be going through it with a full understanding – that’s as opposed to just seeing somebody on television driving a car or something like that. So they’ll understand what it means to be an artist and whether or not they just want to be an entertainer of some sort. I’m trying to be an artist in an entertainment field and I’m just happy to still be alive and able to do it period. I really don’t belong here. This isn’t the place for people like me but the people keep me here. This has nothing to do with what record labels demand or what distributors want from Count Bass D: the people are the ones who are having me here. It’s not like I’m running around here with big promotional budgets, videos and all that type of stuff: it’s the people keeping me here. And I accept what the people give me. I’m not looking for any more or any less: I just want what the people want me to have. When gatekeepers try to block that, that’s when I get upset with the industry. When they try to block you from the people, when they want to try to block the love of the people from the artist, that’s not right. My record comes out today and when people go buy that record, they want to see me make certain money from the sale – else they wouldn’t give $15. When the consumer starts to find out that, in most cases, the artist isn’t getting any piece of that $15, you know what they do? They start illegally downloading it – and that’s what’s been happening. So for me, none of that other stuff matters because the people want to see me successful and it’s a situation where they can come to my site and have full amnesty. If you’ve illegally downloaded my stuff? Well hey! Leave me something in this [online] tip jar. [] Let me know that you want to see me and my family survive off of this music. That’s the way that I run it. The people keep us here and that’s it. The music is stronger than any of these peoples’ opinions on what’s hot and what’s not because none of these people know – otherwise they’d be making this shit themselves and getting rich. They don’t know and I’m not going to let them fool me into thinking they know because I don’t know and I’ve been doing this shit for twelve years. That’s how I keep running. I have no clue how I was doing this. If anybody tells you that they’ve got this process of how to make a foolproof beat, either all their shit sounds the same or they’re lying to you. There’s no fool-proof method: you’ve got to be open and receptive to receive whatever you get and hope it’s coming from a right place. That’s real right there but I’m not going to get all that deep.

One thing I would like to see (or hear) is you hook up with Doom. Is there any chance of you doing some sort of collaborative project in the near future?

Count Bass D: Well maybe if he starts to fall off or something. I don’t see him looking back any time soon and I’m definitely not trying to blow it up that big. I think that he should stay out there and get that big money just in case I really fall on hard times; I can give him a call and say “Ayo brother! Do you think that you could pay this rent for a couple of months?” If the music industry calls for it and the people anoint me to the point where they say, “Look. Count, we’re going to buy so many of your records to get you to a position where Doom has to do a record with you.” Then it would make sense. But if he’s selling a certain amount of records and I’m selling a certain amount of records, I wouldn’t do it. He needs to go out there and do projects that’s going to get money – as opposed to stuff that’s just going to be for some people that’s going to download it.

So I don’t suppose there’s any chance of you intervening to mediate between him and Grimm? Because I would really like to hear the original Daybyday family reunited.

Count Bass D: Yeah I’m not really aware of that situation. However that works itself out is however it works itself out. I don’t know all the inner-workings of that. A lot of people know me as somebody who’s done some work with a lot of people but I don’t know the inner workings of things. Remember, I live in Nashville Tennessee: I’m just a country boy down here.

Okay. We’re on kinda the homestretch now so just a few general questions. Have you got any plans for Halloween?

Count Bass D: I’m going to church for a harvest of blessing celebration for Halloween.

Wow! Which denomination are you?

Count Bass D: I don’t have a denomination. I believe: I don’t get involved in the ‘isms, skisms, rifts and trists of religion.

And on a similar score, next month will be Thanksgiving Day. Is that a date you commemorate and if so, how do you plan to be spending it this year?

Count Bass D
: I spend every day with my family so there’s no such thing as holidays round here. Every day is a holiday around here. We don’t have any denoted days when daddy gets off work and comes home and does something special. We spend every day together. Today is a holiday because my record came out so we’re celebrating that. The same things that somebody might do on those holiday days, we’re doing today. I’ve been up since two o clock in the morning. I’m running it Jack. I used to work for Fedex and throw boxes for a living so this is nothing to me. Being in this record industry is a big joke. Anybody who’s complaining about it as far as the stress? It’s not that raw: you just have to get your perspective in order. I’ve done the ditch digging work and it’s not cool – and the pay is not as nice as this. Heheheh.

Okay. Well just to wrap it all up then, if you’ve got any messages you want to send out to people? Any shout outs? Any words of wisdom? Basically just the usual stuff to draw it to a close?

Count Bass D: Indeed-indeed! I’d like to say, definitely support this movement with your finances – that’s the only way you’ll be able to continue to hear any art period. You can support me online – that’s definitely the best way to do it. Most of these physical pieces of my work are bootleg imitation copies (it’s not right but that’s just the way it is) so if you’d like to support me, you can support me online – I’d really-really appreciate that. I do understand about the vinyl and I do try to do some things to help that but we continue on. Visit my website when you get the opportunity and I spit game like this almost daily. I thank the people for continuing to reach out and support me to be the rebel and the punk that I am to this entire industry. I’m really grateful to the people for all their support today and every day of my shit because I mean it. I bleed for it every day and that’s it. Thanks man.

Many-many-many thanks go out to Dwight/Count for his very humble (and humbling) words. Cheers also to Michelle for the hook up. Count Bass D’s latest collection of spontaneous creative outbursts, Act your waist-size… is out now on Fat Beats. Those interested in hearing anything else from this guy’s vast back catalogue of enthralling Shabbiness should first go to and then on to itunes where you can be assured that the money you pay will be going to the right people.

Are you an artist (or an artist’s management, label or publicist) who is as righteous as Count Bass D and his grooves? If so, you need to drop a line to Dino ( because an interview with you is long overdue. False prophets, Jiggy whores and dollar-chasing demons need not apply.

© Copyright 2006 D Goldie for Conspiracy Worldwide.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

New Busta Rhymes cover

I have a feeling that Busta's going to surprise a lot of people with 'Blessed'. 'Don't Touch Me' is certified heat!.

Watch out for the fresh, multi-emcee laden remix of this tune on The Friday Night Live Show this Friday at 10pm GMT (5pm EST)

EXCLUSIVE NEWS : Oh No working on album with Peterock!!

Following in the footsteps of his brother Madlib's notoriety, consistency and respect in the game, Oh No revealed to Conspiracy last week that he's currently in the studio working on an album with no other then Peterock. Whilst the title of the album hasn't yet been revealed, Oh No promised that it will be dropping a lot sooner then later. In addition Oh No and The Alchemist are in the lab wrapping up their collaborative project 'Gangrene'. Hit the link to preview a taster from the album

New Necro Super group?!

Word is Necro, Muggs and Sick Jacken have recently come together to form a new supergroup entitled PCP. Now I'm not sure how true this is or if there is even any truth to it atall but I can only imagine how sick an album would be from these guys. Necro, if you read this holla at Conspiracy to comfirm that these details are true and lets set up an interview!!

EXCLUSIVE - Conspiracy Worldwide Community Immortal Technique Interview 2008

Truth & Reconciliation: IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE

In the long-running, yet rather one-sided war of words between ‘conscious’ and ‘commercial’ rappers, there’s been no shortage of emcees queuing up for flashy accolades as teachers and leaders of the latest lost generation. Rap is however crying out for those who care less about titles and more about substantial achievement as they teach from experience and lead by example. Countless rappers have preached from pulpits and attempted to inspire from their ivory towers but Immortal Technique speaks as one thoroughly in the thick of it. Previous generations of Reality Rappers may hark back to a self-serving reimagination of where they’ve been or cast a lucrative glance to the path taken by their peers but Immortal technique speaks as someone himself still up to his neck in struggle. Immortal Technique’s uncompromising; unsanetised work echoes the belief that for one to surmount their circumstances, they must first fully understand their circumstances. Furthermore, there’s no point trying to escape one’s geographic or economic confines without first wholeheartedly accepting yourself, rough edges, contradictions and all. Political correctness don’t come cheap and the down-trodden can’t always mind their Ps and Qs so for those who may take objection to the perceived misogyny, homophobia and misanthropic venom of Immortal Technique’s punch lines, don’t be a hater of the hate that hate made.

When I submitted the following interview transcript for the interviewee’s clarification and approval, Felipe Coronel expressed sincere worries about being perceived as excessively aggressive. Whereas many rappers love simplistic titles andtypecasting, Coronel recoils from the popular perception of his rap alter ego as some one-dimensional spout of cartoon rage. Yes Immortal Technique is often angry – but then that’s hardly surprising when the blood of so many wronged peoples Courses through his veins. Fortunately (for himself, those around him and us Heads), ‘Tech has figured out how to take centuries of injustice, generations of suffering and years of disaffection and channel them into powerful, cathartic words of Street wisdom and inspirational constructive deeds. It would have been all to easy to have quizzed ‘Tech about his activities in the studio but since that will all, soon*, be revealed to us all, I thought the interview slot would be better used to try and probe Immortal Technique on the ideas and experiences that motivate his activities in the recording studio. So, as him and I discuss anything and everything but hip hop, I hope the following interview will help to move awareness of Immortal Technique beyond that of some mere punch-happy, punch line emcee….

Note: The following interview was originally conducted in the spring of 2007.


You’re famed for your staunch independence and self-reliant business plan. I would suggest that, in one way, this puts yourself at a disadvantage because you don’t have as much control over your material circulating as say, a major label artist does. To give you an example, there’s so many mp3s of you out there and mixtape cuts and it’s all the same material but it’s all given different names and there’s a lot of cut & pasting of your verses, presented as new material. Do you feel disadvantaged in that sense in that you haven’t got as much control over your output and what people do with it as a signed artist would?

Immortal Technique: Nah!. People do that to every artist. People take mp3s of their music and scratch it up with somebody else’s. Sometimes they do it in a mixtape and they get legitimised because they have a graphic designer that puts it out on a [professionally manufactured] CD. Other people just have random songs out there. I don’t take it as a disadvantage because there are more people out there listening to my music. I don’t think that anybody should feel that way. I think the issue with independence is more of a question of retail sales. In terms of the subject matter that I have, I always wanted to be an individual that presented himself, not just for being revolutionary in terms of making songs, but in terms of that being part of my business practice. If that’s not who I am as a person, then me saying “I’m revolutionary” is just about as fake as somebody who talks about selling crack or being a hustler when there’s none of that in his real persona. To me, it’s more about being as prolific and as real as I can about the world, and, at the same time, maintaining my integrity as a man, the ownership of my masters and publishing. I was never opposed to working things on a larger scale and having more circulation in terms of retail sales or in terms of being able to travel into new markets. But at the same time, to me, it was always a question of how they were going to approach me in the business realm. I’m not going to tolerate them coming and owning the whole project or them having creative control over how I present myself as a person. At some point, people say “Oh your image is being this…” but I don’t have an “image” homey: That’s actually who I am. I don’t decide to wake up and put on a mask and perform. The pain that I speak about is real. The struggle that I talk about in my music is real. The war on terror is real. The war on drugs is real. Yet, it’s designed to be perceived the same way a loaded question or a straw man argument would – or the way the media perceives and portrays things. You might think that my music is violent but at the same time you look at a government with a smiling face telling you that it cares about you and see them as protective or harmless to you. There’s some serious questions you need to ask yourself about your perspective on the world and how it’s been made to be that way.

And staying with the business side of things… Would you be open to sponsorship from a company or the merchandising side of things? You say you haven’t got an image but would you be willing to lend your name?

Immortal Technique: Obviously I’m going to have an image regardless. People already say ”he’s militant…he’s violent…. he’s aggressive…” What I mean by “an image” is a commercially contrived image whereby someone else will say, “I want to be a pimp in the media…. I want to have flashy clothes…I want to be…” It’s not a question of me not working with clothing companies or nothing like that. I go to shows all the time and people give me free clothes to wear and I’m like “Yeah, y’know what? If it’s for your little T-shirt Company, I’ll rock it and take a picture with you or whatever.” If they’re supporters and if they’re people who enterprise then yeah. But in terms of endorsing – suttin’ like that? Then they need to have the proper paperwork. The paperwork that indicates that none of the clothes are made with slave labour. The paperwork that confirms that these are people are individuals that aren’t just making shirts but who are putting out a message with the clothing work that they do. It goes a lot deeper than that. There’s a difference between being pragmatic and proactive.

You mentioned sweatshop slavery there and I’m not sure if you’re aware but over here in the UK, we’re currently commemorating the two-hundredth anniversary of Britain’s withdrawal from the trans-Atlantic slave trade. There’s been a lot of discussion in the media about how we should commemorate it and in fact, certain people have been asking should we be commemorating it? In light of the fact that We still buy all this sweatshop fashion and all this plantation coffee & cigarettes, is it right to commemorate the abolition of slavery and if so, how should we be commemorating it here in the UK?

Immortal Technique: ‘ight. See this is an interesting thing. This brings up the argument of colonialism vs. neo-colonialism. Now I know America gets a lot of flack for being a colonial power but America itself is the bastard child of the British Empire. I think that Britain gets a pass a lot of times because they see British males and British leaders, when they speak in the media, as being very eloquent. “Oh he speaks so well with such proper English.” But all the time, it’s that imagery of imperial entitlement and y’all Niggas weren’t entitled to a muthafuckin’ thing in Africa. What the hell did y’all ever bring there except famine, destruction and terror? And then, when You left – and I’m not just talking about White people in general – but I’m talking about how institutional racism was what you left in Africa. It was left all over the world by not just America but the UK through neo-colonialism after slavery. Now you have a Black president of a country in Africa but he doesn’t control the economy. The economy is still controlled by Europeans. So that fits directly to your question when you say to me “We’re commemorating the end of slavery” but these countries are still enslaved. They might not have a chain around their necks but there’s still racists even if they might not be dressed as Nazis or have a white sheet around their heads. There are conservatives who are apologists for slavery who don’t want to commemorate it and in that way, they’re legitimising the fact that there are significant percentages of people in your country and here in mine that believe that “We civilised those people.” There is still that idea and it comes from the simple fact that America and Britain were basically cowards – and I’ll explain to you how. Rather than saying “I came to your country, I stole your women, I stole your land, I stole your labour and I did it because I had the power to do it” – that’s not what Britain or America was able to do. In order to make that possible, in order to facilitate slavery; they had to introduce scientific racism. Scientific Racism was the basis for maintaining slavery: the idea that Black and Brown and indigenous people of the world were genetically inferior to White people. Now you and me can sit down together and think about this and think how ridiculous of an idea that really is. It’s like “C’mon! How can Black people be the missing link between man and monkey? That’s ridiculous!?” But that’s Social Darwinism and that’s the perspective that so many respected people and scientific communities of Britain and America had. And we’re not talking about four hundred years ago: I’m talking about fifty-eighty years ago. Who were the eugenics programmes of fifty or so years ago designed to control the birth rate of? Not White people: Black and Latino people. So fuck clothes nigga! We’re talking about real life here. We’re talking about the way the world is designed in relation to the mechanics of the global economic community that’s of course controlled by you know who. The real question is not who’s in control now or who sacrifices what now but as the planet continues to suffer from global warming and as resources run dry, who’s going to have to carry that? America? The UK? Or the third world – the people who’ve been carrying the load forever!? I think people forget that. They go watch that movie Elizabeth or The Queen or whatever the fuck they show and they think “Oh Wow! What a strong Queen.” But let me tell you something about that bitch Elizabeth. She got to be where she was (with that forty years of her golden rule that was at the end of the movie) because of slavery. Her Reign was facilitated by the slave trade because they went into it hard during her reign.

Again, you might not be aware of it but last week here in the UK, we had a charity telethon event called “Comic Relief” where they use comedy and light entertainment to raise money for African charities and for poverty-related charities in the UK. I was going to ask you, do you think it’s… Well I’ll put it to you, I think it’s demeaning to make this a charity issue and to give the impression that people have to embarrass themselves to give to charity and to feel sorry for people in Africa.

Immortal Technique: Well I think there’s pros and cons to events like that. On the one hand, it’s good to give to people who are in a less fortunate situation than you and that’s the basis of charity and that’s a positive thing to do regardless as to whether you’re helping an orphanage in Africa or you’re doing work where ever. On the other hand, the problem is not just the way that it’s given but, a lot of times, it’s given with a certain premise – like they have missionary work where they say “Okay. Well we’ll give these people money but they have to ally themselves to our religion and they have to adhere to our religious policies.” And remember that religion is not about controlling the way you see God but controlling the way you see the physical world – that’s the whole point of religion. People use religion to facilitate whatever politics they want in a specific region and they achieve this through money, missionary work or whatever it may be. That’s half of what we’re discussing here. The other half is that when you have these types of fund-raisers, yeah they may have a lot of money coming in through them but yeah, I think you’re right, they need to be redefined. It can’t be “We’re taking money out of our pockets to give to you” – what really should be given is as a historical perspective of the donor nations’ involvement in the diamond trade and the gold trade and the slave trade (and all those things) and what needs to be addressed is to have reparations. In America, we’ll talk about Affirmative Action all day and conservatives love to bash that. They start to get real fidgety when you start talking about “affirmative action” and they’ll dismiss it but the government over here is terrified of it because there is a legal premise for reparations; for national reparations; for international reparations.

Okay yeah.. But from whom to whom? I’ll put it to you, the biggest produce from slavery (and that period of history) was things like sugar and tobacco and they’ve caused health problems worldwide. Every race suffers from addiction to those things.

Immortal Technique: Not just those products and their problems but also, all the major banking industries that are still established today and which occupy high positions in the stock market, where do you think they got that capital to start up their companies? What do you think gave them the solid foundations? These people could have a bad year for the next twenty or thirty years and they still would be okay. They wouldn’t have to sell their summer home in France. They’re fine. And yet, our people starve consistently and are continuously battered down by the global economy. Capitalism is designed to be very uneven across all areas. It works between certain nations, for the top tier and the protectorate of that top tier and the mercantile industries. But if you think about it, the capitalism that exists between America and the UK or America and Germany is very different to the capitalism that exists between America and Liberia or America and Sierra Leone or America and Colombia. It’s different to the capitalism, which exists between, say, England and Pakistan.

So drawing on that, what form, would you say, these reparations should take? Who should be paying?

Immortal Technique: I think there needs to be…well not a Spanish inquisition but definitely an inquisition. There needs to be an uprooting of all the international records for a public inquisition. We know that there are lots of detailed records that the government wont release so we need to see these detailed records of exactly what was done. Slavery is not like simply a question of snatching someone from another country; kidnapping them; putting them through Stockholm Syndrome and then bringing them here and having them happy to clean everything and build your nation for you. I think slavery is a process – an indoctrinatory process – and it’s a process in which the government cannot deny its direct involvement. We’re not just talking about just slavery but then the aftermath of slavery that lasted until maybe fifty years ago which we still feel now. Until fifty years ago, the reverberations of slavery were still institutionalised. Now, they’re not as institutionalised but there are still the remnants of it in pockets of governments. There is still racism within the institutions of government. There’s still racism in the police force; there’s racism in the entertainment industry; there’ll be racism in some fire departments. And it’s not really as noticeable but it’s more damaging when you find it in the scientific community or when you find it in the economic industries that exist, in the way they perceive doing business with an African, Latin American or South-East Asian nation – especially whereas they take a completely different attitude when they do business with a White nation or when they do business with another European nation. So I think those are things that we need to examine. We need to open up the records of the past. We need to open up the records of companies that are doing business with dictatorial regimes – even the ones that we’re “Friendly” with. It’s not a question of people focussing, all the time, on White people oppressing Black and Brown People – for a long time (during the Middle ages) White people oppressed themselves. They had slavery. Sure, they called it “Feudalism” but it’s slavery. Jus primae noctis (you spent the first night with the wife of whoever was working on your land) wasn’t some dumb shit that was just in Scotland: that was prevalent throughout a lot of places in Europe. The Serfs that lived in Europe were seen as slaves. That economic foundation for a working relationship never really left the idea of capitalism. To look at it through that perspective, you have to realise that now, it’s not just White people who are enslaving Black, Brown or Asian people but rather, they are backing up dictatorial regimes in those countries that do enslave their people. Many regimes have horrible human rights records but because they have a good economic relationship with the UK or European countries or America, they’re given a pass. They can be a democracy like Venezuela or they could be a horrible dictatorial regime like Iran or wherever the fuck it is – you could have a kingdom like you do in Saudi-Arabia that treats women worse than the Taliban and yet they’re given a pass? Those are the sorts of things we need to draw a correlation from the past to the future.

You’re not only somebody who believes what they say but you also practise what you preach. However, as a listener, do you have to agree with what you’re hearing to appreciate it? For an example, if you heard an emcee who came out supporting Bush, championing rampant individualism and this that and the other, could you appreciate him as an artist? Even if you totally disagreed with what he said?

Immortal Technique: I respect people and I respect people to have opinions if they’re willing to fight for them. I wouldn’t respect that opinion and I wouldn’t respect their political philosophy though. It’s interesting you mention that because right now, I think, we’re stuck in a countdown waiting until somebody actually has the balls to do that. And it’s not necessarily about somebody having the balls to do that – fact is, that’s not too far away: people politicising hip hop for another perspective. The only difference is that the founders of hip hop were extremely revolutionary people that had the mind-frame to make this about more than just music. Would I be able to listen to someone who was blatantly racist? Nah, I don’t know about all that – but as for them supporting some candidate that I didn’t personally believe in? Hmmm…

You’ve polarised the argument by going to the extreme of “racist” – I just mean somebody of a differing viewpoint

Immortal Technique: No-no-no, OK. Of course, I would play them if they had a different viewpoint. I can’t necessarily guarantee that I would love their song because that would depend on the music – but I have listened to people and artists who’ve made statements or who have done things that I believe are contrary to my views. I will stand for things because people say things with their actions as artists a lot more than with words in their songs. I have listened to their music before and I’ve definitely listened to songs with topics that I don’t approve of or which aren’t my personal prerogative – that doesn’t stop me from listening to the music. I don’t put it on heavy rotation and live my life by it but I’ll hear it a few times to understand why they think that way and understand why they had those ideas that they base their understanding of the world upon. I think it’s important to take in other peoples’ ideas and perspectives. That doesn’t mean you have to legitimise it – you should definitely discriminate any information that comes into your life before you automatically assimilate it into your worldview and take it as fact. A lot of times, I think people base that solely on the ways an individual is willing to fight for their convictions.

And just to flip that question around, have you ever encountered a really atypical fan or somebody who you never expected to be a fan of yours?

Immortal Technique: Of course. There are people who don’t necessarily believe everything I say but I challenge them to go look up the information that I talk about or I challenge them by saying “Okay. If you don’t like my music, tell me why.” Because it could be like “I don’t agree with this particular part of what you said” and we can build from there. I’ve had people for example who, when I’ve mentioned in a song about a dead baby, they were like “well why do you talk about abortion and that shit? I’m a Christian and I resent that.” Look, if you approach me in the wrong way, I’m not going to play games with you. I’ll knock your ass out. But if you approach me in a peaceful and understanding way like “Yo, I just want to share this with you and if you have the time, could you explain this to me?” I’m not a bastard. I’m not going to be like “Nah fuck you!” I’ve literally taken time out of my day or time out of going somewhere to sit down and have a five-ten minute conversation with somebody to say “’ight. If you are a Christian and you really believe in the principles of Christianity, then I applaud that. But you have to realise that the individuals who run this nation, who run this war and who have championed your cause, only do that so they can get your vote and maintain the political power to put their economic agenda through in this country.” Abortion is not going to be repealed any fucking time soon – get that notion out of your head. It’s a practical method of population control for the government and that’s the way they see it. So regardless to pandering to your religious fervour? They don’t give a fuck about that. That’s not their agenda: Their agenda is to consolidate the economy. America is losing a trade war to India and China – in fact, they’re really kinda envious of China because China has a Communist social structure and a Communist government but has a capitalist economy and that’s what America likes. America wants to be like them: “Fuck! We should have this communist-type Big Brother regime where we ban shit on Google and then go spend our money around the world like some wild capitalist niggas!” If anybody’s going to tell me that China has a Maoist economy, you’re living in a fucking red book homey! You need to wake up. That’s the reality of it right now. So when I look at it from other peoples’ perspectives, I sit down with them and I share with them and say “Hey! Why don’t we open up a dialog between some of these people?” There are people on the other side that I’m more than willing to talk with: I learn stuff from them and they learn stuff from me and all they want really is for someone to legitimise what they see as their pain and struggle in the world. If I can open eyes to people about different things and say, “OK, yeah you live in America and things are pretty messed-up here. But before you complain to me about your White-mans’-burden homey, I think you should realise that what’s happening in Africa is a direct result of what we’re doing here.” Talking about the War on terror: We’re all caring and religious when it comes to Christians suffering but with the people who are dying in Iraq as a result of The War on terror – dying as part of that “Collateral damage” – Are you prepared to license that as a “Christian?” Are their lives worth less than you because they are Muslims? If God is truly god, and if he designed the world to be as it is, then isn’t it his will for people to be that way? Isn’t it his will to say “OK: there are people who are going to see me in a different light and call me by a different name.” At the end of the day, if you think that being an individual of morally ambiguous character who believes in Jesus Christ is going to get you into heaven rather than somebody of a different religion (be he Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish or some other religion) well then see, that’s the major idea that some people have in order to try and give legitimacy to their political perspectives. Some people like to paint everyone else’s’ ideas as if it’s sparked by lunacy and they don’t legitimize anybody else’s struggle or anybody else’s pain because nobody’s as real as they are – and that’s some of the most pretentious, self-righteous shit that you can possibly do. So I really try to stay away from that. I don’t mean to single out Christianity here. I’m just talking about this in terms of what’s relevant to most peoples’ perspective. I know a lot of Christians who are committed to revolution and committed to exposing the truth so I don’t want to alienate anybody. People who don’t share my political ideas? I don’t think they’re crazy – that’s the problems with conservatives in America and out there in England: They think that people who don’t share their political ideas are “crazy” or trying to give government over to “the terrorists.” I don’t think anybody wants terrorists in their government. I don’t think that any middle-Eastern people want terrorists in their government. I don’t think anybody from Asia wants terrorists in their government – and we didn’t want y’all terrorists when you came here in 1492! We didn’t want you here but you came here anyway. If we’re not willing to learn from other peoples’ experiences and their struggles and what they’re going through, well then we’re never going to understand our own experiences and struggles any better.

That’s great. Okay, well let’s steer it more towards the hip-hop side of things

Immortal Technique: Finally! A hip-hop question

[laughs] Well not quite… X-Clan, Wise Intelligent and Paris: They’re all making comebacks at the moment and enjoying [much-deserved] resurgences in popularity. What do you think it is about the mood in hip hop at the moment that’s allowing them to come back into – well not quite “centre stage” but at least a position of prominence?

Immortal Technique: I’m going to say this to that. There are a lot of people who are paid dues and when you open the books on them, you can see all the things they’ve done through out the years. There are a lot of groups who existed during what is called “The Golden Era” of hip-hop. These people are being brought out as (I guess) the marker of what hip-hop used to be – which is the inclusion of many different voices rather than just one. It’s interesting for people to now realise that, in an army (for example) you don’t just have soldiers. You don’t just have people who hold guns: you have medics; you have logistics crews; you have public-relations; you have psy-ops; you have an air-force; you have a navy. You don’t just have guys on the ground with guns: you need tank support to fight a war. Right now, what hip-hop has is just people in the streets with guns. They just show one aspect of hip-hop and that’s why we are not winning. And when I say “We” I mean the community that makes hip-hop. What about all them little kids that are coming out right now through the Garage or Grime or whatever else music you’ve got bumping over there? Are they making that type of paper off the music? No they’re not. Are you controlling the money that you’re music is seeing? Are you making money every time your music plays on the radio? Are y’all niggas getting performance rights for the paper you’re making for other people? Do you own the gun companies that you’re unwittingly promoting when you flash the European weaponry homey! Realise who is getting paid off of what you’re doing? I guess that’s what these people are here to staunchly remind us (the hip hop community) of. That’s one of the biggest messages of all these rappers that were popular during the golden era: “This is how fucked-up the industry is…this is what I made off this classic album.” These brothers have no shame – they’re all in their late-30s/forties/early-fifties and they’re hear to tell people “Look young brother. I’m willing to share my information.” What I know about hip hop and about the business, I learnt not just by learning it myself by going through my own personal struggle but by talking with people like KRS-ONE, Chuck D, X-Clan, Brand Nubian… Those are my brothers. They helped sit me down and allowed me to ask them honest questions like “Yo man! What was going down with this?” And they’ll break it down like “this is what I actually got paid for this classic album and that is what the label got from my hard work.” That information sharing is just as powerful as them coming back and being allowed to be in the public venue and to spit their classic records for people. I think it’s great for people to have these artists back out there doing music and doing concerts. I think a lot of times; a lot of these brothers should get together and do university tours (and community-centre tours – because We shouldn’t discriminate based on people’s economic backgrounds and access to information) where they explain, “Look man! This is how it is.” If you’re rich, you can afford to be skilled in a specific trade but if not, niggas labour all day and then dream about being basketball players or some shit like that. That’s the reality of that yo.

Well then look at those Golden era people and then compare that with, say, Common and Talib Kweli. Whose footsteps are you more likely to be following in with your own career?

Immortal Technique: Ummm…? Who do I want to follow?

Well you say that these people are of a certain age that they don’t really care to appease anyone but then you’ve got the likes of Talib Kweli and Common who are the acceptable face of “conscious” –

Immortal Technique: Whoa. Before I get into that, let’s get something real straight. The revolutionary music that I make is unlike the revolutionary music that’s around now. And, the revolutionary music that I make now is different than what it was when it first came out. Don’t ever think that simply because I make this type of music - or that you hear anybody make this type of music - that you need to automatically lend your support to it. It took a lot for me to garner the respect of the people because I had to go through so much to prove that I’m not a fake. There’s not too much time away from where the industry is going to be wise to that and they’re going to try and find somebody that they can move behind to specifically try to control the agenda of revolutionary hip hop. That is exactly what’s going to happen. Now as to Common and Talib Kweli? I don’t know Common so I don’t speak about niggas I don’t know but in terms of Talib Kweli? I think he’s a very powerful voice and I appreciate that type of music. It’s not to say that I don’t appreciate Common’s contribution to hip hop but I’m only talking about niggas I know. So in terms of that, I’ve never really fashioned myself after him or anybody else. The style that I have is generally more violent and aggressive than that but I’d say that in terms of the political message, there are similarities between the artists that are out now and the artists from the past. I think that the main difference is that since I was born in a third world country, I really try to give a strong perspective from the immigrant generation who came here to America. I speak as the people that are either young and come here or have parents that came here or who have grandparents who came here – everyone can relate to that in some way. [They can relate to] Being that dude that says “well you know what? You’re hating on us but why the fuck do you think we’re here in your country? Why are we here? Because you were in my country. You are the models of success and we want to succeed so that’s why we’re here.” There’s a lot of factors contributing to who Immortal Technique is and it’s not just revolutionary music. There’s a lot of work that needs to be put in: I’m working with prison youth programmes, with food-co-ops, with farmers, and with gang-members to try and talk about real solutions to their problems. We have to realise that all of the major institutions, especially the entertainment institutions were formed by who? By Italian and Jewish gangsters here in America; by people who legitimized themselves; by people who formed their own police departments. When different Europeans came to America, they had to form gangs to legitimize themselves. What did White people from England have to do when they came to America and the natives were in control of the land? They formed gangs, killed all of them and they legitimized themselves as a Federal government – a principle that they stole from the Iroquois nation by the way. What is important to realize is that while we are in the process of legitimizing ourselves and making that transition (like everyone else has), don’t point to Black and Brown people here (or in any other country) and go “You’re all just gangs.” – Oh really!? Well what were you doing when you were tribes back in the day? What were you when you went here and went there? You want us to legitimize ourselves because you don’t want to see drama like you saw back in the day. You don’t want to have a Northern Ireland policed-state no more – and you know you don’t fucking belong there either! So respect the fact that we’re trying to change and We’re trying to do something real. Respect the fact that We’re trying to evolve as a struggle because, right now, We’re looking for practical solutions to owning our own homes, own our own country and have a say in our economy. But if you keep fucking with us…We’re not too far from the edge homey so don’t push! There’s not too many other niggas that are saying that so I do what I do.

So let’s talk a little bit about this long-awaited new album, The Middle Passage? Can you tell me, what is your “Middle Passage” – what is this liminal phase and how will it differ from the Revolutionary series?

Immortal Technique: The Middle Passage is going back to what we were talking about earlier (The Slave Trade). It’s the clear and present idea that… Huhhhh… In the underground, I’m free. But when I step through all that to the commercial realm, I start to realise how much slavery is involved in that: how much control you lose and how the perception that you’re living better is really based on your want to perceive it that way. People always say “We have it so much better here in America” Well the reason you have it so much better here is because you made “here” so much better: with your culture; your food; your contributions to the economy. Without that contribution from immigrant people, what would America be? What would the UK be? British food sucks.


What would the UK be without the Jamaican spots? Without Reggae? Without the contributions of Our people? We really need to ask ourselves and have these dialogs and say – well people are always saying, “What hip hop has done for Black people…for Latino people.” Really? Well then let’s talk about what hip-hop’s done for White people? Who owns all the labels? Who owns all the radio stations? Who owns all the manufacturing plants that make the music? Who owns all the publishing? Who owns all the mastering plants? Who are the publicists? Who owns all the websites? Who owns all the television and radio channels? Who makes all the videos? Who owns the film that makes the videos? Who owns all the clubs that muthafuckas perform at? Who owns all the equipment? Who invented all the equipment and who holds the patents for all that which we use in order to make hip-hop? Noimans is not a Black man – neither is the dude who made Pro-Tools homey.


So I think White people should be very very thankful that there’s hip-hop! Where would White people be without hip-hop? But I think that before we make this a Black/White issue again –

No I understand what you’re saying – it’s about engaging in dialog

Immortal Technique: I’m just saying that before we make this a Black/White issue (because I don’t want people to think that I lean on race in order to talk about music) it’s a serious issue and I think that when it comes to artists and their freedom, I see a pattern through out the years that no one can deny (I don’t care who you are and you can’t apologise for it) it is something that’s been specifically done to Our people where You’ve stolen Our music. When I talk about “The Middle Passage,” that’s because that’s exactly what You’re still doing: You’re stealing Our Art. Now when I say “You” I’m not directing this in a racial way, I’m directing it now at the new enemy, which is the corporate structure in America that creates generic music. We have to fight this by learning the business and by understanding it – by saying “’ight well, if you’re going to corporate to try and steal from Us, We’ve got to incorporate Ourselves and work like a machine within our specific group for Our goals and agenda. We have to work together as an army for ourselves rather than joining your army to go fucking die in Iraq for your economic desires. We need to form our own army to fight for what the fuck we need right here.” So “Middle Passage” has that sort of duality to it. It’s a record that I’ve been working on…I would say, for the better part of two years. It’s a very powerful record. The music is very – I’m not going to say “Violent” because people do know me for being on the forefront of Street-hop and being a real aggressive dude – But I would say that this album is very-very Violent. I don’t mean “Violent” in terms of promoting violence but it speaks on the violence that’s going on in the world. You’ve got people over there –especially British politicians – who like to blame hip hop for everything. That’s an interesting notion considering that White people buy most hip-hop and yet they’re not the ones that are being targeted for all the random violence that occurs in the world. If You’re saying that hip-hop’s at fault, well then how come the Rich White people are the ones who buy all the Rap records? Why is the violence not prevalent in their community? It obviously has so much more to do with the economics of how a people live. Don’t blame it on a race and don’t use hip-hop to scapegoat us for problems that they create in the community. All this means is that those politicians in your country obviously have become so disconnected from the youth that they don’t even know what the fuck is going on. They’re trying to pander to adults and trying to be seen being tough on crime but yet they’re so fucking stupid, they don’t even know what’s going on in their own community…bitch-ass niggas! Anyway, you guys have squeezed forty-five minutes out of me now so one more question yeah.

OK. Stylistically, you’ve kept guest-appearances to a minimum and your production has been very stark

Immortal Technique: I will say this. I definitely have done a bunch of guest appearances, they just haven’t come out yet. I had to turn down a lot of stuff in order to finish my record. That was my primary focus: I was just 100% on making this album and getting the right beats. A lot of things are different about this new album: we had to restructure our studio; I had to get a different style of sound; I restructured the flow of what I did to make it even more powerful… I had strep throat for six-seven consecutive months. I lost my voice for like three of those months. I had to learn how to use both sets of my vocal cords which is a tough thing to have to learn how to do. If I yell in my regular voice, it really hurts so I need to bring in air and start breathing with my diaphragm right next to my lungs so I can have more energy and power in my voice. Naturally, I’ve gotten older and my voice has gotten a little deeper and so has the way I spit because of the way I breathe now. There’s a lot of things that have had to mature about me and I think that over these years, there’s going to be a lot of things that have happened – some of them I’m definitely going to get to in the album but some of them I’m also going to cover in the Green Lantern mixtape that’s coming out.

Okay then. I’m sorry I’ve kept you for so long but I’ve got pages of questions I would have liked to have asked you. But just to wrap it all up then, if you’ve got any shoutouts and any messages that you couldn’t get into the interview? The floor is yours….

Immortal Technique: I just want to shout out:; shout out my homey Mist; shouts to my homey Semtex; all my supporters from out there; all the people that are doing music – especially my peoples Poisonous Poets, Klashnekoff and the other Brothers that I see making moves; the people that are creating their own type of music that comes out of hip hop (y’know, there are a lot of people who are resentful that anybody else tries to make another kind of hip hop but I think that’s cool. If you go make some new shit and call it yours, I don’t care whether you call it “Garage” or “Grime” or whatever else the fuck y’all niggas want to call that new type of Crunk shit that y’all have that’s real fast – whatever, that’s cool!). Imma tell y’all niggas this: own your music; own who you are; own yourself. If you don’t own yourself then another muthafucka does and then you aint nothing but a slave. You can wave the guns and you can talk all reckless but you’re still somebody else’s little dog. So don’t be mad at me you little fagot: be mad at the muthafuckas who own you if you don’t own yourself. I not talk to workers muthafuckas! I don’t talk to bitchass niggas. The only reason that I communicate with slaves is to free them – and only then if you want to get free. If you want to get free, brother, I’ll give you whatever advice I possibly can. I’m not going to sit there and argue with niggas that want to stay on the plantation. If you want to stay there, you can stay there muthafucka! I aint got time to waste talking to you if you want to stay on the plantation. It’s not just about independence but being in control of the industry in which you work and I think that’s a beautiful thing. That’s all I’m saying. I don’t care what kind of music you make, (whether it’s hip hop in the UK or Arabic hip hop or Spanish hip hop or whatever the fuck it is you make) please, study the culture and own your own music. Own your own masters, own your publishing and be a man. And if you’re a woman doing this shit, be a woman.

…And there you have it. … HUUUUUUGE respect goes out to ‘Tech for his erudite forthrightness and cheers to Myst of So Empire management for his invaluable assistance. Immortal Technique’s Looooooooong-awaited third album, The Middle Passage is out soon* on Viper Records (Distributed by Babygrande). In the meantime, be on the look out for his collaborative mixtape project with notorious beef-mongering mixtape maestro DJ Lantern.

If you are an artist (or that artist’s management, label or publicist) with as much insight and energy to offer the world as Immortal technique, you need to holla at Dino ( for an interview. Time-wasters and talentless wankers need not apply.

© Copyright 2007 D Goldie for Conspiracy Worldwide.

Kanye Breast - Can't Tell Me Nothing [LIVE PEFORMANCE]

I guess The New York Time's was right. Judging off the strength of this performance of kanye West's ' Can't Tell Me Nothing' his current Glow In The Dark show appears to be "the most daring arena spectacle hip-hop has yet produced" (Atleast as of NOW!). Dude's definately bringing the stage show to the next level. Too bad he has no plans on bringing the tour to the UK any time soon. Check it out