Issue 58 (2004)
Akinyele has finally thrown up the hip hop flag and you can either stand and be counted or forever hold your peace. Not since his debut album, “Vagina Diner,” have we seen Ak’s focus centered around lyrical fitness. The self proclaimed ‘cunning linguist’ has made a return to form after years of being asked when he was gonna leave the sexcapades alone and come back to the real shit. The new compilation, entitled “Music Killz,” will simply test the waters by revisiting lost tracks and live performances from the early 90’s with a few new joints thrown in for good measure. If the real heads represent more uncut raw lyrics will follow, if not get ready for the new album “Sex Sells” coming to a porn store near you!
“This album is almost called the real hiphopper’s bluff,” claims the Lefrak City Queens native. “For years all I heard was Ak we really wish you would go back to that old shit and now its like guess what motherfuckers here’s that old shit. Now when this old shit don’t do shit just sing these sex songs along with me. It’s like I want to tell the ‘keep it real people’ I don’t know if this crowd makes a difference anymore. I’m dying to hear a bad review because I’m like I didn’t fuck a bitch on the record. They had this stupid motherfucker named Noah Callahan from Vibe magazine and he wrote a review about my “Anakonda” album and how he didn’t like it. I’m like all the work I put into rap how dare you not listen to that shit with a good ear. This [album] is for people like that guy. When you give them this album, you just hope they pick up their pen and write the real deal. This album is just catering to the people. Now let me see do they even exist.”
“Music Killz” is one of those joints for the history books. It’s a milestone in Akinyele’s career that celebrates his decade in hip hop. According to Ak we are approaching the era when the hip hop generation will see artists dying from old age. He feels once that starts happening cats will really begin to appreciate the work that was put in over the years. This is just another notch in his belt to show what he has contributed to the culture. His first feature came way back in ‘91 alongside friends Nas and Large Professor on the classic hip hop posse cut, “Live at the BBQ.” Main Source was just getting on and the three had known each other for years honing their craft but they never imagined the song would have the impact that it did.
“It was just the love of doing it,” remembers Ak. “We all had a common ground of liking to put words together. Me and Large Professor are good friends to this day. Me and G. Rap we good friends and me and Nas talk to each other probably everyday because the one thing we share is we can really talk uncut to each other. When we met G. Rap he was on already but with me Large and Nas it was different because we ain’t have nothing and we came up from there together. I remember sitting on the phone three way with me, Nas and Large Professor just hoping that the radio played it. When they played it, we were running around like little kids like they played it tonight! You experience all that and you remember it like it was yesterday and today you realized you contributed a lot to the world and made your mark. In this game here, I don’t think you can ask for nothing more than that. Once you did that as far as rap, you feel like you won. I feel like I have a song that’s gonna play forever and when you have one of those you did it. When you do that it’s just pure luck and luck comes around to the people who love it and are really doing it from the heart.”
For his new project Ak went back and mined those old archives from the ‘Live at the BBQ’ days to find some unreleased gems circa 1990-1994 to remind the masses that he could spit with the best of them. The album will be released in conjunction with Eastern Conference Records because they were one of the few labels that really appreciated his work. With both the label and the artist on the same page, Ak felt it would be twice as successful and more worthwhile than if he would have simply pressed it up on his own. Vintage production from Large Pro and Buckwild along with performances from Rob Swift pre X-Men only added to the throwback style giving it a nostalgic feel. The hardest part was narrowing down which songs would be most appropriate for today’s crowd.
“It was things that hit me differently that I liked,” explains Ak-Nel. “When you make songs it’s almost like you’re making a child. You take the nine months to put an album together so even when the album flops it’s like a miscarriage. The mother who lost the baby they always love the child. So these are like songs I still love but I tried to put out the ones that were more compatible with today to show people a lot of these songs were done a decade ago and it’s almost timeless. At the same time you want to step the game up and say throw out some stuff you did ten years ago and see if it’s really compatible.”
Tracks like the Buckwild produced “Yo!,” the unreleased “Juan Valdez” and the controversial “Break a Bitch Neck” featuring Kool G. Rap all made the cut and will finally see the light of day after almost ten years of being locked away in the vaults. While “Valdez” simply never made it off the Rawkus shelves “Break a Bitch Neck” was a contributing factor to Ak’s dismissal from Interscope Records back in 1993.
“When I was on Interscope Records they released my album “Vagina Diner,”” begins Ak. “They didn’t include “Break a Bitch Neck” on it. Jimmie Iovine and Ted Fields were like Ak this song is too rude. Then when I threw out “Vagina Diner” I had a song called “I Luv Her” on it which was about the girl who’s pregnant and I kicked her in the stomach. They didn’t like that so then they were like Ak we have to release you off of Interscope because we can’t have this type of rudeness. Ten years later, they sign a certain white boy saying the same rude shit that I was saying. The Source magazine bastard said [“I Luv Her”] was too graphic and all that. The bitch who wrote it was named Kierna Mayo. This bitch writes this shit and then ten years down the line she turns out to be one of the head editors of Honey where they got Lil Kim showing nipples on the cover.”
Although his release from Interscope relegated Ak to the underground it did nothing but reaffirm his dedication to crude lyricism. “My whole shit was just to be rude,” emphasizes the graphic emcee. “Rap is supposed to be rude going against the grain. I felt like I could out rhyme these motherfuckers and if they wanted to go metaphors I could spin around they head but I just wanted to be ruder. The whole music shit had me like ahh just be rude with it. If you could be rude and still accomplish cutting through without radio and without everybody now you’re standing out.”
Years of lewd albums like “Put it In Your Mouth,” “Aktapuss,” and “Anakonda” would follow but Ak’s return to straight hip hop (however brief) isn’t that unusual. Each of the aforementioned records had their moments of lyricism but they were overshadowed by the sex talk. “On every album I did there was a rhyme record but they’ll skip that. On “Put it In your Mouth” I would have the thug shit where I’m rhyming or the robbery song where I’m, rhyming. On the “Aktapuss album,” I had rhyme records back to back. Even on “Anakonda” I had songs like “Guns Bust” on it where it’s just rhyming but they don’t hear that they just hear the sex.”
After a while dropping the occasional lyric for the real heads just didn’t suffice and the questioning of content kept coming up. But the truth of the matter is maybe the person the fans keep calling for no longer exists. The cover art displays a toe tag that reads “Akinyele Adams” and the cause of death is the music. It’s almost like a slap in the face because the compilation reminds you of the essence and at the same time let’s you know you can never go back. If you take Akineyle’s word for it, music is the leading cause of death of your favorite artists.
“That person who I was back then, he’s dead,” Akafella acknowledges. “When I listen to a lot of these songs I hear a lot of friends in the background and I remember a lot of people who were in those studio rooms and music killed our relationship. Music is the biggest drug out. It’s addictive, you want it, you want to be it and you want to control it but it will catch up and kill you. If you’re a fan of music and you love this group and you see the kids not liking them it kills you inside. Music kills you physically with either guns or violence or emotionally where the artist will never be who he once was. Diana Ross will always die inside trying to be the supreme lady she once was. You never have a musician that retires beautifully happy. As much as Jay-Z says he’s retired it probably kills him that he’s not number one. You might step back from it but music kills.”
His pronouncement of his own musical death may be a little premature as Akinyele made sure to include a couple new tracks (“Ak-Nel” and “Bonus”) produced by J-Zone just to prove to himself that he can still do it. “It was fun to just say that I can do this man,” Ak honestly affirms. “It was like a lyrical workout for emcee’s ears. The beats are saying something. They aren’t stringy and musical and that shit put me in the dimension of where it used to be. With the J-Zone songs, it’s like I could do a whole album like that. I’m letting them know we can go right there. I still know how to pick those and I know how to write those.”
Akinyele still has plans to do another album with just him on the mic and Large Pro behind the boards but admits that the future of that project hinges on how well “Music Killz” is received. “This one here is the essence of everything we’re standing around and Large Professor was a whole hiphop movement feel,” begins Ak. “This whole album has got the beats from that era. Now I want to bring this shit up to date and try to bring it back to what it needs to be. It’s not to say that the shit people is doing today is wack you just have to bring it full circle. I think every emcee needs to come back, visit it, and see if it’s what it’s supposed to be.”
“I’m trying to keep the Akinyele saga going,” he continues. “Now it’s to the point where I’m gonna drop one of these every two months to have fun and just buck the system because I can out rap these motherfuckers and run around them. I’m gonna spit different shit every two months. That’s why the J-Zone songs were so important for me to do because I don’t want motherfuckers to be like we miss this Ak cuz he’s right here.”
Pick up the new album “Music Killz” in stores now off of Eastern Conference Records.