Tell me a little about the “The Lost Freestyle Files.” It seems like a good sample for the fans before the real album comes out.
It’s a collection of freestyles from throughout the years that [I’ve] done on the radio in conjunction with a few written songs. It’s going to be a good sample that’s what I think. I’m glad to hear you say that. That’s what I look at this as, this is strictly a sample, please do not judge this record. This is just something for you guys to say hey [he’s] still around. Once you listen to it you obviously figure out what it is.
I liked the songs, but it just seems much more impressive when you freestyle about random topics like the X-Men on WNYU with A-Butta.
That’s the excitement of the freestyle and that’s how it’s supposed to be. The written is one thing, but the freestyle is totally another. It’s two different things with me. Those written rhymes they’re written well, but to hear me rhyme about the X-Men live sitting there of course it’s going to be more exciting. [You’re thinking] this fucking dude is making this shit up off of his head he’s crazy! It’s like how is he doing this? That’s the feeling you’re supposed to get. With me sometimes it’s like the gift and the curse. Like you, you’re like hey I liked “Internationally Known,” but it’s not the freestyle. That’s the thing people want the written rhymes to be on the same intensity as the other flow.
In the future you have mentioned doing an album that’s strictly written rhymes. Since you’re known around the world as a great freestyler why not do a completely freestyled album instead?
I’ll probably mix the two together, but in certain situations when I am in a controlled environment doing a freestyle you probably wouldn’t know the difference anyway unless I told you. I’ve done a whole freestyle album before. Most of the albums that I did most of those songs were off the dome. That’s one of the things people really don’t know. I could easily go into the studio tomorrow and do a freestyle album. I am just trying to give people that clean body of work.
How many albums have you recorded?
Two. Three if you count the one from Celestial, but we put that out. I recorded an album with Djini Brown, which was for Elektra when I was on Elektra and the album I recorded with KRS-ONE. Later on all that stuff will come out, we are just focusing on the new record right now.
How did you get down with KRS to do an album and what was that experience like working with a legend?
I was working on Kiss FM. At the time I had my own radio show on Kiss and KRS and Mad Lion were guests one night and that’s how me and Kris started talking. From there we went to do an album. Working with him in the studio was awesome. I was working with a legend like you said. What I took from it was his studio etiquette, being very conscious of time in the studio and some of the techniques he was using. We freestyled the whole album off the dome, so certain songs we had freestyle flash cards, on other songs we would bring the mic out of the booth and into the room where everyone was sitting and do it live. We had different little tricks we tried when we were doing the record. We’re gonna try and make sure it comes out. It’s going to be apart of a lot of stuff that we’re going to put out. This compilation of the “Lost Freestyle Files” won’t be the last one. I’m planning to do about three or four of those because I have a lot more material. This was just to test the waters.
Let’s talk about the Wake Up Show Anniversary battle with Juice. Did you do any preparation since it was such a hyped event?
If you take emceeing the way that I take emceeing there is definitely a point of preparation in anything you do. I just took the time to go research who Juice was after I committed myself to a battle. It’s just like watching fight tapes. If he has bodies of music out there I went to try and find what I could, which was not a lot, but what I did find it helped me. As far as preparation I rhymed everyday as if I was battling him. Even though he wasn’t there in my mind I visualized him there. I could have been on some cocky shit, but I didn’t think like that. I thought to myself this could be a dangerous motherfucker I’m getting in the ring with so let me be ready.
It makes sense to prepare for it just like you would for any other kind of competition, but it’s just rare because I never really hear any emcees talk about doing serious training.
I don’t really like talking about it because a lot of cats don’t look at it like that. I really respect the art form of being able to rhyme. I think there are parameters, styles, and cadences that can be applied in certain situations [to your benefit]. I didn’t sit down and write rhymes about Juice or anything like that, but I knew what I was going to do when I got there and how to try and hold my own.
Do you see a rematch between you two in the future?
No for what? I don’t understand why.
I know a few people were trying to spark some controversy saying it was setup. Has Juice ever mentioned that he would like a rematch?
I never heard him say that. That’s people man. People love entertainment that’s what the world is based on. Nobody was really checking for Juice after the battle was over, but they were praising him before. You can’t always just please the people. I’m quite sure people would love to stir that back up because it’s something else to talk about and something else to see. Just like that night people really wanted to see me lose. Have you seen the video?
Nah I’ve only heard the audio version.
You have to see the video. To hear it is one thing, but to see it was another thing. After the first round honestly it should have been over. If you would have seen the way he looked. It wasn’t just a lyrical thing; it was a mental thing, it was a whole vibe going on that night.
What are some of the things you’ve learned from battling?
The things that I’ve learned are to never underestimate your opponent, always have respect for the battlefield, and never go in too cocky, arrogant or overconfident because humility is the key to winning.
I’ve seen your son freestyle with you at Rock Steady one year. Did he pick that up from watching you or did you take him under your wing?
Yea he picked it up from watching pops. He is getting better too. He gave me a demo for my Christmas present this year. It’s crazy I can’t wait to let people hear it. I am thinking about throwing one of the songs on the “Lost Freestyle Files” just to let people hear it. He is getting really good. It’s scary almost because he has always been dope at it, but this year what he gave me it touched my heart man. It brought a tear to my eye, it brought a sigh to me too like cool we got some future. Coming soon Camouflage Arts.
So I guess you see him following in your footsteps as a fulltime MC?
He can do whatever he wants to do in life. I’m never going to force music onto him. If it’s something that’s fun for him then fine, but it will never be nothing like this is what you have to do.
What are some of the other projects you’re working on besides the “Lost Freestyle Files” and your new album that people can check for?
I’m working on a video game with Midway Games right now called “NBA Ballers.” They are using my voice as the announcer of the game and I’ll actually be a physical character on the game as well. You can put in my code and play as Supernat. I’m also working on a signature series shoe with Pro Keds, doing some old school, retro throwback sneakers from back in the 60s and early 70s. I’m under new management with Guerilla Union and we’re taking on a few projects this year, we are trying to get locked in on this tour with Linkin Park maybe, Jurassic Five, and a few other cats that are still pending. I’m working on a youth program this summer through Hofstra University. I’ll be working with kids teaching them how to write rhymes and freestyle, which will be going on in Long Island this summer.
Those are some pretty diverse projects. How did you get affiliated with so many different groups and organizations?
I have a mind outside of just rhyming. I try to spread myself around as much as I can and it’s a blessing that the vehicle of music opens those doors. But if they open the door for me in one arena and I can get in there and do something or use my talent in that arena I will. That keeps me working and keeps the rent paid too.