Mr Live

Hip-Hop Core: Why did it take so long to get this record out? It was supposed to be called "Drama", why did you decide to change it into "The Bang Theory"?

Mr Live: Well, you know, between the time that we did the album and the time that it actually came out, there was a lot that was going on, a lot of personal things in my life. So I changed the title from what we intended at first, it was just a sort of time caps of type situations. The album was supposed to be past, present and future type situations where we're just in touch with a lot of things of what we had wanted to do, we're doing currently and what we foresaw what currently hip-hop might be. So basically, the title is who dictates what bangs, what's hard, what's good music… We tried to put a little something for everybody, to put some insight on what we think music is… The integrity of the lyrics is never compromised… You've got underground, you've got what some people might call mainstream. We really think that it's just a really evolved kind of hip-hop type situation… And we've got kinda futuristic type situation, kinda experimental. Basically the Bang Theory is just who's out there, what is your idea of bang, what bangs in your system, in your cd player or whatever…

HHC: I thought there was something to do with the creation of the world? Like the big bang theory?

L: That's why we didn't put the "big" bang theory… It wasn't really a creation, it's like when you talk about a theory, it is about somebody's idea of what it is… Some people might say that only underground is dough or mainstream is the only place to go. Artists don't do music no more, they don't have the ability to be genuine no more. The label might say we need this and the public might say we want to hear this… This is not what I was raised on. And all the music that I listen to have a lot of things to offer… Music should be universal, should have different messages. If you living in a hip-hop neighborhood, if you live in a poor area, it might be bad but even in Brazil, in Sudan, they have happy times… every thing they talk about can't be about murder and crime, and getting money and go to the club… There are different things in life…

HHC: Did you change some beats on the project or did you just keep adding tracks?

L: In the making of the album, we had lost contacts with a lot of producers that we was working with in the past so a lot of tracks have got changes just out of respect of not using stuff without a permission… As we started putting it up together it started to form a message, like in an agenda. It was supposed to be just a prelude. So it was supposed to be "here's a tasty treat for former Mr Live fans" that current Mr Live fans might like, and some more up-to-date ones, it was a combination…

HHC: Did you feel like writing new lyrics, since you mentioned that?

L: As far as the US is concerned, most rappers they don't get to talk about their social surroundings unless it's in the club, they don't get to talk about economics unless they talk about them being rich! As we started doing the album over, I had wanted to put a couple of things across and talk about what things is important to me. I'm a grown man, I've got a twelve years old son that I raise, and I go to work everyday. So I see what's happening on the streets, I know what it is and what it's not. Hip-hop today I don't even want to call it hip-hop no more. Rap music today, it's just a place where we are all rich, we all in the club, and we all can drink and fuck all day and all we do it just mess with models chicks… and it's just not that way. We got politics that's really fucking up our lifestyle, we got social situations that really messing up our way of life… As far as African-American, it's really bad because now we live like regular Caucasian-American… Like if I buy an eighty thousand dollar car and I only make thirty thousand a year, it's crazy. Your value system is misguided… I wanted to show basically that MC is to write songs. Most of the joints on the Bang Theory are songs. "20 And 1" is a vivid story, "4 More Years" is an informative song, my little broadcast on the Bush's regime. We don't get to do that no more on records because most of record companies over here they want to hear you freestyle all day about nothing, about stuff that I don't even have, about car and jewels that they rented for the video that I'm not ever gonna see in my life… It's just a reality thing that I wanted to convey a little bit over the tracks.

HHC: Talking about politics, I think you have elections next year in the USA. How do you see the future?

L: Nothing's gonna change. I guess we have this time a female or a black American brother but… We as the society, we as the people in America, we are not involved enough in politics to do anything about it… So the people that hold the power like Bush decided "Yeah I wanna run for 4 more years, I can do that", "I wanna win the elections, I can do that", "I wanna continue the war in Iraq – even though the public ain't with it"… You spending all this money on weapons, and we got diseases and social issues that we gotta attack. You're sitting over there and you're killing our youth over there. We're over there getting that oil money. Saddam Hussein is dead and Bin Laden is probably chillin' in some place in France, sipping some wine. All you doing is raising another generation of people who don't like capitalism, who don't like the way the US international policies is… I was really with it when France was like "Yo I'm not with ya, I do what I need to do man…". I was with that.

HHC: Did you follow the French election, just a bit?

L: Not a lot. When I was over there, I followed that one with Chirac and Le Pen. And I was really surprised to see how much a villain Le Pen was, I was really bugging out and I saw a really big resemblance between him and Bush… But I haven't been following French politics since 03.

HHC: How did you work on the beats of the album, how did you select them, did you ask for a producer to work on a type of sound…?

L: Well, we work on. We make joints like at least every other week. I've got a group of four-five producers that I work with and that's my homies…There's Steelo who did a lot of work with C-Rayz Walz, a couple of joints with El-P, Cannibal Ox and stuff like that, Ves who I was working with back in the days, my man Big Trap who did "Crossroads" and "Step it up". Each of these dudes kinda has a different feeling. Earl's sound is the queen of sounds, kinda futuristic. When I need an underground joint, I might mess with Steelo or Trap. When I want a really kinda 95 feeling, I mess with Ves. I'm an underground MC at hard beat, so I love the dirty 95 underground grimy beat, like the street 95 beat. But again I like the diversity and when I listen to it and I hear too much stuff sounding the same, I want to change the sound.

HHC: You did this song 'Make It Rowdy' and some people didn't like it. At the same time, this same people can listen to the Neptunes and new kinda productions style so how do you feel about this? The same guys, when it's supposed to be underground, they don't like this kind of sound and when it's mainstream, they just deal with it and they like it…

L: Well, my thing is I never hate on another's person opinion and I don't think I'll ever never make an album where you'll like every fucking joints, that everybody likes every joints. If I do an album that's all underground, maybe some of the ladies won't like, and some of the cats that really like something easy going. If I like a track, I'm gonna do it. It's as simple as that. I'm not gonna say: "Oh this sound is too mainstream, or this sound is too underground, or this sound is too bitchy, like some gang shit"… I would love to be that kind of artist where you could accept certain tracks from me. I really don't want to be trapped in the underground and at the same time I don't want to be considered like a mainstream artist, and I notice this may sound a bit a contradiction. It's like Cee-Lo, he didn't care about his Goodie Mob fans, he wanted to do some good music. All I do is pick good tracks, that's what I try to do anyway.

HHC: Talking about Earl Blaize, did you ever feel like collaborating with MC's from APC?

L: I know Earl from way back in the days, like in the 90s. We had this shows together. Priest was solo back then. Shä-Key came out with an album and then I had met Beans and Sayyid came way later. But when I was doing lyrical style, we didn't compliment each other, they were doing something else. That's my people though, I love them cats. But what they talk about and how they talk about it don't really match, we don't really go together. But if you listen to "Lemon Face", it's kind of like Anti-Pop style. It's the closest I can get. Not even lyrically 'cause I'm never gonna be all over the place like that, but kinda like the function and the subject. It's kinda like a tribute to APC, to Anti-Pop Consortium style music. Me and Earl got like 5-6 tracks just dedicated to APC sound, 'cause he gotta lot of fans out there. Like I said, Priest is my dude, I love Beans, me and Sayyid is cool.

HHC: I heard there was something like a reunion of APC…

L: Yeah, they spoke being together making some joints because I know Priest getting something out now, Sayyid has something a little while ago. They wanted to do a joint with me man, so I said maybe we can do it man, I'll try.

HHC: How about the connection with Bobbito Garcia, are you still in touch?

L: Yeah, he's my dude. Basically it was crazy 'cause it came thru Breezly Brewin' from the Juggaknots and we both hanging in the same circles. One day Breez was going up to Bobbito's spot and he invited me to come with him. And that's how me and Bobbito got tight. And then there was that club we all used to go in 95-96-97, that was called Nuyorican Poets Cafe. Bobbito used to host there so I was seeing him like 2-3 times a month. I was used to keep on giving Bobbito tapes with new joints to play on his show and he never played a joint! But Bobbito was black and white, if Bob likes it he plays, if he didn't he didn't play. It was actually at that time I came to Europe for the first time, in 94-95. I was going to quit, I was going to stop rhyming. Everybody was on some gangsta shit and I was trying to get out of that shit. I running the streets myself, and I wasn't proud. And I gave Bobbito like my last demo, I was like a dog. He liked it, he went so far he was like "Hey I want to put this out". I was like "What?! Fuck it!" I wasn't really interested in independent hip-hop at that time 'cause to me everybody that was on independent labels, I didn't like them at all. But the shit took off, so I was happy about it.

HHC: There was a kind of hype about Fondle'Em Records and it disappeared so what happened…?

L: It's like Bobbito kinda rule, he wasn't no major kinda dude, he didn't want to do videos. Bobbito was trying to make it a real classic vintage situation. He wasn't being hard at beating the industry. All of us were tired about the industry but Bobbito was really tired about the industry. He put out a couple of people, a couple of joints and then he just let it fall. I came back to him with joints like "Do you want to put this out?", he was like "No I don't want to put that out". But I was like "Yo but this is better that "Supa Dupa" everybody was saying this shit is gravity, he was like "Put it out yourself"! And I was like "… yeah! You're right!" 'cause when he said no, I was like "Damn, it's over, I'm not coming out no more". So I really awe Bobbito a lot, he showed me the way, he paved the way for me.

HHC: How do you feel about hip-hop in New York now? It used to be like very avant-garde and everything was starting in NY.

L: Oh it's garbage, it's trash! Let me clarify it. What is represented as New York hip-hop is not. And it's not to say that there's not artists out here who is doing good hip-hop music. I'll even say it's the same amount of artists than back then. It's just too hard to reach out there. Record companies and radio is not going to play real music. They weren't really playing it way back then. It's just that they got out. We were lucky because shows like Bobbito shows and mixtapes, because of that it come out. Now because supposedly hip-hop music makes so much money, you heard a lot of bullshit. Because individuals don't have the balls to do their own music or materialism type of music, about women shaking their ass, about bullshit that they don't even have. Let there be an even thing, let that flow but let my shit play too. Let the Jugganots shit play, let Mr Len shit play… there's a lot of good music out there that don't come out. I don't even pretend that I want to be involved with that kind of situation, it's bad. That's why I concentrate my efforts overseas, at least I heard it's kinda crazy out there too but at least there's still a following out there that listen to good music.

HHC: Have you met J-Live lately and if he had offered to do collaboration, would you have turn the offer down or would you have accepted it?

L: That's an interesting story. When I came back from France, I found out that somebody else got my name. Ain't nobody got no J Live, get the fuck out! I'm listening to this cat and he blowing up, he's getting played all over the place. So I'm like "Get the fuck outta here, ain't nobody doing music in New York no J Live!". 'Cause I had no record out, but I was all over the underground scene. I was part of a group called Blacrain, everybody knew me but it was within Blacrain. So I'm giving the cat the benefit of the doubt and I'm really coming with some peaceful shit… "That's my name you've got son. We need to battle for that cause that's my name you've got"… I was on Bobbito, I was on Stretch show, I was on Eclipse show, and everybody in the underground knew who the fuck I was. The guy is talking you're not the real Live. Give me just this battle. I consider him a good MC but I would have definitely had this ass up… But he kept on frontin'! And there was a little article where he said, "I heard about the cat and I'm ready"… That's where the beef came from. So I actually talked to the cat right after that. I was like, "Listen man, if you don't want to battle, don't battle, fine! But don't broadcast saying you ready to battle me. So I don't want to see my name in any of your articles no more or if anybody asks you just say that you don't want to battle." I saw him in front of a club one day and I told J-Live: "Listen man, this is no violent thing, I was at 3 of your shows I could have be beating the shit out of you then. This is no violent thing, this is a hip-hop thing. I just want to battle and I said, "If you want to do it though, we could put a record out" and then a cat that was putting records out, he did some joke about that… I was "I don't even have to hear your verse. You don't hear my verse, I don't hear your verse. We battle on the same track. And we let the audience decide". The nigger never showed up, never. So people were telling me that I was scaring him. I'm not a violent guy but everybody knew my street reputation. I didn't bring that to hip-hop, I wanted to get away. Hip-hop was a release for me, it got me away from the streets. We had ran on him one time and we squashed. I told him to go ahead about his business, I go ahead about mine. We just do it like that. That was it. He never wanted it. He don't want to be on no track with me. I make him look like he ain't graceful.

HHC: Basically you'd never do a track with him today?

L: I'd do one with him today, it's no problem. I told the cat that I'd do a track like I'm back in the days. I really don't got no animosity against the cat. If he wanted to do a joint, I wouldn't mind.

HHC: Tony Bones and Shä-Key are on your album. Are guys planning to do some new stuff with Vibe Kamelonz and 88that'smyname?

L: Me and Bones got all this stuff stuck pile. He is a very very successful graphic artist. He's got a clothes line coming out, actually he got two, called Local Strangler and Corner Store Hero… And at the same time we're gonna put out some little EP with that. We're going to do it big. We've got three new tracks done already. Shä-Key is doing her thing. She's on some real bohemian shit right now. That's my girl though but she makes movies, she's acting, she is doing a lot of films, lesbian films kinda like drama docu type situation. She's kinda successful in that. She's got a little band out right now going on. She is doing a lot of stuff in France too.

HHC: And how about Mr Len, do you have some new tracks together?

L: I do some tracks all the time. I have about six tracks with him. I plan on putting on the next album soon at least two Mr Len joints. Me and him rhyming on one actually.

HHC: We haven't heard much from Mr Len lately, so what's going on?

L: He chillin'. He actually putting cats out, he's got like 2 groups he recently put out on his own record label, Dummies Smack. He's doing that right now, kinda the way Bobbito did with Fondlem'Em. He is doing his things…I'm actually trying to make him coming out to make the DJ for me, but he's doing his thing.

HHC: Kanye West or 50 Cent?

L: I definitely like Kanye's productions better. But he will talk about life social stuff and real things and at the same time being contradictive with a lot of materialism. I would rather listen to Kanye West rather to 50 Cent. I don't like 50 Cent, I don't like nothing about 50 Cent. His first album was a classic though. And the real tragedy is that everybody is talking about how much records they selling and ain't nobody say how good the record was. That's a shame. And you know what, the shit that I got stockpiles is way better than fucking Kanye. And I blow 50 Cent album. Where are we as people when we ain't even talking about music in an artistic sense, we talk about how many fucking records is selling. What about the album? Was the album good? All that hype for what? For 2 mediocre albums?

Questions by Phara and Amine
March 2008

Si vous avez aimé...

Last interviews






Vous recherchez quelque chose en particulier ?

Copyright © 2000-2008