How are you doing Jaz?
I'm good man. Just getting this music in. I had to turn off the game so I wouldn't be distracted. I just finished eating dinner. I shouldn't be eating this late but I'm hungry.
What have you been up to lately?
So many things. I'm working with this company in Georgia to structure my corporation. They're going to be doing a lot of administration work. My company is, of course, Kingz Kounty. Being in the music business without that, I've been missing out on my whole business game. It's necessary. Being an artist, rapper, producer, writer, whatever you want to call me, being in the industry like that now, let's keep it 100, most of these people in those positions are dick-riders. If you don't have that storefront looking proper, you're not going to get work. It's like if you're on the streets and you have a Reverend Ike figure with rings on each of his finger and he's telling people that God is Bozo the Clown, people are apt to believe him as opposed to some bum on the street with a beat up Bible telling you the truth. The bum could be saying the most profound thing in the world and no one will pay attention to him because of his presentation. People are so caught up in presentation. He doesn't have the bling, the ride, the staff, so they'll say "you're a nobody."
I can't just do good songs anymore. I have to look the part for these people almost so they can understand what it is. A lot of people understand and a lot don't. I'm not going to put it all on the kids. There are some people whose prime was in the Golden Age of Hip Hop and they don't even recognize because they're so caught up in the commercial aspect of it, where a hot song is heavy on BDS and the video gets played. It's not like individuals say "this song is crazy" based on their opinion of it. It's like the All-Star Game. DJ's co-sign it, Flex gives it the explosions, and the record companies solicit the record to DJ's all across the country. You know how the labels do it, they buy all their time. It's not being recognized by the masses on a conscious level, because they'll deny it, but when they hear it in the club, then they see the video, they see the fans on 106 and Park screaming after a video, or they see the artist come out on 106 and Park, that shit goes in the subliminal of everybody's mind. They say "that's a hot song" and it has nothing to do with how it sounds. Now you have motherfuckers bouncing up and down to "Laffy Taffy!"
What do you think of that?
(laughs) That song represents exactly what I'm saying. That song is the epitome of what I'm expressing right now. I'm not saying it's a wack song. You know why? I don't see that shit as Hip Hop. It's definitely not Hip Hop. I would put it in "miscellaneous or dance music." You already know the skill level of those artists. If they ever see this interview, they might get mad, but I'm telling the truth. And they already know! They're saying "we don't really have any skills, but we're going to make a record and make some money." They don't have the love for it. They would never dare to call themselves "MC's." If you're going to set that next to a Hip Hop song, that song is garbage and it should never have hit the airwaves. For the type of music that these majors are pushing right now, it's a perfect record. It's the epitome of what I'm trying to express, how they put this money behind it.
A lot of these songs, people say "it was blowing up in the South" and this, that, and the other…a lot of these songs weren't really doing that. They were getting a little action but somebody wanted to get some kick back so they'll play it and they get signed. All these majors, which we really know is one company (laughs), they're signing motherfuckers that sold 5,000 units in their own market. It's based only on that. It's based on A&R research and somebody dick-riding enough, where they say "I'll give them this money, and I'll tell them they won't get a deal unless there's some kickback and they get some points." It's not about if this is hot or not. It's not about songs that people are going crazy over.
There are actually people that watch 106 and Park and actually believe that they're seeing the top 10 videos in Black music and that these songs are people's favorites, and it becomes their favorite. It's not rocket science, but we take it for granted that we know the inner workings of the music industry that we look at people as if they're crazy. That's part of what's going on.
But to get back to me, I was just making a point that I've been emphasizing on the last couple of years…my corporate structure. I'm doing that and I'm doing a three-CD set. It's going to come out in volumes, it's going to be called "Jaz-O: The Legacy." Some song features, like Jay-Z, Sauce Money, and a lot of the early stuff. It's going to comprise of 1986 to 2003. There's also a lot of singles I put out overseas that never touched down over here. A lot of stuff that never came out. I'm looking at a January or February release.
The artwork is going to be nostalgic. I have some archived photos of me and Jay-Z, me and Sauce Money, and a couple of other people from way back when. The artwork on the CD's is going to coincide with a long-sleeve t-shirt line that I'm putting out called "The Legacy." It's high quality t-shirts, and I'll try to get it in some major stores. If not, I don't care, I'll sell a lot of them. I think the pictures on the shirts will tell the story themselves.
I also have a DVD coming out in February called "Jaz-O: Be There," which is also the name of the single I'm leaking right now. I'm touching on a lot of stuff going on right now, like Puffy and the Lox, Jay-Z and Nas…
Is there any possibility of you going to Def Jam?
I haven't spoken to anyone at Def Jam. I haven't spoken to Jay-Z in awhile. I have no intentions or plans to speak to him. There will be a limited amount of reasons for me to even hold a conversation with him at this point. I'm talking to some people up at Koch and a couple of big independents. Their names aren't big names, but they're some labels out there with strong money that have strong interest in me. I'm going to see what happens and play it by ear. At the same time, I'm still on my grizzly and have to do what's necessary to get to the next level on my own.
My emphasis on my corporate structure will soon enable me to be my own entity and jump in the game on that level. Some people say "I haven't succeeded if I haven't gone platinum." If I make money and have my company, I'll be happy as long as I'm in six figures every time I drop. My kids are going to be well-taken care of. I can expand my company and go into other things. People will hear my music. They may not buy it, but they're going to hear it. I'm not saying that to insinuate that I don't have full confidence in my music. Of course I do. But you have to be locked-in tight in the system before you get that go-ahead. For me to jump into it and be my own entity, even though I have my own finances, the majors are paying for all the slots at the major radio stations and all that. They don't like a motherfucker like me because, like I told you the other day, on the phone, I don't kiss ass.
Do you feel like you have to kiss some ass to get ahead?
I don't feel that I will, but somebody will. Somebody involved with me or somebody that is getting me in the door, at some point, will have to kiss some type of ass or something worse to get it really popping because people don't want to talk about it. but motherfuckers like having something on you. It's really grimy. If they can't get some kickback or if they don't have somebody that they can control, or they don't feel that the manager is somebody they can control, they're not going to do the deal.
What do you think about what's going on in New York right now?
What happened to New York Hip Hop, for one, the state now is that the foundation that the Cold Crush, Jaz-O, Furious 5, Jazzy 5, the Kool Mo Dee's, the KRS-O.N.E.'s, that foundation that these individuals laid down as far as creativity, as far as being real, as far as not being MC pretty-boys with a whole bunch of gimmicks and no talent was handed over to these semi-talented individuals and radio-listeners, as opposed to motherfuckers with creativity, by corporate America.
From there, it started to erode because you had artists with limited talent and a bunch of gimmicks, most of which were initiated by the controlling aspect from the high and mighty CEO's of the major record labels. In turn, what happened is that eventually the identity was lost by way of gimmicks. It wasn't about talent anymore, but rather who can have the biggest song? Let's make the song this, let's make the song that…as soon as those suggestions came in, that eroded the identity of New York Hip Hop and the so-called "Hip Hop giants." Between the mid to late '90's to date, the "giants" weren't individuals that would hold Hip Hop to what it is. A lot of people may disagree with me. People like Jay started coming with too much gimmicks. When you allow a motherfucker like Puff to actually rhyme on a record, and because of his political ties, he's able to get his songs everywhere else. I don't want to get too complicated, but Hip Hop was taken over by a bunch of punk motherfuckers who was talking that street shit, all that gully shit, but they're not really gangsters.
New York Hip Hop got it's skirt pulled up. On a corporate level, they opened the door to the South because New York didn't have the gangsters and gentlemen. You had these punk motherfuckers who was getting on record and trying to tell the world that they were gangsters and everything else, and they want to eat, but they don't want you to eat. A gangster is not a gangster all the time, he's also a gentlemen. These are just punk motherfuckers that weren't on the street talking about moving ki's in the back of their car. New York got its skirt pulled up because they weren't sharing. These motherfuckers wanted power over people as opposed to having power with people.
All of these crews and all of these cliques, it was everybody going against each other too much. You also had artists from Murder, Inc. doing something with an artist from Bad Boy to sell records, but it wasn't really an alliance. That was only business. It wasn't anything like, "we can pull all our resources together and become that much stronger." They didn't have that mentality. What happened in New York Hip Hop is that there was a division, nobody had to divide them. They were already divided, so they just went out and tried to conquer each other, like "I got the strongest clique, we're getting more money than them…" Who's the most creative, who's the nicest? We lost our identity.
Then the high corporate structures started looking elsewhere, like "here's a simpleton song that we can push anywhere." New York artists started buckling, they were like, "damn, in order for me to have the hottest record, I have to go with this because this is what they'll push." They'll push this bullshit over here. We're bouncing up and down like monkeys. You even have motherfuckers from New York that blew up in the South and people think they're from the South.
The same thing happened on the West Coast. The difference is, when you go outside of New York, people are willing to spend their own money to make it pop. People are penny-pinching in New York. That's the whole mentality.
I've been in studio sessions where the brokest motherfucker was probably worth about $25 or $30 million. Niggas were talking about who was the first one to get the GT and having heated discussions about this. I'm saying, "what about all the people in the world starving right now?" There were some niggas in there that were nine digits, talking about who was the first one to get this, and get that, and his colors are ugly, and he's with so-and-so…" I'm like, "aren't we in the studio?" The thing is, while they're sitting there talking all that shit, studio time is being burnt. I say "burnt" because when I go in the studio, it's time to work. If you're not working, get the fuck out.
What I'm saying is that the music industry has been infiltrated with people who don't fucking belong. Artists who don't have no business being artists. Producers who have no fucking right to put they goddamn hands on a keyboard. And I'm specifically talking about New York. They have no fucking business. A couple of people may wonder, "why isn't anybody in a key position saying it?" It's because they're one of them! That's why the public doesn't know about it. They're not going to say it because they're one of them!
That motherfucker with all that "keep it real" bullshit sitting behind a desk, he's one of them. He knows he doesn't belong. Being an A&R has nothing to do with having a Bachelor's Degree. That's who they're pulling in. The only ones without the college degree that are there are the ones that established themselves before this Bachelor's Degree shit came in. That's the state and that's the problem with New York Hip Hop.
No disrespect to Nas, no disrespect to Jay, no disrespect to Puff, but let me tell you something. All the shit that comes out of their mouth, they are not gangsters. But if you ask somebody on the street, they'll say "you heard what Nas said, you heard what Jay said about coughing up a lung…" All that shit is real to the masses. When someone like me comes up and says it, niggas will say "you're just straight hating." The percentage of people that would say that is a lot lower now because of a lot of things that are coming out and niggas are getting their skirts pulled up.
Those are people that are in those positions and they weren't trying to be creative. Jay wasn't trying to be creative. Jay wanted the money. That's why everything he was rapping about, he was rapping about money. Same with Puff. Biggie was on the crazy killer stories because he was listening to Jimmy Henchman and he was talking about what Jimmy Henchman went through. Big ain't go through all that shit. But if I went to Chicago or Detroit, they'll say, "nah, Big was a gangster." Same with going to the pens.
I can't speak for Big. I'm not saying he was a punk-ass nigga. I'm not saying that Nas is a punk-ass nigga. I'm not saying that Jay is a punk-ass nigga, although to me he is. These are motherfuckers that didn't start out this way but they were influenced to erase the identity of New York Hip Hop. People can't say that it wasn't them, you know why? All of these so-called artists out right now are nothing but radio-listeners because they're saying things that Jay, Nas, Big, or me said. People will say me and disagree, but everybody's doing the shit that I did in my triplet style. Look at the 3-6 Mafia song!
Big, Jay, and Nas, they're not motherfuckers that started out and it wasn't their intention, but they were influenced by motherfuckers that had an agenda to make money because they weren't creative. Big was rhyming about the stuff he heard Jimmy Henchman talking about. Big started doing that party shit because Puff wanted him to. Big didn't want to do that "Juicy" song, but Puff wanted him to, and it was Big's biggest song. People didn't even know "Party and Bullshit" until he did the "Juicy" record.
These motherfuckers are influenced by niggas that are motivated by money to erase the identity of New York Hip Hop. It wasn't about busting a 9mm or talking sexy to a chick. It was more conscious. This may sound silly to people, but it was violence that made sense. It was flossing that made sense. It was more intelligent.
The words weren't, no disrespect to Southern rappers, but I'm keeping it funky, the words weren't slurred out. Now that shit is cool. C'mon! Six or seven years ago, it was "what the fuck is this nigga talking about?" I'm not saying this is good or bad, I'm not giving my own personal thoughts on it, because I don't give a fuck. I'm making sure my words don't slur. Now all of that shit is cool. Now, when New York niggas say country shit, it's cool. It's cool for a nigga down South. It shouldn't be cool for a New York nigga to do that. Now you're dick-riding because whoever said that shit had a big song, and you're dick-riding so hard that you don't feel you could have a hit song through your own faculties so you have to do what this nigga did!
That's what happened to New York Hip Hop. You had people like Funkmaster Flex, who niggas were giving a lot of money to…I'm not talking about illegal payola, I'm not trying to implicate anyone…you have these radio stations who in bed with the major labels. They'll tell them to push West Coast or Dirty South shit in New York because they have their Southern region affiliates telling motherfuckers in New York that they tear the club down with this song.
If the niggas ain't as ignorant up here as they are down there, let's play some of the music to make them ignorant. There's a lot of ignorant New York songs, and there's a lot of ignorant Dirty South songs. A lot of shit is just ignorant right now. If it's not a song about wanting to puff weed and get belligerent to a chick, they don't want to fuck with it. Where's the sexy Hip Hop song at that's sexy not in a gross way where you're not telling girls "girl, pull your pants down and make an ass imprint on the wall" or "girl, pop your pussy in public," or "girl, pull your titty out"? I'm not the judge, but every song and every video is the same. Even motherfuckers promo pictures have the same expression on their face. Now you have motherfuckers from the Midwest all the way to the South and it's coming up North real quick, you have niggas with platinum and diamonds in their teeth. We used to call motherfuckers "bammers" when they had shit like that.
And as a disclaimer, one more time, I'm not trying to diss a motherfucker from down South, I'm just saying that I'm from New York, and I don't do that shit. When I see a New York nigga trying to talk like a down South nigga, I'm like, "what the fuck is wrong with you? You lost your mind! You lost your identity!" We can't even speak our own New York English with our own slang. That's because artists from the mid-'90's to now are radio-listeners or a protégé or another motherfucker.
When's the last time you saw Nas big-up G Rap? The thing is, a lot of people don't even know that that was Nas' fucking idol. Now, because niggas started getting money and fame, and the crowd and audience reacts to them in a certain way, it's like "why mention this nigga? They're looking at me like I'm the king. If I tell them that I'm this nigga's protégé, then he may take some of my shine." They try to say it in ways where it doesn't sound that way, but people that are on a certain level can understand it.
For example, Jay said, "I came in the game in Jaz back." I can't remember the other part, but it was something about how he got in the game and jumped off my back and did his thing. To someone who knows our situation and our relationship, they would say that was a compliment. But to someone who doesn't know and won't do the research, they won't see it that way. That's what I was trying to tell people. When this motherfucker mentions me in a song, he's only trying to appease me where he says it in a way, "Oh, I'm giving honors to my man." To those that don't know, he's just saying it like its some nigga named Jaz and he put the nigga out to pasture. He knows that.
This is what's wrong because this caliber of artists and executives is running the music industry, and they're running it into the ground. It's not just Hip Hop either. They're all running this shit into the ground. Rock and Roll is selling just as big if not bigger on an indie level than majors. That's how you know they're running this shit into the ground. The motherfuckers running it now are straight corporate trying to make all the money they can, pimping people. It's just ridiculous man. Motherfuckers don't even understand what's going on. This is something that motherfuckers started man. Even if you want to look at it on a corporate level, they're destroying it on a corporate level as well. They're selling gimmicks.
Just to give you an example, I remember when rap records didn't even have hooks. There wasn't no hooks on rap songs. Don't get it twisted, there were a lot of songs that did have hooks that were real early, like "King Tim III," which was somewhat of a hook. They were playing the live music and they were saying, "Do it to me and I'll do it to you." That wasn't even so much of a hook as it was some chant shit. A lot of the rap records didn't even have hooks because they were in the beginning stages of building a commercial value for themselves. They were in the beginning stages. They were like "we don't have a motherfucking clue what this is. This sounds good, put this motherfucker out there." Look at the past 12 or 13 years, they're putting the explicit lyric tag on there because that was one of the stages to cage this shit.
Now look what they turned it into. I'm not a racist or none of that shit, but they toned it down to a form where someone that's familiar with rap as well as someone who's totally unfamiliar with rap can understand every fucking rap record now. Every major song is some simple shit that everybody can understand. Middle-age housewives in Minnesota is buying 50 Cent. This is real shit homie. C'mon now. This is the same shit like when they were trying to stop Ice T. Remember his song "Cop Killa"? U.S. Congress tried to shut this nigga down. They weren't trying to shut him down because he did that song "Cop Killa." They were trying to shut him down because he had a lot of leverage with people, he was starting to sell a lot of records, he was in his movies…those high Jew executives were like "fuck that shit. He has a rock band? He might give people ideas if he sells a few million records."
This is real shit. I am not making this up. They're not going to tell everybody what I just told you. They're going to tell everybody something else. They weren't trying to shut Ice T's life down, or his career down, because that niggas on TV everyday. Look at the irony, this is no joke and they do this on purpose. He's on TV playing what? A cop! They do this shit on purpose because they make a subliminal example of your ass. They say "you can eat, but you have to eat the way we want you to eat. You can't do this, you can't do that…" They have control of Hip Hop. Why do you think they put you in movies after you blow up? That's where the money is and they want to make that image more prevalent. The original image of an MC is gone.
To give you an example, Queen Latifah. Everybody may not like what I'm saying, but I'm just speaking the truth. She starts off wearing all this Kinte cloth in her first video. She's a strong Black women. She's big, she looks like she could knock a couple of niggas out. Look what she's doing now. She's doing TV and movies. She has some decent roles, but her biggest role was when she was a maid. This exemplifies everything I'm talking about. She was an ex-con that was framed, and she runs into this guy's house, and she says she needs somewhere to stay, her boyfriend shows up at the house, he's another ex-con gang-banger, so she starts playing the dude's maid. She starts cooking and cleaning around the house. I'm not saying that's a bad thing or a good thing. What I'm saying is how they subtly reverse the whole image thing. They're going to do it to 50 too. Eventually, 50 is going to be playing a cop or he's going to be playing some controversial role that has nothing to do with the beginning image that you saw him as. They take all the big-selling rap artists and give you an image. LL doesn't call himself an MC anymore, he calls himself an actor. They change your image.
Do you think Jay and Nas coming together is a good look?
In one perspective, yes, and in another perspective, hell no. No, because it doesn't alleviate the problem. It just makes New York Hip Hop look weak. If these niggas settled this shit in the ring, some type of thing, people look at it and they see it as "the beef is way more authentic than them making up." Nothing really happened to make y'all say "we're going to cut this bullshit out." It's more of a political or financial reason. Then you have to look at the beef itself. If y'all made up for finances or political bullshit, than your beef was over financial, political bullshit, which makes New York Hip Hop look real weak. It would at least be legitimate if niggas were like "I was going to kill this nigga, but let me be the bigger man, for the sake of Hip Hop we're going to squash this shit."
It was all done on a Hollywood setting like Game and 50. Game is still going at that nigga. That shit ain't squashed. In that same respect, I respect Nas but I don't respect that move because nobody should be so petty that they say "oh this nigga told everybody publicly that he fucked my baby's moms." That's not a big deal because they weren't together. The big deal is that she fucked this nigga and she didn't care about the repercussions. Fuck a Hip Hop record, the streets will find out. In that sense, they did what they did.
I'm not here to judge nobody, but I could seriously say that behind that shit, there's got to be something else. Even if they're like "we're going to squash this shit, I'm not signing with you. I went into battle with you on an equal level. Now, I really lost because I'm putting my career in your hands. This is not an alliance. I'm signing a deal to you. You're the daddy now." The whole equality shit is gone. If these niggas said they were going to start a label, where one is the CEO and the other is the COO, all right, I'm fucking with that. You're signing to this nigga, so you're basically bowing down. There's no more level of equality because homeboy doesn't need you to make records, he can make records himself. It's not like this is a semiotic relationship. This nigga makes records and he's the top exec. With you signing to him, now you're his boy. That shit is the truth.
Niggas can take this shit anyway they want to. If you sign with that nigga after all of that shit y'all said to each other, and you can't go into some situation on an equal basis, now you're his boy, simple as that. What if one day Jay decides to catch a relapse and say "I don't like this nigga, I'm shutting him down." Then he's got another financial problem. That's what I see wrong with this. All that friendly love shit is cool, but the reality of it, what people don't want to look at, is that that's not equal. Y'all didn't settle terms on an equal level. They say the Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves, they're saying that they freed the salves. You can only free yourself. Once they say "you're free," they also have the power to re-enslave you. That shit ain't on no equal basis. To the rest of the world, it makes New York Hip Hop look real weak.
It's like this nigga Jay is pimping. This nigga 50 is pimping. Jay and 50 are the niggas pimping, and everyone else is a bunch of patsy's. All these niggas making tough guy records, or these so-called "socially conscious" records, they're a bunch of patsy's because they're bowing down to money. I'm not bending for shit. It's just how certain motherfuckers are built. These niggas have more money than me, I'm not ashamed to say it, but they could still survive, but they need that shit. They lost themselves. What the rest of the world is finding out is that these niggas' skirts are being pulled up and they're not as hard and thorough as they appear to be. It's how they want people to see them, but we all know that rap records is acting most of the time.
I've talked about a few cars that I never had, because that's part of the act, but I'm not going to tell someone that I'm the #1 super-gangster and I ride every day and we're shooting out everyday. I don't tell people that shit. There's a certain level that you take it to. These niggas take it to the utmost extremes, and then in action, in front of the whole world, you're going to go on stage with this nigga and be cool? And all the rest of these niggas, Mase, same shit. You're going to go on stage and be cool with this nigga? Why? What did this nigga tell y'all and what kind of speech did he give to you to make y'all go "we need to cut this shit out."
This nigga's a funny dude. It's like when you're playing tag and he's at a disadvantage and he goes "time-out." Now he doesn't want to play no more, so now he convinces all these motherfuckers that this shit isn't cool and that we're setting a bad example for Hip Hop and we're grown men and all that shit. Now he's calling everybody together.
There's that, and the other side of it, what people don't want to see, is that he's giving me the most attention of all. Out of everybody, the nigga didn't call me out. He didn't call me out. You know why he didn't call me out? Because he's waging war against me and he's waiting for me to make a move. He doesn't know what I'm doing, how I'm doing, where I'm at, what I'm thinking. I'm killing him. People say, "This nigga needs to get over himself." Nah, this is real. "I came in the game on Jaz back." Niggas don't get it. He doesn't know what the hell I'm going to do. He's heard so many freestyles where I spoke my mind. He knows, "This is not the same Jaz I came up with. This is a nigga that is angry with me." He found out the hard way that his best friend has become his worst enemy because "this nigga knows more about me than my own fucking brother." This is real shit I'm telling you homeboy. I know how he thinks. When he reads this online, chills are going to run down his back. He's going to be like, "damn, this nigga wrote the book on me." He's going to be like "damn, this nigga might as well be my father." He'll change his whole setup to spite me.
But he can't do nothing about it because I know how he thinks. I know how a lot of motherfuckers think. That's my advantage. It's not a good move for Hip Hop. It's a good move for Hip Hop politics, but Hip Hop at its core and its essence is not a political thing.
Hip Hop in its essence is a creative outburst like soul and jazz that exemplified Black poverty. That's its origin. I was around, people don't understand. I was in elementary school when they started firing all of the band teachers. I was in band. I played the trumpet. In all the districts around the city, they started firing all the music teachers. That's in part what started Hip Hop. Motherfuckers didn't have any other creative outlets besides gym. Soon after that came Hip Hop because motherfuckers started fucking with the turntables. They started cutting on the turntables and manipulating them. That's when the junkyard drum set came into style. All that shit. That's part of what created Hip Hop that was necessary.
Not to dive off of our main point, but like I said, it was good for Hip Hop politics and all the political motherfuckers and all the kids that don't know the history. If they knew some of the history, they'd be like, "These niggas are punks. He said this to him and they squashed it just like that? You can say anything to a motherfucker and it don't mean nothing." It's like talking real greasy about your mother. In the big picture, it ain't nothing, it's only the intentions, and the shit isn't physically hurting you or your mother. But on the other hand, you have to keep a certain level of respect. That's when it goes into something else. A lot of these kids would look at it differently if they understood the history.
Jay is banking on the fact that most of the kids and adults have the memory of a goldfish. Ask the average kid what the #1 Hip Hop song was in 1996. They couldn't tell you. Ask the average adult. They couldn't tell you. Of course I know, because I produced it. A lot of these niggas remember the song but they can't recollect the shit. Their memory is like goldfish, it lasts three seconds long. Now, the major record labels bank on that. They have them engrossed with what's new. Everything new is what's hot. It's hot because it's new. New means different, even if it's the same shit. I could play 20 songs that 50 Cent did and they all sound the same. (starts mumbling) He's rocking these niggas to sleep. All his beats are the same with either a slow "boom-tap" or a fast "boom-tap." People dance to them because it's an imprint in people's minds that 50 is hot, 50 talks shit, 50 is this, 50 got muscles. (laughs) Theses are the things that are pushed in people's minds because 50's on TV all the time. It's not that everything he does is hot, it's just that he's doing everything. The nigga's writing a book, he's got a movie out, he's got singles out. That's what's selling him. "50 is hot, he has a book out, he has this…" It's everything surrounding this nigga.
It's not the music itself. If you listen to the song itself, it's like "that shit is irrelevant." You're a window shopper? Who are you talking about? You're talking about your fans? You're not talking about Ja Rule and those niggas because they have paper. You're not talking about Nas or Cam'ron because those niggas are still getting paper. You could only be talking to your motherfucking fans who don't have a lot of money, but the little money they have they spend buying your shit. They don't even take the time to think about that.
There's a reason why 50 is hot. 50 isn't hot on his own. People don't even understand that he didn't even start out with Dre. I'm not taking no credit away from him, he did what he had to do. He did some things that I felt niggas shouldn't be doing like dropping dimes and shit. The nigga hustled, but he already had Landspeed behind him, they were the ones distributing 50's mixtape. A lot of people think that nigga just jumped in the ride and he was everywhere. Nah. A lot of these kids are under the illusion that all these dudes that come out, they try to make it out like they were all hustling and then they just decided to start making records.
There's a couple of niggas that were really putting their hustle in, but most of these niggas never did it. They're getting all their war stories from their mans that's investing money in them. They're laundering money, simple as that. The reason why I'm saying all of this stuff is because it's time. Somebody has to say something. Somebody has to pull these niggas' skirts up before it's too late, before there is no Hip Hop. Somebody has to pull these niggas' skirts. All these niggas in these high positions, they're keeping other motherfuckers out because they know that they don't belong up there in those high positions. They're fucking the music up. These niggas are in it for the glamour and the fashion, and then there were talented motherfuckers that wanted to elevate the shit and make the shit so creative and elevated that it would step the listeners up and make it hard for anybody to get into the shit. These motherfuckers in these key positions that are perpetrating a fraud did the exact opposite. They made the shit so simple and stupid that anybody could do it. Anybody could do it now.
Before we go any further, can you give a 101 to those that don't know on why you can say everything you are?
Because I am Jaz-O, because I am the Originator. I'm the reason why there was subtitles on "Nigga What, Nigga Who (The Originator '99)." That was my song and it was featuring Jay-Z. I started Jay-Z. I taught Jay-Z what a stanza was. I taught Jay-Z what bars were. I produced "Ain't No Nigga" and "Rap Game, Crack Game" for Jay-Z. I produced the Lox' demo for Bad Boy and one of the songs on that demo Puff took for himself and put it on the "No Way Out" album. I produced songs for M.O.P. like "World Famous." I produced for Queen Latifah. I had a hit single with the O'Jays and I toured with the O'Jays. The list goes on.
I've been rhyming since I was 13 years-old. The reason why I have a right to say all of this is because I'm the originator of the triplet style. Nobody, not even in the Midwest, was rhyming fast like me. I was doing the shit in 1986. I got a song with Jay-Z and these other two kids from Long Island on it, and it's called "HP Get's Busy" and I'm rhyming fast on that. We did that in 1985. We put it on vinyl in 1986. I was still doing it before that. None of these niggas with the "I'm the supersonic electronic," that wasn't really fast rap, that was just some double-time shit. I was doing triplet shit. That's why I got a right to say what I'm saying because all of these niggas that rhyme today understand who I am. It's the public that doesn't know. I've been featured on and I've produced platinum songs. I influenced these motherfuckers, the ones people say is Top 5 of all-time.
Big Daddy Kane changed his whole style when he heard my shit. He tried to capitalize off my shit and it was the end of his career because he doing something outside of himself like an ass. He made an ass of himself. That's when he started doing that shit with Patti Labelle and shit and nobody knew what the fuck he was doing. People who knew said he was trying to sound like Jaz, the people that didn't know said he sounded stupid. No disrespect to Kane, I got a lot of love for the nigga, but the truth is the truth. If niggas can't handle the truth at this stage, then fuck them. I ain't hear to make nobody happy. I'm not here to please niggas. The game owes me something, and that's why I got the right to say what I want to say.
I'm the reason why these goons got security jobs out here. I'm the reason for slang out here, like "cheese" and "cheddar." These niggas used to copy my shit all the time. Jay copied my shit "one thousand, two thousand, three thousand, four," he copied that in 2002. I'm the original nigga to come out of Marcy and I put Marcy on the map. Without selling millions of records, I put Marcy on the map. I put Marcy on the map. There was no Marcy to the music industry until I came out.
What gives me the right to say what I say is because I'm the original nigga to put a black panther on the album and LL bit and came behind me with the shit, and had the nerve to do a song "I'm Bad" where he used the same Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse bassline, which is the same bassline I used on "HP Gets Busy." That's what gives me a right to say this. They knew I was at a label that wouldn't push me, and they were at Def Jam and Warner. The ones at EMI with good intentions didn't have the power to bring it over. I'm the originator of the triplet style. I'm the first nigga to put an animal on my album cover. Before that, the only other big artist to do that was Janet Jackson. That's what gives me the right to say what I say.
I had the biggest album budget ever in 1987-88. I had $275,000, which was three times more than what the highest advance that rap artists were getting at the time. The top niggas were getting $75,000. I saw Monie Love recently, and Monie Love was featured on my first album. I saw her a few months ago, and she was like, "I still be telling niggas about that apartment you had in London." I did shit in Hip Hop that niggas weren't even approaching at the time. Niggas talking all that ballin' shit. My first album, we had big jewelry on. The record company didn't buy that shit and we didn't get that with the advance. We had that shit. That's not really important, but I was just trying to look good.
Some of the kids know and it's refreshing. I'll go to Brooklyn and see a lot of kids that did their research, or their parents told them that if you fuck with the nigga Jay you've got to fuck with Jaz because he groomed him.
I always say that Jay always had talent. The nigga was nice when I met him but he had raw talent. He didn't know how to make a song and I taught him poetic license. I taught him cadence and clarity, and these are the things that set him apart from these other niggas today. For a lot of years, I didn't like to toot my own horn, but "beep beep." Who else is going to do it if I don't do it. Motherfuckers got to know. I would like them to know, so I go about it this way. That's what I am. You ask any major rapper from Jadakiss to Ludacris, from Outkast to anybody that's big that you could name, LL, all these niggas, they know who I am. In the rhyme ciphers, nobody would confront this dude. I was nicer than everybody, and that's the truth. I hate to talk like this now, but I have to talk like this now because these niggas is cheating me out of what's mine and I don't have any other options. I can either talk this way or act like a Negro, go out and be on some bullshit. I'll let anybody know, anybody want a dispute, old nigga or new nigga, come with your best. I'm 41 years-old. Name one more 41 year-old that's spitting like me. Even Melle Mel turned it down.
There's only a few other niggas out there that are doing it. There's Whipper Whip from the Fantastic 5 and Grandmaster Caz, the man who made me take rap seriously. I hope I can be in that same vein…maintain my weight, stay in shape, don't get all droopy in the face, and still be able to spit a 16. I love this shit. The niggas that love the shit stay in the game. They never stop pushing. Even if I have to work in a day-care center or A&P, you do the shit because you love this. I can't work for nobody though. You can ask Caz and Whipper Whip and anyone from uptown, I was a young nigga in Brooklyn and word spread. "Who's that young nigga in Brooklyn that nobody can fuck with?"
One day I was telling Caz, "you're the reason I took rhyming seriously." And he was like, "shit nigga, we were all talking about who's this kid from Brooklyn that nobody can fuck with?" To me, when Grandmaster Caz said that shit, I was like, "I'll accept that one." To me, he's the greatest that ever did it. And they still owe him for "Rapper's Delight." A lot of people got away with that shit back then. Niggas were getting away with samples and all that.
You talked about getting what you deserve from the game. What do you deserve and will you get it?
Something that I feel I never got, which was a fair shot. Even in that era, you had labels like Cold Chillin', who had people that had their ear to the street. They had Marley and them. They were getting records played. I think back then, if I'm correct, Marley was on Disco92 which was WKTU, which was a Hip Hop station. And Marley was on 98.7 KISS, and he was on BLS. He had the "Rap Attack" and all that shit. Cold Chillin' had a foothold in the Hip Hop game because Marley Marl was the nigga. Then Red Alert came on the radio strong. Even Red Alert was playing Cold Chillin' shit. So Cold Chillin', which was a part of Warner Brothers, they had a foothold in the shit, whereas on EMI, a nigga like me could not be found. That was very key in G.Rap, Kane, and Biz Mark's rise to fame in that era.
I think as long as I keep pushing, and making assertive moves, not just moves the average artist would do, where they would just keep on making records…the fame is so corporate right now where you can't just be rhyming and singing and making beats, you've got to have something. Before they even hear your music, they see your chain. They see your whole get-up. They see who's endorsing you. They see what kind of car or truck you're driving. They see your affiliation. They see who is putting your songs on their mixtape CD. They're seeing all of that before they even heard your music. You can have them sold before they even hear your music. If you have the fresh gear on, the ice, the cars, and your video is getting played, you're already hot, because that's what everybody is paid to say. They've been paid off to say that you're hot. You're not hot because of your record, you're hot because you're everywhere. Being that's the case, all of a sudden, you're just hot.
That's why 50 is hot. Actually most of 50's songs are really very boring. He's saying the same thing in every song, just like R. Kelly. R. Kelly is always up in the club, there's always an after-party, he's always getting drunk, there's always shit in his ride…it's the same ingredients in every song, the same notes, the same changes, the same drum programming, the same guitar licks, and people go for it because number one, it's familiar, and number two, they play it everywhere. The video goes out and all of a sudden people voted for a video that didn't even exist. How does it break in at #8? That's how it's done. The major record labels, they pay for all of this, and they pay because they know that once you see it everywhere, you'll believe in it.
Say there was only two car companies in the world, there was Toyota and Chevrolet. If they show 20 Toyota car commercials and they show one Chevrolet commercial, which one is going to sell more? That's why Nike is the #1-selling sneaker in the world, because they flooded the market and have more varieties. You can't even count how many Nike's are out now or how many athletes are endorsed by Nike. You go into Foot Locker, and Nike has the whole section in the front of the store. You don't see Adidas or And1 doing that. They had the money to flood the market. Sound familiar? They programmed people and made them think that Nike has got to be the best sneaker because everyone is wearing them, and they have to be the best sneaker because all the icons are wearing them. People want to be like their icon, and to do that people want to wear the same shoes and clothes as them.
That's why everyone gets clothing lines. People want to be a millionaire baller, walking around, picking their nose, going in clubs waling in VIP every night, so they're going to wear Rocawear! Or if I want to grit my teeth all the time and do the same shit, and act like a thug, and two-step all the time, I'm going to rock G-Unit. I'm going to walk around doing that shit. If I wear enough G-Unit clothing and I do the shit good enough, out loud in the street while I'm puffing a blunt, and the cops are right across the street, niggas will be like, "This nigga's thorough!" He might know the cops. This is the stupid shit that goes through people's heads, but this is what sells product. You put this shit in a major movie, and motherfuckers have on a Sean John t-shirt, that shit might boost his sales $10 to $12 million.
It's incumbent upon me to keep pushing more than anybody else doing something for me. Now that I have so much experience in the game and I've watched the game evolve into what it is today, I know a lot of the business involved, therefore I understand that it's on a corporate level and listening to the music is people's last priority. People think they're listening to the music, but they're already mystified by the jewelry, the cars, the chicks. They're listening to the music but most of the time they're watching videos with asses bouncing up in the air and niggas hopping out of expensive cars. They're doing shit that people in New York can't even relate to, but once they got a video with all those ingredients in there, that mystifies people, then they say "it's hot." It'll play in the club with all that bass and everything in there, and the DJ's have been paid to play it on the radio, and they take the same records in the club and they're told to play the same songs. They even fall under pressure to play everything new because they're scared that someone else may play it first and that someone else will get the credit for breaking the record.
That's what gives me the right to talk about all this because I know the perspective from all these different points. A lot of niggas don't know about this. They probably did their one-two thing, sucked somebody's ass or licked toes or sucked somebody's nuts and got them a nice A&R or executive position, and they don't even think about that shit. They just go along with what their boss says and wait for their boss to show signs of weakness so they can cut their boss's throat.
What should we be watching for next?
I got the DVD coming out in February. I got "Be There," which is my single, produced by me. "Street Runna," which is the B-side, is produced by Ice Drake out of Chicago. He's Shawnna's brother. He did "Splash Waterfalls" for Ludacris. I got that three volume CD anthology that's called "Jaz-O: Legacy," that we talked about earlier. I'm also working on a couple of deals for my new music. I got Koch and a couple of other labels interested in what I'm doing. We're negotiating and all that.
I got an artist named Sonnie Carson that's signed to my production company. He's about to pop off. There's going to be a lot of me speaking out in public. I'm getting ready to do the Marcy Day. I missed out on doing it last year but I got a lot of endorsements for next summer. That's going to be real big. I'm going to have a lot of special guests. I might also have a trip for a certain group of kids, if they get the grades they're supposed to get, they go out to Texas and every few days there's a guest speaker that comes out to kick it with them, major athletes and celebrities. There's a lot of stuff for the kids.
I'm putting out a lot of music that people never heard. The three-CD set is going to consist of some vinyl that I put out overseas, some stuff that never came out, just a lot of work being put out. I'm putting a lot of work in, and that's the only way things are going to happen. The music has always been the easy part, as far as I'm concerned. The most difficult part is understanding where the music industry is going. The public has to see me in a certain way because they don't respect anything else. You have to shine in some type of way. They respect that.
Even an artist like Kanye who doesn't talk about it all the time, he still has to have the shine. He'll still post up with something fresh. That's what people expect. I'm not trying to teach the world anything, I'm just trying to give you something where you find out where everything else came from once you hear me. That's what's going to be the main effect with the three-CD set. That's what people are going to realize. They'll be able to tell in some fashion. I'm going to put the years the songs were recorded so people can see what metaphors I hit back then, and the "one million, two million, three million, four" back then. Jay stole lines from this dude, all this that and the other, and all the shit this nigga was talking is true! Then when I build up the media hype, that's when people are going to realize because that's what makes me valid.
I could be the baddest motherfucking boxer, and have my hand wrapped in Ace bandages, and you could have some weak-ass boxer with some big Everlast gloves, and I'm the best boxer in the world with Ace bandages, and people will look at this weak motherfucker like he's nice because he has tassels on his boots and he's fly. He's about to get knocked the fuck out! But there's room for that motherfucker because he's fresh. I'm not trying to deal with that anymore. I'm going to let people know that I'm that nigga and I'll have all that exterior shit so you can see that I am that nigga.
Do you see things between you and Jay getting any better?
I don't know. I don't really think about it, and to be honest with you, at this point, I don't care. If it does, cool, if it doesn't, cool. At one point, I thought I would have a lot to say about it, but at this point, I don't really have much to say about it. I'm about my own business. I'm not in that nigga's pockets or his personal life. Niggas be asking me about Beyonce. I don't know Beyonce, I don't know nothing. I don't know none of this shit. I do hear motherfucker's third-hand information about him asking how I'm doing. I'm in the streets, you could find me. That shit don't mean nothing. I'm not stupid like y'all. Y'all niggas are getting played out of position.
I understand you've helped Jay a lot in the studio too…
We were in Bassline Studios and it was me, Jay, and Trackmaster Tone. They were trying to figure out the music on the "Best of Both Worlds" song with R. Kelly. I went over there and asked them the name of the song. They said, "Best of Both Worlds." I came over and sang the hook, "Beeest offff, booooth worldsss, ahh!" That was the straw that broke the camel's back. There was a song I wrote with Jay for Beyonce's album. I never heard the album but I don't think the song was on there. I asked Jay for my credit on the song, and he said, "you playing right?" like I didn't do nothing. You know how when a nigga don't know what to do? He did the same thing on "Ain't No Nigga." He tries to make it like I didn't do anything. All those niggas were stuck. I was singing on that track. He could tell radio how I might only have pressed five buttons, but that's five buttons that you didn't know how to press. He tries to make my contributions to be nothing because he knows he can get some stupid-ass people to believe them. He's using other niggas and they're not going to say anything because he's Hov. Fuck Hov! I saw Bleek and everything was cool, because I know it's not really him. I saw Beans and gave him a hug because he's not involved either. I saw Tata and Bee High, and everything was cool because I knew it wasn't them. Even with Dame. It's not him. It's Jay. He's the problem. He's the problem, and that's why the first time I did the song I tried not to address everybody else because it wasn't them. I got at other motherfuckers because they were too stupid to mind their business. They're going to fuck with me and they're going to catch a bad one. Niggas weren't saying shit because they realized I wasn't a joke. Maybe Jay told them I was humble, but that nigga forgot how he met me.
He met me when I was spitting bars and going at niggas. He met me going to MC contests and I was taking the money home, every time. Every fucking time. No consolation prizes! I won the shit. Anybody that knows me will tell you, every time I went out, I won. Nobody was better than me. It was unquestionable, and that's what's crazy about it. What's real sad is that I never tooted my own horn like this, but it was unquestionable. Most niggas were too scared to challenge me, and the niggas that had the heart to challenge me lost. The judges would tell me to get into it because I had already won. Me rhyming was just a formality. I tried not to get gassed by that shit even from way back then.
Are you producing other artists right now?
I'm producing some shit overseas. I'm working with a kid named Zeebra in Japan and Afrob in Germany. I'm also producing myself, and I'm producing with my man Sonnie Carson, who's the nicest nigga I know. That's really it. I don't really give a fuck about producing for these other niggas right now. I'll hit a 16 for a nigga right now, but I'm not stepping to niggas like "yo, listen to my beats." You don't have to hear my beats until you hear me and my man tear them up and then you'll wish you had it.
Have you found that you had to change your style to sound more up-to-date?
A little bit, a little bit. I felt that I had to have a little more attitude. I was a calm dude once. I had to change my mood. I had to get in the mood to deal with the certain shit that's going on. I didn't really change my style. Niggas ain't really catch up to my style yet to be honest with you.
What's up with the Originators right now?
I don't know what they're doing. I'm trying to get up with them. I'm like, "You're the Originators!" I'm going to catch up with them. I don't even know what that shit is about. I'm going to find out though.
How do you feel seeing the "Hawaiian Sophie" video today?
Oh man, I just think about how the shit evolved. I watched how Hip Hop turned into something that was so accommodating and almost friendly to where everything is so aggressive right now. All the beats are driving hard. Even if it's not driving hard, everybody's up in the screen super-thug style. Some people are keeping their composure, but for the most part everyone's acting a fool. It's very gorilla-like.
What do you want to say to everyone out there?
Listen to Jaz-O's music. That'll tell the story for what you think is old school and what you think is new school. I go by what Big said: "Old school, new school, need to learn, no, I burn baby burn like disco inferno." I don't need to learn. There's not even a school. It's just corny how they make these tags, like "scratching." "Scratching" was "cutting," and before that it was "zigging." Before it was Hip Hop, it was "B-Boy'ing." You didn't just MC or DJ, you MC'd, you DJ'd, you could breakdance, you did graffiti, you tagged up shit. They don't know nothing about that shit. This battery is way dead homie…