This interview isn't the greatest... It was done over the phone, and Pun's connection really sucked - we could barely hear each other! Plus, a lot of the "scoops" I was getting - like "are you gonna be on the DITC album," won't really impress anybody now that it's almost 10-years old news. But there's still some interesting bits in there I think; and none of us will get a chance to interview Pun again, so I'm posting it. This interview was done just as The Terror Squad's first single, "Whatcha Gon Do?" hit the radio in '99.
So what's up, man? What are you working on, now, these days?
I just finished working on The Terror Squad album, you know? And, I'm starting my album, right now, and I've also got my label goin' on, with my artists, like Tony Sunshine, a R&B singer.
And what are you doing on your album? Who's working on it?
My album has everybody from Premier to Puff Daddy. From The Beatnuts to new cats.
You got a title for it yet?
Endangered Species: Y2K.
So what's up with the Terror Squad album?
Terror Squad, we're gonna make history this year, more than one time. Listen to the album; we're gonna be the first clique to ever totally dominate every area of hip-hop, every angle. Where every one is just as good as the last, no weak links whatsoever, just one strong chain, pulling the whole game.
Is that gonna be on LOUD, too?
That's on Atlantic.
So, you've been doing a lot of guest spots on other peoples' albums, and...
That's what I had to do to get my name out, you know, because it's hard for me to be the underdog. Whenever you see Latino artists, you don't really hear to much success, so I had to make sure people understood where I was comin' from, just like anybody else. So, I just made sure that I was in your face, so you had to accept to the fact that the kid was dope, make sure every song is killer, you know?
So, working with all those people, who were you most impressed with? Who do you think was the illest?
The illest? Uhhmm? People I work with the most, like Nore. People I can relate to more. If we just did some business type thing I won't really enjoy myself. If we're cool, we see each other on the streets, in the clubs, we pop bottles together. Those are the cats I like to work with the most. Nore, G Rap, and the Beatnuts, people like that.
Are you gonna be on the DITC album?
I'm gonna be on the DITC album, on like two songs. As a matter of fact, I'm on the first single. Me and Milano: dope cat out of Harlem, I believe.
What was it like being the only East Coast artists on the NWA project with Fat Joe?
That was dope. We love NWA... what they did in hip-hop; that's something that we're trying to do right now. It was cool, because I love NWA, and it's something I never thought we was gonna do. I used to try to rhyme like them, goofin' around in the hallway, you know? And it paid off, because those cats called me and I was ready to work.
What did you think about their not putting "Something to Dance To" on the remake album?
I don't know. I mentioned that. I don't think too much about it, but I'm glad that you mentioned it. It was interesting.
What was it like working with Digital Underground? How'd you hook that project up?
Oh, you know. My manager called me. We rhymed with them because I'm a fan of theirs and we hooked up. And that's what the deal was there. I wanted to be Humpty.
I wanted to be Humpty Hump.
What do you feel about people who are saying there's a renaissance in hip-hop, now... coming up in the underground, with people like Aceyalone, Living Legends, and sort of like we had with the indie NY scene but going in different directions on the west coast and even now other places?
Yeah, well, you know what it is? I think everything moves in a circle. Right now, we're in a period of time where people wanna hear lyrics. That's why, no matter what happens, I'm always gonna keep that kind of rhyme, 'cause I don't know when it's gonna be my turn. You don't know when it's gonna turn back to original. So, what I can do is keep it there for as long as it lasts, and if it ain't hittin' the time I'm doin' it, I'll just get it next time around, you know? But, when I do get my shine, it's gonna be worth it.
How do you thinkyour new album, that you're working on now, is gonna be different from your last? What can people look for?
Well, I'm not trying to be badder than anybody else, or harder. I just wanna make sure my own is as deep as it can be. And I want it to be an outlet. Like somebody who goes to the gym because he's angry, he has frustrations. So he hits the bag and bangs out his problems, instead of goin' out on the street and hurtin' somebody. Just put my album on to release, through my eyes and my lyrics, all your problems. My music is an outlet. When you close the book, it's like, "Wow." You feel just relaxation. I took you there, you know?
So, do you think, then, it's going to be more hardcore?
Hardcore always. It's always gonna be hardcore, but, right now it's just gonna be more so you can actually play it on the radio, you know? I'm always gonna have my hardcore joints, but I'm gonna have more joints like? You saw how Nore's album was hardcore, but it was also for the radio. I was just like street hardcore, but now I'm gonna hit you with something else.
So, do you think, then, you're going to have less cursing and such on your album? Because, there was a lot of complaints about that with your last album, especially the violence? [There was a recent flare-up in the press at the time... somebody apparently reminded the media that rappers curse a lot.]
Well, you know that's good. As long as I'm not lying, I don't care what they say. Publicity's good. People will have a problem with anything. People will say I'm too fat; if I get skinny, people will complain I'm too skinny... either way. You can't be wrong, you can't be right; so all I can do is tell the truth. When I write, I write about what I know about. I'm not gonna write about green grass and dandelions, because I don't know about that. I write about what I see everyday, bring it to you like that, and do it as mature as I can, you know? I just hope you can relate. It's weird. I don't see people sayin' that Wes Craven is a rapist because Freddy Kruegar is killing young girls in their dreams; they say he's a genius. Or Steven Spielberg's crazy because he's writing about dinosaurs stomping off and eating people; that's his vision. This is my vision. I'm the same as him, no different.
You wanna take it back a little, to how you got started out with "Firewater" and that type of shit?
Yeah, that type of shit that you love to hear. That "Firewater" shit. My symphonies are always good because I get competitive, you know? So, if you put me on a song with a bunch of cats, I'm gonna shine, because that's my thing right there. If you put me in a song by myself, I'm just battling myself, so you don't know what the hell is going on, you know what I mean? I'd just be thinking, "I just gotta kill everything," and people'd be like, "Yeah, what the fuck is he saying?" The whole thing with my album is that, why it sold for so long, at a steady pace, because the people, who heard my album, two months later, finally caught what I said. Right now, I'm gonna slow it down a little bit. My voice has matured a lot more; my pace has slowed down a little more. So, now I'm not so beefed as I was before, you know what I mean?
Are you down for battling somebody off a record? Do you still do that at all?
Uhh... Well, first of all, if you're battling me, you're trying to disrespect me, as far as I'm concerned. So, first of all, there's beef involved. So, there's gonna be physical beef, too. I'll battle you, but, after the battle's over, there's gonna be physical beef, too. You can't just come, try to take what I have from me, and then, when it's over, it's over. There's consequences.
What else does the Terror Squad have coming out, now, besides the group album, which you mentioned? Like what's Fat Joe up to?
Well, the Terror Squad's on Joe's label. I'm just backing up Joe like always. So, everything that I'm doing is what he's doing, 'cause it's the same thing. I believe the Terror Squad album's coming out in August, and I'm on the first single, as a matter of fact. It's called "Whatcha Gon Do?"
Who else is on that?
Well, actually, it's my solo. My artist, Tony Sunshine, you'll hear him in the chorus a little bit, he'll harmonize a little bit, if you listen really good. I think that's gonna come out before the album. As a matter of fact, we're gonna shoot a video called "Pass the Glock," a video for Terror Squad, and then we're gonna shoot a video for "Whatcha Gon Do?"
So, taking it back to your album title, Y2K - Is that something you're worried about? Or with the internet...
The Internet? I like all that computer shit. It's all good. I don't like the after-effects like the Y2K that also comes along with it. The computers fix everything up, and make things a lot easier, but then something shuts down, you gotta wait 'till they fix that before you can have clean water. It's like, what the hell is going on?
Do you get online much yourself?
Yeah, I get online. I got, like, my secret little thing I get online and chat, see what's going on in the world. It's cool; it's fun. But, like I said, it's dangerous.