Saturday, March 22, 2008

(Werner Necro'd) Casual Think He Raw - Interview

Now that Casual is starting to resurface with some new music again, I thought I'd take the time to Necro this is interview I did with Casual in 1999, when he was working on He Think He Raw for Stimulated Records. We took that picture up on the roof.

Well, to start out, you've got a new album coming out on Stimulated/ LOUD, so tell us what's up with that...

Well, I got the single out right now, and that's "V.I.P." And, basically, it's been time for me to come back for a while, but I've just been negotiatin', decidin' what to do or whatever. And they just offered me somethin' cool, so I decided to just roll with that. But, creatively, I've just been workin' all the time. I've been working since my first album, so I've got so much music it's like not really recordin' an album, it's like pickin' it.

Well, you had Meanwhile...

Yeah; that was just something I threw out from my room. Just songs I've been makin' on four-track. Just chillin'. Just happened to put it out 'cause I was goin' on tour.

So, how did you wind up on Stimulated/ LOUD?

Well, Dante Ross founded Stimulated; that's my man. We've been trying to get down for a while. He offered me something cool to do a single with him. Couple singles with an option to do an album if everything works out right. And we got our own label, anyway: Hieroglyphics Imperium, so it really couldn't hurt me no matter what I did, so I was just like, "We can do the deal, no problem."

Have you got a title for the album?

I haven't even titled it yet. I need to actually organize the concept or whatever it is... I've just been recording music for a while, but I haven't really latched down on what songs'll be on the album. But, yeah, the single's out. I've got another single comin' out in a month or two. Then we're gonna drop 'em with the album. I got material, like I said, but I haven't organized it.

So, what's the meaning behind "Turf Dirt," the b-side to your single?

"Turf Dirt." It's like an insult. Turf is just like wherever you hang at, the ghetto, you know. The turf. and turf dirt I the dirt. It's talkin' about worthless women; that's what the song was about, basically, butI didn't really wanna go there. I was just gonna try to beat around the bush...

What other Hieroglyphics projects have y'all got coming out besides you?

Well, Del's got a single out, "Phoney Phranchise." You gotta check that out, 'cause that's hot. And he's got his album comin', he's workin' on his second single. We've got the Souls of Mischief comin'. Pep' s coming with his debut album. He's in the studio right now. And we wanna have a 2000 Hieroglyphics album. So, we're working on that, too.

So, how do you feel now that you've been signed and, basically, successfully unsigned... How do the two experiences compare?

It's not like I'm signed. I'm not looking at it like that. I'm dealing with people who are like at an independent label. It's not like the same thing.

Well, you were signed with Jive...

Yeah, I was signed with Jive, and that was a whole, big, corporate shebang. That's what I'm saying. It's not like that now. It's like a couple cats up at the label workin' the record. It's not like a big company where my stuff can get lost. Material gets lost... But, I'm sayin', I enjoyed being unsigned, I enjoyed being signed. I'm doin' work, and I see the benefit of having a big machine behind my music, other than me and my crew. It's through LOUD, so that's a real good push. They have a lot of good artists. They know what to do with hip-hop; that impressed me.

So, now, what's up between you and Hobo Junction? Of course, you had the battle with Saafir a while ago, and then you were on the Cheapshots, Low Blows and Sucker Punches compilation on South Paw Records...

Low Blows? That had something to do with them?

Well, South Paw is essentially a Hobo Junction label...

Oh, is that right? Well, they bought that song off somebody that I sold it to. That's how that happened. So, I guess they're supportin ' my work. I mean, what can I say? I sold that song to my friend J-Cut; we did it together, and he sold it to them.

So, is that an old song?

That song is kinda old. That was about '86. Oh wait, I said "86." That was about '97.

Also, a lot of people have been wondering, what's up with Extra Pro?

I don't know. He released a few independent tapes in the Bay, but I guess he wasn't really pursuin' it like that.

So, is he still associated with Hiero? Does he ever still do shows with you or anything?

Nah. I mean, we might see him every once in a while, say "What's up," or whatever, but we don't get down like that.

You said you had a new single comin' out, right?

The one I've got comin' I'm actually about to record in twenty minutes. I've gotta finish my second and third verse. So, right now, y'all know when I wrote it, and y'all can be like, "Damn, he wrote it after the interview." But I don't have a title; I just started working on it. I came out here to touch down with probably Alchemist again... Might work with my man Vic.

That's coming out on Stimulated, too, right?


How would you say your style's changed since the days of Fear Itself?

I think that probably is a better question for somebody else to answer, actually, because I'm inside my head for all this time. I'm still me, regardless of how I bust. I really can't say how my style's changed. I can say I feel like I'm better than I used to be. I feel more seasoned or experienced. I say certain things for certain reasons instead of havin' to prove myself with just battle raps. I've got a different perspective, possibly, but still it's Cas.

Because, except for some dedicated fans who've really kept up with your stuff on the internet, this is kind of like a comeback for you...

A comeback? Man, I'm twenty-four years old, you feel me? I' ve released one album. And this is a comeback, I guess. Now, figure this out. If the first album flopped, I don't see how I could do a comeback. 'Cause that would mean I never had anything to come back from. I mean, it wasn't a flop, but, it's hard to explain. I could go deep on that, but, I don't know. It could be a comeback. If it is, it's a strong one. I know that. I got heat; I got bump. But, whatever. If it's a comeback, it's a comeback. It's one of the best ones yet.

So, you got any final messages?

Yeah. After you get this site, roll over to and buy that Meanwhile tape we've been talkin' about. Check out the single. Check out Casual.

Wasn't that originally a fan site?

The web-site - by the way, that's, where you can getany Hieroglyphics material. You can get underground tapes that havenever reached the stores. You can get merchandise, shirts, sweatshirts,clothing, whatever. But, like you said, it originally started out as afan site. And there was this guy named Stinke out of Boston, and he hadit hooked up. Tajai was on the web and he just typed and all of a sudden a big site popped up with us onthere. So, we were like, "Whoa, we gotta get in touch with this dude,at least, if not incorporate, you know, get down. Do it together; makeit official." So they hooked up and we got an award-winning site now.We won like all the awards or whatever. A couple things. It's a prettycool site, you should check it out.

So, today, is still the spot to check out anything hiero related. Cas also has a myspace, of course, here. He's working on a new album for '08 called The Return of the Backpack, some of the tracks have already been posted on his myspace. So check it out. Like the man says: check out Casual.

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