The Pharcyde

Can members of a hip-hop group maintain a balance of individuality and universal appeal? Some artists possess a universal appeal so strong that they lose their individuality. Other artists remain strong individualists who cannot gain universal appeal. This rare but delicate balance is one of the many beautiful elements of hip-hop. When every member of a group is an individualist, the group, as a whole, proves their inimitability. Sometimes, every human being can relate to a group that wears the moniker of '€œdifferent'€ or '€œunique'€. Just like the legends in the industry, groups can maintain this unique presence in the culture by their universal love for the music. One of these legendary groups, The Pharcyde proved their distinctiveness through their sound, image, content, flow, and vibe. The Pharcyde'€™s career has had multitude of peaks and valleys. Always on the side of mainstream hip-hop, The Pharcyde'€™s consistent metamorphosis surprised and excited listeners. Due to the variety of universal themes, The Pharcyde'€™s music still remains relatable to any type of listener. Their hip-hop rollercoaster is a ride that everyone can enjoy if they buy a ticket.

A magnificent but soft musical renaissance occurred during the 1990'€™s. Just as alternative / post-modern independent rock was budding, eccentricity in hip-hop experienced a parallel growth. A myriad of distinctive hip-hop artists reformed the culture'€™s creativity. Organized Konfusion, The Roots, Beastie Boys, Hieroglyphics, Artifacts, and Redman made priceless contributions to hip-hop culture. Without being mainstream, The Pharcyde earned the same strong respect and exposure.

Straight from California, The Pharcyde made a historical and indelible mark in hip-hop. The quartet pushed the boundaries of psychedelic hip-hop with shocking lyrics, colorful beats, and an adrenaline-filled fun seeking vibe. Some critics actually consider The Pharcyde to be the godfathers of trip-hop. Imani, Bootie Brown, Fat Lip, and Slim Kid Tre shared a musical chemistry that ignited a fire which set torched everyone'€™s definition of hip-hop music. They also sparked a green flame of envy within other groups. Even though each member was completely different, the members of The Pharcyde formed something larger than just the sum of their parts. Another bud in the branch of classic hip-hop bloomed. Fans watched their career as if they were watching the group on a wild ride.

The Pharcyde'€™s classic debut LP, '€œBizarre Ride II The Pharcyde'€ (on Delicious Vinyl) was a smoke filled sonic rollercoaster ride. The album featured songs about having sex with a friend'€™s mother, being fooled by transvestites, dealing with relationship troubles, getting pulled over by cops, masturbating, getting married, making crank calls, and snapping '€œYa Mama'€ jokes. The unforgettable single, '€œPassing Me By'€ sampled Jimi Hendrix'€™s timeless '€œAre You Experienced?'€ The successful song maintained a hip-hop edge with a mainstream appeal. The soulful singing and humorous vulnerability added to the group'€™s incomparable image. The weed smoking anthem, '€œPack The Pipe'€ was a masterpiece of stoned-out euphoria. The album'€™s finale, '€œReturn Of The B-Boy'€ was an exceptional old school epic with sharp flows and energetic lyrics. The landmark LP crossed genres, but remained rooted in hip-hop. '€œBizarre Ride II The Pharcyde'€ launched The Pharcyde into celebrity heights and inspired unconventional behavior within countless future artists.

The maturity of '€œLabcabincalifornia'€ LP was odd but refreshing. The innovative sophomore album displayed their growth by showcasing a new sound and approaching various adult topics. While their love of smoking weed was evident, serious themes displayed the group'€™s growth. Topics ranged from dealing with the death, relationships, industry troubles, groupie conflicts, deterioration of friendships, urban survival, spirituality, and just getting your act together. They were the first group to employ legendary producer, Jay Dee for the production of some tracks. The single and video, '€œDrop'€ was a hip-hop masterpiece of for the true b-boy. Through the years, fans grew up along with the group. '€œLabcabincalifornia'€ was the first winding curve in their ever-changing career.

The Pharcyde began to experience internal problems that changed them forever. Fat Lip and Slim Kid Tre were constantly arguing. Both seeking solo projects, they began to travel very different paths. Fat Lip was eventually released from the group. Slim Kid Tre released a solo EP with a new name, Phoenix. The Pharcyde was reduced to a trio, which consisted of just Imani, Bootie Brown, and Slim Kid Tre. Their '€œTesting The Waters'€ EP was virtually unnoticed except for serious fans. Their third album, '€œPlain Rap'€ was a stripped down collection of tracks. The album possessed the same maturity of '€œLabcabincalifornia'€, but lacked the much loved craziness of their debut LP. Eventually, Slim Kid Tre completely quit. '€œLiberation'€, was his solo album released under his real name Tre Hardson. Fat Lip released the funny, '€œWhat'€™s Up Fat Lip?'€ single (with a video directed by Spike Jonze), but his solo album is still yet to be released.

From a quartet to a duo, The Pharcyde refused to throw in the towel and quit the fight for dope hip-hop. With only Imani and Bootie Brown in the group, they released the '€œHumboldt Beginnings'€ LP on their own label, Chapter One Records. Production was handled by SpaceboyboogieX, 88-Keys, and Bootie Brown. The album has the same wisdom of their recent works, but attempts to keep the smoked-out fun that fans have depended on.

In the middle of August 2005, Imani and I had an in-depth conversation about the trials and tribulations of The Pharcyde. As an emcee, Imani has come full circle. He rode the wild ride from start to finish. He is getting back on the rollercoaster to ride it again.

The Pharcyde went from being unknown, to being a celebrities, to experiencing a little less limelight, and to finally finding peace. They are still going strong with their own albums and a solid fan base. After a plethora of harsh disagreements, all 4 members appear to be mending old wounds, taking steps to act civil, and attempting to reignite their friendship. A complete Pharcyde reunion is not planned, but fans remain hopeful. Will reconciliation ever take place between Imani, Bootie Brown, Fat Lip, and Slim Kid Tre? Will all 4 members ever record an album together again? Stay tuned'€¦.

With or without all 4 members, The Pharcyde will maintain their career, their following, their individuality, and their love of hip-hop. Throughout their career, they have experienced peaks, valleys, unexpected turns, loops, and even breakdowns. After a little maintenance, they bizarre ride continues. Unlike any other ride in the amusement park of hip-hop, the bizarre ride of The Pharcyde will thrill every kind of human being. Step right up and buy a ticket!

(Phone rings'€¦. Imani answers)

IMANI: '€œAhhh, rrrrrrahhhhh!'€

T.JONES: '€œYahhhhhhhhhh!'€
IMANI: '€œHello?'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat goes on?'€
IMANI: '€œTodd? What'€™s happening? I just put on my bill collector'€™s voice. That'€™s why I went, '€˜Rahhh!'€™ What'€™s going on with you? I was just about to get ready to get a Jamba Juice. They throw something in that wheat grass. What'€™s the word?'€

T.JONES: '€œI'€™ve been listening to The Pharcyde since '€˜Soul Flower'€™ version recorded with The Brand New Heavies.'€
IMANI: '€œAh! You took it back! I heard that! That'€™s nice.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat'€™s going on with The Pharcyde now? How do you think people view the changes?'€
IMANI: '€œA lot of people say, '€˜What'€™s up with the group? Is the group still active?'€™ We'€™ve changed so much, but The Pharcyde is like a name brand. You may not like every shoe that Nike puts out, but you know it is a name brand that you can trust, if you are willing to take a chance on it. That'€™s where we are trying to put our name to. We are a name brand. Maybe we ain'€™t for everybody, but people who know what time it is, know what time it is.'€

T.JONES: '€œEvery single Pharcyde album is unique. Was it the group'€™s intention to make every album different from the next?'€
IMANI: '€œWe do that consciously. We never wanted to repeat ourselves. If we do something, we do not want to do it again. That'€™s our whole mentality. People who are really down with the group do know about '€˜The Heavy Rhyme Experience'€™. Those are the ones who listen to use closely. Originally, as a group, we were only going to do three records as a quartet. Imani, Bootie Brown, Fat Lip, and Slim Kid Tre only planned to do three records together. We were hanging out, making demos, smoking stress, and dealing with bullsh*t. We peeped the game in the whole hip-hop world. For us, three records would have us make our mark. We could say what we had to say with three records and give the fans a pretty good time. It wasn'€™t like one record this year and then one more, we'€™re done. We figured that we would take a couple of years to live life and then, do a record, wait a while, hang out, and then, make another record. That was our whole mentality. People come up to us and ask, '€˜How are you dealing with this?'€™, and yada, yada. We ain'€™t tripping. I don'€™t know how people feel about us but it'€™s really not a big deal. Some people think, '€˜We would never listen to The Pharcyde the same way if Fat Lip is not in the group. So, I'€™m not going to listen to them anymore. I'€™m not going to give them a chance.'€™ We put ourselves in front of the listener. But, what if De La Soul did not have Posdanoos anymore? What if there was no Q-Tip on a Tribe record? Our group, The Pharcyde was kind of different.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow did The Pharcyde form?'€
IMANI: '€œFat Lip was originally a solo artist. Fat Lip was dope and he has been rapping longer than all of us. In our kind of group, fans have favorites. Some people may not like Fat Lip but think Tre is the best thing since sliced bread. Originally The Pharcyde was Imani, Bootie Brown, Fat Lip, and Slip Kid Tre. Fat Lip, from the very beginning, was a solo emcee who always knew he would do a solo record. We were a group before Fat Lip got in. We had another person in the group who, right before we signed our deal, told us that he didn'€™t want to emcee. Jammer D? He was a solo dude with a solo mentality. That'€™s why he'€™s not in the group now. When you are in a group, there'€™s a lot of give and take. You have to compromise. When solo, you worry about yourself. Tre was not a solo emcee but he always had side projects going on. He never was around. So, the whole make up of the group was me and Bootie Brown. Me and Bootie Brown were the foundation. Tre was my partner. Romi knew Fat Lip. I didn'€™t know Fat Lip. Romi introduced me to Fat Lip and I introduced Fat Lip to Tre. I introduced Tre to Romi. When people see the group from outside, looking in, they get it in their heads how they see the dynamics of the group. After you really know us, Tre and Fat Lip were truly opposites. They were different sides of the coin.'€

T.JONES: '€œIn the '€˜Plain Rap'€™ LP, Fat Lip was gone but Tre was involved with the recording process. On '€˜Humboldt Beginnings'€™ LP, Tre was absent. How different was the recording process on these two albums?'€
IMANI: '€œIt was different. The difference was that we knew who was involved in the recording process. When we were recording stuff with Tre, he would come and go. He would be gone for weeks. We felt that we were bugging him to come f*ck with us in the studio.

T.JONES: '€œWhat happened between Fat Lip and Slim Kid Tre?'€
IMANI: '€œFat Lip is not in the group because Tre expressed his dislike for him to me. It was a personal thing. Tre was like, '€˜Dude, I love the group but Fat Lip is f*cking me up and I just don'€™t like him. It'€™s not that I don'€™t think he'€™s dope, I just don'€™t like him.'€™ He said, '€˜I can'€™t be in the group with the Fat Lip because I can'€™t be the artist I want to be.'€™ Fat Lip was very negative. He was a very negative person. Tre was totally the opposite. Tre is very happy, go lucky, and very in tuned with nature. Fat Lip is more of a clown. Fat Lip has a mantra that he would just repeat. He would say, '€˜I don'€™t give a fuck, I don'€™t give a fuck'€™. That was one of his major things. We grew up tough but there were things we cared about. We just grew up in different ways. You don'€™t want to make music if you feel like that. We didn'€™t kick Fat Lip out of the group but, he always did let us know that he was going to do a solo record. We were always a group and he didn'€™t know how a group functioned. He was on the outside, looking in, and thinking about how the group should be. We were inside, knowing how the group should be. Him and Tre would fight. I mean, they would get into fist fights. We were doing the second record ('€˜Labcabincalifornia'€™) and Jay Dee thought we were crazy. Fat Lip wanted to use the Akai and Tre wanted to use the ASR. That'€™s how serious The Pharcyde takes it! It was just crazy. Basically, Fat Lip and Tre weren'€™t getting along. We came together as Imani, Bootie Brown, Fat Lip, and Slim Kid Tre. We asked ourselves, '€˜For the group to continue, what do we have to do?'€™ Basically, Tre gave us an ultimatum. He said, '€˜You got to get rid of Fat Lip or get ride of me.'€™ Tre is my partner. We came up together. Fat Lip is a cool person. He'€™s a dope ass emcee, but if I have to choose somebody, I'€™m choosing my partner. I felt that we made two records already. People loved Fat Lip. Also, Fat Lip thought he was the dopest thing since sliced bread. Perfect! '€˜Go do your record.'€™ He has not put out a record yet. That shows something. If Fat Lip was the dopest and the main reason why The Pharcyde was dope, why didn'€™t he come with something? I would say that the parties involved made the whole group dope. The collaboration and the vibe made The Pharcyde dope. No one person made The Pharcyde dope. The reason why you love Tre, is because of Imani, Bootie Brown, and Fat Lip. The reason why you love Fat Lip is because of Imani, Bootie Brown, and Slim Kid Tre. I felt that Tre pulled a fast one on us. He got us to get rid of Fat Lip and then he went solo. What, N*gga? I was really f*cked up about it for a while. I put everything into The Pharcyde. This is what I do, what I love. I was thinking, '€˜Why is this sh*t happening?'€™. Then, I stopped asking, '€˜Why?'€™ and did what I had to do for the better of the franchise. I really wanted my partner to be around, but they chose not to be around. What do I do now? I'€™m an emcee! I make music! I love hip-hop! I'€™m a member of The Pharcyde. Do I change my name? No! This n*gga left the group! We The Pharcyde! This is who is here now and we are working with the hand that we were dealt. It went from being salty and sour to being upset and frustrating and then, to rejuvenated. Now, we are where we are supposed to be at.'€

T.JONES: '€œThe true fans have come to depend on your music.'€
IMANI: '€œ(singing). '€˜When it seems there'€™s no one to trust, you can always count on The Pharcyde to bust!'€™ That'€™s how we really feel, man.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow has the popularity of The Pharcyde changed?'€
IMANI: '€œI was doing this interview one time and this guy asked me, '€˜How do you feel that you guys don'€™t count anymore?'€™ I didn'€™t get upset. Some people feel that if you'€™re not on MTV or the power station in your area, you are not doing anything. There are only like 20 slots that are available for MTV. They are for the rock, pop, R&B, or hip-hop. I don'€™t feel crazy that they don'€™t have a slot for The Pharcyde. I'€™ve seen so many groups come and go. Dude, I didn'€™t think that we would still be here in 1997! You know what I'€™m saying? For somebody to say that we are not relevant anymore, is nothing. I never thought we were relevant in the sense of selling records and things of that nature. As far as grade-A hip-hop with integrity, The Pharcyde was kind of like 2nd to none. We carved out our own niche in history. I don'€™t feel like we have to out-do ourselves. There are people who love us and we have a strong following. We'€™re one song or one video away from people saying, '€˜Where did you guys come from?'€™, or labeling us an overnight success. Yeah, we are an overnight success that has taken us 10, 12, 13 years to happen. It'€™s sort of like The Black Eye Peas but not as commercial. I don'€™t fault them because they are doing what they have always been doing. The people crossed over to them. They didn'€™t do anything different except put a white girl in the group. It makes the music sound different. They didn'€™t really change up their whole steelo. Their whole stee is basically the same.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow difficult was it to start Chapter One Records?'€
IMANI: '€œWell, it wasn'€™t really that hard at all, except for the lack of funds. We were put into a situation that was kind of like, necessity is the mother of invention.'€

T.JONES: '€œSince Slim Kid Tre and Fat Lip left the group, the quartet became a duo. How do you handle their verses when you perform the songs live?'€
IMANI: '€œOkay! Perfect! I'€™m glad you asked me that! Fat Lip stopped doing shows when he was still in the group. That was part of the reason he was released out of the group.'€

T.JONES: '€œDon'€™t you make most of your money when you perform live shows?'€
IMANI: '€œYeah, that'€™s how you survive. I wouldn'€™t say it was a lot of money. A lot of money is relative. You definitely make a bulk of your money as an artist when you perform live.'€

T.JONES: '€œOkay. Let'€™s go back to how The Pharcyde handled the live performances after Fat Lip.'€
IMANI: '€œFat Lip didn'€™t feel like doing shows. He wanted to stay home and do beats. First, we were upset. Then, we thought that it would help the group if he stayed home and did beats. We thought that we would do shows and handle it while he would do the beats. But, he wasn'€™t doing no beats! We were out doing shows and paying him to beats while he wasn'€™t doing beats. He was staying at home, getting faded, rolling around, talking about how dope he is, and sh*t like that. We already had Fat Lip covered for doing shows. This was around 1996 or 1997. Fat Lip'€™s verses are already embedded in everybody'€™s head. I usually do the vocals. I do my verses, Tre'€™s verses, and Fat Lip'€™s verses. From 1997 to the present, I never, ever had someone come up to me and say, '€˜Where'€™s Fat Lip?'€™. Even though Fat Lip was not here, the audience never heard a step missing on the show or any of the songs. Sometimes, they don'€™t even know that he'€™s not on stage unless I talk about it. I'€™ve been doing it for so long.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow did you handle things when Slim Kid Tre left?'€
IMANI: '€œTre stopped doing shows with us in 1999. That was six years ago. We do well. We'€™re cool.'€

T.JONES: '€œFor '€˜Labcabincalifornia'€™, you were one of the first groups who used Jay Dee for some of the production. Jay Dee is now a producer who is on a somewhat mythical level. He has produced for Slum Village, Common, The Roots, A Tribe Called Quest, and more. How did this connection happen? What was Jay Dee like?'€
IMANI: '€œHe'€™s become larger than life. He'€™s dope. It'€™s so funny, because when I heard his beats, I knew that was going to happen. Q-Tip hooked us up. We went to New York to work with Diamond D and a couple of other cats. We ended up working with Buckwild and Showbiz. We were just hanging out and living the hip-hop life. It was incredible. It was like we got accepted into the fraternity, chilling at Uncle Diamond'€™s house for a barbeque and Pharoahe Monch comes over along with all of these old school cats who we only knew their names through records. They were telling us that they loved The Pharcyde. I just soaked it up. It was dope. I was loving that sh*t. Anyway, we were in the studio with Q-Tip, free styling on the mic with Consequence. We were living up the hip-hop sh*t. The beats just were not sounding like the beats we wanted to get from Q-Tip. We wanted some of that '€˜One Love'€™ kind of sh*t. You know what I mean? The beats sounded cool, but I was listening to them and thought they sounded a little like Fat Lip'€™s beats or Bootie Brown'€™s beats. The beats were cool, but we tried to keep it real as real could be. It'€™s hard to keep it real all the time. If I was going to be f*cking with Q-Tip, it is easy to say, '€˜Whatever you give me, I'€™m a take it.'€™ N*gga, we don'€™t roll like that. The cool part about it is that Q-Tip is our folks. He'€™s cool people. He didn'€™t have to hear us say anything. He could just feel the vibe. He knew where we were at. He was like, '€˜Man, I'€™m not even gonna front on y'€™all. I got this tape from this cat I met at Lollapalooza. I think you need to f*ck with him'€™. That was straight up from Q-Tip. There was no way he had to plug us into Jay Dee. Jay Dee was going to be large regardless. Q-Tip hadn'€™t actually worked with him yet. He was just talking to him. Q-Tip played us the beats and the snippets were like only 10 seconds long. I was like creaming on myself. Every beat I heard, I was like, '€˜Doooooooaahhhhh! Play that back! Oooooooh!'€™ I was goo goo-ga ga. We needed to hook up and meet that homeboy. Now mind you, everybody else was flabbergasted by J-Swift at the time. The record label, the fans, and the people who were f*cking with us thought J-Swift was God. They were like, '€˜Who the f*ck is Jay Dee?'€™ I put this on my momma! Motherf*ckers don'€™t know sh*t in the music business! I felt like we were on some next sh*t. I knew that once the world heard Jay Dee, that was going to happen. I saw him at Rock The Bells when Tribe Called Quest was doing a show with Madlib. The first time I saw him, I heard he got sick. We saw each other in passing. The next time I saw him face to face, I was like, '€˜Dog! Do you remember in the studio? I told you that you were going to get mega-large and act like some super producer and forget about n*ggas!'€™ When I saw him, I told him that. '€˜You'€™ll become a mega producer. When you see me again, you'€™ll act hella big and front on me like that.'€™ I couldn'€™t get in touch with the n*gga! He wasn'€™t acting like that. He was just hella busy. It was all love.'€

T.JONES: '€œWho are some producers who you would like to work with?'€
IMANI: '€œI would like to work with Dr. Dre and DJ Quik. They are perfectionists and their beats sound so professional.'€

T.JONES: '€œWho are some artists who you would like to work with?'€
IMANI: '€œI would like to work with The Platinum Pied Pipers. Triple P! That'€™s the hottest record I bought recently. I don'€™t know them cats.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat was it like when you first went to New York?'€
IMANI: '€œI'€™ve been blessed, man. When we went to New York, we didn'€™t have any money. We were out there chilling. Buckshot came through with Steele from Cocoa Brovaz. They laced up a track.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat really happened with Delicious Vinyl?'€
IMANI: '€œDude! This is funny! We were trying to get off of our label. People got this idea in their mind that we got dropped, but we hated Delicious Vinyl! They were f*cking ignorant! We recorded all these records! We were in New York and recorded with Pharoahe Monch, Buckshot, Steele, Q-Tip, and all these people. We never turned it in! We didn'€™t even tell the record label that we recorded the sh*t.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhere are the masters for those unreleased recordings with Pharoahe Monch, Buckshot, Steele, and Q-Tip?'€
IMANI: '€œHey, I got them on my I-Pod right now. I'€™m waiting for a good opportunity to release them. It was a crazy situation. When we were out there recording, Delicious was going between record labels and distribution deals. They lost their distribution and ran out of money while we were in New York. We had all of these people just waiting to come to the studio and do sh*t with us, everybody you can think of! Delicious pulled the plug on us. That was right after '€˜Labcabincalifornia'€™. We went to New York to work on the third album and that'€™s when the sh*t started to get crazy.'€

T.JONES: '€œSince every album by The Pharcyde is different, how did people respond to each album?'€
IMANI: '€œI'€™m a tell you exactly from our perspective. The first album came out and people thought we were wack. '€˜Who are these dudes? They'€™re wack! I'€™m not feeling this '€˜Ya Mama'€™ song. Or, they thought, that '€˜Ya Mama'€™ was different. There was no in between. Some people thought it was different, funny, and liked us. Or, they said, '€˜That song is wack! I hate them dudes!'€™ There was no middle ground. That was November 1992. In May 1993, the world changed. That was when we released '€˜Passing Me By'€™ with the video. It was like we were a whole different group. We were like a totally other group who never put out '€˜Ya Mama'€™. With '€˜Passing Me By'€™, many people never heard a song like that or never saw a video like that. We were groundbreaking. They thought we were the dopest thing since sliced bread. After '€˜Passing Me By'€™ came out, it all changed. We met up with everybody and became official. Then, people began to see the live show. Then, they were like, '€˜They are leaders of the new school of what is going on right now.'€™ Then, the second record comes out, '€˜Labcabincalifornia'€™, and we do Lollapalooza two years in a row. The record is not moving a whole lot of units, but we are gaining a whole lot of fans. People were feeling '€˜Running'€™ more than '€˜Ya Mama'€™ but it wasn'€™t like '€˜Passing Me By'€™. Then, the '€˜Drop'€™ video came out and it was just like when '€˜Passing Me By'€™ came out. Basically, it all happened like this. We came out with '€˜Ya Mama'€™ and they said we were wack. We came out with '€˜Passing Me By'€™ and they said we were dope. We came out with '€˜Running'€™ and they said it was wack because it didn'€™t sound like '€˜Bizarre Ride'€™. Then, they saw the video for '€˜Drop'€™ and went back to the '€˜Labcabincalifornia'€™ CD and put it in. '€˜Drop'€™ made people think, '€˜Let me light one up and listen to that sh*t again'€™. Then, it all made sense.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhere were you during the September 11th terrorist attack? How did you deal with it?'€
IMANI: '€œI know right where I was. September 9th, I was in Boston. On September 10th, I was just getting home from being on airplane in Boston. One of those airplanes was coming out of Boston too! I was tripping! Damn, I was tripping! I cut my hair off! I had long ass locks! I cut off all my locks. I was bugging. When I turned on the TV and saw that sh*t, I never saw anything like it.'€

T.JONES: '€œWord association. I am going to say the name of a group, artist or person, and you say the first word that pops into your head. So, if I said '€˜Public Enemy'€™, you may say, '€˜Revolution'€™ or '€˜Fight The Power'€™. If I said '€˜Flava Flav'€™, you may say '€˜Clock'€™, '€˜Crack'€™, or '€˜The Surreal Life'€™. Okay?'€
IMANI: '€œOkay, classic!'€

T.JONES: '€œPharoahe Monch.'€
IMANI: '€œIncredible.'€

T.JONES: '€œJay Dee.'€
IMANI: '€œDope.'€

T.JONES: '€œWu-Tang Clan.'€
IMANI: '€œClassic.'€

T.JONES: '€œPhife Dawg.'€
IMANI: '€œFive feet.'€

T.JONES: '€œJamiroquai.'€
IMANI: '€œWoooo! Is that a word? I love Jamiroqaui. We got a chance to do a show together in London. It was ridiculous.'€

T.JONES: '€œCommon.'€
IMANI: '€œRasheed. The reason I said that was because I knew the dude for so long. We did a show in The China Club. He made is way up there and made sure he let us knew that he loved us and wanted to rhyme with us. This was before '€˜I Used To Love H.E.R.'€™ days. He used to come out to L.A. to The Pharcyde manor. He'€™s a cool cat. I have to call him by his government name.'€

T.JONES: '€œFat Lip.'€
IMANI: '€œThe West Coast Ol' Dirty Bastard.'€

T.JONES: '€œEminem.'€
IMANI: '€œRich.'€

T.JONES: '€œSlim Kid Tre.'€
IMANI: '€œ(laughs). '€˜When the planet and the stars and the moon collapse!'€™ I would say Saturn Seven.'€

T.JONES: '€œCurtis Mayfield.'€
IMANI: '€œOriginal neo soul.'€

T.JONES: '€œGeorge Bush.'€
IMANI: '€œMeet The F*ckers.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow have you evolved as an emcee?'€
IMANI: '€œI went from being a person who plays a role on a team to being the dude who can walk into the studio and attack the track like a pack of wild timber wolves.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhen writing lyrics, do you have the lyrics pre-written or a set theme, or do you hear the music first, and then, write to the beat?'€
IMANI: '€œYup! All of that! If I listen to a beat and there'€™s something moving in my spine, I write to that. If I have a topic or subject that I need to get off my chest, I write like that. If I hear a word on soft radio, it may spark a thought. There'€™s no method to my madness. My style is like water. I remain formless.'€

T.JONES: '€œThe new album by The Pharcyde, '€˜Humboldt Beginnings'€™ was just released. Tell us about the album.'€
IMANI: '€œ'€˜Humboldt Beginnings'€™ is a play off of humble beginnings and it is also a play off of'€¦ (Pauses).'€

T.JONES: '€œHumboldt county.'€
IMANI: '€œExactly! I wasn'€™t going to say it. I wanted to let you say it. You'€™re cool, man. Some people don'€™t actually know.'€

T.JONES: '€œFor those who do not know, can you explain the title of '€˜Labcabincalifornia'€™?'€
IMANI: '€œThe whole story behind that title is about the house that we lived in. We used to live in a little place in Los Feliz, California. Fat Lip tried to take credit for naming the place The Lab Cabin! I found the house that we moved in to. It looked like a laboratory. It had skylights. It was also like a cabin because it'€™s all wood. Okay, maybe I didn'€™t dub it '€˜The Lab Cabin'€™, but I was the one who first said that it looked like a laboratory inside of a cabin. I'€™ll give Fat Lip credit for naming it The Lab Cabin, but I said it is a laboratory and a cabin.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is your favorite Pharcyde song? Album?'€
IMANI: '€œI don'€™t have a favorite. I have an 11 year old son and an 8 year old son. They each serve different purposes. If you asked me which one was my favorite, I would say that I love them both.'€

T.JONES: '€œAre you still cool with Tre Hardson now? Will you ever do music with him again?'€
IMANI: '€œMe and Tre are cool. That'€™s my boy, man. We had some disagreements, where we didn'€™t see eye to eye, but at the end of the day, he'€™s my partner. I went to see him a couple of times. I saw a couple of his shows. I feel that he'€™s on a mission. When the time is right, we'€™ll get down again, but I'€™m not forcing the issue. For us to do music again, we have to be friends again first. To do music, you have to be open with each other and trust each other. The way it is now, I don'€™t really know him in that light. I'€™m on the outside, looking in, right now. I'€™m taking steps to be cool with the dude.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat about Fat Lip? Will you make music with Fat Lip again?'€
IMANI: '€œI saw Fat Lip at the Method Man and B-Real show, the other night. The last time I saw him, at The House Of Blues, we had a fight in the exact same spot. That was years ago. This time, I saw him in The House Of Blues, we were talking and laughing about the last time we were tripping in the same spot. Right now, we are taking steps. We'€™re grown men. We are adults now. That'€™s where we are right now.'€

T.JONES: '€œSpaceboyboogieX produces a majority of the '€˜Humboldt Beginnings'€™ LP. Where did you meet him?'€
IMANI: '€œI wasn'€™t trying to make a record or make a solo record. I never was like, '€˜I can'€™t wait to do my solo record'€™. I was just making songs and chilling with Brown. We were just staying open and respectful. God sends people your way. I was just making music and I needed someone to do beats. At the time, I needed to make some ends meet. I was getting my hustle on to have a little money. I don'€™t want to say what I did. I sparked a leaf with the dude. At the time, Spaceboy owned a record store and Romi used to buy records from him. Romi was trying to get his sound together. Romi wasn'€™t really comfortable with where he wanted to be with his beat making. Romi told me that I should get with SpaceboyboogieX. It'€™s funny because SpaceboyboogieX is light skinned. He'€™s a Mexican. He'€™s in the video. Some people ask, '€˜Who is that guy with the jerry curl in the video?'€™ He ain'€™t light skinned! He'€™s Mexican! Some people just have that kind of hair. We got together, he gave me a beat CD, and I recorded some stuff. One or two songs turned into 20 songs.'€

T.JONES: '€œYou released an album exclusively in Japan?'€
IMANI: '€œI released a record called, '€˜Sagittarius 71 Volume 1'€. It was released exclusively in Japan. I don'€™t like to put a hype on stuff because hype can sometimes kill things before you take off. It'€™s cool. If people want to find it, they can research it. It'€™s on Props Recordings. It'€™s basically my own situation. Everything is hand in hand. We look at it like, we never know. We'€™re always learning. When you talk to dudes like Dr. Dre, he talks about how he is still learning!'€

.... to be continued (in a few days the second and last part will be posted).
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Prodigal Sunn

Every family has a son who leaves home and embarks on a dark journey. Some boys never find redemption while they wonder the modern concrete jungle. Others return as wiser, respectful grown men. In the expansive family of music, many of our sons have become lost within obscurity after they leaving music for the chase. They chase acting careers, drugs, quick money, or solutions to their burdensome problems. One of hip-hop'€™s many children, Prodigal Sunn began this enigmatic journey with good intentions. He has now returned from a journey through the vast wasteland of the entertainment industry. Weathered from the stormy industry, he sailed home from his odyssey with the gifts of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding within his music. Within the minds of some fans, one question remains. Will his musical family welcome him home with open arms?

In the family of music, The Wu-Tan Clan has an inestimable amount of offspring, cousins, uncles, etc. Originally an affiliate group of the prodigious Wu-Tang Clan, The Sunz Of Man was categorized as close cousins. The Sunz consisted of Prodigal Sunn, Hell Razah, 60 Second Assassin, and Killah Priest. Released by Red Ant & BMG, '€œThe Last Shall Be First'€ was their slept-on debut album which earned respect by true Wu-Tang fans. The Wyclef produced single, '€œShining Star'€ featured Ol'€™ Dirty Bastard and Earth, Wind & Fire. The song possessed deeply hardcore lyrics over a catchy beat and the classic Earth, Wind, & Fire chorus. Other tracks like '€œCold'€, '€œFlaming Swords'€, '€œNext Up'€, and '€œThe Plan'€ formed their signature sound of exuberant spirituality over gritty yet cinematic production. Killah Priest devastated the group'€™s fans by pursuing a solo career.

Priest'€™s debut LP, '€œHeavy Mental'€ appeased some fans but confused others. Throughout the years, Priest continued to release albums solo albums but never officially returned to the group. '€œFreedom of Speech'€ (Cleopatra Records) was presented by Hell Razah & 4th Disciple. Cleopatra Records also put presented '€œElements'€ (by Sunz Of Mann), a re-release of 1999's "The First Testament" LP. Hell Razah and Killah Priest joined forces with Tragedy Khadafi and Timbo King to form Black Market Militia. The super-group'€™s self-titled album (on Nature Sounds) reminded fans of the intensity within the members of Sunz Of Man. While Killah Priest and Hell Razah were getting some limelight, the rest of Sunz Of Man were almost forgotten. D3 Entertainment released The Sunz Of Man'€™s sophomore '€œSaviorz Day'€ LP but little promotion and manufacturing problems stifled any hope of success. Sunn'€™s role as Executive Producer initiated him to the behind the scenes world of the music industry.

As years passed, Sunn did get some chances to shine. His first burst of light shined when he formed his own company, Godz Incorporated. Then, he produced and starred in cable'€™s most aired hip-hop documentary, '€œAmerica'€™s Rap Stars'€. He was first African-American male actors (let alone emcees) to appear on HBO'€™s '€œSexy & The City'€. Currently, he is producing a documentary about the illegal world of pit bull fights.

Throughout the years of chasing the television and films, Sunn'€™s love of music prevailed. He contributed verses on various Wu-Tang collaborations. The final track on Ghostface Killah'€™s '€œBulletproof Wallets'€, '€œStreet Chemistry'€ became a modern classic. '€œWhatever'€ (produced by Mathematics) was a shining moment on Masta Killa'€™s '€œNo Said Date'€ LP (on Nature Sounds). The fans who depended on the signature Wu-Tang sound felt satisfied by the song'€™s power. Sunn'€™s other magnificent collaborations included, '€œFeel Like An Enemy'€ (from '€œBeneath The Surface'€ LP by Gza/Genius), '€œProtect Ya Neck II The Zoo'€ (from Ol'€™ Dirty Bastard'€™s '€œReturn To The 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version'€), and '€œThe Whistle'€ (from Rza'€™s '€œThe Birth Of A Prince'€ LP).

A true emcee will always return to the microphone. After a sinuous struggle within the entertainment industry, Sunn finally felt complete when he resumed his role as emcee. Like true brothers bounded by family, Prodigal Sunn and the mic resumed their relationship, as if they never endured a separation. Still is developing films / shows and receptive of acting opportunities, Prodigal Sunn remains a true lover of music. He hooked up with Free Agency Records to record his debut solo album, '€œThe Return Of The Prodigal Sunn'€. Soulful, gritty, honest, and intense, '€œThe Return Of The Prodigal Sunn'€ LP showcases a different side of the emcee without abandoning his true fans. '€œIn My Life'€, '€œSoul Survivor'€, and '€œLove Is Love'€ are emotionally rich songs overflowing with his passion for life. '€œBrutality'€ and '€œManhunt'€ maintain a hardcore edge. The vivid wordplay in '€œBetrayal'€ exhibits Sunn'€™s astute storytelling abilities. The exuberant tracks, '€œLovely Ladies'€ and '€œSunshine'€ create a sense of balance within the album. The album'€™s guests include 60 Second Assassin, Madame Dee, C.C.F. Division, 12 O'€™clock, Free Murder, Yung Masta, and others. Production is handled by The Rza, B. Original, K Beats Kolossal, and Filf Rich. '€œThe Return Of The Prodigal Sunn'€ truly marks the homecoming of a survivor with stories to tell and lessons to teach. Just as his collaborations shined with an intense charisma, this interview sparked his chilled and magnanimous personality. A cool atmosphere was created as mutual respect flowed within our conversation. From the temptation of stardom to industry problems, Sunn remained true to himself. Although he never completely abandoned music, the world of television and films pulled him away from his true love. The Prodigal Sunn shines with the warmth of redemption. Like a phoenix, he rose from the ashes of industry pitfalls. Finally, Prodigal Sunn has safely returned home from his odyssey throughout the dangerous land of entertainment. His hip-hop family has been waiting for him with open arms. Welcome home, brother!

T. JONES: '€œWhat goes on?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œChilling, baby! I'€™ve been grinding, all day, everyday. I'€™m putting out this record. Interviews, T.V. shows, deals, soundtracks. Rhyming, baby!'€

T.JONES: '€œYour debut solo album. '€˜The Return Of The Prodigal Sunn'€™ was just released. Tell us about the LP.'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œ'€˜The Return Of The Prodigal Sunn'€™ is my own little masterpiece. That'€™s my little life, trials, and tribulations all in one little CD of 15 tracks. Each track speaks for itself. You have life. You have death. I'€™m a '€˜Soul Survivor'€™ who is '€˜Moving On Up'€™. You have '€˜Procrastinators'€™ and '€˜The Traitor'€™. That'€™s '€˜Betrayal'€™. I stay '€˜Campaigning'€™ because that'€™s what you have to do to eat. It'€™s a constant '€˜Manhunt'€™. Then, you have to calm down. After the '€˜Manhunt'€™, get some '€˜Lovely Ladies'€™. The way the album is, every title connects. When you drive through Brooklyn, that'€™s all you see.'€

T.JONES: '€œWho handled the production on '€˜The Return Of The Prodigal Sunn'€™?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œI'€™ve got production my Rza and J.Wells. I'€™ve got a couple of in-house producers from my newly formed company. I formed my own company called Godz Incorporated. I have B Original, K Beats, and Magnatta Productions. I have a guy named DJ Battle, who is out of France. He works for The Source magazine in France. I was on a tribute for Ol' Dirty. It was this mix-tape that was being put together. He told me that he did tracks. He sent me some music. It was all live. There is a live band out there. Track 2. It'€™s called '€˜Soul Survivor'€™. Rza did '€˜Lovely Ladies'€™ and '€˜Brutality'€™. I did those tracks last. The other songs, I had.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat song on '€˜The Return Of The Prodigal Sunn'€™ took you the longest to complete?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œ'€˜Betrayal'€™. It was a story. It was written like a story, with the skit, the song, and the actual breakdown of what was going on. It'€™s about 2 cats who betrayed me and how you never know who to trust.'€

T.JONES: '€œThe song '€˜Betrayal'€™ is dope. The first time I heard it, I caught someone in a lie and I was furious. Driving around, I was listening to the track. Not only did it help my anger but it gave me perspective on the situation of betrayal. Is '€˜Betrayal'€™ a true story?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œFragments of it. For the most, it is. You know how things are written in parables? I wrote it in parables. There are pieces of all things in my life, in that rhyme. It happened. You know what I mean?'€

T.JONES: '€œDo you have a favorite song on the album?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œMy favorite is '€˜Soul Survivor'€™. I like that one. I like '€˜Godz People'€™ too.'€

T.JONES: '€œBesides it being a solo LP, how is '€˜The Return Of The Prodigal Sunn'€™ different from the last 2 Sunz Of Man albums ('€˜The Last Shall Be First'€™ and '€˜Saviorz Day'€™)?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œIt'€™s different because it'€™s coming from just me, P Sunn, The 4th chamber of the Sunz Of Man. The others had 4 pieces on the chess board. You have to limit your angels with a group. Now, it'€™s on me. All my creativity and energy is put in. I am the Executive Producer. I had to make sure everything went the right way.'€

T.JONES: '€œYou started Godz Inc. How did you get Godz Inc. started?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œI started it from doing the knowledge of years and years in the industry as an artist. My brother, Rza was the executive from the gate. Wu-Tang! I analyzed and saw what it really was. All hustles are the same. It'€™s just a different route. I just applied the hustle that I already had. Throughout the years, I never took sh*t for granted. In the beginning, you do, but you learn that you can'€™t do it again. You can'€™t take sh*t for granted. The things you take for granted can be your downfall. You know what I mean?'€

T.JONES: '€œWere you taken for granted back then?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œI can really say that I was taken for granted. I trusted motherf*ckers. You know what I'€™m saying? Knowledge. I had knowledge. You have to really be on point. You have to have the knowledge. I'€™m happy because I'€™m glad I went through everything I went through. If it weren'€™t for that, I wouldn'€™t be where I'€™m at today. I gained knowledge through the years from just being out there. I'€™m grateful that the opportunity came. Music.'€

T.JONES: '€œJust the fact that you are still on the mic, shows that you are a survivor. Some people never come back. How did you do this?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œI respect that. Thank you. Music is my art. You know what I mean? When I did it, I always did with me first. It'€™s real.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow did you hook up with Free Agency Records to release this new album?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œI met Marc Copeland about 6 or 7 years ago. Priority Records was his home. We were working on '€˜Wu Chronicles Chapter II'€™ with 12 O'€™clock and Shyheim. He called me up. At the time, Rza and Priority were doing business. At the time, business was crazy. Rza gave me the connect. He said, '€˜You got a hot single over there and cats are requesting it hard'€™. I met Marc Copeland.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow difficult was it to release '€˜The Return Of The Prodigal Sunn'€™ compared to the release '€˜The Last Shall Be First'€™ or '€˜Saviorz Day'€™?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œ'€˜Saviorz Day'€™ was more like, if you can'€™t safe yourself, don'€™t talk about saving others. That was what that LP was about. We were just showing the world the refinement after '€˜The Last Shall Be First'€™. We came back to the table. It is what it is. We were saved like that. Killah Priest wasn'€™t with us. He'€™s a world traveler. He had deals going on. We had to take time and sit down at the table.'€

T.JONES: '€œWill Killah Priest ever return to Sunz Of Mann?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œYeah. There'€™s no beef. We'€™re brothers. We laugh and joke like kids when we'€™re together. Business is business. Business is a cold game. He came to the album release party at The Lemon Lounge in Manhattan. He popped up.'€

T.JONES: '€œCan fans expect another Sunz Of Man album?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œSure. They can expect it, but there'€™s nothing planned in the future. I'€™m in my corner now. I'€™ve been in this game for so many years and have been featured on so many records, but I still feel that I haven'€™t fully developed. Right now, I'€™m scoping that up. I'€™m shining me up.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is your all time favorite collaboration so far? What is the one you are most proud of?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œI like the one I did with Junior Reed and Guru on the '€˜Jazzmatazz Street Soul'€™ album called '€˜Mashin Up The World'€™. When I went in, I had the opportunity to be myself. It wasn'€™t like I had to write a certain way or for the certain song or video. I just had to get on and do my thing. It'€™s freedom. A lot of cats don'€™t have that.'€

T.JONES: '€œYou were featured on many Wu-Tang Clan collaborations. Out of all of the Wu-Tang Clan collaborations, which ones are you most proud of?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œI love '€˜Street Chemistry'€™ from the Ghostface album '€˜Bulletproof Wallets'€™. I love '€˜Do You'€™.'€

T.JONES: '€œMany of the Wu-Tang Clan records now are recorded in California instead of New York City. How different is the vibe in California as opposed to recording in New York?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œThe only thing that is different is the space and the lack of people. As far as family and the people you grew up with, you know? Out here, in California, you do your job. People know you and you may know a couple of people. There are less distractions. At home, it'€™s different. New York is a melting pot. When we started, we were grinding. It was raw. Now that we are young men, we are smoothing it out. The words are clearer.'€

T.JONES: '€œOn some of the other Wu-Tang Clan albums you were on like '€˜Bobby Digital In Stereo'€™ and '€˜Killa Beez'€™ compilations; you were labeled as '€˜Prodical'€™.'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œThat'€™s was a mistake. Right here? It'€™s me. Something like that always happened. There were songs not being added to albums. '€˜Street Chemistry'€™ on Ghostface'€™s '€˜Bulletproof Wallets'€™ had a problem too. The song wasn'€™t listed on the album. That'€™s why he left the label. I don'€™t get caught up in stuff like that. On the Jazzmatazz CD, they spelled my name right. I was there like that.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow did you hook up with Guru for that collaboration on the '€˜Jazzmatazz Street Soul'€™ album? What was it like?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œGuru? He'€™s a classic. We always connected from back in the day. Bed-Stuy! Just came through D&D Studios one night. He told me that he wanted me to jump on a compilation he was doing called '€˜Bald Head Slick'€™. I saw him up in this club called Cheetah'€™s. We partied together. We used to party all the time. He told me to come by D&D. I slid though there. The same night, Junior Reid from Black Urehu slid through. 8-0ff Agallah The Assassin came through. He was there. He produced the track. It'€™s street song. It'€™s the perfect title for that compilation.'€

T.JONES: '€œFor the Guru and Junior Reid collaboration, you guys were all together in the studio but for other collaborations, some artists do not even meet face to face. Some collaborations are done via mail. Were any of the collaborations on '€˜The Return Of The Prodigal Sunn'€™ like that?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œI had some mailed collaborations, around 2 joints. 12 O'€™clock was in Florida at the time. I collab'€™d him in. GK The Artist was out in Florida too. They were working on an album. We used technology and they jumped in. The rest were just live.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhere did you find Madame Dee?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œMadame Dee? I found her about 3 or 4 years ago. She'€™s on that last Wu-Tang Clan, '€˜Iron Flag'€™ album. She was on '€˜Babies'€™. I met her through a friend of mine. She told me that she could sing and I said, '€˜Let me hear something'€™. I heard it and was cool with it. I was doing the Two On Da Road project at the time. Me and 12 O'€™clock from Brooklyn Zoo have a project called Two On Da Road. We were doing our record while the Wu-Tang Clan was doing '€˜The W'€™ album. She got on the joint and wrote the words out for us. Did that Luther Vandross song, '€˜Woke up this morning'€¦'€™ We wrote that and she blew it up. We loved it. She dropped it on us. That was before Raekwon got it a year later. That song was originally for the Two On The Road Project. We were at the Ghostface album release party in New York. Rza came up to me and said, '€˜Yo, Sunn, that track? I want to put that on '€˜Iron Flag'€™. You killed that rhyme on there'€™. No doubt? She collaborated on that and '€˜Babies'€™. It was on.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat was it like working with Wyclef and Earth, Wind, & Fire for '€˜Shining Star'€™?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œIt was a beautiful thing. Earth, Wind, & Fire actually wanted to remake that song and Wyclef had that dance but street sound. Dirty hooked it up. We blasted that in the limo when we pulled up to the '€˜Ghetto Superstar'€™ video shoot.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow is working with Rza different than working with other producers?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œRza is family, in-house. We'€™re like brothers. It'€™s all natural. We can feel about what a person says. Family can take that. It'€™s a real person who is telling you something. If you don'€™t like it, you don'€™t like it. Rza has thousands of beats. It'€™s more La Familia.'€

T.JONES: '€œWho are some producers who you would like to collaborate with in the future?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œI would like to collaborate with The Neptunes. I would like to work with DJ Premier. Whoever I'€™m feeling, basically. Right now, I got to get in the circle and analyze the person and music. If the music is good, it'€™s all good.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhen doing a song, do you write rhymes to the beat first, or do you have the theme or lyrics ready?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œSometimes, I write to the beat. For most of the story rhymes, I like my data in my head with all of the stuff I have been through. Word chemistry. For joints like '€˜Soul Survivor'€™, I just flew in. It was pure energy. I can write rhymes in 10 or 15 minutes.'€

T.JONES: '€œWho are some artists who you would like to collaborate with in the future?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œI like Jill Scott. Jill'€™s cool. I want to do something with her. I like the eccentric women who are doing their thing. I would like to rock something with Jay-Z and Ron Isley.'€

T.JONES: '€œWu-Tang Clan did that joint with Ron Isley, '€˜Back In The Game'€™ for the '€˜Iron Flag'€™ LP.'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œYeah, I was there.'€

T.JONES: '€œIf you could remake any classic hip-hop song, what song would it be? How would you approach the remake?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œI don'€™t know. Cats already did them. I would like to make '€˜What'€™s Going On'€™ by Marvin Gaye.'€

T.JONES: '€œI want to pay my respects for the passing of Ol'€™ Dirty Bastard.'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œThank you, man. I appreciate it.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhere were you when O.D.B. passed away?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œI was right here in Los Angeles when I got the news. I saw him a couple of months before that at a party. We were chilling. I heard the news and I flew in for the funeral.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat did you think about O.D.B. signing with Roc-A-Fella Records?'€
SUNN: '€œI thought it was a good business move.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhy did you make the move to Los Angeles?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œWell, I'€™ve been coming to Los Angeles. Wu-Tang has been out here for like 10 or 12 years. I'€™ve been here for like 4 years. We'€™ve always been out here. There'€™s more business out here. We'€™re more active. We'€™re more productive out here. Sometimes, in New York, there is so much hate.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow different is the industry in L.A.?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œYeah, you can be doing 20 different things here. In New York, it'€™s hard to get 1 or 2 things going on. It'€™s like a concrete jungle versus a desert.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhere were you on September 11th, 2001? How did you deal with it? How do you think it has affected or will affect hip-hop?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œOn September 11th, I was right here in L.A. That'€™s crazy, right? I left here and there were like 5 earthquakes over here. The whole place was a zoo, man.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat was the last incident of racism you experienced?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œT-Mobile. Them bastards! T-Mobile stole my phone and my money. I have this company, Godz Incorporated. I'€™m a Black man. I mailed in my certificate of incorporation. They tell me that there is a discrepancy on my account. I never had an account with them! They told me that I had to wait 60 days to get my money back. She took my number in August. I had many connections on it. They took it and shut it down. They gave me no explanation. I'€™ve been hearing stories from 15 or 20 people about T-Mobile. Somebody has to stop those cats and all of those phone companies out there. Once they see how many phone calls you are making and how much business you are doing, they think you rely on their number. They think that they control you. It'€™s a form of slavery. F*ck T-Mobile!'€

T. JONES: '€œWord association time. I'€™m going to say a name of a group or person. Then, you say the first word that pops in your head. So, if I say '€˜Chuck D'€™, you may say '€˜Revolution'€™. If I said '€˜Flavor Flav'€™, you may say '€˜Clock'€™, '€˜Crack'€™, or '€˜The Surreal Life'€™. Okay?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œYeah, man.'€

T.JONES: '€œRza.'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œGenius.'€

T.JONES: '€œ50 Cent.'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œClassic.'€

T.JONES: '€œEminem.'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œSurprising.'€

T.JONES: '€œO.D.B.'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œLegend.'€

T.JONES: '€œKillah Priest.'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œWord chemist.'€

T.JONES: '€œJay-Z.'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œClassic.'€

T.JONES: '€œMarley Marl.'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œClassic.'€

T.JONES: '€œThe Game.'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œSurprising.'€

T.JONES: '€œBusta Rhymes.'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œFlava.'€

T.JONES: '€œCurtis Mayfield.'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œClassical legend.'€

T.JONES: '€œSmokey Robinson.'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œClassical legend.'€

T.JONES: '€œGeorge Bush.'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œ*sshole.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is your favorite part of your live show or your set?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œWhen I talk to the people. I explain that I'€™m there. It'€™s really me. What I'€™m saying, is really real.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhen you performed live with Sunz Of Man, you shared the stage with other emcees. As a solo artist, how do you handle the live show?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œIt'€™s cool. As far as me being solo now? Even when I'€™m solo, I still have cats on the stage with me. Killarmy is with me. My boys coming out are with me. Shacronz and Free Murder are with me. They are on my single '€˜Brutality'€™. It just got added to 26 radios across the country.'€

T.JONES: '€œYou have some television projects in the works. Tell us about them.'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œI have a couple of joints in the works. First, I have a T.V. show on Showtime. My man, Omar Sharif and I worked on it. It'€™s called '€˜American Rap Stars'€™. It'€™s actually going down in history as one of the mostly aired rap documentaries on cable. The concept is hip-hop after 9-11. Many heads are in there like Russell Simmons, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z, me, Rza, Masta Killa, Jadakiss, Hell Razah from Sunz Of Mann, Sticky Fingaz and the whole Onyx crew, Jamie Foxx, and The Outlawz. Jam Master Jay gets his star on The Walk of Fame. It'€™s the last footage of him.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is '€˜The Shelter'€™?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œ'€˜The Shelter'€™ is a drama I created as a 2 picture deal with cats in Hollywood. It'€™s in development. It'€™s about 3 kids and 4 social workers, a dysfunctional family. It'€™s about a shelter. It goes into the kids and the counselors. We went to Showtime and HBO. Showtime is feeling it. I'€™m partners with Troy Garrity, Jane Fonda'€™s son. Baltimore Spring Creek Productions, run by Paula Wienstein. It takes 5 years really to get off. HBO wanted it but they are producing that new show called '€˜Rome'€™. It took Ray Romano 5 years. No one knew him but look at him now. He wrote his own show. It'€™s a nice little statement.'€

T.JONES: '€œYou were also in '€˜Sex And The City'€™. How did you get that role? What was the filming process like?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œ'€˜Sex And The City'€™ was cool. I played in the episode, '€˜No Ifs Ands Or Butts'€™. I played a rapper who was fed up with my manager, who was dating Kim Cattrall'€™s character. It was a lovely thing. I got mad love on the set. It was actually the first episode that had some brothers on there, some Black people. I think HBO was getting heat about it. Black people watch the show too. The guy from '€˜Oz'€™, J.D. Williams, was my co-partner on that.'€

T.JONES: '€œFor those who do not know, what are the meanings behind Sunz Of Man and Prodigal Sunn?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œThe sun is the largest source of known energy. The sun is also the life source and the symbol of truth. Intelligence! We just came with the title meaning '€˜Intelligent men'€™. The word '€˜prodigal'€™ is '€˜extravagant'€™ and also '€˜wasteful'€™. My life? I have wasted time. You have to go back and see what is really going on. At the end of that, '€˜Sunn'€™ is the light out of the darkness. You got light and day, extravagant light. That'€™s what I'€™m bringing to cats.'€

T. JONES: '€œWhat was the biggest mistake you have made in your career?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œBiggest mistake? I can'€™t really say. The situation I am in now is great. If I made a mistake, I wouldn'€™t be in this situation. I would say that one of my errors was not coming in with a lawyer and not having my own business team. These were probably my biggest mistakes.'€

T.JONES: '€œMany independent hip-hop artists are more popular in Europe. Some artists, like Grand Agent and Maylay Sparks, actually moved to Europe. How is the reception from European audiences different from American audiences?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œOverseas, I'€™m a rock star. Overseas, people actually take time to listen. In America, only a few listen. Everyone is caught up in the American way of material things. Money, drugs, glamour, and fame. Out there, they are already rich. I'€™m about to get out of here too. I got a Grammy in France. I got an award in Germany. I did this song called '€˜Ich Lebe'€™. I love hip-hop. I live for hip-hop. I did another song called '€˜The Saga'€™ in France. Out there, we have like 10 or 15 gold records. The day we dropped our record out there, 2 of the other records went gold. It went gold in one day.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is hip-hop lacking?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œIt is lacking knowledge. It'€™s lacking the substance of where it really came from, from the gate. It'€™s lacking the foundation. That'€™s what knowledge is. People don'€™t know where it came from. They don'€™t pay respect for those who poured their blood, sweat, and tears into it. You have hip-hop and then, you have the program. 85% is the program. 10% is programming the 85%.'€

T.JONES: "What are some major misconceptions that you think people have of you?"
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œI don'€™t really know, man. I don'€™t get caught up in what people think. I guess some think that I'€™m too nice.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat is the current status of Wu-Tang Clan?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œEverybody is on their own rock. They are all doing their own thing. We did that for about a year or so. Now, we are putting things back together. We have a plan. We will put the new Wu-Tang album together. That'€™s what it is. Wu-Tang is forever. Right now, we are congregating. We have plenty of tracks already recorded, but which ones do we use? Which ones will me make new? We are doing our homework. I did my own homework and put my album out. It'€™s new stuff. Not the same old sh*t. It'€™s time for brothers to catch up, baby! I did Shady radio. It'€™s rare when an artist comes to the set and they are feeling the record. A couple different fans called. There were 20 positive ones and maybe like 4 negative ones. The positive ones destroyed the negative ones. '€˜Don'€™t listen to them! I'€™m from Tennessee'€™, said one. I was like, '€˜Word? I'€™m from Brooklyn!'€™ They were saying, '€˜That sh*t is real! That'€™s some new stuff. I ain'€™t never heard stuff like that before'€™. Even the fans were saying that people are programmed and they do not want to hear anything new. The programmed people want to hear the same thing. Hip-hop is a culture. It never had to be just one way. It'€™s a growth. That'€™s why I'€™m here. Here comes the Mack truck.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat was your childhood like? What kind of kid was Prodigal Sunn?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œChildhood was crazy, man. I'€™ve been shot, locked up, and stuff. I don'€™t want to glorify that. Some cats make their career off that. All the same things that those cats who are selling 10 millions of records went through, I went through that same sh*t.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat 3 words would you use to describe Brooklyn?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œHard times, baby! It'€™s hard times bound with love. You gotta eat. That'€™s what makes you strong when you'€™re coming out of Brooklyn. It'€™s a family thing. You got cats moving in Brooklyn right now who are all colors, all flavors. The crime still goes on but n*ggas have respect. That'€™s what it'€™s all about. It'€™s different out here in California. In Brooklyn, if you did something real bad, you'€™re gonna get it. Jersey too! Anywhere in the tri-state area. That goes from the Black households to the white households to the Chinese households.'€

T.JONES: '€œHow did Sunz Of Mann start?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œWe came together about 12 or 13 years ago. We all had the same formula. First of all, we were all seekers of knowledge. When the first Wu-Tang album was being done, everybody was in. 60, Razah, Priest, and me all had that same style that was ahead of it'€™s time. We all coincided. Shabazz The Disciple was there from the gate too. Priest and Shabazz became The Disciples. Me and Razah became Sunz Of Man. Before that, my name was The Sun Of Man. Before the group Sunz Of Man, that was my name. Killah Priest was like, '€˜Word, man. Prodigal Sunn is an ill name for you!'€™ I started looking into the meaning behind the name. Priest must have been analyzing me. He gave me that name like he knew I was on that sh*t like that. 60 Second gave Killah Priest his name.'€

T.JONES: '€œDid The Sunz Of Man have any animosity, anger, or problems when Killah Priest left to pursue a solo career?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œNah, there was no animosity. It was just like, '€˜When are you coming back? Don'€™t forget where you came from, homey.'€™ There is a whole science to me. I trained in Martial Arts ever since I was real young. I learned to balance all that energy and emotion. I keep moving. I'€™m about growth. I'€™m letting nothing stop my growth. Regardless of anything, I move through the valley of life.'€

T.JONES: '€œOut of all of the Wu-Tang members, which member is the easiest to work with?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œAll of them. I never had complications. When I go in, cats are like, '€˜That'€™s Prodigal Sunn. That'€™s his style. Don'€™t tell him nothing about it.'€™ It'€™s easy to work with everybody. Rza? We have a good time in the studio. We work for hours. We work like there ain'€™t no rush. He'€™d throw 20 or 30 beats on back to back, like a mega mix. Next thing you know, we'€™re all writing to it.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat'€™s going on with Cappadonna?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œI spoke to Cap about 2 months ago. He was in Florida, recording and doing shows. Yeah, he'€™s a little angry. I don'€™t get angry. Don'€™t get mad, get even. Get more!'€

T.JONES: '€œYou were Executive Producer for the '€˜Saviorz Day'€™ LP. Tell us about your role.'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œThat was my first project that came out on Godz Incorporated. That came out on D3. They went through some situations and put my record out with skips. I told them 30 days in advance! That'€™s what allowed me to get the masters. I told them the album had skips. It wasn'€™t skipping when I left L.A. As soon as I left, it was skipping.'€

T.JONES: '€œWhat are some collaborations or remixes fans can expect from Prodigal Sunn?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œI got a couple of collaborations. I have this DVD coming out called, '€˜Off The Chain'€™. It'€™s about the pit bull and the underground world of fighting. It'€™s a project with Troy Garrity, the man from '€˜Barbershop'€™. That'€™s Jane Fonda'€™s son. I did the music, the soundtrack for that. I have the title song called '€˜Off The Chain'€™. Cats can look for that DVD. I have a special video in there for the song. The song is basically saving dogs. '€˜If you train a pit to bite, then he bites. If you train a pit to fight, then he fights. Strategic rules and regulations, a show on ice. A dog has a right in the light'€™. The documentary is about the pit bull being banned in many states in countries. It'€™s not the dog, it'€™s the owner'€™. The movie has every humane society you can think of. PETA. Troy did his thing, no doubt. It shows how these motherf*ckers are evil and how the dogs have no rights. I'€™m gonna get a lot of death threats for that sh*t.'€

T.JONES: '€œAny final words?'€
PRODIGAL SUNN: '€œJust want them to know to pick that record up. That'€™s my heart and soul in there. I put my whole ass in there. My hipbone, neck bone, everything. It'€™s enjoyable music. Appreciate it. Respect it. Peace, Todd. We have to keep in touch. Everybody, I got love for everybody! Live your life the best you can. Pick up that album. It'€™s food for thought. It'€™s definitely needed right now. I want to send a shout out to my son, I love him! Ramel!'€


Thank you Prodigal Sunn!
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