Young Noble, E.D.I., Kastro, and Napoloean, the
Outlawz, are perhaps the most slept on, while being the most well known group
of MC’s in rap today. They first came onto the music scene in 1995. Back then
they were known as Dramacydal and were featured on the single Outlaw from 2Pac’s
album Me Against the World.
They continued to make a mark, guaranteeing them
a place in hip-hop history as Pac’s protégés. Having been featured
on many of 2Pac’s albums such classics hits as "Hail Mary" and "Hit
Em Up," the Outlawz had a hand in the selling of over 20 million albums
worldwide. Last year, the Outlawz released their debut CD Ride Wit Us or
Collide Wit Us on their independent effort Outlaw Recordz in November of
2000. Novakane, the group’s sophomore joint was released exactly one year to
the day of their debut album.
AllHipHop.com: What angle does this CD take?
Outlawz: Well I mean, um, there’s really no type
of angle, we’re coming direct really. I’m going to be honest with you, we’re
not sugar-coating it. And at the same time, not talkin’ about, we’re not addressing
a lot of the issues that’s popular in rap right now, which is cars, money, and
that type of thing. We are addressing the same issues we been addressing and
that’s fame, tryin’ to come up, tryin’ to keep your head up, and the struggle
to strive (and) stay alive in this world.
AllHipHop.com: So does Pac’s influence play a
major part on this project?
Outlawz: He influences everything we do, you
know what I mean, he’s our main influence as far as music goes. And I say ‘influence’,
I don’t mean, like, we aspire to sound like him, or rap like him, or make music
like him. It’s just the influence that’s obvious being that we spent so much
time recording and living and workin’ with him.
AllHipHop.com: Has it been hard for you guys
as a group to get out of Pac’s shadow? Or is that even a bad place to be?
Outlawz: I mean, it’s always difficult when you
came up with somebody that’s so large- such a huge star. It’s like adouble edged
sword. Sometimes people don’t respect what you work for, what you work hard
for. They assume that everything you’ve got, you got because of him. At the
same time, it gets us in a lot of doors, you know, that maybe the average rapper
that ain’t associated with Pac can’t get through. So, you know what I mean,
we don’t spend a lot of time thinkin’ about it, we don’t spend a lotof time
worrying about the ‘shadow’, you know what I mean, ’cause we gonna create our
own shadow for somebody else to be in.
AllHipHop.com: What kind of effect do you think
the Outlawz’ music has on young heads who listen to hip-hop?
Outlawz: Well I know first off, when they first
listen to our album, they’re going to notice the difference, you know what I
mean. It’s like a hot knife through butter, it’s gonna slice through whatever
is out there, because it’s uncut, it’s the truth. The truth wreaks, you know
what I mean? You’ll smell the truth anywhere, no matter what is in the room.
So I feel like our album is gonna affect the kids in a more positive way. It’s
a lot of stress on kids right now. They feel like they gotta be rich to mean
something, you know what I mean? Rappers don’t just wake up in the morning
and throw on a platinum chain and drive your Bentley around, and it’s that easy.
That’s telling them lies right there, that’s settin’ ‘em up for failure.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think the recent attack
on America has affected hip hop?
Outlawz: I don’t know man, you know, the thing
only happened a little while ago, so I think we’ll see the affects of it moreso
in the next year. It didn’t affect our music at all because we’ve been always
doin’ the same thing. So, as far as the rest of the game, I don’t really know.
I think we’ll see the influence in the next coming years or so. But at the same
time, you know, money is a powerful thing. Some of these dudes done got so rich
off the rap game, they’re oblivious to what’s goin’ on in the real world.
AllHipHop.com: There’s a rumor goin around
that on the last track ("Loyalty") of Novakane, that’s maybe a diss
towards Fatal, is that true? can u clarify that at all?
Outlawz: Ay man, you gotta listen to it and ya’ll
tell us, nahmean? Its just bout people who ain’t loyal, man. "Loyalty"
is bout people who ain’t loyal, and people… fly-by-night niggaz, you
know whut I mean, that’s loyal when its good and soon as it get bad they
wanna jump ship and go to the next team and all of that..
AllHipHop.com: Oh word, so are u in contact wit
Fatal at all?
AllHipHop.com: How’s ya relationship with Death
Row and Suge Knight, now that he’s out of jail?
Outlawz: There is no relationship, nahmean? We
wish them the best and we doin our thing.
AllHipHop.com: When you left Death Row, were
there any Outlawz tracks left behind or did you take everythin with you?
Outlawz: Nah, there’s still stuff over there.
It’s the Retribution album that we did wit Death Row, is over there
AllHipHop.com: Do you know if they’re gonna
plan on releasing that or is that just gonna be in the archives?
Outlawz: I dunno, you gotta ask Suge
AllHipHop.com: What do you say to fans who still
think 2Pac is alive?
Outlawz: What do I say to them? You know what,
I say to em that he is alive, so long as ya’ll still listening to his music,
nahmean? His spirit is alive and well, and it’s thrivin’ right now.
AllHipHop.com: How do you feel about Ja Rule
using 2Pac’s track "Pain" on his new album?
Outlawz: "Pain" is a classic 2Pac record.
And I feel (the same) like when dudes try to cover a Marvin Gaye song or a Patti
Labellle song, or Stevie Wonder song. I feel you takin a risk, cause its hard
to live up to that standard. And obviously, that song don’t live up to
the original "Pain" And a lot of people don’t like it.