Before Mr. Cheeks was a household name in hip-hop,
the dreded rapper gained critical acclaim as a member of the Lost Boys. When Lost
Boyz member Freaky Tah was gunned down, the group soon disbanded. In 2001 Cheeks
broke the silence with his solo debut, John P. Kelly, which spawned the hit single
"Lights, Camera, Action."
Now that his silence has been broken, it appears
Cheeks has no intention of remaining silent. For his second solo album, I’m
Back, Cheeks has tapped Pete Rock & CL Smooth, M.O.P., Floetry and even
80’s legend Alexander O’Neal. Cheek’s is back.
AllHipHop.com: So you say your growing up a little
Mister Cheeks: Yeah, I been growing up through
the game. I been doing a lot of things, rockin’ and I got the Back Again
AllHipHop: Do you think it’s hard for artist
to grow up?
MC: Yeah because it’s a lot of things that
happen in the industry with record labels and everything. That’s before
we did it, why you don’t see some n*ggas that aint in the game now? Where’s
Nice & Smooth at right now? It’s
really hard to maintain a career in music.
AllHipHop: The Rolling Stones have had a 30-year
career but a Run DMC can’t full a coliseum, it seems like Hip Hop is definitely
a young man’s arena.
MC: Just like the NBA you got the nice young
talent coming in and you got the old school n*ggas doing it, but they not producing
for the team like there are supposed to so you got to go with the new.
AllHipHop: Have you balanced that?
MC: I go hard; I make sure I’m on top of
my game. When I lost my man Freaky Tah I always said we are going to have to
step it up forever now.
AllHipHop: I noticed some interesting collaborations
on the album, can you speak on Alexander O’ Neil on Brighter?
MC: I grew up listening to him. My man brought this track to me it was Alexander
O’ Neil “Sunshine”. I was like hold up how a n*gga flip this
track? So I had to immediately come with something to rock with that track
and it had to make since. So that’s the story behind I’m always on
the road and I’m trying to get home to see my lady, I can’t go a day
without my sunshine. I called Charles and said you got to get Alexander O’
Neil to come
through, I couldn’t do it without him.
AllHipHop: How did y’all find that guy,
he’s definitely a legend but he hasn’t been in the limelight too much
MC: I know we had to work.
AllHipHop: I didn’t feel that that the M.O.P
collaboration was a natural collaboration, but when I listened to it they was
dope and it was on a smooth track too. How did you guys hook up?
MC: We friends from a long time ago. Me and Billy
Danze always be kicking it, he comes to queens to see his grand pops and I was
at my grandmother house and we just bumped heads. When I got the track from
my man Mr. Sex I had to bring these cats on it. I got my little brother on the
chorus with his man so it all worked out beautiful. A lot of people probably
like Cheeks don’t go hard on no street sh*t and won’t think I would
do something like that or they think that M.O.P. is just mad riot, they flow.
Me and the god’s got the comfortable slowdown smooth street sh*t too.
AllHipHop: What made you remake T.R.O.Y.?
MC: The cat that rhymes on it, my man journalist
gave me that idea. He got a hold of Pete Rock and C.L smooth and sh*t just fell
into place. Mr. Sex did that track too. Anything that Mr. Sex do he call me
up and make history.
AllHipHop: What’s Poppin’ with the
Lost Boyz, I would’ve thought that y’all would’ve had an album
by now or something that we could get a little reunion?
MC: At the time Tah passed away, n*ggas went
their separate ways and did things. But, as far as LB we still here, we got
this album we trying to work on dropping in June on my label and we looking
for someone to distribute it, but that’s how it’s been since Tah passed.
I do this solo sh*t to make sure I keep the LB name known.
AllHipHop: Being a successful solo artist what
have you experienced, it seems almost that your solo success has gone beyond
the group even though one can’t be without the other but it seems like
you have really blown up on the solo tip even more than when you were with the
MC: I’m just moving around more; I don’t
have to wait around no more. It’s like I’m not solo ‘cause I
be with my boys still with the crew. We just had to get our sh*t back in order.
AllHipHop: I know you had a collaboration with
the kid from the Marley’s are you still working on that?
MC: Steve Marley that’s my man, that’s
AllHipHop: How is that going on with that?
MC: We got the studio setup in Miami right now,
right now we are dropping Julian Marley’s album so we just chillin’
AllHipHop: is that through y’all label together?
MC: It’s through Ghetto youth.
AllHipHop: Is that the label y’all have
MC: One Fam is what we got together. Ghetto Youth
is my label and Ghetto youth and then you got One Fam music. It’s all coming
through the One Fam music.
AllHipHop: Did you still live in Miami?
MC: Yeah, I love it down there.
AllHipHop: Is it different?
MC: It’s another world, it’s like gangsta
paradise out there. I go down there hit the beaches up at night and the clubs
don’t close until like 5 or 6, the ocean right there, the shorties, everyday
you got the Summer.
AllHipHop: You don’t ever think it’s
too hot ‘cause I just came from there and it was ridiculous?
MC: yeah, but I mean you got A.C. Wherever I’m
going to be I have to make myself comfortable. I been down there for 3 years
already so I’m kind of comfortable. It’s good down there; you got
good trees down there.
AllHipHop: So you still smoking trees and all
MC: No doubt about it.
AllHipHop: I know you got the album, what are
other things that you might be working on?
MC: Me and Joe got this joint, from the tribute
to Stevie Wonder. I got this movie coming out with me and Trina called Miami
AllHipHop: What’s that about?
MC: Trina is this chick that is fed up with everything
that is going around in her community, the streets are f*cked up, n*ggas got
beef and all of that. It’s a Spanish gang and a Black gang and she trying
to get the girls from that gang to go and tell the shorties over there not to
give the n*ggas no ass and put the guns down.
AllHipHop: Do you want to continue acting?
MC: acting is cool, yeah why not.
AllHipHop: What kind of roles do you want to
MC: I want to have an action role, jumping over
sh*t, bussin’ off guns. I could be a cop, I could be a robber, I could
be anything. Any role is good but I’m not being a Fruit Loop, I’ll
never do an Oz role, no n*gga is going
to be slapping me on the ass.
AllHipHop: So it’s a side gig for you not
MC: Hell no, believe me if I can get a Box Office
hit and be straight then I’m good.
AllHipHop: Can you talk about the vibe on this
album ‘cause it seems to me that musically its more, not serious but the
beats sound more musical?
MC: I might have jacked the Sunshine track but
that sh*t is crispy. I might have jacked a carwash track but that sh*t is crispy.
I can’t be like these other cats and run with all the same producers ‘cause
a n*gga got a hot name.
I don’t want a n*gga all on my track I find n*ggas on the grind.
AllHipHop: How was it working with Lil’
Kim ‘cause that was an unlikely collaboration too but it seem to work really
MC: That was real fun and it was comfortable we knew each other since the Jack
the Rapper days. So when she called me up that showed me love, you want to do
my sh*t that’s love.
AllHipHop: What’s your opinion on Hip Hop
MC: I don’t know I’m just doing the
damn thing, I’m trying to sell these records and all that it’s so
much other sh*t you have to go through in the world, we making music you supposed
to enjoy what your doing.
AllHipHop: What about the war, can you give me
opinions on the war and what you think of that we might be going to war but
people are worried about Michael Jackson, Hip Hop, 50 Cent and little beefs?
MC: That’s the real deal, they sending n*ggas
over there to take care of that sh*t, it aint no rap war. n*ggas trying to fight
terrorism like you can fight terrorism, terrorism is a word to describe a group
of motherf*ckers, it’s no one n*gga you can kill. There are suicide bombers
and they want to have a war on terrorism.
AllHipHop: Do you think we should invade Iraq
and do you support Bush?
AllHipHop: How come?
MC: You got kids and sh*t over there too, families
and establishments over there too. How you feel if n*ggas came bombing up your
sh*t over here. Like that Twin Towers sh*t, that sh*t hurt and that’s how
n*ggas been doing that to them for years. They don’t know the full story
on that sh*t we get that sh*t from the news. The news be telling you everything,
they’ll tell you where the president at tonight, “The president is
over in Camp David chillin” f*ck are you telling all this stuff for.