The Cunninlynguists’ first album was aptly
titled, “Will Rap For Food.” The duo made a record that illuminated
a whole breed of conscious MC’s from below the Mason-Dixon.
In the last two years, they’ve picked up
a third member: SOS, built the rep, and rocked many stages. The group is comprised
of two producers DJ Kno and Deacon the Villian who each have been responsible
for bangers behind KRS-One, Jugga Da Bully, and even that King Tee, Masta Ace
collabo. If you hear the record, DJ Kno will make your beatmaker top five list,
Ushered into the scene by ToneDeff, the linguists
are in great company. Their new record is terrorizing the underground like a
tornado in a trailer park. It appeals to a vast array of hip-hop fans. Still,
the Cunninlynguists are relatively undiscovered to many people who would love
AllHipHop thinks you need to listen to their
new LP, “Southern Underground”, and hear the group out. See how they
analyze their chemistry with typical underground humor.
AllHipHop.com: How was Cunninlynguists born?
Kno : Well, when a man and a woman love each
other, Timmy, they…oh. I see, yeah…we met at the Blaze Battle in Atlanta
in 1999, and I was always at the hip-hop events at Morehouse where Deacon was
attending and Jugga the Bully was a graduate. I produced one track for him and
we decided to do an EP, which turned into an LP and into a full fledged wack-rap-fiasco.
AllHipHop: Kno and Deacon are both successful
producers. Out of curiosity, why are there no Deacon beats on the new release?
Deacon : I feel like my style of beats didn’t
fit into the equation that we
were working with for this album. My beats are more radio friendly…this album
was more emotional than most of my beats would allow.
Kno : Plus, he’s wack.
AllHipHop: These days hip-hop is plagued with
the Jarobi syndome. Groups cut members without hesitation. Why did you guys
add SOS? How did his existence in this LP change the Cunninlynguists vision.
Deacon : SOS brings an element to the group that
makes us feel more whole…it’s hard to put into the words. His rhyme schemes
are different than ours, but at least equally ill. He helps bring the best out
of the tracks.
SOS : Thanks Deacon… you’re dope as f*ck too.
Nah, but seriously, Deacon
and I were aware of each others skills long before CunninLynguists was even
born. We both were southern emcees with the same drive to break into the scene
so I heard alot about Deacon, talked to him, made a few tracks with him, and
when we all three met up in Daytona Beach right before "Will Rap For Food"
dropped, is was inevitable that we were gonna be doing more shit together.
Kno : Yeah, Black College Spring Break 2001 *laughs*.
I was there for the NASCAR race, wasn’t that the running joke? But yeah…SOS
gives me the freedom to concentrate more on the beats, and rhyme where I’m needed.
Plus, he has a very distinct style next to us, so it’s not like adding another
"Kno" or "Deacon"…it gives us a third dimension like…some
sort of…three dimensional thing.
AllHipHop: “Love Ain’t” is an
uplifting track to anybody who’s ever been hurt. Tracks like these have
become what we expect from you. Issues with flow. Does it bore you/sadden you
when you rappers spit bars that are punchlines about nothing?
SOS : Yes… unless it’s me.
Deacon : It bores/saddens me when anybody spits
anything about nothing…if
you’re rapping about nothing, you’re not in my CD collection.
Kno : Depends. I like punchline shit when it’s
done right, cats like Rise,
Wordsworth…but damn it if I have to hear someone say they are sicker than
*insert random penicillin treatable disease here* one more time…
SOS : Yeah, I’m just kidding. I don’t rhyme like
that… all the time.
AllHipHop: Your big guest is Masta Ace. I’m
a big Ace fan, and I love the track concept…and RJ is crazy. Were the five
of you together for those sessions? What was the recording like? Did Ace offer
you any advice?
Kno : We initially intended on recording the
track at the same spot, but Ace is on tour alot, RJ had just started a tour
and we had no plans/means to get to NY for a while, so I planned out the sequencing
with RJ and he sent us a DAT and we talked with Ace about the concept and where
we were going to go with it and he wrote and recorded his vocals at Tonedeff’s
crib after he heard our verses.
Deacon : I whooped Ace’s ass in Dreamcast a couple
years back, so he asked that I not be present during recording.
Kno : That and he was sued for that snare sample
you failed to clear on "P.T.A." off of "Disposable Arts".
Ace hates you.
AllHipHop: Last time I talked to ToneDeff, I
asked him what it was like the first time Kno and Deacon got to New York. It
sounded like a pivotal moment in your development. Can you elaborate?
Deacon : Tonedeff don’t know what he’s talking
about. Pivotal my ass. Jus’ kiddin’. Ummm…New York is a great city. I feel
like in NY you have to come with your best show, so performing in NY was a great
learning experience back then.
Kno : Being accepted in NYC is very important,
it’s the birthplace of hip-hop. You know what they say, if you can make it there
you can make it in Boise. Or some shit.
AllHipHop: I love your “War” bonus
track. That production just blows me away. I think it fits well in our time.
Without getting too political or boycotting freedom fries, what’s your
take on the Iraq situation?
Kno : Funny thing to have your finger on the
big, red button and you can’t spell "button", if you namtalkinbout.
I really don’t have anything else to say about it.
AllHipHop: You still fit “underground”
into your album title. Some acts take offense to being called underground. You
don’t seem to…why?
SOS : Well…I think that has alot to do with
the fact that…we ARE underground. I mean… how can you be underground and
take offense to being called underground? That would be like Birdman taking
offense to being called "flossy".
Kno : Really, the underground is anything that
isn’t mainstream and popular, to me. Last time I checked we weren’t on BET or
TRL, so ya know. Fuck it…embrace the truth!
AllHipHop: On the “Will Rap For Food”
album, there were many references to your sister dying. That was something a
lot of us could feel having had our losses. How much motivation do you get from
losing a loved one, or refocusing that pain?
Deacon : Before my sister passed, I just lived
alot more carefree. Got into trouble, all that. That happening gave me a moment
of clarity that was a turning point in my life. Now I was the eldest, I had
to be grown. I started to focus more on accomplishing goals, which included
music amongst other things, so the effect that it had on me comes through in
Anything you can add for flavor….or how we
can plug live show/etc….just
add at bottom.
Kno : Peace to everyone who bought the albums,
downloaded the albums, dubbed
the albums from a friend, stole the album, or whatever. If you listened, peace.
We have a few one off shows and an east coast tour jumping off this summer,
just check cunninlynguists.com and QN5.com often for updates and details. Peace
to allhiphop.com and Paine for making it happen!