Masked gunmen storm your house and tie up your
friends in an attempt to find you. Meanwhile, you are on a tour of the country
with your boy Erick and crew the Hit Squad (Das EFX, Redman and K-Solo).
You play it cool and continue with the business
of hip-hop legacy building. While most people would lose their wits, for PMD
it was business. A converted soloist, PMD dropped a pair of albums without E, but he’s finally come into his own with The Awakening . The album features Fat Joe, Hit Squad alumni K-Solo, The new Hit Squad (The Final Chapter) and even Erick. AllHipHop talked to PMD about his life, the way things were and the current state of affairs.
AllHipHop.com: Talk to me about the new album
PMD: The new album is called the Awakening,
it has 18 cuts on it. Basically it’s cool cause it’s on my new label Boondocks
and I took the independent route. It’s distributed through Caroline and I don’t
have the pressure to go gold or platinum. I already did that. So now, I been
in the game like 15 years. I came in on Sleeping Bag, Came in on Def Jam, was
on J records. When your younger, you just wanted to be an artist and hear your
song on the radio. That’s basically what everybody wanted to do. But now that
I’m on the other side, I am able to keep the creative point of view and be able
to run the business at the same time.
AHH: Did you step back from production because
of the rigors of running the business?
PMD: To be honest with you, I been in the game
since 82 and then in 92 with the EPMD break up and Redman , Das EFX and K-Solo,
there wasn’t like somebody helping me to do that. I just had heart from the
hood. So after Unfinished Business, I didn’t want to have sons near me, I wanted
to take other artists, let them become established, so they can be on the same
AHH: EPMD defiantly prophesized all that’s going
on in hip hop with " The Cross Over". With you new album, are you
staying away from the radio friendly material?
PMD: Yea, yea, with EPMD I never had to cross
over. I had a dope song and basically with "The Cross Over" we told
people that you could crossover with out playing yourself. You check out the
hook, with the Roger Trautman in it and the respect is there really because
hip-hop decides who they like and who they don’t. People turn this into a big
street thing, and the streets, and the streets. But when Kool Herc and Bambataa,
and all of them started this , the whole purpose of hip-hop was to get out of
the streets. You know you don’t have to be out there with the gat and you don’t
have to be out there slingin. You can tag or you can DJ or you can rap. Now
these cats are so, whatever the right word is with the street game , that they
prophesized it and they talked it into existence. And when you do that, you
see with Pac and Biggie, you seen it with us. And we were like yo let’s put
this pen down because were writing the wrath that’s coming to us. So you gotta
learn more about the world you live in and America as a whole and know that
we can only know so much from the hoods that we came up in because we are in
little boxes. Hip hop allowed us to know what was going on in NY and Cali and
ok we got a little thing going. But, America’s been here for years, we don’t
understand enough about this money, we don’t understand enough about these taxes.
So we need to fall back, get used to handling money, get used to dealing with
people because it aint about you.
AHH: One thing that EPMD was always respected
for was the "Boondocks" theme and not really claiming any street hood.
So how did the street aspect of the game come back to you?
PMD: Well what happens is when your young and
your in the hood, nobody’s really messing with you because nothing’s really
jumping off, you just like everybody else. But then the minute stuff starts
to pop, you have to trust somebody. It’s just like any movie for years, you
never know when you got a kook in your camp. A lot of people when they have
success, they surround themselves with people , But you really don’t know. And
if you surround yourself with a wack team and they just yes men, when they’re
around you everything is cool but when your not around their on the phone or
plottin or whatever the case may be. So what I learned through all of these
years is that you only have control over yourself. And somehow or another, through
the success of EPMD, when you one of the most ruggedest groups, when your one
of the people bringing the truth and speaking truth, and people hear your lyrics
how you coming straight from the heart, then they get intimidated or whatever
and they feel like they gotta take other means. As opposed to just speaking
to you like a man. So with Eric and I, our biggest downfall was trying to pull
too many people on. Then the plane got to heavy and if you didn’t have the eject
systems, you would go down with the plane. I had my eject systems, and I love
my mic so much no matter what would go on, the point is that you still gotta
be able to spit that fire, without sounding like struggling and you still gotta
be able to take care of that business.
AHH: Did those experiences cause you to step
away a bit?
PMD: Yea, because when your left with the only
option of death and guns, there has to be a stronger side to you. The God in
you got to come up and step forward and say that I didn’t come this far just
for me. That would be a selfish act, but for all the people who believe in me.
AHH: I noticed through your recordings and recent
statements that you have a more spiritual aspect to yourself. Is that a result
of your struggles in the game or something you just matured into?
PMD: It’s basically, knowing what you already
knew, but now really knowing it. Because people get all crazy with the Bible
and with the first EPMD albums I didn’t know that Bible stood for Basic Instructions
Before Leaving Earth. So now we in the hip hop industry where everything is
shoot em up, cash, drugs and girls, and touring, and flying. How can you step
up on the front line and be ready to go, when you don’t have the instructions?
What happens if there is a life after death? And your stuck in purgatory . Everything
in my mind that I asked the Lord for, he brought forward. Gave me EPMD, Gave
me the sales. Run DMC used to be just a poster that hung on the wall, now I’m
on the tour bus with them. 3 number 1’s, get to meet Russell Simmons. I’m from
Long Island, not connected to nothing and this is what I did. But then he takes
it further, he let’s me put K-solo on and meet Sylvia Rome. Then he lets me
put Redman on and Das Efx. But then I start thinking in the natural. Then you
get personal feelings but no matter what , it’s not about you. So this is 19
cars later, this is 7 houses later, this is being the most sampled group in
hip hop. And it’s either your gonna stand behind the scenes and not change history
, or realize like how did all this happen to me, how did I fly to all these
countries and I’m still here?