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Kay Slay: Stunt 101

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Seated in the rear of parked RV on a wintry December afternoon, DJ Kay Slay is waiting. In fact, he’s been waiting for four hours. And with no communication between him and label reps inside the Brooklyn warehouse where he’s filming the lead video for his sophomore effort, The Streetsweeper, Vol. 2., Kay Slay begins to boil.

“Where the f*ck is my food,” he yells, after being told it’s on the way for the umpteenth time. If we’ve learned anything about Kay Slay, it’s that he doesn’t tolerate disrespect. Now, the Drama King returns spewing vitriol at all who stand in his way. Okay, he’s reloaded.

AllHipHop.com: So Slay, what’s going on with the album? What’s been the changes since the first one dropped?

Kay Slay: The changes on this album right here is that it’s being done with one situation. My last album started on Violator, then it went to Columbia, then to Sony Urban. So this one here is starting off with—well actually, it’s called Sony BMG now, because they merged again.

AllHipHop.com: Is the album title staying the same, like the mixtape [the original Streetsweeper series]?

Kay Slay: Yeah, it’s The Streetweeper Vol. 2, but it’s subtitled The Pain From The Game. It’s just really expressing the pains through this. Everybody thinks that you get a deal and it’s rosy. Nobody talks about how artists get raped for their royalties and their publishing. You know, all you really do is get an advance. After that, unless you sell Eminem numbers, you ain’t going to see no paper. That’s where you just gotta build a name to establish that credibility to sell units, where you can get a production deal, a joint venture, or something to see your paper. It’s just a stepping-stone. People don’t really know about that. It’s not a really as sweet as it looks. It’s a really hard struggle. At the end of the day, you could come out this shit broke. Nobody expresses the situation to the younger brothers. The intro of my album, I speak about the bullshit politics, and so on and so forth, in the game. It’s just another learning experience coming from me; trying to put some knowledge in the music industry.

AllHipHop.com: Do you think coming from the mixtape game, that you are your own A&R? As far as doing the legwork to get people together because of the relationships you have from putting out the original Streetsweeper mixtapes.

Kay Slay: Both A&Rs I’ve had, I actually know more about music than them. I’ve been deejaying for like 27 years. What can you tell me about a track, about an artist’s flow, or anything of that nature? You might have just got interested in music six or seven years ago. You might have want to school to learn about it. It’s something that I went to, from the house parties, out to the park, to the centers, to Bronx River, you understand what I’m saying? I watched hip-hop evolved into what it was. Cause, even before hip-hop, I was playing disco records, I was playing my mother’s old records. I ain’t have no two turntables and a mixer; I turned one component set up, and brought the next one up. So its like, what can an A&R tell me? You can give a suggestion, but you can’t direct my album the way I can. And 90 percent of artists don’t respect them. So if they go to them to get them on the album, I may hear some dumb shit like $50,000 [to be on the album]. As opposed to if I step to them, it’s going to be like you wash my back, I wash yours. Or in some cases, some brothers’ careers might look big, but it’s really not and they may ask for 20k, and you know, we work it out like that.

AllHipHop.com: How is the process different to you when you put together a major album versus a mixtape? Is it more business, or is the love still there?

Kay Slay: With me, it’s still the love. Cause with me, I know, in all actuality, this is what’s going to help me get to the next level. It ain’t like I’m going to get a gang of paper for doing this album [laughs]. But I always look at the situation that comes after. The difference to me, you getting other people records for mixtapes. On the album, YOU making the records, so it’s definitely more love. Cause at the end of the day, you made this record. This record represents you. If it’s trash, mufuckas is going to look at you like, “You heard that shit Slay put out. But if it’s hot, it’s going to be like, ‘Yo, nigga did his thing.’ So it’s definitely way more love when you doing an album. Especially when you spending money to do the records and money to be in the studio and so on and so forth, rather than you just taking a nigga record he gave you and throwing it on a mixtape.

AllHipHop.com: With your mixtapes, you got plenty of people throwing records your way, is it the same when you put together a major album?

Kay Slay: It’s the same; It even worse, now. I got a lot of people throwing records at me and I feel bad, cause it’s too late. They have to wait for the next go round. I got 27 records and everything isn’t going on the record. It’s hard. I like every record I do. Then it’s hard telling somebody, ‘yo dog’ [laughs]

AllHipHop.com: You ain’t making the album [laughs]

Kay Slay: You know what I’m saying? I know how people take this shit. They take it to heart.

AllHipHop.com: Cause you got a face, they know where to find you. They can go up to Hot 97 like, ‘Yo Slay.’

Kay Slay: Nah, nah, they ain’t coming to Hot 97

AllHipHop.com: I’m just saying you ain’t Donnie Ienner [President, Sony Music U.S.], who people don’t know. People know Kay Slay.

Kay Slay: Yeah, I know. I understand exactly what you saying. I’m just saying I know how it is when I was trying to come up. So for someone to tell you, I can’t give you this right now. So for somebody to feel like they did something and they walk about like, ‘Yeah, I’ma be on this nigga Slay joint.’ Then you have to tell them, ‘Yo dog, your record ain’t gonna make the cut.’ That’s like a fucking blow. I know the pain. Like I said, it’s a part of the pain from game, man. Everybody can’t ride. It’s hard, man.

AllHipHop.com: You mentioned it earlier, so I wanted to ask what are your thoughts on the Sony-BMG merger?

Kay Slay: I don’t give a fuck. If that means the artists that are on BMG are easier to clear, then it’s a beautiful thing. Other than that, I’m not getting none of the corporate money that’s being tossed up. Ain’t nobody got me an A&R job. I don’t give a fuck about that, man. They could merge with everybody. Just push, promote, and market my shit the right way, man. You know what I’m saying? [laughs] I don’t really care about any of that shit, for real. It has no affect on me—

AllHipHop.com: They cutting back staff, so they may cut back budgets. Especially cause you aren’t like a traditional artist. They may be like, ‘We could do what Slay does.’ [laughs]

Kay Slay: Well you know what, then I’ll cut back on playing their shit. And I start cutting DJs heads off that want to play their records. That’s when you put the pressure on. Fuck them niggas, yo. They got to play by the rules, man. Because it’s already a double-standard game as far as them not promoting mixtape DJs when the beef comes from the R.I.A.A. Because they hand us the fucking records, like here ‘I need you to promote my new artist that I’m trying bring up.’ Or even artists they already got, ‘I need you to break the record in the street.’ For the mixtape, they will give you the records. BUT—if you have a headache with the R.I.A.A., they don’t wanna give you a letter stating: He does independent promotion for us and no he’s not selling the tapes, they for promotional use only. I don’t sell no mixtapes, they just to keep my name alive. But what about the people that have to do that to make a living? They straight giving them 20 to 30 records to make a tape, and when the beef comes they ain’t backing them, man. So I feel a way about that anyway. It’s nasty, yo. That’s why I got the attitude I got.

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