Seated in the rear of parked RV on a wintry December afternoon, DJ Kay Slay is waiting. In fact, hes been waiting for four hours. And with no communication between him and label reps inside the Brooklyn warehouse where hes 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 its on the way for the umpteenth time. If weve learned anything about Kay Slay, its that he doesnt tolerate disrespect. Now, the Drama King returns spewing vitriol at all who stand in his way. Okay, hes reloaded.
AllHipHop.com: So Slay, whats going on with the album? Whats been the changes since the first one dropped?
Kay Slay: The changes on this album right here is that its 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 withwell actually, its 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, its The Streetweeper Vol. 2, but its subtitled The Pain From The Game. Its just really expressing the pains through this. Everybody thinks that you get a deal and its 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 aint going to see no paper. Thats 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. Its just a stepping-stone. People dont really know about that. Its not a really as sweet as it looks. Its 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. Its 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 Ive had, I actually know more about music than them. Ive been deejaying for like 27 years. What can you tell me about a track, about an artists 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. Its something that I went to, from the house parties, out to the park, to the centers, to Bronx River, you understand what Im saying? I watched hip-hop evolved into what it was. Cause, even before hip-hop, I was playing disco records, I was playing my mothers old records. I aint 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 cant direct my album the way I can. And 90 percent of artists dont 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, its going to be like you wash my back, I wash yours. Or in some cases, some brothers careers might look big, but its 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, its still the love. Cause with me, I know, in all actuality, this is whats going to help me get to the next level. It aint like Im 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 its definitely more love. Cause at the end of the day, you made this record. This record represents you. If its trash, mufuckas is going to look at you like, You heard that shit Slay put out. But if its hot, its going to be like, Yo, nigga did his thing. So its 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: Its the same; It even worse, now. I got a lot of people throwing records at me and I feel bad, cause its too late. They have to wait for the next go round. I got 27 records and everything isnt going on the record. Its hard. I like every record I do. Then its hard telling somebody, yo dog [laughs]
AllHipHop.com: You aint making the album [laughs]
Kay Slay: You know what Im 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 aint coming to Hot 97
AllHipHop.com: Im just saying you aint Donnie Ienner [President, Sony Music U.S.], who people dont know. People know Kay Slay.
Kay Slay: Yeah, I know. I understand exactly what you saying. Im just saying I know how it is when I was trying to come up. So for someone to tell you, I cant give you this right now. So for somebody to feel like they did something and they walk about like, Yeah, Ima be on this nigga Slay joint. Then you have to tell them, Yo dog, your record aint gonna make the cut. Thats like a fucking blow. I know the pain. Like I said, its a part of the pain from game, man. Everybody cant ride. Its 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 dont give a fuck. If that means the artists that are on BMG are easier to clear, then its a beautiful thing. Other than that, Im not getting none of the corporate money thats being tossed up. Aint nobody got me an A&R job. I dont 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 Im saying? [laughs] I dont 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 arent like a traditional artist. They may be like, We could do what Slay does. [laughs]
Kay Slay: Well you know what, then Ill cut back on playing their shit. And I start cutting DJs heads off that want to play their records. Thats when you put the pressure on. Fuck them niggas, yo. They got to play by the rules, man. Because its 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 Im 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. BUTif you have a headache with the R.I.A.A., they dont wanna give you a letter stating: He does independent promotion for us and no hes not selling the tapes, they for promotional use only. I dont 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 aint backing them, man. So I feel a way about that anyway. Its nasty, yo. Thats why I got the attitude I got.