My how things have changed. Six years ago, Cormega was a member of rap super group The Firm, and he was signed to the most storied label in hip-hop, Def Jam. But even with a deafening buzz, he hopelessly waited as the release date for his debut album, The Testament, came and went. Nothing. Since then, Cormega has trekked the underground in search of musical freedom.
But Mega isnt bitter. Thats because his two independent solo albums combined have sold more than 250,000 copies and hes won a Source Awardall without spending money for radio-play promotion or a pricey video. Conversely, the same music industry that shunned him is now in shambles. Major record companies began losing money and merging due to the emergence of rampant Internet piracy and illegal downloading. Note to the Recording Industry Association of America: You can learn a thing or two about the music biz from Mega.
AllHipHop.com: So where have you been? What made you take a year off as far releasing an album?
Cormega: My daughter was born. She was actually born late 2002, so 2003, I just really wanted to just chill with my daughter and I didnt want to rush my album. I didnt want to take anything from my consistency or deprive the fans of a good album. So I said, F*ck it, let me just chill and spend a little time with my daughter. That enabled me to make the album better. The album is going to be incredible when it comes out. I just took that break cause of my daughter. And cause I had a lot of pressure under me to make a good third album, so I just wanted to get my mind right.
AllHipHop.com: Where do you feel the pressure coming from? Yourself? The fans? Or just cause its a third album?
Cormega: All of the above. Cause I always challenge myself. But also, history will show that if an artist comes with a third album then he has staying power. Everybody can make two albums. I dont give a f*ck if your first album was garbage, the label is gonna give you a second chance. Then after that, thats when it tells if you gonna be here for a while, or if you not. So the third album has to be real defining, you know what Im saying? So my third album, right now I think its the best album I ever made.
AllHipHop.com: Speaking of defining, you album titles are usually real definitive. Is that something you take time in, coming up with concept or ideas for the album titles?
Cormega: Yeah, exactly. Because an album title has to reflect the artist, in my opinion. So an album title is usually one of the hardest things for me to come up with. Like Urban Legend doesnt just fit so perfect. The Realness, The True Meaning, those titles just fit, so I just ran with them.
AllHipHop.com: Whats been your decisionwith the Ayatolla and Mega EP, the Legal Hustle Compilation, and your solo albumbehind your thought process as to when to release each one?
Cormega: Imma keep it real with AllHipHop.com. Imma say something that Ive never ever said before. The Ayatolla project, Ive basically um I basically . How should I put this? I basically fell back from it, because Ayatollas work ethic and mine werent consistent, you know what Im saying? Like, Im the type of dude, if you a producer, lets say we gonna do an EP, all I need is whats an EP, seven songs? So its like once you do a beat, Im basically ready to go. Any nigga thats worked with me, or any producer will tell you Im a work-a-holic. So its like Ayatolla, like, once we started working on the album and then I got him a little bread from somebody . I gave him some paper, its like, he started slacking, in my opinion. I dont know if it was from the paper, or whatever. But I dont got time forlike say I go to the studio and you suppose to come to the studio and you dont show up. Like, I dont got time for stuff like that. I said, you know what? I could be doing other things then to be trying to wait for somebody to come to the studio and this and that. Thats the only thing thats held that up. Like, if he was consistent with the shit he was suppose to do, then the Ayatolla project would have been done. So right now, thats not one of my priorities right now. When he gets his shit together
AllHipHop.com: Then itll be done.
AllHipHop.com: Ive read a couple of interviews where you mention your work ethic not being consistent with other artists. Can you describe exactly what your work ethic is like on a day for you?
Cormega: Everything I do, Im just on time with it. If I got a studio locked out, theyll be like, Yo Mega, the session starts at 3:30 and it ends at one in the morning. Im gonna be there at 3:30. I might be there at 3 oclock. Yo, Im typically in the studio before the engineer. I like to do what I do. It aint just a check for me. Its professionalism, you know what Im saying? If an artist is supposed to be at a session at a certain time and they dont show up, or they come hours late, Im going to be offended. And certain artists dont take sh*t as serious at me. So its like, if you dont respect your craft, how am I gonna respect your craft. Like Mobb Deep, I could work with them all day. Because I know how they work. Havoc used to be like an artist that shows up late. He dont even show up late no more. Like last session I had with Havoc, he was there before me. I couldnt even believe it. There was a time when we all had dreams of being rappers. If somebody would have told us be somewhere, wed have been there at that time. Whether it was an audition, a talent show, whatever. But now that we on, now that were in this game that we all dreamed of being in, now people is f*cking up and coming late, and not doing the things we suppose to be doing and not taking responsibility with their art? I dont got time for that sh*t.
AllHipHop.com: If you do want youre suppose to do as a rapper, youre gonna make money. Do you think more rappers are in it today just to make money as opposed making history?
Cormega: Hell yeah, I do. I mean look at they sh*t. You got artists thatll just f*ck with whoever is hot. And the person who is hot might not even be talented, they just might be hot, you know what Im saying? So dudes will sacrifice they dignity and do a song with that guy, but not do a song with a legend. Or not do a song with somebody thats really talented. You got people thats taking wack beats from producers that are just hot because of their name. And they not taking beats from more renown producers, or producers that have been giving us dope hip-hop records. Im not in this for the five minutes of fame. Im in this for the longevity and I want to leave a mark in this. If Im a basketball player, when I retire, I want to be a Hall of Famer. Even if I dont win a ring, let me be a Hall of Famer. Or let me be an artist thats legitimate; thats name is legitimately spoken on as being talented. I dont wanna just be here for this short time and not make my mark in hip-hop, cause then my purpose isnt served.