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Celly Cel: Return of the Mack

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Back in 1994, the Hip-Hop scene experienced a new sound coming out of Vallejo, California. It wasn’t the usual Cali sound talking about, “F**k the Police” No, this sound from the Sik-Wid-It camp came with new slanguistics that would forever establish Vallejo as one of the trend setters of Hip-Hop. Celly Cel who was a part of supergroup, The Click brought classic hits such as “Hot Sunny Day,” and the instant classic “It’s Going Down.”

Since Jive focused on silicon Pop stars and Mobb Deep, Sik-Wid-It and Too Short were part of the foundation set aside. Celly Cel can attest to that. Now after a three year hiatus, Celly Cel is back with a new outlook on life, a new sound and here to show the new school what the real game of Hip-Hop is about. AllHipHop.com got a chance to speak with one the original playas that put Vallejo on the map to discuss transitions, broken dreams, new projects and his new label.

AllHipHop.com: What’s been going since you dropped your last album in 2001?

Celly Cel: Well, I just have been getting my mind right. I have really been working hard to get this label started and out there so we can put out good music.

AllHipHop.com: With the label, how did you prepare for such a big shift of responsibility?

Celly Cel: I had to change a lot because being on a major before all I had to do was turn in my masters. [laughs] But now as the owner of a label, I have to make sure that the magazine ads are running, that retail knows the album is coming out, and get the street team together. So it’s a lot of responsibility that now rests on my shoulders, so I definitely have to do my part and act as the company itself.

AllHipHop.com: What happened with you and Sik-Wid-It? That label was so big in the 90’s.

Celly Cel: Right, it really was just a business move. When I was with Sik-Wid-It, I really just learned what I could so I could eventually do it on my own. There was no bad feelings or whatever, I just grew as an artist and felt that it was time for me to branch out on my own and start my own label so I could put out other artists.

AllHipHop.com: Since you are still on good terms with Sik-Wid-It, are you planning on doing a joint with them on your new album?

Celly Cel: Yeah, E-40 and I actually did a joint on my new album, just to let people know that there is no hard feelings between us and that we are still friends.

AllHipHop.com: Speaking on collabos, back in 2001 you were in another group with Jayo Felony and Spice called the Criminalz. Three bigger names, and the album flopped. Why do you think that the album was so slept on?

Celly Cel: I think the main reason is because it released under an independent, so it was a lot harder to get the word out there and promote it like it should have been. Because a lot of people tell me that it was a great album, and I believe it was a great album, so I feel that the only thing we lacked was promotion because not a lot of people were aware.

AllHipHop.com: How do you compare It’z Real Out Here to your last album?

Celly Cel: I have grown as an artist. My delivery is different and my confidence as an artist is a lot stronger than it was before, so to me that makes this album a better album.

AllHipHop.com: On your album, you teamed up with WC from Westside Connection and the track was hot, are you planning on releasing a whole album featuring the both of you?

Celly Cel: I have been hearing a lot of people saying that we should. I don’t know because he is already doing the Westside Connection thing, so he may not really want to do too many group things. But we real cool, so I don‘t know I may have to ask him, it won’t hurt. [laughs]

AllHipHop.com: You hold it down with the veterans. Was that your purpose to reach out and get the vets in the game to put out your sound?

Celly Cel: Truthfully, it really just happened like that, because me and Jay Tee [from N2Deep] planned on doing something before, we just never did. Then we started to run into each other and so we finally did a track. With [E-40], we did that to show everyone we are still cool and I guess it just happened like that. It wasn’t a planned out thing, but it’s funny that’s the outcome.

AllHipHop.com: I gotta ask, was that your real body on the cover of your album?

Celly Cel: [laugh]Yeah, I get that a lot, it’s like only 50 Cent and LL [Cool J] can have that type of body. [laughs] Nah, that’s all me and I have been like that for years. No I didn’t have to spend anytime in jail to get it, I did it out on the streets exercising in the gym everyday.

AllHipHop.com:: With you being a West Coast legend and a vet in the game, how do you feel about the re-emergence of the gangs in the street and music?

Celly Cel: Obviously, they ain’t learned nothing. I think a lot of it has to do with fashion and fads now, you know more or less trying to be a part of something. Truthfully, I don’t see it getting as serious as it used to be. Don’t get me wrong, it’s serious. But not too serious because a lot of the O.G.’s are focused on making they paper. No one is trying to be locked up behind bars for nothing.

AllHipHop.com: What about artists like The Game who are making it more serious, because everything he appears on he is flamed up and you have Snoop even going back to wearing his flags…

Celly Cel: Yeah, and that’s why it’s still somewhat serious. I feel that a lot of these kids are wearing colors because they see them doing it. They don’t know what that stuff and those signs really mean, but true O.G.s do. To a regular teen on the street, the Crip walk is a dance, but to older vets in the game that’s something that’s real and that they live everyday.

AllHipHop.com: What has changed in Hip-Hop since you started back in ‘92?

Celly Cel: Before, Hip-Hop was more about people speaking their minds and telling you how they felt at the time. Now I think everyone is gearing for the mainstream, trying to get that club hit, and making the game a lot more formulaic to get that cross over radio hit.

AllHipHop.com: true and what’s crazy is now conscious Hip-Hop is starting to move to the West coast when back in the day it was more of an East coast thing.

Celly Cel: Yep. [laughs] I think that what it boils down to is people are tired of hearing the same thing over and over and with the West being quiet for a minute, I think people are starting to look this way again because they want to hear different stuff, so it’s really a good time for us.

AllHipHop.com: What can the people expect when they cop your album, if they haven’t checked for Celly Cel in a minute?

Celly Cel: A breath of fresh air, as far as taking it back to when people really just spoke their minds, and not just went main stream with it. I made sure that with this album I stayed true to myself and talked about things I see out here and what people go through in the streets. I made sure that I created music that the people could connect with instead of the same stuff they hear and see on the radio and videos over and over. I am just bringing a whole different vibe and hopefully people can connect with me, and just ride.

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