dont need Rakim on the remix to tell you that in hip-hop, the truth
hurts. The truth is, twelve years ago, the Oakland duo of Yukmouth and
Numskull got it in as The Luniz, and still hold one of the biggest
records to ever come from the Bay in I Got Five on It. However, after
that, the truth got blurry. The light-hearted group who
celebrated mischief and self-medication split in two directions. After
publicly ignored disputes with Master P and Too $hort, Yukmouth headed
South to align with Rap-A-Lot Records in his more thugged out approach
something that Numskull says was fictional. Meanwhile, Numskull
returned to his roots with Digital Underground on the road.
Now an admitted alcoholic, the honesty is hard to ignore. Numskull admits to a blue-collar lifestyle, as he releases Numworld,
an album that tells it like it is. In a discussion tracing the
evolution and demise of The Luniz, Numskull speaks candidly, despite
his intention to bring the fun back to the muzik.
AllHipHop.com: In 1995, The Luniz put out Operation Stackola and E-40 dropped In a Major Way.
Those were two very important albums. Was that that a crazy point for
you guys and the bay area in terms of the attention you were getting?
Numskull: I think that was the peak of it, yeah. Dudes like Too $hort
were bringin attention to The Bay already, but yeah, that right there
was the peak of it for me.
AllHipHop.com: You were always a lyrical dude. A lot of people dont
consider MCs from Oakland to be lyrical. How do you feel about that
Numskull: Thank you man, thank you. I appreciate that. Everybodys
always talking about that lyrical stuff. I just wanna hear people say
something. If youre sayin something, thats whats gonna make me like
your music. Talk to me, say something to me. Let me know youre going
through the same thing Im going through. And Ill buy your records
then and I hope thats what people think about Nummy.
AllHipHop.com: On Lunitik Muzik particularly, you brought a light-hearted side to the music, at times comedy. How intentional was that?
Numskull: Ill tell you, man, me and Yuk was all about havin fun. That
was our lives: just clownin and havin fun. We baggin on everybody
all day. Thats what our families do. We have fun. But were still
struggling so we try to make it better with our music. We try to make
it better with ourselves. We laugh all day, thats what we do. We
laugh, we play, we make money, we struggle, all in one, and it comes
out in my music. I got a comedy side, man, I got a struggle side,
thats me. I take what I live and I put it into my music.
AllHipHop.com: Whats your relationship with Yukmouth, right now?
Numskull: Me and him are on some like whatever is whatever. If we
come together to do something, its gonna be for the money. You know
what Im sayin? Its like having a brother, man. Sometimes you not
gonna get along, and thats what were at right now. Were not getting
along right now. But maybe one day itll get better and well put
something out for the fans, you never know.
AllHipHop.com: Where does this come from?
Numskull: Aw man, I dont know, man. This is what I have to say: I
dont like lying about the s**t that I do in my raps. That aint me,
man. Basically, thats what me and Yuk had a problem with. He aint
telling the truth in his raps, and I wont do that. Im a broke n***a,
so I rap about that. [Hes] rappin about flossin and all that. N***a,
we didnt have that s**t. We wasnt havin that s**t. N***as wasnt
buying houses with elevators in them and s**t. Basically, thats my
whole beef. Dont lie in your raps, n***a, because Im not. Thats how
it is, man, and if a n***a mad at that then f**k em.
AllHipHop.com: I was listening to Im Not and 40s in a Brownbag, two of your new joints. Whats the album situation?
Numskull: My album will be out June 26th, called Numworld.
This album is about me cause people havent seen me or heard me in a
long time. This is what Im rapping about. This is my struggle. This is
about everybody who thinks I cant do it without Yuk. Thats the type
of s**t thats on this album, plus me being an alcoholic. Its just me,
man. This album is me, and thats what Im writing about.
AllHipHop.com: When you say youre an alcoholic, do you mean that literally?
Numskull: Literally, Im an alcoholic. I drink six 40 [ounce bottles]
of Mickeys a day. Wake up with one, I get one before breakfast
[Laughing] and I have [four more] of them before I go to sleep.
AllHipHop.com: Do you consider that a problem?
Numskull: Nah, thats what I love to do. I love Mickeys man. Tell
Mickeys to sponsor me. Its not like that, but if you drink six
forties a day, youre an alcoholic. I aint gonna deny it.
AllHipHop.com: You havent been in the public eye for a minute. Tell me what youve been up to all this time.
Numskull: Actually, Ive been on tour for the last five years with
Digital Underground, man. Ive been traveling. Them n***as taught me
how to do shows, man, and I was just soaking up game.
AllHipHop.com: I know you had a relationship with Tupac. What was that like?
Numskull: Yeah, I knew Pac. We werent best friends or nothin. But we
respected each other as rappers from the Bay. I mean I was with
Digital, and he was under Shock and them so it was a relationship like
that. When Pac and me saw each other, it was all good. I go to his
hotel, he came to my hotel, s**t like that. You know we did some stuff
with Pac. And after he died, we went in and did some stuff that never
came out, but you know how that is. Me and Pac was fam, it was like
AllHipHop.com: Operation Stackola and Lunitik Muzik both did excellent on the charts. After that the sales started slowing down. Why was that?
Numskull: Well, what happened was Virgin expected the single to blow up
just like I Got Five on It did. And putting out Me and You after I
Got Five on It, that was the biggest mistake. I told them not to do it
but they did it anyway. They wanted to take us somewhere where you
cant take street n***as from Oakland. We had a ghetto classic. It only
related to the world because it was about weed. The hook was
tremendous, the beat was cool. But you cannot follow that up with
[singing] Just me and you, we made it. F**k all that s**t. They f**ked that up. They didnt wanna put no money behind us.
AllHipHop.com: Like you said I Got Five on It was a classic. How important was and is that song to Hip-Hop?
Numskull: You cant talk about rap music and not talk about I Got Five
on It. Thats how I feel. I mean I had old people come up to me, old
enough to be my grandparents and say, I love that song. Thats huge.
And Im glad I was able to make a song like that.
AllHipHop.com: When you were recording the Silver and Black album, did a lot of industry politics already come into play?
Numskull: Yeah, yeah. That was an album that Yuk and me wanted to do,
but I didnt wanna sign to Rap-A-Lot. But n***as needed money, man, so
we was like, Lets go, but I didnt even sign over there at
Rap-A-Lot. I just did a one-album deal. No contract or nothing.
AllHipHop.com: Looking back, youve seen a lot of trials and
tribulations. Is there anything different you would have done with your
Numskull: Yeah, I would have invested my money.