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Craig G & Marley Marl: Ultimate Alliance

It is one thing to come into the Rap industry as an astute pupil of the game; knowing the history and always paying respect to those who came before you. It is another when kids jump into the business clearly for reasons other than the love, in turn representing the culture incorrectly. The latter are who producer Marley Marl and original Juice Crew member Craig G. are trying to set straight with their new collaborative album Operation Take Back Hip-Hop on Good Hands Records. After two decades of history together, the Queens legends have reunited on wax. Both have lived through both golden eras in Rap, and want to show all these knuckleheads how it is really done. AllHipHop.com speaks to Craig and Marley about the new album, what Hip-Hop isn’t, some of the culprits, what needs to be done to save it and why they’re still the ultimate alliance. AllHipHop.com: You titled the album Operation Take Back Hip-Hop. In your mind who took it away from us?Marley Marl: Ignorance took Hip-Hop away.Craig G.: I would agree 100%. It stems from no one being original and cool anymore. It’s not cool anymore. The people that are coming into Hip-Hop, and it’s not their fault as far as artists or producers or whatever, feel that to do something original is not going to be financially viable or give them the proper light. At the same time you look at an OutKast or Kanye, it’s perfect to stand on the outside because you may get noticed more. A lot of people [are] scared to do that.

“My kids will not be listening to Hip-Hop, I’m sorry. That’s a quote… It’s too illiterate, it’s too dumb… A straight educated dude can’t make a hit record right now because he’s too smart.” –Marley Marl

AllHipHop.com: While most agree that we needed something else to offset the thug shoot them up die slow talk, all of this nerd Rap with the tight clothes is a little much, no?Craig G.: Well you know what’s funny man? I think one of the biggest mistakes is fusing fashion and Hip-Hop in the first place. We had a uniform back then. Everyone has Sergio Taccini’s and Starter jackets. It was the music, it wasn’t what you wore. And now as far as Hip-Hop goes, it’s about the presentation to the people. It has to do with clothes and everything else. If Kanye and Lupe did the same exact music and wore regular clothes people would probably still accept it because at the end of the day it’s still the music. Marley Marl: That part of Hip-Hop is not even as popular as the ignorant part of Hip-Hop. For me I don’t even let my kids listen to Rap. I don’t want my kids talking like most of these rappers. I’m ashamed, I don’t even want my kids hearing that s**t. I want my kids going to college. The college kids getting an education can’t identify what these motherf***ers are saying right now. My kids will not be listening to Hip-Hop, I’m sorry. That’s a quote. I’ll let my son listen to some classic stuff, but the stuff now I mean really. It’s too illiterate, it’s too dumb. What’s sad is our kids are growing up and learning this language, copying it and think that’s what to talk. A straight educated dude can’t make a hit record right now because he’s too smart. Craig G.: It’s funny, everyone is saying the same thing but no one is saying anything. Markley Marl: I feel like Bill Cosby right now (chuckles).

“We’re Hip-Hop artists. The culture didn’t start with just going in the booth. There is no more feeling in these records. Don’t get me wrong, there are a handful of artists that still do it. I think T.I. captures that mood, but it’s not many.’ –Craig G.

AllHipHop.com: When do you think things started to go downhill?Marley Marl: I would say the late 90’s. We doing Operation Take Back Hip-Hop. I don’t even consider that Hip-Hop. I consider that Rap. N****s is just rapping. Craig G.: When you listened to an EPMD it had a feeling; it felt like a force. Now it feels like a dude went into a booth and jumped on a track with baby bottles on it and just started rhyming. That’s all it is. Marley Marl: We taking back Hip-Hop. Ni***s be battling on the street and that ain’t even Hip-Hop. That’s just talking. They not rhyming; they just talking. That’s garbage to me!Craig G.: A lot of people have misconstrued the album title. Like why is he mad at all these rappers? Ya’ll can rap your heads off because we never considered ourselves rappers. We’re Hip-Hop artists. The culture didn’t start with just going in the booth. There is no more feeling in these records. Don’t get me wrong, there are a handful of artists that still do it. I think T.I. captures that mood, but it’s not many. Marley Marl: Yeah if they don’t [get] past that first or second single it’s over. Where is Hurricane Chris? Where’s he at right now? No disrespect, but everyone has one little hit but where they at? The only one that has been holding it down and has been consistent is Lil Wayne. He is consistent and keeps popping and popping, but he just rapping.

“Where is Hurricane Chris? Where’s he at right now? No disrespect, but everyone has one little hit but where they at?” –Marley Marl

AllHipHop.com: Other than the obvious, what prompted this album?Marley Marl: Nothing prompted us to make an album. This is what we do. When me and Craig get together we just get in the lab, we’ll just burn out and put beats on and rap, rhyme, scratch or whatever. This is what came out of it. We didn’t say let’s do something to take Hip-Hop back. This is how we vibe. Craig G.: That’s what it was based on back then. You didn’t purposely go and do something. You just do it and it came out. All our classics happened that way.

Deep Down – Craig G &amp Marley MarlAllHipHop.com: Let’s talk about the album.Craig G.: We just did joints. I think once people take out the intentions of hitting it big, that’s when it will get better. We just did songs. As far as getting the people on them boils down to that I’ll never do a song with someone I don’t respect. With Talib whenever I’m somewhere he’s at he always pulls me on stage. As far as Dilated, it’s amazing to me how a West coast group can take all the elements of the golden era and be successful. Cormega is another whole story, he’s a dude me and Marley watched grow into the game. Sadat X, I don’t have to say anything more.

“I want to thank the new rappers for that. Thanks for sucking so hard people want to still know what’s going on with [The Juice Crew].” –Craig G.

AllHipHop.com: How’s the Juice Crew movie coming together?Marley Marl: I think once it gets done, it’s going to be great. It’s going to show how we lived in the golden era as kids. That era in Hip-Hop for some reason people can’t let it go. Craig G.: I want to thank the new rappers for that. Thanks for sucking so hard people want to still know what’s going on with us. AllHipHop.com: Speaking of new rappers, do you think any group has come close to compiling that much talent as the Juice Crew?Marley Marl.: Wu-Tang, we both agree on that. I think the Juice Crew was a group of cats that could hold their own on their own. There were a lot of careers made from those guys. I got to give it to the Wu. Craig G.: A lot of dudes around don’t like to pay homage. But never once they did not say they didn’t base it on the Juice Crew. I always respected them for that. AllHipHop.com: Would you guys ever consider doing a Juice Crew album now?Marley Marl: Ehh, I think the only way we would do something like that is for the soundtrack for the movie. I don’t think we are trying to come out and battle the forces of evil and come out with a new Juice Crew album. But a song or two for the soundtrack, I could see.

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