Approximately one month after his release from prison, West Coast lyricist Ras Kass is ready to get back to work, he told AllHipHop.com in a recent interview.
But his new direction may surprise some of his fans.
The former Capitol Records artist, born John Austin IV, was arrested in October 2007, reportedly for violating the terms of his probation for a previous arrest, by appearing at the BET Hip-Hop Awards in Atlanta.
While he would not speak about the circumstances that lead to this most recent arrest, Ras Kass was very candid about the recent adjustments hes had to make.
Im kinda numb, evidently happier and appreciative, Ras Kass told AllHipHop.com. Any situation where youre removed from day-to-day normality, you have to get used to it. The adjustments are everything. Its sensory overload, especially in respect to where I just came from, where everything is regimented.
[But] Its a time when you just gotta grow up, in whatever respect it is. So its certain things I can and cannot do. Ninety percent of it is recognizing that. The other ten percent is putting it into action.
Ras Kass said he took advantage of his two-year sentence to study the business side of the game.
His motivation for such research, he explained, was the disparity between his level of talent and his level of success as he sees it.
My whole thing was sitting back and doing a lot of third-person critiquing of Ras Kass, the rapper recounted. ’Hes probably arguably in my opinion, one of the greatest lyricist that has many a time been swept under the rug by the music business. Part of the problem that has held Ras Kass back is having the right team, the right marketing, the right company behind him for him to be able to do the same things as other talented people such as Outkast or TI or Nas or Jay-Z or Eminem. Talented people who make it to the next level.
My thing was, I dont need to write a rap. Im good at that. Thats not the issue, the lyricist continued. So I wanted to focus on the business. Imma probably do online just to get acclimated. And its not like I cant record during that time, but my focus is the business and putting the right team together.
Ras Kass is also undertaking a great challenge in his personal life: seeking a college degree, something hes been wanting to do for nearly a decade.
Apparently, he and rapper Xzibit had discussed the idea of not only going through the experience together, but also documenting it, even before the advent of reality TV.
The likeliness that Ras Kass college experience will become must-see-tv is unlikely, however, as he says hes in it for the education at this point.
He reassures his fans that none of this means he is retiring from rapping.
Its my passion, he asserted. Im not retired, its just I have to reassess, even before this situation happened, what needs to be done. Some of my s**t, [people] are just gonna have to rediscover it. If we talking about body of work, as a solo artist, 16 bars, three verses per song: dude, Ive said some s**t! And I dont get the same credit that the more known people get. The goal is 90% business and 10% music. If the business isnt right, the musics always gonna suffer.
A full Q&A with Ras Kass will run on AllHipHop.com shortly.