Purple City: Get Pifted

Admit it. You thought Cam started the hazy purple trend. Sometimes two different people walk two different paths to get to the same place. One walks the streets of Harlem, conveniently stopping in a corner bodega to showcase the one-stop shop playing a song on his recent mixtape, while he offers daps and pounds to those wishing to get a word with Harlem’s self-proclaimed “Emperor.” The other chows down in the studio and offers up some quick, albeit bizarre, pieces of advice between explaining the meaning of his slang word “Yao Ming” and his past affiliations with Hip-Hop greats Onyx, and EPMD. Walk as they may, Shiest Bub “The Emperor” and Agallah are moving in the same direction – painting Harlem purple.

On the strength of a host of Purple City mixtapes and their official mixtape, Road to Riches, Purple City has turned purple from a pastel Easter color into the dominant color in the Dipset regime. And while the color might look nice to others, it’s about more than purple minks and purple haze for Shiest and Ag. Dudes are on their grind putting together a movement to match their fellow Dip movement.

With Dipset Week 2005 in full effect here at AllHipHop.com, we got Shiest to stop ‘partaking in the piff’ and Agallah to step out of the production booth for several moments to chat up the group’s latest developments, and interesting history.

AllHipHop.com: Why did you initially see a need for Purple City as a unit as opposed to just maybe yourself starting something up?

Shiest Bub: Well, to be honest with you, when I started the Purple City movement, it wasn’t even to be a group. It was like Purple City Productions, Shiest Bub, whatever Shiest wants to do. I hadn’t even made up my decision whether I was gonna make beats, do fashion, I didn’t know what the f**k I was gonna do, but I did know I was gonna have my own business. I was gonna use Purple City as the name of my company because that’s what I was involved with. I was smoking mad purple haze. I started wearing the color. I found out it was my birth color and that really was just like, “I’m really gonna go ahead with this.” Even in the beginning, I was still skeptical of the name. As a matter of fact, Jim Jones was the one that was like, “Yo, you better run with that Purple City s**t. That’s it right there!”

AllHipHop.com: Roughly when was this?

Shiest Bub: Like Fall, 2002.

AllHipHop.com: Who were you, before that?

Shiest Bub: I’m in the union for steamfitters. That’s like construction going over here in New York. I was in the union. I was playing the block real heavy. I’d get out of work and play the block real, real, real, real heavy. That’s how I met Jim and all those dudes, the Diplomats. That’s how I met Agallah. That’s how I met Un Kasa. I met them straight from the streets.

AllHipHop.com: How’d you choose the team you chose?

Shiest Bub: What Agallah brought to the table is that he’s a producer and he can make beats from scratch with no samples and stuff like that. He has an extensive history in the Rap game. Even though he’s not a gold artist or anything like that, he just has a lot of experience. He’s dealt with many artists. A lot of artists have love for him, want to see him pop, and I felt like that’s what it is with him. Same with Un Kasa. He knows a lot of people in the industry. He’s respected as a street rapper, and I felt like it’s time to take him to another level. Because he has glasses and he’s short, I felt like that was a great marketing scheme for me to promote him. Everybody was always so against his image like, “Naw, he has glasses. He’s dope but he has glasses. He has to get contacts. He has to get surgery.” It’s like f**k all that, man! This is Rap, man. What part of the game is that?

AllHipHop.com: People may not be up on Agallah’s illustrious past. To many, he was “that dude” always waiting to get in the booth at D&D. Bring the new folks up to speed…

Agallah: I been in this game for ten years. I was signed to Elektra in ’95. Like, I knew B.I.G. and I knew Jay-Z – I f**ked with them n***as. I been putting out supergroups from EPMD to Onyx – responsible for a lot of production from Onyx, EPMD, Busta Rhymes, Mobb Deep, Big Pun, Tony Touch, KRS-One, Kool G. Rap, Rakim, countless names that I worked with in this industry. They basically know how I get down. I used to be up in every studio, like basically mainly D&D making up with Guru, Premier, doing beats with Premier for Teflon’s album, rapping on joints with Group Home. S**t like that. You know, me and Shiest, he needed somebody to paint the landscape, and I just came with that brush and did what I had to do. I helped Group Home get their deal. I helped PMD bring his single back out, “Rough, Rugged, and Raw,” when he ain’t have nothing out there. I brought Saigon out with a dope-ass song called “Contraband” when he wasn’t really doing anything. He had just came home from doing a serious bid. So, it was just basically just a blessing that I got blessed with the production talent in order to work with other artists and to get that relationship going with other artists.

AllHipHop.com: How has the Purple City notoriety in your career compared to all those grunt years?

Agallah: I was always known to the Hip-Hop heads but now I’m getting recognized by people when you walk out of stores and s**t in the Village. I can’t even walk through Soho! Like, a motherf**ker just jumping out from behind his workday to say what’s up to a n***a. Like, he in the store working, the chick’s working in the store, run up on me like, “I sing!” I’m starting to get that now. I’m starting to get that now. Like, “Oh word?” That s**t is kind of bugged out.

AllHipHop.com: And what about you guys being members of Dipset and having a role in that clique? You also are trying to promote a movement with Purple City. Is there ever a conflict of interest somewhere in there?

Shiest Bub: When I came to Diplomats, it was like, “Yo, you know I’m about to run my own show, but Dipset for life.” It just is what it is. I just can’t be sitting around not making moves. That’s really why I went so hard with the Purple City s**t, ‘cause it was like, me being Dipset, I wasn’t really making the money…I wasn’t making any money being Dipset. I was…of course I was getting notoriety, but at the same time, that s**t is only but so far. My notoriety is based upon how I carry myself and the business ethics that I have. So I brought things to Dipset, too, but I guess at the end it weighed out. I got in with my own label through the movement, you know? I learned mad s**t from Jim Jones and Cam’ron.

AllHipHop.com: The Diplomats have fans and critics. In the criticism, Purple City took a lot of pokes for the name, and the fabrication of the group. What’s your reaction?

Agallah: So they cannot hate on us! Basically, we are from the streets. Me, Shiest, and Un, we are from the streets. We definitely cater to everybody that was doing it musically, doing it heavy. We was catering to anybody that was doing them, showing anybody love that was putting out their little mixtape from any group. It didn’t matter. We wasn’t going out there saying that we were the best rappers. We ain’t do that!

Shiest Bub: Our s**t is…it’s like with the truth. You either love the truth or it hurts. So, to these dudes, you know what it is? Half the time the people who hate it, they’re like aspiring rappers. They want to be in. They want to be down, but they can’t be down because they’re corny and they have hate in their blood!

For a motherf**ker to say anything negative about what we do is a hater, because at the end of the day, we do this s**t ourselves. We are the epitome of Hip-Hop. For real! It’s crazy, and that’s why Hip-Hop is watered down. Because motherf**kers is just jealous, envious.

AllHipHop.com: Agallah, looking back at your b-boy legacy, have you sacrificed any reputation to go this route?

Agallah: The whole thing is that I reinvented myself, which is a great thing! I was always a hard n***a. I’m a raw n***a, so anything hard or grimy, I feel it. Anything from the street that I can feel that’s real, I’m feeling it. I ran with Onyx for a minute. I ran with them, did some records, and I was rhyming raspy and all that, but I was doing that way before I met them. So, it was like, I been was flowin’ like that. I been had that flow. I just didn’t break it out before. It wasn’t ready, but I definitely had pieces of that flow. I just didn’t put it all into perspective. But then, when I got with the Dips and all that, I fit right along with them because, what happened was, I’m a street n***a – I’m up on everything the street talks – from how they talk in the street, from the newest slang, the whatever. I’m up on it. I’m out there creating my own s**t.

AllHipHop.com: Like what?

Agallah: Like I got n***as saying “Yao Ming” right now! And people think, when they listen to it, they think of the basketball player. But I made n***as look at it like, “Oh yeah, man, shorty ass is straight Yao Ming,” or “That chain is Yao Ming.” Nahmeah?

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