aving produced for All Natural, Cali Agents, and 7L & Esoteric, the Molemen are largely thought of as Chicagos beat-society. But as Panik and Memo plug away at the boards, the microphone is gripped by an admitted fiend. Vakill has been releasing twelve-inch singles for a decade. In 2004, his Darkest Cloud album was revered by many as the independent album of the year. The work still has the press and fans talking, while others were left on a scavenger hunt just to find a copy.
Early this year, Vakill released his follow-up, Worst Fears Confirmed. A more polished effort, Vakill wants to extend his reach in a way true to his grassroots form. Including appearances by Ras Kass and Royce, this opus gives some veteran perspective in a season projected for its Chicago rookies.
Vakill discusses with AllHipHop.com his city. The MC reflects on almost twenty years ago, building with Twista. He also touches on what recently sent him packing from the Chi. Lastly, Vakill speaks about the last letter in O.P.P. in a way that may be an affirmation to some but an exclamation to others.
AllHipHop.com: In terms of the MC, Darkest Cloud was the most successful release that Molemen had seen. That said, what kind of pressure did you have going into Worst Fears Confirmed?
Vakill: Actually man, there was none. Reason being, we already knew Darkest Cloud was gonna be a one-of-a-kind album. It was just to establish myself among my peers as, Look, this n***gas nice. Realize it. It was a high-testosterone release. With Worst Fears Confirmed, it was to establish my all-around game, and to reach people in places the last album couldnt without compromising my creativity in the process.
AllHipHop.com: Explain to me your perception of the title.
Vakill: The worst fear is Okay, we know he can spit punchlines and all of that. But can he tell a good story? Can he ride the beat? It was to answer a lot of questions. For the people who doubted me, its their Worst Fears Confirmed.
AllHipHop.com: On No Mercy, you pride yourself in never resorting to selling drugs, never been shot, all of these things that MCs in the independent and mainstream are using today. What do you attribute the violent imagery the monsters, the beasts, that youre referring to throughout the album? Wheres the gully factor coming from?
Vakill: A lot of the s**t thats coming out now is tablecloth rap. Lets be honest, its not real. These n***as is puttin out too many mixtapes to be on the streets. These n***as is puttin out like five mixtapes a week. So, my whole thing with it is simple math, dog. You aint gotta be out here hollerin and screamin, cause if you hollerin and screamin about it, you obviously aint doin it. Everybody know where Im from, in the neighborhood Im from. The people that surround me, they know me well as far as my credibility to scream or holler. If you listen to Heart Bleeds, thats real talk. Thats me. Thats my life. Ive shot at n***as like everybody else. But what separates me from a lot of these n***as comin with this gullyness is just cause I aint been shot or I aint sold rock, it dont mean I aint did my share of dirt. Im just not stupid enough to get caught. [laughs] Thats not what I want people to focus on with this record only in certain doses. Its been done to death. Im not tryin to ride that wave. A lot of the [Hip-Hop] greats didnt, and Im sure a lot of those greats did their share of dirt too. Lets get rhyming back to creativity as opposed to street credibility thatd be fun. A lot of the s**t on my record aint true. Id be behind bars. But in certain aspects, a lot of it is. In certain aspects, its a lot of the s**t that Ive witnessed. But there are songs on there like, Heart Bleeds, where s**t is actually real. Real talk.
AllHipHop.com: You talk about creativity. I love this line, Love dont live here anymore, rents too expensive. Whats that line mean to you?
Vakill: [Laughs] When I wrote that line, there was so many concepts involved in writing that line. Im posted up in Indiana, right now for a minute. Cause rent actually is gettin too f**kin expensive. [laughs] Aside from that, Chicago got a bad omen as far as the hate thats spread out. Im a firm believer that theres power in numbers. It gotta start at home. A lot of us that done made it, we made it by not starting it at home. We wasnt accepted right away at home. We had to get accepted elsewhere. Then, the people at home started to see it and then they showed the love. Up until then, the love was vacant. We wasnt gettin it until New York and West Coast is lovin em. A lot of people in this town is band-wagoners. Its the same with the artists. We segregated within our own city North Side Rap, West Side Rap, and South Side Rap.
AllHipHop.com: We interviewed Naledge recently, and he said the same. Chicago may have more of that than Los Angeles.
Vakill: Its terrible! Its Willie Lynch all over. Creatively, there are some differences. West Side Rap has more of a high-hat, gangsterish, Twista sound. South Side is much more of the s**t that Im doin, the s**t that Naledge is doin. The North Side is straight boom-bap, Hip-Hop, and abstract. By region in the city, the genres is broke down.
AllHipHop.com: In reviews, your delivery has been compared to Ras Kass a lot. What was it like to get in the booth with him on Introducin?
Vakill: People first heard me and said, Man, he sounds like Ras Kass. I heard a lot of comparisons. Even when Wendy Day was managin him, shed always bring up his name like, You really remind me of this dude. He hadnt even dropped yet. The first time I heard him was Come Widdit with Saafir and Ahmed on The Streetfighter Soundtrack. I heard his vocal tone alone and was like, Damn. Yeah, thats who they talkin bout. It started to make sense. As far as my approach as to how I spit, my style is a Pharoahe Monch gone completely raw. [laughs] The way Twista and I and a lot of these guys started out, wed take portions of peoples styles. LL [Cool J] did a song called, Why Do You Think They Call It Dope? [repeats verses]. We heard that for the first time, like Oh, my Lord. My man bet [Twista] that he couldnt do that style. This was like Walking With A Panther back in 89. Twista came back a whole damn song in that style! Thats the type of s**t we was on. [Pharoahe] Monch did Bring It On, and came with an off-beat, on-beat flow, I did the same thing. What if a mothaf**ka straight did that whole style? That was my whole approach. People think its Ras Kass, but really, its Pharoahe. [laughs]
AllHipHop.com: No disrespect to Copywrite or J-Live. But on this album, youre working with Ras Kass and Royce Da 59 two of the biggest indie artists. Thats different from the peers youve worked with before. Is that you seeing yourself in a new league?
Vakill: I knew eventually Id work with Royce. Ive known dude since like 99. We did a show together when we was both just kinda gettin our feet wet. With Ras Kass, my album was done. We was bout to ship it off that week. My man Panik was like, What do you think itd take to get you back in the booth? Lets get Ras Kass. It only made sense too, cause his name and my name always been comin up in the same circles. We had a mutual friend who made it happen my man Quest.
AllHipHop.com: Youve worked with Slug. As an independent artist, the Rhymesayers distribution is crazy. You can go to Target and buy an Atmosphere record. But even bigger stores like Best Buy and Sam Goody arent always carrying your product. What can you do to expand your reach?
Vakill: The funny part about that is now we startin to get stepped to. Sometimes you just gotta prove yourself. A lot of things aint gonna fall in your lap, man. Show and prove. Thats basically what it boils down to. Good music gonna always speak for itself. You can be in Cambodia, if its bangin you gonna find it. Thats how Darkest Cloud was. It didnt just came out like, Bam! It was over a lengthy period of time like, Have you heard this? This s**t is crazy. I just did a XXL article off the strength of an album three years old. My new s**t was comin out that Tuesday. Thats just good music.
AllHipHop.com: To have an album still get talk after three years is probably the biggest compliment a Hip-Hop artist could get right now
Vakill: It was a crap-shoot. Obviously, its payin off. That was really an I dont give a s**t album. [laughs] People actually clung to it. Worst Fears Confirmed is a lot more today from the polished flow, and whatnot. Weve already been approached about the distribution.
AllHipHop.com: My favorite joint on the record is Man Into Monster, which explores the dividing line that separates men from monsters. Did you have a particular experience that prompted that song?
Vakill: A couple. Most of the brothers that are behind bars right now I feel that the main reason they behind bars is cause of that monster. [laughs] Brothers is movin work at a young age to try and get the fly clothes, the fly chain, the fly cars, just to impress that monster. That monster may go along for the ride but when they [locked up], they out. Some may stick around. Theres a positive and negative spin on everything. I love that monster just like the next man, but that monster has been the downfall of some of the greatest men in history?
AllHipHop.com: Exactly. In the song you say certain people didnt make the Hall of Fame cause of that monster. All I could think of was Pete Rose. Who did you mean?
Vakill: Look at Wayne Gretzky. His wife is in a gambling ring. His wife thats another monster. [laughs] P*ssy is a powerful thing, man. For real. It can make the smartest man the dumbest n***a on earth. Women know how to use that monster. Women turn that beauty into a monster. When my crew heard the song, they said, What you got against p*ssy? I got nothin against p*ssy. I love p*ssy. But you gotta have p*ssy-control, or that s**t can be your biggest downfall. Theres a lot of brothers cryin behind bars cause of p*ssy. [laughs]
AllHipHop.com: In the title song, you say, A lot of new faces in the game, getting ahead of themselves, callin themselves Kings of Chicago, That can be interpreted many ways. Im not gonna pick at beef directly, Ill let you elaborate
Vakill: You got a lot of cats out here that been in the grind, dog. You gotta prove yourself. Thats a big, bold statement. To claim somethin like that, you better bring a lot to the table to claim that right. Ive never considered myself the king of nothin, Ive always considered myself the crown. The crown is the symbol. Without the crown, you aint got s**t. The crown dont move. You can take it for what it is. If you feel you the king, so be it. But by the end of the day, when Im done with this pen, the people know.