Krucial: I feel like right now in the music in general, we’re missing a lot of things in Hip Hop. It’s a lot more diverse music out there coming out, it’s a lot more styles, a lot more stories that need to be heard, and I feel like the industry right now is really focusing on ‘okay, this is the hot thing, let’s always play this’. You always see one type of video all the time, you always hear the same type of records on the radio. This is the music that started me. I can’t sit and just watch it go down like this without trying to do something, so if I get respect as a producer, and that makes you listen, then it’s my duty to try and come in and make some type of difference. So I use myself as an example. I bring forth more artists that I feel need to be heard, like my young artist by the name of Illz. He’s featured all over my EP called Take Da Hood Back, and I’m also looking for more people that got more to say because I feel like the poetry and the art is really missing lyrically, and I have to do something about that. So if I can get attention like okay, well you know he makes hit records, let me check this out and if that’s enough, then I’m doing my part.
AHHA: Now I guess that has an effect on why Rakim is one of your next projects. Tell me about that.
Krucial: Indeed. Indeed. Indeed. That is a straight honor. He reached out to me. He’s been trying to connect with me for awhile. I had a chance to meet him during the second album for the song “Streets of New York.” At first, “Streets of New York” all started as a mixtape song ’cause you know Krucial Keys, we do mixtapes as well, and we said, Aight, Alicia, we need you to sing on one of these beats or whatever. So we was like, Aight, let’s work off of the Nas joint. So we said, Aight, cool.
So we started working on the beat, and she started doing the piano and we said, Aight, we gotta get Nas to do it, yeah, Nas’ll do it no problem. We was like, Rakim’s in the sample; let’s get Rakim to do it, too. Yo, let’s try it. And both of them were wit’ it and we were the first people to get Nas and Rakim on a record together, and just in general, like I said, we been real blessed on doing things that seemed so simple it should’ve been done. And when he came by the studio, he heard the track and he was like, I like the way ya’ll flipped it here. He was like, No problem, I’m a bless you, no problem, no problem, I got you, I got you.
Krucial: Wow. Yeah, exactly. I’m like, Wow. When he finally came to the studio to put it down that’s another memorable moment. The track is playing, we get into this whole conversation about, you know I’m listening to a guy to tell me, like we all see people doing Hip Hop now and you hear the stories but it was much harder back then, and it was fewer artists, it wasn’t like a thousand MCs. In that day, you say you rhyme and people like, Yeah you rhyme? Let me hear something.
Nowadays Oh you rhyme naw I don’t wanna hear nothing. [laughs] Nobody wants to hear you rap no more cause everybody’s rapping, from the cook to the parking lot guy to this one. So it doesn’t even matter no more because they missing that true essence of that poetry; and just going through stories, and him talking about what it was like, and just talking about New York, where we at in general. We got into this long conversation like over an hour and we chillin, I’m like, Yo, I don’t wanna hold you up, let you do your thing. Come to find out like half of that conversation was in the verse. I was like, Aw man, he’s the master.
So from that point on we kind of bonded, and you know he was definitely working with Dre in a situation, and that didn’t work out, and he was like I’m out of this situation but you was one of the first persons that wanted to call and be involved with this – so I was very honored. And again, like I said, just like with Alicia, I ain’t gonna front, I was a little intimidated, like, This is Rakim now, uh oh. But I was like, I’ve been good so far, so let me just do it.
AHHA: The Hip Hop audience hasn’t been known to be too kind to established people in other artistic arenas. Whether it be acting, comedy, singing or even professional athletes – a lot of people tried and failed.
Krucial: No doubt. No doubt.
AHHA: So what do you think you bring to the table that’s different, that could possibly push this hardcore audience to take your project seriously as not just another talented guy trying to do rap, but just as a serious MC?
Krucial: Well, you know I expect that. I really expect that. I’m not gonna front because I am that audience too so I look at it from the same perspective, because even with the people I’m working with, they’re like, Yeah, son, we can just go up to [Funkmaster] Flex. I’m like nah, nah, nah, I can’t just go up to Flex. I’d be mad if I just go up to Flex, [and others are] like, What the hell he’s doing on Flex like that, I been trying to get to Flex for four years.
So understand what it is and this is why I’m doing it independently, and this is why I’m coming with a EP and doing the grassroots, I understand what it is. We doing shows, we open up for B.B. Kings, we do shows at S.O.B.’s once a month so far. I’m not trying to use my position to take someone’s spot that been grindin, because I know what the grind is.
When you hear my EP, you gonna hear me, you gonna hear my young artist, you gonna hear the production, it’s not gonna be Alicia singing on the hook and dancing in the video, that’s the easy thing to do, understand it. This is legitimate true Hip Hop, I understand what it is. I feel like if you really into Hip Hop for real and you listen to me, you can tell this ain’t something I decided, Yeah I wanna rap, too. I think you’ll be able to tell the difference.
AHHA: Tell us about the projects you have coming up.
Krucial: Well, basically, first and foremost is just really finishing the Illz’ album, working with Rakim, I’m about to get back in the studio with Keyshia Cole again. There’s a few things – I’d like to speak on them more when they’re done. I got a lot of things going on, but really just using this opportunity to bring forth some fresh sounds coming out of New York because we gotta bring New York back. You know it is what it is. I just feel like if you do your thing, people with gravitate to what you doing, and it’s time. It’s really time.
AHHA: Speaking of New York, in your opinion, who is making the most noise, as far as an MC?
Krucial: Well, right now you know Busta’s making a lot of noise. I’m definitely feelin’ Papoose, I’m definitely feelin’ Styles P, who I’m still trying to get in the studio wit you, dawg. I feel like they’re making a lot of noise, and there’s a lot of people in the underground bubbling, but it’s hard to say because the big difference between now and before is like it’s a monopoly now. There’s so much out there that’s being blocked out, because it’s all like the same people so it’s hard to really see who is really making the most noise.
AHHA: Who do you love? Not just the Billboard charts and the singles. As an MC, who do you love that’s out there, whether famous or not famous who?
Krucial: Like I said, I’m feelin’ my young artist, Illz, first and foremost. Definitely gotta rep that. Like I said, Papoose, I’m feelin’ Saigon, Styles P, that’s about it right now. I’m feelin’ T.I., definitely – anybody that’s really just doing their thing in their own way. As you see I mentioned them, they all have different styles from each other, and that’s what I love. I’m really sick of these MCs coming sounding like this one and that one, cause that’s not the original rule of Hip Hop.
AHHA: What about Alicia. Can we expect anything new any time soon?
Krucial: Oh yeah top of next year. Definitely back in the lab with that. Always working. I’m one of those people, I’m starting to get out a little more, thanks to people at [my publicists] 5W, but you know I’m a studio rat. I’m always in the studio grindin’ and you know that’s even I’m going through a transition period, bringing it back for myself. The EP’s called Take Da Hood Back, and it’s like when you sit there and think of the concept and when it goes on you see how much it is relevant to your life, meaning my life. Just coming back out and doing shows and stuff is like really taking me back. It’s like a fresh new life.