Cormega: Back From Domestic Hell

AllHipHop Staff

Cory McKay, aka Cormega, doesn't smoke or eat meat anymore. Hell, he even buys organic foods when he can. He doesn't overindulge in alcohol, and with a humble laugh he admits he's been listening to relaxation music lately ("You know those

instrumentals with the water and s**t?"). You may even catch him with some Hannah Montana playing in his car these days.

Fatherhood has been at the forefront of Cormega's life lately, as he is quick to mention the subject in his Q&As and makes it abundantly clear on the track "Love Your Family," one of 14 from his long-awaited LP Born And

Raised. Always honest and articulate, Cormega also pulls no punches in discussing the bootlegging of said album, how a full-length collaborative project with AZ may come to fruition, and why fans need to invest in Hip-Hop if they expect it to grow. A lot has changed since the last time we spoke. There's a Black president and a major recession, among other things. What's been the biggest change in your life these past two years?

Cormega: I've been a way, way more active parent. Like I'm "Mr. Mom" right now. I'm the dude at the bus stop. I'm the dude that's there in the morning time with a bunch of ladies, feeling funny. So you know that, and my album

is finally, really coming out! Back then I was unsure of when it was gonna drop.

 "So fans gotta understand, that's why artists sell out! Why do you think dope

MCs sell out? And then they get mad when this rapper does a song with this

AutoTune dude or this R&B guy. It's because these ringtone fans are spending

money!"-Cormega In 2007, we were talking about details of this album and people were waiting for you the official solo, and the Premier track ["Dirty Game"] had already leaked. But after listening to it in it's entirety I think your fans will feel it was worth the wait.

Cormega: Oh yeah, no doubt! I know you already got that s**t, it was leaked like a motherf**ker wasn't it? You know, I did check yesterday just to see if it was already out, and sure enough like every torrent site had it.

Cormega: Yeah, I just hope people will still go and buy it now. I know it's hard to say which song on the album is your favorite, but could you say which one has the best story behind it?

Cormega: Oh man, the best story...I mean...that's a tough one. The song "Girl," you know that story is crazy. And "Love Your Family," I like story because it's positive. In this day and age when you look at the woman in rap, and the woman is s**tted on heavily. They don't get the respect they deserve, whether it's a rapper or just a beautiful woman, they use them as video vixens and whatever. It's a respectful song showing respect to my daughter, a lady that was in my life, aunts, grandmothers, stepmoms, sisters, it's a very positive song.

But, I don't know. This album is weird for me because there's so many different songs, it's not like the same s**t so there's different s**t to like. My favorites are "Girl" and "Love Your Family," but "The Other Side" is incredible too, cause every time I hear it I gotta hear it again and again. Being this was the first time you've had your own Premier tracks, was there any special way you went to writing "Dirty Game" and "Make It Clear"?

Cormega - "Journey"

Cormega: Nope. When he first did "Dirty Game" for me I just wanted to write about some of the ills in jail and in the streets, and I just wanted to get deep on it. The next joint "Make It Clear," I just wanted to zone out lyrically, and the beat made me zone out. So both of those songs serve they're purpose. And they're from two different realms and two different feels from Preemo so I was happy with the outcome. When I picked up a copy of Wu-Tang Chamber Music, it was cool to see you and AZ featured on there. That was actually a great project overall.

Cormega: Yeah, Wu-Tang Chambers was pretty good. Lil Fame was doing his production thing on there, and I'm loving all the beats he's been making recently.

Cormega: Fame is an unsung hero on the producing. He's nice! He gets it in. He produced "The Other Side." But the funny thing is I did the co-production. When Fame did it, it didn't have no saxophone. If you listen to that song, you can hear a series of different instruments. That's what I wanted to do, I wanted to make it full. I'm experimenting right now, and that's something I did on my own because Fame was on tour. Like M.O.P. stays

doing shows, they stay busy. So that's the only reason I don't have Billy on the album, because I wanted him on there too. So long story short, Fame did the beat, and I it was dope the way it was, but I just felt like something

was missing. So I got the saxophone guy, and I got Dave Atkinson, who was the guy that did "Affirmative Action," and I got him to do keys. I added some elements and the rest is history.

"I mean, how many motherf**kers can you kill and how much crack can you

sell? And who the f**k wants to be mad? We was mad for eight years of

Bush, let's get happy now."-Cormega The album has a really uplifting feeling for the most part which is kind of refreshing.

Cormega: Exactly. I mean, how many motherf**kers can you kill and how much crack can you sell? And who the f**k wants to be mad? We was mad for eight years of Bush, let's get happy now. Obama even got some of us mad, so let's let music take us somewhere like it used to. Music used to take you somewhere, and that's what I'm trying to do. Like "Mega Fresh X," that's got to be one of my proudest moments ever. Even if I wasn't on that song, just to have that line-up on there made me feel good and like I did my part in saluting our legends and our veterans. Would you ever consider doing a collaborative project with another MC, like the way Buckshot and KRS did recently? If so who would Cormega work well with?

Cormega: Me and Beanie Sigel would body s**t! [Laughs] Me and Tragedy Khadafi, everybody says we sound like magic together. Me and Beanie, I know that would be crazy. Me and AZ sound good together. There's a few people that I mesh well with. But I'm definitely interested in doing a collaborative effort with some artists that's with it, if it's going to be dope. Not to do it for the check, cause sometimes you do it for the check and you don't put your heart into it. Speaking of which, Cormega vs. AZ. I've had that conversation several

times over the past few years, and my conclusion has always been that you've

put out less material and yet have been more succinct and consistent. Maybe

to end all the arguments you guys should just get together and do a full

project and let people decide then.

Cormega: Actually it's funny you say that because I just got off the phone

with AZ last night, and I just came back from Europe with AZ. We was talking

about doing some s**t, and last year we was talking about doing the album.

But you know, it just never materialized because I was too busy doing what I

was doing. Both of us were grinding and didn't put to much emphasis to it,

and to be 100 percent real with you, we wanted to make sure it was with the

right label. We ain't trying to just put our s**t out with anybody. So that

is something that could happen. It could definitely happen. Getting back to the bootlegging issue. As a music consumer, I've always

tried to support all my favorite artists. But today I find it too convenient

not to download most of my music for free, especially when the stores don't

even stock half the catalog they used to. Do you feel differently now

about fans who pay for and those that take it?

Cormega: You know what? My album was leaked on the "other" website, the one

down the dial from you guys. And they took it really hard when somebody from

my camp called over there and took the leak off. They was mad at me! I've

never heard of that. That's like me robbing your house, and then getting mad

when you put a burglar alarm system on your house. You're taking from me!

But I spoke with somebody on the net, and he was saying where he's from it's

so hard to get the music that he only learned about me from downloading. But

then after downloading he went and bought my music. So it's a double edged

sword. The people that just take the music, I don't got no love for them,

and it's likewise obvious they don't have love for us.

Let me tell you something about the fans. This generation of fans, they

don't understand. This music is like a garden, and they are like the tenders

to this garden. And it's like y'all aren't taking care of the garden. Why do

you think so many rappers don't put out albums? Cause they don't rap no more? Or

because they're tired of rapping? [It's because] they're not making money!

You gotta keep it real with us. You got a beautiful garden, but if y'all

aren't taking care of it and landscaping, that s**t's gonna turn to weeds.

It's gonna be desolate after a while, because y'all keep taking and taking

and taking and nobody is supporting the artists.

"On this album, I spent a lot of bread. So a part of me was really

hurt when [the downloading] happened. My whole thing is I can't knock the fans,

because they was getting jerked for a while, especially in the late '90s."-Cormega

Especially on this album, I spent a lot of bread. So a part of me was really

hurt when that s**t happened. My whole thing is I can't knock the fans,

because they was getting jerked for a while, especially in the late '90s

when motherf**kers was putting out trash albums and people were buying the

albums and getting mad. A lot of people that download music have the excuse

that it's good to hear the music and then figure out if they want to buy it.

But it's like they have listening stations in record stores. However people

overseas don't have that, so I hear what they're saying too. But if you're

going to download the s**t, and you like it, then pay for it. I've never

downloaded nobody's album, but I've had a couple of bootlegged movies. So I

guess I'm just as guilty in some ways. But if I like it, I go buy the s**t.

I didn't buy American Gangster yet because my bootleg was so clean that I

said "f**k it." And the average movie that I've seen on bootleg I went out

and bought.

So fans gotta understand, that's why artists sell out! Why do you think dope

MCs sell out? And then they get mad when this rapper does a song with this

AutoTune dude or this R&B guy. It's because these ringtone fans are spending

money! And it's hard. Because there's artists like me and a lot of

underground dudes that's trying to keep it real, and then we get f**ked in

the end. So I don't have anything against the downloaders, but I do have

something against them. So it's an oxymoron in the end, because I do

sympathize with the ones that have to do that to test out the music, but

then I do despise the ones that make it a habit and a hobby of downloading

s**t. Especially artists like me! You can say whatever you want about

Cormega, but you've never seen a Cormega album that was wack. I've seen

people that try to look for flaws, and they'll say Who Am I? was wack. Who

Am I? wasn't even an album, it was a f**king soundtrack. I was only on like

eight songs. Does it say Cormega and have my logo on the front of it. No, it

said "Cormega Presents".... But you never bought a solo Cormega album that

was trash. So if I'm keeping it consistent, can I eat? That's all I'm

saying. Whenever I look at the comments left by people from your online

interviews or album reviews, most of the time people are saying things like

"Mega is Top 5" and "I've been listening to him since True Meaning and

there's not much negativity. It's almost strange given how much hate you

usually see on the net.

Cormega: I'm not gonna lie. I've been shocked at the love lately. I did

another interview and was looking at the comments and it was like all

positive, with one person saying something stupid. And then people even

started coming back and being like "Shut the f**k up." Then with the songs

I've been leaking, people showed me the links and I would read the comments,

and it was overwhelming. All the songs I leaked got like 4.5 stars on all

the sites, so that was like "Wow." I feel good about that and the way people

feel about the music. That's why I feel a little confused, because these

people know the music is good. So I just hope they stand up for real,

because at the end of the day, I'm not gonna do another album like this. I'm

not saying I'm never gonna do another album, but I'm not doing one like this

where I got 11 producers, know what I'm saying? Because some of them you

gotta pay, some of them you can work things out with, but at the end of the

day it turns out expensive.

And usually I get a deal, and then I make the album. I did this album with

no deal. Honestly I just signed my contract within a month's time. So while

we doing all our campaign with the marketing and mixing songs, I'm the one

that's paying for the studio sessions and paying for this and that. So I

just hope the gardeners tend to the garden.