AllHipHop: What's the personal highlight of your
career if you can pin down one?
A.G.: First seeing yourself on television in
videos and seeing the people that you grew up with in your neighborhood lookin'
at you differently. The parents is lookin' at you like a positive person. And
just traveling around the world.
AllHipHop: And you still feel that to this day,
in the hood?
A.G.: Yeah. The percentage of the individuals
that didn't do anything in the hood is high. So when you're doing something
positive and you had a dream and went ahead and ironed that out. And some times
things aren't as good as they used to be, but they see that you still fightin'
and swingin' it out, that's where the biggest respect comes from. It's easy
to stand proud and floss and things like that when things are doing good, but
sometimes when it ain't so good, and you that same individual standing there
with your chest out, and swingin', acting like you don't got the quit in me,
that creates a different type of respect.
AllHipHop: What about you, Ness?
Lord Finesse: A couple. Workin' with Big. Getting
a chance to work with Dr. Dre. Workin' with Roy Ayers. Workin' with a crew like
Diggin' in the Crates. Discovering Big L. Getting a chance to be the artist
I wanted to be regardless of whether I got to reach the level of success I wanted
AllHipHop: You mentioned Roy Ayers. Which leads
me to ask you, you're favorite break ever?
Lord Finesse: Aw man! Too many. Wow. I'm somebody
that got ten thousand records, you askin' me to pick one.
AllHipHop: You still out diggin' often?
Lord Finesse: Yeah, sure. It's never too much
to keep digging for knowledge. That's what you're doing when you dig for these
records. 'Cuz you still digging for the musical knowledge that you know is out
there. To stumble upon something that you never got to listen to or experience,
as a producer, to listen to the sound, that's what motivates as a producer,
to try to understand what a lot of these soul groups was trying to do.
Diamond: That's hard! I tell you what made me
the happiest, when I found two original "Funky Drummer" 45's on the
King label. That probably made me the happiest.
AllHipHop: It's scary to think what would-have
happened to Hip-Hop without you guys individually and collectively. Do you feel
properly appreciated from the industry or outside?
Lord Finesse: Definitely. I mean, not on a hater
point-of-view. I don't feel under appreciated with my fans, I feel under appreciated
with the industry. The industry is supposed to educate the upcoming culture
what's going on right now, and what went down already. They suppose to educate
people on who was what, but they so quick to forget and move on. You got cats
that invented the pancake as far as Sugar Hill [Gang] and Run-DMC and certain
artists because they paved the way. Now if you add blueberries or something
to the pancake, yeah, it's a better flavor, you thought of something unique
to do with the pancake, but don't take the credit away from the person who originated
AllHipHop: A.G., KRS-One was on VH-1 claiming
that "Runaway Slave" was his favorite LP ever. How does that feel
because your records aren't still in stores, like early Gang Starr or BDP records?
A.G.: I used to watch and follow the Run-DMC,
the Rakim. I followed them. I learned all their music, I learned every song
on the album. I just wanted to be appreciated on the same level as them. So
when you finally reached that level, that's the glory of it. Everything else
is extra. We did a show with Rakim at Pace University. KRS-One said "Runaway
Slave" was the best album in Hip-Hop. That's all you can really ask for.
AllHipHop: Diamond, I've read that you've been
DJ-ing since 1979. So, what correlation, if any, do you see with Hip-Hop then
and Hip-Hop now?
Diamond: I started DJing at ten [years old] in
like like '79. I didn't meet Jazzy Jay until like '85. But the way they worded
it, you would of thought I was outside in the parks with 'em at ten years old.
That's not the case. I'm thirty-four years old right now. To a certain extent
it still matters if you're rhyming over a beat or a loop that hasn't been used
yet. MC's are still battling each other. If anything, those two are the most
AllHipHop: 2004 and 2005 are gonna be huge years
for you specifically, O.C.. Because you got this, but you also are doing a solo,
as well as your new record with [Organized] Konfusion. How do you bring different
sides of yourself to all these tables?
O.C.: It's hard to explain. With Diggin', there's
no set rules as far as, "This is how we gonna do the concept." As
far as having the experience with [Organized Konfusion], it was never really
like, "Yo, we gonna do it like this." It's more like, one person sets
it off and just sets the tone. It's not really hard for me, man. I tell young
cats, I got the easiest job in the world. But you gotta stay on top of your
AllHipHop: One thing that you did that just shook
the Hip-Hop world was produce Biggie's "Suicidal Thoughts." That track
is pure shivers. What was the conception of that like, and the whole vibe during
Lord Finesse: That was what Big was thinking
about, man. When he heard the beat it just hit him like a light bulb. He just
said, "I need this beat." So I sent him the beat, and I played some
other shit for him. But he was just stuck on that. I gotta have that. I couldn't
see where he was gonna go with it. Never in a million years. I didn't end up
hearing it until after the album came out. I wasn't even in the studio when
he did the vocal. When I did the beat, I know he was out of town. But when he
did, he just laced it. I was just a free-lance producer. I was under Puff for
a minute. But by the time I was working on Big's album, I was more free-lance.
AllHipHop: Like Diamond, you're highly respected
as an MC and as producer. As you reflect on your career, how do you evaluate
Lord Finesse: I look at it as my legacy is still
incomplete. I've learned so much that when I look at this next album, which'll
probably be the last album in the Diggin' project, you'll see the growth. I
got two containers of orange juice. My left container is half full right now.
And then my production one is real full. I wanna finish with the container that's
half empty. You gotta understand, I say it's half empty, that's a fifteen year
go at it. I'm my worst critic because I strive to be the best at what I do,
especially when it comes to Rap. Every line I'm putting together makes sense.
And there's a lot of subliminal lines in there that people really don't get
until you really study what I'm saying. When it comes to lyrics, if I can't
come back at the game at the strength that I was, then I ain't comin' back.
I don't wanna ever let my fans down because they expect and brag so much. When
I come back, I want my fans to tell people, "I told you nobody was touchin'
this nigga! He crazy!" Because, if people think Biggie and Wu Tang is old,
imagine what they think Diggin' is.
AllHipHop: Diamond, one thing a lot of fans might
not realize is that you just dropped a new album, "Grown Man Talk."
How does it feel so far, because I know you premiered it?
Diamond: Well you know, I pressed up two thousand
of 'em, and they all went. I been getting a lot of feedback about it. Once I
lock down some distribution, then I can release it officially.
AllHipHop: You just dropped a few for your truest
fans and whatnot?
Diamond: Yeah, basically. Plus, a lot of them
songs I recorded, I didn't want them sittin' around, I just wanted to get them
out. There's a few samples on my project of course, and I just didn't want them
AllHipHop: O.C., you're a reclusive dude. You're
not out every night and necessarily always in the thick of things. How do you
think that that has helped and hurt your own career?
O.C.: To answer both questions at once, it hasn't
hurt me. I still do shows. I just came back from overseas with Pharohe [Monch].
This is my life, man! I eat, sleep, and shit this right here. My thing is, the
quicker people blew up, the quicker they fell off.
Catch the entire D.I.T.C crew celebrating
Lord Finesse's birthday. Hosted by The Wake Up Show/MTV Host Sway! At S.O.B.s in Manhattan, February 19. Part of AllHipHop.com and Sob's Plain Rap series.
For more, sobs.com