EXCLUSIVE: Buckshot Discusses “BackPack Travels” Album, Pro Era Crew, & The Illuminati


(AllHipHop Features) Veteran Hip Hop artist Buckshot has been holding it down for the independent rap scene for two decades. After previously releasing joint albums with KRS-One and 9th Wonder via his own label, Buck is back this week with his latest collaborative effort.

The Duck Down Music co-founder teamed with New Zealand-based producer P-Money for the BackPack Travels LP. The 10-track album features guests appearances from Steele of Smif-N-Wessun, Raz Fresco, Chelsea Reject, David Dallas, T’Nah Apex, and Pro Era’s Joey Bada$$ & CJ Fly.

AllHipHop.com caught up with the Black Moon and Boot Camp Clik member to talk about the project and more. In part 1 of an exclusive interview, Buckshot praises a few of his recent collaborators, offers advice to New York City’s new school of rappers, and addresses the theme behind one of BackPack Travels standout tracks “Killuminati.”

'Backpack Travels' Cover Art
‘Backpack Travels’ Cover Art

How did the BackPack Travels project with P-Money come together?

[Co-CEO of Duck Down Music] Dru Ha has one of the best ears that I’ve ever been around. Dru was the person that introduced me to P. Dru introduced me to half the people we rock with. Except for the people in the beginning.

Dru would hear something dope, and he’ll say, “Buck, what you think about this?” I’d listen to it, and say, “It’s crazy.” Then we all just meet with the minds. Next thing you know it comes together.

I saw you guys dropped the video for “Sweetest Thing” featuring T’Nah Apex.

T’Nah Apex’s one of my favorite all time artists period. When I first got with her, it was just incredible. She’s such a dope emcee and artist. It’s only natural for you to feel like she’s the Lauryn Hill of today.

She’s on the album. You have Pro Era members Joey Bada$$ and CJ Fly on the track “Flute.” It kind of feels like, and correct me if I’m wrong, that you’re sort of passing the baton between the different Brooklyn Hip Hop generations.

That’s the whole point – passing the baton. I felt that happened with me, not really consciously or on purpose, as far with KRS-One passing me the torch. I’m telling people all the time that I’m a proud student of KRS-One. So for me to have an opportunity that I can make music and produce an album with KRS-One – nothing can be better than that.

So when we got that opportunity to work with Pro Era it was only a pleasure. There’s certain things you’re just amazed at, because they are so dope as individuals. And those are the type of people that give props to artists of the 90’s. To me, that’s special because I’ve always given props to the artists before me like the Big Daddy Kanes, the Slick Ricks, and the KRS-Ones. I like people that’s like that. Some people just don’t care, and they’ll tell you.

There are a lot of acts from Brooklyn buzzing right now like Troy Ave. What’s your take on the current state of Brooklyn Hip Hop?

I’ll just say some people deserve to be in that position of acknowledgement, and some people really don’t. I give props to the people that deserve it. I don’t really mention any names.

Some people say they represent New York. Okay you represent New York, but when certain people keep saying “New York, New York, New York” all the time that just becomes a little bit aggravating after a while. You don’t gotta keep saying it all the time. Some people just overdo it.

Do you think constantly saying you’re from New York can have a negative effect on appealing to some audiences?

Of course it can. Why not? Of course it can have a negative effect, because people all over the world could be like, “Alright, I respect New York and respect what New York brings to the table.” But once you keep saying “New York, New York, New York” every three minutes it changes the positivity.

On another track on the album, “Killuminati,” you really go in on secret society conspiracy theorists. Those theories are so ingrained in Internet culture. Do you think people will ever be able to move beyond these alleged connections between Hip Hop and the Illuminati?

It goes so deep. I wish I could say that it was phony. I say that because I don’t know if the Illuminati is a universal thing or if it’s really physically a group of people who sit around and plot what’s about to happen. I don’t know if that’s the case, because if you look at how many people have not been around. A lot of people died. A lot of people won’t make it to even see the Illuminati come true or passage of its vision.

I was just talking about down with the [New York] Daily News. I hate that paper. I always say, “the Daily News brings you the daily blues.” I can’t stand that paper. Yet, it does promote Illuminatism. Why? Because it’s always promoting something about how eventually your freedom is going to be turned into crap. You think freedom is just being able to walk around as much as you please? Even that’s going to stop.

Freedom is not just walking around as much as you please. [Real] freedom is having the freedom of your own person. Freedom of living in your own world. You don’t want somebody watching you all day, every day when you get on the train, off the train. All of these things are real. Right now they have cameras on the trains.

Is that what inspired that track?

I’ve always been in touch and in tune with that whole vibe, that whole phenomenon of the Illuminati. It just means those who are in the light. That’s all Illuminati means. So those who are in the light of a computer before it hit the public were considered the Illuminati. Because those were the people who able to trade stocks, invest.

Those who didn’t know were like, “Nah, get out of here.” Those who knew made millions of dollars. Of course they’re going to be considered the Illuminati, because they made millions and they’re not around for you to see them. The cycle just goes on and on and on.

All the pawns of the Illuminati – the cops, the banks – those are little kids. They’re not in touch with no Illuminati. Hip Hop – we’ve always been in touch with the consciousness. Like I said, ever since KRS-One. That ain’t nothing that’s new to Hip Hop.

Buckshot-Webster Hall

Buckshot along with Sean Price and DJ Statik Selektah will be appearing at the BackPack Travels album release show tonight at NYC’s Webster Hall. For more information visit ticketweb.com.

Follow Buckshot on Twitter @Buckshot. Follow P-Money on Twitter @p_money.

Download Buckshot & P-Money’s BackPack Travels on iTunes.

Stream Buckshot & P-Money’s BackPack Travels via Spotify below.