Later this week, Sheek Louch lets loose his first studio album in 5 years. The 17-track Silverback Gorilla 2 is a fresh take on Sheek's beast mode theme presented in previous works such as 2008's Silverback Gorilla, 2010's Donnie G: Don Gorilla, and the 2015 SBG2 precursor Gorillaween mixtape.
This time the New York native wanted to provide listeners with a different approach on street-centered Hip Hop by offering both soul sounding beats and head bangers. Longtime fans should not be too concerned about the East Coast spitter abandoning the lyrical focus established on cuts as a member of The Lox and Wu Block. As Sheek puts it, he's still "saying some sh*t."
Donnie G is not the only high level emcee bringing the bars on Silverback Gorilla 2. His Lox brethren Jadakiss and Styles P make appearances as well as his Wu Block partner Ghostface Killah. In addition, Sheek drafts Swizz Beatz, Pusha T, Fabolous, A$AP Ferg, Joell Ortiz, Raheem DeVaughn, and others for contributions to the LP.
AllHipHop.com caught up with Sheek Louch to get some insight into his new album. Besides speaking on SBG2, the D-Block Records representative touches on working with Ghostface and the lack of respect for rap music pioneers. He also confirms a reunited Puff Daddy & The Family will be hitting the road together in early 2016.
You decided to name this project Silverback Gorilla 2. Do you consider the first one your best body of work and that’s why you wanted to do a sequel?
Not at all. I called it that, because I wanted to get back into beast mode. I wanted to get back into that gritty sound. When I’m on my gorilla sh*t, I’m not trying to be the Black Panthers. My frame of thought is I’m in that beast mode in this jungle out here.
You have The Lox on the album. You have Fab, Pusha T, and a bunch of other artists. You also have A$AP Ferg. He’s part of the new breed of New York rappers. What was it about Ferg that made you want to work with him?
Shout out to the whole A$AP Mob. They are the new breed. It’s [Ferg’s] energy he brings on all of his songs. Being on tour together and seeing him tear that stage down, I could just hear him on it. I was like, “This song right here. This is sick.” I was in the studio with Kiss, and he said, “I got to get on that record. Call Ferg now.” Ferg just delivered. He was bringing that youth to it.
You also have Ghostface on the album. You guys have worked together a lot. What is it like working with him?
That’s my brother. All we do is tour the world together. We just got back from Mexico City. We’re like the same kind of guys - big dudes, same energy. First of all, I’m a fan of everybody on my album, but definitely the Wu-Tang Clan. Ghost delivers by painting that picture. He’s just so vivid with the sh*t. You got to love him when he spits that sh*t. He delivers. I love it.
I can’t even imagine that vibe in the studio. That has to be crazy.
It’s crazy. I’m a fan, because when you hear Ghost and Chef [Raekwon] talk, they sound like the skits from the old albums. They still talk like that. It sounds like you’re listening to those old albums when you’re sitting there talking about regular sh*t. It could be, “What food are we gonna order?” And it’s like, “Yo, yo, son. I’m thinking about the…” I’m thinking, “These n*ggas are crazy.” [laughs] But the energy in there is crazy.
That makes me think of that video Ghostface put up that had the internet going crazy. It was like he was serious, but he was joking at the same time.
Against Action [Bronson]? You see what I’m talking about? That’s kind of what I’m saying. He’s serious, but his whole sh*t is “I’ll send them shooters.” It’s like, “This guy is a nut.” [laughs] That’s my brother!
You released the track “Memory Lane” earlier this year. We posted that on the site, and the feedback was crazy. There was one part that stood out for me. That was when you were talking about new school rappers rapping over 90’s beats. Do you feel like that has become cliché now?
Thank you for holding me down with all those freestyles I’ve been dropping. But yeah, it felt like it became a thing to do at the time. But they had no knowledge that was KRS-One’s track or whose joint it was.
They were just grabbing these joints. They’re probably just looking at the date on the back to see what year it was made, not knowing what the f*ck it is. That's why I said what I said.
Salute to all the young motherf*ckers that what to grab those kind of tracks. At least know that’s the old “Rock The Bells” by LL Cool J when you do it, so you can reference and salute him in the song.
If you look at other genres like Rock & Roll and Country, they have real reverence for the people that came before them. You don’t always get that in Hip Hop.
For one, we're the only culture/industry that puts on an age limit. They don’t put that sh*t on Rock or Country. The reason why they put an age limit on [Hip Hop] is because they wanted that sh*t to be over.
When Hip Hop first came, they thought it was going to be some overnight sh*t. Then they made it to where you have to be a young boy to be doing it. But you see U2 and those other motherf*ckers are still on tour.
Then you got these young boys out here. People ain’t schooling them on what’s what and making them learn that sh*t. The labels are basically saying, “Give me a quick hook and come up with a dance for it.” That’s it.
You’re over a decade in the game. What drives you to keep making music?
Me and my brothers listening and paying attention to what’s going on out there, but not becoming these guys. Artists like J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar - that's inspiration right there. I keep my ear to the street. And after [the music is] done, the feedback. Hearing people say, “Damn, they’re still killing sh*t.” Our shows are still sold out. The energy the fans give us makes me want to keep going, 100%.
Speaking of shows, The Lox went out with Ma$e, 112, Total, and others for the “Reunion Tour Experience 2.” What was it like going back out together?
It was crazy seeing all the people. I just saw Faith at Kiss' album release party. We’re actually leaving on tour with Puff. I think [it starts] the end of February for two months. It’s going to be dope. He’s putting it together. I think he’s making the announcement soon - the “No Way Out Tour.” I saw Puff at Kiss’ party. It’s all love. We’re grown now. Everybody’s in a better space in our lives right now.
Was there a particular reason why you weren’t on Puffy’s MMM?
We talked about that. Puff said, “I called you first.” Every time he called, he said, “Louch, I need you to come out here and get on this album.” I said, “Damn Puff, I leave for Canada for two months tomorrow morning.”
He called me again. I said, “Damn, I’ll be in Australia, then New Zealand, then Hong Kong.” I’ve been touring like crazy. But he damn sure called me several times. Salute to Puff. I wish I could have been part of that joint.
What else do you have planned for the rest of the year?
I’m dropping that Silverback Gorilla 2 on December 4. I leave for Europe in December. I come back to Philly. I really need to sit my ass down and start working on The Lox joint. I’m always running around, touring, and coming back for that paper.
Sheek Louch’s Silverback Gorilla 2 is scheduled for release on December 4 via Tommy Boy Entertainment. Order the album on iTunes.
Check out the tracklist for Sheek Louch’s Silverback Gorilla 2 below.
Silverback Gorilla 2 Tracklist
1. “Bunndy” (prod. by Pav Bundy)
2. “Hood Nigga” f/ Billy Danze, Joell Ortiz & Trae Tha Truth (prod. by Infamous DJ Haze)
3. “What You Want The Money For” f/ Swizz Beatz (prod. by Jimmy Dukes & Smiley’s People)
4. “I’m Working” f/ Raheem DeVaughn (prod. by Dayzel The Machine)
5. “Bang Bang” f/ Pusha T (prod. by Shroom)
7. “Hold It Straight” (prod. by Termanology, Shoryfyuz & Sir Bob Nash)
8. “Obamacare” f/ Dyce Payne (prod. by Termanology & L5)
9. “Trap Stories” (prod. by Jimmy Dukes & Smiley’s People)
10. “What’s On Your Mind” f/ Jadakiss & A$AP Ferg (prod. by Jimmy Dukes & Smiley’s People)
11. “What It Is” f/ Styles P (prod. by Tone Mason & C-Sharp)
12. “I Luv It” f/ Ghostface Killah (prod. by Shroom)
13. “No Losses” f/ Fabolous (prod. by Jimmy Dukes & Smiley’s People)
14. “Clap” f/ Dyce Payne (prod. by Dayzel The Machine)
15. “Legends” (prod. by Supastylez)
16. “You And Me”(prod. by Black Saun)
17. “Hood In You” (prod. by Joe Milly)