Lord Finesse & A.G. : Encore

The Diggin’ in the Crates crew has a legacy paved in Gold. Though some of the records reached Gold status, it’s the bronzed respect of Hip-Hop that’s endured the group’s name. While Lord Finesse has taken a hiatus from releasing albums and producing, Buckwild has placed tracks on Game's, 50 Cent’s, and Black Rob’s albums. As Fat Joe’s All or Nothing makes its rounds on MTV, Show’s recent compilation, Street Talk conquers the indie market.

This dichotomy has always been woven into D.I.T.C.’s mystique. Going into 2006, the group approximates 15 years in working form. Like the timeless plot-line of the Western film, The Wild Bunch this gang of prolific veterans decides if they can make one more classic. AllHipHop.com saddled up with Lord Finesse and A.G. to discuss Show’s album, Joe’s beef, and the texture of a group eyeing up its final frontier.

AllHipHop.com: I would love, one day, to see Lord Finesse get a Hip-Hop Honor Award. You got my vote. Do you think that’ll ever happen?

Lord Finesse: Shoot, that’d be…that’d be something special. I wouldn’t hold my breath though. My thing is as long as you don’t give all to commercial artists. I wanna see more pioneers up there – that’s my thing. It was ill to see Kane up there, LL up there, but they got a lot more pioneers to really honor. I ain’t see [Afrika Bambaataa] up there yet. He shoulda had it first. It has its pros and it has its cons.

AllHipHop.com: Show’s got a new album, Street Talk, is the first time he’s done an album since the 90’s. What’s been the hold-up?

A.G.: Timing for the most part affected us getting together. We all have individual stuff going on as well. We don’t believe in putting out crap. Really from the heart, we continue to make our music. Whether or not people hear it, we’re always working on new material, either together or individually. Show is a perfectionist and wanted to make sure that everything was right before its release. It’s about quality not quantity. He’s my favorite producer in the game. This is the first of the Showbiz [projects].

AllHipHop.com: Individually, the D.I.T.C. artist’s recent projects haven’t all included one another. You’re about to go on tour, and there’s been talk of a final group album for five years. Where are things now?

Lord Finesse: We’re all grown men now. Feelings don’t get hurt [with that]. The thing about Diggin’ is we were all artists before we were a crew. So it’s truly like seven chefs in one kitchen [recording together]. People can disagree or whatever. I think this is a special time to see whether or not we can do this last hurrah. At the end of the day, it’s about this movement, it’s about making this money. It’s power in masses. I’m lookin’ at these next two years like it’s all or nothin’. I got these last two years to be an artist. Being parents, the image, everything, it plays a part in your career. The older you get, you don’t become appealing to certain groups of people and people in general.

AllHipHop.com: Are you getting cold shoulders from the industry?

Lord Finesse: Look, if you gotta wait for a label to sign you, you gonna be waitin’ forever. You gotta walk in the office, play your stuff for some dude who don’t know nothin’ about Hip-Hop. You’re trying to explain your vision to this dude, and he’s sayin’, “Well, let me hear something else.” I don’t depend on nobody to make nothin’ happen. We just gotta put 20 or 30 grand together, make it happen ourselves.

AllHipHop.com: You’re working on remixing Funky Technician. What’s the status on that?

Lord Finesse: It’s almost done. I’m waiting on Buckwild, I’m waiting on Mel-Man. I just wanna make sure when you pick up this album, you gonna love it – it’s gonna be dope. I already performed the DJ Premier [remix in Europe], and they lost it. I got the Large Professor cut ready too. When you listen to the lyrics on that album, damn – they’re so relevant today. You talkin’ ‘bout ’88 and ’89 too.

AllHipHop.com: Touching on your lyrics for a second, I look at “F**k ‘Em”. This cut basically aired out your family, among others, for lack of support in your early pursuit of rap. Today, at your functions, you’re always surrounded by family. Tell me how they reacted when they heard that?

Lord Finesse: It wasn’t till after my grandmother passed that me and the family really got together. I’m very much close to my family now. They’re real small, as it is. I lost my mother and father before I was three years old, people don’t know that. My grandmother raised me since I was six months old. She always supported me in everything I wanted to do, musically. We just a made a pact that as long as I got my education, she would never knock anything I wanted to do.

At the time, I used to get criticized around Thanksgiving dinner, ‘cause I wanted to pursue music. I got a cousin, Cam, he did four years at college – so they looked at him [not me]. The chances are one in a million. I got criticized so bad that I never wanted to go to Thanksgiving dinner. I abandoned my family after a certain period. Even when I became successful, I abandoned my family. This is something I wanted to do, but I ain’t have they support. My grandmother supported me. She paid for my studio sessions. I chose to do what I wanted to do. Now, they appreciate me. But it took the death of my grandmother to understand that this is the only family I got, and I can’t abandon ‘em.

AllHipHop.com: Do you think one day, you’ll have a big family of your own?

Lord Finesse: I don’t know, man. It’s just…finding the right woman in life. I want a mother, not a baby-mother. I don’t want to have a child by somebody I can’t get along with. It’s having those two figures [mother and father] around that’s the essence. People really don’t understand how much that means in general.

AllHipHop.com: Going back to the music. Show’s album has a song, “On My Way”. On it, Party Arty and Fat Joe appear to be going at G-Unit. The Ruff Ryders said they’re riding for Jadakiss in this. Are y’all riding for Joe?

A.G.: No comment. Joe is my n***a.

Lord Finesse: I mean…it’s like, I don’t really know the happs on both sides, so it’s hard to just jump into something. When everything popped off, it just popped off so quick. Me, I’m a laid-back mediator, I’m a cool dude. My thing would be to diffuse it. People like to keep throwing the gas on the fire. Then, when something real crazy or real violent pop off, then they like, “Yo, it’s bad for Hip-Hop.” That’s how I look at the situation. I know I’ve tap-danced around [your question]. That said, I don’t why 50 feel the way he feel. I personally know 50. I’ve built with him, and dude is real intelligent. So for him to lash out, I can’t see it. There’s so many records with subliminal things, ya know?

AllHipHop.com: Like the controversy with Big Daddy Kane dissing Rakim…

Lord Finesse: Only them two know. Nowadays, people get in each others’ ear. Everybody wanna be the King of New York. Ain’t nothing wrong with that, but s**t’s gettin’ out of hand now. That issue right there just made me say, “Damn.” Of course, Fat Joe is my Puerto Rican brother, you know? We lived like a building apart from each other. I’m gonna ride with Joe, know what I’m sayin’? But at the same time, I still gotta know what I’m getting into - any intelligent dude [should]. I just look at life as there’s more to life than beefin’.

AllHipHop.com: In terms of your production career, you’ve laid low for a few years. Any reason? I know this is the era of the beat-maker, not the producer.

Lord Finesse: I lay in the cut. I’m a homebody. I can’t deal with this industry bulls**t. Half of these A&R’s are wanna-be producers themselves. This rap s**t is all microwave now, it don’t stick to your ribs. You buy it, you s**t it out, you keep movin’. I sit and build with artists, not no, “Listen to my beat CD,” dude.

AllHipHop.com: What about you A.G.? What do you like to do with your free-time?

A.G.: I like to play Madden and NBA Live for money.

AllHipHop.com: That’s a hustle. Do you consider expanding Get Dirty Records?

A.G.: I first have to get the right team together. You need extensions of yourself from the ground up. I want to open a shop where cats can get their graphics and media created. I would also sell CD’s. The shop would have multiple levels. Right now I’m looking at a building in 3rd and 149th area. But nothing is for sure right now.

AllHipHop.com: My favorite record of yours is the “Yes You May remix”, which put Big L out. Tell me about T-Ray, who remixed that, and how you came to be…

Lord Finesse: Percee P introduced me to T-Ray. He’s a serious collector. He’s a serious White guy who understands rap – not to be too racial. But that beat was originally for Biz [Markie], and I had to pry it away from him. So I put L on it, who was a nobody at the time, but sorta my LeBron James. It was done in ’92, today, the lyrics speak for themselves.