Masta Ace, Punchline, Wordsworth & Stricklin = eMC

When Masta Ace announced that A Long Hot Summer would be his final solo album most fans thought they’d have to settle for old albums and spot tour dates to keep them going. However, with the help of Punchline, Wordsworth and Stricklin, Ace looks to continue building on his legacy in hip-hop with the underground super group, EMC. The crew of lyrical technicians came together in 2001 on Masta Ace's Disposable Arts Tour. After touring together and collaborating on numerous records together their brotherly bond was cemented with the groups formation. The release of EMC’s new album, The Show, signifies a new piece of Hip-Hop history in the What does EMC mean?Masta Ace: We don’t really have a set meaning for it. It means different things to different people.Punchline: We want the people to come up with their own meaning. As a matter of fact on the song, “What it Stand For,” we give a bunch of things EMC could possibly mean. But we leave it up to the fans to decide. [eMC "What It Stand For" Video] You’ve been in the game for about 20 years. The obvious question of course is, why form a group?Masta Ace: I said I wasn’t going to do anymore solo projects. But I’ve known these dudes for a few years. I did a lot of shows between the albums and at least one of those artists would come out and I’d bring them out on stage and people got used to seeing us together. Then the fans started talking about the group idea. They were mentioning it when they’d come out to the shows or on my website or MySpace. We threw it out there on the Internet and we had a good reaction to it and that encouraged us to move forward. We did it because we thought it'd be fun. The group idea was a natural progression of the relationships we all made from being on the road together. It's not just about the music with us, we are pretty much like brothers.Wordsworth: We been touring with Ace since like 2001. We’d be doing shows and the fans loved it. They saw the natural chemistry we had. They kept saying it so we were like let’s do it. Usually these “super-groups” fail due to creative differences, money disputes or egos. Was any of that taken into consideration when the group was formed?Punchline: There ain’t no egos. There’s none of that over here. We all have that mutual respect and anyway it’s more than just a group. With us it’s more than the rap thing. Like Ace mentioned, we’re like brothers so we don’t really have to worry about any problems like Ace, MC Shan was trying something similar to this in recruiting underground and upcoming MC’s for what he called “The New Juice Crew.” What did you think about the idea and did it serve as any inspiration for this project?Masta Ace: There's no new Juice Crew. There's only one Juice Crew. If you want to do something with a group, do something new. I mean I understand the feelings of nostalgia that he might have. At one time Shan was the biggest thing out. But you have to learn to redefine yourself. If I would have kept on doing things related to the crew and refusing to let go I wouldn't be here. This group project is the next step. And from here there’s more to What does each member bring to the group creatively?Masta Ace: I bring with me the experience of five albums. I've seen so much and been a part of this so long that I can share what I've learned about performing on stage, being on the road, dealing with the label situation from the distribution to everything. I been there so I have a lot to give. Punchline: I bring the humor. I’m kind of humorous when I rhyme. Humor with a little bit of that edge.Wordsworth: I think I bring the energy of coming with different ideas and concepts when approaching the music. What is the creative process like for you guys specifically when you were making the album?Wordsworth: The ability to email beats and stuff really helps a lot. We all have the ability to record from our homes as well. So I’ll get a beat, we get beat CD’s from producers like everywhere we go. So I get the beat and email it to Punch. Punch will do his verse or whatever and send it to me and Ace. Or Ace will have a concept and send it to me and Punch. So we work things out and it still all comes together naturally. Punchline: It usually goes down real easy. We all know each other and been around each other for a while so it kind of A lot of underground and old school artists are making a good living touring overseas. All of you have been on tour before so which do you prefer?Masta Ace: Home is always home but overseas is always a good experience. They have a real thirst for the music. And I think it's because over here we get it too easy. We got too much Hip-Hop. They jam over there. They wild out. We perform over there and they sing the words. They stage dive, break dance, and have mosh pits and all that. Even on the business end. Promoters over there treat you good. The money is always right. You never have to worry about a cat trying to front you on some paper. Punchline: It’s always crazy to see the power of the music and how it affects people. That’s always been crazy to me when you’re on stage and a bunch of people that don’t even speak your language are that into what you’re With the industry being what it is today is there any nervousness about being a part of something like this?Punchline: Not even. That’s not even a thought. The focus is on the music. As long as the music is good the people will come. You make good music and give the people what they want, the fans will follow you so that’s not a concern.Wordsworth: And we’re giving the fans what they want. We’re going to do our thing as a group first then use that to push ourselves as individual artists. But we’ll be giving them what they want.