Outlawz: Back To The Front

Young Noble, E.D.I., Kastro, and Napoloean, the

Outlawz, are perhaps the most slept on, while being the most well known group

of MC's in rap today. They first came onto the music scene in 1995. Back then

they were known as Dramacydal and were featured on the single Outlaw from 2Pac's

album Me Against the World.

They continued to make a mark, guaranteeing them

a place in hip-hop history as Pac's protégés. Having been featured

on many of 2Pac's albums such classics hits as "Hail Mary" and "Hit

Em Up," the Outlawz had a hand in the selling of over 20 million albums

worldwide. Last year, the Outlawz released their debut CD Ride Wit Us or

Collide Wit Us on their independent effort Outlaw Recordz in November of

2000. Novakane, the group's sophomore joint was released exactly one year to

the day of their debut album.

AllHipHop.com: What angle does this CD take?

Outlawz: Well I mean, um, there's really no type

of angle, we're coming direct really. I'm going to be honest with you, we're

not sugar-coating it. And at the same time, not talkin' about, we're not addressing

a lot of the issues that's popular in rap right now, which is cars, money, and

that type of thing. We are addressing the same issues we been addressing and

that's fame, tryin' to come up, tryin' to keep your head up, and the struggle

to strive (and) stay alive in this world.

AllHipHop.com: So does Pac's influence play a

major part on this project?

Outlawz: He influences everything we do, you

know what I mean, he's our main influence as far as music goes. And I say 'influence',

I don't mean, like, we aspire to sound like him, or rap like him, or make music

like him. It's just the influence that's obvious being that we spent so much

time recording and living and workin' with him.

AllHipHop.com: Has it been hard for you guys

as a group to get out of Pac's shadow? Or is that even a bad place to be?

Outlawz: I mean, it's always difficult when you

came up with somebody that's so large- such a huge star. It's like adouble edged

sword. Sometimes people don't respect what you work for, what you work hard

for. They assume that everything you've got, you got because of him. At the

same time, it gets us in a lot of doors, you know, that maybe the average rapper

that ain't associated with Pac can't get through. So, you know what I mean,

we don't spend a lot of time thinkin' about it, we don't spend a lotof time

worrying about the 'shadow', you know what I mean, 'cause we gonna create our

own shadow for somebody else to be in.

AllHipHop.com: What kind of effect do you think

the Outlawz' music has on young heads who listen to hip-hop?

Outlawz: Well I know first off, when they first

listen to our album, they're going to notice the difference, you know what I

mean. It's like a hot knife through butter, it's gonna slice through whatever

is out there, because it's uncut, it's the truth. The truth wreaks, you know

what I mean? You'll smell the truth anywhere, no matter what is in the room.

So I feel like our album is gonna affect the kids in a more positive way. It's

a lot of stress on kids right now. They feel like they gotta be rich to mean

something, you know what I mean? Rappers don’t just wake up in the morning

and throw on a platinum chain and drive your Bentley around, and it's that easy.

That's telling them lies right there, that's settin' 'em up for failure.

AllHipHop.com: Do you think the recent attack

on America has affected hip hop?

Outlawz: I don't know man, you know, the thing

only happened a little while ago, so I think we'll see the affects of it moreso

in the next year. It didn't affect our music at all because we've been always

doin' the same thing. So, as far as the rest of the game, I don't really know.

I think we'll see the influence in the next coming years or so. But at the same

time, you know, money is a powerful thing. Some of these dudes done got so rich

off the rap game, they're oblivious to what's goin' on in the real world.

AllHipHop.com: There’s a rumor goin around

that on the last track ("Loyalty") of Novakane, that's maybe a diss

towards Fatal, is that true? can u clarify that at all?

Outlawz: Ay man, you gotta listen to it and ya’ll

tell us, nahmean? Its just bout people who ain’t loyal, man. "Loyalty"

is bout people who ain’t loyal, and people… fly-by-night niggaz, you

know whut I mean, that’s loyal when its good and soon as it get bad they

wanna jump ship and go to the next team and all of that..

AllHipHop.com: Oh word, so are u in contact wit

Fatal at all?

Outlawz: Nah.

AllHipHop.com: How's ya relationship with Death

Row and Suge Knight, now that he’s out of jail?

Outlawz: There is no relationship, nahmean? We

wish them the best and we doin our thing.

AllHipHop.com: When you left Death Row, were

there any Outlawz tracks left behind or did you take everythin with you?

Outlawz: Nah, there’s still stuff over there.

It’s the Retribution album that we did wit Death Row, is over there

AllHipHop.com: Do you know if they’re gonna

plan on releasing that or is that just gonna be in the archives?

Outlawz: I dunno, you gotta ask Suge

AllHipHop.com: What do you say to fans who still

think 2Pac is alive?

Outlawz: What do I say to them? You know what,

I say to em that he is alive, so long as ya’ll still listening to his music,

nahmean? His spirit is alive and well, and it’s thrivin’ right now.

AllHipHop.com: How do you feel about Ja Rule

using 2Pac’s track "Pain" on his new album?

Outlawz: "Pain" is a classic 2Pac record.

And I feel (the same) like when dudes try to cover a Marvin Gaye song or a Patti

Labellle song, or Stevie Wonder song. I feel you takin a risk, cause its hard

to live up to that standard. And obviously, that song don’t live up to

the original "Pain" And a lot of people don’t like it.