was to stand trial, his charge would be something along the lines of
providing musical connoisseurs with a USDA product. Coming out of the
Motor City, which is rich in musical history yet starved of a promising
economy, you can understand why for artists like Guilty, making music
overrides making money. But, if you are truly talented as he is,
monetary gain is inevitable.
been embraced by the royal family of Detroit, producers like J Dilla
and Mr. Porter paid close attention to the talent that this Almighty
Dreadnaughtz member oozed on the streets of the D. He captivates us
with his energy, enthusiasm and his ability. And as he readies up for
the late summer release of his album on Stone Throw Records, after
successfully promoting The Chrome Children, fans can expect a
lyrical torrent of substance laced with dexterously constructed beats
from those perched on top of the production chain.
With tracks like the Dilla assisted "Clap Your Hands" and features with artists like Jaylib on his song "Strapped,"
Guilty Simpson has already put himself in a league of his own, not just
in his home town of Detroit but, on a nationwide level. The future is
full of opportunity for him and his crew.
charged with providing a watered down product in Hip-Hop equates to
maybe a three year stretch, but to be charged with providing and
embodying the true elements of Hip-Hop which this 313 MC does, will
have him facing nothing less than a life sentence. He is as his name
suggests Guilty . as Charged.
AllHipHop.com: So what are you Guilty of?
Simpson: [Laughs] A lot of things. Well really the name Guilty crept up
as when we were younger we were more or less kind of wild. Then when I
just started getting into rap and I had this real aggressive style, the
name Guilty came. Simpson came a little later because I heard that
there was someone who had my name [Guilty] and with my last name being
Simpson, I put Simpson on it to add a personal touch. The first time I
said it, it just sounded like it fit. So for the last four or five
years its had Simpson at the end. A lot of people think it is an OJ
spin off but no, Simpson is my name.
AllHipHop.com: Coming out of Detroit, being such a musical city, was this what you always wanted to do?
Simpson: Not necessarily. I have always been a fan of it in my younger
days, listening to NWA, Scarface, Pete Rock and CL Smooth. I had always
had a fascination for it and I definitely appreciated it. Further on
down the years I had friends that were into Hip-Hop whereas I was just
wildin and living for the moment and it did actually give me a sense
of belonging. I always appreciated the good music but it did take me a
few years to get involved in it but once I got in and realized it was
something I could do at a pretty high level, it was like a drug to me
and I just couldnt stop. I wouldnt necessarily say that it was
something that I always wanted to do, but I would say that it was
something I had a fascination for and once I got into it, I knew I was
supposed to be doing it.
Detroit has such a rich culture when it comes to music. When you think
back to the time where Motown was the label and then move forward to
now when Hip-Hop is so prevalent there, are there any parallels between
Simpson: I think there are parallels to it. Basically with the current
state and financial growth in Detroit, there are only a few things you
can do. The struggle is in the music and the people can hear that; the
whole Motown era and I think it has come back full circle. We are still
in the same situation where there isnt anything to do here and when
you hear the music, you hear Emimen, he is actually able to put his
pain on paper. I do think the city and the environment in general
builds a kind of hunger within the people, so no matter what you do, if
you are an engineer, being from here, poverty is such a reality that if
you want to accomplish your dreams, you can see poverty every day so it
becomes you. It is just that hunger. If you are living in Malibu in
California, being homeless is probably far from your head, but being in
Detroit, the grime and the grit, being in a blue collar city, being
homeless and not being able to function in an every day society is a
general reality to us. It is not a far fetched thought. People are well
aware, if you dont work, you dont eat and they are the values I was
brought up with as a kid. Once I decided that rap was going to be the
thing that I was going to do for the rest of m life, I knew I had to do
it 100% because you see poverty every day and I think that came through
during the Motown era and the rap music in general. Do it or dont do
it. If you do, put 120% in it and grind hard.
AllHipHop.com: You have quite an extensive history in Detroit; you are part of the Almighty Dreadnaughtz arent you?
Simpson: Yeah thats my crew; we are in the process of working on our
projects right now. But right now I am focusing on my project and they
are going to be featured on a song or two on there and I have
production from people that are involved in Almighty Dreadnaughtz
production team. They are involved in my project but, at the same time
they are well aware that when my record comes out I am always
mentioning my crew in everything that I do. Shortly after my project we
want to drop our records and let everyone know that my existence is
with a crew too. It is all about making good music and my project
should be out in August and then the Dreadnaughtz project should be out
in late September, early October.
AllHipHop.com: Does it ever cause conflict within the crew when you go off and do solo stuff?
Simpson: Of course, I have sensed a change in things but, I think they
are well aware of all the time that we have put in, if someone has an
opportunity to do something, then people should support it. That is
what brotherhood is. They are also well aware that whatever
opportunities I am brought into I couldnt do anything but help them.
Initially when things started happening I was pulled away from my
comfort zone of being around them every day to the point to where I
cant spend as much time and dedicate as much time as I used to. It
made some people have to step up and work harder in certain situations
but I think in hindsight it made the crew a lot stronger. They support
what I do and they know any opportunity I get is beneficial for
everybody. I can do it without my crew, but I definitely wouldnt do it
because they work hard and they support me. Everything I do is for them
and they support me 100% just as I would with them if they were in this
AllHipHop.com: Was being part of a crew something that you needed to be as you evolved into an artist?
Simpson: Yes most definitely as your crew gives you an identity. My
crew makes up a huge part of who I am before the world even
acknowledged Guilt Simpson as an exceptional rapper, or MC, my crew
before then had that faith in me. They put me in that position to be
heard. So when I look at that I always remain humble about my situation
but at the same time I am well aware that this is what I am supposed to
be doing. We have a whole lot to say and I am one of the first to be
put into that position but it is all for the crew. I am not making
strides just for myself, it is for everybody. I think as long as you
have that embedded in my brain as every time I am in the city I am with
my crew. They know where my heart is and what I am doing this for. It
will give them a voice to be heard.
AllHipHop.com: Does Detroit move as a unit like it appears to do?
Simpson: We have segregatism within Detroit too, but at the same time,
in the position that I am in I have been able to work with pretty much
everybody and there is a lot of different circles. I can basically say
I am an Ambassador when it comes to crews, so I dont have to deal with
a lot of things that other people in the city might have to deal with.
You know I am locked in with a circle of people who are leaders of
their crew. So regardless of if this rapper doesnt like me, I have an
understanding with his boss and those are the people I deal with more
or less. It is not as unified as I would like it but when I look at a
lot of other situations, where you have this rapper in this rapper in
this city talking about another rapper that is in the same city an
sometimes the same neighborhood as him but we havent taken it to that
level and I am definitely thankful for that. At the same time I feel we
could be more organized but I think success will bring that. It is
aspiring to be a certain type of rapper but it is harder for people to
listen to what I say and the guidance that I have and take that
seriously. But the strides I am taking, the more wind I am getting
behind me and the more they will take what I say that much more serious
because at the same time, until I really get out there and put my first
record out and see how people really accept me and what people really
think, I just focus on the people who want to work and have the same
goals as me. Those are the people I deal with and they are pretty
influential people in the city, so I dont have to deal with a lot of
the confusion that a lot of other people in the city have to deal with.
You were brought to Stone Throw Records by J Dilla (RIP). Just how
influential was he to you as a person and as an artist?
Simpson: Well, honestly before I met Dilla he was a huge inspiration
and you know because I had studied his music and I was aware of the
different things he had done in the industry. After I met him and we
had that bond and we developed a friendship, he was a huge part of way
I do what I do. He was one of the first people that I could look at who
had been in the industry and had saw different things to come back and
say to me that he had that faith in me and was confident that I could
make songs onto the level as most of the MCs out there. he could feel
that confidence in me to keep my fire going. I have a couple of other
people that have helped me, Mr. Porter, Kon Artist from D12, he is
executive producer on my record and he has stood out to me. He has some
crazy stuff on my record. They were very influential in my career as
they had been to the other side and worked with this person and that
person and for them to come in with a long list of people who wanted to
work with them and come back to the city to work with me, who was just
a hungry guy from the city, that helped my confidence level. That let
me know it was what I was supposed to be doing. I owe so much to those
two guys; words cant even describe how influential those two are. Not
to take away from Dilla at all, that is my heart right there and that
is a large part of why I do what I do right now.
AllHipHop.com: You say on your joint "Jungle Love" real n**as dont need sponsorship in regards to co-signing. You really think that?
Simpson: Oh yeah because even though those two people influenced me and
they have co-signed what I have done because they have been in Detroit
and seen the work that I have done. Denaun Porter I connected with
after show that we did; Jay Dilla I connected with after an Open-Mic
that Dilla went to. Just for me to stand my ground and let my talent
speak for me, these people gravitated towards me and had that
confidence in me. That lets me know that I have to be my own man before
I can reach out to either or of those people to give me validity in the
game. Them coming into my cipher and helping me out makes me stronger,
but it all boils down to I only have me and I have to be able to hold
my own because like I said Dilla passed and Kon Artist is a member of
D12 and there are a lot of times when I am going to be in a certain
situation and there is only me. I dont have those two people to fall
back on thats what it is. I dont really care what squad you with/a
real ni**a dont need sponsorship, as a you have to be your own man and
that is what I am doing.
AllHipHop.com: What do you think it takes in todays environment to be a good artist?
Simpson: I think the main thing to be a good artist these days is to
put the music first. That is one of the main things that I try to do. A
lot of times people try to reach and they do certain songs because they
feel like they need to do a club song, they might feel like they need
to do a song for the ladies. But I feel that there is nothing wrong
with trying those topics and wanting to do certain things but I think
being true to yourself is the most important thing; as a lot of people
are trying to do what was successful for the last man and in a sense
the creativity of the music is dying because there is so many people
reaching just to get the easy check. You know if one guys come out with
a certain dance then another guy might come out and think well now I
have to do a single with a dance and it is virtually taking away from
the culture. They might reap the benefits financially but where does
the responsibility to the music come in. That is the main thing. I came
up in the era where whoever came out, even if they were different, it
was cool to have a Will Smith in the game along with Kool G Rap, along
with a Big Daddy Kane, it was ok to be different. But now people want
to be a rapper from a certain region with the exact same image as
another rapper that is successful from another region. I think they are
trying to be successful in one vein in a sense. It is not really giving
the music any room to grow, so I think that is like the biggest thing.
Fall in love with making music now, dont fall in love with cashing a
check fall in love with the creative element of a good song, lyrics. Be
coming up with the next shit as I think that is very important to let
the game grow and be ok with being different to a certain people. I am
a rapper and I dont sell crack and I am comfortable with that. You
dont have to be a drug dealing rapper. People need to focus on what
works for them and what elements they need to bring to the game and go
in and do your thing that way. The old school Hip-Hop values, well one
of them was like breaking a commandment. I think we need to take it
back to the creative levels, stay creative and just stay true to you.
AllHipHop.com: What are you giving people with this album?
Simpson: Expect lyrics and I mean well the producers on there, you know
I am going to have sweet beats as I cant go wrong with Dilla and Mr.
Porter and Blak Milk and people like that. I am not using those beats
as a crutch; I am trying to have my lyrics bring an element to the beat
to make a good song. I think the most important thing that people
should look out of is something fresh and new. I am definitely not
coming from left field to the point that you will be hearing a lot of
stuff you have never heard before. You are going to hear something that
you might have head before but you will be hearing it in a more
creative element. I think that is the biggest problem in the game right
now, it just isnt original anymore, real hip-Hop lyrics over banging
beats is what I am bringing.
AllHipHop.com: Do you feel that real songs have been lost among tacky dances?
Simpson: Yeah, but I am not going to go out on a limb and say that
Hip-Hop is dying as there are people putting out good quality joints.
It is just that those people are not getting the shine and the light
shone on them to the point where there music is pushed into the
background. Then you have radio, where every song that comes out sounds
like an extension of the last song just by a different artist. A lot of
the cookie cutter music isnt even selling a lot of units like it used
to and I think that it is just leveling the playing field for a person
who really wants to be creative on a record. you know you might have
someone at a label that wants to do original stuff, but the cookie
cutter thing is a sure fire way to make a lot of money and now they are
doing the cookie cutter stuff, they are not even guaranteed money
anymore, so maybe it will make the artist take a step back and take a
look at themselves to get ideas to what they really want to do with
their careers, rather than just going for the easy money. I think it is
fair and I know some people might think that is a haters statement but
I am from the underground, I always root for the underdog. Now that all
these other records that are not bringing anything to the game or are
not really adding anything to the game, personally I love it, because
that is what you get. You cant fool the people forever with this
watered down music thats not creative. If you are not creative it is a
shame that I have to listen to someones song and before the video goes
off I might know how to do the dance but I cant remember one lyric in
the song. You would rather go out and dance rather than do your music,
be a dancer. When you pick up a Mic you have a responsibility to give
the people some real lyrics and real music. I think it is time for
people who come from that angle to get their shine on and I am just
ecstatic to be part of that.
AllHipHop.com: What is your album called?
Guilty Simpson: I might just go ahead and call it The Verdict.
Basically with the verdict my music is the evidence of what I am trying
to say and what I am trying to do, where it is up to the listeners to
decide what they think about it. I have a couple of titles that I am
throwing around right now, but I am probably going to turn the record
around in another week and a half and once I turn everything in, we
will sponge everything up and I will figure out what Stone Throw picks
and then I think it will be safer. Once I see what is going to be
incorporated in the record it will be a little safer to come out with a
title. I am more or less trying to take care of the songs and then I
think the title will come to me in time. I am not trying to force a
square into a circle, I just want to take care of the songs and then
the title will come to me. But I am leaning towards The Verdict as that
was something Dilla and I were supposed to be working on and it was
something we wanted to do.
Guilty Simpson's website is www.guiltysimpson.com
Guilty Simpson's Myspace page is Guilty Simpson's www.myspace.com/guiltysimpson