BLACK MOON, July 1995

Do you see a return to skills?

Buckshot: "Because there's a lot of rappers out there, you have to make the distinction between rap and hip-hop, and a rapper and an MC. There's a lot of rap artists out, but to be an MC you need 110 percent realism. And a lot of artists -- actually I won't even call them artists, "entertainers", 'cause that what they do -- a lot of entertainers think that they can just sit down and write, but they end up making a record that's just irrelevant. I don't write, I flow. What comes out my mouth is my conversation. If I'm on the mic, I'm gonna be saying something as I flow 'cause I'm talkin' to the crowd. So what I'm really doing is having a conversation with the crowd. I'm givin' the question and the answer so that they can understand what Black Moon is all about. So that's what being an MC is all about."

Why do you think it took so long for real MCing to come back?

BS: "Well, it took someone with the skills to come back and say, 'Yo, this is how it's gonna be done.' Everybody thought it was more or less a fad, and a lot of people just didn't understand the culture of hip-hop. Now MCs like KRS One, myself and Nas are saying, 'This is the culture of hip-hop, and as long as you don't understand this you'll never be a good artist.' Now, more people do understand that culture."

How do the lyrics come?

BS: "Most of the time they just come right there in the studio. It's a vibe thing with the Iyrics, with Evil Dee workin' the beats."

Evil Dee: "If you're a Iyricist you better sit at home and practice your flow. Don't think about the other jobs. Me, as a DJ, you'll never see me grab the mic to recite a rhyme, and you'll never see Buck get on the set and DJ. You have one job and you gotta just work at that."

BS: "A lot of MCs just have no flow. If it ain't got flow, it ain't going. There's a difference between flow and Iyrics. Flow is what grabs you and those are the songs that stick. If you're not flowing on every track you do, you'll always make a Iyrical jam, and it ends up being the same, same, same. Lyrics are always the same, vocabulary is the same, the words don't change; I don't say different words from other people, I just flow different."

What was it like producing your first album?

ED: "Production-wise, me and my brother sit down and throw on some jazz and funk records and try and combine them. It's all about the music and the words. I've got to try and make people hear what Buckshot is saying. A lot of people get misguided -- you know, they'll say the beat is fat, but they won't say anything about the rapper. What I try and do is show them that Buckshot's voice is also an instrument, so they can listen to what he's saying."

A lot of people are comparing hip-hop to jazz...

ED: "See, what it is is, back in the day, jazz was a rebellious music just like hip-hop. A lot of people didn't know about it back then and they said, 'That sh-- is wack, it's going to die.' And then when rap came out, they were like, 'It's just a fad, let the n----- have their music.' Now look what happened -- rap's blown up, too."

How do you feel about all the recent media attacks on hip-hop?

ED: "The whole thing about that is that it's not like rap is like R&B, with the singers living in big fat houses in the hills. Rap is from the neighborhood. You go on the corner, you hear hip-hop. When I leave from this interview, I get on the train, anything can happen 'cause I'm a regular person. And what they're doing is that, because rappers are regular people, they're exploiting what happens to them in their day-to-day lives. The thing that happened with 2Pac and the police, you know that happens all the time. We get into altercations with the police; it's real. Not to sound corny, but it's real, and we're just regular people. And the media wants to exploit it."

A lot of kids don't realize the business of rap; they think rappers are making a ton of money. What do you say to them?

ED: "It's like this: All those people who take this business for a joke are outta here. This business is all about one thing: establishment. Of course you're not gonna get any royalties if you don't understand how the establishment works. If you don't have respect for yourself, how can a label have any for you? The label buys an artist dinner, gets him a limo, flies you here and there. Whatever you want to do, you can do it, but it's all on your expenses. It's all being recouped from your royalties. So a lot of artists literally get jerked from left to right, just for the simple fact that they don't know anything about the business. If you don't know at least 50 percent of the business, you don't know where your future is. How can you foresee a career if you don't know where you're going?"

BS: "If a label sees an artist that they think they can make a lot of money from, then they're gonna throw the bait and hope that they can reel the fish in. Nine times out of 10, where they be throwing the bait is like a roach motel, and a whole bunch of people will hop on it quick! And some people just don't know what they're doing. The smart ones will just wait and see if the food is poisonous or not. The dumb ones will eat it anyway."

ED: "I would like to stress that, too. A lot of rappers must start to learn their business. Buck and Drew sat down to learn about management, now they have their own company. Just like me and my brother are sittin' down and building our production company. We all need our own businesses, that way we can control all of what Black Moon does -- it's all in-house."

BS: "It's all about being patient; it don't happen over night. The main thing for me is that the sky's the limit."

ED: "It's not because we have some type of special powers, it's just 'cause we know the business. We could have been one of those groups that just comes up and vanishes. It's not a personal thing, it's just how the business works."

-- Snagg (courtesy of Streetsound)

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