An Interview w/ K-Solo
by Shamako Noble of Hip Hop Congress 9/5/02
Shamoko: First, it's been a while since we've seen you around. What's been going on in your life since your last album and how has that effected where you're going today?
K-Solo:Man, I don't know where to start. There has been a lot going on with me, both musically and mentally. I think taking the time out has been a blessing. Hip hop in the mid 90s was getting watered down too much. Too many motherfuckers coming out in one time copying this gimmick or the next, taking from some of the older artists and pawning it off as new and fresh, just because they got a million dollar video. I am not that type of cat, ask any motherfucker that knows me. I don't get down like that. I have always been different, done my own thing and basically been kicking it, getting my mind right, so when I do drop motherfuckers are gonna know that this takes time to come off like I do. So I have been doing a little of everything since my time off. Writing a lot, listening to new music and some old shit, working out, reading, smoking blunts, eating right, you know basically getting my body and my head ready to come out fighting.
Having been gone for a while, you've had the opportunity to create a lot of material. Have you been creating like mad or just mellowing out on the reflective tip?
I've done both, but anyone that knows me, knows that it is impossible to get me to settle down. I just have the hyper energy where I need to always be pushing the envelope. I need to always be creating or my mind goes crazy or some shit. I get too amped if I am not creating music and coming up with ideas, finding out shit about life. I take time off to spend some time with my kids in New Haven, CT (big shout to all of Southern Connecticut) but mostly I have been working on material. I have like books filled with shit. I have like a 200 page pad filled with shit. I have enough shit for like 10 albums, the hard shit is figuring out what to keep and what to save for some next time shit.
You're a boxer. Describe how the mentality of a boxer has effected your experience within Hip Hop?
Boxing has created my mentality. I am a boxer, when I was locked up that's what got me through, not rhyming. Fuck that, it was the fact I can throw down and beat a motherfuckers ass, that is what held me down. These other rappers who I hung out with in the pen couldn't do that, they did what they had to do to get by in there, but it wasn't fighting. So boxing taught me how to fight for everything in life. Nothing is going to be handed to me, I wasn't hanging out on the corner waiting for my opportunity, I fucking fought for it. I take every chance on the mic as my chance to shine, to out-do the next, to beat up the opponent. I want mother fuckers to feel like they just got knocked in the head when they hear my shit. I want the weak minded to feel hurt beat up, beside physically beating you up I want to mentally do it.
Who are you really digging in the game right now? Who did you collaborate with on the album?
I am feeling my whole Sharp Shooter click, but the motherfuckers I am collaborating with is my boy Juice, who I'm sure you know who that is, and this new cat Benny Whitewolf who is just a talented white boy from Chicago. I think motherfuckers will be feeling Benny Whitewolf, that dude is ill. I wish I had more time to listen some of the other artists shit, but the albums I heard and liked were like Scarface, El-P, Kool G Rap, Nas, Common, Roots, Stevie Wonder. But basically I feel that the more you listen to what other people are doing, the more you will shoot yourself in the ass. I try to do my own shit, not watch what's hot now and do my own shit. I want to be in my own world and focus on what I have to do.
You were affiliated with Def Jam, EPMD, Redman, etc. Where are your relationships with these people now. Are you still in contact and will you be working with them on any upcoming music?
Nah, I basically have cut all relations with Def jam, EPMD and Reggie and all those guys. It's not like I have any hard feelings with them, but I felt that their were certain situations with certain individuals that could have been handled better. I just want to make music and not deal with the bullshit that comes along with it, and making bubble gum commercials or movies or whatever, that shit is not me. Like I said Reggie is someone I grew up with. I mean we have the same birthdays and shit. We're cool, but its not like I'm calling him asking him what he thinks or vice versa. I look back on the EPMD days as fun and shit, kind of like a prologue to a long ending book. Motherfuckers want to think that EPMD and the Hit Squad is the end of the road for me. In this day if you don't put out a record every other week, then motherfuckers think you fell. That's not the case. I did what I had to do to separate myself from the bullshit industry shit, and let me stand on my own two and make myself money and not other people. That's it. So to answer your questions, you wont see meworking with them but I ain't got any hard feelings towards them.
Did 9-11 effect your music at all?
It more fucked with my head, which I guess does fuck with my music. I have peoples out there. I am from Jersey, and my kids are on the east coast, so yeah I was fucked up a little. It showed me that the fucking underdog can win, it showed me that you can come out of nowhere and take the world over. It showed me that we are not untouchable. Nobody is untouchable and when you start thinking that way, that's when you get knocked. So now I don't rest, I don't take shit for granted, I don't fucking let shit pass by or half ass anything, everything to the tee is precise and how I want it.
The industry has a way of taking careers and tossing them around like salads. But you seem to be positioned to make a huge impact. What would you say people coming up about what to look for in this industry and what did you have to do to survive?
It's the basic rules of the streets, and your friends could be your enemies. Watch them the closest, people that you think you are cool with. Get shit in writing, fucking get an attorney, not your boy's attorney but your own. Get an accountant. Do your own shit and make sure to keep money away from friends, it will kill you everytime. When you get on top, plan to fall, plan for downtime, keep your money secure so no matter what happens you and your family are straight. The more independent you are, the less people you have to trust and when it comes to money, get shit it writing by lawyers and accountants.
To survive in this shit you have to take the pluses with the minuses and don't let anything knock your confidence. I had to take every bad situation and find something good out of it. Like when I felt someone did me wrong, understand why that shit happened, then find out how that shit did happen so it will never happen again. Its like the 9-11 shit, find out how to use that to motivate you, find whatever it is you're going through to motivate you and make your head stringer, your music and self better.
Do you freestyle? If so how often? Do you feel like freestyle is a necessary skill of the emcee or is it just something fun to have?
You know it is definitely a skill to have, my nigga Juice is like the best freestyler out there. I think it is a skill but I don't really do it to often, other then fucking around. I can do it and I have fun with it, but I am a musician, I create music, and I need to sit down and think about concept, pitch, tone, beats. I need everything to be just right for me to put my name on it. When I come off the dome, it's fun like I said, I can do it, but I'm here to make albums and that needs to be written, arranged and produced. Ail the freestylers that do it well I respect, nothing worse then a bad freestyle, but I make albums.
How have you been surviving all this time if you haven't been in the music game. Where is your livelihood?
I have been doing all types of shit making loot, not really much that I am looking to get into. Lets just say the Sharp Shooters click is holding it down.
What do you want people to know, or understand as you re-emerge on the Scene?
I want people to know that with this next album tentatively called, "There Will be Hell to Pay," that there is no joking matter to this. That I am not here to joke around and have a good time with this shit, this is serious and what I have to say is something serious. If you think I'm m going to come back and make a weak ass album, you are fucking crazy. It fucks you up to see these people on MTV or BET talking in interviews like a little 16 year old kid, then get on the mic and have my baritone voice and style. I want people to know that I can hold down both fucking coasts, I was with EPMD when they were the biggest and Dr. Dre and Suge when they was the biggest. That this album is for real, and your not gonna see me on MTV doing duets with some 18 year old hoe screaming Baby or whatever. Your not gonna see me popping Cris and holding my chain, you're gonna see a real street nigga with years of experience.