The Luniz have just released their new album - "Silver & Black" - which features a myriad of guests and arguably their best material since their 1995 "Operation Stackola" debut. Members Yukmouth and Knumskull's collective catalogues are as varied as they are extensive. From the incredible success of "I got 5 On It" in '95, then the full-length "Operation Stackola" which remains entrenched in true Hiphop fans' minds as one of the greatest Bay Area releases period. Then to the follow up album "Lunatik Muzik" which was unfortunately heavily slept on - It featured a legendary joint with Too Short (The Luniz long-time rival) called "Funkin' Over Nothin", as well as the comedic hits "Phillies", "Is It Kool?" and "Highest Niggaz In The Industry". A 'Bootlegs & B-Sides" album shortly after retrospectively bridged the gap between albums.
Ultimately, Yukmouth was offered a solo deal by Rap-A-Lot records and he chose to capitalize on it by instantly putting his heart and soul into his solo debut "Thugged Out: The Abulation" in 1998 - "I recorded over 50 tracks for that album, and put the hottest 27 or 28 on a double CD and I rolled with it" Yukmouth says about his solo debut.
He quickly followed it with "Thug Lord", which held it down for what maybe some of his greatest work. Yukmouth has a new solo album called "Godzilla" due out early 2003, which he describes as being "Larger than life, It's going to feature tracks for all different people, something fort he streets and for the clubs. It's going to be huge. Watch out for it."
Knumskull, however, wasn't offered a solo deal with his label - C-Note records - instead he had to travel the independent route with Clee from Digital Underground with a collaborative effort titled "Good Lawd That's A Lot of Drank" which featured the heavily slept on comedic rip-off of Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca" which was an over hyped pop hit at the time. The take-off was called "La Vida Broka" and featured Ras Kass.
Commenting on Knumskull's recording situation at that time, Yuk states "Why didn't C-Note offer Knum a solo deal? That's the question." - Never the less, Knum is working on a new solo to hit right after yet ANOTHER Luniz album next year.
On top of Yuk's solo joint, the new Luniz album, and a new Knumskull album, there's going to be a Yukmouth compilation called "United Ghettos" out later this year, accompanied by a DVD movie which will feature Ja Rule, Mac Dre, E-40 and several other prominent Hiphop artists.
But with all the future plans, there's a few sketchy things about the past that need to be cleared up. Yukmouth unexpectedly found himself on the end of several lyrical battles over the past few years with some very unlikely competitors. The most prominent of which was a battle that's still on going with Master P.
"I never had no real, real, real like gun fight no beat down type beef with Master P it's always been lyrical" Yuk professes "He chose to bite my shit, so I chose to step into a lyrical war with him until he stops biting niggas shit and that's my way of doing it - same with anyone else Too Short, or any other person who got a problem with Yuk, it's going to be a lyrical war because I'm too grounded in the streets to ever let it be street shit cause it isn't, and I don't want it to go there. Shit, may the best man win, you know?"
"I'm just defending myself" He continues "These cats is fucking with me. Now, Master P, he fucked with me. Shit, he stole 'Ice Cream Man' that was the first album to make his whole empire. - The first album that went Gold off his whole shit. From then on, all that no Limit shit went gold...That kicked it off. Some shit he stole from me, THEN, when Pac died, he stealing all Pac shit. And there's no body out there speaking for Pac It's not like Pac was my top down, down, partner homie, homie - I knew Pac we see each other, we smoke together, BUT, he wouldn't call me everyday like he'd call Richie Rich, or The Gov, or C-Bo, you know? So, when I did the song it's like everyone was like 'Oh Yuk, you a Outlaw? You down with Pac?' Nah man, I just rode for Pac cause a lot of motherfuckers that were down with Pac should have been made the song - They kept they mouths shut, so I refuse to let some motherfucker bite me AND Pac at the same time so I was riding for me and Pac. Cause Pac was my homie."
Yuk is quick to dismiss any thought that he's trying to ride on Pac's coat-tails "It ain't like i'm trying to be like Pac, I don't rap like Pac. I don't make music like Pac. It's other people that sound like Pac" he continues "I got braids you know? (laughs) I ain't no Ja Rule or no DMX. I'm just giving him (Pac) love. I give Pac love back cause I do Thug music and he was the king of Thug music."
After a quick reference to Money B's solo album "Talkin' Dirty" in which Money B states if Pac was still alive a lot of cats right now that are making money wouldn't even have deals, Yukmouth had this perspective to offer "Half of these motherfuckers wouldn't be triple platinum - I feel there wouldn't be no Murder Inc, right now, or no DMX right now. I mean, they'd be out there, but they wouldn't be selling no millions. There wouldn't be no Master P neither. - Cause as soon as he died, everybody piggy-backed off his style, off his fan base and off that market." He continues "Just cause he died, it don't mean his fans died. So they seen that gap, and they're trying to fill it and try to take over his market. They doing the same numbers (sales() as Pac. The first one platinum, the second one double platinum and now, boom, the third one he's going triple and all types of other shit - Just like Pac. They're trying to use the same strategy and take Pac's fanbase."
The conversation moves toward Ja Rule in particular, after his sentiments toward himself being Tupac's resurrection. "I like Ja Rule, we done chilled together, smoked together. I like him, he a good man. But dude was wrong for saying he's Pac. I heard on a Kay slay tape he said some shit like 'Ya'll want Pac? Well here he is, I am Pac!' at the end of dissing Snoop, he dissed Dre, he dissed Eminem, man, he was going off at the mouth. I mean, man, I don't know....You (Ja Rule) the dude and all, but damn, that's a lot of folks." He continues "That's a lot of folk - I know you partners with Suge and all but Suge can't protect you everywhere."
"You gotta respect niggas when you in they city. That's rule number 1 being a rapper. You can't go in another niggas city disrespecting and tihnking nothing is gonna happen to you." He states about the East/West thing that may transpire "It's like Snoop and them - you know what I'm sayin? Dissing Biggie and them and shit, and go out there (to New york) and try to film the video like nothing gon' happen. And they shot that motherfucking thang up! You can't talk shit and step in a man's territory and think nothin of it. This nigga (Ja Rule) gonna have to have security, armoured trucks - all types of shit, cause he don't know where it's coming from. He beefing with too many people. He need to get his shit together, but other than that. Ja Rule's the man. He done figured out, and mastered the art of making hits and once you do that no one can fuck with you. - But leave Pac out of this, please. Because it's not only me, it's The Outlawz, it's..... - everyone gonna wanna tear a piece of your ass off, even your fans, man."
From friction to friction, we move on to address the Scarface indicent, in which Scarface offended Yukmouth, not only in person, but aime dthe majority of his "Last of A Dying Breed" album at him. Which disgusted a lot of the world's Hiphop fans, as Yuk and Face were/are on the same label. The situation is not dissimilar to Nas attacking Prodigy of Mobb Deep on "Destroy and Rebuild" late last year.
"Ah shit man, it (the Scarface drama) goes back, man." He explains "I always felt something like, he didn't like me. Just because when I did my video '(Pac We Still Ballin' (filmed in Houston) he didn't show up.....I'm like, 'This is your city. We label mates, this is my video, you did not pay not one fucking visit to my video.' It was like a slap in the face, like 'fuck you'. From that point on it was like, he acting funny with his. After that album ('The Abulation') came out, I started working on 'Thug Lord' and shit, and in the middle of working on 'Thug Lord' Too Short puts and album out ('Can't Stay Away') You know, i'm a Bay nigga, so I'm picking up everything from the Bay, i'm addicted to it. Even if you my enemy, I'mma listen to it and see what the fuck you trying to come with." he continues "So, i'm listening to Too Short's shit and I hear this song called "Longevity" which is him (Too Short) and Scarface talkin, right, and this nigga Face - Too Short is definitely talkin about me - but this nigga Face is on the next verse and says some shit like - he dissing me deifnitely - but he says some shit like 'Niggas drivin they CEO cars in they videos' which, I was driving J (Little J, the CEO of Rap-A-Lot) bently in the "We still Ballin" video that he (Face) didn't show up to. I'm like, 'ok, he don't wanna come to my video, then he wanna clown me at the same time.' so i'm like 'O.k' and I write my song - I don't call him, I don't call J, I don't call nobody and bitch about it - I get right in the studio and write my shit - I write 'Thug Lord' instantly, I lay the shit and I send it to Rap-a-lot, before it get there I call J and said 'J, dude, I feel Face is talkin shit about me, man. He hopped on a song with Too Short man, so I sent this song like a retaliation" and he's like "Oh man, Face would never do shit like that - this family'. So I'm like 'Ok', and then we got at Face and Face was like 'Nah man, i wouldn't do shit like that, this family man'. so I'm like 'Ok' and i'll take my song Thug Lord, OFF the album just to make sure everything is cool."
"Then" He continues "His album come out ("Last of A Dying Breed"), and he got 3 or 4 songs talkin shit about me and I'm like "Damn" - Face called me, made sure I didn't put 'Thug Lord' on the album but this nigga got 4 or 5 songs talkin about me. But he ain't sayin my name. So, I scratched out his name on 'Thug Lord' and I put that shit out - and that's basically how the beef started.....Then some other shit come out - LL album he got a diss to me, Redman album he did something.......i'm just defending myself."
Being a true Oakland Raider, Yukmouth has his eyes firmly fixed on the prize, and can roll through or over any obsticle in his path. Look out for the new Yukmouth album "Godzilla", The "United Ghettos" compilation and DVD, and of course the new "Silver & black" album from The Luniz, and make sure you open your eyes to the salvation of Bay Area Hiphop, in the new millennium.
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