living legend's soul plan
|interview - tadah
talked to Lord Finesse under the gray sky of Zürich
for about an hour. And as longer as we talked, as more
people gathered around us, to listen what the Funky
Technician has to say. It developed more into a conversation,
than a interview, in that Redl from Primitive Lyrics
have to say I'm biased, because you're a member of my
favorite crew, the Diggin In The Crates (D.I.T.C.).
I'm always wondering if Organized Konfusion is a part
Finesse Naw, not Organized, they
down, but not like that. We got O.C., Big L, Fat Joe,
Diamond, Show & A.G. and Buckwild.
happened to Mike Smooth?
It's nothing like we
don't get along. When I first started this rappin',
Mike had a regular job. At any time that Hip Hop got
rough, Mike would go back to work. I can't do that.
This is my bread and butter. I kept with Hip Hop and
he kept with his regular job. He still does work with
me here and then. We still cool.
you make a living out of Hip Hop?
You need more than one
thing when you're doing this rap thing, you gotta expand:
rap, producing, djing. Just rap is a little bit of money.
You can make a alright living, not no incredible living,
unless you're a superstar type rapper and sold about
two million records, while underground rappers like
me maybe sell a hundred thousand to three hundred thousand.
Don't be fooled by the videos and the magazine articles,
everything you see that surrounds hip hop.
else did you expand to?
I'm about to open my
label, might open a store, doing mix tapes, doing t-shirts.
I do it all.
do you prefer, producing songs for yourself, or for
Either one. Producing
for yourself is cool, because you know what you want
to rhyme to, whether you wanna use soundtracks or vibes
or whatever. For other people it's cool too, when they
come and want you to produce they stuff and you can
give them your sound, your style. So I think producing
for other people is a little better, to doing your own
it also like that you get another creative input to
I mean, with other people
it's expanding. With other rappers, they sometimes like
stuff I'm not messin' with myself or they can rhyme
on stuff I couldn't, they flip stuff I wouldn't like
and make it sound dope. That's the difference. Because
everything ain't not made for me to rhyme on, but with
other people, you can just give them about anything.
Not nothing garbage, but you can give 'em any kind of
music. Some rapper like the dark grimy stuff, some like
the pretty stuff, with the vibes and the fender Rhodes,
some just want some funky beats you know. So if you
work with anybody else, you can give all types or variety
was the most amazing guy to work with?
Biggie. Because there
was something about him man. We did "Suicidal Thoughts".
He told me he heard that beat, just the beat. And he
went "yo, I got this incredible idea" and
I laid the beat [for him] and I ain't hear it [the final
song] until the album came out. And the concept that
he added to that beat was so incredible. To sit there
and talk about suicidal thoughts, and the way the beat
goes with him talking, is on point like that.
you often don't hear the lyrics that will go with your
No, that was the first
time, that I never heard the lyrics before the release.
I did another joint for him that never came out, with
him and Sadat X. It's called "Come On Motherfuckers".
That was dope too, that was real dope.
it ever come out?
I don't know. I got
a copy. But I gotta say, Big L is incredible too, not
to take anything away from Big L, he's off the hook.
And O.C. I worked with O.C. on his new album. I did
the title track on his new album called "Jewelz".
And again he took a beat, that was going to be an interlude
to my new album and he flipped it and it was real dope.
guess you wouldn't mind a huge break through success.
I wouldn't mind it.
If I would do a record and it became a success, that's
one thing. If I'd get a hit, it would be the formula
that made me. I wouldn't do crossover bullshit to get
a hit. It's like people make a hit and then they do
all that crossover bullshit. When you go gold or platinum
or double platinum, you get a fanclub, that wasn't really
your fans, but they like that particular song you did.
That's how you go gold and platinum and double platinum.
See and then after the album drops, artists will make
records and try to cater it to the new fans, that really
didn't give a fuck about you before the hit. I wouldn't
cater to them, I would cater to the same underground
fans as ever. I wouldn't mind selling from 500 down
to 100 as long as my same fans my loyal fans bought
it, I would be happy.
you're not going to mess with R'n'B blends in the future?
Naw, I got some R'n'B
stuff, but the way I use R'n'B is different. I don't
use it in a commercial way, but in a Soul way. I do
it from the heart. Like the joint with me and Roy Ayers
["Soul Plan"]. I'm into stuff like that, that
deals with soul when you hear it, you go "that
shit is smooth, it's dope, it's soulful". I wouldn't
just loop up something to rhyme to it, because it's
a loop. I'm into real Soul / Jazz stuff, like Herbie
Hancock, Cal Jada, stuff like that. I love music: whether
it's rock, whether it's jazz, alternative, whether it's
whatever. If it's dope, it's just dope to me.
did this happen, this collaboration with Roy Ayers?
One summer, me and my
girl, we went to see Roy Ayers in this park, Bryan Park
on 42nd street and 6th avenue, 'cause I collect a lot
of Roy stuff, "Everybody Loves The Sunshine"
and so on. Out of all the artists I collect, I really
like his stuff. You know some [artists] got a collection,
but you got maybe one [dope] cut here, one cut there.
Where Roy, he's just bad all around, you know what I'm
sayin'. The performance was like incredible man. He
did like a ten minutes version of "Searching",
he was just playin, and it was real dope. I wanted to
work with him. We hooked up and we did that song ["Soul
Plan] and I think that was like one of the highlights
of my whole career, to work with a veteran like him.
To tell him how much I enjoy his music. And if the man
upstairs let be, we may gonna work together again. When
I listen to old music, I like the sounds, the fender
Rhodes, the Wurlitzer, the drum percussion, the vibes.
So it's like when I did the song with Roy, I didn't
wanna do it on that new synthesizer bullshit.
people appreciate those who they sample?
Me, myself, I appreciate
the music I sample like that. But what I really got
to do, is get a lot done: strip the track down and take
the vocals off and really go over the track. I can't
talk for any other rapper. I know artists like me, Diamond,
Show, we love music. Some other producers probably do
it just for the hit, you know.
do the original artists appreciate the new versions?
It depends. I know Roy
does. You got some artists, that still work, like Denise
Williams. I think they appreciate the artform of rap.
And you got people who just don't want you to fuck with
their music, like Anita Baker. She don't want nobody
fucking with her music, no sampling, no nothing. I can
appreciate that. But the only thing I hate with stuff
like that, is if you don't want nobody to mess with
your music, then just don't use hip hop to try to stay
popular. But she's not, she's a very talented, incredible
to part 2...