posted: 07-31-04
interview : tadah
Okay, please introduce yourself.
I'm Supastition, the people's champion from North Carolina.
Featherweight? Heavyweight?
Shit I've gained about 40 lbs in the last few years… I'm a heavyweight now!
Any crew affiliations we should know about?
Yeah, I'm part of 2 crews: One is my original NC fam Lost Colony with Seven & Equinox - formerly of The Nobodies. I'm also part of a production crew known as Wax Reform who handles the majority of my production on all of my recent projects.
Production team? You don't produce, do you?
Yeah, I produce from time to time but it's not my main focus. The reason I was included into Wax Reform was because I was working with almost every member of the crew on my album and various projects. They didn't even have any emcees at that time and everyone agreed that it was only right to make me a part of the crew. I just try to make sure that they are on at least 50% of my music because I think they are dope producers who need to be heard. Plus they never tried to charge thousands of dollars for a beat. When I'm surrounded by producers like Illmind and M-phazes, my beats sound kinda minimal.
So who are the members of Wax Reform then?
There are actually 7 members in Wax Reform: myself, Illmind from Jersey, Dminor from Cali, M-phazes from Australia, Muneshine from Canada, Presto from the Netherlands, and Sycorax 1 from New York
You're from somewhere there in the Carolinas. But where exactly?
I'm originally from a small town called Greenville, NC - also the hometown of Petey Pablo. But I've lived in Charlotte, NC since 1998. I'm always gonna rep Greenville though regardless.
And spin it like a helicopter, huh? (smile) Now, how is life there?
Life in NC is laid back compared to a lot of other states. But it does have its wild side. People assume that all of NC is on some backwoods shit but that's definitely not the case. That's why I'll never call it Kakalak cause it makes Carolina sound like it's Mayberry or something. Everybody isn't on that country shit here and you can tell that from a lot of the groups that are emerging now. I guess people assume that I talk the same as Petey Pablo or something because we are from the same place.
You just mentioned 'the groups': the Carolinas really create a lot of good music lately: how come? Who?
Well there has always been alot of good music within the Carolinas for years but it's just that people are now starting to notice the scene. There are plenty of artists from NC that blew up and never repped where they were from in the beginning. Now you got people such as me, Justus League and a bunch of other artists who are finally getting a chance to be heard and release material on an international level.
The Carolinas have some incredible artists though. I'm not trying to name drop because artists have big egos and someone will get pissed if I leave their name out. (laughs)
What do we need to know about you?
Just that I speak my mind through my music. If something pisses me off you can guarantee that it's gonna end up in a song somewhere. (laughs) Nah, I just refuse to hold my tongue about anything because there are too many rappers scared to speak up and be brutally honest.
Other than that, I got a few projects hitting stores soon that people need to check for but we'll get into that later.
You told me though that you took a line or a verse off a new track of yours. Elaborate.
It was track called "Always" on "Chain Letters" where I spoke highly of a person I had a chance to record with. But after being around him and seeing how he operates, I lost all my respect for him. He turned out to be the biggest hypocrite in my eyes.
I find honesty very important. But slashing back is usually more a spur of the moment, and I personally don't really feel it's necessary after a day or too. What's your thoughts on that?
If I said it, I meant it. I grew up around family members who would call your ass out for doing or saying something wrong. I wasn't raised around people who sugarcoat things to you; so it shows when I talk as a person or in my music. Once something is said, you can't take it back and I understand that. As long as you're being truthful then people have to respect that. I could care less if someone gets offended. The toughest acting cats get sensitive over damn near anything. There are rappers in my area who are pissed with me because they asked if I liked their music and I told them the truth. Don't ask me…
What would you like to tell us about you, that we probably don't care to know? (smile)
(laughs) I'm 28 and I've been rhyming since 1986. So you can do the math on that. I don't listen to a lot of underground hip hop because the shit is just too weird for me sometimes. I'm into traditional hip hop like Gang Starr, Pete Rock & CL, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, old Redman, and shit like that. That's what I consider underground hip hop.
Any other fun facts about you?
I - as said - produce too but I only started making beats because I had to. Nobody was trying to hit me off with beats in the beginning so I didn't really have a choice. I'm not insane though, I'm not trying to rap over my own production as long as I got cats like M-phazes, Illmind, and Nicolay giving me beats. I'm an emcee and that comes first. I don't know, that's about it.
You got some stuff that's coming up: plug it.
I've got an EP coming out entitled "The Deadline" coming out on Soulspazm Records along with a 12" single called "Boombox" - produced by Illmind. It's 8 brand new joints with 2 bonus cuts from previously released projects.
"The Deadline" is like the prelude to my full length album called "Chain Letters". "Chain Letters" is dropping in early 2005 because I wanted to have time to record to the 9th Wonder tracks as well as the joint from Jake One. After the Okayplayer compilation dropped and people heard "The Williams", I just wanted to go back and tweak the album a little more because more people are checking for me now.
Tell us what you hope we'll get out of this record.
I'm basically looking to solidify my fan base and show people that I'm not all about complaining about the industry and how broke I am. Those were the songs that took off for me so heads think that's my forte. The album and EP will show people that I have upgraded my production and my flow has improved and matured so much. Everyone who has heard the album - including some big name artists - have praised it and said that it is going to be the groundbreaking album for me.
My first album "7 Years Of Bad Luck" was more of a demo in my opinion. I never know if any of those songs would actually see the light of day so you can hear the anger and bitterness in every song. I'm not on the same vibe anymore so you'll get to see what Supastition is all about with "The Deadline" and "Chain Letters".
You started out on one album, then moved to another and now they are going to be on a third label. How come?
Well see what happened was: I basically waited on Grit Records forever because "Chain Letters" was originally slated to come out on their label. Almost a year had went by and I hadn't received any paperwork or money. My album was complete and I was just sitting there waiting on the label. Nothing seemed to be moving on schedule at the label so I had to make a decision. I just decided to go elsewhere and Soulspazm Records jumped at the opportunity to release it. Once me and Soulspazm finalized everything, we wanted more time to promote the album so we agreed to release an EP - "The Deadline" - as a prelude to the album before the full length drops. With our distributor, you have to turn projects in 3 months in advance and I wasn't gonna make the deadline. So in order for me to have a release in 2004, I recorded extra songs for the EP and called it a day. I'm not mad about pushing the album back as long as I can have something out there to replace it.
You financed the recording of the songs yourself. Why and how?
My theory is: if you pay for it yourself then you don't have to change anything for anybody. That way I keep my masters and all that. I had a studio to record at courtesy of my boy Madwreck from The Others so that saved a lot of money. And all the producers gave me beats on the strength of liking my music and believing in what I'm doing.
Nobody asked me for outrageous prices even down to 9th Wonder and Jake One. I knew both of them before things really started to jump off so I wasn't just the average joe asking for beats. A large percent of my new projects was done by non-US producers because they don't give you the runaround like some American producers do sometimes.
Example: runaround?
Yeah, some people take forever to send you the beats or the mixed version of the song. Shit, there are still cats who never sent me the songs I did with them for the album. I just stay within my circle for production to avoid the runaround.
At the same time, there's still people that diss European artists just for being from Europe. Something like they can't be genuine because they don't grow up in the States. And you say?
A large number of people in the US don't understand the cultures and music of other countries so they don't check for it. I think the accent throws listeners off because their ears are trained to listen for certain things. I'd never bash an artist because they were from another country. I can admit that it's difficult for me to listen to a person rhyming about something in another language because I have no clue of what they're saying.
There are international groups from the UK, Australia, Germany, and other places that I've had the pleasure of listening to. Some Americans are just close-minded and they don't accept anything that they can't relate to or understand.
You already mentioned this song you had on the Okayplayer compilation. Tell us about that.
It was a joint called "The Williams" that had originally been intended for my album. It's mainly a track about how bills can complicate and ruin your everyday life. My man Nicolay produced the joint. We heard about the contest that was looking for unsigned artists to submit their material. Nicolay and a few close associates felt like it would be a good idea to send the song to the people at Okayplayer Records. Out of over 5,000 submissions, our song was chosen as one of the winners. It felt good to be included on an album with bigger names like The Roots, Dilated Peoples, Skillz, Little Brother, and some other cats.
Did you realize any attention that was gained through that?
Oh yeah, I definitely realized that. Things changed fast after that happened and I started getting emails and calls from people everywhere. More people were noticing my skills and name after the Okayplayer joint. It was the perfect promo tool to get my album out there. I got invited by ?uestlove to meet the crew and rock on stage live with The Roots and Skillz when they performed in North Carolina. I'm not the type to ask anyone to put me on so I'm just grateful for the opportunities that I have been blessed with.
How did you get into this lil' culture we call hip hop?
I always loved hip hop since I was a kid anyway. One day me and two of my cousins were joking around and decided to record a song at their house. All we had was a record player and a tape deck back then. I fell in love with emceeing after that.
My best experience was back in school when nobody knew I could rhyme even though I had been rhyming for 4-5 years at the time. This kid was getting all of the attention and one of my friends kept telling people that I could rap. So they setup a battle to see if I had skills. I went first and the guy just quit without even spittin' because I embarrassed him so bad. That was the day I knew this rap shit was for me.
(laughs). Man that's like the perfect battle: dude doesn't even bother to respond. But do you know what it really was that had you start participating, rather than just watching and listening?
I remember seeing Rakim, Doug E Fresh, KRS, and Run DMC and I always wanted to be exactly like them when I was a kid. I tried to DJ first but I couldn't afford the turntables and records so I got into breakin'. Once I learned how to write rhymes I was addicted.
What is it about this culture that influences and inspires you?
To be honest, hearing other ill emcees and producers keep me inspired. I'm an artist but I am a fan of the music first so I listen from a fan's perspective and from an artist's standpoint. The live shows are my biggest inspiration because you get to see people's reactions to your words and songs. I try to pride myself in having a dope stage show whether I'm rocking solo or with my man Seven.
There are a few up and coming artists that I listen to on a regular that keep me on my toes.
Like who?
Check for the album and you'll see… (laughs)
What was the last album/showcase/experience that had you go: man, I better step up my skills before I step out with something again?
My first album "7 Years of Bad Luck" made me feel that way. Sometimes I wish it never got released because I didn't like the majority of the production on it. The label basically pushed their own production on my release because they felt like the songs weren't up to par. So in return they replaced lukewarm beats with boring beats from themselves. Plus I never saw a dime from the release or heard from those cats in ages.
Who cares? I've got my own version of the album that I'm selling. A lot of people don't like me talking about the situation but I don't give a fuck.
Because people know that once you have a reputation of being a snake that nobody will fuck with you.
If you weren't an artists, what other job would you like to have?
I have no clue. Being an artist is all that I ever wanted to be. I passed up some good opportunities to do music but I can't complain because it's finally starting to pay off. I guess it would be a job related to graphic designing or something. I'd like to have my own record label so I can understand why in the hell it takes so long for some people to put out an album. (laughs) I'm joking.
Who would you like to work with the most? Dead or living? Why?
Well if you asked me these questions about 3-4 years ago I would've named about a 100 people. Unfortunately after you meet some of the legends and underground rappers you looked up to, you see how they act like divas and your mentality and respect towards them changes.
I'm content with working with my circle of producers and artists to be honest with you. If I meet someone and we got the same mind state then I'd love to get down on a track. I would've loved to work with Nina Simone but I'm not sure she was ever a fan of hip hop.
You mentioned how KRS-One was one of the people that got you to rhyme. Now you're on a song on KRS-One's new album. How was that that and how did that come about?
KRS One is co-owner of Grit Records and a guy from Grit Records gave me a call about being on a song with KRS. I thought it would be a good opportunity so I agreed to do it.
I complained to you about the beat, and you told me that they changed the beat after you dropped your verse? I guess it will surprise people that things like that happen. So tell us, what kind of things are happening when you do guest verses?
I recorded to a different beat for the KRS One record and then I heard about 3 other versions before I heard the original track. When you're not in the studio with people, they can pretty much do whatever they like to your vocals.
As far as guest appearances goes, there have been good & bad situations. Bad situations are when people place your vocals out of sync. As an artist who focuses on riding the beat perfectly, you can tell when something doesn't sound natural or in place. The WORST thing about guest appearances is when people rush you to get a 16 bar verse and call you every day - even holidays. Then once you record it, years pass and the shit never comes out and you never hear from the dude again.
I've had a lot of good guest appearances though. For the most part it's been positive. But then again I've started filtering out who I work with so that I don't run into the same issues.
File sharing on the internet: I do it too, or I'll do you if you do it?
I had the funniest experience with file sharing a while back. I wanted someone to peep a song on "7 Years Of Bad Luck" so I tried to go on Soulseek and download the song. The user told me to share or fuck off… (laughs)
File sharing hurts man. But as far as file sharing goes, it has its pros and cons. I'll download some stuff every now and then but I'm on dialup so it doesn't happen too often.
I don't knock people who download music but buying an album and going to the record store has always been an experience for me. I'll be in the record store for hours just looking around and plus I like to read the album credits. I can't enjoy an album without knowing who did what on it.
People who never grew up without the internet don't really understand how it hurts the artist or how good they have it now. But it's also good for the fans because they don't have to spend their money on a wack ass album without hearing it first. As long as your music is on point and widely available, real heads will go out and cop the official release regardless. You can't blame the people for downloading it; blame the people who made CD burners available to the public. They knew what was ahead of them from the start.
What do you really enjoy listening to right now?
85% I listen to beats and instrumentals or something non-hip hop. It's hard to enjoy good hip hop without hearing people overkill it with hype. I've also been playing some joints from Nonameko - a jazz-based female vocalist from Cali.
When you hang up your superhero artist cape, what else do you do for fun?
I'm a father of two beautiful daughters. That's where most of my time goes if I'm not doing something music-related. They come first in everything I do. Other than that, I just go back to Greenville NC to visit the fam or dig for records.
State of hip hop: good or bad?
Blah! I don't care about the state of hip hop. There's always gonna be some quality and garbage music so there's not really anything we can do about it. It's wack that people have to go on a computer to find underground hip hop. That's like going on a christian website to find Jesus. It just doesn't cut it sometimes. Leave your house and experience things.
What do you want to achieve before you retire?
I want to pay off 'the williams' - my bills.
You must have a website, right? What is it?
My website is It's under construction right now.
Comments or shout outs?
Peace to Wax Reform, Lost Colony, and everyone who supports me and what I do. Shout outs to you tadah for not asking me the same ole generic questions.

Supastition "The Deadline" EP and single hits stores Oct 19, 2004 on Soulspazm Records / Groove Attack Distribution.

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