Cilvaringz INTERVIEW March 23rd, 2007
Concerning the RZA intro on the promo. Is there much animosity between you and other killa beez? Not asking you to name names or anything, but have you patched relationships with other members of the fam you had problems with or are you just standing distant from them?
Thereís still animosity between me and certain Killa Beez yeah, and I honestly donít understand where it all stems from. Maybe some of them saw me as some sort of danger to their reputation within the Wu, or maybe some of them didnít like how close of a relationship I grew to have with RZA and other Clan members. Maybe a mixture of both. Thereís a lot of shit going on between family all the time, but at certain points it went beyond family matters, it was straight up dudes trying to fuck up your name, snitching and shit. Thatís what motivated me to write ĎBrothers Ainít Brothersí. I might write a book someday, to come with the second album or something. I donít know.
Which MC suits you the best in any track that youíve recorded with him?
I love all my brothers really. But Raekwon definitly came Cuban Linx style on ĎThe Weeping Tigerí, that was jewel. RZA actually wanted to take that song for Ď8 Diagramsí but I had to keep it far away from him, that was my street hit!
What's the deal with "3rd Chamber Beats", "The Mental Chamber", and "All Star Collection Box"? Where these offical releases by you? If they are, are they still available for purchase from you directly instead of buying them off ebay and not supporting the artist?
Yes, these were early works I did and released to the net. I was testing the waters, seeing if people felt what I was doing. 3rd Chamber beats however was not an official release, somebody leaked that to the net and I kinda know who did that and why. That was a beat CD I gave to the Clan members. But yeah once you get the album and you pop the I- DVD Rom in your computer, thereís a chamber that goes into a store and thereís lots of stuff to buy again, including Mental Chambers I, II & III. All Star Collection is off the market though.
Those tracks you made with Moongod Allah (Ironfoot, etc..) were dope. Will you guys be working together more in the future?
Is there any chance that Moongod will become an official Wu-Tang producer?
RZA made Moon an official Wu-Element is 2003 but Moon just never handed in enough material cause he got caught up in personal situations. Moon lost his mother in early 2000 which was a hard blow as you can imagine. And then he almost lost his father too. Plus he got married and had a daughter so it went a different route for him. I worked with Moon on 2 tracks for my album, ĎWu-Tang Martial Expertí and ĎValentine Day Massacreí.
Are we going to have a video promoting your album?
If we get this subsidy in from the state, then yes absolutely. Still trying to figure out what song though. RZA and I shot ĎYouíll Never Knowí in Egypt, but never got around to editing it, plus it was just handycam shit. Thereís a small piece of it on the DVD.
What have been your main philosophical or spiritual influences as far as books?
The Noble Quíran and a bunch of Noam Chomsky books my wife reads to me.
In songs like "Gold Bell Cover" and "Man, Woman, and Child" you speak on alot of yin/yang type stuff. Did you ever study the Tao?
No I didnít. I spoke on that stuff back then because I was imitating the Clan too much without knowing what the fuck they actually meant. Once I got to the point I had to speak on who I was and what I stand for, everything changed lyrically and I found out I had some big differences with the Clan and certain aspects of their messages which they promoted for years. It was good that the fans were talking down on my heavy use of words like Ďswordsí and Ďchopping necksí and shit like that, cos I wasnít saying anything. Just another dude trying to sound like his big brothers. But I was young, still in Wu-Tang fan mode, and eventually grew out of that.
How much of an influence has the Wu-Tang Clan and their music and/or philosophy or culture had on you in your life?
Oh super much, I mean my whole teenage period was about the Wu. I used to go to the stores every Tuesday and look for new Wu-shit, this is before the internet period. Even went to New York Staten Island to buy official Wu-Wear and shit, I mean that was the whole start for me. A dream that turned reality. There were sites back then that helped me out with addresses and people to talk to, sites like Howser HQ and The DSC.
What has Rza, specifically, taught you that has helped you in life? (he drop any ill jewels on you?)
RZA and I have had long conversations, from full 27 hour flights to Australia to sitting by the pyramids in Egypt, we had many talks. Weíve seen the world together. I mean at one point we were in Athens, the next day by the pyramids, then a week later by the Colleseum, the day after at the Kremlin and then weíd be praying in the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. Imagine a trip like that, that sparks a lot of talk.
Supposedly, you have heard The Cure....tell us a little about it.
Iíve only heard 99 Attributes To Allah and that was incredibile.
We know you are from Morocco, but take us thru your life a little bit.
Where you moved after that, etc. Like, how are you so much into what's going on in the Middle East? Do you live there now?
Well, Iím Moroccan by origin which makes me an Arab. I am very much in tune with whatís happening in that part of the world. This is where big power games are being played out, given its huge reserves of oil and gas, and it pisses me off when I see how much it hurts the locals. Right now Iím living between London and Marrakech.. I love Marrakech though and I will be moving for good soon. The city is great, nice weather, good food, good people, beautiful culture and beautiful nature so I canít knock that.
INITIALLY, what was the relationship like between you and the Wu members and fam being that you're an Arab man and they are a bunch of black dudes from Staten Island, NY?
My Arab ethnicity was never an issue with the Wu, only with that zionist Remedy. But see, what people should understand is that I am too from Africa, as much as my black brothers and sisters are. Why wouldnít I be considered an African American if I was a US citizen? Think about thatÖ.
Your thoughts on the FUTURE of Wu-Tang?
I just hope my brothers will knock it out with The Eight Diagrams. I havenít been feeling the music that much since ĎHeavy Mentalí dropped. To me that was the last real Wu album. Unless Iím missing something. ĎFreedom Of Speechí was great to me. Razah was incredible on that record.
Whatís your day routine?
Differs very much from day to day. Like right now Iím on a train to London for a meeting with EMI about two artists Iím trying to get on, Eslam Jawaad and rock group Intwine. Usually Iím doing loads of business through the computer. I had to supervise three albums last year and this year, all at the same time. My album ĎIí, Salah Edinís Dutch album and his Arabic album, and Eslamís album ĎThe Mammoth Tuskí.. so thatís four albums actually.. believe me, itís been crazy. My doctor just told me to chill out, high blood pressure and shit.
How's RZA as a person? And what was the most interesting/funny story that you remember concerning you and RZA working together or whatever?
RZA is mad cool. He has his moments like everybody you know, sometimes mad funny, sometimes dead serious. Most of the time itís chilled out, no tension. Iíve known RZA for 8 years now so I consider us to be brothers, we experienced a lot of shit together. Funny story? Hmm, thereís a bunch of them caught on tape really.. Check the DVD.
Will we be hearing a proper versiůn of Fuck Amerikkka on the album?
Itís now called ďDeath To AmericaĒ, and it has changed from how it originally was. I have decided to keep it as an acapella becauseÖ.. I felt it was important to include it on the album because of the all shit going on in the world and try to explain why people feel this way, why people are so angry.The original version I did with Anasheed singers from Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah. I had one of their music tapes and it crazy samples on there. I used one of the samples and somehow the live version got back to someone who was doing English translations for their Tv station Al Manar. He passed it along to them and they gave me their blessings through him. But eventually the beat didnít fit with the album so I changed it around, made it different. Same message though. The original beat is on one of the new Mental Chambers volumes.
Do you play any instruments?
Just the microphone and my Korg Triton.
Will you be involved with the new Wu album (are you possibly going to do an appearance on 8 Diagrams?) or any of the members solo albums?
I asked RZA and he said it was more of an intimate thing, as in heíll be doing the whole thing. But Iím sure Iíll get my beats in there. I just did a track for GZA tentatively called ĎThe Ninjaí which sounds like a left over from ĎLiquid Swordsí. When I played it to GZA he immediately wanted to have it. And I just did one with my man Blastah for Ghostface which sounds like ĎRainy Days IIí, that was a crazy track. Ghost loved it from the get go he heard it, he just told me he finished writing it so thatís what I done so far. My next album Iíll try to produce more.
Ever played chess with Gza, Rza, or Masta Killa?
Rza and GZA, lost both. Damn Rza beat the chess game on my phone in like 5 minutes.
Besides Michael Jackson, who are some of your main musical influences?
I love Alicia Keys shit, I listen to a lot of classic Bollywood music, Celtic music, Armenian, and old classic Arabic music. Good music period. Iím a minor key tone freak though.
What Kung Fu movies do you recommend?
Besides 5 Deadly Venoms, uhm.. Masked Avengers, Kid With The Golden Arm, Ten Tigers From Kwantung, Master Killer, Return To The 36 Chambers, Fist Of The White Lotus, thereís many really. One movie yall should see is ĎMusa The Warriorí, Rza bought it for me in Korea or Hong Kong, donít remember. But that movie is ill.
What advice would you give to someone interested in making beats/producing?
Try it and see if you like it. I always have a hard time answering this question because I believe itís something youíre either born with or not. Once you start you either never stop, or do it occasion and wait for it to eventually die out.
Would you ever consider doing an album with Bronze Nazareth?
Yeah of course, thatís my brother.
Things in hip-hop have changed drastically since Wu-Tang first stepped on the scene. Being that you seem to have a good understanding of the internet and the way it is being used to market and distribute material (music and video) have you discussed with the rest of Wu-Tang ways to better make use of this site and/or its forums? It seems that other sites get Wu-related news faster than this site.
On the Wu-Tang Clan tour in 2004 I was aboard and did the whole tour with them. Just me, Beretta and them. And in Stuttgart, while Rae and Ghost were recording a track with Lilí Flip, I sat down with the rest of them and showed them the Wu-Tang Corp site. They all know it, but there is some politics going on which I canít explain in detail right now. But do please believe me and the moderators that we have tried everything to get them, their reps and their labels involved in this site, but it just doesnít happen, so we let it flow by itself and itís doing fine. Also, understand there is not super much happening as of late. And also we try to post from a reliable source, not just rumors.
How do you think you will fare as a hip-hop artist in the US market, being an Arab and a Muslim? Outside of lyricism, do you feel you can reach:
a) The younger generation of rap fans (13-21) who latched onto and understood hip-hop after Wu-Tang's heyday?
b) White fans (a majority) who may not take too kindly to the criticism of the US gov't and its policies you dropped in the infamous "F*** America" song?
c) Black fans who today, seemingly are more geared toward the sounds coming from the South, moreso than the East from which the Wu-Tang style you've adapted to originated?
d) People in general... being that hip-hop music has seen label confidence drop, even at the major level, to where if you don't have a certain sound or lyrical content, your shit ain't getting major spins outside of college radio or the diehard listener's iPod.
I make music I love and Wu-Tang fans love. I donít look at color and I donít look at numbers. I had a fair number of doors slammed in my face for the music Iím making. It is what it is because if I start making music to get out there in the commercial circle, Iíll be fake to myself and others. And all that which is fake carries no longevity. As long as the fans are happy that I dropped this album, Iím happy aswell. I couldnít care less about criticism really. If you criticize thatís fine, just do it intelligently, so I can learn something from it aswell.
Given that a considerable amount of time has passed since you first became affiliated with Wu-Tang, has your perception of the group changed from being a fan to being an affiliated artist? If So is that change negative or positive?
Uhm, well.. I canít really say positive or negative, as with everything its mixed and too complex to put into a positive or negative category. But there were major disappointments at times because I had a certain image of the group when I was a fan and thatís what made me love Wu-Tang, it was more than just the music, it was the movement. I wish I was there in 1993-1997, the golden era. Because once I came in in 1999, it already had begun scattering and the whole image I had wasnít there. I mean it was positive to be part of the group now, and with the tours and stuff, and hanging with my brothers, all that was positive ofcourse, but sometimes I just wish I didnít see/hear so much and held on to that image.
Is there any artist out of the Wu-Tang camp you feel you would like to work or get affiliated with?
Dr.Dre, Alicia Keys, MJ. If that ever happens, yall can shoot me after.
How does the forum benefit your career? Ever plan on (or have) use it for beats/artists from other countries that you usually wouldn't of heard of? Or are you a purely wu and wu affiliate man?
The forum is very cool, cause I get to see if Iím on one line with the fans. And most of the time I am. Iím not sure about what you mean with the second part of your question, but yeah Iím purely Wu, but would still work with others if I feel them.
Did you approach Deck or U-God about the album?
Yes. I asked both of them for ĎThe Weeping Tigerí but never heard back from them. Sent them beats aswell, but somehow I canít get a hold of Deck, and the people around him wonít allow me to, not sure why. But itís crazy cause I got direct numbers to all of the Clanís mobile phones, except Deck. Even Dirty I spoke to directly. But Deck never, not once in those 8 years did I speak to Deck on the phone. It was always some messenger. Even now, I still donít know why my beat was not credited on ĎThe Rebel Patientí. Two of my producers, Kevlaar and Concrete also had beats on that album and they were either not credited properly or not notified of that beat being on there. We didnít know until it came out. Hopefully Iíll get to have Deck and Uyi on ĎIIí though. Both emcees are incredible.
Besides obviously RZA, what other Wu member or affiliate was it great to work in the studio with for this album? Like, who had the most energy and was just tearing shit up.
Each individual is unique is his way of working. I loved seeing them all at work. The session at D&D with Killarmy was dope. Everyone was there, Sin, Dom P, Beretta, Shogun, that was a cool afternoon. That was 2001.
How soon would we be expecting to see your sophomore album?
Hopefully Iíll have it done within a year. I have beats for it ready. I have Ghostface, RZA, Killah Priest, Beretta, Shabazz verses already done. Even a track with ODB called ĎWinter Windzí which is some cold shit. Meth and I meeting in a few days to do something hopefully. I will be producing more on ĎIIí. Itís going to be more of a compilation to me.
Did you actually work with the guest mcs in the studio together, or were the accapellas just blessed?
Each one of them was officially recorded in the studio or hotel room. They were always there.
How nice are you with that sword you are holding to the right?
Haha, technically not so nice. Itís more symbolicÖ
Will you be producing more tracks for Ghost?
Yeah, I answered this in one of the questions above. I want to go back to the Iron Man days with Ghost.
What about a promotion tour for your LP? In Europe also/mainly?
Yes, the tour starts in Tokyo, Japan on May 2nd and comes by Switzerland (Bienne, 18 May), France, Holland, Sweden and Jordan at the moment. We literally started pulling dates in so it could take a bit before I have all final dates in.
What are your plans for the rest of this year? More work - own productions/collados (which?), productions for other artists (WU or who else?)
Promoting this record, spending more time with my family and then I also have Salah Edinís Dutch album which is fully produced by Focus of Aftermath dropping April 23rd, and his Arabic album dropping in August. Plus we have Eslamís album called ĎThe Mammoth Tuskí dropping aswell. He did a little thing with RZA & GZA for that record. Heís on tour right now in the US with Damon Albarnís ĎThe Good, The Bad & The Queení. And then we have the collective Arab group album under the name ĎARAPí dropping in December. That group consists of myself, Eslam, Salah Edin, Palestine from Sweden and Shadia Mansour. That will be a revolutionairy album, all in Arabic.
What about new projects of Lin Brothaz or The Henchmen?
Nah this is stuff we used to do back in the days. I couldnít get Barracuda to rhyme again even if I paid him for it. But you can still buy these things through the store on the DVD Rom, so check for it if you really want to own that stuff.
What about Ringz & Partners: more releases in 2007?
Salah Edin want to drop his new LP this year, but when?
Do you plan to interegrate more new artists?
Check 2 questions back.
Future-plans: Is there an artist, which you want to work with in the future? (Like a dream for you, to work with this artist?)
I answered this a few questions back aswell. Dr.Dre, Alicia Keys & MJ. And Iíd love to do a whole album with FocusÖ
Are there plans for any collabo LP's? With RZA for example?
Yeah RZA and I did a lot of songs so thatís already done.
Could you list some kung fu flicks that have inspired you?
Check a few questions back, I recommended some flicks.
Who would you save if they were both in a burning building on opposite ends, RZA or Michael Jackson?
Haha! Thatís a crazy question. Iíll save both my dude, Iím superman, you ainít know???
After running this site for the amount of time that you have, whats your general opinion on the fans that occupy it, and wu fans as a whole.
Thereís a variety of people and Iím happy I kept this site up because many people seem to enjoy it you know. Thereís lots of topics being discussed and stuff, so yeah. Lets keep it up for as long as we can.
Obviously, most artists get an amount of criticism, but do you feel that because of your affiliation with the wu that you are more highly scrutinised than if you werent, and additionally what do you think of the direction in which wu tang is moving.
I like criticism, as long as itís constructive and intelligently given. I donít want Wu-Tang to be a waiver against criticism. Many fans criticized me in the beginning of my career, say around 1999-2002. That was good criticism. As far as where Wu-Tang is going right now? That answer is on the DVD in my interview.
Whats Your Thoughts On The Artist On This Site.....Or Have You Even heard Any?
I havenít heard any no.
Which are the Wu-Tang members or Fam youíre closer to? Do you keep in touch with Wu-Tang family overall?
Iím very close to Ghostface, GZA, RZA and Raekwon really. We speak at least once a month to eachother. Iím very cool with Meth too, but Meth is always on the road doing shit. We speak on occasion though. So yeah I do stay in touch. Right now me and Ghost vibing a lot, we got the same thoughts on Islam for example so we can discuss it endlessly. I love my brother Ghost. GZA I just spoke to a few days ago, he was with Moon in Amsterdam somewhere.
Which was the machine you made your first beat on? Have you kept using it to this date?
Cubase. Yeah I still got it. Got my first beat on the Triton aswell. I save all my shit, literally everything.
What equipment do you use? Which is your favorite piece of gear to work with? Have you ever worked with plug-ins or VST instruments? Do you use any other gear apart from your basic production centre (ASR-10 for instance) as outboard EQís, compressors or effect units? In that case, could you name some of those you use?
We recorded in Cubase, but all the beats were made on the Korg Triton.
Besides Hip Hop, which other music styles do you usually listen to?
I answered that a few questions up.
Before finishing with the interview, these quick questions are meant to be answered briefly:
- Name your Top 5 producers:
01. RZA / Dr.Dre
02. 4th Disciple
03. True Master
05. Quincy Jones
- Name your Top 5 MCís:
02. Killah Priest
04. Eminem (up to his 3rd album)
05. The Game
- Name your Top 3 Wu-Tang albums:
01. Only Built 4 Cuban Linx
02. Wu-Tang Forever
03. Liquid Swords / Heavy Mental
But this changes every day really, depends on the mood.
- Favorite artist (might or not be Hip Hop):
- Favorite film and director:
The Ten Commandments by Cecil B. DeMille. Directors Quentin Tarantino & Robert Rodriguez.
- Name one book you recommend to anyone reading this interview:
The Noble Quíran & ĎUnderstanding Powerí by Noam Chomsky
- Name some of the hobbies you spend your time on while youíre not making beats or messingí with music:
Spending time with my wife and plotting and thinking of the next great thing to do.
Thanks a lot for the interview! Thanks for supporting the album, and if you donít make sure you get it anyway and tell your friends about it! I put my heart and soul in this one and believe me, I went through a WHOLE lot of stress and fallbacks on this one.
By the way, the album is dropping in Europe and Australia on April 20th. Because of the whole fiasco with Babygrande, the record wonít be out in the US till June. So if you want to have it earlier with the DVD & DVD Rom, order it through this site for Ä15.99.