INTERVIEW WITH VINNIE PAZ
is good, man. This Army of Pharaohs record just dropped and Stoupe and
I are about to wrap up the new Jedi Mind Tricks album.
Army of the Pharaohs come together?
In '98, we
put out a 12". It was Jedi Mind, 7L and Eso, Bahamadia, Kamachi,
and Virtuoso. We always planned on following it up with a record. Then
we dropped the Jedi Mind Tricks' "Heavenly Devine" and then
the "Violent by Design" record. Everything started popping off
for everyone individually, so everything got put on the back-burner. It
took up to this year to get everyone on the same page to make the record.
feel good to finally get it done.
definitely. It just feels like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.
People have been asking for this for eight years. We decided last year
that we were either going to do it or not. For all these years, we were
telling people it was coming. I don't want to let the fans down. Let's
just get it done. Everyone is really proud that it's finally come out.
the recording process for this album?
was on the same page, we knew some sacrifices would have to be made. Some
of the music was recorded together, and sometimes everyone did their part
in their own area. Apathy did a lot from Connecticut. Celph did his in
Tampa. The producers were overseas. Some were from Germany, Sweden, and
Korea. It was universal. Whatever good shit we were getting, we were using.
We gave each song the attention it deserved so that it would come out
happy with how the record came out?
real happy with it. It basically did what we set it out to do. We wanted
to make some hardcore boom-bap. We wanted to revitalize that sound and
give people that '90's vibe. I'm not really concerned with critics. As
long as I feel like we're getting love from the fans, I'm happy.
you say this album is for?
you want the younger kids to hear your shit, but I guess we're part of
that old school generation that came up on the b-boy shit. It's really
for people who appreciate the classic posses that used to exist, like
Hit Squad, Juice Crew, and Hilltop Hustlers. I'm not saying that we're
legendary, but we're trying to be. We're bringing back that whole crew,
be another AOTP record?
definitely going to record together again, I'm just not sure when. Everyone
has their own projects to return to right now. After those come out, we'll
try to do another record.
the new Jedi Mind Tricks album come out?
out real well, man. It's real dark. It's the darkest record we've ever
made. We're nine or ten songs into it. I'm finishing up the vocals this
Tuesday, and then we're going to mix it. It's called "Serpents in
Heaven, Kings in Hell."
this is darker than your previous albums? Damn.
I was thinking
the same thing. People always say that our shit is real dark. But for
some reason, everything that's been given to me has been exceptionally
dark. It's just a dark record, but it's quality. It's a different vibe.
It's more different than our previous shit.
were rumors that you left Babygrande. Can you clear that up?
still on there.
has it been to not have to go through any label problems throughout your
been seriously independent. Even though we have a label, we still do what
we want to do. That's allowed us to blossom the way we have. We're not
the types of dudes to take advice from label people. We just do hardcore
shit. We stay in control of our own destiny and the label is our vehicle
to distribute it.
ever thought about doing a solo record with different producers?
Yeah. I thought
about it, but we drop a record and then tour off of it. By the time it
seems like that could come to fruition, it's time to record another Jedi
Mind Tricks record. If time allows, I'll do it, but the priority is always
Jedi Mind Tricks.
will be on the new album?
Me and RA
the Rugged Man recorded a track about Viet Nam. I think it's one of my
favorite songs that I've recorded in my career. I'm about to go to New
York and do a joint with Ill Bill. I have a couple of other surprises
on there that I can't let out, but you'll be the first to know.
Stoupe been up to?
working on the Jedi record and his producer record. That will probably
come out in the Fall of '06. It's going to have some different rappers
on there and some different chicks singing. It'll be real dark and deep.
He's staying busy, but he just keeps a low profile.
next for you?
I just hope
the new Jedi record is bigger than all the ones before. That's really
the main objective with me and Stoupe with every record, to have it be
bigger than the last one. We want to tour more and stay busy. It's not
a complicated plan. We just really want to stay busy.
has touring been to your career?
as important as the records. When you don't have major label budgets and
promotions, then you have to take it back to some old school shit and
just get out there and grind. A lot of cats in the underground have really
wack stage shows, and we pride ourselves on being a very energetic group
that gives people their money's worth. We've really been able to expand
our fan-base by touring.
seem very loyal.
We don't treat people any differently than we expect to be treated. I
don't treat these fans like they're beneath me like a lot of these underground
rappers. These kids are no different from me. We have a loyal fan-base
because we give them respect. We always hang out after shows and talk
to everybody. It's a big family.
be an Army of the Pharaohs tour?
started touring yet. We did our best to get this album done as quickly
as possible. It's hard to tour because we're all working on our own music
and tours. We're trying to work something out.
on the road ever interfere with your spirituality?
to practice anything when you're on the road. You're driving for the better
part of the day, you try to get some sleep, do the show, and try to get
some more sleep. It's not just draining from the spiritual aspect, but
also the physical and emotional aspect. You're just grinding and trying
to take care of the task at hand every day.
think underground rap has more problems than commercial rap?
I guess what's
happened that over the past seven to ten years, the term "underground"
has changed. It's changed so much from when it used to mean Boot Camp
and DITC. The records some of these kids are doing isn't even rap. It
seems like it's problematic because you have all these different types
of people under one umbrella. There's a lot of shit that they're putting
out that I don't even want to be associated with. I think that's where
the problem comes in. Certain people don't want to be associated with
stereotypes in music. A lot of shit that's put under the underground umbrella
isn't even rap music. It's about kids talking about how they love their
girlfriends, pick flowers, and eat granola bars. That's homo shit to me.
Underground is hardcore shit to me.
it going to take to clean up the underground?
I'm not even
smart enough to know that answer. Half of the rappers look like indie
rock kids that could be in Weezer. They're skinny, nerdy kids with glasses
and tight jeans and Def Leopard t-shirts. I don't know what that's about.
I don't really know how that happened. The only way you ever clean up
anything is just to support the good shit and ignore the wack shit. As
long as these kids keep on thinking that that type of shit is good, I
guess it's not going anywhere.
do you have for independent artists trying to make it in the game?
do anything, really check yourself and make sure you're as talented as
you think you are. A huge part of the problem is that everyone is a rapper,
everyone's a DJ, and everyone's a promoter. Make sure this is what you
want to do with your life because you have to dedicate 110% to it.
you want to say to all your fans?
even fans, it's just a big family. I appreciate the support from the past
ten years. '06 is our official tenth year. We've been a group since '92
but our first record came out in '96. I just want to thank everybody for
supporting us this long.