I haven’t heard from you in awhile. Now you’ve got your new group Bang Bang Boogie, probably some more solo tracks…What exactly have you been up to?
I’ve been in the studio since the M.O.B. situation. There was some bullshit. I started my own company CLK. I’m still cool with M.O.B. Records but at the end of the day they had a different vision for things so we decided to part ways and do our own thing. I started my CLK thing and I’m still working on my next album Chain of Command and my Spanish album Hijo de la Calle. I’m still with my Bang Bang Boogie guys in the Bronx. The Bang Bang Boogie thing benefits all of our situations better and I’m a Bronx representer always. We got Lord Tariq, Mysonne, S-One, Hocus and myself. It’s just moving as a unit and lately it took more weight off my shoulders for a little bit. We’re all brothers from different parts of the Bronx and we just came together to make things happen and the Bronx has been missing that. No one’s been repping the Bronx for a minute so we’re taking that position and we’re moving forward.
How did Bang Bang Boogie come together?
It started off with my man P.O. He’s the hype man behind Bang Bang Boogie and he’s also a part of the C.E.O.’s team. I seen him one day on ThisIs50.com and he did a little sketch on it how he was just talking. He was just saying how he felt about the Bronx. He had a little situation with Joe also. So I seen him on ThisIs50.com and I was like, ‘Damn, I know this nigga.’ I had seen him in the Bronx when he’s hosting basketball games. I recognized him and my man Gilly, who is also a part of my management team, he knows P.O. very well.
So he told him the idea of what he was trying to do. I’m a part of it and of course me and Joe have that history of not liking each other for awhile. He’s always talking about the Bronx in the rap game and how disappointed he was and I was feeling P.O.’s mindset. When I got there and we were working it gave me that old school feeling like being in the lobby and just beating on the walls. It gave me that raw feeling. It was something I was missing in my life and it just became a whole new format for me. We were just getting that feeling again. I saw Mysonne there and Lord Tariq and S-One and Hocus. I knew Mysonne and Lord Tariq from way back from them being in the industry but I had just met S-One and Hocus.
It was all love from the beginning. We did “High Blood Pressure” first and everybody was just loving it. It was a big commotion over that. So then we decided to come together and make this movement for real and make this machine a reality rather than just an MC freestyle thing.
As an MC, you’ve been in a few groups throughout your career. Do you like being in a group as opposed to being solo?
Yeah. It’s the whole unity thing. Bang Bang Boogie stands for a lot of things for me. Before Terror Squad we were Full A Clips with Big Pun and Triple Seis. So I came from the teamwork thing and the teamwork era where we give the audience different parts of an MC. Every MC came from a different part of the brain when we were doing it. That’s why when we’re doing the team thing we make sure everybody comes from different elements and they’re not using the same metaphors.
With the Bang Bang Boogie thing, we’re all coming from different parts of the Bronx and we’re representing that real hip-hop and the real aspects of being an MC. I’m comfortable with that situations and I’m working with some veterans and rookies coming up in the game like Hocus and S-One.
Will we see a Bang Bang Boogie album in the near future?
Yeah. We’re working on the next mixtape right now before the album and we’re going to give them the single. It’s the “Bang Bang Boogie Anthem” produced by Lil’ Fame. We’re taking it slow because at the end of the day, we have to land the right type of deal. And we ain’t asking for too much. We started it in the streets and that’s where it starts. We want to take it to the next level but we have to get with the right business partners.
How’s your new album Chain of Command coming?
It was like three quarters done before I started working with Bang Bang Boogie but I put it on the back burner because the Bang Bang Boogie thing took off so quick. I’m still three quarters of the way almost done. It’s coming out crazy. That was already getting crazy with me as far as the lyrical content and as far as my career and my MCing skills. That was going to another level. I’m going to take it to a different level when I’m working on my solo project.
The Spanish joint is also just about 75% finished but you know me. I might go back and change some things. But at the end of the day I’m pretty happy with my artillery right now. I have the teamwork thing, the English angle and the Spanish angle. I’m just doing whatever to let the people know that I’m still repping that real shit that I have been doing my whole career. I want the people to understand what this is about.
How will Chain of Command compare to your previous solo records 24K and Chain Reaction?
My next album is always going to be my best album. I just feel that way because that’s my mindstate and that’s how my heart feels. 24K was special because it was my rookie album and I gave niggas more than enough because I hit every angle on that album and it never came out. On Chain Reaction I had to prove a point but when I was proving that point, I was in a different situation. I’m a real MC and you have to hear that album but there were some things that took away from the creativity aspect and I understand that but I had some points to prove on that album. This album is more relaxed. You’ll hear Cuban Link on this one and I’m going to pop some real shit on this and at the same time there’s different topics.
People have been talking that I’m always getting at Joe and that I’m always dissing somebody. That’s not the case. That’s just what they prove to put out there. It’s not like that. I’m an MC at the end of the day and I make music for everybody. I don’t make it my business to diss people to get to a higher plateau. I just do what I do in the industry and my career was obviously affected by what happened. I can’t let that ride like that. This is me being a man first of all and me being a real MC with me dissing these clown-ass niggas. I’m putting my dick on the table and telling niggas what it is and that they’re pussy. I’m coming from the heart and this is how it goes. I got songs for the ladies and I got songs for the corner.
It’s unfortunate that when I make a hardcore song niggas think I’m dissing somebody and that’s not the case. Right now there has been a lot of controversy over my beefs and it’s all from the same person. It all has to do with the Joe situation and I’m not going to let a nigga slide. If you say my name on a record believe I’m going to get back at you.
And when I started this Bang Bang Boogie group with these brothers, we took Joe down from that pedestal. He was saying he was the king of New York and we don’t believe that. There’s a new government. We had to take that government down. We had to run that nigga out the town and then we’re going to start over with a new foundation. That’s what the whole foundation was when we were doing the whole Bang Bang Boogie thing and that shit played a big part in me getting involved with these brothers.
You released a lot of songs dissing Fat Joe. Did you get the reactions you wanted from the fans?
Yeah. I got the reaction I wanted as far as respecting the skills of an MC. That’s never been a question in my book but it felt good to know that I still had it. I needed to show that part of me. When it comes to making songs I have that credibility and niggas respect that. Ladies respect it. At the end of the day it’s always like a business thing where the politics take over at the end of the day. I make hot songs and I’m not here to say I make that one hit. My whole vision when I go in there to make albums is to make 14 to 20 songs that are as hot as they could be on my album. That’s what I want to do and I’m pretty sure I hit that. Even my Spanish song “Scandalous” hit that,
And plus there was the black balling. People don’t know about that but it’s serious. I’ve been talking about it for a minute and it seems like I’m asking for pity but it’s not like that. I’m exposing these niggas and to everybody else, they think I fell off and I don’t have any music. It’s not that. I’ve been hot on these motherfucking streets and I’ve been hot on this computer shit. Look at my MySpace or Google “Cuban Link.” I’m not lazy. Cuban has been blocked from a lot of things because of relationships that Joe has with a lot of individuals in this game and I get a lot of cold shoulders when Cuban’s project comes up.
It’s like that in New York and on the radio. Enuff just played the “Bang Bang Boogie Anthem” and that’s because of different politics that you don’t see. Enuff never played my joints because of politics and I understood it. I just don’t understand it where if me and you have a relationship and I’m coming out with an album, why wouldn’t you play my joints? I’m not asking for favors. We got money to grease you up if that’s what you want. It came down to the politics. Niggas chose to have a relationship with Joe and they wanted to block me. Joe said, “Don’t let Cuban perform at Summer Jam and I’ll do a free show for you at this location.” That’s how that business part of the game is. It’s that slick. And it doesn’t look like the dude is really black balling but he’s using himself to block me in a different dimension.
But I’m the one that suffered from it at the end of the day because I needed those connections to get to a higher level. I had relationships with those radio stations but he has more power. He sits down with the white collar dudes and he blocks it but a lot of people don’t see that because they only see what they see on TV or hear on the radio. So as far as far as the politics, I never gave up. I’m still doing music and you know what Cuban is up to right now and when I drop my album, it’s going to be the same thing at the same time and it’s going to be the same avenues and people are going to know that Cuban Link never left and that I’m one of the hottest ever. That’s why I’m working so many different angles right now. I’m just doing that so that people can get that full view of Cuban so no one can say I’m not relevant in the game. I’m still relevant and this is who I do it for.
Do you still feel black balled today?
It’s not even a feeling anymore. It is what it is. It’s reality. It’s not about feeling it or like I have a premonition. I know I’m being black balled. I feel that. As long as Joe is in power and he’s talking to labels and he can maneuver better in the industry than me, of course I’m going to be black balled. That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop making music and meeting new people. That doesn’t stop me from doing it. Unfortunately there’s an avenue in the game where people think he’s the only Spanish dude doing it and that Pun handed him the torch. So a lot of labels and VP’s go to Joe when it comes to the Spanish side of things. I’ve always repped for the gangsta South Bronx corner. That’s where I’ve been from but when it comes to that, they go to him for a lot of advice when it comes to the Spanish artists. They’re going to take his word over mine so it has a lot to do with that.
And I have made those hits for the radio like “Scandalous”. They thought that was a reggaeton joint but I was just spitting over a reggaeton beat. I had that shit “Sugar Daddy” with Mya. The ladies, they loved that record. But when it came to BET and MTV playing it, they gave me the cold shoulder and secret sources told me about the situation when it came to the “Sugar Daddy” video getting added to BET and MTV and getting added to Hot 97. It always went back to Joe. Joe talked to this guy. Joe did this. It’s not word of mouth anymore. This is the game that he’s playing and that’s why you didn’t see “Sugar Daddy” on TV as much and why you didn’t hear it on Hot 97. He wanted to shut me down and you group niggas and put the temptation of money and power in their faces and look at what happens.
Look at Angie Martinez. She was my peoples before all this and now she’s riding with Joe. She doesn’t even invite me to a conversation on Hot 97 like, ‘Yo, Cuban, how are you doing?’ When we were coming out with Chain Reaction and we asked for an interview on Hot 97, she wouldn’t do that. We never had a problem and I would have to guess that they came from Joe and they don’t want any problems. I guess she feels she doesn’t want to backstab Joe and that comes back to hurt me. And that hurts my marketability because I can’t get a fair situation. I don’t got a fair shot in New York and the industry is a real tight unit as far as the major players go and Joe is definitely one of the major players when he sits at the roundtable in hip-hop and if he thinks Cuban Link is not supposed to be in this spot, they’re going to believe him because he holds that kind of power when it comes to this industry.
But the streets love my music and I’m happy with that love. I’m not in this for the money as much as I am for the love of it. My love always overtakes this whole thing when it comes to this hip-hop. But I do feel like I’m on a different level in this game and I do feel like my money bracket should be at another level because I do have that selling power and the dudes like me and the ladies like me. And real MCs respect Cuban and the streets respect me. I’m in the streets every day. That’s what my vision of a real MC is. I have all the aspects of the game and I’m real in my music and that’s what hip-hop needs. DJs got it twisted nowadays but that’s what it is.
Do you think you will always be tied with Fat Joe no matter what happens in the future for the two of you?
Yeah. It’s going to always be that situation because we came in together and it went sour. It’s going to always be that situation. It’s not about us making a pact and saying that there’s no beef anymore because I can’t believe that. I know the qualities of the enemy I’m going against. He’s not known for keeping his word. So it’s not even like that. I don’t even think I could believe him when he says he’s going to stop the bullshit and that I would get a fair shot. It’s not up to him but I know that he has a lot of influence and power in the industry and he can make my moves very difficult. He doesn’t have the selling power as much anymore. He only sold 40,000 and before that he went platinum to where he was a power to be reckoned with.
But as far as personally, yeah, he’s always going to be linked with me and in my mind, it’s the same thing. I can’t trust him, bottom line, as a person and as a man. And at the end of the day, he doesn’t make the kind of music I make and the people are going to have a choice at the end of the day. Hip-hop is not dead and at the end of the day, real recognizes real and the real is always going to service and it’s always going to seep through the cracks and be what it is. At the end of the day, it’s all about me making that one song where people say, “Okay, now we can fuck with Cuban.” I just make tracks and I rock it to the best of my abilities and maybe because I’m in the streets like that I get that recognition but when that radio and televisions comes into play, I don’t get that as much.
But I don’t have any personal grudges with anybody. It’s been seven years and Joe has a lot of influences with other people and I just hope that he hasn’t changed everybody’s mind with the people he’s in contact with. But he’s changed a lot of minds and a lot of people want to come out and say my name in a song in a negative way and I’m not into that. Niggas have always been lined up saying shit about me and it’s not about me. It’s because another person had an issue with him. It is what it is and I’m a part of hip-hop.
Why do you think Fat Joe dissed Big Lou by calling him a “Big Pun clone”?
See, that’s another shit. He just makes enemies wherever he could. Big Lou, that’s my little homie. He’s dope to me and I just give him my blessings. He came and we did a song together. I love his flow. He reminded me of Big Pun, not physically but lyrically. He reminds me of Big Pun but he’s doing what he does and he was inspired by Pun. That’s a compliment.
For Joe to be on some hating shit like he’s trying pt be like Pun, I don’t see that. I went to Camden and I chilled with the dude. He has a whole different story than Pun and the way he delivers it is similar but no one could ever be like Pun. If you could take a lesson from a brother like that and use it to the best of your ability, I’m sure my brother would be like, ‘God bless you, brother.’ He’s not doing nothing but big upping Pun. So I don’t know why Joe would take it that personally and Joe was the nigga that Pun used to write for. Maybe that’s why he’s agitated that he sounds so much like Pun because “he’s biting off of Pun so he’s biting off of Joe personally.”
But Big Lou is my dude and we got future projects together and he’s a real individual to me and we can bang out anytime. But Joe is hating and everybody can see that already. It’s been too long for people to not know who he is.
At one point you even dissed Rick Ross. How did that situation come about?
The situation with Rick Ross is a situation where the nigga…I’m watching things from a distance in New York and Joe’s doing whatever he’s doing in Miami. I’m just watching it and I see that Rick Ross is around him and a lot of rappers are around him. So he’s over there taking over whatever he’s doing. I never had a problem with Rick Ross in my life. I actually enjoyed his music. I heard one of his songs on HipHopGame and he was talking how he was “slicing pies up like Fat Joe did to Cuban Link.” I was like, ‘Where did that come from?’ Rick Ross doesn’t even know the whole situation. Where did that come from? So for him to say something like that he’s a dickrider. Was he jumping on his back to get in his good graces? You don’t do that. You did that to the wrong nigga. I never did that to anybody. The only nigga I ever went after was Joe and the whole Terror Squad because they deserved it. But for all those niggas to jump in and act like they’re with those niggas, that’s fake to me.
If you see me on a personal level, you know my emotions. If I’m saying all of this, I’ll punch you in the face. They know that. They should know that. And Rick Ross, he was using that as a metaphor and I just got really disappointed and angry at the same time. Are they saying Cuban is pussy in Miami? Are those niggas crazy? Joe and the Terror Squad niggas are feeding them the wrong story. They can’t fool everybody out there. I put my work in. For another dude coming up to disrespect me and to put my name in the rhyme, he doesn’t have any respect for me and I’m going to disrespect him. It went as far as lyrically.
Ross, I don’t know him and I don’t know what he’s about but if you touch me, I’m going to touch you back. It’s not a physical thing with that. It’s a lyrical thing. And his peoples reached out to me and let me know what it was. I reached out to him.
What did you think of Rick Ross being exposed as a C.O?
I was just reading about that one. That’s funny! I gotta laugh at that because that’s funny. It’s just, I don’t know, man. If it’s true and I’m kind of believing it’s true because I saw the paperwork. That shit don’t look like no Photoshop’ed pictures. I don’t want to say something because I’m not going to diss Rick Ross because I said I liked his music, but from me liking hip-hop, I’m like, ‘Damn, this is what it came down to?’
If you used to be a cop, say it. If you used to be a C.O., then say it. Like Maino said, just say it was a part of your life. Say you just came out of high school and you were trying to get paper. I’m not saying it’s cool to do that. I was always doing hip-hop and being a cop and hip-hop doesn’t mix. It’s like oil and vinegar if you’re trying to do it for the streets. You could do it like a Will Smith rapper, but you can’t be street and do that. You would have to explain that part of your life and be real with it.
You’re talking about how you’re getting ki’s from the real Noreaga and every day you’re hustling. You have to define what hustling is. You could have been a C.O. hustling, getting those overtime hours up. It just made me question his whole shit by him denying it. If it was me I would have definitely come across and said what happened at that point in my life. “It was because of this.” And the people would have understood it and I wouldn’t have had to deny it.
I don’t know how he can deny it because there’s a lot of evidence out there. It doesn’t look Photoshop’ed and it doesn’t look like those documents are wrong. But you know, man, there’s always room for mistakes. But I’m here doing what we do. We’re over here in New York doing what the fuck we do and there’s fake niggas everywhere. That’s what I have to say. In every country there’s fake motherfuckers. It’s just I don’t back that fake shit up. Be real with yours.
How much credibility should a rapper like Rick Ross lose when he’s caught in a lie like that?
He’s in a different level now. He hit white America and he hit other countries. He’s internationally big now. So it’s not up to just the gangsta niggas or the street niggas. At the end of the day if you’re from the streets, you already know. Niggas from the streets are going to rock with you forever if you’re real like Marlo on The Wire. He was trying to go into other businesses and he couldn’t so he had to get that gun back out and get that feeling back. That’s how niggas get down in the ‘hood. Fly as far as you can fly but don’t get caught slipping because you can’t go back to the streets now.
There’s a ladder in this game. With that ladder, either you break the motherfucking rung when you’re going up or you leave the steps there so you can come back down. A nigga like Joe done broke all the steps to that ladder and you can’t come back down. You can’t go back to the ‘hood with that shit and you better be protected by a lot of people and that comes from money and the money runs out. I don’t know what’s going on with Rick Ross but it’s definitely disappointing to hear that he came through those pipelines, man, because there’s other hungry, real niggas that have been keeping it ‘hood and they could be in that same spotlight and hold it down a little more realer than that.
Have you spoken to DJ Khaled at all since he ran from you at the Mixshow Summit?
No. It’s the same situation. I always had a good relationship with him and the whole shit with him started when I was in Puerto Rico at the Mixshow Summit. Let me break this down. I caught him out there and at the time me and Joe’s situation had already started. I’m outside one of those venues and I approach him like, ‘Yo, Khaled, come here.’ He got really scared and started running around the car. I was like, ‘Yo, Khaled, what are you doing?’ I wasn’t going to punch him in the face and I was just going to let him know that the beef wasn’t between me and him and it was between me and Joe. He’s running around the car screaming, “Chill, Cuban!” I was like, ‘I have a project coming out and I want to give you first dibbs on everything.’
He was so scared of me and he’s so scared of the situation, like if he plays my record Joe will beat his ass. There’s nothing but fear pumping out of him. He’s telling me he can’t play my record because of “The Don.” He’s telling me he can’t play my record because he’s scared of getting beat up or whatever it is. So from them on I decided he’s a little puppet. I see the motherfuckers out there building their crew and I’m not a hater. I applaud but when I see a nigga talking about how he’s the best and this and that and that he’s gangsta, I remember that situation and I caught a flashback. I wanted to just throw a shot at this motherfucker because he can’t say this shit that he’s a gangsta and that he’s from the ‘hood. Where the fuck does that come from?
So I had to check his motherfucking pulse too and get at this faggot-ass Khaled. At the end of the day I don’t do this fake shit. I’ve never been fake in this industry. I represent this real hip-hop shit and the real individuals. I represent that. I don’t do that fake shit and maybe that’s why it didn’t work out between me and Joe in the Terror Squad situation. I can’t handle fake shit. I just can’t. I could never sell out to that in my heart. That’s who I am. My mark in this game is going to be bigger than that and realer than that.
Can you ever be too real and too honest for rap?
You can definitely be too real for rap. You see examples of that every day. There’s niggas battling on YouTube that end up fighting and killing each other. You can be too real for rap. I’m real to my emotions and my feelings in my heart and to my peoples. And at the same time, I know the business and I know it’s entertainment and I know it’s a livelihood and what I chose as my career.
So I know that line and to tell you the truth, there’s many times when I felt like I could do somebody harm when I’m making a record but that’s my therapy. That’s my therapy. I let it out. It had to come to that because my situation is too real. It’s too easy for Cuban Link to grab a gun and go blow Joe’s fucking head off. It’s easy to do that but the problem is who’s going to give a fuck about Cuban Link after that and I’m going to do 25 to life. And what am I going to get from that? I’m going to get fan letters in jail every day but that’s going to be it. That’s all I’m going to get. I’m not going to live the life I want to. And doing that wouldn’t make me real because that wouldn’t be real. That would be me following my anger and me putting things in perspective where he did me dirty and now I’m going to do him dirty. It can’t get to that. I’m not that type of individual as far as me being crazy. If that was the case I would have been in the loony bin by now.
Everybody else doesn’t see it but I know what’s going on. I use my music as my gun so when I do a record about how I feel about the industry or how I feel about an individual, I’m taking their credibility away and that’s all I can do and that’s all I want to do. You have more connections from me but I have my format and I’m a hip-hop nigga and that’s what I’ve been doing in a positive manner. Some might say it’s negative because I’m dissing him but that the same time it’s positive because it’s for hip-hop and no bullets are flying. I don’t want it to come to that. I really don’t.
I just want to get a fair shot in this game with my lyrical content and I’m doing everything I’m doing in this hip-hop game to get that fair shot. I know I got more talent than most of these motherfuckers and I’ve never gotten my solo moment. It was taken away. It was taken away in an unfair way. I can give you examples but the fans already know what’s going on with Cuban Link’s situation. There just hasn’t been that much focus on it because it’s too serious and it’s too real.
I’m just letting niggas know that I ain’t dead. I’m still kicking and I’m still doing what I do. Nobody made me stop doing my lyrics and my music. I still want it bad and the avenues got a little slimmer but I’m still here, man. And you can’t always act on your first reaction. I’m Spanish and we got hot tempers. My first reaction is to blow his brains out and go do 25 years. No. It’s not like that. That’s what your enemy wants you to do. We move in a different way and when we do have a problem we address it. We address it in a lyrical way. If I didn’t talk about it, Cuban Link would be fucking dead in the hip-hop game because all the avenues are getting shut down slowly but surely. You have to be strong in this game. That’s what it is.
What’s the next move for Cuban Link?
The Bang Bang Boogie album. Expect that. The Chain of Command album is my English album. Hijo de la Calle is my Spanish album. We’re doing shows around the U.S. So expect Cuban Link to be around. Expect Cuban Link in your computer when you Google that nigga’s name. Expect to hear some new songs and expect to hear some new things from Cuban. In a minute I’m going to be in y’all’s faces. It’s just a matter of time, man. That's all it is. And The Legacy of Pun, the DVD, that just came out. You need to see that. That’s going to be crack. Liza, Pun’s wife, is involved in it and so are the kids. I saw that the other day and that is the real documentary. It blew my mind. There’s no personal feelings n there. It’s all about Pun’s life and his legacy and his mark on the game. Y’all are really going to enjoy that one.