El Da Sensei
Das Ende der Artifacts war ein Rückschlag aber kein Beinbruch für Silbenzwirbler El Da Sensei aus New Jersey. Nach seinem standesgerechten Solodebüt “Relax, Relate, Release” legt der alte Herr jetzt sein neues Album vor. Wir bringen euch auf den neuesten Stand der Dinge.
Do you like interviews?
Yes I do, I love doing interviews. I’ve done a lot. I don’t mind doing because the world wouldn’t know what the rap would be about. I don’t mind doing interviews at all.
Hope you like this one. “Between A Rock And A Hard Place” can be considered as classic material. How did you situation change after the release?
We didn’t know if cats were gonna like the record like the way they did. I think we was pretty much just trying to make a record that we wanted to make, everything we wanted to do coming up as kids and wanted to put on that record. So, I think that now, of course today the music is different. But I think, what made the difference in my life with that record was: you never know what people gonna think of you until you put someting out like that. I heard a lot of other records, especially at that time when we put that record out, you know, Method Man, Biggie and Redman was out so we had a lot of competition so I was proud of what we did.
Your not with Tame One anymore. Why did you two break up?
With the label situation we was like burned out, just tired. I think it was more on a personal level, just what Tame One wanted to do, trying to go solo. It wasn’t my idea, but at the same time I had to live with it and move on. It wasn’t a good thing, I’m not gonna lie about that. At the same time things happened and we both wanted to get on to do different things. I was like ‘we can’t keep it together’.
Do you think that you two might achieve a comeback together?
I always tried to leave that open but at the same time if you hear some of Tame One’s music today, he’s on a mission to prove people that he don’t need me or we don’t need each other. So more or less… I hear his records and I’m like ‘well we can forget that’. *laughs*
Don’t you like his new music?
I mean, it’s cool and I’m not gonna hate on him for this. It’s nothing like what we was doing. It’s sounds real different. It’s hard for me to say if I like it or don’t like it. It’s just: ‘that’s your style right now and that’s what you choose to do’. But I can say it now: that’s not what we was doing in the past.
Tame One has his own group now, the Dusted Dons, what about you? Do you plan to establish you own group?
The crew I have is the people that I work with all the time. Just with this new album, working with J.Rawls, DJ Revolution and Ill Mind, I have more a family with producers than I do have with MC’s. Some of the MC’s that I know, are the MC’s that I still want to work with from my past whether it’s gon’ be Sean Price or O.C. I really haven’t knocked on the big door. I still want to work with Pete Rock and all the people I have listened to. I don’t feel like I need a crew to be around me all the time, to be with the cats I roll with. But I definately need to keep getting the notches in my belt and make the cats that I know, that we respect, be like my one big crew.
What about the reasons for your draft from Seven Heads to Fat Beats?
It’s kind of simple to me. If you look at the difference in the work that’s been done with this album as far as putting it out there to the world. That’s what Seven Heads didn’t do with the last record. And that’s not even to talk about him, I’m a grown man, I don’t talk about nobody but we all know what mistakes were made at the time when that record came out. Maybe I needed to be somewhere where he knew where I was and where my crowd was. And then he just put the record out and see what’s gonna happen.
You never really accomplished a commercial breakthrough. Do you still believe that this is possible?
Well, that’s a little thing. What level of music do we all need to be at? Cause I don’t think that a commercial will change my status. It would be good to have a video. I just did one, that will be out soon. It’s more or less that you have to be more visual – because even if I was commercial, with the people that I have right now, that follow me, would they accept it when I do it? I wouldn’t say that I’ve been commercial but I was at a mainstream label at one point of time. We had a certain status that we was able to keep going. But now today, the world is run by independent music. So if I can be myself and still get people to like me, they accept me for what I’m trying to do rather than me trying to do what they doing to accept me, that’s when you know it’s working.
Tell me about this video …
Oh yeah, we just shot a video for “Crowd Pleasa”, we’re editing it right now. I’m in Atlanta, I should be home tomorrow to finish everything up. There will definately two videos, that one and “Gunblast” from the album. “Crowd Pleasa” – is just like a song to me that is just action, we have the green screens, there will be some computer graphics going on. We almost finished with it, so y’all will see it soon.
Back in the 90’s, New Jersey was considered as something like New York’s little brother. Do you feel like this has changed today?
Hell yeah! Because now, New York is the little brother to everybody else. *laughs* We kind of got lost in the struggle, not only New York or New Jersey – the whole eastcoast. The eastcoast consisted of everything that’s going on here, that’s not the same anymore. That’s just because the market is so cluttered. We don’t know where New York is, where New York stands. Where’s the eastcoast sound? If you try to do that sound today which I still do, now they call it backpacking. I rather be called underground than backpacking.
How would you characterise the New Jeruz sound in general?
Well, I would say driven, we always try to stand out from trying to be like New York. So if you look at a known fact: every Jersey artist who has been coming out had a hit record. I don’t care who it was, if it was Lakim Shabazz, Chill Rob G, 45 King, Latifah, Naughty, Artifacts, Lords Of The Underground, YZ, Poor Righteous Teachers – we all had at least one hit record. I think that the Jersey sound is trying to be a self, we try to not copy. When you look at the groups back then that came out of Jersey – whether it be Redman or us – you can tell what kind of music we was listening to just from what we put out. It had different ranges, some commercial groups coming out of Jersey, when you look at Naughty. Bu look at what they did, they had a big following because they was not like everybody else. Nobody couldn’t be another Naughty By Nature.
You’ve also worked with diverse european rappers like Nered and General Woo from Croatia. How did you experience the recording process?
Well, I got their CD through the mail and they had e-mailed me the track. I had did a couple of songs with Koolade from Croatia and they had liked what I did with him. So they was like ‘if you want to do a song with us, just let us know’. So I know Fat Phily, that’s my man, he was like ‘I’ma sending you some stuff, just see what you can do with it’. I did the song – I didn’t know that it gonna be what it was today. We did a video, I went out there and shot it with them. It was suprising to me that so many people knew about the song.
Do you plan to work with other artists from overseas?
Hell yeah, definately! I mean, I’m open to everybody. It’s not a money issue, we all get paid to do a job. So I would rather to do a job with somebody who really like me than thinking of trying to get a cheque. I get lots of requests. It’s mostly from producers, people want me to do rhymes on their songs more than a couple of years ago. I guess that’s because I have a new album out.
There are large breaks between your album releases… how does your life look during these breaks?
I’m always workin’, doing features, being on the road most of the time. I try to stay busy. One thing I’ve come to realize is that even if you put out an album every year you really have to be sure to say ‘I only got this much time to do it’. I think people always gon’ like me for what I’m trying to do today. I would rather gap up a whole bunch of years worth the stuff to say then just keep putting music. You got at least take a year or two off just to build up something more to say then just the same thing all the time. So as long as I stay busy touring I keep my material fresh and I feel like I don’t really have to be out there all the time to make some noise, if I just can make noise in one big shot.
Let’s talk about your album “The Unusual”. What are your thoughts about this album, what do you want us to know about it?
Well this is my baby, it’s my second child to the world as far as a solo artist. I want y’all to know that this record is not what you think it is as far as what everybody else is doing today. This record is for the action packed emcee, the action packed listener. This is really an action movie on wax, like Jackie Chan, Jet Li … everything mixed up in one. You don’t get lyrics like the way I put ‘em today, it’s like really controlled but it’s all over the place. And definately the music is banging, we got ten, eleven different producers on this record to get a different feeling and not to add the same song every track. I wanted to get back on that note because you don’t hear too many emcees. Just let it go, don’t care about what the critics gonna say, just wild out and do your thing.
Do you think that it’s basically the same sound like on “Relax, Relate, Release”?
No, definately not. This album is much more up-tempo, there’s nothing to be relaxed about on this record, I’m not on the same pace like I was on that album. This record is something for the younger dudes that just want to see what it is to have something to listen to that is far more than what it is today for it’s just simple.
Do you already have any new projects in mind?
Yes I do. Me and K-Def from Real Life, we’re working on an album right now, it’s called “Ghetto Man Meets Mean Jonny Barrows”. We’ve got like nine or ten joints done so far so we’re still working on it but it probably will be out sometime this fall. K-Def’s music is definately dramatic and we’ll have a lot going on with that real soon.
Do you have any shoutouts to conclude this interview?
I want to give a shoutout to Cologne, all my people out there. I want to give a shoutout to Subotage Agency. I’ll be out there very soon.