Und der Kammern ist einfach kein Ende: als Produzent von Bambi The Iron Maiden wurde Iron Shiek die Ehre zuteil auf Protect-Ya-Neck Records /Wu-Tang Managment gesignt zu werden. Nach einiger Arbeit im Dunstkreis des allmächtigen Clans und einem Soloalbum machte sich der Queens-Native wiederum selbst daran etwas zu bewegen und stampfte sein Iron Chamber Entertainment (I.C.E.) aus dem Boden, um jungen und hungrigen Nachwuchskünstlern eine Plattform zu geben. In unserem Interview lässt der hoffnungsvolle Newcomer keine Frage offen, spricht über seine Musik, sein Leben und seine Vision für die Zukunft. Ladies & Gentlemen – von den Straßen New Yorks auf die Bildschirme der Welt – ugrap.de präsentiert: Iron Shiek.
Introduce yourself to the audience please.
Yo, this be Iron Shiek. Wu-Tang Managament, Protect-Ya-Neck Records, Iron Chamber Entertainment comin’ at you for real.
Iron Shiek – How did you come up with this name?
I had that name for a long time. It’s like a duality. First of all cats know that I drop a lot of jewels, so cats call me a Muslim or Farrakhan, something like that. So they associate me with Islam, nahmean? And then they know my beats – it’s like hardcore, hard like iron. So cats called me Iron Shiek. And to be real with you, I think you remember the track that Nas did, “It Ain’t Hard To Tell”. He said it on there: “Slam beats like Iron Shiek”. He know what time it is. We are from the same hoody, it’s all goody, nahmean? So I always kept that name.
Are you a religious person?
Nah, I don’t have a religion. I don’t need a religion. Religion is another form of polished-tricks. It’s another form of styles. A style of a belief, or a way or a technique of a belief. I don’t need a religion, I don’t need anything to rely on. I rely on self. I don’t have a religion, I have a culture. It’s like HipHop is a culture.
Where Do you come from?
Well, basically I come from the Q-Borough, Queens, NYC. Queens and Shaolin really. I hail from both.
How’s life in Queens?
Well, listen to cats like Mobb Deep, Nas & Tragedy Khadafi, nahmean – they basically put it down for Queens and let you know how it is out there. Queens is like a mixture of different cultures. But as far as it’s on the music level: we got the flyest MCs, you know what I’m sayin’. We got the real niggaz out there. We still doin’ it. The other boroughs ain’t got it like us, we got the hottest cats. Queens definately got it going on on the music tip. So, I love it. We fly niggaz out there, we just fly. Queens and Harlem is the fly niggaz, Brooklyn is gangsta hardcore and grimey cats and Bronx, they set it off and set the trails for us and HipHop and all of that. You know, Queens we got it going on.
Tell me something about your releases.
The first release that I was on was the “Protect Ya Neck Compilation Volume 1″ that came out in 2002 which was a collaboration of different artists. Raekwon, Method Man, Deadly Venoms, Ol’ Dirty, GZA, Black Knights, Inspectah Deck, MMO, myself Iron Shiek, Bambi. Kurupt was on there. A lot of cats on there. A lot of Wu-Tang cats. We didn’t want to do a big release in the States, we wanted it to hit overseas first, because that’s where most of the Wu-Tang fans are – overseas. Because they the furthest away from the sun, you know. The sun be in the center, New York and the states in general, and they the furthest away. So they appreciate this music more than we do. We did a jump-off out there in Japan first, we got a great perception out there. We did a small release in the states, we wasn’t sweatin’ in the states, you know what I’m sayin’. We did Japan, we did Canada – we’re really satisfied with it. The compilation album, as a matter of fact you can go to the website www.protect-ya-neck.com and you can still buy the album of the website. Then after that, I did my solo jump-off “Fire ‘N’ Ice”. I was doin’ that while I was working on the compilation album. I did that for the internet, I didn’t really want to do it for retail. That’s some introduction to me on the internet, I just wanted to do that to let myself be known, first be felt and known, nahmean.
Are you working in the studio right now?
In my castle, I have a chamber in there where I do my music, where I’m at right now. I’m always in the chamber doin’ something. Keep it grimey like that, keep it gutter. I’m always doin’ something.
Tell me something about your new album….
“The Circle Of Iron” – I’ma have some cats on there. I’ma have Bambi The Iron Maiden on there, MMO, Shyheim, Raekwon, Renaissance is up and coming, also The Iron Butterfly. I’ma have a few people on there. I really don’t want to put a bunch of big-ass names on there, I just want you to see me, nahmean.
How do you have evolved since “Fire & Ice” dropped? Which new facettes of Iron Shiek can be discovered on solo-joint #2?
You gonna see my students, you gonna see my fruit. My artists come up on that. I changed alot of productions, ynahmean. A lot of people say ‘I can hear the Wu-Tang in your beats’ and all that, you know. I’m more coming into my own musically. I’m using a lot more percussion, there’s more drums. I’m using bells and triangles and a whole bunch of percussion instruments in my production now. Yeah it definately gon’ be a change in that. Lyrically it’s more from me, more for continuation from the previous. But first of all it’s gonna be more about my artists and Iron Chamber on the come up. It’s like an Iron Chamber introduction, that’s basically what it’s about. I want y’all to hear my artists, I don’t really want y’all to hear me. You heard me already. I’m not egoistical when it’s all about me me me me. You gon hear me anyway ’cause you gon’ hear the beats [laughs] You gonna be happy! I gonna give y’all nothing wack, man!
How would you describe your style?
If you heard the songs of my last release “Fire ‘N’ Ice”, that’s basically how my style is like. My style is balance, I come with the darkness and I also drop jewels in there. So it’s like songs laced with bombs, really. It’s a vision of my life – things I went through and how I see things, nahmean. The science of life in general. That’s how I see my album. It’s just basically my thoughts, my vision, my vibe, my energy. I don’t have no particular style. Because if you have a style, that means that you’re boxed in. And I’m not boxed into nothing. I’m a free-thinker. I say what I want, I write what I want. There’s no style to me. A style is for people that don’t know how to do this. There’s no talent in styles. When I go to the studio, I don’t know what I gonna do. I just go in there, turn shit on and I just start bangin’ it out. I don’t write nothing prematurely going in, I write it right there and I record it right there, fresh! It ain’t nothing that has been sitting in the refrigerator for a month. So what you basically hear is freshly me.
What’s the message of your songs?
Well basically I do it reality. I reach and teach on beats. I do it reality, I’m not into a pro-black and anti-white type of thing, I mean none of that. Basically what I do is, I teach reality and civilisation. I just say things that’s right. I don’t talk about pumpin’ crack like alot of these cats do. None of these dudes be really doin’, ’cause I know ’cause I was out there [laughs]. I don’t have anything negative. I don’t call women bitches or hoes in my music, I refer them as queens, earths and moons. Reflections of the black man’s responsibility. Man’s responsibility, you know what I’m sayin’, being a black man I’ma say black man, but man’s responsibility. I just speak about to guide the children to the future, they’re the key. We need to protect them and educate them and cultivate them and raise them up properly. That’s the type of messages I be droppin’.
What inspires you?
Life inspires me. I do alot of reading, I do have alot of books, I do keep the mind tight. Everything I come in contact with is a form of motivation to me, is a form of inspiration to me, you know, that opens me up to a whole new train of thought, a whole new format. You know, I won’t take a thing like the ‘Scarface’ movie and do a video of it. If I see a movie that’s real fly like ‘Scarface’, that makes me take it to the next level. You’ll see the elements of ‘Scarface’ in there, you’ll see: yo, something really had this cat elevated to take it to the next level. I’m not one to follow trends, I don’t follow a leader. I’m not a follower, I’m a leader. So, I just use life and I take the best part from myself. Then I draw it up analog to myself and I expand, mentally as well as physically.
Do you consider yourself a rapper or a producer first?
I’m more a producer. After the Circle Of Iron, that’s it. And the Circle Of Iron is basically going to be composed of my artists, that’s why I call it the circle. Those within my inner-circle and my universe. I’m featuring them and I’ma do a couple of joints on there solo, but mainly it’s them. It’s all about them. I just rhyme because I’m around it and it comes easy to me. I don’t consider myself a great lyricist. It’s just that, you know, when I speak I make sure what I’m talking about before I open my mouth. So that’s how come everything seems so on point when I speak and when I rhyme. I don’t consider myself a great lyricist, I’m more the producer. I make hits!
You told me that you’re a part of the Wu-Tang family. Do you think the clan has become weak?
Ah man, I get questions like that alot. Every great dynasty has a beginning, an apexe and then a decline because you have nowhere else to go. I would not say they become weak, I would say the nature took his course. You’re born, you live, you learn throughout your life and you become old-aged and then you die and go back to the earth from which you came. That’s how I see the Wu-Tang. We came, we seen it, we conquered it, we showed you how to do it. We opened up backdoors for other cats to do it, that’s why they love us so much. We got something caught in this generation, out of Protect-Ya-Neck Records, y’know. That’s what it is, it’s the next generation. So I wouldn’t say that we’re weak.
Who do you feel the most – I don’t feel ODB anymore, what about you?[Laughs] Ol Dirty is a genius, you know what I’m sayin’. He’s like any other person that’s highly talented or highly sensitive – he’s most misunderstood. Just like Beethoven, people couldn’t understand how Beethoven was able to crack out all of those songs he did. He was blind, he was crazy and demented. Just like plenty of people thoughout history that were misunderstood. Like Edgar Allan Poe, a great poet – they thought he was crazy. Or John The Baptist – they thought he was crazy. All the people who are genius or highly sensitive and highly entombed with things, entombed with yourself, they’re mostly misunderstood. Cat’s that I like lyrically out of the Wu-Tang? I like Ghostface, Cappa, Rae, Inspectah Deck… I like all of them! But on the top of the list it’s Ghostface and Rae. I can relate to them more. They say things I like to say. I can relate to Ghostface, he’s a fly-ass nigga and I’m a fly-ass nigga. Cappa is a fly cat, too. He’s more on the attack with his thoughts, and that’s me: I’m a warrior. It’s all about who I relate to, who I like.
Do you like any other artists outside of the Wu?
Yeah yeah definately! I like Big Pun – his first album, I don’t like the other stuff. Mobb Deep, Tragedy Khadafi, Royal Fam, Cormega, AZ. Man, I just like underground cats, like J. Millz. I just like underground cats. There are not so many people who I really feel. And the few that I do feel, that’s who I listen to. That’s it. Everybody else is like – you know – industry.
What has been the greatest moment of you career?
So many things… my first time being on stage with Wu-Tang! I gotta say that. And shootin’ the first video I was in. Bambi The Iron Maiden and myself was in D.C., performing with Redman and Wise Intelligent from Poor Righteous Teachers. We did two shows that night, matter of fact that’s right. With Redman, Wise Intelligent and Lost Boys – whoooo, that was a crazy show up in D.C.! She killed it! She killed it! You know what I’m sayin’, Redman could’t even do nothing after that. He just ended up buggin’ out and stealing the mics that night. She murdered it! And as a matter of fact the Clan has got there, right with us on stage. And they didn’t even let them in! They was like: yo Bambi on stage, we got to get in! They had a hard time gettin’ there. But by the time they got there, we was on stage already and they were waiting to perform. That was illmatic, I never seen nothing like that. It was crazy. In the next night we did another show in D.C., I forgot the name of the spot, but she performed with Jay-Z, Foxy Brown and Keith Murray. That was bananas right there ’cause at that time Keith Murray and Foxy Brown, they was feeding each other. That don’t want nobody to know, but they were feeding each other at that time. That was the time when ain’t no nickles in the house. And they performed there…that was kinda cool, because I was at the beginning of everything. We had to catch up with the Clan on the road, that was deep. You know, jump from plane to plane, from car to car to catch up with them to lay a little stretch. Another high point of my career was being right there when the “Wu-Tang Forever” album was created. I’ve never laughed so much! Cause Ol Dirty, he’s crazy with the jokes, man! They was always crackin’ on them, because I’m the only one in the Clan that don’t smoke weed. He just had me in stitches (???) with the jokes! That album – “Wu-Tang Forever” – that’s the essence of Wu-Tang! Everything else is experior. That was a high point in my career, being present during the creation of that album.
Are you interested in politics?
The way I see politics: it’s nothing but polished-tricks. It’s just a way to keep our people away from their own social equality. They keep us down, keep us enslaved, keep us blind, deaf and dumb. They keep us in welfare, keep us in the projects, keep us in the poor neighborhoods and keep us eating the poor food from the poor supermarkets that’s in this poor neighborhoods. All of that is polished-tricks, man. It’s tricknowledge to keep you blind, deaf and dumb. Keep you away from the truth and the knowledge of yourself, away from living a civilized life. I don’t really get into that. I don’t vote, I don’t do any of that. That’s foolishness, you know what I’m sayin’.
So you consider yourself a leader…. you’ve already mentioned some younger cats that you support. Tell me something about them.
I got a little team, it ain’t that big. I got Renaissance, he’s in the Q-Borough right now. Right now, I’m not in Queens – I’m in VA. I got different chambers all over the place. I got a chamber in VA, I got a chamber in Atlanta, I got a chamber in Queens, I got a chamber in the Bronx. I got chambers all over the place. Yeah, I got my man Renaissance. I’ma go to New York net week to start his project. Bambi The Iron Maiden, I’ma start her project when I get back to New York, too. I got Iron Butterfly – she’s in Georgia, nahmsayin’, ATL. And I got another young god in Georgia that I’m working with: Amazing Grace. He’s crazy! I got a little team on development. I don’t wanna take too many. I want to start out small, I don’t want to spread myself out. That’s what I learned from The RZA. If you spread yourself out, than after a while all your artists and all of your music that you do for your artists sounds like one big giant album. I’m just developing a little bit at a time. So none of my music sound the same and none of this stuff sound the same. I deal with everybody on the individual level.
What are your goals musically and otherwise?
Not to learn from the mistakes that I made previously. To be a better man, to be a better business man, to be a better father. Musically I’m still learning, I’m still a student. So I just wanna learn to be a better producer, to make hotter joints. Just trying to get more money, nahmsayin’. [laughs] I want to do it like RZA! RZA is the 89-Mio.$-Man! I want to get to that level.
What did the RZA teach you?
He taught me how to do a album quick, I can tell you that [laughs]. I taught me how to do a album really fast. He did three solo-joints, not counting his Rakeem-era, you know, as RZA Wu-Tang. Two Gravedigga albums, Wu-Tang albums, “The Sting”, “The Swarm”. I learned to go in the studio with nothing, that’s better than to go in with a premeditated thought. Cause you never actually come out with what you want to, so you always end up in a dissappointment. Opposed to you go in there, you just build and add all right there. And then at the end of the day, you’re looking what you created. That’s what’s amazing about it. That’s when you actually see where your talent comes from. You can’t be dissappointed, you’ll always be amazed every time and you’ll always be satisfied. That’s one of the realest jewels I ever learned from him.
Do you have any final shoutouts?
Yeah, I wanna give a shoutout to Protect-Ya-Neck Records, Mook, MMO, Bambi The Iron Maiden, Shyheim, my man Renaissance – you gon’ be hearing alot about him, that’s my secret weapon right there. That dude reminds me of Prodigy and Cormega put together. He’s crazy, I’m tellin’ you he’s fire! That’s my chief disciple right there! Amazing Grace, the whole Iron Chamber family, the Wu-Tang family. Peace to the Nation Of Gods And Earths and my seeds!