Lord Finesse Interview Circa 2006


Lord Finesse.

A “rap icon” is the lazy way to describe his contributions to the game.

I dug up this 2006 interview I did with the man. This early in my hip-hop writing career, I wasn’t able to decode a 1 hour plus interview. Focus, man…

In this scratchy, rambling interview I’m playing a character that I could best describe as Ralph McDaniel’s ugly step son.

Finesse talks about Dr. Dre, and I ask him about Ice-T.

He talks about Japanese hip-hop friends.

He goes in on Fat Beats Records, and talks about the craft of rap.

Serious rap nerds will get something out of this. I sure thank the guy for the material.

Check out part two after the jump…

Continue reading “Lord Finesse Interview Circa 2006”

Rapper Prodigy talks ‘Infamous’ book publishing


The first time I had a chance to interview Prodigy of Mobb Deep, was during his solo run on the heels of releasing “Return of the Mac,” his second solo album.

It was during a time when everyone was releasing albums on Koch. Some kind of savior of b-grade rappers everywhere. But I never thought of “P” as a second-tier success. His work in the 90s was the precursor to the cocaine raps of the 2000s.

He’s been around longer than you think, having appeared on the “Boyz n the Hood” (1991) soundtrack with the group Hi-Five when he was still signed to Jive Records.

That first interview was a bust. It was “nah meens” and one-word answers. The kind of stuff I wasn’t equipped for, really. Its sucked. I was writing the piece for The Smoking Section and I think it sucked so bad that it got scrapped. That just gives you an idea of how ill it was.

What follows is the third time I’ve chopped it with Albert Hughes, aka Prodigy. He’s into book publishing and trying to go for more grown-man prospects in the business.

He served a few years in jail and you can tell that time has matured him. He’s on his business grind and celebrating a 20 year anniversary as part of what’s probably one of the greatest rap duos to come out of Queens.

How did you come up with the idea to write a novella?

It took me two months with my laptop and I banged it out. I banged out the beginning, middle and the end. I wrote it in 1999. It was sitting around until last year. I was looking for a new book to put out since my autobiography. I said, let me get somebody to turn it into a book.

So, I reached out to Steve Sevill. He’s got the slang from out there (England). He said he was interested in getting it done. He sent it back to me, in about a month. He added little things to the story.

I was trying to do different things. I was trying to connect with somebody new.

Cyrus Was Arrested on Sex Charge; But Where’s the Goat?


You know. I’ve known people over the years who have gone to jail. Folks who’ve allegedly done things to people.

This guy right here. I knew him in a passing you on the street, hey, let me ask you some questions because you like to grab fame walking around NYC with a goat, kind of way.

Cyrus was recently arrested in NJ and charged with sexually assaulting a teenager. Well, she was 19.

The way the official county prosecutor narrative reads, it’s someone straight up out of Mike Tyson or Tupac. Now, I’m not saying the girls a liar, but these are the details, as far as the prosecutor sees it.

Cyrus allegedly met a girl at a club or bar or something. She was roofied, or incapacitated to some degree. Cyrus put her in his van. The same one he’s told me he likes to put his goat in.


Side note for a minute. So, yes, this dude has a goat. She’s called Cocoa. He’s taken the goat to Times Square and fed it pizza. The Daily News and AP have all documented this. I think an AP photog even turned it into a photo essay. I’m really too tired to look for it right now.

Yes. This man is famous for a goat.

SO. Back to the charges. So, he allegedly sticks the girl in his van.

Hours later, the girl wakes up. Is she naked? Prolly.

The authorities say that she called a friend in New York.

I’m going to go out on a limb and suspect that the convo went like this:

Girl: Suzie. This guy has a friggin goat in the house. A goat. How did I get here? Why am I here? Call me a cab. Summit? Where the hell is Summit.

Girl’s Friend Who Let Her Leave the Club: I’m calling the cops girl. He said he was taking you outside for some fresh air. I didn’t know what happened to you last night. I was going crazy.

Then the cops get called. It’s a big fiasco…and boom! From goat celebrity to sex assault-er.

On a serious note, this is going to ruin my dude’s life. Now, I’m not saying we were friends, but we had you random convo about politics and goats. No, I’m serious.

Anyway, keep your head up Cy. I hope this is either a) A BIG misunderstanding b) A lesson that you will learn from in a few years. Maybe more than a few.

Either way, LONG LIVE COCOA. the goat.

For Chris


When I heard the song that plays in this clip recently, I cried on some “I hope nobody notices” type shit.

One of my youngest cousins died last month. You probably didn’t know him, but  I swear he was a special kid.

Barely into his 20s.

A bad turn on a foggy highway near dawn was all it took to end his life.

Chris was the kind of young dude who kept you in his world. What’s that mean? It means he was engaging without forcing it and made you laugh without even trying. He was a genuine spirit and I’ll always miss him.



New Jersey’s new prince of hip-hop

I’m beyond overworked at this point in my life. But the band still plays on, player.

Here’s a little one-off I hobbled together and stuck together with some chewing gum. No reflection on the artist, but let’s just say I’m an artist still finding his rhythm. Such is life.

One thing that I think is interesting about young Mula, besides that catchy ass name is his hustler’s spirit. He’s been at this for a while and keeps it 100% Brick City.

If he plays the game long enough one will never know the heights he could achieve. For more on this young bearded MC, follow him:


Mixing it up for cuz


That picture is of a guy who made the NJ Amber alert earlier this month. He tried to steal his kid, I think.

No relation.

My cousin came to visit. Stayed about 3 months. Good times, good times. Dude was my first  friend, first ace! First cat I drank beers in NYC with. My dude. Family.

Now that I’m at that crucial juncture where I have mouths to feed and people who look to me to take care of them — the carefree days are over.

Well, not really…it’s just another era for me.

Enjoy the mix, it was inspired by Pancho.

Kicked to the curb

Headless weave.

Dear Weave,

I never knew you in your former life and I don’t think I would have wanted to. But, you know; I take that back. You may have been around the right people. The right person probably took you from a rack and claimed you herself.

Don’t be ashamed. You’re out there in the street for the past week. Look at the bright side, it’s not your fault. You may have started out as a horse, some plastic-y stuff or a lovely Indian woman. But, you now rest in between a police station and a 7-11.

You inspired me to write this o’ weave. If never I see you again, just know that there are many of you out there. And if this made no sense — good. It wasn’t supposed to.


1940s State of the J-Mind

Burton Holmes made this movie that talks straight to a youngsters dome and tells ’em what being a journo is all about. You have to work in crappy weather. OK, I get it. You have to be smart. That’s negligible, but OK I get it.

If this film starts to lose its luster with me (a journalist) then it’s when it gets really  propaganda-y around  5:30min.  A woman has trouble competing with a man in the journalism world? Damn, why harp on the negative? Just a few moments later you see something so ancient in the news businesses. A guy pouring hot type, like something out of the stone-age.

And you know what? Maybe it is.

Black Cowboy


Eltro Bond Newman. The black cowboy. Better remembered as my grandfather.

He was about 6″ 3, survived living on South 18th Street in Newark, helped raise 7 kids, smoked the Marlboro reds, kicked back on a lazy boy after a hard days work. He lived out his later years a member of a church, never really too much of a church-going dude before he had to battle cancer from what I could tell.

He made right with his maker.

Used to drive a long yellow Caddy. Never missed a holiday or Christmas. Bought me a BDP and Public Enemy tape one Christmas. Gave me a ride to the a girls house when I became a man (a.k.a virgin no more).

A saint somewhere out there is still clutching his cowboy hat. Granpa, you’re still missed.

Keep resting.

Street Baller vs. Machine Politics

Machine politics and nepotism is how they run politics in my town. Somehow, someway, they got an ex-street ball star (probably one of the most visible, pop culture “stars” to ever come out of the “L” City) to jump into the fray.

That’s right, none other than Main Event from high school All-American, to the Rucker to And 1, fame.

We’ll see how he does running for 4th Ward councilman. See if he can beat the machine. Or help create a new one.