Sticky Fingaz: Take Two
Fifteen years later - but not entirely removed, Sticky is suddenly a major player in Hollywood, who seems to empathize with the networks and studios' decision-making, while still remaining an artist through it all. On the release of Blade: The Complete Series coming to DVD, a time-capsule of Sticky's one season, top-rated program on Spike, the multi-talent spoke to HipHopDX.
With his Major Independence company blossoming with Sticky's directorial debut, A Day In The Life combining his passions of then and now in this cinematic piece that features exclusively rapped dialog. With a soundtrack leading the way for the Lion's Gate-backed film, Sticky Fingaz is nestled in Tinseltown with a lot more creative control than your average rapper. He explains his methodology, his views on a year of Blade, and how he might update one of his controversial rap classics nearly a decade later.
HipHopDX: Do you think that Blade was pioneering in the sense of taking something from film and continuing it on television?
Sticky Fingaz: Yeah, yeah, definitely. Theyve done that before, though it wasnt on the level of Blade. Dangerous Minds was a movie that they turned into a TV show; it could definitely happen.
DX: The last time you and I spoke was when we learned there wasnt going to be a second season. For you, what did you hear from fans when they got that news?
SF: All the fans were mad. They were mad at Spike TV. Aw man, Ill never watch Spike TV again; they canceled Blade. They were trying to justify it like, Buffy The Vampire Slayer didnt even really jump off until their second season, how they not gonna let Blade got cancelled? I feel what theyre saying; I agree. But, on the same token, I had to defend Spike well, because at least they stuck out on a ledge and at least tried to do it for one season. Some network wouldnt have had the balls to do it for even one season, cause its a real edgy show. Its borderline. The content that we were showing them was for a [riskier cable stations].
DX: Flowing along with that, in the complete series packaging, there is some bonus footage that was edited out for Spike. What is this material?
SF: I would only be talking from ignorance cause I just got the DVD two days ago, so I havent watched it yet. I dont know whats on there. But Im assuming all the things they couldnt show on television is on there.
DX: Do you think that the fact that Spike shot nudity or excessive violence makes it that DVD packaging was always part of the plan, or was censorship weighing in on each episode?
SF: I didnt say like, I know a DVDs coming, but you can figure with every show on the planet, theres always a DVD. I knew one was expected.
DX: As an emcee, you were and are raw, unpredictable and uncensored. Do you feel you carry these qualities in your screenwriting and direction work?
SF: Definitely. Definitely. Definitely. Especially in my directorial debut, A Day In The Life, the whole entire movie is in rap. There are no regular parts at all. Every alphabet. First off, thats shocking, to have A-list actors that have never rapped a day in their life, rapping, and doing it quite well. Put it like this, I had a scene in the movie that Lions Gate made me take out because it was just too graphic. Basically, it was just me smothering this girl, her titties were hanging out, and Im smothering her with a dry-cleaning bag, as she tried to kill me. I had the upper-hand on her. They were like, Oh man, this is too graphic. Also, I agree with them on one point: it made my character unlikable a little bit, despite trying to be the hero or whatever. Damn, he did that?
DX: Was the all-rapping part in the genesis of the idea for the film?
SF: Yeah, that was the genesis, that it was gonna all be in rap. Every interview I do, they always ask, What do you like better, music or movies? I could never give a straight answer. So basically, I fused the two together. I think its the future. If you ever heard my Black Trash: The Autobiography of Kirk Jones album, its basically taking that to the tenth power. Its Black Trash on steroids. Its an album and its a movie. You can listen to it without watching it.
DX: Im glad that you even mentioned that album. You had this song on that album, What If I Was White, in 2008, how would the lyrics to that song change?
SF: Yeah. Some things. For instance, we have a black presidential candidate in Barack Obama. Whether he wins or not, hes running. When I made that song, no black man was running for president. There would probably be a few different things. Basically, the world hasnt changed that much, so a lot of things would still be the same.
DX: Im not asking the film vs. music question. But I actually got hooked on the canceled series Over There. Your character was really strong. Television series have become the new film, and we see that in The Sopranos, The Wire, Weeds, so on and so forth. Given the limitations of the medium, which do you prefer in there?
SF: TV is more consistent than movies. Youre working every day, every week. In movies, it might take three months or six months. Television is a lot harder work, especially if youre the lead of a series, but youre doing the same amount of work as a movie, but in less time. For instance, Blade was an hour series. Wed shoot one hour worth of stuff in seven days. In a movie, they take three months to shoot two hours worth of stuff.
DX: As a writer, is it more interesting to tell a story throughout a series rather than be boxed into two hours?
SF: Writing for a series goes on and on and on. Youve got to have more ideas, youve gotta be more creative. Just writing a movie is two hours, three acts, and then its over. If youre a good writer, youre thinking ahead, towards the conclusion. Ultimately, its much easier to write movies.
DX: There was a big clip on YouTube of you playing Russian Roulette. Whens that from?
SF: Man, that was during my wild adolescent days. [Laughs] Luckily, Im a real lucky person, to even be having this interview.
DX: What does the rest of 2008 hold for you?
SF: An album of A Day In The Life. Its the movie I wrote, produced, directed. The album is coming out first, then the theatrical release will follow with Lions Gate.
DX: The album will be the stars in the movie rapping?
SF: Exactly. Im trying to have that out in the next three months. Like, right now. The industry needs it desperately. Everybody is saying the music business took a turn for the worst, I just think it needs more creativity in it. I aim and plan to bring that with A Day In The Life. What thats gonna do is, first off, its gonna intrigue the public, but its gonna make sure that every other artist is more creative. Youre gonna have to be to compete with it.
DX: I was on your website today, looking at the clothing line. The line obviously plays off of the Onyx logo. How was that logo created?
SF: Basically, its just my face. There was a point in my life, when I was younger, when I didnt smile at all. Ever. The mad face got coined off of my face. We just ran with it. Now Im a little bit more human, I smile, I laugh, I have fun.
DX: Is that maturity, or you just dont take things so seriously anymore or your life circumstances have changed?
SF: I think its all of the above. Plus, Im a different person than I was then. I was going through different things in my life, and feeling differently, and that was just my mentality. Now my mentality is a lot different.
DX: Even looking at Over There, I saw part of Onyx-era Sticky Fingaz in that character. How interesting is it for you to channel back to that?
SF: I try to do it like Im De Niro. Maybe Im wrong, but from what Ive noticed is every movie I see Robert De Niro do, hes the same person just playing a different character. So I try to be the same person, playing a different character in different situations. Like, Okay, Im Sticky. What if I never joined Onyx and never put out a record and got drafted into the Army? How would I be? Thats how I got there.