NY Oil: It's Bigger Than Hip Hop
After releasing Hood Treason: The Warm Up Album with limited distribution, NY Oil has re-upped with Babygrande Records for a re-release of the controversial album that drops July 8. Make no mistake about it: Oil is on a mission to change the paradigm of the game by changing the hearts and minds of his listeners.
HipHopDX caught up with the father, activist, and emcee to get his thoughts about life, clarification on his issue with Nas, and how a mack inspired his controversial first single. Its still bigger than Hip Hop.
HipHopDX: You came into the game in a major way and are probably one of the only artists to have a video banned from YouTube. How did the concept for Yall Should All Get Lynched come about?
NY Oil: It was less of a concept and more of a manifestation of my anger at what was going on around me
DX: Was there one incident in particular that made everything bubble over, or was it a culmination of events?
NO: Ill tell you something I dont think Ive ever really revealed this [about the song] in any of the interviews Ive done. I got hip to this dude Tariq Nasheed
DX: From the Mack Lessons Radio Show?
NO: Mack Lessons Radio Show. I was listening to it for a kick. Made me laugh. I got all kinds of standards, its not like I listen to Bob Marley and Public Enemy all day. Im listening to this Tariq Nasheed joint and he was talking about coonin ass niggas. That was the subject matter. He was talking about Flavor Flav and Flavor of Love. He was like, "Look at this dude," and he was talking about how the girl shit on the floor. I have not seen that. Watching Flavor of Love is a train wreck. I cant watch a person embarrass themselves; Im not comfortable with that. But I had seen that and he was like, Thats why niggas float for a week on the streets of New Orleans. That type of shit. And I had felt the same way and that resonated with me. When he said that, thats what may have sparked the actual song. It was him saying that. I cant quite remember thats the funny thing about inspiration, I remember that cause theres a line in my song, People floated for a week on New Orleans Streets
DX and NO: "And only Kanye West wasnt scared to speak."
NO: That was verbatim what this dude said. I know that that was an influence for me writing this song. But in terms of the catalyst, Im not quite sure what it was.
DX: Were you worried at all about any backlash from the industry? In the song you dont mention anybody by name, but the video features images of a lot of rappers that are popular in the game.
NO: Look, some of these dudes run with these entourages and its like, how many asses am I going to kick? When you believe in something enough and when you have a good source telling you that whatever youre doing is bigger than you, its hard to be scared. Im not the Hulk, so I cant shrug off bullets and knives just curl up if people try to stab me. Im human, I have family, and I have things to lose. Because I have things to lose, my urgency is different. Im determined to win. When youve got something to lose and you find yourself thrust in a position where you may have to defend yourself, you act differently. I truly feel like Im walking with God, a sheep amongst wolves.
If its a problem, Im praying that in my afterlife Ill see heaven and be at peace. And if not, Ill know that I did what was true to me. Fuck it. These brothers are running around talking the shit they talk about. I get a feeling that they dont mean it. And when they come up against somebody that mean it, its a different ballgame. If I was in that world, Id be fearful, but its not a game. Whatever go down, they better be ready 'cause it aint over till its over. Its too many people that want a real man to stand up and speak to these accursed bastards. Brothers all over the world screaming, NY Oil boombyeyay! You know what that means?
NO: Remember when [Muhammad] Ali went to go fight [George] Foreman in the Rumble in the Jungle and the fans were like, Ali boombyeyay, Ali boombyeyay? They say, NY Oil boombyeyay. Kill them. I mean literally, I get letters from Africa saying NY Oil, kill them. Stop them from infecting our children with this filth." You get something like that; you cant be scared of no rapper.
DX: I know you have kids yourself, how do you talk to them about the stuff they see on TV and hear on the radio?
NO: Im always frank with my kids and because theres been full disclosure about life with them, the things they see dont confuse them. But its not a matter of confusion. The problem is a matter of lifestyle. Its not that my daughter doesnt know that its inappropriate to carry on as a hoe bag and a slut. The lifestyle right now if shes going to fit inshe spends the majority of her time amongst her peers, not with me. Im stay at home dad because I work from home. That notwithstanding, the majority of her time is with her peers. In her peer group, theres a certain lifestyle. If shes going to be successful at socialization, she has to navigate that lifestyle. Part of that lifestyle is the music and the backdrop it creates. As much as Im trying to be the model for her, it does not change the fact that the streets are there.
My son is a good young man, but hes still seduced by the lure of whats outside. Its not so much the music thats the problem, its the lifestyle it portrays and that the lifestyle is seductive. You have youngins that want to act as if, even though theyre not.
DX: Speaking on that, people trying to be something theyre not, was that part of the inspiration for What Up My Wigger Wigga?
NO: What Up My Wigger was just straight up and down dont call me nigger, fuck that. You wanna call me nigger, you think Im your nigga, fucking white boy, Chinese, whatever the fuck you is, dont call me that. If you want to call me nigger, this is what you is. Oh you dont like that? Well if it aint no good for you, it aint no good for me. Sly & The Family Stone said it best: [singing "Dont Call Me Nigger, Whitey"].
I put that song together so I could give people the tools they need to speak against that. You dont even have to have a discussion, just put the song on.
DX: How do you reconcile between that song and the fact that a lot of black folks use the N word?
NO: I dont think its okay, self degradation is never good. Were the only race that does this type of shit - that embraces the disgraces that weve experienced. You know where it starts from? Being in slavery situations and having to make due. We always try to make due for some shit. We cant eat the good part of the meat so we eat the chitlins and the hog maws and shit like that the fuckin' pigs feet and pigs knuckles. Now, 100 years later, were still eating it like its a delicacy. Ox tails and cow tongue, what kinda shit is that? Parts of the animal that we shouldnt even be dealing with. People eating chitlins, chitlins are the lower intestine. People are calling themselves niggas, and thats the lower intestine of the language. And I think its incorrect and we shouldnt be doing it. Have I used the word "nigga" in a conversation? Yes, Ive done it. Im not Dudley Do Right, Im a regular dude. But its a point where you realize the shit is wrong. It aint no good. Im telling you it aint whats up. Im saying I know whats bad about it. Calling somebody nigga, yeah it sounds good, until you realize youre embodying a lifestyle thats detrimental.
DX: So in your opinion, how do we change things? I look at the lifestyle in the industry and where I live in Vegas, it seems like we as black people will break our necks to degrade each other. Well mention the first amendment, but if you look at the Jewish or Asian community, they dont have that type of degradation. So how do we break that cycle?
NO: Somebody has to have the testicular fortitude to stand up and stay standing, and even when they get knocked down, keep standing for your ideals. Yo Anthony, this is bigger than the interview, what Im saying to you right now. This is man-to-man. If you look at the condition of the people and you know that this shit is fucked up and a lot of us are duped into thinking things are all good, and youre in a position of an opinion maker and a tastemaker by virtue of being in a position to disseminate information as a medium that is looked to as a moral compass in this music biz and black culture, it is your duty as an individual to stand for that. Does that mean that you gotta fuck up your job and do stupid shit? No. Does that mean that you should be consistent in doing what you can from the place and the space in which you occupy to further the fight to civilize the minds of the black man and woman? Yes! It is your duty and your responsibility. And if you dont do it, youre the reason why were not where were supposed to be. Not the dude on the block selling drugs. Hes not responsible. You are. Because you are wise to what needs to be done, youre aware, youre cognizant, and youre doing nothing. Empathy is the biggest crime of humanity. Ambivalence is the biggest crime of humanity. The decision to do in the face of overwhelming odds. Its a movement, its a family, its a team. What I did started with me sitting in my house in my draws pissed the fuck off. And being a man and speaking about it consistently. And making sure there was nothing in my life that somebody could say, Yeah, but you do that. Nah brother, you aint got that on me. My job is worth it, my people are worth it. Theyre worthy. Your life means nothing over the value of the people.
DX: Going back to what you just said, the one thing Im looking for it doesnt seem like a lot of people are upset. When that Sean Bell verdict came up, I cried that day, but it didnt elicit the kind of outrage I thought it would. What will it take for people to finally wake up?
NO: You knowthis world is different than their world. Their world meaning the civil rights leaders world. Our enemies are not so obvious that when things like that happen, you automatically believe that we need to get up and do something cause were not having it. That doesnt exist anymore. What we need to have happen to see a change in the conditions of the situations. We need to see that doing the right thing is a successful endeavor. If NY Oil as an artist is successful, that will change a lot. What do we do when somebody blows? Everybody wants to do the same thing. If Im on top, selling records, getting that bread and keeping it 100 if I can pull that off I truly believe that it will inspire many others. You know how many others are switching they style up to do that pro black shit right now. One of the biggest artists in the game is, whats his name? Nas. [Laughs] Everybody wanna be black again and thank God! Im taking credit for that because I was the black man that without fear of repercussion said, "Yall should all get lynched." Fuck it. Im not saying there were never brothers doing they thing, it was somebody with a backbone that stood up and said that. Thats what people need to see, somebody to lead by example. Show my brothers what its like to be a man again. Show sisters what its like to see a real man.
DX: You mentioned Nas before and you were very critical when Nas was going to name his album Nigger. Have you had a chance to hear any of the material he released on his last mixtape [click to listen]?
NO: I havent been bothered.
DX: Since you havent heard it, is there anything that you can hear from Nas that wouldve changed your mind about him naming his album title Nigger.
NO: No, and Ill tell you why. If Im rhyming street shit, theres an expectation that comes with street shit that I need to be prepared to deal with. If I was rhyming pimp shit, I couldnt be a married man, thered be confusion. That conflict that you have with Snoop [Dogg]. Hes married, one of these things is not real. Either the pimping aint real or your family life aint real. If Im a hustler look at [Young] Jeezys situation, look at T.I.s situation, its critical. Jeezy getting implicated in that BMF (Black Mafia Family) shit, T.I. having the problems with the weapons charges. You do certain things, its an expectation theyre going to come for you. When you start talking that conscious shit, theres an expectation that you [will] have the capacity and ability to articulate your position in a discussion. I named a song Yall Should All Get Lynched. Do you think for one minute that youre going to get on the phone with me and Im not going to be prepared to answer any question you have on that matter?
NO: Its just simply this: I aint with it and Im saying something. Let me ask you a question out of curiosity: do you think that son believes what hes saying?
DX: Im not 100% sure if hes doing it for attention or not, but Nas seems to have a lot of good thoughts but cant always articulate his positions very well, and when you take a controversial stand, people are going to want to know more about it.
NO: Next time you go to YouTube, type in Nas and Green Lantern. Green Lantern said something to the effect of, People are saying that Nas put that record out because hes trying to get attention and trying to sell records, and [Nas] replied, Id say that person is a wise man.
DX: Youre re-releasing Hood Treason (under the title Hood Treason Vol. 2), what is hood treason to you?
NO: The dudes that sell drugs in our neighborhood. The dudes that prey upon their own people, our people. Thats hood treason. The dudes that will murder you in a heartbeat and run from cops. Thats hood treason. That these dudes are out here.
DX: A lot of people look to you as a source of knowledge and not simply an emcee. Sometimes I think we have to spell things out for people; what do we say to cats that think that selling drugs or crime is the only way out?
NO: Let me say this, just to make myself clear. Im not just complaining about brothers selling drugs. Im in the process of putting together some partnerships to do some videos that show brothers how to get work. There is not a shortage of jobs. What it is, is there aint nobody to work those jobs cause they arent qualified. But once you show these brothers what theyre supposed to do.
We got it fucked up. And its not the white mans fault. Its our fault. Were going to have to start resolving it. Some of this is going to be harsh. Some people got to go. I was in Washington D.C. speaking at this lecture and one man stood up and said that all black men in prison are political prisoners. Whoa brother!
DX: Not everybody.
NO: No sir, no sir. Some of them need to stay in jail because they are criminals. They did what they did wantonly. They killed our people, sold drugs, committed treason, wantonly. That aint the white man, they did that. There are plenty of people in that same position who dont succumb to that filth and garbage, that dudes a criminal. He needs to stay his ass in jail. Get right, or get gone. Thats all I have to say about that.