Consequence talks his new acclaimed mixtape, the old guard at G.O.O.D.'s role in Kanye West's life today, and he credits The Clipse' Pusha T with the "weakest comeback diss ever."
Strangely enough, Consequence may just now be reaching the third act in his lengthy Rap career, one with a history littered with red tape and highlighted most by this fact: after being present for 15 years, he is still working on a proper follow-up to his debut, Don't Quit Your Day Job. That isn't to say that Consequence hasn't been plenty busy during those 15 years. Rather, his story has been rife with missed connections, and from those, and new beginnings.
This year, Consequence sat down with Sway on MTV Rap Fix and let the world know that everything wasn't okay. He informed Sway that he been dropped from G.O.O.D. Music, had been taken out of the label's XXL photo shoot, and was left out of the loop when it came to the BET Cypher. Coupled with the controversy over the “last supper” line on Pusha T's mixtape single “My God” that later followed, Cons was forced to search for phase three after being confronted with the end of phase two, one that had seen Kanye rise from near obscurity to the pinnacle of the rap world.
Enter Movies on Demand 3, Consequence's new iTunes release. His latest finds him sounding hungrier than he's been in years, and for good reason: he's ready to step forward and set the record straight, no matter the consequences. After a career full of waiting, where his affiliations have often overshadowed his own output, Cons has now set out to assure everyone that his rapid stream of new releases, now on his own Band Camp label, aren't slowing down any time soon.
In an exclusive interview with HipHopDX, Band Camp's CEO sheds some more light on his current issues with Pusha T, including misinforming the public about G.O.O.D. Music's current relationship with former artists GLC and Really Doe. Additionally, he speaks on his recent experience with Hurricane Irene, his immense pride in M.O.D. 3, and adjusting to today's music climate as an artist.
HipHopDX: Were you out in New York when Hurricane Irene hit? What was that experience like?
Consequence: Yeah I was. You know, It was crazy. Had a little power outage. When you're dealing with hurricanes and electric systems go out, you're seeing different bugs and trees uprooting or whatever, so it's a little crazy. It wasn't maybe as Deep Impact-ish as everybody thought, but nevertheless, it was pretty crazy.
To be without power for a couple hours makes you grateful for what you have when you can't use the basic things that you get so accustomed to using just day to day, [things] like electricity, your oven, stove and microwave and so on. I kinda looked at it from that angle more so than from a catastrophic angle. I just looked at it [in terms of] the things we take for granted every day. You could just have the rug taken from under your feet at any given time. You've always got to be mindful that we are inhabitants of this Earth. It doesn't belong to us in that aspect. We didn't make it.
DX: That's a real positive spin on the whole experience. I like that.
Consequence: Yeah, I figured we could start on a positive note before we got negative. [Laughs]
DX: [Laughs] I tried to keep it as positive as I could. When we spoke to you back in May, we asked if you were worried about the G.O.O.D. music ordeal overshadowing the release and reception of your new album, Movies on Demand 3 . Now that it's been released, do you think that sentiment held true at all?
Consequence: Nah. I think the most important thing with M.O.D. 3 is the fact that I was able to make a project of validity that didn't include any production from Kanye [West] or Q-Tip. When I read the comments on DX, that's one of the biggest sentiments that I take away from what people are saying about it, that it wasn't overshadowed by a bombardment of dissing. I said my piece on a couple records and then I gave the fans just really dope records, which was my outset goal. I mean there's definitely way more records that I could've put on there that went into all that. Some of them have been released, some of them weren't released, but I felt it imperative that I just gave the fans Consequence and reminded them of how dope of an emcee I am.
I'm not saying that to blow horns. It's just that my relationship with Q-Tip and Kanye has sometimes overshadowed the fact that I am dope. To the public, it appeared [that] both of them worked with me out of a personal relationship, but it was really business. It was really because I put it down. You don't survive this long in a disposable industry, in a game that chews up rappers and spits them back out, let alone keep a namesake or continue to make really dope records that people continue to gravitate toward out of a personal relationship. [That's] the perception that I set out to break when everything did happen with the G.O.O.D. Music situation. I don't want to really talk too much about Kanye, because he doesn't talk about me, so there's no reason for me to keep beating a pinata with no candy in it. It [was just] really egotistical the way that it went down. But with that being said, it's a year removed, [and I went into M.O.D. 3 thinking] “Yo, if you do this the right way, people are gonna respond.”
The reason why I wanted to talk to [HipHopDX] in particular is because I saw that [M.O.D. 3] was the number two discussed mixtape [on the site] only behind [Hood Morning: [No Typo]: Candy Coronas by ] Game, and in that category, I found it really amazing that it was Game, my joint, J. Cole's [Any Given Sunday #2 ], [Verde Terrace by] Curren$y and [Dream Chasers by] Meek Mill. These are all five emcees with relevance, with an immense amount of talent [and] with an immense amount of buzz. I think it proves 100% true everything that I've been saying over the course of the last nine months. Everything that I said was not a lie. I said I was gonna drop that banger. I did it. I said the reasons why I was upset and they held true, because if you look at the work, [it] speaks volumes.
DX: I think M.O.D. 3 definitely has a real range. If people go in just looking for the diss songs, they're gonna miss out on a lot of stuff. They're gonna miss out on tracks like “Life is For” and “Don't Waste Your Time,” for example, which, to me, are a couple of real gems on the album.
Consequence: Yeah, exactly. As an artist, you definitely have to have a platform, and sometimes you gotta take your hardships and just turn them into things that put you on a profit margin, because if you don't, they could become your Achilles heel and be the things that define you in a negative way, define you in terms of a lack of progression. So I wasn't gonna let that happen to myself.
DX: It seems to me like you really came into this project with a lot to prove. You really wanted to show people you hadn't lost anything. Do you think that's a fair assessment?
Consequence: Yeah! I definitely think it's a fair assessment. The pressure's off of me now. The only thing I gotta do now is just continue on this path. There's other people who the pressure is on, though. [Laughs]
DX: And now it's you waiting to see what they're gonna do?
Consequence: You know, it's just a lot of people talking. Well, not a lot of people talking. It's one guy talking, and he's talking about how what I'm doing is pathetic. And I think it's really funny that he says that, because the pressure's not on me. The pressure's on him, and that guy is Pusha T. The pressure's not on me because I'm not on G.O.O.D. Music, and I ain't been signed to G.O.O.D. Music for a year and [still] don't have a solid release date. I'm gonna be real with you. I read what he said and he put out a statement last week that said –
DX: He said he wasn't even gonna speak on it right?
Consequence: Yeah, but then he put out the “Go N Get It” remix, which is the weakest comeback diss response ever in the history of Rap. I mean come on, nobody cared. Nobody talked about it, and let's be honest: when the rap don't work, then he gets behind his manager or publicist and makes statements like, “some artists don't pop.” First of all, last time I checked, I didn't know Pusha T was a label exec, because if you're a label exec, then let me know why you say some artists don't pop and then, maybe hours later, you change a release date or cancel a release date for Black Friday, which means, more than likely, you're not even coming out [in] 2011. So you're gonna say some artists don't pop and reference that to me, you know what I'm saying, and –
DX: Just to clarify, your perspective is that you're putting your money where your mouth is. You're releasing albums while Pusha's not being accountable in the same way, thereby losing credibility. Is that what you're saying?
Consequence: I mean, just so we're clear, what I'm saying is this: what I said I was gonna do, I did. I'm a man of integrity. I'm a man of principle, you know what I'm saying? There never will be clear resolve in the public if I'm the only one saying something about a situation, so as far as me and Kanye goes, he doesn't mention me so I'm not gonna continue to mention the situation. I said my piece. As far as Pusha T, for him to jump out and say somebody is pathetic and some artists don't pop, [just because he thinks] he's from a standpoint where he's up. . . You not up because you signed to GOOD Music. That don't mean you up. Shit when I signed with G.O.O.D., I didn't wait a year for distribution and never had to speak on the next man's release status. We were too busy getting busy [recording]. If you were so up, why weren't you on [Jay-Z & Kanye West's] Watch the Throne? Even I was on Beyonce's  album and I don't even roll with them! [Writer's note: Consequence has a writing credit on “Party” ] He wasn't even on Big Sean's [Finally Famous] album, so where's the set-up?
I mean, [he's] on remixes. [He jumps on "Trouble On My Mind" ] with [Tyler, The Creator] and those guys, [does] a song with 50 [Cent] and [then] he runs back to Pharrell. All that is gravy. My thing is I'm 100%. I know there are people who want to see us battle. There's people who like Pusha T. With me, when I feel like a situation is pointed at me, I address it. I get to it, and that's what happened with “The Last Supper” and all that. The man is sitting there saying “I'm not gonna address it,” but then [he puts] out a weak diss and [he tries to] do it with other artists instead of just taking care of [his] own business. It makes it look like Ace Hood and Busta [Rhymes are a part of it as well]. I spoke to Busta and I spoke to [DJ] Khaled. They ain't got nothing to do with it. That's what dude did on his own. In the likely future, I probably will do a record with Ace Hood, and I gave Busta three beats from Band Camp for his album just so we've got that clear. It wasn't like a group effort with that remix or whatever. That was just something he did as his verse.
It's just smoke and mirrors, and I'm saying instead of doing illusions, why don't you just keep your thing one hundred so you don't look crazy, because for you to tell me that I look pathetic – it looks pathetic for you to have been on “Runaway” . You said early on, in a video clip in May 2011, that you were dropping on Black Friday, and now you cancel Black Friday and you try to make it [go away] like nobody had seen it. I saw it. I saw what you did, so my thing is choose your words wisely. Don't say certain artists don't pop if it look like you're not going platinum.
DX: I know this is kind of going back, but do you still keep up with the G.O.O.D. Music crowd from back in the day, guys like Common, John Legend, GLC, and Really Doe?
Consequence: Nah. From time to time I speak to [John] Legend. That's my dog. That's always gonna be my friend. We were roommates on tour. With GLC, Really Doe and Common, there's no issue. It's just that our common denominator was Kanye. GLC reached out to me. I've spoken to him and I definitely wish him well in everything that he's doing. I know he just dropped a new mixtape [I Know Who You Pimped Last Summer ]. But [Kanye] was the common denominator.
And I think it [was] in poor taste for Pusha T to say that GLC and Really Doe were still around [when] they were dropped. You knew on the block, and that's kind of like what the problem is. Like I said, I don't really wanna make a mention of Kanye, but it was how he put his man in a position to be exploited and exposed, because Pusha T basically said in that interview that I was the only one who was acting the way I was acting and that GLC and Really Doe still come around, and they're dropped in parenthesis. I mean, I'm not the broke homie. I'm not coming around if we're not making no money together. And you can take it how you wanna take it. That's like [your editor] firing you and then still being like “Hey, come have a drink with me,” every week. I can't really do that. I might do that for the first two weeks post the firing, but at the end of the day, I have responsibilities.
See, Kanye didn't put me in the Rap game, and for that matter, even with Q-Tip giving me the look that he gave me – because he gave me a look – that doesn't make [him] my god. That doesn't make [him] my overseer. You get in the Rap game and then you start living the Rap life, so then you got rapper bills. [Laughs] You know what I'm saying? You've got rapper overhead, which is rapper bills. So if the Rap money is compromised, I'm not friends with no more rappers. I gotta start rapping!
DX: To me, it sounds like you just want full transparency. If they're dropped, they're dropped, but your whole thing is to not try and keep up appearances if that's not really how it is.
Consequence: Yeah, that's not how it's really poppin'. Exactly! After the situation that happened with 'Ye, they wanted me to come out and go out, and I'm like “Y'all are delusional.” You don't drop an artist, or in the public [eye] drop 'em, because you couldn't really drop me, but that's [for a different] interview. You don't paint that public perception and then be like “Yo, you're still my homeboy.” You don't do that.
It's just difficult when you do business with your friends, just point blank, period. It's just difficult because there's no clean way of doing it. The point I'm trying to make, just taking myself out of the picture and putting GLC and Really Doe in perspective, [is that] you put your guys between a rock and a hard place, because [nobody wants to flip] on nobody, but then you got a a guy like Pusha T who talks about principles and being royalty, but then [he throws] those guys under the bus like they was Greyhound luggage by saying they're dropped. [He has] no qualms about devaluing anybody's market value or brand value. It's like do unto others as you would have them do unto you: you have no qualms about saying that in the press to make a point about me, but then you don't want me to say “Hey, I'm not having that.” I'm not having nobody itemize my property value because of a situation that's not even clear to the public. I'm not having that.
You could think [that] because I've made records with A Tribe Called Quest and I've made subject matter that's passive because of the people that I was around that I'm a passive person. Not with surviving I'm not. I'm not passive about that. I'm not gonna be passive about that, because the minute that you're passive about that, you will be working at Target or you will be working at somewhere where entertainers shouldn't be working. So you cannot be all “Oh, you can do what you want. I did what I did.” That's what I'm saying.
DX: With M.O.D. 3 being an iTunes release, what do you consider it? Is it a follow up to Don't Quit Your Day Job or more of a record meant to speak to a particular moment in time?
Consequence: It's a time capsule [for] what the situation was and where the music is. It's just a time capsule and I thought “What better place to make a debut than iTunes?” [M.O.D. 3 is] for people who want to hear my point or the reason why I've been making trailers and doing explosive interviews. It's just a bookmark in time for where I was at. It mirrors Don't Quit Your Day Job in the aspect of speaking from within. I spoke from within on Don't Quit Your Day Job, [but] it was a different take for what was going on within. It was just speaking on an experience I had which I felt people would relate to. [With M.O.D. 3], I'm speaking on an experience where, whether people relate to it or not, it's my experience.
I read one comment where [fans] were discussing M.O.D. 3, and [it said] “Damn, this guy created more momentum for himself this year than he ever did on G.O.O.D. Music.” And that was like, to me, the ultimate compliment, because at the end of the day, that's what I set out to do. I set out to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there was a mistake made. And we all make mistakes, but the thing about a mistake is that it won't ever be rectified until somebody says “Hey, you know what. I messed up.”
DX: So with Movies on Demand 3 being a successful iTunes release, are you even considering doing another full release that would need to be rolled out like Don't Quit Your Day Job or did M.O.D. 3 prove that you can do it all through iTunes?
Consequence: My thing is to continually service people who buy into what I do, so the next immediate thing is Curb Certified. Get Even is the proposed retail release, and the sound of it is incredible. I think one great thing about this whole experience is that I don't have to wait any more, and I think that was what a lot of people [didn't] know about my experience with G.O.O.D. Music: the thing that was killing me was waiting on people more so than anything else. Waiting for approval, waiting to get in touch, waiting to get the beats . . . Waiting. Waiting in a game that doesn't wait is oxymoronic. The music changes frequently, so you gotta really be in tune with that pulse to be competitive.
DX: So you got tired of the long process?
Consequence: There's just certain aspects of the business that you have to acknowledge, which is retail, which is TV, which is radio. It [wasn't] so much a tired [thing]. It was more [me being tired] of waiting – waiting instead of taking initiative. And I just think that's what I did with M.O.D. 3 and regardless of what format you [use to] release, you just gotta take the initiative to win. That's it.
DX: I think that idea echoes the same sentiment that a lot of up-and-coming independent artists bring up nowadays. There's a certain freedom to throwing out a digital release. You maintain control in a way that you would otherwise lose by going through a major label avenue.
Consequence: Yeah. Take Mac Miller for instance. Look at how big his following has become because of lack of restraint. If Mac Miller was subject to [the older release channels], he wouldn't be as big as he is, or as big as his buzz has become. When we did “I'm V.I.P.” – me, him, and Diggy [Simmons] – there were no constraints. Rostrum [Records] was there when we did it. [Laughs] It was more or less “Let's get it done. Let's make it hot.”
Once upon a time, it was definitely about exclusivity to the point of where you individually liked everything, but now it's more about people buying into the product that you service. And I think that's the day and age that we live in now – if you're hot, then show me you're hot. If you're hot, show me why people are talking about you. Show me why I should talk about you, for that matter. And if you do, they will. That's how Mac Miller got hot, that's how Curren$y got hot, that's how Wiz [Khalifa] got hot – because they didn't wait. Listen, I'm here to make music, and if it takes this, this, and this step to get to the big step, so be it.
DX: With “Crying Broke” and “Casting Couch” you really speak on the pitfalls of this industry. Now that you've had time to really feel it out, is the freedom of being CEO of your own label feel just as refreshing as it was when you first stepped away?
Consequence: Hell yeah! Absolutely. I'm super proud of M.O.D. 3 being a Band Camp project. I think M.O.D. 3 is arguably my best work and it's amazing to say that. To be able to say “A year after the cipher and the XXL shoot, you made arguably your best work” is amazing. It's amazing. Really, I can't [overstate] the feeling I have gotten from doing M.O.D. 3 and working with the cast of producers – and artists for that matter – that are on the project, and just executive producing that and going through the fine tuning.
I definitely have to shout out Havoc for giving me the best opening track on a mixtape ever. [Laughs] Hands down, the most dramatic record, definitely on any of my joints. Shout out to Fyre Department, who work closely with Band Camp. They are incredible producers. Shout out to the Produce Section. They did “Crying Broke” “My Foot on Their Throat” and “Don't Waste Your Time.” Shout out to Lee Bannon – Band Camp also. He's been on all three M.O.D. [records]. Incredible, incredible producer. “Life is For” is probably my favorite song.
DX: That beat is great.
Consequence: Yeah, it is great. [Laughs] It's funny. [“Life is For”] got put on M.O.D. 3 at the last minute. The last selections were “Life is For” and “My Foot on Their Throat.” Everything else was kind of there, and there were maybe three or four other records that got swapped out for those. I had done “Life is For” in early spring. Really early. I don't remember exactly when, but it was still cold outside because I remember “Bearer of Bad News” was still being played by Flex. I did [the track], and when I did the chorus, I knew it was a special record. It played so much into what I was going through personally. To me, “Life is For” is just as personal as “Spaceship” or as “Don't Forget Em” just because of what it speaks on. Life is for . . . The kids and the newborns. I just had a son, so I think about [him] every time I hear “Life is For” because I really made it about and for him. And the rap so hit home. [The first verse is] so indicative of what life offers you. "Some people get killed and should've been a football player – that's that head stone / end zone," line.
Records like that make it all worthwhile. The diss records are what they are. They matter. There's a reason for them, but records like “Life is For” are why I enjoy rapping.
DX: In a way, the track speaks to the same topic as the diss songs but just takes it in a totally different direction.
Consequence: Exactly. Exactly. For me personally, I don't say the same topic, but I say it's the same source of energy. It's the same source of energy because of the fact that it's indicative of struggle. It's indicative of being triumphant. It's indicative of life. And it's plain English. I think sometimes rappers get caught up in being so wordy and witty that sometimes we just forget that you can just say the obvious and it'll work. "Like Life is for the kids and the newborns / Tired that you did it wrong, so you can go and get it right." [Laughs] You know what I'm saying?
DX: Get me up to speed with the Band Camp world. You shouted out some of your producers earlier, but what else do you have going on right now?
Consequence: Writing and production and my projects. I'm putting a few artists together as we speak. Once I have solid projects, then we'll talk more in depth about it, but for right now, writing and production. Like I said, we did three beats for Busta Rhymes' new album, and we're working with a bunch of people, so it's definitely going down.
DX: What's next for you now that M.O.D. 3 has dropped?
Consequence: I'm putting out Curb Certified in September. I'm putting out Classic Cons, which is an LP that includes some of the album that I did with The Ummah back in '96, so it's a collector's item project that's gonna include about half of the Hostile Takeover album that I did because I have the masters, and then a few other unreleased gems. You know, I guess just closing the chapter on the relationship with Tribe or whatever and just moving forward into the future. And then we've got the Get Even album, which is just really indicative of my new sound and energy and just bringing my new producers to the table which were all featured on M.O.D. 3. I'll be continuing to work with them as well.
DX: Any closing words before we let you go?
Consequence: Just to close out, I read one thing where people were saying they view me usually as light-hearted. Like I said, it's just a situation where when you get one perspective of somebody, that doesn't totally mean that that embodies who they are as an individual in totality. There have been artists that I've met who I thought might have been funny and they turned out to be really nice people, and there's other artists that I've met that I thought would've been the coolest, that I've always wanted to meet, and they were just like “Alright, word, I smell you, son” and kept it moving. I just advise the fans to not judge a book [just based on] what [they] see. Regardless of your judgment, you might think “Alright, well if you rhyme with these people, then you must be on this.” That's only human, but I think my instance is a little different because of the situation that was presented to me. I had to deal with it how I had to deal with it.
Moving forward, I am the CEO of Band Camp Records and we're gonna continue to service the fans. That's what we're here to do. That's what I've always been here to do. I've always been here to provide a service to the fans to give them another option. I feel like I'm the new option in Hip Hop because of the fact that I give it to you the way that you want to really hear it. I don't pull punches with anything. I give it to you the way I think you want to hear it, and whether or not I'm vilified for it or celebrated for it, it's going down the way it goes down.
Follow Consequence On Twitter (@ItsTheCons)