Rahzel The GodFather of Noize
How were you introduced to the Roots family?
Well, basically I've been doing a lot of shows. Since 94, me and Amir hooked up in a lyricist lounge-type thing. Actually, it's called Boom Poetic, an underground poetry-type venue, and I met Black [Thought] doing it. That was around the time he was working on "Do You Want More."
In the future, do you see yourself involved in the project?
I don't know. It all depends. They are becoming a little more popular now and a lot more commercial success is due to that. The more publicity they get the less they think about real underground.
Do you think they are going to go to the more commercial labels such as Def Jam, Bad Boy and Loud?
Yes, it is inevitable.
What are your top 5 artists these days?
I mean, I am kinda bias. I like everything from Redman to Method Man, from Common to Snoop Dog to Xzibit, but it varies. I like a lot of MC's that carry that old school tradition. So I can compare a Black Thor to a Rakim because it is all about the lyrical content and the way they flip metaphors. So I am into a lot of MC's like that--such as Pharoahe Monch.
Have you had a chance to experience any of the Canadian talent?
Basically, I have come across the Rascalz. I have been on a world tour with Choclair, Kardinal and Saukrates.
How do you feel about Napster?
My honest opinion of the whole copyright infringement... I think it is really, really bad. It is really going to hurt a lot of artists. You know these web sites really don't understand. They feel like it is free information that they can give away. If you think about it, if I came into your house and gave away your furniture and gave away your clothes and your TV, you wouldn't be too happy. So they have to take into consideration that this is the artist's hard work. They spent their whole lives developing and nurturing [their skills] and trying to get to that level where the world can hear their music. They have to be rewarded for all that hard work. They can't just give it away. It hurts the artists. For new artists, even for me, it kinda hurts my sales because people already had my album [when it came out].
Doesn't it make you and fellow artists go back to the studio and re-record tracks or add new lyrics to older tracks?
It kinda even makes the artist's job even harder. Cause I feel you have to pay for what you deserve. Like if you are going to give away someone's music, then they deserve the publishing, and they deserve all the rights to their songs. I think that is what they work for.
Yes, I have to agree that you are putting in your time and effort for he album and for the fans, but all it takes is for one fan to copy your album. The artist doesn't see any of this money. Exactly like the government agencies that sell your information. They can sell your credit report. It isn't right that somebody is making money off the artist, and the artist isn't receiving anything.
*Special thanks go out, of course, to Rahzel for coming to Toronto and Lani Fumerton for hooking up the interview.