Army Of The Pharaohs: Indie Kings
Group members Esoteric and Planetary from Outerspace gave DX the inside scoop on their long awaited debut as a crew. Furthermore, the two emcees opened up about wack rappers that should be abolished, racism in Hip-Hop and shed light on Hip-Hop essentials for the youth.
That Army of Pharaohs is coming out soon. Can you explain what your intentions and hopes are for this release?
Planetary: I hope that everybody likes the music because thats the most important thing. We make the music and Im hoping that everybody likes it. Were hoping that it builds something bigger for everybody. Everybodys kind of getting released at the same time. We got Ap coming out, King Size coming out. Shortly after, you got 7L/Eso coming out. Celph & J-Zone are coming out that day, I think. Or the week after or something. Then were gonna come out. Jedi Mind Tricks are coming out. So were hoping that it builds up something for everybody and helps everybody and it does real well so we can tour and stuff like that.
Esoteric: I hope that it exceeds our expectations. Its been such a long time coming for that particular record. Its like 9 years or so. I dont think we put too many expectations on the record. Our heads have been so focused on our solo careers and stuff. We got down to put out this record real quick and I think the real die-hard fans will appreciate this record. Thats kind of what we were making it for you know what I mean?
Cats in the underground get over-looked a lot, despite having ill lyrical skills and nice beats. What or who do you guys think is at fault for that?
Planetary: Well, a lot of times what happens is you run into a lot of these independent labels and they dont have no money. So, when they dont have money, they not gettin promoted. A lot of times these independent cats, these underground cats, they throw stuff out but they dont want to put no more work into it. They think its just studio and thats it. Thats the easiest part. The hardest part is getting it out there so people can hear it. So, its overlooked just because its not out there enough. The internet aint enough. People put their music on MySpace and think thats what it is. Like, alright My music is on Myspace and thats enough. Naw, its not enough. You got to put your face everywhere. You got to go out there and make it happen for yourself because nobody else is going to do that shit for you. But you got to put money into it, right? You got to spend money to make money.
Esoteric: I dont know if its really any one particular organizations fault or persons fault. I think that good independent record labels do as much as they can to expose the artists with the budget they might have. Artists like myself refuse to compromise the sound and that leads to the majority of people not being as into it because they want something thats easily acceptable or stuff they play in the clubs and were more into intellectually stimulating stuff.
Pharaohs are ancient kings of Egypt, but it can also mean tyrant. If you were to rule the industry, what rappers would you abolish due to wackness?
Planetary: What rappers? (Laughs) Damn! Ill be honest, man. Im a fan of a lot of shit. I like everything. Well, I dont like everything but the shit I really dont like is like...(sigh) How can I say it? Sometimes, these underground cats, I dont have a problem with mainstream cats cause they out there doing what they gotta do. But a lot of these underground cats, they do things so cheap. They wanna do everything on computer and its just so bad. And they use it like Yo, its underground. But underground and shit not being dope is two different things. They think because its underground, they think it dont have to be mixed, its so underground. I dont really respect that. I would like to dead all the cats that are just wasting their time doing it and not putting in 100%. That gets in the way of people like us who bust our ass 9-5 doin it. Heres an easy example. Lets say we need to get in the studio. The studio is booked. Whos in the studio? These niggas that are just doing shit just do it, just to play it around the way. Like we doing demos just so we can play em to our friends and shit. You wasting time in the studio that I could be in doing something serious. People like that just slow you up. They just do it just to have fun with it. You got to have fun with it, but if youre serious about it, you got to treat it like a job. Those motherfuckers, they shit is garbage anyway. They make beats themselves on Fruity Loops and all that crazy shit and it sounds like shit. Thats just my opinion.
Esoteric: (Laughs) I dont know man. Im in a peaceful state of mind right now. I dont really have any negative energy towards any rappers right now. Ive had my slew of problems with a lot of underground rappers but um...my answers would probably sound really cliche like Chingy and Nelly and dudes like that. But I aint really at them either. So, theres really no one I have problems with right now.
Your crew has various white emcees. Do you ever feel any negative racial issues due to that?
Esoteric: Oh, definitely growing up! These days, not so much. Seeing somebody that looks like me is more common place than it ever was before. Weve done plenty of shows where we were the only white act and people were even surprised to see us rockin...Me and 7L, just because of how we looked. I think, 2006, after Eminem hit, 8Mile came out...everybody wants to be an emcee regardless of what you look like. Its okay to be an emcee now. You dont really have to take the lumps that a lot of us took in the early 90s/late 80s. The lumps we were taking for looking different than the average emcee, you know?
Planetary: Well, Im not white but to be honest growing up, I was kind of overlooked, too. And Im Puerto Rican. You get taken lightly. In our level of music, its not weird or its not something thats not accepted because you can see Eminem. All them cats are ill. You cant front on somebody if they nasty. No matter what their races are. I know tons of emcees that aint white that suck. Growing up, it was something because you didnt see it as much. So, when you saw it you was like Damn, who the whiteboy? or Who the Spanish boy? It was rare back then. Now, I think its accepted. A motherfuckers nasty, hes nasty. It really doesnt matter.
Speaking of growing up, what were your five favorite albums?
Esoteric: EPMD Strictly Business. Public Enemy Nation of Millions. Ultra Magnetic MCs Critical Beatdown. Every Gangstarr album. Erick B. & Rakim, D.I.T.C. Showbiz and A.G. Lord Finesse. Mostly East-Coast Hip-Hop but I also listened to NWA, Above the Law and Too Short. I listened to everything back then because I wanted to immerse myself in everything to do with the music. I found something good in everything. Back then, it wasn't so much hateration. Its kind of you feel and seize the day you know?
Planetary: You can quote this: The best album in rap history is Public Enemys It Takes a Nation of Millions. I still cant find nothing thats better than that. Jeru Da Damajas Sun Rises in the East was my joint. EPMDs Business As Usual. Daily Operation by Gangstarr. Growing up, I listened to Erik B. and Rakim and thats when I really got into it.
Any last thoughts for the readers at DX?
Planetary: If everybody could just support the Pharaohs album and give us a chance and try not to download this shit and let us eat and keep making these joints. Straight up-buy these jobs and dont just download. Fuck that internet shit. Lets get busy and go to the store and buy it. So we can keep eatin, man freal. That shit takes a lot of money out our pockets. Youd be surprised, man. They download more than they buy. We look at the numbers, its retarded so support it 100% if youre a real head.
Esoteric: Just keep checking for the real lyricism. Check the Pharaohs album March 21. I dont have anything too witty or clever to say. Thanks for checking out or music and stuff.