MC Serch: The Serch Has Only Just Begun
Although Serchs reign on the top of the Nielsen ratings is over (for now), the hip-hop legend preps his release of M.any Y.oung L.ives A.go: The 1994 Sessions. In 94, often referred to has the greatest year of hip-hop (or when hip-hop died), Serch dug through the crates and created a beautiful sonic landscape. More than ten years later, hes sitting down with HHDX as he talks about why he's just now releasing the joint, gives his thoughts about the (White) Rapper Show and has a startling revelation about John Brown.
HHDX: I have been a fan of 3rd Bass since I saw the video for Pop Goes The Weasel. Im from Ohio, so hip-hop what was becoming old in New York was just gaining momentum here. The one thing that Ive always heard about you is how you have a deep knowledge of the culture and the music business. For those who only know you from the show, care to give our readers a quick history lesson?
MS: For those who dont know, I was originally in a group called 3rd Bass from 1988 to 1993. After that, I came up with this publishing company called Serchlite. We put out Nass Illmatic and It Was Written albums. We helped out my good friend Marc Ecko build up the Ecko Clothing Line. But after awhile, I did Serchlite full-time. I was also on the Detroit radio station, WJLB, too. Now, you can see me on the (White) Rapper Show
HHDX: Your last project was 92s Return of the Product through Def Jam. So, why release this new project M.any Y.oung L.ives A.go: The 1994 Sessions? Was it an opportune time, given the success of the (White) Rapper Show?
MS: I found these masters when I moved from New York to Detroit. I picked up everything I had, lock, stock and barrel. But at the time, I couldnt fit everything into my new house. So, a lot of stuff went into storage. I started taking stuff out of storage and I thought that itd be cool to listen to them and I really enjoyed listening to it. I had forgotten about the tracks that we made. DJ Mark Allen and I started mixing them. We digitally re-mastered them. My second solo album never came out, so right now is definitely an opportune time to drop this joint. I have a huge audience thats being put in front of me. I think its a very good timing with the amount of exposure that I and Serchlite have.
HHDX: The 1994 Sessions That was one of the great years in hip-hop. Do you ever think that the kids growing up in todays rap music scene experience the same joy that you and I did when coming of age?
MS: Unfortunately, I think that this record with its sessions is all about capturing that moment. The great thing about 1994 is that thats the last time that hip-hop wasnt a commercial vehicle. It was the last bastion of just putting it out for the love of music. After that it became a strong vehicle and projecting of an image. It became a machine. It was that last glimmer of hurt. You could never get C.R.E.A.M. or Protect Your Neck on the radio now. Theyre all too grimy. Now, you have overproduced rap records. The street element of hip-hop is gone. Music kind of made sense at that time. Hip-Hop was about the music. There are going to be people fifteen years later that think that Snap Music was actual music. Its something that gravitated from the streets. But the streets are just what Im talking about. Im talking about emceeing, graffiti writing and composition. 94 was that last bit of that. I wanted people to see that that was the person who I was.
HHDX: So, since 1994 is gone who do you think reflects that style now?
MS: I would have to say Talib Kweli and Bishop Lamont. Lupe Fiasco reminds me of that style in a lot of ways.
HHDX: There are actually people who are die-hard fans of Nas, but dont know that you managed him at one point in his career and got him his deal with Columbia. Are you happy to see that him and Jay can push hip-hop forward after having such a legendary beef?
MS: Yeah, Im very happy that both of those guys see the bigger picture. I think that Black Republican is a great record. I am very proud of them both. Theres no doubt in my mind that Nas would be a great artist. Ups and downs, alike, hes one of the best to ever do it.
HHDX: So, tell me about the album
MS: DJ Eclipse, myself and DJ Riz from the Crooklyn Clan. Those are the three people who did the majority of the session. The records were really done while I was chillin in my basement. Just kind of doing the record from our studio. My most favorite track on the album would have to be Handle It. I think its classic poetry. I liked the flow of that record. I liked the chorus. I am a very chill dude and that song reflected it. It was all of us in the studio and it was just a lot of fun. I love practical poetry. I love things that are basic. Dont talk to me about some rah-rah shit. I am so engaged in the wordplay that I dont care what you got. I just want to hear lyrics.
HHDX: You had a beef of your own during the (White) Rapper Show with Dasit. In an interview with us, he said that the show made the argument between you two seem one-sided, that you left the stage for a half-hour out of frustration of his verbal retaliation during your argument with him. Any thoughts?
MS: I dont really know what Dasit remembers. That was pretty much what I remembered happening. I dont know if I left out of frustration. I know that I would leave for everyone to deliberate on how to handle the situation. I was heated because why would you waste somebodys time to give up? It was very disappointing. It was disrespectful to us and to the contestants who were competing to win the $100,000 prize and the respect of millions.
HHDX: The buzz was big even before the shows original airing, but since then, its taken off like a rocket. Did you think that the show would span such a wide appeal?
MS: I think we had a feeling that based on what we were seeing in the editing and what we had worked on would be special because there is nothing like it on TV. You cant predict peoples opinion. You can only take your best guess. Thats really what this is about. Hopefully people would make a connection and love the show. So, Id like to say to VH-1 and Ego Trip great job!
HHDX: The past three eliminated members of the show have all alluded to (or blatantly stated) the show becoming corny over the period of its taping. Given the fact that yourself and Ego Trip have attempted to school not only the contestants, but the audience as well, about the culture of hip-hop do you think that these comments are somewhat insulting?
MS: No. I think that its disappointing that people would say that. Its a great opportunity for them. You have to see it on both sides for what it is. The people who are still on feel good about the show. I have alluded to it that whether you feel good, bad or indifferent about it [the show], you have to go through it. Whether youre listening to the album or watching the show you have to go through it. I dont think that it the show was corny at all.
HHDX: With the success of the show on VH1, your own project and company continuing to keep your name ringing bells how does it feel to see hip-hop make so much progress over these last few years?
MS: Im always proud to see what Hip-Hop can accomplish on a regular basis. Im blessed to be around creative people who can change how people learn, think, dress and feel. It is exciting to still be around and still be able to enjoy the growth process.
HHDX: When the show got down to the final two, what were your overall opinions of Shamrock and John Brown going in?
MS: Both of them definitely deserved to be there for the simple fact that they stepped up to all the challenges. They learned and grow during the show, they took what happened seriously. It was really entertaining. I honestly thought that Persia or Sullee was going to be there in the end. Shamrock was who I thought was not going to be in the final two. But he made it through and I wouldnt have had it for a more deserving person.
HHDX: In an interview here with Shamrock, he said that talking to you was one of his favorite influences throughout the show. How does hearing that make you feel?
MS: Its very humbling. Its very flattering. I really did take the show seriously. I really thought that regardless of cameras or not, if people needed an opportunity and were given it, I should give them as much knowledge as possible to learn and grow. Sham, out of everyone, grew the most out of the experience. Shamrock had never been out of Atlanta in his entire life. Think about that for a second. He had never been 30 miles out of Atlanta. The guy got to absorb life outside of his hometown. He was able to take all that in and wound up using it to his advantage in the song and wit his 16. He really stepped up.
HHDX: Many people thought that John Brown was going home with the money, so do you agree with the final decision declaring Shamrock the winner?
MS: The one thing that John Brown did wrong was that he did a song that was way too intellectual and over peoples head. For all the times, he said, Hallelujah Holla Back, he outsmarted himself. Shamrock just put it out there. We all loved the fact that he did the song, Fly Away. The crowd was really into it. It was cool how he handled himself under that type of pressure. Hes not the prettiest or most lyrical dude, but people love Sham. Hes a cool dude. I was doing radio stations every week on promo tour and people grew affectionate of him. When we did the series finale at Southpaw in New York, people heard Shamrocks name and went crazy. They took to him. It was a great look. But John Brown has a career in front of him that hell be able to make moves with. Hes selling his shirts and being smart about his business. But it all comes down to stepping up and making great records. Thatll launch you into the stars.
HHDX: With hip-hop engaged in so much beef right now and the media trying to use it to point blame on societys ills is there any way to stop the bullshit?
MS: I think that hip-hop has always been a reflection of societys ills. I dont think that they create them. Its unfortunate when the media looks at it as the cause and not the effect. Hip-Hop will always be the effect of whats in the street and not the cause of what goes on in it. Its ludicrous! Its like saying that Michaelangelos David made nudity obscene. Society has its issues and all music has been is the voice of those issues. They talk about things that will happen, not because of the music, but is reflecting whats going on within our communities. Its insane that people arent seeing that. I think that its painfully obvious.
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