Guilty Simpson: Guilty Conscience
The Almighty Dreadnaughtz affiliate may not be on your iPod next to your favorite trap rapper, but Simpson offers an alternative that may not be found in your Top 40 radio stations. As the rugged one sits down with HipHopDX, he puts his career in perspective amidst the Dilla tie-ins, how Hip Hop will affect the presidential race and shows support for Eminem in his time of need.
HipHopDX: At lot of heads are looking at you as the next out of Detroit and the Dilla co-sign is a major look. With how much love J. Dilla has received now and during his career how much of that is being blessed upon you with your project?
Guilty Simpson: With my project concerning Dilla, there is a lot of legal stuff tied into it. There are people who think that I should owe my whole career to him. While I do admit his influence helped, Ive been crackin heads in Detroit way before that. I was a known emcee in the D. Musically, Ive worked with Mr. Porter, and hes another incredible producer. Hes helped me a lot as well. But Dillas influence is in tune with the whole industry. Everyone gives him his props. Without his stamp of approval, I know that people wouldnt be giving me this type of look. Im appreciative of everything that I learned from him and am glad to have worked with him.
DX: With love comes hate. Do you get the hometown push like other acts from elsewhere get?
GS: I wouldnt say that I do. Amongst my peers who make music, they respect my grind and my hustle. But the city is divided amongst what the sound of Detroit should be. You have a few heads out there who think that the drug rap is where it should be at. But it kind of borrows from what the south is doing, you know? Then you have those who believe in hip hop and lyricism. Im blessed because I feel like I bridge the gap between both, respectively. I have the Hip Hop heads who love the lyrics, but I get the love from the streets. I just dont have the whole city conquered yet.
DX: So, is the D what you want or do you want to strike out for a wider audience?
GS: I really do, but at the same time, I love Detroit and everything it gives me and continues to give. Youre going to hear me scream out Detroit throughout my entire career. Thatll never stop, but me conquering Detroit isnt a goal that I have high up on my list. I feel like Im killin em right now, you know? But the D is a small point on the worlds map. Ive been in Europe twice, rockin out to sold out shows. So you know how dope that is?
DX: Yeah. Thats got to be ill. So, what else do you have coming up?
GS: I have some work with Sean Price. Even before that I have my album Ode to the Ghetto. Im putting in a lot of work with the homie Jay Electronica. Ive known him for years. Heads are really starting to look at him now, but thats another incredible artist who I enjoy working with. Madlib and I are working on this free EP called OJ Simpson. Madlib is the OJ and you know who I am. [Laughs] Im working with The Goon Squad, too. I have a lot of things in the works. Its just enough to let people know that Im out here, grinding, and that I have a lot more songs that I can bring to the table. I am really going to give people some quality shit.
DX: Now, I met you at the NBA 2K8 Bounce Tour when it came to New York. The crowd loved that appeal that you brought to the table. How do you think yours compares to those in the majors with a similar appeal?
GS: I bring that real to the table. Im not saying that everyone or anyone in the game is lying. I just have those tracks. I have a song called Robbery, but I have a song called, A Mans World. That allows me to show that Im not just one-minded. Im human on the track, you know? I have songs that ladies think are blatantly disrespectful, but I also have a love song for the shorties. Its not always about diamonds, money and cars, but at the end of the day, Id like to think that the rappers in the game at least chill wit some female that they care about. Im about honesty. Ill honestly fuck someone up, but Id still do a song about loving a babe. Having that honesty doesnt put me in a box to have to prove something. People try to fit a criteria, yet theyre not even what they claim to be. That puts a lot of pressure on these rappers. Id rather be me than be a character.
DX: All the old conventional methods of doing business in the music industry is falling short and/or changing. How do you approach the game differently?
GS: I think the main thing is that I want to get busy with these shows. Especially on this independent level, I want to be as approachable as possible to the fans. I want to try to stay busy. If someone wants me to come to Boise, Idaho, we cant count on the consumer to go out and buy the albums, you know? The underground is strictly into downloading. Thats how they support the music. Im not afraid to give shit away, so hopefully thatll change people perception of us in the underground. I would love for people to spend $12, $13 dollars on my CD, but I will stick to my formula of making something happen.
DX: How much do you think Hip Hop will play in affecting this years election?
GS: I think that its critical this year. The Hip Hop generation, at least that age bracket that doesnt get active in the election process, would be beneficial for the Barack Obama campaign. Hes similar to Tiger Woods in golf. Once people realize that a brotha has a chance to make a difference, people will get behind it. I dont know if his power is stronger than that of the White House, but we all can make a difference. I dont think Oprah has that much weight to change the peoples opinions on her own. Your vote does and will count. You participated in making history and Hip Hop will help push that forward. It cant be worst than what we have now with Bush. Some of them have skin and faces just like him telling him [Bush] that hes wrong. So, its not just us that have a problem with him.
DX: Now, if Hip Hop can help with the 2008 Elections, then can it help calm down the violence in Detroit?
GS: Right now, Detroits violence is at an all time high. We recently were tabbed as the most dangerous city in the nation. Our economy is horrible. Were in a huge debt. The plant job cuts are horrendous. Were at an all-time low. The whole city is going through a crisis. The casinos are the ones who are winning. Its destroying lives though. There isnt that much stability anymore. When you have people living for the moment it can turn into a bad situation.
DX: So, wheres Hip Hop when it comes to giving money to the people?
GS: You have people who are active in charitable events. We just gave a free show around the holidays at St. Andrews. A lot of people came out to that. You dont have big venues like that that will push out free events. My homie, Trick Trick, just hands out coats to people from time to time. Slum Village is very active in the community trying to help out the kids. With all these people dying, children with no parents, men going to jail, its really, really bad and serves as a terrible cycle to come up in. I have a better angle than a dude who sounds like a preacher. With me being a rapper, it draws the kids in to what I say and they learn from it more.
DX: Can you share your thoughts on whats going with Eminem, lately?
GS: I just heard about it earlier today. I wish him all the best. My homie, Mr. Porter and D-12, are all good peoples. I wish Em a speedy recovery. Ive been ready for him to come back. I want him to shit on the industry. But right now, Im just hoping that he has a blessed health. No matter how much money or how powerful people think you are real life situations can affect your health and that doesnt discriminate anybody. He gave a lot of brothas jobs and I wish him all the best in his road to feeling better.
DX: So, how do you think situations like this affect the game since there is a pecking order of sorts?
GS: It comes from what were left with. Were going to make the most out of it. The game that were in, one has to have a survivors mentality. Its the modern-day drug game, some people say. Especially when youre coming from the hood, you see the person who has the least grow up to be the kingpin. Once you start taking care of peoples households, theyre dependent on you and thats the effect that Em has had on people. Hes come from nothing and so did others like him, so its a pecking order because him dictating will allow others to make their own way. The game needs him right now bad. Much respect to him and his family. The kind of structure that he put forward made others able to feed their own families. I wish him all the best. A lot of people are counting on him and I cant wait for him to put out this record and get back on top of the game.
DX: Speaking of the game, if you were to do a group album with only cats on the major labels, who would it be?
GS: I would love to do a record with Jay-Z, realistically. But I really think that itd end up being wishful thinking. Other than that, Id love to work with Scarface and Kool G Rap. Those would be unbelievable goals that I wouldve accomplished in my life. So many people take pieces of those two guys for their own; G Rap especially. Hes one of the most influential artists in the game. Hes one of the best to do it. I just want to make my mark like all of those guys. I look up to a lot of artists across the board. Being from Detroit, we got it all west coast, down south, we got a taste of it all. But Id love to collab with Scarface, Kool G Rap and Jay-Z. Thatd be a dope group, dont you think?