Consequence Talks G.O.O.D Music Release Day, Reveals Native Tongues' Lost LP
During a recent meeting with Universal Motown Records President Sylvia Rhone and Kanye West, Consequence cooked up what he hopes will be a monumental moment in cross-marketing history: “G.O.O.D Music Day.” Set for September 14th, Cons, Kanye, Kid Cudi, and Big Sean will all be releasing their G.O.O.D Music-sponsored projects on the same day to show some crew love, (and to hopefully have plenty of G.O.O.D Music supporters simultaneously scoop up the foursome’s respective albums.)
During a Q&A with HipHopDX on Wednesday (June 30th), Consequence revealed several details about his G.O.O.D Music Day offering, the webisode-inspired, Cons TV. Cons noted to DX that the estimated five songs confirmed for the album produced by his cousin, (and label-mate on Universal Motown), Q-Tip, will be Midnight Marauders-era, sample-driven selections like the Bobby Rush “Chicken Heads”-sampling “Here Comes Trouble,” (which incorporates the needle-dropping deejay technique seen done by Q-Tip in an in-studio video filmed by Cons TV last year.)
While remaining tight-lipped when asked about his contributions to the other executive producer of Cons TV, Kanye West, and his upcoming Good Ass Job, (other than to confirm his appearance on at least one song on ‘Ye’s new album), Cons did reveal that Yeezy’s contributions to Cons TV are not strictly of the light Electro vibe of last fall’s lead leak from the LP, “Whatever U Want” (a song Cons is currently unsure of its likelihood of making it to the final tracklisting for his new album). Cons noted to DX that Kanye’s production on his sophomore solo album is “some aftershock of what 808’s [& Heartbreak was], but it’s more geared towards the classic, Soul sample [sound].” The first taste of ‘Ye’s classic work for Cons TV will soon surface via the Kid Cudi-assisted “On My Own.”
New album notwithstanding, the bulk of Cons’ conversation with DX centered around some older subjects, including his relationship with onetime group-member in A Tribe Called Quest, Phife Dawg, and the strain that has been put on their friendship following Phife’s jaw-dropping interview with DX last month. The discussion about Phife led to what will surely be an eye-popping read for any fan of the legendary Native Tongues crew, as Cons revealed for the first time just what, (or more specifically who), prevented the collective of the Jungle Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul to truly be “officially reinstated” as Posdnuos proudly declared on 1996’s “Stakes Is High.”
HipHopDX: I don’t wanna start off on any sort of negative note, but since I spoke with him, you know I wanna get your response to Phife’s claim in his HipHopDX feature interview that Q-Tip never told him that you were formally joining A Tribe Called Quest back in the mid-‘90s, and that he thought Tip was trying to replace him with you.
Consequence: My first look that I ever did with [A Tribe Called Quest] was “The Chase, Part II” [remix for the “Award Tour” 12”]. I was still in high school, fam. I played no part in the decision making process of what they did. Like, I’m a kid in high school. I’m a kid in high school who’s been rappin’ his ass off, been in ciphers on Linden Boulevard with the likes of Run - when Reverend Run was [still] Run… I’m rappin’ against him. I’m rappin’ against Busta Rhymes… A lot of people don’t know how I even got into Tribe. They know because of I’m Q-Tip’s cousin, but it wasn’t like, yo, I’ma just scoop you and you just gonna be the roadie/rapper. It wasn’t even that kind of party.
You asked [Phife] a question, and he chose to answer it the way he chose to answer it… I’ve spoken to Phife. I didn’t feel belittled [by what he said like he claimed], I just felt like, if you gonna let it be known, let it be known. Don’t pick apart the story... It’s not a fair depiction of what I contributed to the group. I was pulled in to contribute, not to be nobody’s dissolution.
When the idea [initially] floated around of me actually coming [into] the group, it wasn’t just like, yo, he’s in. I actually had [already] did about three or four records [with Tribe between Midnight Marauders and Beats, Rhymes And Life]. The one people know, that they heard, was the “Glamour & Glitz” [from The Show soundtrack in 1995].
Coming off of [A Tribe Called Quest's Midnight Marauders], what leverage do I have to be in the group? I’m in high school [at the time]. [And] me and Q-Tip are not like same-age cousins, where it’s like, yo, you owe me…or, I used to whip niggas ass for you back in the day so you gotta put me in your group. The shit wasn’t that kind of party. Your skill set had to be at a level where it was like, yo, this muthafucka is ill. The cherry on top is that we family, but this is a business. It was business for them. It was more business for them than it was for me back then… Nobody snuck me [into A Tribe Called Quest]. I’m not Elian Gonzalez in Cuba.
What I ain’t like about [Phife’s interview] was that, as much as me and Phife communicate – Like, me and Phife, prior to that interview had been communicating throughout the year… My man Litro, the Tribe road manager, had thrown a diabetes charity event on behalf of Phife [back in January]… I showed up, Q-Tip showed up, Ali [Shaheed] showed up… The scheduling of the show didn’t go accordingly. It was kinda a situation where everybody didn’t wanna perform because [of] the way that the acts kinda like went out of order. But I was the one – I, Consequence, and I’m going to take credit for this – who said to Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad, “Listen, I’m gonna go out there and do ‘The Good, The Bad, The Ugly’ and y’all gonna come with me. ‘Cause that’s our man, and this is his event, and it’s gonna look crazy if we don’t go out there as A Tribe Called Quest.”
Now mind you, I didn’t get an invite to the Hip Hop Honors [in 2007 when A Tribe Called Quest was being honored], I had to muthafuckin’ finagle my way on to [the show]… And I ain’t never even been one to complain. I don’t go to the press. And I never said, 'fuck Tribe Called Quest' when I left [the group after Beats, Rhymes And Life]. I never was like, yo, muthafuckas did me like this... I ain’t never been like that… Because with me, I always appreciated the opportunity. It was an opportunity of a lifetime for a kid, like I said who was still in high school. Regardless of whoever my family was, they all became my family.
Don’t think for a minute me and Phife ain’t talk about how I got into the group. Phife knows good and well me and him spent a whole summer [together] in Atlanta in 1995, because Tribe and Jive [Records] was going through basically a strike. Beats, Rhymes And Life initially was supposed to come out in 1995 and it didn’t come out till 1996 because they had to [renegotiate] their budget… That was a two-month process that occurred from July ‘til about Labor Day… I went to [Atlanta and] me and Phife got cool. [And] he expressed to me how he wasn’t fully in-the-loop [about me joining A Tribe Called Quest]. And I was like, “Yo dog, I ain’t here for that. I ain’t here to take nobody’s place. Nigga, I look up to you. Like, you a nigga from my hood who been on TV” - when TV was like the only outlet. Like, “Nigga, you was on [The Arsenio Hall Show], nigga. You Phife, nigga!” And when it was told to me what his discrepancy with Tip was I was straight-up honest with the man like, “Yo duke, you might wanna do your own thing.” And that’s me going against blood!
DX: Let me just interject here [and say that] having spoken to him, to Phife, for both his feature and when he followed-up with some additional clarification on those comments, I believe he was sincere when he said there was no malicious intent directed towards you with what he said.
Consequence: You know, here’s my thing, and I hope that you put this in print, my thing is that we’re all family. It’s no disrespect to you as a journalist, but certain business is just family business. So…that’s why I emphasized to you [that] I never said, "Fuck A Tribe Called Quest," ever. You never heard me say that. And in a lot of instances the average person woulda took that stance.
I don’t get the accolades of being in A Tribe Called Quest, as being like a solidified member. And I rapped on more records on one album than the [official] fourth member. And I love Jarobi, it’s no [diss towards] him. But…I done came up with “Stressed Out.” And that’s a big record for they catalog… So you can’t negate my contribution [to the group] and throw that shit under the rug like you didn’t eat off of it… This shit boils down to what you bring to the table as a artist, and that’s where I don’t feel it’s fair to discredit what I do. [And] by him saying that nobody got [put on by] Tribe, I understand the point he was trying to make, but I felt like that was family business.
When you read the comments [in response to Phife’s feature] and it’s like, “Well Consequence, why should he feel a way [about what Phife said]?” Because, I gotta read that shit. And I gotta…figure out like…Phife, how you gonna sit there and say Sylvia [Rhone] ain’t believe in my project [at Elektra Records] and I’m signed to Sylvia Rhone right now [through Universal Motown]? So you not mindful of what you’re [saying]. And like I said, it ain’t your fault [as the interviewer], you a journalist, I totally respected you asking a question, but I totally woulda respected if he woulda took a G stand on it. Like, [if he had just said] I’m a G, [and] that’s my man.
I don’t know, man, I guess you just have to be in my shoes to feel what I felt from that shit. Because of the fact that…like, nigga, you my older peer. So, you supposed to handle that shit like a G… But, it’s cool though. It ain’t nothin’. I spoke to him… Everything I’m saying to you, I said to Phife… It ain’t like I’m bustin’ a cap at him through the press. He hit me, and we spoke about it. And everything I’m saying to you I said to him already.
DX: So on September 14th you, Kanye West, Kid Cudi, and Big Sean are all droppin’ your respective projects. But just to play devil’s advocate, you sure you wanna do that? It’s hard enough getting folks to cop one album let alone four albums on the same day.
Consequence: Well…the idea for doing the G.O.O.D Music Day emerged between me and [Universal Motown Records President] Sylvia Rhone, just to be quite honest. I’m very communicative with Sylvia Rhone on everything that I do. We had actually met with Kanye one night, and as me and her left the meeting, we left together and I was like, “Yo, we need to really get this paper right now.” When we left we thought that this is where we need to take advantage of the situation. So…she got on the phone…made some boss calls, and then we got to it. At the time when [Big] Sean announced that [he was also dropping his album on September 14th] I didn’t know that he was in the mix of that, but it’s all good. But initially, how that shit came about was me, Kanye and Kid Cudi. I just hadn’t announced it because I know we had things that had to be ironed out. And it got ironed out where it’s – ‘Cause actually at the end of the day, Kanye being the head of G.O.O.D Music had to approve that. And the approval was based on, “Let’s shake the game up.” Cudi got the kids, Cons got the streets, ‘Ye got the globe, so we all gon’ eat. [Laughs]
Writer’s Note: The conversation with Consequence went off-the-record regarding my previous conversations with Phife before going back on-the-record with Cons’ approval.
DX: So [Michael] Rapaport didn’t ask you about any of this [for the A Tribe Called Quest documentary]; you didn’t sit down and talk with him about any of this?
Consequence: He asked me about some of the shit. [But] you know what we ended up talking about? We ended up talking about the situation when they tried to put the Native Tongues back together [in the mid-‘90s] and I flipped out about that shit… At that time [in 1995] Tribe was the most successful out of the three groups [in Native Tongues]. Now mind you, I applaud De La Soul and I salute them muthafuckas… De La to me, out of everybody, has continued [on together] regardless [of the situation]. [When] Treach tried to whip [Posdnous'] ass in The Palladium them muthafuckas dealt with they shit [together] and they continued to forge forward [as a group] no matter what they all wanted to do [individually]. And I applaud that shit to this day… [So] it wasn’t De La [who messed up the Native Tongues reunion], it was really more or less the muthafucka Afrika [Baby Bam] and Mike Gee [of the Jungle Brothers]. I don’t fuck with Afrika because of the whole cross-dressing shit, but the nigga Mike Gee, we see each other in Harlem, and it’s all good. But back then, I couldn’t really understand it because how I looked at the shit was like…this music shit is really about what you do right now, and what you plan on doing. It ain’t about what you did already… So, back then it was a situation where the Jungle Brothers felt like, “All y’all my sons.” And they kinda had a right to feel whatever – they was the ones who jumped out first – but you cannot try to disregard evolution… So they coming to the studio as if Tribe ain’t platinum. In my eyes, and from my point of view [they were acting arrogantly]. Now from they point of view it might’ve been like, yo, these are our little niggas. But from my point of view these the muthafuckas putting me on, and you ain’t gonna come in here and disrespect them.
DX: So just to clarify, there was gonna be like a Native Tongues album and –
Consequence: Tried many times. The conversation that you had with me and Phife is a spin-off of that shit. That’s why I was so disappointed in it. Because, that’s the curse of the Native Tongues [internal friction]… [What Native Tongues] was trying to do [back then] was this, they was trying to reconfigure the shit… The three-headed monster that was Native Tongues essentially was Jungle Brothers, De La Soul, and A Tribe Called Quest. Each [group] had [a] different leader: Afrika [from Jungle Brothers], Posdnuos [from De La Soul], Q-Tip [from A Tribe Called Quest]… [And] for all intents and purposes at this time I am [officially] in A Tribe Called Quest, ‘cause everyday I gotta come to the studio.
DX: So you’re saying that Jungle Brothers came in and they were just trying to monopolize the situation in terms of doing a reunion album and that just cut everything off?
Consequence: They were trying to…place order like they bank was like that. ‘Cause at the end of the day, you’re in somebody else’s session, holmes! And I got into an argument with Tribe about it. I was like, “Yo, y’all don’t even see it for what it is.” It comes out years later, Afrika talking shit about Tip in VIBE magazine [in the February 2007 issue]. I seen that shit [coming] from back then! That the nigga wasn’t on shit, ‘cause you just talking. You ain’t gotta talk if you a big dog.
DX: So how real was an album, like a crew album, how realistic was that ever happening, or was it just in the talking stages and it just never got past that?
Consequence: I can’t even say. ‘Cause after that one incident I was done with that shit, I wasn’t paying no more attention to it. I continued to write Beats, Rhymes And Life. That’s what I continued to do. [But before that] we got into it, I got into it with Tip about the shit. He took his stance [and] was like, “Yo, you don’t know them like that…” I’m like, “Alright cool, I know what I’m telling you.” And that shit played out to fruition… [But a Native Tongues album in ‘95/’96] coulda been stupid. It was supposed to be Busta, Large Professor, me, Mos [Def], Tribe, De La, and Jungle. And the shit woulda been crazy.
DX: What about Black Sheep?
Consequence: I mean, they name got thrown around, but I don’t know if [they] was ever like [confirmed]. But I know them right there, the people I named, all of us had shit coming out [in 1996] and it was all supposed to be crazy. But it was like…big bank kill little bank. Nigga, [Afrika], you little bank, sit your little dumb-ass down somewhere and just be cool… Duke, let the shit play out. Be cool! You know what it’s like, it’s like [in the movie] Paid In Full, when Calvin came home: “You hot nigga, just take this pack and just let this muthafuckin’ money come in, nigga.” “Nah nigga, this my block. I don’t need your little man coming over there telling me how to run my block.”
Cons TV is due in stores and online September 14th from G.O.O.D. Music/Universal Motown Records.