Following last month’s news of Crooked I’s plans to release a self-penned book in 2014, a portion of the rapper’s interview with “How To Rap 2’s” author Paul Edwards has been recently released.
Pulled directly from the book itself, the interview finds Crooked I referring to currently reigning commercial artists as lacking the type of technical skill displayed by emcees of yesteryear. “Today’s emcees in the forefront of music really couldn’t last with the older emcees,” he said. “Now, you have underground emcees who if they were in the spotlight right now, we’d probably already know, okay, these dudes are great to take the baton from the OGs. But right now, the emcees that are in the forefront, they can’t even last a minute with the emcees from back in the day.”
Despite his view that many popular rappers lack the type of lyrical prowess that characterized some of Hip Hop’s former greats, Crooked I added that he’s happy to see continued commercial success inside of Hip Hop. “I don’t see no problem in those dudes being successful,” he said. “These ringtone rappers, more power to you. I don’t hate on them at all. I love their success. But, they need to be to the right side and the left side of the real emcees in the front.”
The interview snippet concludes with the rapper’s view that today’s artists should study their predecessors in the interest of future generations of emceeing.”I just think that a lot of emcees today would do themselves a great favor if they check back in the past and just listen to the music,” Crooked I said. “You don’t have to be a political rapper or a conscious rapper or a gangster rapper or backpack rapper. I don’t care what you are. Have some pride in the lyrics you’re putting together because it’s important.
“I just think that today’s emcees are skipping past that," Crooked I continued. "They’re not looking at that. And what that’s doing, by us putting them in the forefront, ahead of a Talib Kweli, ahead of certain types of emcees, it’s making the future generation of rappers who are nine, 10, 11, 12, 13, they’re growing up thinking that it’s cool to rap like this. They’re not being inspired to open their minds and make their craft elevate to the next level. That’s the only problem I see with it.”
In December, Crooked I spoke exclusively with HipHopDX about his plans to release a book of his own covering the topic of technique within emceeing. “I’m working on a book right now, based on lyricism and my weekly series,” Crooked I said during the “Respect the West” showcase, sponsored by adidas and Cashmere Agency. “I haven’t even thought of the title. I just started working on the book, and it’s based on bringing lyricism to the forefront of Hip Hop…I don’t know what I’m gonna name it yet, and that’s how I write my music. They’re just songs, and then I sit back and say, ‘OK, this song should be named that.’ It’ll be out next year for sure. I’m going hard, so it’ll definitely be out.”
In a separate interview with HipHopDX, Crooked I updated fans on the process and progress made on the upcoming Slaughterhouse album. "It's like sending a message to our core fans," Crook said. "This Slaughterhouse album, we're taking this shit real serious and we're trying to deliver to you, the best possible album we can. Stay real true to the roots of what Slaughterhouse stands for. That's the message I feel like we were all sending as a unit."
Crooked I also reported that—similar to the collective nature of the group itself—Slaughterhouse has tasked several producers with the beatmaking duties on their next album. "It's a beautiful thing to have Just Blaze, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Illmind, Cardiak and AraabMUZIK," Crooked I said in an interview with HipHopDX. "To have those guys come together and say, 'Hey, let's all form a Slaughterhouse of producers and work on this shit together. I might do the drums on this. You might do the keys on that. You might cut some samples from there and we just make this one big picture."