A Conversation with Buckshot

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Photo courtesy of MAC Media

Photo courtesy of MAC Media

Buckshot, the co-founder of Duck Down Records recently dropped his third joint album with producer 9th Wonder titled, The Solution. The Solution is classic Buck spitting witty yet to the point rhymes over 9th Wonder’s tailor-made beats.

The Solution however is just the beginning of what the BDI emcee has in-store for consumers. Buckshot has a whole lot to say. The emcee/mogul has seen a lot in his career spanning over twenty years and he wants to share that knowledge with the masses.

In a recent interview Buck discussed the reason for his longevity in Hip-Hop, the key to putting on a dope live performance, and his new album with 9th Wonder, The Solution.

TRHH: Why’d you name the new album The Solution?

Buckshot: The first album with 9th Wonder was called The Chemistry, the second was called The Formula, and the new one is The Solution because we’re creating a theme. Buckshot and 9th Wonder are in the science lab trying to come up with the ultimate solution. The question is how do we make ourselves better and that’s why we called it The Solution because the solution is you. You’re the answer to how you make yourself better. On the album I constantly say you’re the solution or the solution is you—that’s the outcome.

TRHH: How’d the ‘Change Up’ joint come together?

Buckshot: 9th was playing the joint while I was recording another joint. I was writing to that record and 9th was playing ‘Change Up’ in another spot and once I heard it I wanted to work on that immediately. That shit was crazy. It was one beat after another the same day. I’d be working on something and hear him in the next room working on something else and I’d be like, “Damn I can’t wait to get on this one.” That’s how it happened, I heard the beat and it was fire so I wanted to express this or talk about that on it.

TRHH: You told HipHopDX that President Obama needed to acknowledge the people that got him elected in 2008. Do you feel like he did that in his reelection speech?

Buckshot: I feel like he definitely stepped it up. I said that based on the first debate. Here’s a guy who has nothing on you and you just made him look like he got something. Maybe Barack Obama was feeling him out? I know it was bigger than that because they both knew each other’s strategies before they got there. He was giving him too much leeway and I was like, don’t let him embarrass you! Ain’t nothing wrong with being embarrassed. If you are a dope interviewer and you started asking me questions like, “Buckshot what you have for breakfast this morning?” That might not be an embarrassing interview to certain people, at certain times, in certain places but in certain times it might be. You can ask a more appropriate question depending on the kind of person you are. You might say, “That’s how I am Buck, I was just asking what you had for breakfast,” well maybe you’ll get the answer but the overall picture of your interview may not be as interesting if you had asked something a little bit deeper than that.

I know it ain’t easy for him at all because he’s a black man…. and yo, just when you thought racism was gone! We live in this little word called entertainment where there’s black and white and everybody is together but that ain’t really the whole perspective. When you start doing shit that I do like go on certain websites as an anonymous person, they don’t know me. I can tell them I’m Buckshot all day and they still don’t know who the fuck I am. Places in Wisconsin, Ohio, and PA are still under that stereotypical view that black people are pretty much over there. They’ll tell you they’re not racist and don’t hate black people but they don’t have the mind frame that that’s just another motherfucker. They have that old American classism so Barack has to deal with that but anybody who is the head of any big organization is always going to have a goddamn headache. Trust me. We can look at it from our level. If you’re getting a headache on your level this guy must have a migraine. I give him his props all around. After I made that statement I started to see how a lot of people didn’t know what I was talking about but were quick to Barack bash or say something negative. It shows you how cruel the world can really be.

TRHH: Throughout his tenure as President and even more since his reelection I’ve noticed this, people are fucking racist [laughs]. You think things are sweet then all of a sudden it’s nigger this, nigger that, he’s a monkey, etc. I think it’s always been there but since there’s a “nigger” in office people are losing their fucking minds. I think there are white people who just don’t believe he’s in office and can’t accept it.

Buckshot: I mean of course they can’t! We’re going through so much and I’m going to be honest with you, do you know how long it took me to get to the point I’m at right now? If you only knew what I’ve been going through. Dog, I don’t even know where to start at, all I know is I’ve evolved. I’ve always been an evolutionist in the music industry and in life period. Here you are interviewing me and I got so much to say but the shit that I got to say is relevant and it’s not just relevant from the point of view of just the music that I make. I made Enta Da Stage twenty years ago, its 2012 and there are still people that are locked into Buckshot of Enta Da Stage. I don’t have a problem with evolving but there are people that are actually stuck in that vibe. That is a big problem, dog. That’s a huge problem.

TRHH: I think I know what you’re saying. People like Nas get this too. If you make the perfect record people will always glom on to that. People will always go toward that special record.

Buckshot: Pardon me for babbling but this is the result of buffering. There is too much information coming out of one stream at one time. When I said Enta Da Stage I mean the whole lifestyle, not just the record. If you tell me you love Enta Da Stage I love all of that. That’s not a problem for me. The people that come from my era show me that they’re stagnant in their mentality and they stagnate society with that mentality and we all suffer from it. A lot of the people from my era aren’t even internet savvy. I know this because I was here before the internet came and I’m here as the internet came. My kids won’t know about when the internet wasn’t here. That’s a big, big difference. What that’s saying is the people from my generation this is your opportunity to get y’all’s off now. Y’all missed the telephone, you missed the TV, but now is the chance to be a part of the growth and development of something that’s ill like the internet. Play your part and position; stop saying the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Right away when you bring an invention to someone their initial response is doubt. You gotta spend your time trying to motivate people out of that.

I can’t do it on the music tip. You know what people don’t peep? Enta Da Stage was called Enta Da Stage for a reason. I told people enter the stage because I knew which stages I was going to take them through and which stages I was going to go through. I don’t know why Wu-Tang called their album Enter the Wu. I love that though. I think it was because of Enter the Dragon one of my favorite Bruce Lee movies. I never got a chance to ask them.

TRHH: I think there was a movie called Enter the Wu-Tang.

Buckshot: OK, my bad for even being ignorant to that. As crazy as it is we all work right beside it each other but that shit skipped past me because I got other things that are priorities in my brain. I just knew that Enta Da Stage was the stages that we were going to take you through and Dah Shinin’ was the birth of that stage. Enta Da Stage was saying get ready for me to take you through the stages, enter the stage of the Buckshot Shorty–that was a record. I took them through those stages from then to right now. I knew about the internet before it came. As an artist I knew this was the road you had to travel. Don’t be a slave to the record label because they want you to be a star, I’ve been through those things.

TRHH: Next year marks the 20th anniversary of Enta Da Stage. To what do you attribute your longevity?

Buckshot: Business, straight up and down, business. Being business conscious and knowing how to be goal conscious. To be honest with you it’s studying because it’s too much for me to say–understanding the balance. Because when you wake up you spend 80% of your day with entertainment. You don’t think so, you may think you’re working but entertainment is described as a tension relief activity. When a person listen’s to some Buckshot they’re relieving their tension. If they listen to some Wu-Tang, or get a cup of coffee, that’s a tension reliever. If they wake up in the morning and get in their car that’s a tension reliever. If they go to work and start talking about last night’s game that’s a tension reliever. So 80% of your time is spent on entertainment and not education. For me it’s the opposite, I’m addicted to education. What you see from Buckshot is just a result of my education.

I’m not an artist saying I’m a rapper and Enta Da Stage is my life, Black Moon, and to this very day I’m trying to put out another album, no. I don’t even want to hurt the people by telling them that. Music is a part of everyday communication so if I tell you I’m not even on that vibe that you’re on it’ll hurt a lot of people. That’s why I ask to do certain interviews. Interview me at this point because I don’t want the album to come out and you start asking me the same irrelevant questions—maybe it’s relevant to the album for people who want to know. You don’t do promotion for people that know Buckshot you do promotion for people who don’t know Buckshot. So when we do interviews and videos we often do it for the people who know us and we call it going to our market but that’s not what you do.

TRHH: I saw you perform at Rock the Bells in 2009 and you were my favorite performer hands down.

Buckshot: Thanks.

TRHH: No doubt. I interviewed Sean P and he told me that you and Steele taught him how to rock shows. What would you say is the recipe to putting on a dope performance?

Buckshot: Learn from KRS-One [laughs]. Straight up, that’s who taught me. I learned from KRS. I could tell you pointers like always stay focused with your eye contact with the crowd. Don’t be afraid to get on the mic and get directly to the people because until you do that you’re really not with them. You can rap over their shoulder but that’s like talking to somebody and not looking at them. You don’t really get the true impact that you want. They say always look a man in his eyes. You’re never get the true impact that you’re looking for unless you look a man in his eyes. That’s what KRS always taught. He also taught breath control. I would always teach my guys how to utilize your breath in the right way. If you’re on the stage and putting your breath to the wrong things it can result in you being out of breath.

There have been plenty of times when I didn’t know those techniques and I’d end up hoarse by the fourth song. There were times when I was hoarse by the second song in my early stages because I didn’t know where to put the energy. I was too hype. I would see rappers that are too hype or I’d see rappers that aren’t hype enough. I didn’t want to be the type of rapper that wasn’t hype enough. I hate those dudes that walk from side to side. I’ve seen rappers do it like Rakim, and nobody could see them at that style of doing it. Me particularly, I’m an entertainer and I grew up around entertainment. I got bit with the bug of people putting that style on me. When you look at my shows I’m all over the place. If people start seeing Buckshot with lights, camera, and action on stage they’ll think it’s corny. I’m sorry to burst your bubble but that’s your version of me. Maybe that’s your brain telling you that’s what hardcore people do. I don’t even give a fuck about being hardcore. You’re either hardcore or not and when you’re really hardcore you don’t promote that shit. You’ll either slap the shit out of a nigga or you won’t. Don’t go around telling people or promoting that.

TRHH: You have a song on the album with Rapsody called ‘Shorty Left’ and you also performed on her album. What qualities did you see in Rapsody to make her get the Buckshot co-sign?

Buckshot: Wow. It’s self-explanatory. For anybody who is reading this the best way and the only way is for you to go and listen to her. I’ll never be able to translate that. Dope is dope. I could say her flow or her words. She’s different; she doesn’t just pick ABC words. ABC is fine because little niggas gotta do that but I’m an adult so work with me here. I don’t wanna read intelligent books and instructions in life but when it comes to my rap and music I’m going back to ABC. Motherfuckers is going jump, dump, pump and that’s intricate? No. My mind wants to be entertained so if you’re telling me something that’s simple and plain and I’m able to get it, it becomes boring. The only ones who are entertained with boring stuff are boring people. That’s what causes fights between certain places and certain cultures.

New York is a pace of its own so it’s get bored with shit right away. A lot of people from certain places don’t move that fast so it’s not boring to them. New York is like, come on dog. At one point in time New York music dominated the world and everybody wanted to move at a New York pace. If you peep it, without that happening you think Hip-Hop would have spread at the rate it did, that fast?

TRHH: Nah.

Buckshot: Exactly. You needed the fast paces to move Hip-Hop at first. Then you needed to slow it down—like a motor.

TRHH: How’s it different working with 9th Wonder than working with the Beatminerz?

Buckshot: I can’t wait for the Buckshot documentary to come out. It’s got me at 15 dancing and doing interviews when a record deal was nowhere in sight. I used to front like I was getting interviewed and what not. I used to be on the rooftop of my building and tell my man what to say to interview me. I say that because Beatminerz are my brothers and I love them. I can never say anything about my foundation—my beginning. It’s just that we evolve. Beatminerz has a style that I hope one day will return to the music. They’re my brothers but with the evolution of music there are going to be new artists and new producers that come along and they’re going to make the mark that you need at a point in time—that just happened to be 9th.

I was blessed to work with 9th. That happened by chance. I could have worked with him and people would say that combination sounds like trash. We knew what we wanted to do but we never knew the result of it. The people spoke. Beatminerz, when they make music they go into their own zone. They used to be like 9th. They would produce the track right there on the spot. Then it would vary. 9th produces right on the spot, Beatminerz would say give me a day and I’ll get back to you. They both come up with dope stuff it’s just that 9th Wonder is a student of Beatminerz. He’ll tell you that all the time. He was watching them when they were coming up doing their thing. He was influenced by that and added his own touch to it. That’s the reason why it matches Buckshot because it’s influenced by the Buckshot era.

TRHH: You’re from Brooklyn and there is always a debate about who the greatest emcee from Brooklyn is. It’s usually a 3-way race between Jay, B.I.G., and Kane. In your opinion, who is the greatest emcee from Brooklyn excluding Buckshot?

Buckshot: I don’t know [laughs]. I don’t know, I don’t know. None of my top are from Brooklyn. Rakim is not from Brooklyn he’s from Long Island. KRS-One is from the Bronx. Big Daddy Kane is probably the one that we got left. The best emcee from Brooklyn? I don’t know. I would probably say the closest one would be Kane because he represents what I am but just never did. I’m probably the wickedest dancer that you’ve ever seen in your life but the public never saw that—that’s embarrassing. They stick me with this image of this Bubble Goose guy on the corner with a blunt in my mouth and a skully. That’s one-trillionth percent nothing to do with me at all. How could a nigga create so many businesses, management companies, promotion companies, groups, and still be on the corner with a blunt in his mouth, a pair of Timberland’s and a Bubble Goose? How? Unless you’re saying he just lucked up on all of that shit and got a whole bunch of white men to do it for him.

You feel why these interviews are important? Can we please start getting a better view of what’s going on? When I’m asked a question I don’t just simply answer that question and say ‘next’. The question is relevant but the story is more relevant. When the public gets to read about Buckshot understanding me is more important as opposed to keep feeding them that bullshit. I might not have meant to come off that way but people have this image of another nigga on the corner with some blunts who came out with Smif-N-Wessun. Nah, and to be honest with you the total shock for the world is gonna come when I’m like, I’m the greatest emcee in the world, period.

The emcee from this point on will represent the vast words of what the emcee represents—the master of the ceremony, the maker of creations — the list goes on. To me my main thing that I took from all them was a motivational coach because that’s what I am. When I spit on the mic I’m a motivating coach. I don’t spit on the mic and talk bullshit. Anybody can do that so let them do it. Bullshit people like bullshit stories. The vast majority of the people are bullshit because they deal with bullshit because they’re programmed to deal with bullshit. Birds of a feather flock together. Then they think it’s wrong when they do that but if birds of a feather flock together and you know where the real shit is at then why you don’t go there? I’m a motivational coach and after The Solution I’m going into that fully. I’m not going to say the words “I’m retiring” or “I ain’t rapping no more’, because you never know where I’m going to be at or what project I’m going to be into when it comes to the music side of Buckshot. I’ll never make that statement because I think it’s corny but at the same time it’s reality. I know people who have retired and come back forty times. What the fuck is retirement? Ain’t no rapper ever had a pension or a 401K so how the fuck you retiring? You mean you’re giving up for the moment. Something else is more important or more interesting but don’t say you’re retiring.

That’s what I’m dedicating my time and energy to, motivational coaching. When I see myself on stage speaking I see myself speaking as a motivational coach. When you go online and look motivational seminars, they blow our shows out of the frame by tenfold—it’s embarrassing. But it shows you where the people are really at. One thing that every single human has in common is we all want to succeed. That’s what life is about. That’s our purpose in life to succeed. That’s what our brain tells us when we pop out of mother’s stomach. We have on the left success, and the right satisfaction.

TRHH: I read that you’re going to release the One Nation project with 2Pac. A lot of people were under the impression at the time that Pac hated all of New York based on things he said but he worked with you and he wanted to work with Wu-Tang. What was it like working with 2Pac around that time?

Buckshot: Where did you hear he wanted to work with Wu-Tang?

TRHH: It was on one of their records. It was a Masta Killa record. On one of the last songs on the first Masta Killa solo album there is quote from 2Pac saying he wanted to work with Wu-Tang.

Buckshot: And he said, I want to work with the Wu?

TRHH: Something like that. I don’t remember the exact quote but it’s a clip of him saying it.

Buckshot: The only reason why I’m asking is because this is someone I sat with every day. The way you’re coming off I would have never known that. I wish I would have known that. It never was known. Pac would have loved to work with the Wu-Tang. Come on, Pac loved the Wu. When he said that he was coming from the best of the East Coast artists and show the East Coast artists that we all need to be one nation. Like I want to work with the Wu, Big Daddy Kane, this one, and that one–that was the angle he was coming from. The One Nation was very serious. He didn’t just pick a compilation. He put together the best minds that he knew he could work with in certain ways. He picked producers for this, singers for this, rap artists for that, and minds for this. We were a part of the mind system.

We lived at 2Pac’s house. No other artist lived at his house. You don’t live with a man unless you mentally connect with this man. He didn’t just invite me to his house because he heard Enta Da Stage and loved it, especially not a man of that stature at that time. I could have been a hater. Why would you let a hater in your house? He’s saying fuck the East Coast and I am the East Coast. Unless you totally understood my mind that wouldn’t have been wise and Pac was a wise person so that shows you he understood my mind. I understood his mind too and he was a warrior. If he say, “Fuck you and what you represent,” he means fuck you and what you represent. That could have been New York, Brooklyn, or whatever you represent. That’s the rules of war. If you know war then you know the rules of war. Don’t participate in war if you don’t know the rules of war. That’s why they called me The General of the Boot Camp Clik. I think like a general.

TRHH: Duck Down Records has been around a long time through various industry changes. A lot of artists have nothing but good things to say about the label, talk about the importance of Duck Down Records and its place in Hip-Hop history.

Buckshot: Wow. I don’t know how you’re going to get all of this in this interview. That’s why I can’t wait to go on the road and dedicate my life to telling this story. Duck Down was started in 1995; duckdown.com was started in 1995 going into ’96. There was no YouTube, no Bing, and no WorldStar. Ninety percent of the people you see now were not around in our world. There was no XXL.com; the .com was used to promote porno flicks and business. If you weren’t some geek doing processing people thought you were looking at women having sex. We knew the importance of the internet. We saw the vision and that’s why we named our marketing company Vision because that’s how we think. We see things that are ahead of ourselves. We knew that the internet was going to be important and that was one of the things that separated Duck Down from every other label. They all laughed, even Universal got on late, respect to Monte and Avery. Bottom line is they all got on late and the rest of them just died off. They saw it as a joke and didn’t see the importance of evolving as a company. They felt like it was a stock market in its down period and all you have to do is hold off and it would revive itself. That’s not true. We knew that the music industry is a part of society and society as a whole is evolving. You gotta evolve as a whole and that’s what made Duck Down.com different because we were able to work our system the way we know how to work it and work it toward our market.

We could have done so many different things that we’re able to do early in our stages but we knew what we had to do first. Record labels like Loud, RCA, MCA, Ruffhouse, J Records, some of them are still around and some of them are still hiding in the closet but for the most part their presence in the Hip-Hop community, they just lost it. I’m not as young as I was when I first started but when I first opened up the label I was a teenager. The brain of Duck Down is a young brand and represents the youth and the young people. Even to this very day we have young people that dominate the staff. We don’t have a bunch of old farts on the staff that don’t want to change their mentality or evolve, or get with the new—we don’t do that. If’ you’re an old head and think the opposite, by all means, welcome aboard. If you’re one of those dudes that wants to bring Hip-Hop back then any kind of “bring it back” is going to get you back to where you came from because I don’t fuck with that mentality. You gotta bring it forward, not back, when I say that I don’t mean the extreme of not wanting to have that passion, love and dedication that we had back then. I mean bring it to the future because if you say, “bring it back” little niggas is not gonna respect it. If you say you’re going to bring something new that you’ve never seen before then little niggas will respect it. Little niggas was wearing Cazal’s and slim jeans and we was doing that in the 80’s. Because they presented it like it was a new style and little niggas went to it like it was a new style but the old heads was like, “We been did that!” It’s not what you present it’s how you present it.

TRHH: Will we ever hear another Black Moon or Boot Camp Clik album?

Buckshot: To answer both, I really, really hope so and hope soon. The true answer is everybody is all over the place. Everybody is older, some niggas got families, some got jobs. For the love of it like a reunion type of vibe one day of course we’ll come back and do the album. Will we come back and do the album thinking we’re going to take over the world and it’s the same Boot Camp of old? Hell no, hell no. That’s not respecting the reality. When you respect you get respect. Respect is y’all little niggas is a part of evolution. We have to evolve—we need the new.

When we put another Boot Camp album together we’re going to do it in respect to the music like, this is another contribution from Boot Camp to the music. We’re not doing this to sell a million records. We never did it to try to sell anything. We only did it to get it to the people that love our music. If you do it to sell you’ll change up your style in a minute. You’ll say, “This is hardcore and I’m not. Let me get some champagne and some Gucci frames and tell people that side.” You’ll get a little love on that side and that’s the side you’ll stick with, but that’s cool. It’s like putting on an outfit every day for some people. For other people they got other agendas in mind. Me, I can’t do certain things. We all want success, champagne wishes and caviar dreams. You may tell yourself that shit in the closet and come out and say, “No I don’t!” But you’re lying to yourself. Tell yourself that you want champagne wishes and caviar dreams because that’s a part of satisfaction. You don’t even eat caviar but those things are just a representation of satisfaction when you’ve succeeded. Only when you succeed can you be satisfied.

TRHH: What’s next up for Buckshot?

Buckshot: I think more and more I’m loving that question right there. What’s next up for Buckshot is exactly what I told you. I’m really going to dedicate myself to the next level of what an emcee is on my level. When you go from an 18-year old master of ceremonies artist and you’re 37-years old now, I don’t know about everybody but I get the urge to travel down the emcee line. The next one for me is a motivational coach. That’s what’s next up for Buckshot. For the next couple of months I see myself going to seminars, holding seminars and events and giving these people what they need to succeed. Just to add on to what you need to succeed. The one thing I know for a fact is that when you want to do something and do it right the best thing that you can do is ask the professionals. When I say professionals that’s the people that have gone through the trial and error of what you’re trying to do already and they’ve kind of got a grip on what it is. Now ego is the number one thing that stops that. When you open up a cabinet and it comes with instructions do you know how many people throw away the instructions and say, “Fuck that I’m going to try on my own”? Because they don’t have the patience to read the instructions and the instructions are the professionals. Those are the ones that are saying if you want it to look like the shit in the store then follow these instructions. If you want to do it your way and have it leaning to the side a little bit where you have to put a book under it or move it to the side of the room that’s wobbly just to keep it on a straight angle then do that! But all you’re doing is going half-assed. You’re eating half a cookie.

I want people to know that I’m dedicating myself to that aspect of life. I’m going to be a motivational coach. I’m not going to be sitting behind a microphone putting out records to try to get that vibe that I had at one time. I’m not saying I won’t put out records, or be on a soundtrack, doing scores for movies, or doing commercials. I don’t give a fuck. The bottom line is I’m not doing it under the mind frame that Buckshot is back! One thing that you don’t see no emcee doing, and this is primarily the reason I want to do it, is KRS-One. KRS-One has his own platform where he does the motivational thing with the Temple of Hip-Hop, but mine is not necessarily dedicated to Hip-Hop. Mine is dedicated to life coaching and motivational coaching, period. One session may be about multi-level marketing. One session may be about how we can be better representations in multi-level marketing. You don’t know what that is, there’s people who do. I’ll explain how to get your websites up and running and make them efficient. I’ll explain how to put yourself in a better position. At the end of the day I say, look I’m doing these things, I’ve done them, and I’ll continue to do them. I’m not trying to come up off any of you right now. There are people that do what I’m doing and their goal is to come up off of you. Whereas with me I’m just attracted to that phenomenon and knowing that I can get more this way than I can with 16 bars in a verse. That represents Kenyatta Blake, who I am in life. Sixteen bars cannot represent what I was born in this world to be.

Purchase: Buckshot & 9th Wonder – The Solution

About Sherron Shabazz

Sherron Shabazz is a freelance writer with an intense passion for Hip-Hop culture. Sherron is your quintessential Hip-Hop snob, seeking to advance the future of the culture while fondly remembering its past.
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