Greenville, North Carolina emcee Supastition quit the rap game in 2010 citing the direction that the business was going in as his reason. He left behind a handful of albums, EP’s and promises of more unreleased music to come.
In 2012 Supastition returned to Hip-Hop with a new EP titled, The Blackboard. The eight-track release finds the artist also known as Kam Moye rhyming like he never put down the mic.
Supastition spoke to The Real Hip-Hop about his hiatus from Hip-Hop, his current views on the music business, and his new EP, The Blackboard.
TRHH: Explain the title of the new release, The Blackboard EP.
Supastition: The Blackboard is basically about me returning to what I learned when I first began rhyming. I’m going back and teaching myself the basics, so I’m re-teaching myself. It was a way of me dropping everything and wanting to be a dope emcee again. It’s the basics of what I was doing before around the time of The Deadline and Chain Letters, two of my strongest releases.
TRHH: When you left the game in 2010 you said you would be releasing music from the vaults. How much of The Blackboard EP is new music and how much is stuff you had in the can?
Supastition: Actually all of The Blackboard is pretty new. It was recorded over the past few months. I still have two or three albums of material that have never surfaced for whatever reason. The Blackboard is pretty much all new stuff. Some of the beats I already had like ‘Indestructible’ by M-Phazes and ‘Yada Yada’. I had those before I even left the music business I just never did anything with them. As I started recording The Blackboard I pulled up those beats, they updated them, and I recorded them. Pretty much everything that was written is new.
TRHH: You get real personal on the song ‘Rejoice’. Was that therapeutic for you to tell you story on that song?
Supastition: Yeah, in a sense it was. At the same time I’ve learned that you can’t work out your problems through music. No song or lyric that you write is ever going to solve your problems. It was therapeutic in sense that I learned how to step away from music and work out some of that hostility, animosity, and aggression that I may have. But when I sit down and write about it I could write about it from the perspective of it being therapeutic. A lot of times when I recorded songs I used to sound angry and bitter. That was my way of venting and getting it out of my system. I found other ways to work out the problem. ‘Rejoice’ is just telling people what I’ve been through and where I’m headed.
TRHH: What’s your life been like since you left the music business in 2010?
Supastition: It’s been a very humbling experience, man. It’s helped me get a lot of things in perspective. When you’re in the music business so many people are coming at you. A lot of people quote un quote are saying hello to you and keeping in touch but once you leave the music industry it’s almost like when you graduate from high school. You’ve known those people for years but when you move on to college a lot of those friends don’t make it into your college life. And when you graduate from college a lot of those friends don’t make it into your adult life. That’s what the music was for me.
When I transitioned out of it there was so many people that I hadn’t talked to for years. Once you take away that foundation of your friendship then it’s really no reason. It’s like if there are guys that you hang around with to smoke weed when you stop smoking weed you probably won’t hang around the same guys. If you go the gym every day you might ball with some dudes but if you stop going to the gym those guy stay away. That’s what happened with music for me. I got a 9-to-5, did a lot of studying, researching Pan-Africanism, Moorish Science, all types of things to kind of strengthen myself mentally. I was just becoming stronger as a person, man. The music industry can kind of swallow you whole if you let it.
TRHH: Did you take it personally when you stopped hearing from people that you’d normally hear from or was it just like, OK, this is what it is?
Supastition: I think initially I did. You have an idea of who is really your people and your family but once those opportunities are gone away it surprises you how many people won’t even check on you. It was a situation where my daughter was sick and hospitalized for a month and it was a lot of people that I didn’t hear anything from. It was a couple of people that I put food in their mouths and helped them feed their families that would send vague text messages more out of obligation. It was real surprising to deal with it like that.
TRHH: It seems like a couple of years ago you had a light bulb moment about the business. What advice would you give to someone who has a dream to become a rap artist?
Supastition: I would tell them a couple of things, first I would tell them to realize why you’re in it. If you’re in this business just to make money then you have to be real with yourself. A lot of guys say they’re in it to make underground Hip-Hop music but a lot of those dudes just want to make money. They have anger because the music that they make realistically will never make money like that. I’d tell them to realize why you’re in it. If you’re in it for money, then hey, do whatever you have to do to make that money. If you’re in it for musical integrity and just the art of it then you can’t really be mad if people don’t support it. The majority of people don’t listen to music for the same reason that we listen to or make music.
Another thing I’d tell them is to build a strong team off of genuine, hard-working, and selfless people. Don’t just surround yourself with a bunch of talented producers and rappers. On paper it looks great but in the end when life gets rough and people start becoming more popular a lot of those personalities will come out. If the dude had a small ego when you were coming up together he’s going to have a huge ego when he gets some popularity. I’d just tell him to get a team with more genuine people, man.
TRHH: Tell me about the single ‘Yada Yada’.
Supastition: ‘Yada Yada’ is me seeing within the past few years a lot of arrogance out of a lot of new artists. For me coming into the game you had to pay your respects to the people that were before you. That’s with anything, music, life, religion, or whatever. I felt like a lot of guys were coming out of nowhere and straight disrespecting a lot of the legends like Pete Rock, Kool G Rap, and Lord Finesse, who I consider a legend. It’s like, yo, you have to draw the line somewhere. It’s almost like people can say anything. People can come out and say, “I’m the best rapper,” and if you say it enough times people will start to believe it. To me you have to validate that. If you say you’re the illest you have to have some type of resume to back it. With ‘Yada Yada’ I was just trying to school people like, look, you gotta listen to musical integrity, be humble, and pay your respects to people. Even down to promoters and different people who want to do collabos, it’s like, look, if you know what I’ve done and you respect it you have to pay people accordingly. If you don’t you’ll end up being that $200 legend that everybody knows and respects but they can’t see paying you more than $200. That’s what ‘Yada Yada’ is. It’s basically putting a lot of things in line, a lot of things that I’ve seen, and people saying things out of pocket. It’s that bla bla and nonsense that a lot of people are talking.
TRHH: Do you think that’s a generational thing? I’m thirty-six years old and I’ve loved Hip-Hop for a long time. It seems like every three-to-four years something changes and people are forgotten. I’ve literally heard people say, “Jay-Z is overrated,” and I’m like, wow, what more does he have to do? But these people are younger. My cousins’ son said that Ghostface is wack and Lil’ Wayne is the best rapper in the world. I like Lil’ Wayne but I wouldn’t go that far! I’m seventeen years older than him though. Do you think it’s a generational thing that the respect is lost?
Supastition: I can definitely agree with you. To be real with you we’re both the same age. I think it’s a different generation. With us we did have arrogant rappers but they were respectful with it. We had LL who was very arrogant with his music. We had KRS-One who was very arrogant with his music. We had Slick Rick who was probably one of the most arrogant rappers with his music, he called people crumbs! But it was a respectful thing and he kept it within the music. He didn’t walk around carrying himself like that. I think with this younger generation, and not just in music, they don’t have an understanding or see the importance of history of anything. You can’t just jump out there and say you’re the best guitar player if you don’t know who Jimi Hendrix is or Eddie Van Halen. You can’t jump up and say, “These guys are terrible,” and then expect to get respect. It doesn’t happen in any other genre except for Hip-Hop and I think it’s because the musical history just isn’t important.
If you look at Rock musicians and see somebody like Mick Jagger. If he goes out to any Rock club do you think he’d have to pay to get in? He wouldn’t have to wait in line. Let somebody like KRS-One go to a club and they’d be like, “Who is this old dude?” The treatment is completely different and it goes back to our culture being very trendy. It’s always cutting edge, out with the old, in with the new. I think that’s what happens with our history and that’s what it is with arrogant rappers. People just embrace it. People want someone to entertain them. It’s funny, you’ll get rappers that are completely horrible but will come out and say they’re the best rapper. People laugh initially but after that it’s almost like people start believing it. You can say something a certain amount of times and eventually somebody is going to believe it.
TRHH: That’s definitely true. I can go on and on about that forever.
Supastition: [Laughs] You know? It’s our age, man. We’ve seen it. We’ve seen the change.
TRHH: I’ve interviewed Willie D of the Geto Boys recently and MC Shan and asked them their opinion on this. I see a lot of people say certain rappers are too old to be rapping or need to retire, but Jay-Z is like 43 and killing it! Being dope versus being wack is not the same as being young versus being old. I love KRS-One, I think he’s top 5 all-time but I haven’t been impressed with his music in a couple years. Do I think he can rhyme? Yeah. I still think Rakim can rhyme. Just because I didn’t love their last projects doesn’t mean I think they should go away.
Supastition: I think a lot of that has to do with a lot of music genres having an adult contemporary group and there isn’t one for Hip-Hop. To a fifteen-year old a thirty-year old is an old man so when you get to forty you’re damn near a dinosaur. There isn’t anywhere else for those rappers to go and everybody continues looking at them like they shouldn’t be here. I find that crazy. A lot of rappers that I grew up listening to, I don’t listen to them anymore. Either they haven’t evolved or the music has evolved more than they have. But I definitely couldn’t say these guys have no point of being here. It goes back to Hip-Hop being a very trendy thing. Everybody’s mentality is, “We’re off that.” Look at the shoes that people wear, if people see somebody wearing Jordan’s they’ll say, “I ain’t wearing Jordan’s no more,” knowing that they made thousands of those sneakers. When you go to a bar there are thousands of different drinks but there’s a certain amount of drinks that people buy. When people want to buy a dog the first dog that they look at is a pit bull. It’s just a trendy thing. People want to go wherever everybody else is going. If it became cool to like old school rappers that’s what everybody would be doing.
TRHH: It’s unfortunate and it’s just perception. There’s not a big age gap between Rakim and Jay-Z. They’re very close in age but for a lot of people they’re far apart. It’s a pet peeve of mine, man. It drives me crazy. I interviewed DMC of Run-DMC recently and a lot of people I told about it said, “That’s dope,” but some people said, “He’s old.” I’m like, “He’s DMC though!”
Supastition: Why is it when they do it its considered old but when a seventeen-year old tries to recreate their music they think it’s fresh ‘cause they think it’s retro? The originals are still here, man. When we do it it’s old but when a high school student comes out with a flat top and raps over old school style beats everybody is rocking to it. I just don’t get it. It’s like they don’t want the original.
TRHH: It’s one of those things like with Kendrick Lamar’s album. I liked it a lot but I was irritated with people’s response to it. A lot of people were acting like it was the second coming of something. This was how albums used to be. There used to be a theme. All he did was bring back what Slick Rick and De La Soul did twenty years ago.
Supastition: Exactly! If you listen to those albums or an old school N.W.A. album, the way those songs transition into each other back then is exactly what he’s doing now. I think just because it’s been missing for so long it’s like you being the best player in the NBA during the lockout when none of the good players are there. It’s like, damn, a lot of people forgot how to make albums. It’s been a single driven industry for so long. That’s why I respect what he’s doing with his project.
TRHH: I’m so glad he did it but if you’re 25 this is some new shit to you.
Supastition: [Laughs] That’s real, man.
TRHH: How much did the illegally downloading of music affect your decision to take a hiatus from the business?
Supastition: It was probably ten percent of why I left. It’s kind of like you going to your job one day and there’s this one dude who keeps constantly nagging you, bugging you, and keeps pissing you off. You keep ignoring it and going on about your business but one day he just catches you on that bad day and you just flip out. For me that’s what it was. I had been going through so much. We were facing eviction at the crib and I was like, alright, I’ll hustle up the money and get this done. I remember going on this one website and seeing my entire discography, I mean everything that I’ve ever done was out there for free. I asked the guy could he take down some of it and the blogger was like, “You don’t own your own music anyway. Your label owns it.” I was like, “Dude, you’re crazy. I own all of my music.” He said he’d take certain things down but keep the mixtapes. Then it was other things like people would e-mail me and ask for songs or the lyrics to the song and it was like, damn, it’s like we’ve given people the matches to burn down our house.
At that time I didn’t embrace it the way that I embrace it now. I started seeing where the music industry was going and it seemed like the bottom fell out. I was like, “You know what, I’m going to jump off this ship right now ‘cause it seems to be crumbling.” At the time I was doing music full-time so my perspective isn’t the same as it is now. It’s like seeing a company going out of business. You know it’s going to happen eventually, you just don’t want to sit there and wait for it. I said let me step out of this because I have to transition into, I don’t want to say adulthood, but I got tired of using my rapper logic and wanted to use some grown man logic. I have to start working and take care of my family. I can no longer depend on this.
TRHH: I think more aspiring rappers or people who are just fans should know how real it is. Another guy I recently interviewed was Cappadonna from Wu-Tang. If you remember he was driving a cab ten years ago. I asked what led to him driving the cab and he said, “I wasn’t living in reality. I was living in this fantasy world. People weren’t buying music, music wasn’t selling and I had to take care of my kids.” That’s reality. That’s more common than the Kanye’s but I don’t think people think of rappers in that way though.
Supastition: I agree 100% with what he said. Whether people realize it or not some of the relationships you build and the connections you have with people is a fantasy. It’s like with artists and fans it’s a one-sided relationship. It’s like the guy in first grade who wants to be your friend because you might have the same favorite cartoon or something. You may not know him at all but he’s saying you’re his friend. Music is just like that. People listen to your music so much they feel like they know you and then you build a bridge with Twitter that they can see everything that you’re doing. I don’t know about everybody else but my friends don’t buy albums. They definitely won’t buy my album because they want it for free. It’s like you’re building all these friendships up and taking away your aura so now people really aren’t buying your album. When I left the music there were some fans but a lot of them didn’t give a shit whether I was rapping or not. It’s a certain thing within fantasy and reality and I’m more grounded in reality right now. I know that if I decide to never do music again my family will be the only ones looking up to me and depending on me.
TRHH: How has your approach to the music business changed from when you debuted over ten years ago?
Supastition: I basically do it on my own terms now. I’m not just releasing music just to break into the industry. There was a time when I was that dude that wanted to quote, end quote, make it—whatever it took. If that meant going on tour for months and things like that, that’s what I did back then. But now if I have time I’ll release a project here. I don’t really do long-term tours or anything like that. I’ll do a show here and there and maybe some seasonal touring. I’m kind of setting my own standard and going against what the music industry tells you. I’m old enough and to the point where I can say I just want to make songs, man. I have people that want to hear my music and that’s who I make music for. I don’t aspire to want to be on 106 & Park or to be the next Nas. I just make music because I feel I’m creative at it and there’s a group of people that want to hear it—I’m completely cool with it. If my record comes out and doesn’t sell a single copy it won’t bother me. The only thing that’ll bother me is if I put my own money into it and didn’t make it back. Other than that I’m just trying to break even. I have other means of taking care of my family so music is not my first priority like it was before.
TRHH: I asked J Cole this question a few years ago. I remember watching an interview with Phonte and he said that people would come up to him and say, “You can rap for somebody from the South.” I asked J Cole if people ever said to him and he said he got it all the time. Do people ever approach you like that?
Supastition: [Laughs] People used to do it. I understand why because there was a time when it wasn’t cool to be from the South. That was the last people that you’d think would make it in Hip-Hop because people said we talked slow and wore Cross Colors and FUBU. Just the general perception of the South is what people still look at in the music industry. They used to say, “You’re good to be from the South,” and it used to piss me off. There was a song I had on Chain Letters called ‘That Ain’t Me’ and it was saying I don’t have a thick Southern accent, I don’t have tattoos, braids, or have gold teeth. People don’t realize that a lot of families from up North migrate from down South. The ones that live up North are rooted in down South. We’ve been making music and setting trends for a long time, we just weren’t getting credit for it. There is no such thing as a Southern emcee when it comes to music. People just happen to think a person like T.I. or whoever would be a Southern emcee but if we put people from different parts of North Carolina in one room they would all either talk different, dress different, or look different. I just don’t think there is any one thing that defines what a Southern emcee is.
TRHH: What’s next up for Supastition?
Supastition: Actually I have a mixtape that I just finished with a guy named DJ Eveready from Australia. It’s all of my rare collabos and some unreleased songs and like you said before, a lot of songs that were in the stash or in the vault. I’ll probably put out another EP just to keep things going. I have a producer/emcee project that’s going to be a concept album in the sense of a Prince Paul type of album. It’s a true concept album. Some people have concept albums and one or two songs are based on it. This one is about a brother born to an unfit mother and how his life spirals out of control. That’s going to be one of the biggest projects that I do this year. Other than that I’m just recording stuff and finding outlets to release music. I have so much music that I’m sitting on and I’ve been recording pretty frequently so I’m just trying to keep the music flowing for the people that want to hear it.
Download: Supastition – The Blackboard EP