Saturday, April 3, 2010

Bishop Lamont; The Reformation (“God Damn N!gga, It’s About Fucking Time!”)

^click image to enlarge^

One of the biggest music internet buzz at the moment (2008)
Is a graffiti fan, Star Wars fan boy, former b-boy and signed to Aftermath Records.
Bishop Lamont speaks on the “New West Movement”,
Gangster rappers, what it´s like to work with Dre,
Dr. Dre
´s upcoming Detox album and which one of the
Star Wars movies is his favorite.

Fat Cap magazine;
You have a pretty versatile background.
Growing up in LA, the home of gangster rap,
you were hanging out in Snoop’s garage with his brother Bada Bing,
and Warren G is one of your best friends.
Still, your own style is far from gangster,
how come?

Bishop Lamont;
‘Cause that’s not really me.
I could make music for the gangsters,
and I do make music for the streets,
because I grew up in the same places.
We have gone through the same things,
but my life does not parallel that far when it comes to music.
So the rebellion is there,
the danger is there,
the excitement is there,
but other than that?
There is more to it.
I am an MC, so I have to MC.

Fat Cap magazine;
So gangster rappers like Crooked I and Ice Cube,
and others like them ain´t MC’s?

Bishop Lamont;
Oh no, they are MC’s too!
You can take people that are MC’s,
like D.O.C.– they are not gangsters, you know.
Crooked I is an MC, but he is from the streets.
Cube is not a gangster.

Fat Cap magazine;
So, he just portrays the gangster image?

Bishop Lamont;
Yeah. I don’t do that.
I don’t portray an image.
This is real.

Fat Cap magazine;
So MC’s can’t portray an image?

Bishop Lamont;
Yeah, you can, but my thing is:
I’m going to be who I’m going to be completely.
I am not going to dress up a
certain way to appeal to people.
If it’s real
If it´s street
People are going to respect it regardless
Of what background you come from,
So that´s just me speaking for me.

Fat Cap magazine;
You're part of what’s called the “new west” movement.
Is the movement strong enough
to stand on its own feet if the “old west” retires?

Bishop Lamont;
Yeah, they have to retire.

Fat Cap magazine;
So the movement is strong enough
to claim the crown?

Bishop Lamont;
Yeah, but we don’t want the crown.

Fat Cap magazine;
So you still want people like
Dre, Cube, and Snoop to rule?

Bishop Lamont;
Naw, they would have to hang their jerseys up.
The crown is not important to me;
I’d rather be the pope.
The legacy continues, but as far as the crown,
it stays where it is and that’s what’s important to me.
It’s more about opening up more opportunities for a variety of MC’s
– more new faces, more new music, and more new ideas.
The new people are just used to the old people, and the old people don’t like to speak about the new people, so the music speaks for itself, and time speaks for itself.
A prime example is:
Are Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson still playing?
But these guys were great players in their day,
and then they became commentators,
and now they help new players come onto the stage.

Fat Cap magazine;
So why do you think people still depend on
Dre to keep on going, and to bring forth new artists?

Bishop Lamont;
Because that’s where Dre positions himself.
We don’t depend on him, we respect him.
People outside depend on him,
because that’s all they know,
but now there are more new faces.
They have more people to choose from.

Fat Cap magazine;
So you think Dre should retire when you move forward?

Bishop Lamont;
Yeah, but I’m already coming forward.
One man can’t control, or contain, a movement forever.
So, he’s doing his job,
but it’s a whole new direction, and movement, and faces,
and those flood gates are opening.
And once that happens, there’s no turning back.
He knows that as well.

Fat Cap magazine;

On, ^“why you want to piss me off”,^
you suggested that old rappers should hang up the mic
and who wouldn't acknowledge you.
Who, and what, was that about?

Bishop Lamont;
Not all the old cats, just some cats in particular –
but they did what they did because
they felt like we were upstaging them.
They know who they are, and that’s why we do what we do.
Overall, they have to respect us,
and they have no choice but to deal with us.

Fat Cap magazine;
Do you think it's possible to release
a real hip hop album on a major label
when you look at the current state of the rap industry?

Bishop Lamont;
It’s necessary, because people are tired of corny,
predictable, ring-tone bullshit.
They’re tired of music that has no soul,
they’re tired of music that has no direction,
and they’re tired of music that has no purpose.
So it’s a necessity, so that people all over can see –
and change –
the world when it comes to how fucked up America,
and our government, really is.
They want a new person to come in and to change the world,
and to do it with the same respect that we’re doing with the music.
That’s what we do with the communities
that are waiting for a different artist from
whatever hood, whatever gang affiliation.
Everybody is fronting the move together;
they want more opportunities for everybody.
They are tired off the same shit on the radio,
they are tired of seeing the same videos.

^Grow up^

Fat Cap magazine;
You are under the guidance of Dr. Dre,
one of the great producers of the west coast sound.
Do you think there will be a shift in the mainstream music style?
Your “Grow Up” single is quite
different from the more uptempo sound that popular at the moment.
Do you think people will accept this?

Bishop Lamont;
Yeah, that’s why everybody loves that record.
Jimmy is about making money, but he can’t stop the move.
That record is still everywhere and we are still shooting the video,
so it didn’t stop anything.
You can’t stop the music.
You can try all you want,
but if the people want it,
the people are going to get it.
You can’t stop the universe either –
people want great music,
people want good energy,
people want new.

Fat Cap magazine;
What about “I Dominate”
Will that make your album?

Bishop Lamont;
I Dominate” is another crazy record,
but there are so many amazing records
that it’s hard to decide what stays and what goes.

Fat Cap magazine;
What ever happened to the days when
albums had one MC and one producer?

Bishop Lamont;
Those days are gone.
People want a variety.
For some people it works, but for other people it doesn’t.
For me, I couldn’t just sit and do that,
with the exception of DJ Khalil.
And with him it was because he is so versatile
that everything sounds so different.
If you go back and listen to Snoop’s Doggystyle, everything,
to a certain extent, sounds exactly the same.
For me, consistency and variety,
and consistency in different sonics and feels,
that’s what’s important to me.
So, for my first album,
it was important to not only have
Dr. Dre, but also DJ Quik, and Just Blaze,
and Premo, and Hi-Tek
It was part of my thing.

Fat Cap magazine;
When is your album coming out?

Bishop Lamont;
Next year, but I don’t have a date.
You never have release dates with Aftermath.
But it’s coming.

Fat Cap magazine;
I heard that you used a large amount of your advance on CD’s.
You must have a large record collection,
and have you always been a music collector?

Bishop Lamont;
That’s true, because there’s so much music
that you can learn so much from.
You can have so many things you want to study and research,
so the only thing that makes sense is to go and buy shitloads.
A variety in music, not only rap, but also jazz,
blues, old rock and roll, whatever it is.
My collection is ridiculous.

Fat Cap magazine;
Where do you get your music from these days?

Bishop Lamont;
All over the place.
There’s a place in Hollywood called Amoeba.
A lot of different places.

Fat Cap magazine;
I've also heard that you have been both an active
B-Boy and a graffiti writer!
Tell us a little bit about that?

Bishop Lamont;
Used to be.
I just love to draw, I love to do graffiti.
I loved to break (dance).
I was an idiot when I was a kid,
I was doing everything!
So to have a real life, and a real experience,
and a real pursuit of the art form,
you should be able to know how to DJ somewhat,
be the one that dug in the crates,
be the one that was breaking on
cardboard on the sidewalks –
do a little spin on your head, you know what I’m saying?
Mess up some walls with graffiti, and control the mic.
For me that was what it was supposed to be.

Fat Cap magazine;

Bishop Lamont;
I didn’t have a graffiti name actually.
I just drew, but it didn’t last long.

Fat Cap magazine;
Did you have any skills?

Bishop Lamont;
Yes, but more Comic book skills.
I could draw, so my thing was more characters and stuff.
It wasn’t just about the words, my thing was more like Marvell.
Spiderman and stuff like that is what I loved to do.
I was just drawing comics.

Fat Cap magazine;
It seems important to you to represent
all the elements of the Hip Hop culture.

Bishop Lamont;
Yes, because you have to respect them.
A lot of people say that they respect Hip Hop,
but they only have one aspect of it.
They have never seen Wild Style, never seen Beat Street.
Most of them don’t…

Fat Cap magazine;
For a lot of the old school cats,
breaking was their first encounter with the culture.
Which element fascinated you first?

Bishop Lamont;
Breaking was my first element.
From breaking I got into rhyming.
In between breaking and rhyming
I did a little graffiti.
From rhyming I wanted to learn about DJ’ing,
and so my boy, DJ Butter, would let me come to his basement.
Then we would fuck up some records and make some mix tapes,
and after that I learned to make beats and instrumentals.

Fat Cap magazine;
Do you still keep track of the breaking and graffiti scenes in LA

Bishop Lamont;
When I can, but I’m so much distracted in the studio.
But I believe I get out as much as I need to.
I have cats coming to my shows and break and shit.
Other than that, I’m in the studio full time

Fat Cap magazine;
I have noticed that you have used
Star Wars references lots of times in your lyrics and in interviews.
I assume you're a big fan?

Bishop Lamont;
Oh yeah!
I have always been a big fan – how could you not be?

Fat Cap magazine;
So which movie is your favorite?

Bishop Lamont;
The Empire Strikes Back.
A real fan always chooses The Empire Strikes Back.

Fat Cap magazine;
Star Wars has inspired pop culture in so many ways – even Hip Hop.
Ras Kass did the “Revenge of the spit” street album,
Ultramagnetic had some samples on Critical beatdown,
Divine Styler sampled the “Catina Band Theme” on their first album,
and recently Cee-lo performed on the MTV awards
with a full band dressed up as characters from Star wars.

Since you're such a fan, will you ever do songs with Star Wars samples,
or even a Star Wars inspired street album?

Bishop Lamont;
No, because people have already done it.
It’s like: if you guys wanted to go somewhere new,
and then I took you in circles, and borrowed from other peoples ideas,
and put them into motion.
It also depends on what inspires,
but for now we are doing a mix tape based on
Team America, called “Fuck Yeah,” were we focus on Kim Jung Il,
but its going to be Spin Laden and Kim Jung Fu.

We’re going to fight against them since they are messing up Hip Hop,
so Team America is coming to save Hip Hop from all the white people.

Fat Cap magazine;
The first rumor about Dre's Detox was that it was going
to be some sort of Hip Hop musical.
Then, a year ago when Dre started a film company,
Ronin Ro implied in an interview that Detox was going to be a soundtrack to a movie.
I know Detox is like Area 51,
but can you tell us if Dre is still playing with this concept?

Bishop Lamont;
Not true!
All I can say is that it’s going to be based on the 12-step program.

Fat Cap magazine;
Based on the information that has been leaked about Detox,
is it safe to say that the core “Detox team” is
Dre, you, D.O.C, Busta Rhymes, Stat Quo, Dawaun Parker,
Mark Batson, Che Vicious, Denaun Porter, DJ Khalil and Focus?

Bishop Lamont;
That’s true!
But also Earl Hayes and Slim The Mobster.

Fat Cap magazine;
At one point, Dre said he didn't want to do Detox anymore,
and he felt like that was a huge weight off his shoulders.
What eventually made him pick up the project again?

Bishop Lamont;
I really can’t say, because he felt like that for a long time,
and he still feels like that at times, being 44 now,
and being at a different point in his life.
I can’t speak directly for him all the way,
but I do know, from when we sat in the studio and talked about it,
that he just wants to make sure that he is still relevant,
and that what he does makes sense for the world.
He doesn’t want it to be a waste of time.

Fat Cap magazine;
As you know, Detox is a rap album
that's been eagerly anticipated by a lot of people for a couple of years now.
Do you think that the high expectations could hurt the album
when it's finally released?
And will Dre ever be satisfied with Detox?

Bishop Lamont;
He will never feel that it’s good enough,
nothing he has ever done has felt good enough.
He would do it all over again if he could change time.

Fat Cap magazine;
Dre said last year that he wanted to try to
include everybody that he has worked with in the past.
Do you think that would be realistic?
Wouldn’t it have to be a 10 CD compilation?

Bishop Lamont;
It’s impossible!
It’s a 12-step program, so it’s supposed to be 12 stars.

Fat Cap magazine;
Will Detox be a gangster rap album?

Bishop Lamont;
From what I’ve heard, and from what I’ve been told,
I think it’s bigger than that.
I think he’s just trying to take music to another level,
and have contributions from every different form of Hip Hop placed into it.
So it’s not just going to be gangster –
it kinda puts everything into place.

He lets you in on things that he didn’t explain before,
but that his fans always wanted to know.
What they wanted to ask – I think he answers.

Fat Cap magazine;
You recently said that Dre is working on two versions of Detox,
and that he’ll decide from there.

Bishop Lamont;
Actually, a couple of different versions of songs were recorded,
but not the whole album.
He was just trying to figure his direction.
Who knows with him?
I can’t say.

Over a year has past since we did this interview at the end of 2008,
(featured in our last issue that came out right before he left
Aftermath in December 2009).

So here´s some updates;
-A week after the interview he dropped “Missile Testing” (Death To Infidels)
which clearly is aimed at Snoop Dogg.

Around the same time Bishop formed “No Country For Old Men”
with Crooked I and Glasses Malone.
Crooked I got shot at shortly after the incident, and the project was
Scrapped right after, and said he would concentrate
on positive things in the future instead.

Pick up our latest issue; Fat Cap #17 (here)

Related links;
-Bishop Lamont on MySpace
-Official web site
-Reformation info
-Vibe magazine interview with Dr. Dre

Free Downloads;

Bishop Lamont; N*gger Noize: Untagged: 1-Year Anniversary

Produced By
Focus, Jake One, Thayod, Scott Storch, King Karnov, Nottz, DJ Khalil, RJ, JR Rotem, 9th Wonder, Diverse and The System

Bishop Lamont; Pope Mobile

Produced By
Dr. Dre, DJ Khalil, Dready Beats, Teddy Riley, Focus, 9th Wonder, Mark Batson, Danjha Hands, Scott Storch and Nottz

Bishop Lamont & Black Milk Present: CALTROiT (tagged)

Bishop Lamont; The Confessional (tagged)

Produced by
Focus, Bink, Mark Batson, Che, DJ Khalil, Nottz, King Kornov, Scott Storch, Dae One, Jake One, Diverse, The New Royales, Danja, Tha Bizness, Denaun Porter & GOD

Bishop Lamont & Indef "Team America; Fuck Yeah" (tagged)

^click image for tracklist & credits^
Bishop Lamont; The Shawshank Redemption/Angola 3 (Free download)

DJ Couz presents Bishop Lamont; Mecha God Spilla (free download)

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