Sunday, April 18, 2010

Magnificent Ruffians interview

-From sunny California.
San Bernardino I.E
to more exact,
just a few mile east from the city of Pomona.
A city that raised such greats as
Suga Free, Kokane and west coast legends Above The Law.
Comes a group that in my opinion
released the best album of 2009.

They’re called Magnificent Ruffians
and have been around for 10 years
and has released 7 albums to date.

I’m a little ashamed to say that
I just recently discovered
this brilliant group by random, though.

^DJ Sway Deez^


^Master Chief^

Their sound could be described as
classic Hip Hop, without sounding dated.
Topics range from daily problems to
the state of Hip Hop and that’s just what
we’re going to talk to Magnificent Ruffians about.

"I grew up in America,
so my culture is Hip Hop.
DJ Aladdin, Terminator X, Scott LA Rock,
Dj-ing, Break dancing, Graffiti and Rapping.
Who knew the effects of our
forefathers would be everlasting?"

Magnificent Ruffians
“Being from the United States has it’s privileges.
One of them was being able to walk into
a music store in 1988 and seeing
a black man with a gun on the cover of an album.
I was only 10 years old at the time.
I remember being fascinated at the cover alone.
I think it kind of spoke to me.
I bought it and didn’t even know who it was.
Turns out it was the classic
Boogie Down Productions “By Any Means Necessary” album.

Only later did I learn that KRS-One
was imitating a classic Malcolm X photo.

It was this cassette tape and many others like
it that would create what we
know today as Hip Hop culture.
22 years later, KRS-One
is still one of my favorite emcees.
But when I was 10 and reached for that album,
I had no idea of the impact it would make on
that’s why I don’t even listen to the radio anymore.
If I do it’s just because I want
something to fall asleep to. Ha ha!”

Fat Cap magazine
-When you later learned about the whole culture,
did experiment with the other elements before you settled with rap?

Magnificent Ruffians
"I sure did. Rap came along for me more because
of my continuous exposure to it.
I really never said to myself, "I want to rap".
My first love was freestyle Hip Hop dancing.
I don't like to say B-Boying because breakers
are more into tricks and power moves.
I am more into up rocking, pop locking,
grooving and stuff like that.

Fat Cap magazine
-You still get down?

Magnificent Ruffians
“Yes, I still get busy in the
dance cipher every chance I get.
I used to be way more active back when
we had more real Hip Hop playing at clubs
out here but for the past couple of years
the scene has really died out here in Cali.
There are still a lot of break dance spots
but not spots where we can get our groove on like we used to.
See, break dancers can get down to almost anything.
But I need that real raw hip hop to really get open.
Like Wu-Tang, Dilla and Madlib.
You play that and it’s on and crackin.
I got some footage on
Search under “So Cal Freestyle” and I’m under the name “Rome”.
Its some footage from when my friends and
I went out to San Francisco for a dance event.


Being from So Cal,
we have always had a strong history in
up rocking and putting it down in the dance cypher.

I also got a little into graff in 93 and 94
but it was to dangerous because gangs would
label you as a tagger and force
you to either join or stop tagging.
Needless to say, i stopped. lol."

Fat Cap magazine
-So what name did you hit up?

Magnificent Ruffians
“Oh dam, you had to ask me that question ha? lol.
Well, I went by “H.A.O” back then.
It stood for Hard Ass Oreo. Lol.
Wow, that was way back!
I’m of black and white background
so I felt at the time that Oreo
was a cool way to describe myself.
Our crew was H.I.C.E. Mob.
I’m not going to go into that one.
But people from Colton CA
who go as far back as 93- 95 know who we were.
We really put it down back then for being so young.”

-^Our Love^
EBK4, yo number 7 was my love.
Grew up with the same type of thugs,
same samples, same drugs,
dumped the same slugs.
See Gangster rap or Hip Hop
it don’t matter it’s the same strug”

Magnificent Ruffians
“The most common opinion I get when
I tell people we do rap music is,
“It’s so negative and they say the same things”.
The next thing I always tell people is,
“there is different types of rap music”.
Just like you have
Techno, House, Trance and Drum and Bass.
They are all different but most people
put them all in the realm of electronic music.
In Reggae you have Dance Hall and Roots.
In Hip Hop you have
East coast, West coast, Dirty South,
Trip Hop, Gangster rap, Neo-Soul and all kinds of stuff.
But at the end of the day, we all want the same things.
Food, clothes and shelter!
It’s the same struggle, just a different hustle.”

Fat Cap magazine
-Ain´t that just ignorant tunnel vision?

Magnificent Ruffians
“Yes, exactly!
That is exactly what it is.
People should not judge any music
or anything for that matter without
looking at the whole picture.
If you don’t know then it’s best to just not say anything.
Rap is something you do,
hip hop is something you live!
To people who think all rap
is about the same brainless stuff,
I would refer them to
Myka 9, Killah Priest, Common, Kool Keith, Special Ed and L.O.N.S
to give them some examples of real skills.”

Fat Cap magazine
-Yeah , for some reason people only see the negative shit.
Several people like Tim Dog and Common
has blamed the west coast for promoting negative images
in their music and basically fucking up rap period.

What´s your take on that?

Magnificent Ruffians
“I think that is BS.
You can’t tell me Ice Cube is not lyrical.
That Jayo Felony is not lyrical,
Kurupt, Aceyalone, RBX, Brotha Lynch….
The list goes on.
I agree that the West may have been
the first to really bring the hood life
to the main stream but Kool G Rap
has been spittin like that sense the beginning.
He is just as hood as any gangster rapper from the West.
So how can you put it all on the West Coast?
Like now for instance,
a lot of people feel the South is killing Hip Hop.
But 90 % of them sound like Too Short did in 1983- 1988.
Check his Player Years cd. Ha ha.
What goes around comes around and
rap music is a constant circle.
Hip Hop will get back to it’s roots soon enough.
In the meantime, all an artist can do is DO YOU!
Stop hating on the next man and his way of getting it.
In the same respect,
don’t hate on us underground emcees
who still keep it raw and classic.”

Fat Cap magazine
-Ain´t it a little hypocritical
that we got our self a new scapegoat? (the south)

Magnificent Ruffians
"Yes, it is very hypocritical.
I used to feel the same way about the South.
I used to feel that they were killing
Hip Hop but the truth is they
are just doing it there own way.
Who are we or who am I
to down the way they do there music?
The truth is, sometimes
you have to destroy in order to rebuild.
The South will go through it's own transformations
and will grow to establish there
own footprint in Hip Hop."

Fat Cap magazine
-Couldn´t said it better myself ;)

-^I can’t lose^
“Yo I’m the type of brother
that don’t like to hear the same thing over and over,
so I don’t listen to the radio ….."

Magnificent Ruffians
“The radio is so disappointing lately.
I understand we as artist need
to get paid and the best way to do that is get radio play.
But DAM!
Do I have to hear
Lil Wayne and Drake every 5 minutes?
WTF man!
There is so many artist out there,
switch it up a little.
Don't tell me they are
the only cats doing rap music.
The DJ's have to start digging again."

Fat Cap magazine
-In these days where more and more
digital options like Spotify is available ,
don´t you think it´s just a matter of time
before Radio has played it´s role?

Magnificent Ruffians
“Yes, I think radio is killing itself.
No matter who you are, no one wants
to hear the same artist every 15 minutes.
If radio does not fix itself soon,
XM and other satellite providers
will be the only choice people
will have to hear quality music.”

Fat Cap magazine
-What about the rumors about payola.
Do you think there´s any truth to that?

Magnificent Ruffians
"Oh 4sho!
All it takes is money!
Even for us independed artist.
If you have any dreams of having
your music on the radio,
you better be ready to break bread
because that is exactly what
the big name artist are doing.
Yes, all of them pay for play!
It's how the industry is now.
Only college radio and real
Hip Hop shows are still
down to play unknown artist.
It takes money to make money."

Fat Cap magazine
-subliminal advertisements
is what it is.... some Matrix shit.

Magnificent Ruffians
“Perfect example right there.
Yeah, some Matrix shit.
We think these artist made it big because
of there talent but the truth is,
9 times out of 10 it’s the money.
Jay Z sold crack.
Lil Wayne was part of
Cash Money Millionaires
and I heard they got there money from
a big inheritance back in the day.
It is what it is. I’m just waiting
for some money to fall in my lap like that.
ha ha!”

-^I can’t understand^
“We build the culture and ya´ll deface it”

Magnificent Ruffians
“It’s simple, if your not adding
to the game then just give it up.
A lot of rappers have skills,
but if your not doing something to build
Hip Hop then your just dead weight.
My favorite example is Dr. Dre.
He helped N.W.A,
then he signed Eminem,then 50 Cent.
It’s a chain reaction.
Look at all that dope
Hip Hop just in his legacy.
Imagine if other rappers did it like that?
We could all be eating and making it moves.
But no, rappers get money
and then forget about the others.
It’s selfish and it’s wak,
that’s why we smash on emcees
like that every chance we get.”

Fat Cap magazine
-Speaking of Dre and helping people out.
Some west coast rappers
like for example the
Horseshoe gang feeling a little left out,

How you feel about that?

Magnificent Ruffians
“To rappers who feel that way
I would say one man can only do so much.
Dr. Dre has helped out more artist
than anyone else I can think of.
Yes, Eminem and 50 Cent are
not from the West but Snoop is.
The Dogg Pound is.
Hittman, Game and the RBX are.
So just imagine if Drake did that,
if Kanye West did that,
if the Black Eyed Peas did that.
We would have a gang of new artist
and new flavor in rap.
It’s every rappers responsibility
to do something to reach out the next artist.
That is why the Magnificent Ruffians
never do songs with the same cats more than once.
We always look for new talent
to build with and expand the cypher.”

Fat Cap magazine
True that.
Any theory why Kanye West and Will I Am don´t put more cats on?

Magnificent Ruffians
“My theory is they are selfish,
brainwashed, industry clones
who only do what there boss tells them to do.
They actually think there is
not enough money to go around. Lol.
They must feel like if they put
someone on who is better than them
then they might lose there spot.
It’s the same old crabs in a barrel story.”

Fat Cap magazine
-But don´t that show us that
they´re not really in charge?
I mean look at what´s going on over at Aftermath,
after Dre sold it to Jimmy he´s all tied down.
One after one of talented cats
Dre tries to put on,
gets put on the back burner
or let go for more safe investments.

Magnificent Ruffians
"Yes, exactly!
They are not in charge because
at the end of the day they answer
to someone behind the curtain.
But lets not feel sorry for them.
This is what they agreed
to when they got the contract they did.
It's kind of like selling your soul for money.
It sounds like
some conspiracy shit, but it's real."

Fat Cap magazine
-You´re right,
we shouldn't feel sorry for them. ;)
But it got to be frustrating,
no matter how much you´re paid
to be a yes man to see what
you believe in go straight to the recycle bin.
Anyway,so what in your
opinion should be their
next move to break this bad cycle?

Magnificent Ruffians
"Man, that is the million dollar question right here.
What can they do?
They can stop fronting for one.
Second, they can invest some
of there money back into the hood.
Create some jobs for the people who support them.
It's never too late to make a change for the better.
Help someone with you connections and wealth.
If you’re not helping
someone else besides yourself
then you’re really not worth a dam."

Fat Cap magazine
-Lets hope they read this ;)

Magnificent Ruffians
“In the immortal words of Immortal Technique,
“Pick up a book and read Niggaz, READ”.
But if they don’t read then
we have another way to let them know.
We will bang it in our music
so they can hear it instead.”

-^Nothin New^
"Nixxxs are biters,you hire ghostwriters
so the boss is not you,so the verses is not true
...that nothing new....
I´m tired of this fake shit,
we´re going to break the Matrix
and make sure the wak shit dont make it"

Fat Cap magazine
-Songwriters has existed
probably as long as music has been around.
But for most in
Hip Hop circles this is a tabu.
Speak on it ;)

Magnificent Ruffians
"Your right again, it is tabu!
I think because in Hip Hop
we put so much effort and energy and creativity
into our lyrics that it is
almost disrespect in insinuate
that we need help from another rapper.
A real emcee feels that if they are
not good enough then they will just get better.
You don't ask another emcee for his help.
You practice until you feel
you are at the level you want to be at.
But when you don't have love for the art,
you can bring yourself to just pay another
rapper for his talents instead of mastering your own."

Fat Cap magazine
-I feel you.
But lets take two recent publicly known examples.
Paris entirely wrote and produced
Public Enemies "Rebirth Of A Nation"
and Snoop had a whole team
to write his last two efforts.
These artists got a voice that wants
to be heard,but for some reason
needs help to put words to them.
Is this necessary wrong as
long as long they´re publicly open about it?

Magnificent Ruffians
"Is it wrong, no.
But is it wak, YES! ha ha.
So what if they are open about it.
That just means they are openly wack.
It's kind of like plagiarism.
If someone is reading a book,
they naturally assume and feel as if
the author is the one who wrote it
and is speaking to them.
Imagine reading a famous series of books
like Harry Potter and finding
out that Stephen King wrote them.
It changes the whole feel about it doesn't it?

Fat Cap magazine
-More like performs than artists,
more a brand so to speak.
At the same time breaking one
of the unwritten laws of Hip Hop.

Magnificent Ruffians
“More like puppets and not the puppet master.!”

-^Industry beef^
“A fucking joke that’s what industry beef is…”

Magnificent Ruffians
“Rappers are so funny.
Sometimes they make me wish I didn’t even rhyme.
Ha ha!
Especially when they start talking
about beef and who they are going to kill.
I’m from Inland Empire CA.
If you want to dump on an enemy,
you don’t talk about it.
You just do it.
No prints, no evidence,
no songs about each other… just hot rocks!
I’m not a gangster but then again
I don’t act like one in my music.
I think Gang Starr said it best,
“Fake emcees, they always act hard,
but won’t walk the streets without there body guard”.


Fat Cap magazine
-There´s speculations that some of these beefs is staged ?

Magnificent Ruffians
“Yes, I would not doubt it.
It’s all just entertainment at this point.
None of these rappers are really murdering anyone.
TuPac and Biggie was the last real beef I can recall.
And you see how they both ended up.
Beef is real and it never ends up on a good note.
In fact, it only ends when someone gets shot.
Also, it’s never the rapper talking
about the beef who does the dumping.
It always ends up being there
big homie or there bodyguard.
Today its all a plot to sell records.”

Fat Cap magazine
-Like KRS said;
“If you want to get away with murder , kill a rapper”

Aint that tragically hilarious
is that most of these murders
on rappers is never really solved?
-Why do you think that is?

Magnificent Ruffians
"I think it is because ultimately,
the powers that be don't give a dam about rap,
or rappers, or Hip Hop, or emcees,
or anything that actually can help
bring profit to someone from the hood.
We are in the hood because
that is where they want us.
If we all became Jay Z's then
we would have the money and resourses to make real change.
I don't mean diamonds in our watch or neckless,
I mean sending our kids to better schools.
I mean owning a home instead of renting.
Real change that can be past down
to the next generation.
A dead rapper is like cutting off that
lifeline to whatever family that artist was taking care of."

Fat Cap magazine
-That´s some conspiracy shit right there,
but I think you´re onto something ;)

Magnificent Ruffians
'I feel you homie.
It's real shit.
I think that is why they like
to promote and sign rappers
who talk that gun talk and killing.
That just makes for a more thugish personality
and more of a chance that they will end up dead or in jail.
Look at Gucci Mane, T.I, and Lil Wayne.
All locked up over some dumb shit."

Fat Cap magazine
-I have this theory that part of was
supposed to be art imitating
life became life imitating art.
Any thoughts about that?

Magnificent Ruffians
“Very true!
These rappers put the mask on to fool
the public and make there money.
But before they know it,
the mask is actually part of there face
and they can no longer tell the difference.”

-^Just a matter of time^
“Let the truth be told.
We’re so ready to blow.
Just a matter of time
… we done this too long.”

Magnificent Ruffians
“Word up!
Just A Matter of time!
One of my favorite songs.
Do we want a deal?
I would be lying if I said no.
Hell yeah we want a deal.
But at what price?
We have made it this far
on our own and we are still growing.
With every passing year
we get more and more love and respect.
At the end of the day it’s
not about the money and the jewels
and the cars and the girls
that a big budget deal can bring you.
It’s about being happy with
yourself and handling your business.”

Fat Cap magazine
-That said,
on what label do you see yourself
comfortable in todays climate?

Magnificent Ruffians
Stones Throw!!!
Yall need to halla at us!
Def Jux, Think Differently Music,
Duck Down, Sicc Made, Threshold,
Halftooth, Up Above, and BBE.
We are ready to make moves!
All we need is an opportunity to
show yall we have what it takes.
Get at us and lets get it crackin”

Purchase music from Magnificent Ruffians; (9 albums to date)

Related links;
Favorite album of 2009; Magnificent Ruffians; Elevated Ruffians (Free download link)
Magnificent Ruffians MySpace
Magnificent Ruffians presents Triple F Session 1.0

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