Royalty Magazine: So what's populating? How has the first quarter of the year been treating you so far?
Bekay: Not bad, not bad. I gotta tell ya though, personally I had a crazy 2011 so I am happy to be in 2012. I don't mean musically, music is always my soul and my gettaway, but I lost a lot of close people in my life so that's always shitty, but hey it's been a new year and time for new amazing beginings. Knowing they are looking down on me makes me wannna do even better and make my loved ones proud ya know. I can feel'em watchin over me sometimes, real talk.
Royalty Magazine: Yeah I know what you mean. I am sorry to hear about your losses. If you had the chance to do one thing differently this year, what would it be? Something different that you have never done in your previous years?
Bekay: I'd maybe have taken the advance money Atlantic offered me and ran with it, but that situation wasn't right for me so I'm here a "semi" free agent with about a million crazy motherfuckers behind me and the brand I put foward. I always say I'd rather have 200,000 crazy die hard cult followers then 10 million "fly by night" rap fans behind me. Those real fans never go away and support you for life just like I have with artists like Nas and Redman. Quality always beats quantity!
Royalty Magazine: Real talk. Tell us about your name "Bekay"...what does the name mean to you and how did you come up with it?
Bekay: Ha, well Bekay came from a lot of things also simplifying it to BK. I didn't really come up with it on my own, when I was young I stayed with a lot of older grafiiti heads, and they kinda gave me that name based off my borough and my government name initials. Graffiti cats always put a dope spin on things so it became "B.E.K.A.Y." and not just BK. Besides it being my initials, I came up in the borough. I also used to do mad drugs and a slogan of mine used to be "yo if I'm sniffin something it's gotta BE "K"," as opposed to other things or drugs people may sniff lol. There is a lot behind my name the list goes on and on. Simplified I rep BK, my initials are BK, as a graf writer I wrote "BEKAY" and if if I'm sniffin it's gonna BE K! LOL
Royalty Magazine: Lol, I can dig it! Take us back to the moment when you first fell in love with hiphop. What was that feeling like? What pushed you to take that first step with music? Equally importantly, what motivated you to want to do it again?
Bekay: I don't know if there was one defining moment. If so it would have to be at 1st when I found my older brothers Run Dmc, Beasty Boys, Rakim, and Brand Nubian TAPES. Back then it was only cassette tapes. I was instantly drawn to the lifestyle and culture in the music, it was what I could relate to and a voice for me. I always was writing rhymes after that when I was 8 or 9 years old. When I was 12 or so I started recorded little freestyles into a tape recorder. I'd blast one song on the boombox and use a reg piece of shit tape recorded to rap into. My moms would be screaming and yelling at me to stop blasting this music throughout the house (ha). I still have a recording of when I was 12 rapping into that old ass tape recorder. I always wrote grafiti and when I was 16 I bought my first pair of Technique 1200 turntables. I dj'ed as well for a long time, once again my moms would scream like a nutjob at me cause now I had my tables and my amp, so the music was that much louder. lol. After I started getting older and I heard dudes like Mobb Deep, Biggie, Pun, Big L, Wu Tang and such, I decided it was time to step my game up and that I wanted to be a part of this more as an emcee. Back then there weren't many "white" kids doing this so it took that extra set of balls to jump in a cipha around the Flatbush junction when I was a teenager. But once I got that co-sign and amazing response from my highschool surroundings and my hood, all I wanted was to write another rhyme and dazzle'em again, and I don't think I've ever lost that feeling or ever will.
Royalty Magazine: That's wassup! Tell us about the first time you recorded a track and heard yourself live during the playback. What was that feeling like? What was going through your mind at that very moment?
Bekay: I won't front I thought I was the greatest emcee ever. Guess what? I wasn't, but as everyone always told me I had something special to offer the game and just needed some growing & developing at my craft. It's been a long fuckin time since then and now many, many, many years later...I once again feel like I'm the greatest emcee on earth. I feel like if you don't feel that way about yourself and you're striving for ANYTHING YOU ALREADY GAVE UP ON YOURSELF. Of course I can now hear and understand the differences between myself as a little kid trying to do this, and now as a skilled vet. I listen to older stuff when I was in my teens and be like "ohh yea I was kinda off a drop" or "i understand what dude at "finn in the blank label" was trying to tell me about my flow now"<<<<things like that.
Your ear always matures just as anything you stay around for so long and continue to excel at nah mean. On this topic I wanna big up my man Avie Fresh and his 10 foot iguana he had in one of the 1st basement studio's I ever went to (on the way out Talib Kweli was across the street on his way in I believe). The iguana scared the shit out of me and still does on some level, ha.
Royalty Magazine: Lol. Take us back to 2005 when you were featured on DJ Dutchmaster Presents: "The Raw". The Raw featured yourself, Saigon & Inspectah Deck...how did yall end up hooking up to collaborate and what was the motivation behind the track? Could you imagine at that time that "The Raw" would have grace countless mixshows/mixtapes worldwide and be charted as college radio's number one hit in the nation?
Bekay: I didn't have any idea of the success and platform it would spark for me. Don't get me wrong I was known on some level before that and had worked with other larger artists prior to that, but that project certainly boosted me to a newer platform and I'm grateful to have been a part of that record. I gotta give all the credit to my man Dj Dutchmaster. It was the 1st single (or rather 1st piece of music) COALMINE Records ever did and Dutch asked me to do this verse with the Rebel INS, and at that time still up & comer Saigon. I remember the session like it was yesterday! Me and Sai has a lot in common at the time, esp with the "music industry" so we kinda clicked right away and exchanged some fucked up stories about the game with each other. Things have changed a lot for both of us since then. INS well what's there to say he's a part of history with Wu Tang and we became real cool after that. To have INS telling me how ill my verse was and things of that nature meant a lot to me. Last time I saw him he was like "Yo B I was just bumpin that shit in the truck on the way here" (I think we both were, ha). It's a timeless record and I'm grateful for the success it's yielded worldwide. M-Phazes just did a remix for it and it's available on Itunes as we speak.
Royalty Magazine: Amazing story, that's dope! You also signed with Coalmine records during that time. How did the opportunity arise for the deal? What have you learned as an artist and about the music business from then until now? Would you do anything differently?
Bekay: I'm honored to be the 1st artist signed to Coalmine as they blossomed on to the scene. Dutchmaster has put in an INSANE amount of work to bring his company to a respected label. I know Dutch on a personal level through some friends beforehand and he knew about my music and was a believer. I was tied up in a situation with another indie TSOB and also dealing with Universal as well so Dutch kinda waited out my contractual messes(which were fucking gross messes). Anyhow, Dutch snatched me up once I was legally FREE!!! Free at last I tell you, I been through some shit!!!
During my time with Coalmine I had to actually listen and take direction as an artist from Dutch and his team (which is basically Dutch as the label has the final word). We butted heads a lot, sometimes could have killed each other, LITERALLY. When you put 2 people who are so passionate about what they do together and have to put only ONE product out, people become semi insane, lol. But when it's all said and done...the differences in our views are what ended up making the LP an underground classic. With tons of accolades (such as countless write ups, mentions in huge magazines, media) and so much more tied to it. It left my permanent stamp on this game...TIMELESS QUALITY HIPHOP!!! The bottom line is Dutch is a smart dude who knows his shit & I'm a writer's writer that brings a certain brand to the table. TWO MINDS ARE BETTER THEN ONE and we showed that with everything from beats, to rhymes, to cuts, to artwork, to visuals, etcetc. I got nothing but love and respect for Dutchmaster & his staff at Coalmine Records.
Royalty Magazine: Who are some artists/producers you have worked with throughout your career? Who would you like to work with?
Bekay: Damn I've been blessed to have caught the ear of a slew of amazing emcee's that wanted to work with me. To name some artists would be ummm Masta Ace, Craig G, Heltah Skeltah, Kool G Rap, Wordsworth, and many, many, more including the legendary ODB (may he rest in peace). ODB was a friend of mine and I miss him, just buggin out at his crib. Me and my man Sean used to chill over there with him a lot. Working with Dirty is def one of the best experiences I've had, but more so being friends with him meant the most to me and I miss'em always.
I would like to work with Nas and Redman, period. As far as producers I've worked with Jonathan "JR" Rotem, Jim Jonsin, The Alchemist, iLLmind, Marco Polo, my brother Domingo and many, many, many others. I hate the "name" game, haha. I'd like to work with Primo then I can retire, lol. AND I prob will soon.
Royalty Magazine: In your opinion, how has hiphop changed from when you first started till now? Has it changed for the better or worse? If you had one chance to change one thing about the industry, what would it be and why?
Bekay: Heres's the thing. "HIP HOP" is never going to really change. Hip Hop factually is broken down in 4-5 elements . Them being breakdancing (b-boying), dj'ing, grafiti, and emcee's. I would say if there's a 5th element, it is passing down "knowledge" of your particular art form and having a message in it whether it be in your art as a grafiti artist, your words as an emcee, the way you dance or how you cut or mix records. There is supposed to be MEANING behind the ART we create. Nowadays most people confuse "rap music" with hip hop. It is definitely a strong part of our culture, but the message in your "rap music" should be something the next generation can take away with them to continue to build on. That message can be positive or negative, but should be a representation, or at least something your audience can RELATE to! I do not know that many people who can relate to 100 inch rims and having champagne dripping out of your dick when you take a piss. Clearly I'm exaggerating but you get the point. And for reasons like that...I think "HIP HOP" is getting a bad name and the culture is going in a bad route. A route with no meaning...a route where the Dj's & emcee's of our culture aren't representing the people they are speaking to!
However for true Hip Hop's heads, and artists alike, WE WILL NEVER GO AWAY AND THERE WILL ALWAYS BE MORE AND MORE AND MORE OF US FOREVER (now whether or not the "main stream" or corporate America deems that "profitable" enough to be the forefront of hiphop, is another story). But when you're in the guts of it, it's fuckin glorious and alive more then ever. I just think that Dj's & emcee's have a responsibility to keep a high standard of the music and the words behind that music.
If I could change one thing, ummm well rappers would be getting punched in the face again. How come these kids get to go on stage and just say anything? When I was coming up you better be able to back that shit up...or have some truth behind your message or take that shit to the store. A wise man once said "Everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the face". We need to start punching people in the fucking face again.
Royalty Magazine: Lol. How has the loss of Heavy D, Don Cornelius, Whitney Houston & countless others affected the industry in your opinion? How has it affected you, if any?
Bekay: My condolences go out to all of their loved ones and families. 2011 and the beginning of 2012 has really been shitty for deaths of great people. As you know I can relate being that I lost 6 people I love last year alone. I think their deaths effect every single person inside and outside the industry. Especially the families, fans, and the people who loved and cherished what they did so much. They are legends and will never be forgotten. My prayers are with all of their loved ones.
Royalty Magazine: Any advice to upcoming artists trying to break into the industry? What are some Do's & Don'ts you have learned throughout your career?
Bekay: I save that privileged advice for my artist. He is a 16 year old Emcee named "DOV" who is set to have his 1st release later this year. He is living proof that true hip hop sound lives on and will live on in the next generation coming up! The rest of you can pay dues and eat a cock. No really pay your fucking dues, lol.
Royalty Magazine: You've released projects such as "The Horror Flick LP", "Hunger Pains" and "The Horror Flick Remix EP". What can we expect from Bekay in 2012? What are some tracks and/or projects that we should be looking out for? Any upcoming shows or performances?
Bekay: A TON OF SHIT! ha. I have a mixtape coming soon, and an LP to follow towards the 4th quarter. I also am working on a group project with my team "INFINITY GAUNTLET" which consist of Bekay(me), Shabaam Sahdeeq, FT(Fuc That), El Gant, and Redeye plus all our extended fam. It is an insane project that is sure to get heads looking. I have a single produced by Domingo featuring Kool G Rap dropping before my LP, another exclusive EP with a producer (I will leave nameless for now), and my artist DOV will be releasing his 1st mixtape and LP. I'M WAY TO BUSY!!!!! But it's good to be busy. Ohh snap I also got a comic coming based off of my name and likeness BEKAY!
Royalty Magazine: Sounds dope! Keep us updated when your projects release. Anything else you want to talk about that we haven't touched basis on? Any last words, comments or shot outs?
Bekay: Yea everyone cop my shit or I'll show up at your door with a ski mask and "supplies". I'm hoping the Lakers have a shot this year, and that my man Floyd Mayweather gets a chance to beat the ever loving shit out of Pacman. Big up to my man Timmy R.I.P. to all my loved ones looking down on me, I love ya'll and miss ya'll every day!
Royalty Magazine: How can people keep up with you and/or check out some of your music?
Bekay: You can purchase my last release "HUNGER PAINS" and all my releases on ITunes, amazon, or anywhere hiphop is sold. I have tons of lyrical fire out there for heads who wanna her real Emcee's spit. Lemme be a voice for you! Check me on facebook "Bekay Artist" and follow me on Twitter (which I just started fucking with) @TherealBekay! Myspace sucks cock but it's myspace.com/bekay. Thanks you so much for the interview, big up my homie PB and all the fam at Gillahouse! CAPE ON! UNO!
Tazzy interviews Sabotawj
Royalty Magazine: What's good? How has 2012 been treating you so far? What is one thing that you will do differently this year than you did last year?
Sabotawj: Everything! 2012 is starting out pretty good, I have a great feeling about this year. This year I'm going to go real hard on the visuals and solidify my brand.
Royalty Magazine: That's wassup! Tell us about your name Sabotawj. How did you come up with it and what does it mean?
Sabotawj: Well the traditional word Sabotage is associated with self defense and disrupting the unjust powers that be. I apply that to the music industry and the cypher. I spelled it different for the biters and being from Cali I had to work the W in there somewhere ha ha
Royalty Magazine: Lol...I Hear that! So how did you get started in music? What pushed you to take that first step?
Sabotawj: Growing up music was always around, our house was never quiet, there was always music playing. My father plays a decent guitar and all my siblings can play instruments. I played Tenor Sax in high school but my love has always been Hip Hop, so the Mic became my instrument of choice. I entered a rap contest with a friend of mine and we won first place. Once I felt that rush and energy from the crowd, my mind was made up.
Royalty Magazine: That's wassup! Sounds like a great experience. Tell us do you remember your first track? If so, what was it about? Was it hot or not?
Sabotawj: My first recorded track...I think I was like 15. It was just a long ass verse over Zapp and Roger's "More Bounce To The Ounce". The beat was hot! ha ha
Royalty Magazine: Lol...Who are some artists and/or producers you have worked with?
Sabotawj: I have worked with a ton of independent artists in the US as well as globally. More recently, I released an EP titled "Loves For Free" with Bo Roc of the Dove Shack and Summertime N Tha LBC fame. It is a pure collaboration of R&B and Hip Hop, catering to the ladies. We gave it out free for Valentines Day and its now available at itunes and all digital music stores.
I have also appeared on records with Hussein Fatal,King T, Daz, San Quinn, Lounge Lo, Solomon Childs, Raekwon, Ill Knob of KGB, Blame One, Dom Pachino, Napoleon, Shyheim, Craig G., and more. I have my own production family, Da Cannibus Club/Surgeon Generalz, but I have also reached out and rocked with Chops, Domingo, Freddie Joachim, and more.
Royalty Magazine: From where you started to where you are now, is there anything you would do differently? What have you learned throughout your career so far?
Sabotawj: No, I believe inspiration comes from struggle and life experience, and I also believe everything happens for a reason. What was done cannot be undone, I choose to think forward instead of pondering what if?
During my career probably the one thing that stands out the most is you always have to stay true to yourself and your Art, no matter what. Keep your creative process as far away as possible from the business side, meaning make music for the love of music.
Royalty Magazine: Couldn't have said it better myself! You are working on your first single for suicide awareness amongst people of color, can you tell us more about that project? How did you get involved? What is your overall mission?
Sabotawj: The single is called "Alone In The Dark (produced by Rath Khy)". It is about people that feel hopeless and no longer have the desire to live. I have lost loved ones to Suicide, and one night I was in the studio and it hit me. I can relate to feeling hopeless, and I think everyone can relate to that emotion and has felt that way, even if just for a moment. Life is beautiful but sometimes it gets ugly, and I wanted to make sure that people know they are not alone. It will get better, but you have to be strong. I think the Hip Hop culture tends to look upon certain subject matter as "weak" or "soft", instead of uplifting we tend to hate or mock. We need to acknowledge Suicide in our community and educate people about what signs to look for, and how we can help each other.
My mission is to create more awareness and raise funds for more resources. My partner in the charity, Jessica Imperial (entrepreneurhighlights.com/blog), and I have garnered the support of our local initiative, and we will be donating all proceeds from the song to the Suicide Prevention Initiative. Our overall mission is to save lives, as well as equip friends and family of those affected with the knowledge and resources to help their loved ones.
Royalty Magazine: That is an awesome cause and I agree that there needs to be more awarness as well as uplifting in the industry. What's interesting is that suicide amongst people of color may be more common than people think. Don Cornelius's recent suicide death was a shock amongst many. What was your reaction to his death? In your opinion, what would drive someone to the point of taking their own life?
Sabotawj: Don Cornelius' passing was a complete shock to me too. His death is an eye opener for all people, but especially for people of color. We have this myth that suicide is not an issue in our community. Sadly this is not true. A number of things can drive someone to take their own life, loss of love, family, bullying, financial woes, pressure of all sorts whether it be work or school.
Royalty Magazine: If there was someone out there right now contemplating suicide, what would you say to them? How will reaching out and bringing awareness to this issue help others?
Sabotawj: I would assure them that I do not look down on them for feeling that way, and encourage them to call 1800273TALK. I would also make sure their family is aware, because we loose so many of our loved ones by simply not speaking up. Keeping the secret is never the right way. Bringing awareness will lead to more discussion, and that will lead to more understanding, which in turn will lead to action.
Royalty Magazine: If you had one chance, to do one thing to change the world, what would it be and why? If you had one chance, to do one thing to change the industry, what would it be and why?
Sabotawj: For the world: Ban all nuclear power worldwide.
For the industry: Let's try giving Artists the power.
Royalty Magazine: I can dig it! What do you want the world to know about you...Describe yourself in 5 words or less.
Sabotawj: Original, Humble, Hard-working, Passionate, and Ill
Royalty Magazine: Any upcoming shows, projects or tracks we should be looking out for?
Sabotawj: I just finished my album "I.EMCEE" which will be released in May/June. Look out for the charity single "Alone In The Dark" and look out for the video too. The album is fiyah front to back. My catalog is available on Itunes.com/sabotawj and all digital stores, and please check out my channel on youtube. Youtube.com/Rhymeside411 you can follow me on twitter @sabotawj and we wil be relaunching http://www.sabotawj.com/
Royalty Magazine: Any last comments/shot outs?
Sabotawj: Shouts out to my Rhymeside International Family, Da Cannibus Club, Surgeon Generalz, Cartel West, Daygo City, and PB!!!
Royalty Magazine: Thank you for your time...Much Love!
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