Representing: The BCC (Boot Camp Clik)
Mixtape: Shell Shock
411: "For my mama to hear [that I was] in a beef with a pimp?" Boot Camp Clik's Rock said to us recently in an NYC studio. "Blew her f---ing mind. 'What? That sh-- is crazy.' "
Before we can even speak on the music this week, we have to talk about Rock's recent troubles with the law. He's accused of attempted murder for allegedly shooting and paralyzing a person his lawyers and police have described as a pimp and a member of the Bloods. Rock's attorney said the MC and the man in question had a fight over a prostitute.
"For people who know me, the whole sh-- is bananas because they know me," added Rock (real name: Jamal Bush), who says he's innocent. "I get paid to talk greasy, not act greasy. This is craziness. Some sideline-hater sh--. I can't understand it. My assumptions would be saying too much."
Rock has been advised not to speak on the specifics of the case. His new mixtape is called Shell Shocked, but he insists it has nada to do with the battlefields of the street and everything to do with the return to his team, the Boot Camp Clik.
Let's do the abbreviated version for those of you not up on the game. Rock left the BCC to work with DJ Lethal several years ago. He came back to the fold and released two solo mixtapes that went under the radar, A.W.O.L. Soldier and Veterans Day.
"It's a continuation of my first two mixtapes," the Rockness Monsta explained. "It's all a military theme being that I'm [in] Boot Camp. I named the third one Shell Shocked — it's a military flashback. I moved out [of the Boot Camp]. I was doing my own thing, but my mind kept pulling me back. [The CD] is explosive, I promise you." Rock and his partner, Ruck, a.k.a. Sean Price, are working on the new Heltah Skeltah LP D.I.R.T. (Dee Incredible Rap Team). That album will precede the release of Roc's next solo LP, Monsta Music.
Joints To Check For
» "Intro." "The intro is your warning," he says. "The calm before the storm. Sometimes it don't be that calm, though. But it sets the tone. It's like your table of contents. That's what I usually use my intro for: to sum up what's about to happen. When you're listening to it, you feel like, 'This the beginning right there.' " Ironically, his intros are typically recorded close to the end of his projects. "Like I said," he explained, "you need the contents first so you can label it."
» "Ayrrr." "The title is kind of strange," Rock said, stating the obvious. " 'Ayrrr,' you might hear it in your 'hood sometimes. 'Ayrrr,' [they] see a hundred dudes looking out their windows or running down the block. It's crazy. 'Yrrr' is the short version. You can use it as a warning. Use it to call somebody from up the block. 'Ayrrr' is basically a drunk version of 'ayo.' Anytime you can use 'ayo,' 'ayrrr' can be substituted. I just took that 'hood call and it became a monsta mashing."
» "I'm Bringing New York Back." "I wasn't gonna put it on the mixtape till the [New York] Giants won [the Super Bowl]," Roc said. "But why not? I already had the song. It's not like I made it after the Giants won. Why hold it back? It's a beautiful monstrosity." Rock surmises that Big Apple MCs "gotta play at the top of the game. Don't be trying to reinvent the wheel. Do what you do. Get busy. New Yorkers, we get busy. ... The bottom line is, New Yorkers had raw beats and hard-body lyrics. It was a point where it was a lot of diversity in NY. Tribe [Called Quest] don't rhyme nothing like Heltah Skeltah. M.O.P. and Heltah Skeltah, we both from [the Brooklyn neighborhood of] Brownsville and don't sound nothing alike. Once we go back to not giving a f---, we good. I don't worry about what nobody else says. Step your game up. Step your bars up."
Don't Sleep: Other Notable Selections This Week
» DJ Trasha and Foxy Brown - The I.N.G.A. Sessions
» DJ Lazy K and Max B - Million Dollar Baby 2
» Don Cannon - The Cannon Hip-Hop Anthems: Anthem 2.0
» Termanology - St. Da Squad
» Wu-Tang Clan - Mystagogue Vol. II
'Hood's Heavy Rotation: Bubbling Below The Radar
» AZ (featuring Ray J) - "Go Getta"
» Fat Joe - "That White"
» Lloyd (featuring Ludacris) - "How We Do It"
» Plies (featuring Ne-Yo) - "Bust It Baby" remix
» Sheek Louch (featuring the LOX, Jim Jones and Hell Rell) - "D-Block/Dipset"
» Snoop Dogg - "Waste of Time" and "Those Gurlz"
Fire Starter: The New Biggie Doll
Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis and now a fourth-edition Notorious B.I.G. action figure — Biggie would've never pictured this. But next month, Mezco Toyz, the manufacturer behind the popular doll, is set to launch the "Juicy" edition when New York Comic Con returns April 18-20. The 9-inch figure is ripped straight from the image of the video, featuring Biggie rocking an authentically reproduced yellow basketball jersey, removable gold chain, sunglasses and a towel. The limited-edition doll follows on the heels of the "Life After Death" and "King of New York" B.I.G. figures. The first three sold out almost instantly, according to Mezco's Mike Drake. So it might not be all good if you don't grab one early.
Akon, Will.I.Am, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg and Usher — the timeless Quincy Jones said he hangs out with them all. Obviously everyone wants to soak up some musical knowledge form the Q, but Mr. Jones added that he picks up some gems from his fellas as well.
"They really are like my little brothers, and we talk very seriously about a lot of things," Jones told us. "We learn a lot of things from each other. They all wanna be good musicians. I think it's a good idea. They're all in the process of concentrating on giving back. All of them."
The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground
"She wants those heroin tracks," Jay-Z raps on "I Know" — and Pharrell Williams provided Jay with just that addictive of a beat.
"To me, that song sounded like heroin," Jay told us of the record. "That's what it sounded like to me. It sounded like somebody like Miles Davis was in a jazz club just high out his mind, just going off playing some of the most amazing freestyle music you ever heard. That's what it felt like. That's what happens with drugs. They don't pound you like that; they talk to you sweet. And that's the allure of it, and it pulls you in, and that's what was happening. The lyrics were harmless. It's like a love song, and so it was pulling you in. Pulling you in further and further until you've realized, now you're addicted to this drug. So that was the method behind why it sounds so sweet."
For the video, Hov pulled an "I Am Legend" but in reverse. While the producer of Will Smith's recent mega-hit film relied on him to carry the movie on his back, mostly without any human interaction, Jigga's latest video is propelled by the fact that Jay isn't in the clip at all. Hov recruited director Philip Andelman to carry out his vision. According to the lensman, the rap giant was a fan of his work on Lenny Kravitz's "Where Are We Running." And since Hov wouldn't be appearing in the clip himself, Andelman and company cast Kravitz's daughter, Zoe, to be the lead — but not after wracking his brain figuring out who would want to see a Jay-Z video without Jay-Z.
"At first, I thought it was going to be really challenging, because it was just daunting — the thought of holding your attention for three and a half minutes without Jay, because he's a huge presence normally," Andelman told us. "[But] from the get-go, Jay said it would be a distraction if he was in it. And I think he was really right. It winded up allowing us to tell a story."
The video is a series of scenes featuring Kravitz. Among them is a courtship with a young man; her walking aimlessly in lower Manhattan; and a club scene toward the end of the clip. For the most part, the images are dark, save for a few imposed special effects to light up the screen.
"I was just going off the beat of the song. It kind of sparkled. There's something light and airy about it," Andelman said. "But then there's this dark side of the song.
"It's like a Rubik's Cube on ecstasy," the director added. "I know it's bad to push the drug metaphor, but it's kind of funny. Zoe Kravitz is the girl in it, but we wanted to make it ambiguous as to whether it's one girl or four girls. No one can be 100 percent sure of what's going on [in the video]. They all have their own interpretations. And that's what makes it fun to me. It's like a riddle, and there's no right answer or wrong answers. It's like a three-and-a-half-minute head trip." ...
Busta Rhymes' The Big Bang was acclaimed as a sure-shot artistic favorite by fans and critics, so why did it underperform at stores after so much hype? Busta admits that the follow-through after "Touch It" was lacking. He said after all the hype about him joining forces with Dr. Dre, he figured the fans wanted to hear a record by the two of them as a single.
"I think that The Big Bang was my best album, overall," Busta started. "Out of all of my albums, that was my best body of work in one project, to me, from top to bottom. I don't really feel like there's anything that I wanted to do to regroup or change the situation. I just think that that album came out in a time where the transition was happening, in terms of just how the game is fluctuating right now. And I also feel like the single after 'Touch It,' you know, people waited three years to see that Big Bang album happen, so I think people were really looking forward to seeing a Busta Rhymes-produced-by-Dr.-Dre single. Especially after the 'Touch It' record and how big that was."
The problem, according to Bus, was actually him. Turns out he had a feeling about pushing "I Love My Chick" as the next single. He liked the song, just not as a follow-up to the Swizz Beatz smash that kicked off the album. But when the suits at the label suggested it be the next single, Bus graciously relented. Not this time with Back on My Bullsh--, he says.
"If you feel the slightest reluctance to do something, even if being a team player might mean compromising, don't compromise in the way that you're gonna have to live to regret," Busta said. "And that's creatively. [So] for me, I will never allow that process to happen in that way again. So I don't live with regret, because I learned from it." ...
If there is anyone who has experience with dealing with women, it's Archbishop Don "Magic" Juan. The former pimp-turned-holy counselor/ hip-hop personality has taken a new mission on his shoulders. He wants to get Britney Spears on the right track. In late January, he started the Web site HelpBishopSaveBritney.com, where he asks fans to send prayers to the headline-making pop star. Bishop is also videotaped on his site making a plea for Spears to sit down with him for therapy. He says he only needs 33 minutes to get her mind right.
"Thirty-three is the year Jesus died," he explained in L.A. during one of Snoop Dogg's studio sessions with Teddy Riley and DJ Quik. "Thirty-three years he spent on this world. I figured if Britney gave me 33 minutes of her time, I promise to deal away with the situation. I've been there, done that. That's why I'm spiritual adviser to people like Snoop and other entertainers. I understand God opened up my eyes, and I want to open up the eyes of some of the other individuals that truly need the help. I know what it really is. By her being a young lady, she's just going through the young-lady symptoms of dealing with kids at an early age. Dealing with money at an early age. Dealing with fame at an early age. Dealing with 'yes' people at an early age. That really corrupts some individuals. I'm sure with the prayer with HelpBishopSaveBritney.com, she will be able to make a true comeback. We need you, Britney. More importantly, your kids need you.
"People are concerned, saying, 'Yes, Bishop, what do we need to do?' " Magic Juan added about the feedback he's been getting on his site. "Britney knows she has extra fans. ... It ain't nothing like prayer." ...
Papoose says he really didn't have to fight at all ... with Jive Records, that is. According to the Brooklyn native, he signed a recording contract that specified Jive release his long-delayed debut, The Nacirema Dream, within a certain time frame. Pap says Jive didn't have a concrete launch plan, so he and his executive producer, DJ Kay Slay, decided to step.
"The handcuffs, they definitely coming off as we speak," Pap told us of getting his release. "If you look at other artists, some of them would like to sit on the shelf for years rather than move on."
Pap noted that he already has a slew of offers on the table, and whoever he chooses will have to guarantee him that his album will come out in 2008.
The lyrical dictator just dropped his new mixtape, Build or Destroy, and is starting production on a long-form video for all five songs in his "Law Library" series. In April, Papoose appears in the movie "Righteous Kill." He'll be rapping in a scene that takes place in a club.
For other artists featured in Mixtape Mondays, check out Mixtape Mondays Headlines.