Former Black Moon frontman Buckshot said getting [artist id="854"]Mary J. Blige[/artist] on his new single wasn't about money — it was about friendship. Buck and the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul go back to the '90s, when Buck's artists and Boot Camp Clik members Smif-N-Wessun rapped on the remix to MJB's "I Love You." The two have been cool ever since.
"One of the last times I saw her before this song was in front of Sony studios," Buck remembered. "Me and Mary played a game of basketball right in front of Sony studios. You know how you would be in front of your building and you would use the wall as a hoop? So me and Mary was literally on the sidewalk just playing ball, bugging out. Mary, she really is Mary J. Blige. She's 'hood, she's elegant, she's real."
Buck also developed a great relationship with Blige's husband/manger Kendu over the years, so when he and KRS-One were coming up with the first single from their dual LP Survival Skills, they decided to call on old friends.
"The song is called 'The Way I Live,' " Buck said. "In the chorus, Mary says, 'I'm in the grind every day and that's the way I live.' When she started to sing that chorus, it's like, OK, [the song] became that much brighter. [artist id="585"]KRS-One[/artist] said in the song, 'When you lose your job, you find your work.' A job is a job, when you lose it, you feel your work and your worth. The song is about being on the grind, but not accepting the grind — changing the grind.
"Everybody's got a song: 'I'm out there hustling, putting in work,' " Buck added. "But everybody does the same thing. What make this song different ... we're not talking about trapping and hustling. We say we go to the depths of who we are to find our true hustle. And that's why I love Mary J. When she started to go in on the end of the song, she has a name we call her: MC Brook. So we was like, 'Brook is about to go in.' She loves rhyming. Mary loves to flow and she's nasty. That's basically what the song is about — reaching within the depths of yourself to find a grind you created."
Survival Skills is due in stores September 15. Buck says he and KRS have known each other for over 15 years and decided to make an album together for the love of the sport.
"Kris has got this hunger that's impeccable," Buck said. "He's like a 16-year-old kid. You gotta be there to watch somebody who really loves to construct, build a house. You get to see the bedroom, the bathroom — you get a whole love for it because you see it constructed right before your eyes."