The work of a Hip Hop journalist is not to chronicle the paparazzi’d actions of the now-crossed over version of this genre of music. Every last publication on the planet trying to succeed financially covering versions of rhymes and breaks can only do so by covering the most cosmetic with all day lenses. They work to make the hustle of the fake the reality of our victory. But. The Hip Hop writer, a man of letters of all things real, can only go in the cipher to build. The chips earned may only get us two more audio fixes but we know that if we just helped them hear this..this shit right here..they’ll get it...
“Catch your casket driftin
Unbutton holsters, embroider clips in
Chicago bear cough clip ya snare off
Pick six to carry off his coffin
While I’m lofting
Pterodactyl off of white widow endorsement”
It’s Bronze Nazareth’s sophomore album, School For the Blindman recently released where I had the honor of building with him and presenting a specific set of his ideas to Hip Hop DX ( http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/news/id.16828/title.bronze-nazareth-explains-conceptual-growth-as-emcee-learning-from-rza). Bronze is a supreme beat maker and those mostly intrigued by the drum have earned him countless beatmaker props. Props for the talent that only wraps his true gift as an MC and a leader of one of the fastest developing groups in Hip Hop today, the Wisemen. Below is the best of the rest of our build…
SUNEZ: This new School for Blindman album took a couple of years, four since The Great Migration. Why was the Wisemen’s Children of a Lesser God released before Blindman?
BRONZE NAZARETH: What they didn’t want to happen was kind of a deflation. They didn’t want School for Blindman to come out and then everybody got their fix. Then Wisemen come and out and people be like ‘we good right now.’ It’s kind of like a marketing strategy as far as placement of when it should come out and what the reaction would be. I felt like if we gave people School for Blindman then no one’s coming back for a while again and then when the Wisemen came out it would be kind of ignored. I don’t know if that was the right strategy but it did help because in the time that I was waiting to get my shit and we was doin the Wisemen thing I got a few more features so it kind of rounded out.
SUNEZ: As I reviewed Children I thought the sound was the most progressive in Hip Hop I’ve heard today. But it didn’t get the promotion or the coverage it deserved. Horrible actually.
BRONZE: Indeed. It was Hip Hop but it wasn’t so stuck in the Wu-Tang form that I’ve even seen my Wu-Tang fans say ‘Yo, this don’t sound like the last one’ and they was disappointed. But on the other hand just straight Hip Hop dudes was like, ‘Yo, this is bangin’. I mean you know how it go. You can’t please everybody and it was just different. It was experimental but it was all real Hip Hop. I think it’s still hangin in there. It’s still moving units.
SUNEZ: I also have to note that Phillie pulled a Phife on Low End Theory on this one. I ‘m not as surprised by Phillie as I was Phife but Phillie really reached another level of lyrical ability. That “Faith Doctrine” verse is a clinic in swagger.
BRONZE: I told him that was my favorite verse on that album. It was just so much feeling in that verse. And he’s droppin names but it’s not in the game way, it’s in a respectable way showing that yo, we on the same level as these dudes. That was my shit my dude. You on point homie.
SUNEZ: And my favorite part of that video was when you tossed that kid on the wall!
BRONZE: Haha! Dude stepped in front of the camera.
SUNEZ: Phillie got a solo album coming too, right?
BRONZE: I just can’t wait to release the shit we got comin. Even after my shit, he got Welcome to the Detroit Zoo. That’s coming and it’s crazy. All Phil, just gutter, just real Hip Hop. I’m excited about his work too.
SUNEZ: The Kevlaar Die Ageless LP is immediately after tho?
BRONZE: The muthafukn bomb for them. He’s been crafting that for a while. Just look for that to make a great impact. Kev is well thought out so he gon give some deep thoughts. He likes to put alotta knowledge and wisdom in his works. And he’s a reader too so you can expect some heavy shit too.
SUNEZ: What’s the recording process for Wisemen like?
BRONZE: I been working on the flows hard so I might come in the lab for “Corn Liquor [Thoughts].” I got this. But see how I’m sayin my words in between this one, this snare we might lay it out how I flowed it. Then Kev might look at it and say ‘I gotchu.’ And that, June Meg will look at it and be okay I’m on it. It’s like the telephone game where you tell a person one thing and as it gets to the last person it’s all crazy. To a certain extent it gets like that because everybody’s flows could be different but at the end it’s kind of all like the same. We starting with the same foundation but everybody’s putting their bricks on it. It really is the beat telling us what to do.
SUNEZ: In your production work is there a lot of verse cut and paste?
BRONZE: It’s pretty much where it lays at. It might be a verse on there that was cut and we move everybody up. But give us a verse that ain’t nobody feelin it gets cut. And there’s no animosity or nothing like that…Everything is pretty much where it was laid at. We don’t really move verses to different songs ever. It’s all organic.
SUNEZ: How would that work with the live band Project Lionheart. Are they on School for the Blindman?
BRONZE: I got Project Lionheart on I think four of them. They not on there a lot but like on “Gomorrah” it was awesome. It was so complementary. I really do it by beat. I’m like, ‘Yo, this could use something else. Boom, let’s send it over.’ But if it’s something where I feel it doesn’t need anything else in it I just roll with it like that.
“First forty eight hours is never seen
No force could measure me
The hunts off when they endorse my treasury
SUNEZ: How’d you meet up with fellow Gun Rule [Grand Rapids] brethren, La the Darkman? It’s interesting you now have a feature of another Wu-Fam MC we may have not heard from in a long time. Great Migration had Killa Sin (“The Bronzeman”) while we got La on School (“Fire Implanters”).
BRONZE: That’s my dude. We really got to click at the Wu-Tang Rebirth Tour they did at Grand Rapids. I met up with La there and we really kicked it that night. He’s always been proud of me so he was like ‘yo, what you need’ so from that point it was like he dropped me a verse real tight… Show was in January and he got it to me 2 months after. Definitely fresh and new.
That’s a good parallel cuz that’s one of the Killa Beez that didn’t get the shine like the generals but still got that type of talent. I think the one with LA is a little bit slower but definitely comparable as far as mood. Very soulful and just hard lyrics. Good parallel, my brother.
SUNEZ: “Poem Burial Ground.” Lyrically dense and even difficult to recite slowly. Are these one take songs or are there any punch ins. How do you practice that?
BRONZE: I’m about 50/50. Half the time I can feel it with one take down. Other times it might be I’m running out of breath with this line but let me come in on a new one with the same energy. Cuz I feel like you recording to get the shit perfect. Live performances-- then we go all out. But when recording you’re recording to put it on that wax perfectly. But like I said I’m about 50/50 on one take. Other times I might piece something together but never too much. I try to keep the rhymes where they’re not so complicated where I’m trying to fit too many words. My problem with writing is the battle with saying what I want to say versus making it fit right. So sometimes the delivery might change the words or the words shape the delivery.
With “Poem Burial Ground,” when I wrote it I actually said I’m gonna try to rhyme everything like PUN. I swear to God that’s exactly what I said to myself. And you heard me on “Hear What I Say,” Love Pac and Big but I miss PUN the most.
SUNEZ: [“Hear What I Say”]… is still true today for you?
BRONZE: You could take that song and apply them to some of the names that are out here today. And that song was nothing but truth because it was my truth. I sat down with the pen and I was just discussing with the game one day. I gotta let this out. I’m one of them dudes. That’s how I let it out. That’s how I let the beast out. I just put the pen down on it so I just down everything for real I was pretty much feeling. Probably never be as big as Jay-Z or Slim Shady. I felt like I should be but I probably never will be. And for an artist that’s really trying to get out there and for him to get down to a level and say I never will it’s just some real shit. So that whole shit was just honest feelings.
SUNEZ: What was the writing process on “Black Royalty”?
BRONZE: I made that beat a year or two before I layed it, man. I had the beat and it was something that sounded real different. So one day I was sitting in the lab, in the studio right out here in Detroit and I was just in the zone. It was like that day all my words was just falling in place. And the shit that got me was the flow and every lyric was just there. I don’t know man. I was just in the zone. I had a lot going on in my life at that point. I don’t know. That’s what came out. I called Kevlaar like the minute I wrote it. Yo, I just wrote this shit. It only took a couple of hours and I didn’t do any changes, no adjustments. None of that shit to that joint. The way I wrote it is the way it came out.
SUNEZ: Shit! So shit like “Follow a spiral staircase into my brain wave…” is one take?!
Bronze: I was goin through some shit with this girl. I was just in the zone. Like, ‘Yo, if you could really see inside. Take a spiral staircase into my brain waves.’ That’s just raw emotion and being blessed with this talent with the pen.
SUNEZ: How was it producing the Remarkable Timing album for 60 Second Assassin?
BRONZE: I think 60 is magical on the beats as far as his thought process, his words. I just feel if he updated the delivery people would feel it more. And it was a lot of cutting and putting different verses in different places. I just think that if he had a more—the environment he was working in was like, ‘Let’s get these five songs done in the next two hours.’ It was kind of like a rush on his artistry so I think if he had more time to bang something out like work on his shit until he feels it’s done I think it would have been a better result. But it is what it is. Still, I think it really came together and was a nice album. I think if he wasn’t rushed he could’ve been more himself but I think it’s still a nice joint.
“Records so sharp DJs slash they finger
We chop trees never yelling timber
float off on leaves cough and weeze of Magellan drifter
Off the Richter, scale triple beam, coffin lifter
Subliminal, seminal often lifted
Incredibly criminal, how they doze off on the discus”
-“Fresh From the Morgue”
SUNEZ: Today’s digital world hampers the culture of digging in the crates? Are you still getting dirty with the vinyl?
BRONZE: I still go to record stores. I do get and order some CDs online or order a record I saw. It’s real title by title for me. I’m still looking at records like right now. They’re dipped over here on the table. I still love the sound of the turntable. It’s got that underground basement dirty type of sound underneath the bass and the sound, all the crackling. Nowadays you can clean that up if you need to but I still go to records as my main source. …It’s tradition. I was raised in Hip Hop so you gotta have a DJ, you gotta work with records. Times change and cats now might just download everything but go find a record .
“Burn you after murder spree then I off the witness
Double dutch and I don’t mean to rope, I’m off the benches
Coughin' endless, cumulus blends, off of genius intentions”
SUNEZ: Your music is the Blues score of our day. How do y’all present your universal themes and the concepts y’all draw up?
BRONZE: We sit and deal with concepts too but a lot of the time it’s just like that real life theme. And it’s we involve things that we do in our lives in our music. We out here trying to bring our wisdom to the kids and teach the kids. So that’s what we’re out here doing. And that’s gon reflect in our music. When we’re goin’ through these life lessons and hoping somebody soaks it up from there. Definitely man, it’s all intentional as far as theme versus having a certain concept for a whole album or whole song. We do it all. Like Kev came with the concept for Who Got the Camera? being all political. It’s still more and kind of out the box cuz it ain’t just a whole album saying the “government is this, that and the other.” It’s also an album of Kev going through that struggle and then Kev sees the good side of being on the boulevard. It’s more like an all-inclusive theme.
SUNEZ: Today, there are no black leaders for us. No Black or Brown—no original men that offer us true representation, no leaders. Just the MCs, the Art of our music is left. Yet if I build on Culture in Supreme Mathematics it has the add on of Freedom to it. It reminds us that the true Culture doesn’t hinder but allows us the Freedom to reveal our Power and reach a greater Equality. But this 4th degree also has the note of Freedom in it because the 85, the ignorant, assume Culture inhibits and ruins Freedom as they seek to do whatever they want, that savage in the pursuit of happiness. As an artist, does the Culture of representing a deeper ethic and principle inhibit your Freedom? Most artists consider it all a roadblock in their Art.`
BRONZE: I don’t think I find it as much binding as it is about being responsible. You ain’t gon find me—You know I dealt with guns. We did things in the streets or whatever but when we talk about it, it’s like I’m telling you this to show you something. We not the type of niggas to be like ‘we grinding. We gon bust shots at these dudes. We finna fuck it. We don’t care.’ It’s less of a vicious mentality and more so a survival mentality. We don’t do the ‘we’re out here serving the rocks.’ It’s “yo I had to serve rocks/ to get pops outta the lock.’ It’s got to have a meaning. And the real listener is gonna hear the difference between the dude who’s just saying this shit cuz he just wildin outor wanna sound out there, as opposed to somebody who’s saying something for a reason.
SUNEZ: That’s real peace my brother.