When you have three gully muthaf***as recording a group album you’re not gonna get some happy-go-lucky music. That’s not to say Guilty Simpson, Sean Price and Black Milk don’t know how to have fun. TRU sat down for a conversation with the three fellas about Big Sean’s new name, suede espadrilles and what albums to look forward to this year.
TRU: How did you guys, as three solo acts, decide to hook up and release a collaborative album?
Sean P: It started with someone hollering at me to do a joint with Guilty. Somebody with me had a lotta Guilty’s music, I never heard shit before and we went from, damn, fuck a song, let’s do a whole project. We did ‘Run’ (on Guilty Simpson’s ‘Ode To The Ghetto‘ album -TRU) and it sounded good, so we said let’s run with it.
TRU: So when have you guys achieved the goal that you set out to achieve with this collaboration?
Guilty Simpson: The goal is to put out quality music and Black Milk puts that next level production to it. Not to do too much and make it turn out corny, just make sure we do what we do best. Black Milk makes productions that cater to our strengths, and there you’ve got it, Random Axe.
TRU: While we’re on the subject of Black Milk’s production, Black, you first stepped into the public’s eye doing beats on a Slum Village album and you’re coming from Detroit with a soulful sound and hard knocking drums, therefore you’re often seen as the heir to Dilla’s musical legacy. How do you handle that weight?
Black Milk: Man, I don’t even think about it that way…
Sean P: Yeah, that be y’all talking that shit! (Laughs)
Black Milk: I can see why cats do that but I never think about it that way. Of course Dilla is my biggest inspiration. Ever. Not just when it comes to beats but with music in general. But I think I’ve come to a point in my career where I’ve separated my sound from that.
Sean P: Yeah, I think Black Milk got the hardest drums in the game, b. Nobody’s drums be slapping like that. Nobody’s shit.
TRU: I noticed that, especially since the ‘Tronic’ album, there’s a real hard, live sounding quality to those drums, what’s the secret behind that?
Black Milk: It’s not really a secret, just my sound. You know, practice makes perfect and I’ve been doing beats for years now and I’m the kind of artist that’s always trying to take it to the next level.
Sean P: Them bitches slap though! Word to mutha.
Black Milk: Yeah, and it if it was a secret I wouldn’t be telling y’all niggas anyway!
TRU: Aight, keep it a trade secret, probably best. So being that you’re all solo artist on different labels, did you have any difficulties hashing out a group deal for Random Axe on the buisiness side?
Sean P: I have no idea, you’d have to ask Dru Ha (Duck Down CEO -TRU) and whoever run their labels.
Guilty: On my side, it was definitely easy. Stones Throw has always been supportive of anything I’ve done. It didn’t necessarily involve them, so basically it was just me communicating with them, telling them what I was trying to do and they made it happen.
Sean P: Yeah, big up to the other two labels. All that shit do is gon’ help them in their endeavours, so if anybody gotta assist every now and then it’s all good.
TRU: The style where you flip a rhyme’s meaning by a single word at the end, the one word punchline flow, has been very prominent in rap lately with everybody in the Young Money team doing that, among others, and they’re saying it originated with Big Sean. A lot of people, including Big Sean himself, co-sign that notion, but wasn’t Sean P doing that years ago?
Sean P: Yeah, I did do it. I don’t even know if I invented it though, but I know I did it before them.
Black Milk: Nigga, you invented that shit, take the credit. P invented that shit, dog. I know just by being an mc, sometimes you get inspire by others, certain cadences, certain flows, and that was one of the main things that stood out to me about Sean P’s rhyming. So yeah, it was kinda crazy to see that style of rap get super popular in the commercial world. Niggas don’t even really know where that shit came from.
Sean P: Like I said, I don’t know about creating it, I probably did, but I know I’ve been doing it before whoever else is claiming they invented it. I was doing it before them. Big Sean. And you know what, I’ve seen Big Sean at Summer Jam man, it’s hard for me to call him Big Sean when my name is Sean and this nigga look like he can dodge rain ‘n shit. When you talk about Big Sean to me, you call him thin Sean. Alright? Don’t disrespect me ever, I’m Big Sean, nigga. (Laughing) I ain’t even talking about lyrics, he can rhyme his ass off, but I’m Big Sean nigga, that’s thin Sean! Compared to me, that’s thin Sean.
TRU: Guilt, we’ve heard you represent Almighty Dreadnaughtz on a lot of tracks over the years, will there ever be a full fledged project bearing that mark?
Guilty: We’ve still been working and talking about it, doing a lot material, we’ve just gotta put it into the right structure and figure out exactly what we want to do with it. But that’s definitely something that we plan on doing. I’m working with the ones that still wanna work for it, but I definitely hope to do that. And even if not, you’ll still be hearing me screaming Dreadnaughtz ‘till I’m done, that’s my original crew. It’s what I started with and I’ll always be that.
TRU: What about the future for Random Axe? Is this a one time collaboration or are you guys planning on doing more collective work like this?
Sean P: We gon’ knock out all the projects we got. I got my new project called ‘Mic Tyson,’ Guilty’s working on part two of the OJ Simpson shit and Black Milk’s working on something, I don’t even know what it’s called, I know he got that ‘Black & Brown’ shit, right?
Black Milk: Yeah, yeah.
Sean P: We all got some shit we gotta do and then we’re gonna get back to it though.
TRU: ‘Black & Brown’ as in the joint you did with Danny Brown on ‘Album Of The Year’?
Black Milk: Yeah, that’s the Danny Brown joint, I’m trying to get that nigga in the studio to cut some more material.
Sean P: Big up to my man Danny Brown, he came to the party, the nigga had the suede espadrilles on, know what I mean? He’s killing it, killed it with the suede espadrilles. Nigga had Miami Vice on his feet, you feel me? That nigga’s the shit! That nigga was stylin’! That’s my nigga right there.
TRU: The only dude who can rock a pair of skinny jeans, right?
Sean P: You know, I hate skinny jeans, but that nigga so nice I overlook that shit. Period. That’s the type of nigga to dress like that and shock the shit outta y’all niggas. That’s why I can overlook some of that shit.
Guilty Simpson: No doubt, don’t get it twisted. He from the hood for real.
TRU: You’ve got the joint ‘Everybody, Nobody, Somebody’ on the album where each of you centers a verse around one of those words. How did you come up with that concept?
Black Milk: P set it off. He dropped the verse and everybody else followed through.
Sean P: I don’t even make concept records, you gon’ get the one from me, that’s it.
TRU: Well, it is kinda surprising since the rest of the album is more straightforward raw shit. It does sound like a smart move to put that toward the middle of the album in sequencing, to create some diversity in the album.
Black Milk: Yeah, P set that off. Think of something! Ha!
Sean P: You know I’m a stupid nigga when I rhyme, man, I think Murder Death Kill. That’s all the concept you gon’ get from the God man. I like to just talk about bullshit.
TRU: You ever miss that shit? Not a lotta emcees still do that raw shit.
Sean P: That’s what I’m here for, to fill that void!
Black Milk: There’s some niggas that do that shit but they don’t do it right. They don’t do it like P and Guilty. Even though P is on that street shit, he brings a sense of humour and personality to that. And Guilt got that crazy voice, and even when he talks street shit he gon’ talk about something right. He lived all that shit.
Guilty Simpson: On top of that, the rappers that do do that, their song sounds like a remix of the last song they did like that. Black Milk is able to at least make it sonically sound different. He gave each track, each song, an individual sound. The biggest thing, the biggest issue about that is that it gets repetitive when people rap about the exact same thing in the exact same style on their beats. He produced all them shits so he definitely gets credit for that.
TRU: Now that your own album is done, are you looking forward to other releases this year?
Sean P: Nah, I ain’t looking forward to nobody’s shit! (Laughing) We ain’t gon’ be doing no interview bigging up anybody else, it’s all about us three.
Guilty Simpson: The only albums I’m looking forward to are each of our individual solo albums, ‘cause Random Axe will be on that too.
The debut group album by Random Axe is in stores right now.