“Lately though, with the rise of this dollar pizza shit and whatever, it’s like there’s dollar pizza and there’s gourmet pizza but no real like New York pizzerias left — well, at least in Manhattan, there are out in Queens. Now I’m getting back on my pizza game; if I see a real New York pizza place I’ll definitely go in there. It’s just better than what a lot of people think is pizza.”—Lakutis going deep on the pizza game.
"I had a radio show at Duke University called After The Smoke Clears and 9th would come through with beats. The urban department of our radio show used to do a battle called “Duel Of The Iron Mics” and that’s where I met Phonte at—he ended up winning a couple of battles. I used to have guys call up and they’d freestyle from home over the phone; I had one guy who used to call and freestyle from his cab.”
“I’m a big fan of animals, and we’ve kept a theme of always relating our album titles to fish somehow. To us, the fish theme is a deeper meaning than most people would understand. You know what sharks do? Sharks are biters. We feel like after our first couple of mixtapes, a lot of people started biting our style, biting our look, biting our music, so now we’re addressing all of that stuff.”—The Cool Kids Talk ‘Shark Week’ and the Perils of Biters over at Spin.
“We are getting special cases that glow in the dark. I don’t know where the factory is—Diplo won’t say—but I think it’s in California ‘cause he said he was going today and he also flew to Cali today so I’m trying to put two and two together.”—Riff Raff muses on the whereabouts of his Neon Icon CD cases.
“Everything I do as a person pertains to my singing and I look up to Tupac ‘cause he spoke his mind and always expressed himself even if it contradicted what he said the day before. If you express everything all the time you’re gonna look a little crazy but that’s how you think in your mind and I think I do the same thing [as him]. As a singer, it can be a little weird ‘cause people aren’t used to a singer saying the f-word or a singer talking about gang violence in her neighborhood but I incorporate everything I feel into my music. I feel that’s what he did too.”—Jhene Aiko cops to her ‘Pac adoration.
“It’s an audio treasure for women and children of all ages to listen to and enjoy at the breakfast table for motivation in the home as well as the work place. It will be cherished for ages.”—Riff Raff gets humble about “Real Boyz.”
Buckshot talks about the Midnight Marauders cover shoot
"One thing they told everybody at the shoot was everyone has to have some sort of characteristic and personality for the photo—find something that’s in your character and give us a strange face that’s also a reflection of your vibe. That’s why when you look at the album cover everyone has this weird look on their face. I remember when the album came out and I saw the picture of my face they chose and I laughed. They definitely had me looking crazy on there."
Clan in Da Back: The Behind-the-Scenes Oral History of 'Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)'
I spoke to some of the people involved in the Wu’s debut album on the behind-the-scenes tip. Obligatory anecdotes about Ol’ Dirt Dog ensued:
"My main memory of ODB was one time we had just finished a record and we were in the lobby of the Hit Factory; Poke and Tone [of the Trackmasters] had just pulled up with Destiny’s Child in their Jaguar. They walked into the lobby and were standing there waiting to go into the studio. ODB was like, "Yo, I’m ODB, Destiny’s Child, I got to spit on your record." They literally all got back into the car and sat there! He harassed them!"
More from Chris Gehringer (who mastered the record), Ethan Ryman (engineer), Yoram Vazan (owner of the Firehouse Studio), and Jackie Murphy and Liz Fierro (art director and coordinator) over at Spin.
“For me, I was rapping since I was eight or nine-years-old and I’ve always been a fan of lyricism and 2Pac’s not necessarily the most technically sound MC. His thing is straight emotion and feeling and I didn’t really look for that in hip-hop music until I grew up.”—YC The Cynic drops 2Pac truths.
“A lot of my new-found spirituality is about recognizing how amazing some of the mundane things we come across actually are, and for me having a slice of pizza can actually be amazing.”—Nitty Scott MC’s psychedelic pizza.
“You know, I was really contemplating hitting up Torae, like I’ll pay you a bunch of money if you move the entire apartment by yourself. But I would say like Freddie Foxxx too. If I had to get movers and they had to be rappers, I would really get Torae and I don’t know Freddie Foxxx at all so I couldn’t hit him up, but he would be great.”—J57 drops science on getting rappers to help you move apartment.
“There were certain meals you got in the Chinese store depending on how your pockets looked. Now if you got a dollar or two dollars back then — I’m not that old! — you got chicken wings, and you got a little extra dollar you got chicken wings and french fries. That’s the main ‘hood meal you can get. But when you had four dollars, you got chicken and broccoli and the first time I ever had an order of chicken and broccoli I was like ballin’!”—Gourmand Ortiz
"You, my son, will be blessed forever,” tweeted Pusha T in late July. The rapper’s benediction was sent to a young kid who had shared a photograph of his face bearing a large tattoo of the logo for Play Cloths, the clothing company in part founded by Pusha and his brother Malice back when they recorded as the Clipse. The image is captivating in its grotesqueness, highlighted by Pusha’s hashtag, “#IKnowTheFlawsOfAllMyChildrenAndYouArePerfect.”
Pusha came off like he was preaching, but these days it’s his brother, who has since renamed himself No Malice, who seems like the Clipse member more likely to deliver a sermon: Since the heights of the group, No Malice found religion while Pusha found ’Ye and his GOOD Music fashion emporium. But while the aura of No Malice’s newly discovered Christianity exists in the background of his solo album, Hear Ye Him, it’s a record that’s more about freeing yourself from surface falsehoods than anything like a forced religious listen. And it’s an album I wish the kid with the Play Cloths tattoo could hear.