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Masta Killa Selling My Soul
 
MASTA KILLA  
[Soul & Substance Interview]


Interview Date: 09th November 2011

Conducted By: Dark 7 Invader, The Reccollectah

Notes:
Transcripts from audio interview; Special thanks to Masta Killa, Matt Wyatt at Nature Sounds for making this possible. 


Interview

Masta Killa

"Homicide's illegal and death is the penalty
What justifies the homicide, when he dies?
In his own iniquity it's the
Master of the Mantis Rapture comin at cha
We have an APB on an MC Killer
Looks like the work of a Master
Evidence indicates that's it's stature
Merciless like a terrorist hard to capture
The flow, changes like a chameleon
Plays like a friend, and stabs you like a dagger
This technique attacks the immune system
Disguised like a lie paralyzin the victim
You scream, as it enters your bloodstream
Erupts your brain from the pain these thoughts contain
Movin on a nigga with the speed of a centipede
and injure - ANY M'F*%$ŁN CONTENDER"

Which Wu Tang Clan fan doesn’t recognize the above lyrics? The year was 1993 and with only one single verse on the debut album, Masta Killa rightfully earned his spot in the Wu camp and the fans’ hearts.

Fast skip to today, almost twenty years later. Masta Killa is still at it as we saw him recently set up his new site, and in the process use it to offer fans a new album out of nowhere. “Selling My Soul”, offered in several packages, even in a deluxe box set for the collectors which can be purchased directly from his site, It is not the long awaited “Loyalty is Royalty” fans been anticipating though they did recognize some leaked tracks. Many wondered immediately if they would even see “Loyalty” ever drop? And what about that recent RZA tweet, announcing a meeting with all Generals to discuss the 20th anniversary this week (and a possible new Wu-Tang album as hinted)?

As most fans know Masta Killa rarely does interviews and prefers to keep a low - profile mediawise. Wu-International had the unique privilege of talking about all this and much more with Masta Killa just this week so we are very proud to present you this interview. Prepare for a great ride because ‘the Master of Mantis Rapture is comin at cha’ ! Enjoy …


I like to say thanks first and foremost for taking the time to answer these questions, highly appreciated, and will also point out that nothing will be altered, edited or changed when this is published online.

Wu-International: Peace Masta Killa, how are you?
Masta Killa: Peace, I’m good, thank you.

Wu-International: A lot happened this last week on all fronts. Sandy hit NY with devastating consequences, Staten Island was hit badly, were you in NY when the storm hit the city ?
Masta Killa:  The storm definitely affected a lot of things and families, a lot of areas: power outage, water floods and things of that nature. I’m thankful nobody lost their lives in the mix of it. Some families did experience that and my heart goes out to them but for the most part just power outage and the flood.

Wu-International:  We hope you and your family are ok?
Masta Killa:  Thank you, I appreciate that.

Wu-International: At the same time, “yin and yang” as RZA twittered, his film “The Man with the Iron fist’ premiered in the US. Have you seen the film, what did you think of it?
Masta Killa: I haven’t seen the film, I did have the pleasure and the honour to be a part of the soundtrack. I listened to the soundtrack from top to bottom: I love it. I love the music but I’ve been doing so much. I was actually supposed to go to the premiere of the movie and I wasn’t able to go because I was preparing for the storm and getting certain things ready so I really couldn’t afford to make it. But yeah, the soundtrack, I don’t know if you’ve heard it but the soundtrack is one of the most classic soundtracks probably ever.

Wu-International: Yes, it’s very diverse but still very good, so do you plan on seeing the film?
Masta Killa: Off course, I’m planning on buying it and having it for a classic to go with all my other movies.

Wu-International: Also on Twitter there was the announcement of RZA sitting down with the Clan this week to talk about a new Wu Tang Clan album. With the 20th year anniversary coming, it would be perfect timing. How do you feel personally about a new Clan album?
Masta Killa: Well, RZA doesn’t even have to talk to me about that cause he already knows where we at as far as anything that has to be done as far as Wu-Tang, because he knows that’s my heart, I know that’s his heart , that’s where we come from. We’re brothers, that’s my family and if that’s what’s going on then that’s what I’m part of, you know what I mean? I love that thought, I love the idea. If we would have had more consistent Wu-Tang albums, you probably would never have got a solo Masta Killa album because I will always prefer a Wu-Tang Clan album over doing a solo album. That’s what I really love, that’s where my joy and passion came from: my brothers. That was the inspiration of everything that became solo or whatever you call it, it all came from that foundation, you know.

Wu-International: True, now obviously this is not the first time this has been discussed but it sounds serious this time around, with everyone engaged in their own projects and so on, how possible or rather how quick do you think this reunion album is going to happen?
Masta Killa: 
I never really looked at it like ... you know ... there will be no pressure. If we gonna do an album or get together to do anything together you know ... have you heard the soundtrack to the movie?

Wu-International: Yes
Masta Killa: OK, well I’m just saying like: I know anything that we put our determined idea into motion, I know it will be on time and I know it will be a great piece of work. I don’t think that it’s anything difficult for us to do, you know. The only thing that will be difficult is that we all have obligations and work that we are a part of beside from what we do as a whole, but besides that I can’t really see anything stopping whatever we want ... and that wouldn’t even stop that.

Wu-International: Well that’s great news. So I take it you haven’t yet sat down with the rest this week then, that’s still to happen?
Masta Killa: Uhm ... I mean, right now, you know there’s still a lot of damage from the storm so I don’t really know how everyone’s family has even been affected by that. I don’t even really know where everyone is at this present day and time because for a period of time even phone service was very difficult. So due to a lot of ... even just regular transportation is still not really at a 100% running condition.

Wu-International:  Off course, it’s not yet an obvious thing?
Masta Killa: Yeah, and roadways and things of that nature so don’t get discouraged of the time frame or...

Wu-International: No no, I was just wondering?
Masta Killa: Yeah, yeah. Just know that we will ... I’m looking forward to it and I think personally, my brothers are as well so just know that that will happen.

Wu-International: Well, I think all Wu-Tang fans are looking forward to it equally?
Masta Killa: 
I’m looking forward to this myself.

Wu-International: Great, on a political level, we had the presidential elections yesterday, Obama won. What do you think of the result?
Masta Killa: I think that that’s a successful thing. I think he has a big job man.

Wu-International:  Indeed, it won’t be easy?
Masta Killa: It’s a very short period of time to cure the requests of the world, you know? That’s a big responsibility but enough respect to the President, doing what he does. Let’s hope that he is more successful as far as how the public sees it these next four years then he was in his last.

Wu-International: Raekwon and Ghostface asked people to go vote on their Twitter page. Did you vote?
Masta Killa: No, I didn’t actually go vote , I didn’t.

Wu-International: With the storm and everything?
Masta Killa: There was just a lot of other things you know, I mean to get gas right now is difficult, you know what I mean? There’s still a lot of things now that’s just not ...

Wu-International: It messed up quite a few things.
Masta Killa: Yeah, yeah, I’m glad he won but I wasn’t actually able to go and support him physically.

Wu-International:  Let’s talk about your projects. A few weeks ago you surprised the fans by announcing the “ Selling my soul” album out of nowhere on your new website. Everyone was expecting the long announced “Loyalty is Royalty” album instead. What made you decide to bring this album out first?
Masta Killa: 
(laughs) I think from a hip-hop standpoint, I think that because my fans might not think that ... You know most hip-hop classic albums are the MC and the DJ/producer in the seat. Raekwon has one of the most successful ... you may call it a solo album but it really was a Wu-Tang Clan album which was the Cuban Linx album.  

Wu-International: Yes, everyone was on it.
Masta Killa: Yes, so for me being a fan of myself and hip hop I want to maybe accomplish an album that would just be me and the DJ or me and the producer and just have my lyrical skill and my articulate talent respected from me and my vision and how I see hip hop and how I see music in general you know because whether it’s soul, hip hop, whatever you want to call it: gospel, R’nB, rock’n roll, blues, jazz ... good music is good music, something you can appreciate and something that is timeless.

Wu-International: So you wanted “Selling my soul” to focus on you and not on too many features?
Masta Killa: Yeah, not too many features, as a matter of fact I only had one feature, but I do have work with my family and all that but yeah this was the focal point of how I saw it.

Wu-International: So you could say that the tracks you’ve recorded over the past years with other artists as features will be on “Loyalty” then instead ?
Masta Killa: Maybe (laughs)

Wu-International: ... maybe ... (laughs) we’ll see.
Masta Killa: 
“Maybe, maybe” ... you know I have a lot of work, I love to create music so I have a lot of work, you know it’s just balls and players, it all depends on how you want to shape it and mold it and then bring it into existence.

Wu-International: There are a few tracks on there that got leaked last year, those were initially announced to appear on the “Loyalty is royalty”. Were these songs always meant for “Loyalty is royalty”or did you have them in mind for “ Selling my soul” actually? Because some of them are on the tracklist of this one?
Masta Killa: Uhm, which tracks were that?

Wu-International: I remember seeing “R U listening”, “Pt. 2” and “Things just ain’t the same”. On youtube it was said to be on “Loyalty is royalty” so I was surprised to see them on this tracklist?
Masta Killa: Right, right. No, what I had done was I had just released some music, just to give the fans, that I know was waiting so long, just to let them hear something.

Wu-International: Like an appetizer?
Masta Killa: Yeah, but people just automatically just started calling it what they heard the title of the album was supposed to be: “Oh, it’s on that one”. They just started associating it with that. But I never made it a single or anything, I was just leaking music out, just giving my fans that wanted to hear something from me, just letting them have something to listen to from me.

Wu-International: Was it also meant to get some feedback from them or were you just putting them out?
Masta Killa: Off course, I’m always interested in how it is received, off course yeah yeah.

Wu-International:  Now those tracks we heard so far all have a very mellow, relaxed feel to them. Will this vibe be a constant factor throughout this album?
Masta Killa: I think it’s going to be a very nourishing vibe, you know , (laughs) . I would like the fans to absorb it and the people who are listening to it absorb it and give me their feedback and how it affected them. I know how I felt and the energy that I put into it was definitely a nourishing energy. So let’s see how the fans react and if they also feel like it was a nourishing meal to them.

Wu-International: Let’s find out next month. How would you compare this album to the upcoming “Loyalty is royalty”album?

Masta Killa:  It’s just different expressions of music. That’s the only comparison. This album might be something that you might just want to have a glass of wine too and next album could be something you’d want to have some Hennessy too, you know? Everything is just a different dish.

Wu-International: So maybe this one will be a bit more relaxed then if I understand correctly?

Masta Killa: Uhm ... do you think my first album was intense?
Masta Killa

Wu-International: Hm, ... no.(laughs)
Masta Killa: (laughs) Would you say it was relaxed or intense?

Wu-international: Well, more relaxed?
Masta Killa: More relaxed, so would you say I had more of an aggressive style when I was more early in hip hop maybe? (laughs)

Wu-International: Well, you’ve always had a very mellow voice and a very peaceful pace ...so maybe that’s the best type of music for your type of flow anyway?
Masta killa: yeah, the music that I have always appreciated and I think that the people who supported the whole 20 year journey, I’m just doing what they love also. And for the new fans who might not be as aware as some people of the Wu tang music and the variations of Chambers and you know ... What makes Raekwon the Chef ? What makes Masta a Killa? What makes GZA a Genius? Know what I’m saying? What makes RZA sharp? What makes each individual who they are, you know? So, each chamber, especially within itself, but each fan might not get to see each volume. Cause you might like Kung Fu movies but you might not have seen them all, you might have seen your favourites and you were so good with that you just knew you were good with that. But it’s, you know, with the Wu Tang and with each individual there’s endless amounts of creativity.

Wu-International: yes, there is a LOT to be discovered by new fans.
Masta Killa: Right.

Wu-International: How far down are you with “Loyalty is royalty”, is it completed or still in work?
Masta Killa: I just work, I just create. What song might be a part of what might get determined on the last moment, before the mastering (laughs). Because sometimes when you have an accumulation of work, sometimes you can forget about something that should have been a part of something because you have work, you know? So I just shape and mould the clay as it comes, I don’t make it difficult, I love to create music and that’s what I do. I just let it form itself, even name itself, you know?

Wu-International: And is there a release date you and the label have in mind for that album then?
Masta Killa: Well, since the fans been waiting so long for that album, they was looking for “Royalty”, I’m not gonna make ‘em wait that long.

Wu-International: So would you say sometime next year then, hopefully?
Masta Killa: Yeah, let’s say somewhere along that time frame.

Wu-International: Ok, that sounds promising . Something else I was wondering: is the track “Pt 2” the same song as the “Noodles Pt 2” we saw appear on youtube last year?
Masta Killa: No, no, no (laughs), that’s “Pt.2”

Wu-International: There are some songs on the album that were produced by you. Not many know you produce or started producing, we mainly knew you as an MC all these years. How did you get into this?
Masta Killa: Yeah, but I have spent a lot of nights on RZA’s floor when he was doing what he was doing. (laughs)

Wu-International: So you were stealing with your eyes ? (laughs)
Masta Killa: (laughs) well, you know, talent is endless. You might not be known for that but you might have been supporting that system all along. I just want to know how fans will appreciate “Selling my Soul”. I took my time and effort to put it together, for it to be something nourishing for the hip hop or to the musical universe. Hopefully it’s just well perceived.

Wu-International:  Yes, I hope so too. How long would you say you have you been working on beats? Is that something recent ?
Masta Killa: I’ve been a fan of music all my life. I mean, I can just remember being small and sitting with my ear to the speaker and just listening to every little instrument and everything from New Earth and Parliament and so many groups that my mother was playing their records in the house and stuff like that. I can remember getting drum sets and playing “Very superstitious” on the drums aaaall night (laughs). So I’ve always loved music and been a fan of music and experimented with in many ways and variations you know?.  

Wu-International: We didn’t know you played the drums ?
Masta Killa: I knooooow (laughs) I knooooow!

Wu-International: Do you still play the drums occasionally?
Masta Killa: Well, off course but it’s like ... I roller skate too but I haven’t done it in a while, you know? (laughs) That’s like, that’s something , yeah

Wu-International:  Once a drummer, always a drummer (laughs)
Masta Killa: Yeah, I guess so (laughs)

Wu-International: Well, I guess it helps when writing cause drumming is all about rythm and timing, and so is MC’ing. It must be an advantage.
Masta Killa: 
That’s right, that’s right, exactly, it all goes together. It’s just how you might express it. You might express it lyrically or productively through bringing sounds together or both. 

Wu-International:  So has MK caught the producers bug and can fans expect to see more of you on beats and subsequently even going as far as producing for other people?
Masta Killa: Uhm … I’m gonna always definitely create music, as long as I can do that, that’s just something that I passionately do. If someone wants to work with me and if I can put something together and if I can make it acceptable and it can be a hit , a smash … yeah, I’m willing to do that, always.

Wu-International: One would assume working close to RZA behind boards over the years gave you an advance start as an aspiring producer, but you have also worked with others such as Mathematics, 4th Disciple and many more, who would you say inspired you to start making beats?
Masta Killa: Well, making a beat is really knowing music. I’ve known music all my life through RZA. I’ve known music all my life from being a student of music, to listening to my father singing music, to hearing that my mother would bring from the record store and put on the turntable and dance to. So I grew up on music, to hearing the records that my mother would bring from the record store and put on the turntable and dance to. So I grew up on music, when you have a rhythm and you are going to put sounds together, it’s just basically what you love and if you can create that or if you can find something from a record that’s inspiring and turn that into something, then that’s a beautiful thing.

Wu-International: What would you say you have learned from RZA throughout all these years or anyone else as a producer?
Masta Killa: Well, RZA is one of the greatest producers that ever produced within the hip hop or music industry, period. His first albums that he produced , which were the Clan and the solo albums, were all classic albums, you know? So being a part of that, it’s like … lyrically sparring with these same people in the studio. You’re gonna automatically write better, you’re gonna automatically flow better because of who you’re indulging in within the sport that you’re both participating in, and it’s elevating your game, whether it’s producing or writing a rhyme. This is what you’re rubbing elbows with.

Wu-International: You single “Cali Sun” was something fans considered to be slightly different from the typical MK sound, what or how do you respond to this?
Masta Killa: “What sound is the Masta Killa sound?” I would say?

Wu-International:  Well, this one was more like the West Coast sound?
Masta Killa: But what I’m saying is ”What sound is the Masta Killa Sound?”

Wu-International: Well, let’s say most fans would expect a more Wu orientated sound when they listen to a Masta Killa album, no?
Masta Killa: Now, if you can hear which way a Masta Killa is coming ... would he be a Masta Killa? Or would you have to appreciate the sound that he’s bringing? Because the question is “Was the music Killa?” (laughs) Because to kill something is to simply do it to perfection, whatever that is, that’s why people say “He killed it!” What they did, they did it to perfection. Whatever style of music that may be ... did he kill it? Then that was a masterpiece.

Wu-international: The album version on your album features Kurupt. How did this collabo come about? When it appeared on Youtube, that didn’t have Kurupt on it?
Masta Killa: Riiight, the first version of that had actually two different cuts from the album that I just wanted to once again give the fans, something for them to see, without giving them everything, you know?

Masta Killa Wu-Tang Clan

Wu-International:
A Little taste?

Masta killa: Yeah, a little taste! Just a few things, letting them know that things is cooking, I got things in the pot and the food is almost ready (laughs) That’s all that was. And then bringing it back with the one you saw with Kurupt already, was just to fortified let you know: “It’s serious, it’s almost ready.”

Wu-International: That one was the full dish then?

Masta Killa: Yeah (laughs) Here it is


Wu-International: The title “selling my soul” could be , let’s say, misinterpreted as I have read in places it is you having a go at commercial music and not your usual sound, can you please explain to the fans why you have called the album “ Selling my soul”?
Masta Killa: “ Selling my soul”, I know that most people will perceive it maybe as something negative but in actuality when you create something of yourself, when you put that energy into it, it’s a part of the soul, of the inner-self. And we are in this business of ... money ! (laughs) So you know, we’re selling a part of us every time with every rhyme, every rhyme that I’ve written is a part of me, a part of the soul, a part of my creativity. I mean: anything that is an expression of you, you know. RZA’s new movie: that’s an expression of something he always wanted to do. It’s a part of his internal self, a part of his soul because that is something he always wanted in effect, on that type of scale. So you know, that’s a part of his soul. But the title, I know people don’t really understand sometimes or misinterpret?

Wu-International: Would you like to work more with other MCs outside of Wu and NY, and if so who would you like to work with in future?
Masta Killa: I’m a fan of music, so for me to say exactly who at this moment ? There’s so many names I could name and so many names I would forget. But with being in a large family like the Wu Tang family, there’s not really very many people in the music industry that my family didn’t have direct contact with and worked with in the business. There’s so many of us that had branches that touched a Mary J, that touched a Biggie , many different artists . There’s so many artists that, you know, so I enjoyed all of that ! But it’s just music and creativity never ends. There’s so much more still to do all of these years. I’ve known Kurupt for years, it’s something that we were supposed to do then, but being able to still live out and manifest visions you might have had years ago, once again, shows the endlessness of being creative.

Wu-International: True, you usually had your son as well as other younger mcs featured on your projects, this is a unique feature that seems missing from “ Selling my soul” , any reason why and will this be something you will add to “Loyalty is royalty”?
Masta Killa: Yes, yes, I definitely will, I tried to get him on this one but certain things didn’t go as planned. I always love working with my son you know. I can’t wait till he takes it more serious.

Wu-International: Speaking of your son, what’s his MC name, as we know him as Jamiel Arief junior, or young Jamiel Arief, are there any other names he goes by?
Masta Killa: No, his name is Shamel: S-H-A. that’s his name. (laughs) I never heard him say anything else on the microphone on the little songs that he has done so that is the only name that I know he goes by.

Wu-International: Seems most clan member’s children are involved in music, and rightfully so, GZA, Ghost, Meth, U-God and you, what plans or vision do you have for your son as far as the music industry goes?
Masta Killa: Well, my vision might not necessarily be my son’s vision. When you’re planting a seed and you’re nurturing it, you can only strive that it will receive the blessing that you’re giving it and that it will be able to express it to its highest form, that will not necessarily lead out to your vision because also children living in these days and times, where they have a lot of influences from a lot of different other ... you know outside things that children of today are influenced by. So, the path is always here, he loves music, he does it but how serious he will take it? Only time will tell, my studio is always open, and i know he does his thing on his own so, we’ll see.

Wu-International: Wu-Tang is forever, and it seems your sons will carry on this tradition and legacy as well as its affiliates. RZA has a lot of protégé’s and students under him, same for Ghost, Rae and almost every member from the clan except for you it seems, is there anyone or even groups other than your son that you have your eyes on or mentor and looking to present to the world sometime soon?
Masta Killa:  Well, talent is endless in the world, especially where I come from: Brooklyn, New York. And I know many talented people and everyone basically has their own vision of how they want to express their talent. If our work, between the both of us, brings us to a point where we meet in our careers and someone and then help them, maybe achieve or lead to a certain level or place where they felt that it would be more successful for them, and they feel that I played a part in that and helped them? Then that’s a blessing but to me there’s still so much to do within my own career and my own family that that is my first focus. We spoke about my son, that’s always my focus, you know what I mean? I know countless talented people, so you know...

Wu-International:  Speaking of talented people, in a recent interview Sean Price said he had worked on a track with you. Is this to be used for “Loyalty is royalty” or is that still to be decided?
Masta Killa: Yeah, yeah. Me and Sean P, we definitely threw down some work for a joint but like I said, it’s like a ball of clay. Where I’m going to place it, you’re going to have to wait to see what pot of soup that I’ll be serving today (laughs).

Wu-International: Well, I had to try (laughs). I was going to ask if you could share with us any other features you have for “Loyalty is royalty” but I guess it’s back to the clay thing then ?
Masta Killa: 
(laughs out loud) You’ll know what’s on the menu in time !!! But hopefully you won’t be disappointed with any meals that I serve.

Wu-International: Apart from yourself, Mathematics, Deck and PF Cuttin there are some lesser known beatmakers to be discovered such as Blackinati, Mediate Soul and Koolade. How did you chose these producers?
Masta Killa:  Those were people I was affiliated with at one point or another in my career, during my times of travel and 9th Wonder also played a part on this album.

Wu-International:  Yes, true. I missed that one.
Masta Killa: 
Yeah, so you know, people I worked with through the course of time.

Wu-International: The new album is presented in different packages: CD, CD + LP, deluxe box set,... We saw the same approach for RZA’s movie score and soundtrack. Was this your idea or a label decision?
Masta Killa: No, this was what I’ve been putting together, one of the things that I’ve been working on, shaping and moulding and now it’s being presented. It’s part of the visison.
 

Wu-International: With those extra packages and digital dl bonuses on that card, most die hard MK fans would already have all your albums, popular consensus suggest that the fans would have preferred say the instrumentals of your previous albums as bonuses, is this something you would consider doing maybe sometime soon or in future? 

Inspectah Deck: I definitely thought about that, that’s definitely a thought.
Masta Killa of the wu-tang clan

Wu-International: So maybe in the near future?
Masta Killa: Yeah, that’s definitely a thought, definitely. I just would like to hit you with a few more pots of soup before I give you that dish.

Wu-International: Some say offering these type of deluxe packages like yours, and the RZA score box set and Rae’s Getondown box set , a lot of things like that are happening and some say?
Masta Killa: Excuse me, pardon, but doesn’t GZA have a box set that he just did also, with the chess pieces or something like that?

Wu-International: Yes, yes, off course and there’s the ODB one with the wallet. So we’ve got quite a few this year. Some say is a necessary evolution to attract more sales again in this age of downloads. What do you think of this?
Masta Killa:  I think that the world is experiencing definitely times where things might be a little bit more important to buy at the moment than an album. It could be natural occurrences but it depends on how it effects your life you know ? You might have to go buy a generator, so thinking about how the world is and the climate of everything in these days, to give someone a little bit more is saying a little bit more than an album anyway, it’s just giving a little bit back. That’s how I see it.

Wu-International:  Well, for Wu collectors these are expensive days but also great days with all these special sets coming out. How are the pre-orders going for the album, are you happy with the numbers?
Masta Killa: I don’t really get caught up in the numbers, it’s a thought of creativity that I’ve seen come to birth. You know like RZA’s film: whether 10 people went out to see “Man with the Iron Fists” or 10,000 ... it’s the thought that was brought into existence from a thought! So seeing my creativity come to life I’m always pleased with that. Numbers will come as time moves on but you have to first do something before you see something . I see my work come to life and I’m very pleased with that.

Wu-International:  Speaking of the RZA soundtrack, the entire Clan was at least once on the album. You were on the clan cut “6 directions of boxing”. It had been a while since we had a real clan track. What was it like working on a clan track again and how did it all come about?
Masta Killa: You know ... it came about by just saying “This is what’s happening, this is what’s going down”. Who’s not going to want to be a part of what you are already a part of?

Wu-International: So you were excited to work on a Clan track again, I bet?
Masta Killa: 
I’m always excited, like I said I love working with my brothers, off course.

Wu-International: Yeah, and it had been a while. Were you all in the studio together to record this song?
Masta Killa: Some of us, at some point in time, yeah, some of us. I went by myself.

Wu-International: The last Clan album had to deal with a lot of inner circle criticism afterwards, something you did not get involved with. What do you think it will take to avoid this type of situation with a possible new Clan album?
Masta Killa: A situation as far as what?

 Wu-International:  Well, where you had Raekwon and Ghostface for instance saying they didn’t like the production when the album came out. There was some commotion when it came out.
Masta Killa: Well, I can’t really speak for how Rae and Ghost were feeling about a particular song or track. Sometimes not everybody likes the same thing. Sometimes things can be before its time or before your time and then when you go back and listen to it you’re like “Daaaaamn, I should have been on that ! But I didn’t hear then, what I hear now?” you know ? Sometimes when a person is being creative, and RZA is far more creative musically now then the days when he was just programming things on the ASR. You’re talking about someone who’s grown from the SP or AS to just playing every instrument, you know?

Wu-International: Yes, he’s less limited now
Masta Killa: Yeah! So when a person is experimenting with that type of creativity of music, automatically their shit is going to get more crazy and on a different level of music. Now you might be looking for that ASR sound, what you were expecting when coming into the studio, and he probably got billions of those ! But his knowledge of where music was maybe going or sonically where we maybe should have been, was just his vision of how he saw it. That’s how I look at it, him being the producer of all the albums in the beginning that was successful, I’m always going to go with that bet before I go with anything, you know.

Wu-international: Yeah, well I’ve always enjoyed that album and never really understood what the complaints were about. It had indeed a different sound but I still love the album.
Masta Killa: Right! That’s the same thing with “Selling my soul”. That’s why I said: “What is the MK sound?” Cause you weren’t looking for “ 8 Diagrams” to sound like that because you’re thinking about the RZA. But what is RZA’s sound when creativity is endless? So how can you box a Masta Killa sound into a Wu-Tang sound when I’m always being creatively stimulated by things of the past of things present or things that I’ve brought into existence myself? So, you can’t box anything in, you have to see the growth and development of it. Either you can appreciate it at the time, maybe you can’t . Maybe it can take 10 years for you to catch up, you know ?

Wu-International: It’s been 20 years pretty soon since “36 Chambers” changed hip hop and your lives. How does that make you feel realizing it’s almost been 20 years?
Masta killa: It’s like “Maaaaan, the time went by so faaaaast”. (laughs) “Daaaaaamn !!!”

Wu-International: “We are getting oooold !” (laughs)
Masta Killa:  Nah, “I’m getting better !” (laughs) So, you know, it’s just, the time went by so quick, before you know it. It’s been a lot of work within that time, but there’s still a lot to do so hopefully we’ll be blessed to keep doing it.

Wu-International: Yes, fingers crossed, they do say “Time flies when you’re having fun”. What period would you say was the most fun during those 20 years, and why?
Masta Killa: (laughs) Maaaan, the whole ride is fun and the ride still ain’t over ! Whether you’re on the bus and the bus is crowded with everybody ? Or you might be on the bus by yourself at this point, but the bus is still moving.

Wu-International: And you’re still on it.
Masta Killa: And I’m still riding so it’s still fun .

Wu-International: That’s good to hear. Now there’s fun times and there’s worse times. I can imagine the death of ODB must have been one of the worst periods in those 20 years. How would you say ODB’s passing has impacted on the Clan and hip-hop in general? 
Masta Killa: We lost many, I love my brother. Ason Unique, Ol’ Dirty, but we lost many great people in hip-hop. Whenever you loose anybody from a community that everyone is familiar with, with their creativity and what they’ve given to the world, they are gonna be missed dearly because you appreciated it when they were expressing it. Group wise or personally, that’s just something that was before his time and can never be replaced as far as a group. Like the Temptations, they are still doing it? I think they are still performing and everything, right?

Wu-International:  Yeah, could be, but I’m not sure
Masta Killa: Yeah, probably so. Well, how can you get like another Temptations ? There can never be another Ol' Dirty like to come in and fill his space in the group. Now his son, he’s talented , he’s doing some things himself, Young Dirty so you are always going to see an expression but Dirty himself will be missed from here to eternity.

Wu-International: You have a song with ODB on your new album called “Dirty Soul”. When was this song recorded? 
Masta Killa: I had a tribute, a tribute. I was thinking about different soulful artists that affected my creativity or how I enjoyed music over the years. And when you think about soulful people, it’s impossible to think about soul and not think about Ol’ Dirty ! He was like the soul of the Wu. I was just thinking and reflecting, I just actually said one of his rhymes. Because the beat that I was reflecting on, was something to me that he would have rhymed on. So I said one of his rhymes and that’s something that Dirty would do, you know what I’m saying ? (laughs) He might say the rhyme on two different people’s albums (laughs).  

Masta Killa

Wu-International: Yeah, he believed in recycling?


Masta Killa: Yeah, yeah! (laughs).

Wu-International: When looking at the tracklist the song says “featuring ODB”. Are you referring to the rhyme you used from him or is he actually to be heard on the track?


Masta Killa: You might hear something from him on the track, yes..

 Wu-International: Ok, Thanks very much for your time, we are looking forward to your projects as well as future endeavors.


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