By Del F. CowieYou've said there were some similarities in different cultures in terms of trying to make a living, but were there any striking differences you noticed while working on this record? Sure. I mean it could be negative at the same time. I mean the [Wu Tang Culture interlude] that I put out before the RZA track was the homeboy Sean Prominent. He has a following with little nerdy kids. Like that guy's not really Wu, but he's like the second cousin of this person or this person of Shaolin. It's really become like this Dungeons and Dragons of nerdy culture. Where there's a deepness to it, where people study it. Where there's literature that comes out about it, y'know. It's just to show cultures aren't just black white, Asian, there's all this.
How did you hook up RZA? Well I was blessed to work with this guy Che Vicious on this record, he's the producer. And he's an Aftermath producer. He produced a lot of tracks on The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, which in itself was a dream come true for me 'cos when you're a kid listening to those records you never think you're gonna one day work with that producer. So it was through Che. RZA was coming through the studio, he played him some of my stuff and asked him if he would be interested in jumping on. And he said "Yeah." Yeah, man and that's basically how it happened. It was great meeting him it was great working with him. I worked with him on more than one song. What's the name of the Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist?
Flea? John –
Oh, John Frusciante. He just released a record where I'm on a track with RZA and myself and Baretta 9 from Killa Army. 'Cos it was just in LA we were ciphering right and at John Frusciante's house and that came to be. So it was just stories from behind the scenes of the time that I was working in L.A.
You say this kind of matter-of-factly. How did you get to L.A. in the first place to actualize these collaborations? You know me, I move because I have to move. I move where the hustle is. Well, I was touring Canadian high schools at the time and I got a call from Che. He had seen [the] "Return of the B-Girl" [video] and he's like "I think you're mad talented and I like this song as a whole record." He's like "I just think that with the right beats we could position you to blow it up." You just haven't hit the right hit beat in his mind yet. So he's like, "Well I just got into Detroit working on Eminem's record" and I'm like "Woah, hold the phone!" Next thing you know, I'm on a bus on my way down to Detroit and I see him. And he's like well, especially any female artist, [you must] be determined to jump on a bus, like right now. And I'm like "Well, I want to talk business." It's better for me in person and as an artist. And he's like "OK, well, I'm going back to Arizona to my studio there. We'll go there. If we like you we'll take you to L.A. and we'll do it." So I went to Phoenix, this is almost three years ago. I threw down on "Warriors Tongue," when he played me the beat ― it was a beat for Nas ― and I was like at least let me demo something for you on that beat. He's like "Alright." Demoed something, he's like "OK, this girl can rap" and we went to L.A. [laughs].
So this is pretty good fortune for you, but you had to be willing to take the opportunity. Willing to take the opportunity and also be putting out enough catalogue there in the world for people to see. If I had never made "The Return of the B-girl" or made that video that would catch the eye, then there would be no opportunity. It could be like 60 records later and finally 61 is the one that catches somebody you know, you never know.
I will be asking about some tracks that are on the album, but there's one that isn't and that was "Soldier" featuring Talib Kweli. I didn't include some of them on the record, the one with Kweli and as well "Everybody Get Up" which has the Game and Pharrell on it. And that was because I didn't want to step on anyone's toes. If I knew I was going to make a bootleg record, a bootleg culture record and put everything out there, I had to be careful. Because my business ways may not be Kweli's business ways you know what I mean. So I was very careful for anything that I put on sale in the business model that I'm choosing to go on.
Because of the fact you were going to give it away? Yeah and you don't want to piss off somebody ― I mean I guess you can give it away anyway but I'm not making any commerce from it. I'm not using it to my own personal benefit you know, for monetary gain.