As we prepare for the Chess Move Cartel to release their first musical offering “Furious Jabz”, Weezy catches up with Jabbathakut and Shadowstar Boxing for a brand new interview.
First off, why not introduce yourselves to the people?
SB: Shadowstar Boxer from Durham, North Carolina, USA, representing Shadowstar Boxing Academy. Thanks for checking us out.
MC: Hello, I am Charles A Boyd III, aka MC Oneline, member of Shadowstar Boxing Academy.
J: Wassup peeps, my name is DJ Jabbathakut, owner of Infekshus Records.
How did you all get to be where you are today?
MC: Through word of mouth and the handing out of CDs by Shadowstar, and through my own networking. I originally got involved just to promote Shadowstar, and now I’m doing this interview.
J: I got into this music ting about 22 years ago when I was like 13 years old. My big brother was going to London buying all the latest old school/independent hip hop, and when he got home I’d be digging through his bag and getting the wax on the hi-fi turntable! Then over the years we got a set of decks and other equipment, and I just practiced and practiced for like six hours a day to get to the level I am at now. When I went to hip hop nights around town to watch people like Mr Thing, First Rate, Caveman, Outlaw Posse, Killa Instinct, Son of Noise, Blade and 3PM I’d be mainly checkin’ the DJ’s cuttin’ skills out, and I wanted to be up there myself. Now I am.
SB: I dreamt of getting this far, but I also dreamt of having people that I trust to help me move forward. Looks like that is exactly what’s happening.
What is your first memory of hip hop? And how does this memory inspire your work today?
SB: My first memory of hip hop… five years old, sitting in my cousin Monica’s bedroom drawing the Ninja Turtle Michelangelo and listening to Public Enemy’s Burn Hollywood Burn. This specific memory makes me want to be an immortal name in hip hop. Public Enemy is an immortal name, so Shadowstar Boxing Academy can be immortal.
MC: When Discoking Mario of the Bronx used to bring his equipment out to the park and play music for unity of the community. This memory keeps me in line when writing lyrics, because that’s where it all started.
J: Hmm, I’d have to say listening to an Eazy-E album on my Walkman late one night in bed and thinking, ‘damn this is mad hardcore lyrics!’ It made me fall in love with the hardcore independent hip hop side of music, and that’s why a lot of my production is straight boom bap for ya listening pleasure – no sugar coated stuff goin’ on in my lab!
Do you have any other influences?
J: Mr Thing, who has become a good friend of mine; watching him play out when he was relatively unknown but still sick on the decks made me decide I wanted the respect he was getting for bussin’ that shit!
MC: Rakim, Common, Brand Nubian, Guru, Run-DMC and Doug E Fresh.
SB: J Dilla, Wu-Tang, Rakim, Pete Rock, Black Star and Busta Rhymes were my greatest influences growing up in a household that didn’t allow hip hop. Honestly, until a few years ago I didn’t realise that J Dilla was behind so much of the music I loved.
Nas said hip hop is dead. I’m inclined to disagree with him on that one. What are your own opinions? Is it dead or just evolving? And if it’s the former, can it be resurrected? If it’s the latter, do you see positive or negative change?
SB: Hip hop is not dead. It is always evolving, but it also keeps up with all age groups now. The changes in hip hop have created a great division between the commercial market stuff and the raw, artist-driven ‘underground’. If there can be more unity of thought and not so much booty/gangster rap drilled into people, hip hop can become a lot stronger than it is now.
J: No, hip hop is definitely not dead, although I think the independent side of it is much harder to come by and harder to maintain. However, if you put in the work you will reap the rewards; people will soon get fed up of all the pop hip hop out there and then that will boost the indie side of the scene once again I think.
MC: Hip hop still lives in the avenues that refuse to give in to the wackness practice. There are many great hip hop artists out there, and many are still being found. Stay tuned!
How is Chess Move Cartel looking to change the state of play? And how are you guys involved in this mission?
J: Chess Move Cartel is not just a hip hop group – we are a business in this industry as well, working with a lot of the top artists out there right now, so our musical product will be top notch every time. We are very professional artists looking to spread the word worldwide and collaborate with the best of the best to push ourselves to the limit.
MC: Yeah, we are going to change the state of play by staying original and staying connected to real hip hop. Our role in this mission was determined by Chess Move after checking us out. They liked our sound and saw us evolving as new artists; our lyrical word play is much different to other artists.
SB: Chess Move Cartel is bridging the gap between what’s real and what’s popular by making real music popular. I think I’m helping by working sincerely and being true to my own image.
Your first CMC album is about to drop. Tell us more.
SB: Furious Jabz is our first CMC album and it’s produced by DJ Jabbathakut. We loved every minute of making this album and look forward to delivering more material. The album has something for everyone so we hope that everyone will listen.
J: Yeah, I did all the production and scratches on Furious Jabz. Shadowstar Boxing Academy are two very exciting MCs, and their flows just fitted perfectly over my boom bap, string-filled beats. The end product? Well, let’s just say we’re very, very happy with the result!
Are you working on any other ideas at present?
J: Yeah there’s quite a lot of stuff in the pipeline as us Chess Move artists like to work alongside each other and push each other’s products as much as we can. I will be making beats and doing cuts for many artists, so keep ya eyes peeled!
What position do you want to be in by the end of 2011?
SB: By the end of 2011 I want to have many more songs finished and shared with the world, and I want to be in the UK making and performing great hip hop. Seems like we get a lot of love from there, so it’s only right that we visit!
MC: Yeah, and we want to be in a position to help others by way of preserving hip hop in all forms.
J: I’d love us as a family unit at Chess Move Cartel to be recognised worldwide for our ability to push the best hip hop to the masses; we are here for the long run to bring that goodness to the people!
Finally, why should the world be tuning in to the Chess Move Cartel?
MC: The world should be tuning in to Chess Move Cartel because it is the next big movement in hip hop!
SB: Everyone will listen to Chess Move Cartel. The network is growing and a lot of people will help CMC reach the top of the food chain.