Because the average person who grew up after the 1970s and ’80s had no idea what they were. When they heard a rap song, they thought it was an interesting sound, like, “Wow, this is cool,” or “I wonder if that means what I think it means.” It wasn’t really a concept album; there wasn’t a concept of rap.
But I think rappers can come back to that today, and they just need to not just rehash the past, and start with what we did right to begin with: what makes rappers such unique, unique music.
Do you think the hip hop world has been too quick to give up on the underground?
It has to be said that we had it good in some respects. There’s a lot of artists who just want an opportunity with the big corporations and they didn’t want to mess with anybody’s rights that wasn’t theirs. There was just something about that. But I think, for a lot of the fans who go to the clubs, they should’ve taken an opportunity and went to a show in the back door when you can. I think it would have helped get the word out that these acts were there, and they weren’t some kind of rock stars, or some kind of white boy-band on Saturday Night Live. And I think it would have helped bring that excitement that I was after.
Do you agree with that?
I do, it’s very true that people weren’t talking about us back then. But I think what helped us was that we had a very distinct sound – different from anything you heard on the radio or seen on TV – that wasn’t just one thing. It was something special.
It’s an extremely difficult thing to talk about – “What’s the difference between Tupac and the Clash?” – but, for me, the difference is that we were writing the music of the time that they had been writing the music of. And if you look at their music, what they tried to do was put something on the table. But the way Tupac’s music was made, what they did with the way that they came up with the beats, they didn’t try to do something new. They just tried to do something old and new at the same time. So I think that’s the most important thing. It is the difference between us. Those records were made before we was born. So if you look at our records when we was just a baby in the music business,
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