Cormega: Live and Direct
Story and Interview by Matthew Shack
((( Audio Interview Below )))
"The Quarterback from Queensbridge" is back and with a new album and a live sound.
Ever since the early 1990's, Cormega's journey in the rap game as been controversial as it's been candid.
A true storyteller with a street pedigree that could not be questioned, Mega came straight out the pen after being sentenced for 5 to15 for armed robbery to the recording studio.
What ensued afterward reshaped the world of hip-hop.
After being shouted-out by Nas on "One Love" on the legendary album "Illmatic", Mega was featured on Nas' second LP, "It Was Written" with the likes of Foxy Brown and AZ on "Affirmative Action." The success of that collaboration lead to the creation of the super group "The Firm", Dr. Dre, Trackmasters and Def Jam.
Bad blood between Cormega, Steve Stoute and Nas ended life long friendships, as well as his membership in the group. Alledgedly, Mega had an altercation with his replacement, Nature and his Def Jam debut was shelved indefinitely.
Going back to his 'hustler roots', he went independent with the launch of his own label, Legal Hustle.
Now after a three year hiatus, Cormega's new double disc set "Raw Forever" features a collection of Cormega’s classics as selected by fans and a "partner in crime" disc featuring his live band The Revelations (of Wu-Tang's Chamber Music and Legendary Weapons fame)
TFM: You've been in the game a long time and have a lot of fans that have been waiting to see what you're going to do with this new LP. "Raw Forever".
Cormega: "Raw Forever" is going to an introspective album. It's going to be a best of and double album. One CD is going to be "The Best of Cormega" so you'll hear some of the songs that my fans like and some of my favorite joints like "Verbal Graffiti" and "Dead Man Walking" etc..etc. And then the second CD will be like how MTV does "MTV Unplugged". So the second CD will be me with a live band."
TFM: Now that you've got the live band aspect going on you've worked with some of the top producers in the game from Pete Rock to DJ Premiere, Large Professor, Sha Money XL etc.. What has been the biggest challenge to you recording with a live band in comparison to being in a studio with those top legendary producers?
Cormega: Honestly, there hasn't really been a challenge. The band experience has been great and so on point. The only thing that's a drawback to dealing with a band is it's like a body. If one part of your body isn't functioning, it might affect the overall body [itself]. That's the only difference between a live band and working with a producer. It's the live elements of it.
TFM: With the band "The Revelations" , how many pieces is the band, how much did they actually participate in the actual production and how much was your input in the direction of the music?
Cormega: They found out the direction that I wanted to go and they made it happen. They’re great for that.
TFM: With you being from Queensbridge that history with you guys being so lyrical with all of the people who’ve came out of there. How do you feel your legacy will be in regard to you being a lyricist impacting the new MC's that will be coming out of the Queensbridge area?
Cormega: I don't know because that's not an easy question to answer, because I don't know what they're vibing to. A lot of the youth don't know who Big Daddy Kane is or Kurtis Blow or Kool G. Rap. So they want to be like the guy on the radio who's being played, now. They're looking for that fast come-up so I don't know. I don't know if my music is a building block for them. I don't know that.
TFM: Just recently, Nas gave you a nice shout out on Twitter. How is your relationship with him going and are you guys going to finally put together that collaborative album we've all been waiting for?
Cormega: Shout outs to Nas, too. I think a lot of times people grow up, man. I had some growing up to do and he had some growing up to do. Nas is an incredible artist and I've always respected him as an incredible artist even when we had our differences. Yeah, I understand we're not like Biggie and Pac or Jay-Zand Nas. We knew each other. I knew Nas' mother. God bless her, rest in peace. He knew my aunt and my cousins and I knew his brother so there's a lot of history with us. I think that a lot of times, we were both stubborn. The last time we had a difference we shouldn't have even had a difference. It's good to see that he got past that. At the end of the day, any true hip-hop fan wants me and Nas to do music. I saw the response when Nas came out with Jay-Z when they first squashed their beef, and I saw the response that Nas and me got when I came out at a Nas show when we squashed our beef. And even though I'm not an artist for the caliber of either of those two, the response that we got at his show when I came out was bigger and louder than the response at the other show. And anybody who disagrees with it or disagrees... that's what YouTube is for. [Laughs]
TFM: The beef between him and Jay-Z wasn't has intense because you guys had that friendship. Would you agree with that?
Cormega: Yeah. Me and Nas have always had a friendly rivalry but I think we both were stubborn. We both were stubborn and arrogant and set in our ways. And I was ignorant. You're talking about a guy who came straight from jail to the industry. You can't domesticate a tiger.[Laughing]
((( Audio Interview Below )))