The Interview: MC Shan Part 1

June 4, 2007 at 7:32 am | Posted in Found At Other Sites | Leave a comment

 Derek Phifer

MC Shan’s been bangin’ out hits since 1983, the birth year of yours truly, and is still going strong 23 years later. In a time that’s plagued by increasing unoriginality and questionable lyrical content, one of hip-hop’s most respected veterans has reemerged to try and right the ship and repay his debt to the game. I recently caught up with MC Shan while he was rehearsing some music for an upcoming show. In part 1 of this 2-part feature, the Queens Bridge native sat down to talk about his new album, how he got discovered, what’s killing Hip-Hop right now and much, much more.

HHNLIVE: So what’s good man?

MC Shan: Nothing much, about to make my neighbors sick of me, because I’m practicing some show shit and doing some new songs. I got the screen door open and I’m blasting music.

HHNLIVE: So you live out in Georgia now?

MC Shan: Yea I’ve been living out in Georgia. I’m chasing the money.

HHNLIVE: Everybody tells me that they’re heading out to Georgia to do their thing. What’s going on out there?

MC Shan: Cheaper prices man. You can get 2 houses for what you pay up there (NY). I could have 2 houses down here, cars, and everything. They’re giving stuff away down here.

HHNLIVE: The last song I heard you on was Nas’ “Where are they now 80’s remix.” Did ya’ll ever make a video for that joint?

MC Shan: Nah how it had happened was Rip from Core DJ’s got in touch with me and said they were putting together an old school thing and could I do my verse and send it in. So I just sent in my vocals mixed down and they just put it in there. I’m happy with it. I have a problem with being on old school stuff. I got a bunch of new things. I’m getting ready to drop my new album in a few months you know what I’m saying.

HHNLIVE: What’s that joint going to be called?

MC Shan: You Love To Hear The Story…The Last Emcee Standing. It’s all new stuff. Even after Marley and KRS drop their album there’s probably going to be some people that think “what’s wrong with Marley doing an album with Shan, he did it with KRS?” Well I’m coming out with my own joint too.

HHNLIVE: Yea, I wanted to ask you about that joint they got coming out called “Hip Hop Is Alive.” What do you think about that? How do you think it’s going to be received by the public?

MC Shan: I don’t know. It’s probably going to be received like yo, what the hell is that about?

HHNLIVE: So what else are you up to right now?

MC Shan: Yea, I’m just practicing some of these tracks. I already know them, but I smoke madd cigarettes and madd blunts, so every now and then I got to clear out my lungs.

HHNLIVE: I read somewhere that you got discovered while trying to break into someone’s car. Is that true?

MC Shan: Fly Todd, but that’s some shit from back in the day. I used to rob cars and stuff before I got into hip hop. I used to be stealing and all kinds of crap, but Todd gave me a shot and that’s what that was. So now I owe somebody, so I’m trying to put on some new people you know what I’m saying, because I owe the debt. Pimp Chu, Jonelle from up in Albany, my man Pistol Pete from down here in Georgia, my Hillside click, because that’s who I’m rolling with down here in GA. Not that I gave up on NY, but I’m multi-state you know what I’m saying, as well as international.

HHNLIVE: A lot of people agree that there’s a problem with hip-hop right now. What do you think is killing it in particular?

MC Shan: It’s not killing it. It’s the one’s that have the power to put out whatever, they’re putting out certain things, but then again you got to look at a lot of this stuff is coming from the underground. Underground cats are putting out their mixtapes and their blowing up. It’s like the industry isn’t in control of what’s happening anymore. It’s not even about that. People are selling madd CDs and songs on the internet and all that. So it’s just like that the powers that be aren’t putting on any of these other cats, so the underground scene it’s like people don’t even care anymore. Fuck making a record for the radio station. Back in the day they used to pay your ass when you did shows for them. Now you’re doing shows because they’re spinning your record.

HHNLIVE: Do you agree that New York rap lost its swagger?

MC Shan: Well it hasn’t lost its swagger. It’s just like everything has a rotation and a turn. People shouldn’t be mad because the south wants to dance and New York music makes you want to be killing and selling drugs. People want to party again. If you asked me a track that’s going on in New York right now, I wouldn’t know because they don’t play any of that down here. They’re too busy partying. The funny thing about it is that down here you can see two thug ass motherfuckas; they’ll walk by and say what’s up. Up in New York niggas grill you. Everywhere rolls different, but in New York we’re all aggressive.

HHNLIVE: That’s one thing that I definitely noticed when I was in school down south. It’s definitely a better environment than it is up here in New York. In New York when you go to the club everyone wants to stand around looking good and nobody wants to dance. Down south, the girls show up looking fine as hell, but leave the club looking a like a hot mess because they were doing they’re thing all night.

MC Shan: All night long. It’s just a difference. It’s like I said, everything’s changing. There’s nothing wrong with it. Either you get on with it and if you’ve got a complaint about niggas doing all that gun shooting shit, then do some different shit and put it out. There’s nothing to complain about. Don’t knock a niggas hustle. That’s for those who want to knock a nigga hustle. You can’t get mad at them cats yo. They’re getting their bread. That’s called hating. That word hate was only made so that niggas wouldn’t talk about them, but I don’t study men, so I couldn’t give a fuck about them. I say fuck ya’ll and up my game. QB is where I’m from, nigga what’s my name?

HHNLIVE: I noticed that the generation of rappers that came up in the 90’s, after you guys, did a great job of taking it from the rappers in the 80’s and advancing it a little bit. Who do you think is going to be able to carry that for New York?

MC Shan: I don’t know, because right now what I see is that everybody follows a trend. If you got somebody trying to come out being original, it’s like nah fuck that. Everybody wants to follow. So I have people telling me that niggas in New York are riding around in Caprices with 20’s. We would never ride around in no fucking cop cars, fuck out of here. I be looking around down here like damn, you motherfuckas like looking like police and shit. In New York niggas is getting up on that. So it’s like somebody got to step up and lead or everybody’s just going to be Indians.

HHNLIVE: Do you think that guy that can take the lead for NY, after artists like Jay-Z and Nas put the mic down, is out right now?

MC Shan: Man there’s always going to be somebody to step in line. I don’t know who it is, I couldn’t predict it, I couldn’t talk about it, but it’s like asking me a trick question. The cops ask you when you’re drunk to say the alphabet backwards. I can’t say the alphabet backwards when I’m sober. Only a drunk motherfucker would try and answer that, so I ain’t even going to answer that one. That one ain’t come yet. I can’t predict it, you can’t predict it. Who it is and who it might be we can’t even talk about. Shit it might be me, you never know.

HHNLIVE: A lot of people are talking about Cam’s interview on 60 Minutes. He said that if he lived next door to a serial killer that he wouldn’t call the police, he’d just move. That was in regards to the whole snitching thing. What do you think about that and do you think that he was the right person to represent hip hop on that stage?

MC Shan: I heard things about that, where he’s not a good representative. Shit if he said what he wanted to say they’d probably arrest him. He probably wanted to say that he’d tie that motherfucker up in the basement and whoop him wit rubber hoses and bury him and shit. But you know that you can’t say shit like that, so he said the next best thing. I wouldn’t want to snitch, but sometimes you got to just say fuck it. I probably wouldn’t snitch; I’d do just what I said. Bury that motherfucker. You look at one of my kids funny and I’m going to fuck you up. And if he’s a serial killer, how the fuck is he supposed to know him anyway? If he knew that the fucking Feds should know that. They should leave him alone about that. If Cam knows him you might as well give that nigga the C.I.A. director’s job then. Just looking at it like the devil’s advocate it just starts coming to me. If he knows then everybody else should know. What are you worried about asking him for?

HHNLIVE: I was listening to some old school music a little earlier today and noticed that back then the rhymes focused on proving you were the best lyricist, but now everybody’s trying to prove how gangster they are.

MC Shan: Here we go back to the other thing. Do you have fucking sense? Not saying you, but people in general. If he was doing all this stuff that he was talking about and selling all of these drugs and being on records, don’t you think that he’s telling on himself and he’s going to get caught up eventually? I call it dry snitching. All the shit that niggas hear, you got to look at this. This is an entertainment business alright. A lot of things I say are partial truths, partial fiction that I made up in my mind. Motherfuckas realize that it’s a song. Take it for what it is and that’s it. It’s entertainment. If you want to hear something different, change the radio station, don’t read that interview, and don’t buy that book.


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