|Label:||Deer Studio Records|
|Next Project:||The Horror Flick (Oct '08)|
|Twitter:||Bekay on Twitter|
I know you say you love hip-hop, but do you really? Are you willing to keep rhyming as the bills pile up as high as the rejection letters. Are you willing to chase your dream so hard nothing else matters but beats and rhymes? Few MCs are, but when push comes to shove BeKay shoves right back. The Brooklyn rapper has been on the grind for years and with the release of his album “The Horror Flick” he’s finally seeing daylight. In an interview with DJBooth’s Nathan he talks about the struggles of an artist who refuses to sell out, Olde English’s secret ingredient, and why you should never call him an Eminem wanna-be.
Bekay Interview Transcription
DJBooth: What’s up everyone? This is Nathan from DJBooth.net and with me today is America’s most terrifying MC, BeKay, how you doin man?
BeKay: What’s going on man? I’m chillin, hangin in there. I like that, I like the “most terrifying mc,” I never heard that.
DJBooth: That’s gonna be your new tagline, I want a percent. I’m not greedy, just one percent.
BeKay: I got you, you’ll get your royalty check.
DJBooth: Everyone should be able to figure out where you’re from just by your name, what is it about Brooklyn that produces rappers? Do you guys put something in your water?
BeKay: There’s something in the Olde English. I would say New York City started this, no disrespect to anybody. I wouldn’t say it’s a Brooklyn thing, I guess the BX would get credit for all this madness, but I guess it’s just the way we live, walk, talk and eat. It’s not a rap thing, it’s a hip-hop thing. It’s a culture thing, that’s what got me into it. It’s just a lifestyle. MCin is a certain way to do your thing and express yourself. Some kids do graffiti, some kids DJ, a lot of MCs are bred in Brooklyn. I call it the top of the food chain, we’re on top as far as I’m concerned.
DJBooth: Now comin from Brooklyn you’ve been in the culture a long time, it’s been a long, hard road for you. You’ve got your album comin out called “The Horror Flick” set to drop October 9th on Coalmine Records, are things looking up for you now or is the electric company still threatening to turn off your power?
BeKay: It’s always a grind…I wanted to throw this in there, actually we’ve moved it back the 30th, it’s gonna be a Halloween situation. So we’ve moved back from the 19th to the 30th just to get some things in order.
DJBooth: Keep the suspense building.
BeKay: Right, that’s how we do. Plus, “The Horror Flick”, Halloween, you know what I’m sayin. Sometimes things are rough. This hip-hop stuff, some people do it as a hobby but it’s my life. It’s the way I live, music is my life. When you put yourself out there and you’re in an independent situation it gets tight. People see music videos or what people consider hip-hop now on MTV, and not to sh*t on them, but most artists don’t live like that, don’t get to that plateau so easily. It’s a grind, sometimes you got to sacrifice. It’s funny, I see certain people and they’re like, “yo, you worked with Kayslay and Saigon and Ol Dirty and Wu-Tang and Alchemist, you must be blowin up.” But it’s always a grind and a struggle to follow your dream and to not have that bid budget behind you. But every day’s on the up, I’m just gonna keep pluggin at it and putting out dope music and let the people decide.
DJBooth: One of the songs of the album is called “I’m the Reason.” Let’s extend the metaphor a little bit, what do you think the reason is you’ve struggled to find success in hip-hop.
BeKay: A lot of people don’t get that hip-hop is always gonna be hip-hop, I’m always gonna be here, there’s always gonna be kids in my neighborhood listenin to what I do and seein whatever and livin a certain life, but to make it in the industry it’s a music business. There’s a business aspect. So the music and the business have to go together. So unfortunately people like me or you who are really into the culture and the music don’t really decide that. There’s some jerkoff sittin behind a desk somewhere who has no experience, but his daddy works at the label so they made him an A&R, which is a talent scout, and they’re leaving this guy to decide who to pick and who to put their money behind. Nowadays it seems a lot easier for a quick one-hit wonder to not care about artistry. I’m the type of dude who’s an artist. If you like what I do you’re gonna like everything I do. I’m gonna have a story to tell and do it my way. When I heard Nas for the first time I was like yo, I like this dude, I’m gonna follow him. After “Illmatic” I was going to buy everything this dude put out ever, and I have. I feel like that’s not around anymore so it’s hard to get to know an artist. Labels aren’t takin chances on stuff like that, they’re looking for a one-hit wonder. It’s been more and more towards that and it’s been a big obstacleto get somebody to believe in just straight raw talent and just do their thing. The label wants to put their money up and get it back, so it’s a lot easier to brainwash people with a corny ass catchy single than it is to put real music out and let the people decide.
DJBooth: You’ve also talked a lot about how being white has affected your career and that’s obviously one of the first things people are gonna think just seeing you without hearing your music. Why do you think labels are hesitant to sign a white rapper?
BeKay: I don’t want to play that card. I’ve said it before, it is part of business, but I’m a MC. I don’t consider myself a white MC or a black MC or a Puerto Rican MC, but sometimes this business forces it on you. People have said it so much that I’ll say it, I’ll be like, “I’m your favorite white rapper,” just to throw that sh*t in your face. It’s so against everything I would think about. Hip-hop breaks lines, we ain’t even supposed to be thinking about white/black, we’re all the same in my opinon, but when you’re dealin with business and they throw it in your face I like to throw it right back at em. Yeah I’m a white boy, I’m the nicest white boy you ever met. I feel like from a business aspect, from what I’ve heard and I’ve been around the block a little, had a lot of interest from big labels, they just don’t have the balls to put money behind a white artist like that. It’s very comparable to Slim Shady, he did something that was remarkable and to follow that in the mainstream, and have that same kind of genre, is something they don’t want to risk. I think they’re just straight pu**ies to be honest with you, but what can you do? A dude like Bubba Sparxx or Paul Wall is a different story because it’s not really comparable. I’m not taking anything away from those guys, I’m not too crazy about their music, but their not lyricists like that. Bubba does his thing on a certain level, but Paul Wall, those dudes do a different kind of music. It’s not comparable to Slim Shady type of stuff with more lyrical MCs, which is the category I fall into. So it’s easy for them to amost stereotype and say, “this guys like this guy.” They’re just pu**ies, it’s the stupidest thing in the world. Even to be compared to one of the greatest artists, you got to be stupid to not see that history repeats itself in every genre of music. You’re gonna have the New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys, they both sold millions of records seven or ten years apart.
DJBooth: My theory is that hip-hop has Vanilla Ice post-traumatic stress disorder. Like people who were in Vietnam hear a car backfire and they dive under the bushes, people who were around for Vanilla Ice see someone who’s white and they’re ducking because they’re so scared of that happening again. It’s unfortunate because dope lyricists get passed by in the process too.
BeKay: I agree with you, but on the same token if I’m joe talent scout at a label and my job is to find talent, the jerkoff who signed Vanilla Ice, which was cute to make some money but obviously the dude’s not a real hip-hop lyricist, if you have a job at a label and you’re labels finding hip-hop talent you should be able to decipher between a Vanilla Ice and a BeKay. That’s my opinion. It is what it is so we still have our niche and our culture, we’re always gonna be here, so sooner or later that wall’s gonna break down.
DJBooth: When you’re not busy breaking down doors you got a lot of other projects. You’re dropping “The Horror Flick”, I think you’re filming a reality tv show about you’re career, you even have another album in the pipeline called “Hunger Pains”. Give us a little preview of “Hunger Pains”.
BeKay: “Hunger Pains” is just about finished already. It’s a project I’ve been working on Coalmine with for a minute, and a lot of loyal fans of mine have been really breakin my balls about it. People are waiting because we were supposed to drop it a year ago, sometimes things come up in between, and we wanted to change some things on the album and the situation popped up with Rawkus and “The Horror Flick”, things kept getting pushed back. But the album is done, “Hunger Pains” is bangin, it’s probably the best work I ever did. It’s a bangin hip-hop album, it’s gonna bring back that gritty east coast boom-bap lyricism. I got great production on there from Illmind, Marco Polo, The Alchemist, I got features from my people Wordsworth and Masta Ace, it was great working with Ace he’s the man and a straight up inspiration to me. I got Saigon on there, Inspectah Deck, R.A. the Rugged Man. The music is hot and I want to get it out there and see how it’s received. We don’t have a definite date yet but it’s the first or second quarter of 2008 through Coalmine. Be on the lookout for “Hunger Pains”, that is definitely the best album I’ve ever put together.
DJBooth: That’s a hell of a recomendation.
BeKay: I hopin for the best with it. You can’t like hip-hop and listen to that and not like it. I’m excited to see what people think about it.
DJBooth: It’s good to see you building. At what point will you be able to stop and take a deep breath and say this is success, this is what I was looking for. What point are you tryin to reach?
BeKay: It’s funny cause I see people who know what I’ve been tryin to do, and followed me over the years, and they think I made it but I feel no where near that. I have a high standard of what I consider being able to sit back and say look what I did. I’m proud of the work I’ve done, I’m grateful I’ve got to work with a lot of people, I’ve worked my ass off in this business to even put myself in this position, but it’s nowhere near where I want to be at. Besides the fact that I love hip-hop and I love the culture and I’ll always make good music, I want I tall. I want to be up there with these other dudes, if they can do it and we got so much more to offer, me and a million people I know, somebody’s got to break through. I want to be that dude to break the line between what’s considered underground music and commercial music. In my opinion commercial music doesn’t have to suck and it doesn’t have to be a club song, it has to be be music that people can relate to and is felt universally. Back in the day Wu-Tang’s first album was blasted all over the radio that was considered a commercial joint. That was gritty east coast hip-hop music. I couldn’t put an exact moment on it, I’d like to sell a million records.
DJBooth: That’s a place to start.
BeKay: Not only for the money but I want to reach those ears. When I get to the point where I can reach the ears that all those other dudes can and do what I love to do and get by off of it healthy, I guess I’ll be happy with that.
DJBooth: Well DJBooth will definitely be looking out for you and your meteoric rise. Why don’t you hit people up with a website or a MySpace so they can find out more about you and your music.
BeKay: Check me out at www.myspace.com/bekay, you can check the label site also, that’s www.coalminerecords.com, and go cop the “The Horror Flick LP.” You can get advance copies right now on Coalmine Records, or you can get em at CD Baby, we got some advance copies there before it drops in October. You can get the album now, a bunch of people already got em, we’re starting to get the buzz out. That should hold you over till “Hunger Pains”. I also got a mixtape with DJ Sicamore comin out around New Years. Check out my MySpace page and hit me up, producers, collabos, I’m here.
DJBooth: That’s what it is. BeKay I appreciate you takin the time.
DJBooth: I appreciate you havin me. Later.