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Interview: U-God (Part two)

It’s very difficult not to view Wu-Tang as we all did in 1993. We get caught up in the nostalgia and very easily forget that these are all grown men, some with children who are graduating from college.  With his ‘been there and done that’ T-Shirt almost worn to shreds and in the concluding part of our interview, U-God and I dissert hip hop’s new generation, hip hop’s older generation, the two that got away and U-God, the father. 

In case you missed it, part one of U-God’s interview can be found here.

PN: There is a common feeling that seasoned rappers, such as yourself, are not supportive of change, quite possibly jealous and generally dismissive of anything new in hip hop. Do you think that is fair assessment?
UG: Everybody is though. Those little young niggas are going to think the same way when they are older. You ain’t doing nothing new motherfucker? All that shit you going through, we’ve been though already.

PN: That critique came up a lot after Ice-T made ‘The Art of Rap’…
UG: I was kind of mad about that. I live right down the block from Ice and he didn’t put me in there. I call him my big brother, that’s my big brother. I’m going to do a song with him. I’m going to get him on some hard shit. I’m gonna make that happen.

PN: Do you feel like the younger generation listen to or respect you guys?
UG: That’s the problem with everybody. These young motherfuckers don’t want to listen to their elders. They don’t respect their elders. I get all my shit from the elders. That’s one thing I do. When it’s time to find out some shit I don’t know, who am I going to ask? Those same motherfuckers who have been on the planet longer than me – duh? I did that shit the other day. I was asking somebody, ‘yo man… I can’t find a girlfriend… I’m single…’

PN: You did not ask anyone that.
UG: I did! I was out one day at my little coffee spot and the owner is like an Armenian/Russian type mobster dude. He and his wife are there all the time. I was like, ‘yo, how long have ya’ll been married for?’ He was married for 45yrs! I was like, ‘Jesus Fucking Christ… Erm… how did y’all do that? I really want to know’ and he was like, ‘it takes work, you got to keep it fresh and plus we move a lot’. He moved about five times, like from house to house, to keep it fresh. See, if you ask the elders they tell you. If you stay in the same house, shit gets the same.

PN: So how did that advice work out for you?
UG: I still don’t have a girlfriend… In my beginning stages I was a womaniser.

PN: Isn’t that just what artists do, part of the job so to speak?
UG: Yeah, but it came back and bit me on the ass in a bad way. I lost a good one. Probably like… two good ones.

PN: This is a common story actually…
UG: I lost two good women that I liked. If I could do it all again…

PN: Can’t you just call and be like, ‘hey, remember me?’
UG: no, no… I can’t do that.

PN: Would you get married now?
UG: Yeah and fast. I’m tired of being alone, man. I’m sick of coming home to an empty house. What’s the sense in having all this money and all this fame if you can’t enjoy it with nobody? I mean… I do spend it on my kids and enjoy it with them.

PN: Your son is also an emerging rapper, who goes by the name Intell, what do you think of his music?
UG: My son is an ill story teller. He went to school for movies… film and all that stuff. He’s a story teller and I told him that is his best mark. He needs to do a whole record like that. I don’t want him talking about shooting guns and all that.

PN: He was hit by a stray bullet when he was very young, right?
UG: Yeah that was him. He got shot when he was two years old. He grew up in the projects, but he graduated from high school… then college. He’s a good fucking man and I’m trying to keep him on the good man route. He drinks a little bit, but he doesn’t smoke. He isn’t into all the shenanigans I was into.  He’s at a stage right now where he doesn’t know what to do with himself. I don’t want him to slip into the darkness and go down that road. It’s very easy when you’re idle and black. I’ve got two good boys, the other one is Malik. He’s trying to do football now. They are good boys.

PN: Your sons are a credit to you and you have emphasised your desire to keep them away from some of the things you witnessed or were involved in. However, you’ve also said hip hop is soft now. Which exactly are you trying to perpetuate?
UG: Yeah, because I can tell these kids haven’t really experienced it. The experience we experienced growing up is gone. During the crack era, we experienced a lot. Now it’s completely different and the music is getting like that. It’s getting pop-ish… in order for you to talk about something you have to go through it and live it. These kids aren’t, they’re Xbox kids.

PN: You don’t like J. Cole do you?
UG: No, that’s not true. Who said that?

PN: That’s just the impression I get from reading some of the things you have said about him.
UG: No, what I didn’t like was him trying to identify himself with Nas. It’s too soon and you’re jumping the gun, Dog. That shit gotta grow. I don’t hate nobody. I know how the press word shit. They twist it. I don’t hate J. Cole. You’re just jumping the gun my G, you ain’t nowhere near Nas yet. Don’t let your marketing team or your professional people put you in a position where you’re writing a cheque you can’t cash. I’m looking at him and thinking, ‘no, Dog… I don’t see no Nas, Dog.’ I went and checked that shit! Then Nas came and melted you on your own record. I mean literally melted you. That shit will make your stock go down. Be careful who you’re trying to affiliate yourself with. When I say ‘Keynote Speaker’ is my ‘Illmatic’, I’m not comparing myself to Nas. I’m just saying that is the level.

- Trina John-Charles

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