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THE LUNIZ, August 1995

We thought it was mission accomplished after our thorough coverage of the 1995 Source Awards. We headed to Philly that night with the intent of taking care of some business over the next few days when we heard a promo on Power 99 for a Luniz show the next night at the Red Zone. A few calls the next day secured access to the Friday night show and an interview with the Luniz on Saturday. Unfortunately, the show never came off, but we still hooked up with Yuk and Knum at their hotel for a laid-back session.

Do y'all have a lot of problems with promoters? What happened last night?

Yukmouth: "Yeah, man. Our street team is supposed to be on their job, supposed to be making sure that if we're performing in a town that there's flyers out a week ahead of time -- you know, passin' flyers out, announcin' it on the radio, getting' that sh-- cranked up. They shouldn't wait 'til the last day, when we get here and then start tryin' to have us go to the radio station and pump it up at a time when people are already at another club -- at one o'clock at night. Who is listening at one o'clock at night? Somebody is at the next club. You know, so it's on our team, man. Once we get a cool team, it's gonna be alright. Everywhere else we're poppin'. It's been only on the East Coast where we've been f--kin' up. Everybody is on a whole new level, they don't know no Cali sh--, so it's hard to promote out here. I feel them too, but if you get paid for it, do your job, man."

A lot of artists say East-West isn't a big deal anymore ...

Y: "It ain't no big deal. I mean, East Coast muthaf---as invented it, right? But they invented it to go worldwide. You don't want it just to stay on your block or in your city. You want everybody to adapt to it. So now that it's spread and everybody's doin' it, they tryin' to get mad cause other muthaf---as are goin' platinum and they're not, but they created it. And matter of fact, you wasn't the one who created it anyway, you just in the region, you live there. The real O.G.s and pioneers - they ain't even doin' it no more, or complainin' or nothin'. Maybe Afrika Bambatta and them, but who the f--- are they? They ain't doin' nothin'. They cool to me. They major pioneers, but they ain't doin' nothin' right now, you know what I'm sayin'? We got muthaf---as that are takin' it to a higher level like Snoop Doggy Dogg, Dr. Dre and them. Now everybody's Chronic-ed out. Even Biggie Smalls, he's the East Coast Snoop Doggy Dogg. He's using laid-back beats, old school samples and comin' with a hard flow about ballin'. I mean, usually, the East Coast raps about some skills like, 'I devour MCs' or 'my skills this' or they're always boastin' on what they can do. But Biggie, he's comin' on a level like how the West Coast is comin'. So, I don't know, man. They can talk that sh--, but it's n----- right next door to you, who y'all worship, that rap just like the next man that you're clownin.'"

So you think it's basically just a jealousy thing, no matter where you are? It's just the fact that you're on and they're not.

Y: "Yeah, it's just that they think that they should be major on, and it ain't our fault that muthaf---as buy mix tapes instead of their tapes. They goin' platinum now, though. Look, Craig Mack and them, Biggie, Mobb Deep. They shouldn't even trip like that. If you real, dope's gonna sell itself. If I'm on the block slangin' crack, I don't even have to go out there and be like, 'I got crack, I got crack!' If I got some good-ass crack, the dopefiends are gonna come to me. I shouldn't even have to go nowhere. So, if your tape's on bomb, your sh--'s gonna sell. But if your sh--'s bootsy, and it don't sell, then don't try to blame it on the next muthaf---a that's sellin.'"

So what's the scene like out in Oakland? Is it pretty tight?

Y: "Man, Oakland is off the hook, man. It's just that muthaf---as wasn't hollerin' at Oakland. We had to come out with independent companies and sell like over 200,000 independently so muthaf---as would recognize, you know?"

What's up with Hammer and Too $hort? We heard you say somethin' about them on the radio last night.

Y: "I don't know what's up with them n-----, man. Too $hort and Hammer and them weren't lettin' a muthaf---a get a chance to shine, you know? They ere just tryin' to let it be 'Too $hort' and 'Hammer.' There was hella people rappin' in the town. We got too much talent in the town, but it wasn't getting' a chance cause these muthaf---as weren't hookin' nobody up with the majors. So we had to just struggle and pay our dues and make a name for ourselves on the town, independently, and then take it, take it, take it, you know? But now that n----- doin' that ... you know, there ain't no love, cause we went straight to Dangerous Music first. We went straight to Too $hort first with our sh--, us and Dru-Down, when we was on the Dru-Down project. We went straight to him. We got eight songs from Ant Banks. But they was riggin' us up. I mean, to mix a song, all it takes is about two or three hours, right? This n---- was takin' two months to mix a song down, tryin' to hold back our project so Too $hort could come again with our flav before we use it. N----- were just player haters, man. But now, we comin' out, so muthaf---as can't stop us."

Yeah, and now you've hooked up with E-40 and Digital Underground for the "I Got 5 On It" remix, and you're gonna be on Digital Underground's next album, right?

Y: "Yeah, we're on Digital Underground's new sh-- that's about to come out, and E-40, he's on the remix, Richie Rich is on the remix, Dru-Down's on the remix, Humpty Hump, Spice-1 ... you know, we got the Bay Area's finest. But we didn't like just hook up like Brandy and them like, 'They're popular right now, so do a song with them.' Them our potnas, them our n-----, we chill with them n----- every day. We call them n----- up and go to dinner with him and his woman and me and my woman. It was a potna thing, you know, we was in the studio, and they came to one of our sessions and we just said, 'We're gonna do the remix like this,' and we just did it. The Bay Area got love. We tryin' to help everybody come up. We're tryin' to do it like a family thing. We don't be funkin', and we don't gangbang."

Are y'all hooked up with the Souls of Mischief?

Y: "Yeah, we just did one with the Souls in New York. Them our n-----. I used to live with A-Plus. A-Plus was my roommate for about four or five months. Just recently ... I just moved out of his house like in January. Yeah, we just did a clean-ass one: "Been Around the World, I Can't Find No Hoes To Fade Me." It's hella-clean, I'm tellin' ya. It's off the hook."

So what do you think about all these people comin' out claimin' they real?

Y: "Everybody's real. I don't know. If you real, you real. Everybody's real. I feel y'all as a black man sayin' you real, cause you're goin' through all the sh--. But just cause you say you're real doesn't mean your rap skills are real, cause you could be comin' from the gimmick side. You know, like, 'I'm doin' this just to make some cash,' and most people do it cause they do it, it's a hobby, they're born with it. But when people come with sh-- that somebody wrote for 'em or something, they're just an entertainer, you ain't even a rapper to me. So, I don't know. Real could mean anything."

Y'all don't really sound like you're necessarily from the West Coast. Y'aIl like have a kind of versatile style, you know? I mean, y'all are blowin' up here in Philly, and they were playin' your sh-- all the time in New York. And y'all are blowin' up in the Midwest, too.

Y: "Yeah, we versatile. Hell yeah. We were up at Hot 97 with Ed Lover and them, you know, loungin'. They got love for us. They just now startin' to get up on our sh--, cause the video is really makin' it pop. They see the video and be like, 'Who's that?' You know, they see the video on The Box hella times, and now they hear it on the radio."

How was makin' that video?

Y: "It was hella-fun. I mean, the video would have been more off the hook. We had so much sh--, but they didn't put it all in."

Knumskull: "The video was garbage to us, though."

Y: "Yeah, we didn't like that video. We got the remix video we just did, though. It's hella-clean."

Freestylin' is really big on the East Coast. How is it out west? Are they as heavily into it?

K: "N----- freestyle just as well on the West Coast."

Y: "N----- freestyle, man. Everybody freestyles, especially in Oakland. We got freestyles that'll f--- your head. N----- be thinkin' of Supernatural or whoever, and thinkin' they the cleanest, man."

K: "On the East Coast, n----- be tryin' to battle each other, though. There ain't none of that."

Y: "On the West Coast, we don't battle each other. There ain't no battles here. If you freestyle, then you freestyle about whatever's around you. But it depends on how the rapper is. If you're like a gangsta rapper, then when you freestyle, you talk about some gangsta sh-- or some murderin' sh--. The hip-hop n----- like Souls, they're gonna freestyle like, 'I crush the mic up,' and there'll be n----- like that who battle. The hip-hop n-----. But the gangsta n-----, they don't do that, they just rap."

So what's up as far as production? Are you guys lookin' to produce people outside of yourselves?

K: "Oh yeah, for sure."

Y: "Me and Knum, we make beats right now. We got hella n-----. We got a gang of muthaf---as we gonna come out with. Me and Knum are gonna put our own label together if our sh-- do somethin', you know? We're gonna try to come out with acts and let muthaf---as shine. We ain't gonna be like Too $hort and Hammer. We gonna let sh-- happen."

So are you looking to work with new people or people that have already come up?

Y: "We're lookin' for people that haven't even came up. We've already done sh-- with hella people who already have been platinum-plus. We tryin' to start our own camp, you know, make our click shine like the Dogg Pound, Junior M.A.F.I.A., The Click, or whoever. We want to let our click shine, give everybody a chance."

We're y'all up at The Source Awards?

Y: "Yeah, we were right up in front by Puff Daddy, right by Patra and Bushwick Bill and Big Mike. The Dogg Pound had AKs in their dressing room. Not jokin.'"

So you like hangin' out here on the East Coast?

K: "Nah, I'm ready to go back home. I don't like these hater-ass n----- out here. Anywhere you go, somebody hatin' if you're from the West. I mean, we gettin' a lot of love, though, so we're thankful for that."

Y'all got that song, "Playa Hata", you got any good playa hata stories for us?

K: "There's a lot of hater stories. Rumors n----- be throwin' out. That's mostly what we talk about on the song. We talk about the rumors and sh-- that have been started. You know there's player haters out there so watch out for them."

Have you been contacted by anybody from this coast as far as doing work with you?

Y: "Since we came out, everybody wants to do some tracks."

So when did y'all hook up and start rappin'?

K: "We hooked up in '88, in junior high school. Seventh grade."

Did you have any influences?

K: "Yeah, we used to listen to everybody, but we didn't base our sh-- on nobody else. It wasn't like, 'we gotta come out like that.' It wasn't like that. We came out with our own sh--."

If you had any advice to give anybody else who was tryin' to come up, what would it be?

K: "Don't ever stop. Just keep on hustlin'. Hella doors are gonna get slammed in your face, but you can't stop. If you're true to this sh--, then you'll make it."

-- Kawon, Cvere and Mason Storm, The 411


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