Thursday, 22 September 2011

Tha Outlawz Live In The Post-Pacalypse

Founded by Tupac Shakur in 1995, over the past 15 years, Tha Outlawz have seen their fair share of happiness, pain, failures, and successes. With the group’s latest album, Perfect Timing, hitting store shelves on the same day as the 15-year anniversary of the “original outlaw’s” death, there is a lot to be said, shown, and proven, not just listeners, but to the world.

Considering Tha Outlawz requires a brief introduction on their history, their founding, and details on the members throughout history that have come, gone, stayed, and passed away. E.D.I. Mean, Young Noble, and Hussein Fatal are the three remaining soldiers, yet they still have close relationships with former Outlawz, Kastro and Napoleon, and still refer to them as “brothers.”

When asked about the six-year gap between their last album, Outlaw 4 Life, and their new one, Perfect Timing, Tha Outlawz spoke on the massive amounts of music they’ve been feeding to the public during their official album hiatus. E.D.I. Mean went on to mention projects they’ve worked on and released with Dead Prez, Layzie Bone, and 8Ball, along with the solo albums Hussein Fatal has released and more. “Those six years wasn’t us on vacation,” E.D.I. explained, followed by Young Noble who added, “On top of that, we dropped mixtapes – on iTunes we dropped five lost albums on the same day, so we’ve been grinding.”

  The conversation focused on their new album, and why they not only chose to release it on the 15th anniversary of Tupac’s death, but why they felt the Perfect Timing title was so significant: 
The number of Southern rappers featured on the Perfect Timing seemed very peculiar and interesting, so asked Tha Outlawz for the reason, if there was one, behind the specific features. They also shared their thoughts on so-called “New West” rappers like Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, and Nipsey Hussle:
The conversation then turned toward the highly publicized East Coast versus West Coast war that occurred in the 1990’s. About a year ago, DJ Kay Slay released a track entitled “Bury the Hatchet” that featured Tha Outlawz and Junior Mafia member Lil Cease. When asked why the track was recorded and released when it was, Young Noble stated, “Well, we’ve been chopping it up with Cease for about seven years.” He continued, “he ended up calling somebody that I was standing next to, I got on the phone, and basically, we damn near was beefing at first, but we wound up chopping game as men and pretty much getting to the bottom of the situation…and it was an honor to do the song for [Kay] Slay”:
Tha Outlawz also spoke on their thoughts and feelings about the current Hip-Hop climate and whether or not the “glory days” have passed or are still to come. This was the perfect segue-way into asking Tha Outlawz how different they think Hip-Hop and, more importantly, music would be if Tupac were still alive today:
When asked about what kind of social and political issues Tupac would be fighting for if he were still alive, E.D.I. Mean didn’t hesitate before answering, “The state of the economy right now and the poverty rate going higher and higher – he would definitely be an advocate of that and try to change people’s lives.” He continued, “One of Pac’s dreams was to have a community center called “A Place Called Home” where every impoverished kid, or kid that had problems at home, would have a place that they could call home at these centers.” then asked Tha Outlawz about the status of their relationship with Tupac’s mother, Afeni, and what some of their best and fondest memories of Tupac were:
This is where things got very interesting, as the group was asked about who in Hip-Hop they currently consider to be “following in Pac’s footsteps.” They answered with two names that rap fans probably wouldn’t expect – Young Buck and Lupe Fiasco: 
It seemed appropriate to then ask Tha Outlawz, “If Tupac is the greatest rapper of all time, who is the greatest rapper alive?” Find out what they had to say in the following video:
One of the last topics discussed was the highly publicized news story of late about Tha Outlawz smoking Tupac’s ashes. They proceeded to explain the truth about what happened, and more importantly, that Tha Outlawz fans that have been riding with them have known about the “ash blunt” for years:
As the interview came to a close, Tha Outlawz spoke on whether it was a blessing or a curse to be known as “Tupac’s group.” They all simultaneously answered with, “It’s both.” Noble added: “Our accomplishments…you know, ‘Pac been gone for 15 years and we’re still here,” Noble said. “How many artists have you seen come and go in the last 15 years? Countless. We still here, we been on 60 million records, maybe more than that. We the only artists in the world that have been featured on that many records and never been signed to a major label…He [Tupac] was the first outlaw. Period.

  “So, we can’t ever distance ourselves from ‘Pac and we don’t want to. That’s our big brother and we’re going to always rep for him…we carry his torch and we carry it well. We’re the hope for the underdogs…. Don’t listen to the album and be like, ‘oh it’s dope, but it would have been better if ‘Pac was on it.’ Come on man, give us some f*cking credit.”

  E.D.I. offered his own thoughts, closing perfectly by saying, “’Pac’s light shines so bright that a lot of the things that we did get lost in the shadows so to speak. Now is the time to check out the old albums and mixtapes, get the new album, and listen to what we’ve been doing for the past 15 years, and you’ll say ‘oh, now I see why Pac was f*cking with them.’”

  Tha Outlawz new album Perfect Timing is in stores and on iTunes now!  

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