Killah Priest conducted by Todd E. Jones  

Killah Priest: Spiritually Hardcore

May 2003

While spirituality has always played a role in hip-hop, Killah Priest was one of the few emcees to truly bring it to the forefront of his music in a hardcore and intellectual way. He first earned recognition on his solo track "B.I.B.L.E." that was on the classic Gza/Genius album "Liquid Swords". With many other Wu-Tang Clan collaborations under his belt, Killah Priest soon became a fan favorite of the Wu-affiliates. He was 1/4 of The Sunz Of Man who also consisted of Hell Razah, 60 Second Assassin, and Prodigal Sunn. Sunz Of Man came out with their debut album "The Last Shall Be First" and it featured production by Rza, True Master, Wyclef, and 4th Disciple. Guests included Method Man, U-God, Ol Dirty Bastard, and even Earth Wind And Fire.

Around the same time, Killah Priest released his debut solo album "Heavy Mental" on Geffen Records. It was a thick album that was overflowing with spirituality, intellect, and beats by True Master and 4th Disciple. Classic songs like "Cross My Heart" (featuring Gza & Inspectah Deck), "The Professional", "Information", "It's Over", and "One Step" all displayed Killah Priest's love for God, hip-hop and his people.

Eventually, Killah Priest and Sunz Of Man stopped recording and touring together. Without Killah Priest, Killah Priest interviewSunz Of Man continued and eventually released "Savior's Day" on D3 Entertainment. Priest then joined up with Canibus, Ras Kass, and Kurupt to form The Four Horsemen. A couple of incredible tracks floated around and appeared on solo albums but the official Horsemen album never came out. Killah Priest soon released his sophomore LP "View From Masada" on MCA with the lead single "What Part Of The Game" featuring Ras Kass. On the LP, Killah Priest showed a more thugged out persona. Many critics and fans thought that he was less spiritual and intellectual and much more generic. Still, he was one of the first emcees to use Just Blaze (now an extremely popular producer used by Roc-A-Fella Records).

His major label deal fell apart and soon, he began his own record label Proverbs Music. Killah Priest returned with "Priesthood", a dark album that had collaborations with The Maccabees, Canibus, Kurupt, Ras Kass, and George Clinton. Only the true die-hard fans followed his career. They literally had to search for the album.

Fast forward to 2003. Killah Priest signed to Recon Records / Artemis Records and now just released "Black August". Killah Priest found the perfect balance of thugged out street lyricism and spirituality. Some songs like "Musifixtion" and "Excalibur" and are very deep and thoughtful. Other songs like "Deja vu" and "Robbery" are intense story-telling tracks that are just as thought provoking. Then there is the pornographic "Do You Want It". Still, the love of hip-hop is expressed in amazing tracks like "When I'm Writing" and "Breathe". Newcomers like Jahson, G-13, and Kallisto handle production. Through the years,

Killah Priest has come full circle. He is working hard on touring and his next album along with a Maccabees album too! On a warm September evening in 2003, I had an in-depth conversation with him about hip-hop, his career, The Four Horsemen, Sunz Of Man, Wu-Tang Clan, and spirituality. Killah Priest is a hardcore spiritualist. Prepare to be enlightened.

MVRemix: What goes on?

Killah Priest: I'm just chilling right now, man. I'm getting back in the studio to record more songs. I'm getting ready to get on the radio tomorrow.

MVRemix: Your new album is called 'Black August'. Tell us about it.

Killah Priest: Basically, it's the story of my life, you know. 'Black August' is about me coming back from chilling for a minute. It's basically my life. 'Black August' is my struggle. It's about me and hip-hop. It's about bringing hip-hop back to the basics about the rhyming art form, an art form that brings us to light.

MVRemix: What is the meaning behind the title?

Killah Priest: The title comes from me. I was born in August under the revolutionary statement. I'm all about the struggle and the revolution.

MVRemix: Do you have a favorite song on the 'Black August' album?

Killah Priest: I like 'Dj vu'. That's one of my favorite ones. 'Breathe' definitely.

MVRemix: For those who don't know, could you explain your name?" How did you get it? What's the meaning behind it?

Killah Priest: My new name is Priesthood. Killah Priest came from the rest of the Wu-Tang Clan. They gave me that name because the way I come across. I come across lyrically. Lyrically, I be chilling. Priest is the form I carry myself in. I'm always building. I'm always talking to the youth.

MVRemix: How is this album different from 'Priesthood'?

Killah Priest: This album, 'Black August', is very different because every time I try to switch it, I'm filled with hip-hop. Hip-hop is in me. I have so many styles that I want to switch up. 'Priesthood's is more dark. It was a little more darker than this one. 'Black August' is the light. This one you hear songs like 'Black August' that have more light and they are much more bright. 'Breathe' is more bright. There are moments on the album where the darkness comes in, like on 'Musifixtion'. This one is different because of different styles. This one I'm talking more about my art form and what I do like in 'When I'm Writing'. Emcee-ing. I'm trying to put emcees back into that category where they can really rhyme and really say something.

MVRemix: What happened to Proverbs Music?

Killah Priest: Yeah, Proverbs Music was my own record label. What happened was that I had a partnership with my man Louis Lombard. I guess, we tried it and it kind of worked out for the best. It was just a new experience. Then, I just moved on.

MVRemix: Do you go into the studio with pre-written rhymes, lyrics and themes or do you hear the beat first and write then and there?

Killah Priest: Nah, I hear the beat first and there it is. Lately, like the last albums, I just go into the studio and do it right there on the spot. When I hear the beat, I have a concept in my head. That's what's more important to me, the concept. It may be a concept that I thought about a long time ago but never did it. So, I do it.

>>> continued...

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