- He's up next!
By: Alyssa Menard
Emcee, activist, entrepreneur...NYOIL is bringing the purpose back into hip hop one song at a time. Only a year since his well received album Hood Treason debuted, he's back already to drop some more knowledge on us. Speaking out on everything from race relations to the lack of originality in music, this Staten Island emcee is definitely not known for holding his tongue. With his MySpace page flooded with messages to the tune of 'keep fighting for us' and 'THIS is music', it is pretty apparent that his ever-growing following could not agree more. In an exclusive interview with Rap Industry, NYOIL gives us his take on a flailing music industry, taking on roles in hip-hop and that oh-so-controversial Nas album...
So NYOIL, you've been doing your thing for a few years now, but your name was really put out there when you dropped the very controversial track Ya'll should all get lynched back in '07. Just reiterate the reason behind making the track.
It's hard to say, because for me there was no reasoning behind it...it wasn't intentional. It was less intent and more feeling, I just felt a certain way. I felt frustrated by issues in the neighborhood, by the circumstances that my children were living under, and more so, I am frustrated by the conduct of these other emcees that have taken black culture and made it into a joke. That makes it unacceptable, and I just had to say something about it.
Your video was pulled
from Youtube shortly after it was posted, due to the controversy. In general,
what was the response towards the song?
Hip-hop sales have been steadily decreasing, yet ringtone sales are going through the roof. What do you think that says about hip-hop music at this point in time?
It speaks a lot about pop culture in general, that corporations have developed a single servings mentality. They are selling us something quick and disposable with this music. Music is very forgettable at this time. These corporations aren't developing their music or their artists. They're just developing their single serving artists, which is why the music industry is suffering. You can't hustle people into buying music because it's not a product, it's personal. There's an emotional connection to music. If you can listen to a song and it can bring you back to when you were outside playing baseball, or when you were out hanging with your friends, or the first time you made love...that's music. Not let's package this up and sell it. Because people have diminished it to that, the sales have diminished. If they return to that, they will see that the sales are there.
Many people say that with success comes the pressure to keep cranking out hits that will appeal to a broad audience. Do you feel that you would be rapping about the same things, making the same points, if you were to reach mainstream fame?
If you have the talent for it and you make music that's true to you, it's not a pressure. After I made Ya'll Should all Get Lynched, I stopped trying to make another Ya'll Should all Get Lynched because I already said that. I'm not going to keep trying to make that song, because I know how to make good songs. I'm fortunate because creatively, this is the talent that God gave me. I think that everyone has a hit in them, a hot 16. They may have the innate ability, but everyone may not have the consistency because that's not who they are. God gave me the opportunity to do that, and I don't want to die with all of these songs inside of me that no one would have heard.
Would you consider yourself a conscience rapper, or just someone lashing out against the state of hip hop right now?
Neither to be honest with you. Marketing-wise, I've coined the termed being an activist rapper because I am active in the capacity that I am speaking on. But, fact of the matter is, I really consider myself a common sense emcee because I'm just talking common sense. I don't think that I'm saying anything too different than what someone else may be thinking. In hip hop and in the music, what each artist ends up having to do is personifying a particular paradigm. You have the thug dude, the pretty boy, the hustler, the lover boy. Me? I'm the black radical, and I represent that. It is what it is. Artistically, I'd like to say that I'm capable of a lot more than that, but if that's what I am to people than that's what I am. I do my best to make the best music in the context of that.
You have a very interesting
blog posted on your Myspace page, in regards to rapper Nas and his highly
controversial album title Nigger. Explain to us how you feel about
You released a song on your last album called What Up My Wigga Wigger, which was basically a play on the widespread use of the N-word by other races. Nas has a similar track called Be a Nigger Too on his upcoming LP which discusses a similar topic. Yet you stated, in regards to him, We're the only race that embraces our disgrace, and now you would have everyone else sing along with us in our shame. A critic would ask what's the difference?
There's a major difference in our songs. I'm trying to empower young blacks to defend themselves against being called a nigger. We've all been in the situation where we're hanging out with another race and they get comfortable and start calling us that word. They don't want to be called these names, so the song calls them these names so that they can get a taste of what it feels like. In the song I'm being very clear like, be yourself only or find yourself lonely, we only rock with real dudes . I'm speaking to every race. If you're supposed to be my brother, than I don't want anything less from you than I would want from myself.
So what's next for
Any final words?
I'm trying my best.
While you may not always agree with my politics or the means by which I portray
them, I sincerely just want the best for all people. I'm working from the
place in space that I am in order to do that, and ya'll should just try and
rock with me.