Wicked Ways

idolatry by Meshack Blaq
paganism by Crocodille-Dun & Mathologist

Tricky? On the cover? Who the fuck is he anyway? And what the fuck is his music about? You're joking, right? But he ain't Hip Hop! - These were the initial responses of a select focus group from the world of publicists upon hearing that the Trickster would grace our front page. We knew many would'nt understand the reasoning behind our motives. Shit, even we don't exactly get all the Tricknological references this artist of Artists spews forth from his musical non-linear canon. One either has to accept the rhythmatic-barrage and dodge the firepower of his music or get sonically shot-the-fuck-up. It doesn't matter if one takes the carbon-copy mass-produced on discs or absorb the full effects in the dark caverns of a music hall transformed to a torrent of emotions by the Tricky Kid Ensemble: this kat is gonna see too it that you feel something! The Hip Hop public in general and a couple of Hip Hop artists in particular have'nt met Tricky with open arms. Thus, we felt it was high time to give tha Brotha from Bristol a fair shake and place him squarely in the face of Hip Hop. Our mission: to unearth these so-called WICKED WAYS

KRONICK: Is there anything special on your mind right about now?

TRICKY: Cam'Ron.

KRONICK: Cam'Ron? You're feelin' Cam'Ron?

TRICKY: Because his delivery, when you really analyze it, he's very Alternative. He's buggin' me out, and then I keep thinkin' about his lyrics and... He just got in and built an odd attitude to him of realness. And even if he says things I don't agree with, he says them in such a way that I `aff-to admire his talent. And um, there hasn't been an MC in a long time that's touched me like that. Missy Elliot album for instance, I thought was Wicked! But it's a different thing; she's an Entertainer. But for lyrical poetry [for the first time I notice Tricky's voice is so hollow and raspy, it often sounds like he's speaking thru a vocoder on dual voice. No Shit, this guy sounds like two people at once!] Cam'Ron has like, definitely got me in a moment. I was just thinkin' about him actually because I just did a mix for him, and I was just thinkin' about him. Have you heard the album?

KRONICK: Yea. That one song Horse & Carraige is getting radio play from here to NYC and back; everyday all day.

TRICKY: That's the one I mixxed! I'll play it for you!!

KRONICK: OK. Speaking of mixxes while we're on the subject of Hip Hop; a while ago you were commissioned to do a mix for the Notorious B.I.G.. May he rest in peace.


KRONICK: How do these mixxes come about for yourself in the Hip Hop world?

TRICKY: D'y-kno wot? It's like sometimes I think if I'm not visible in the Hip Hop world, and then things happen and then it's obviously I am. And it's like, they just got in touch with my management. And since I've been in AmeriKKKa it's definitely boosted up my profile. Cause like if I go out, even though people see me as an Alternative artist, I'll go to kind of Hip Hop clubs. That's like, where I'm coming from. And like, I don't consider myself Hip Hop but people around me do because of where I come from. I don't know. I've become a modern days Bluesman. So I play modern day Blues music. So I don't know, they just contacted us. Puffy rung up saying he was a big fan and could I do this stuff. It was crazy- I was shocked! And then B.I.G. died and I had to make sure I was still willing to do it or not because they still wanted it done. And I was like... a little bit crazy.

KRONICK: Did it ever come out? Was it a thing that came out in Europe?

TRICKY: Yea, they released it on the 12". But I think what they've got is an album coming out with mixxes.

KRONICK: Now again while we're on the topic of Hip Hop, about a year and a half ago you had a sold out tour that came to L.A.. Prior to that the tour was set up with you and Jeru Da Damaja. Then Jeru got off the tour. Do you wanna comment on what took place back then?

TRICKY: Yea I'd like to because he might open this and read it and see what really happenned. Aww man, he called me the Devil and that's crazy! I'm not on that vibe at all.

KRONICK: So what was up with Jeru and that tour?

TRICKY: I saw the talent and I respected what he was talking about because I thought it was very conscious. So anyway, I'm in a good position now where I sell to Alternative kids. I'm like in a reversal; I'm a young Black kid who sells to an Alternative market which these kids find it very hard to get to Hip Hop. So I'm in a good position and plus I've got profile, so I decided to take Jeru on tour. First thing that happens is that none of these clubs want Jeru because it's a Hip Hop thing. So I said to the promoters, "It's not what you think it is. It's not negative da-da-da." So it came to a stage where I had to put my foot down and fought. The first day of the gig, he turns up an hour and a half late.

KRONICK: [I erupt in crazy laughter]

TRICKY: Now I'm Mr. nice-guy: I'm stupid right. I tell my people no, you've gotta wait for him. Show him respect because I know wot it's like. It looked too organized, so I know what it's like and you've gotta give people the benefit of the doubt. The second night, same thing happens. Now I'm startin' to look stupid and my tour manager tells me that I'm killing my own gigs now and that the kids weren't into Jeru anyway. So there was some beef- he flattenned my tour manager. Now my tour manager didn't know wot the fuck was goin' on and Jeru comes up to him like, "I'm a warrior- you fuck with me da-da-da-da-da." All this maddness! And then, their label won't give `em a bus. I have to explain it like this. This ain't beef- this is non-understanding. Non-understanding of the Business. He's on a record label and I'm on my record label. We have the same distributor, but that's it. Now my record label paid for my bus which I have to recoup. So I've got my kid, Martina, da-da-da-da-da. I can't even smoke on my focking bus, so I have to stop to smoke weed and all that type o' shit. They got cars and we're gettin' into them long drives. Now I found out they can't get a bus. So it comes to if they can't get a bus, they can't finish this tour. So I was asked if they could come on my bus which already had like six people on it. I've got my kid on it and it was like impossible. So I said look, your record company has to start to supply you with a bus. I don't understand why I got the blame. I don't know if his record company was trying to put the blame on me. But anybody who knows anything about the record doings will tell you that your label is responsible for supplying your needs. I ain't got the money to get a bus for another artist. That's part of your tour budget so your record company has to pay for your needs. But that wasn't heard. So because he didn't get a bus it was my fault? Shit like that is unfortunate because you can't out the next man because you're the one getting the shit. And life seems to be that when you're helping someone that's when you get fucked. When you're money-greedy you're just focused. I don't mean charity work but in the music industry. In the music industry you put someone on and then they fuck you. I fought for that guy to come on tour with me and then he calls me a devil, satanic, da-da-da-da, da-da-da-da. Don't worry, I've got a bigger tour now anyway. So that was basically what happenned.

KRONICK: Now one of the most important questions to me in our publication is, it seems as though Black kids or maybe the Hip Hop press has perhaps misunderstood you as an artist and the message in your music.

TRICKY: Oh, totally. Totally.

KRONICK: And the picture that they present has kinda been distorted and contorted. However, the Alternative press- the Mainstream press is like open arm embracing your shit. We were in the Island offices in New York and we must've counted at least a dozen covers from different magazines with Tricky. Is there anything that you would like to say directly to those kids in the street that are a little bit, maybe not knowing?

TRICKY: Yea, it's time for a change and it's time for people to do wot they want. And don't live in a prison. Say you get a record deal- it's the greatest gift you can ever have. And you have to know you're blessed cause now I stay in top hotels and I'll see a next man beggin' on the street. That's bound to affect you so you've got to know you're blessed. So you've got to do everything with that record deal. And it ain't just about making money. If you talk about Black music, that's everything. Indian music is everything. Irish music is everything. We've got a lot to be proud of. Other Black artists came out and they were called weird, first of all. And it seems like you've got to be dead then they like you. Just like, and I'm not comparing myself to these people but, until Jimi Hendrix was dead- even Bob Marley didn't sell to Black people until he died. It's like, in a way I know there's a lot of support cause like 35% or 40% of our sales are Urban. So we've got... like I'll go to Chicago and see some bugged like weird kids and they're like futuristic Dreadies. And they tell me, "You do that weird Hip Hop and shit!" So we've just gotten expanded and showed people. And it's a good thing now because I don't talk like guns and stuff. So I've got this label of gettin' called the devil, but like I'm very anti-guns and I'm very anti-taking fathers away from their children. See it ain't the killin'- it's the taking of someone's parent away from their children: that's heavier than the murder. So I've got a positive message and I think it can be healthy-like. And I'm just happy to be given a shot doin' Hip Hop magazines.

KRONICK: On the same token, it seems like when artists... And I'm speaking of Black artists because we're Black people; us two in this interview. But it seems like when Black artists are different and original and do something that's never been heard before, a lot of the most harshest criticism comes from our own.

TRICKY: Brother you just gotta look at Black radio. It's the most co-oppted shit. It's like totally narrow minded.

KRONICK: Can you comment on the music that you make in terms of how it appeals to a Universal audience accross the whole world?

TRICKY: I've learned more on feelings than techniques. And everybody feels. Everybody feels something. I've got a feeling. To be honest with you, see I always claim Soul music, right? Now I do Rock music which has got more Soul than Soul music. It's always like, it's all focked up! I think I'm doing Soul music as in like somebody speaking to your Soul. I can't sing and I can't play an instrument so I have to try very hard. So it's like Soul and that remblence is of a Blues artist. So I think, yea it's gotta be time for a change as well.

KRONICK: Speaking of the Blues, can you identify in your life, in your experience, in your environment coming from Bristol, at what part of your life were you in a situation where music was the answer?

TRICKY: Well there's a few situations that happenned. I was buying weed off this guy and I heard La-Di-Da-Di for the first time. I must've been like fifteen and I never made up my mind what to do until that point in my life. And we're smoking and I had never a beat-box before in my life. I'd never heard anything like it. And like, I may have heard Rap like Sugar Hill and stuff, but I never heard anything like that in my life. And I just said straight-away, `That's what I'm gonna do. I'm a Rapper!' And I called myself a Rapper for about a year before I wrote anything. So then I ended up kind of focused. And then when I seen The Specials- seeing Black and white people together in a band, and like I just remember thinking that was healthy, especially in England where it was quite segregated then.

KRONICK: The Two-Tone movement.

TRICKY: Yea, it was like all about Youth, it ain't about color. It was about being young. And then, Check Out My Melody (by Eric B. & Rakim). I heard that in a car and then I think after that, that was it. I was set. And I had loads of problems focking up some games between then, but it was almost like I was set just by hearing these people.

Tricky Interview, Part Two

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