Enta Da Stage was the beginning of a new Era of Hip Hop. The year was `93 and the group was a trio comprised of Buckshot Shorty, 5 Ft Excelorater, and Evil Dee. That album was a Classic. But due to technical difficulties that often come with bad contracts combined with worse label politics, the end result was both the artists and audience being robbed of the creative impulses that motivated a generation of Hip Hop die-hards. It doesn't get any more gritty nor Underground than Brooklyn's own Boot Camp Click originators. I'm referring to the Honorable Duck Down Chieftons known as Black Moon. That was then, now is the future. And today's War Zone is tomorrow's paradise. Know the ledge, Wise the dome...
KRONICK: Alright Buckshot. Before we get started is there anything on your mind in particular that you wanna build on?
BUCKSHOT: It's a whole lot on my mind that I wanna build on. But I think it''s appropriate just to go in a direction. So I think the first direction that we can go in is to let people know who Buckshot, Evil Dee, and 5 Ft. is: what we do and what we got. Which is Black Moon. We put out as a group Enta Da Stage in the beginning, whatever. Our album in `92-`93 had the singles Who Got The Props, I Got You Open, How Many MC's. And now we back with War Zone; the new album. Which is a state of mind everybody'll find themselves in at some point and time during life, but can relate to this album because it goes in so many different directions of Life and Hip Hop period.
KRONICK: I think the first and most important question on everybody's mind is once you guys put out that first album that was so critically-acclaimed and widely embraced by the Underground, what happenned on the business-side with the former label?
BUCKSHOT: Bullshit Man! I don't even wanna big them up like that. All I can say is that we went thru a lotta disagreements, but now we on our own label Duck Down Records. And Yo Man, instead of goin' into all the mal-ocky about what happenned and why and all that; we'll say that it wasn't workin' out. And it was designed to hold us down and split us apart. So throughout the struggle we got free and now we makin' music. So fuck the past as far as business. Let's move it forward on what we doin' and what's our mission and why we're here.
KRONICK: So as far as the legal shit goes, is there gonna be a new name for the group?
BUCKSHOT: Nah, nope. That's why it's just Buckshot, 5 Ft, and Evil Dee. It's always gonna be Black Moon to everybody else on the street that's why we not callin' ourselves no other new name. `Cause when the people see us they always gonna know us as Black Moon. Everybody's always gonna feel us as Black Moon. We not gonna be no new name group when that name is bein' held captive. So our words gotta move on and borne thru Buckshot, 5 Ft, and Evil Dee. But when the people see us, we'll always be Black Moon.
KRONICK: So what's the outlook for `99 in your eyes?
EVIL DEE: My whole thing is to bring Folks good product. We're givin' the people what they was waitin' for. Like a Real Hip Hop album; no gimmicks. No "Yo, yo, yo, yo!" It's a true Hip Hop album like we did back in `92-`93.
KRONICK: I think that you guys are very original when it comes to the sound that goes behind the lyrics. For this next album since a lot of people are kinda starvin', what can they look forward to in order to quench their appetites?
EVIL DEE: Well first of all the beats came with the Wooba-Wooba! Me and my brother Dirty Paul did the Beatminer thing. And everybody knows what we're known for. At the same time Buck and 5 Ft came with the lyrics. It isn't no weak link in our chain. Like you have some records where the beat is wack but the MC is Dope: or the beat is dope and the MC is wack. It's none of that here! It's genuine, True Hip Hop. I'm scratchin' on the album and Buck & 5 are sayin' rhymes that they wrote so it's no weak links.
BUCKSHOT: Our vibe is Black Moon. Like our name may or may not be Black Moon, but our vibe is always gonna be Black Moon. So that's what's more Iller: what we bring to the table is Black Moon: the light that shines over the Earth, but it's dealin' with both light and dark; the moon is a reflection of the sun. So we the everlasting force & light in Hip Hop that's been here, and will be here. Because we been here when Hip Hop was EPMD, Rakim, and Public Enemy. When we came and manifested our form of Hip Hop, we manifested them with us thru Hip Hop. I'm a student of Hip Hop. Evil Dee is a student of Hip Hop. So we both students: I'm a student MC, he's a student DJ. So we both represent what Hip Hop is as students. Why we're different is because when we add on what we have to add on, ain't nobody sound like us or makin' music like us. There are people who might make a similarity. But there's nobody who makes music like us. And that's what makes us who we are.
KRONICK: Since the arrival of your first album, Hip Hop has seen a serious advancement in the commercial arena. How important is it for you guys to maintain that below-the-surface status?
EVIL DEE: The whole thing is, first of all this is not... Like one thing a lot of people see this Hip Hop as the latest fad and this is what's gonna happen. In the whole commercialization of Hip Hop is basically their way of trying to end Hip Hop. `Cause once something becomes too commercial we walk away from it. So the whole thing is that we gotta bring that Underground back!!
BUCKSHOT: We gotta keep our essence and project it. I was just writing my Thank You's and I bigged up Wu Tang, and I bigged up Nas, and I bigged up Naughty By Nature because these are specific people that was in the Era the we was in when we came out. And I just noticed how simultaneously we keep comin' out. Meth, Nas, Naughty, Mobb Deep, and Black Moon is comin' out right now. So we all droppin' shit now. So I think, just us as a whole in giving direction; we now set the trend. `Cause you have all these MC's and groups comin' out as a whole setting a trend. And we know that everybody follows the trend. So everything goes in a cycle. Even back then you had your Kid N' Play, Hammer, and Young MC's. Hip Hop always had commercial and Underground. That's what makes Hip Hop, Hip Hop. You got Hip and you got Hop. And 9 times outta 10 they find a distinct way to put both on a different balance, when really they both on the same scale. Some shit is too Hip to be Hop; Hip is too cool to dance and move around, and if you a Hop head then the Hip people ain't cool to you. So it's like, we represent that exact medium because we represent that Universal state of life. We got some Hip shit but it's still Hoppin' in our way. And we sayin' that it's cool that you don't have to be dictated to. You don't have to be in 3/4ths of cloth; red black & green/ red yellow & green, kofi on your head, Koran in your hand, to have knowledge. It's a bigger picture of being intuitively intelligent from a common side of your brain. This is just our initial gun-bust. This is just our initial vibe of kickin' in a door and sayin', "Alright, we're here again! Now get ready for Black Moon album #3, Black Moon album #4, Black Moon album #5, etc." And all it's gonna do is elevate and get better `cause we cooked the food a little more. We marinated the
ingredients and now you startin' to see the cake rise. Now you startin' to see what was really in the pot that we was cookin' all the time. We came givin' you what you want so that way you'll know what we have to give you. Now that's what we givin' you with this new album. Projectin' it right now and people are welcoming what have to give them. So for people that are wonderin' about Buckshot and Evil Dee, we are signifyin' that we're here to stay with this new album War Zone. 14 cuts all bringing forth the power that Black Moon got; Devil Keep Fucking With Me, War Zone, World Cup, This Is What It Sounds Like, Onslaught, Two Turntables & A Mic, which pretty much sums up everything about our Underground artform of Hip Hop.
KRONICK: I think two things you guys are known for with the Hip Hop audience is that the beats catch the listener within the first 5-10 seconds. And the second thing is the lyrics that you present fulla Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding. How key is the information once your beats kick in and everybody's neck is snappin' respectfully?
BUCKSHOT: Because it's like, you could be leadin' `em in one direction from them bein' already in a trance of how you look, how you act, how you dress, how you talk; and we leadin' them in the right direction. We're sayin', "Alright, I'ma utilize that" and take them to the full direction of where you could go as a person. And for me to say, "Alright, I would love to see a lot of people with they own corporations, their own buildings, their own Foundation", is to guide them in the direction of bein' more knowledgable about contracts, Hip Hop music and the business behind it, whatever it is; life in general. Maybe you havin' problems with your girl and you feelin' like, it seems that everytime you try to do somethin' there's a force that always fucks with you. And you know that you gotta do what you gotta do, but it seems like everytime it's a bad force over you: it feels like the Devil is fuckin' with you sometimes. Or it seems like...
KRONICK: We're in a War Zone!
BUCKSHOT: Yea. And it's just dealin' with knowin' that you gotta enlighten people. It could probably be a guy who's about to go out and do something negative, or it could be a guy who's feelin' confused ways. And when they hear my lyrics or hear Evil Dee's track, he'll feel that and listen to that; and that may change his direction or that may even get him into doin' somethin' else. Some guys came up to me berfore and told me that they could relate to the music in a way that they remember what they were doin' at the time. And they thanked me because the songs on that first album did a lot for him as a person. So I'ma constantly shed Knowledge and constantly shed light. And I'ma utilize again; what the people see to bring `em towards that. What light, what image and everything else to bring them towards that.
EVIL DEE: See one thing as a producer, it's like the way I milk my beats. You have to understand the MC is also part of the beat. The MC is also an instrument. So the whole thing is, you have a lot of people out there that don't listen to lyrics. They just wanna hear "Mmmp-Mmmp Clacka!!": they just wanna hear that beat. So what you do is kinda trick them. Make the ill beat, and as long as the MC is comin' with somethin' that's Dope; comin' with somethin' with Knowledge, you make his voice stand out there so that people hear what he says. That way you get hooked onto the beat AND what he says. The whole power of a Producer; you know, a lotta Producers make their beats just to make their self shine. The whole thing with Beatminerz is, we make beats to make all of us shine. So that's how we get down.
KRONICK: Another thing about cycles that I wanted to ask you is in dealing with Knowledge. Back in the Era of Rakim it seemed like the Lessons of the 5% Nation were more concentrated and direct & in- your-face. Whereas nowadays, not to say it's diluted, but more interspersed within other stories of life. Is that a conscious effort on your part as an MC?
BUCKSHOT: I'd say I'm conscious of it. I say I'm conscious of it because I know that you can't be that dictative nowadays. Because when Rakim first came on the scene with the Lessons, nobody was hearin' the words, "Let Knowledge be Borne". Who else was sayin, "All praise due to Allah, and that's a Blessin'"?!? That in itself intrigued people who ain't even heard of the 5% Lesson. Now stuff got so common that it's like, they understand it now. It's like, "Alright I understand it. And with that let it be said that I don't wanna be dictated to." Or I don't wanna be dictative in sayin', "OK, the common image of once you get Knowledge of self; time to get a kufi, wear your flag, wear your garments, and represent who you are thru a material state." Whereas like, we goin' into the year of Borne. We leavin' the year of Build & Destroy and we goin' into the year of Borne. You gotta Borne the Knowledge now; you gotta manifest the Knowledge now. So it's like again, the duty is so obstacled, so hard because you have the individuals out now that's graspin' the 85er's with the attraction of the jewelry, the expensive cars, and the illusion of living large in a materialisticsense. They bein' attracted thru all of the shit that they seein' and that they want! So you gotta show them; it's almost like you gotta grasp them with that; hold them with that. Let them look at your leather jacket and your jewelry, or whatever. And then say, "Nah, this is the True Light (pointing to his head)!" You seein' me with objects that the average person that's dealin' in darkness is gettin'. So this is the True Light; this is how you could really get that. You could be Spiritually intuitive, or commonly smart and still gain Knowledge of self. And at the same time you can still utilize Knowledge of self to gain your business; to hold down your fort. `Cause that's basically what helps me out. Like right when I thought that I should utilize it this way, or utilize it that way; the common Knowledge, the Knowledge of self, the intuitive Knowledge was like, "Handle it this way". And usually that's how good business is handled from hy half. It's just doin' it the way I know; doin' it naturally.
KRONICK: You've alluded in your lyrics about the music business bein' similar to slavery. If that's the case, how do you keep your group and other artists on your label from getting "raped by the pirates"?
BUCKSHOT: Like I said, I'm a living example of today that if this was slavery, and we was livin' in slavery days, and I was a slave at some point and time... I'm like, "Look, I WILL GET OFFA SLAVERY!! Fuck that!!! I'm not gon' be followin' this shit! I'm outta here!! I'm breakin' FREE!!!" And if it cause me death... then Yo, I'ma die for what I believe in. So the business and gettin' off of a label that was considered impossible in some cases to get off of... I did that. I manifested that! I was on a label and I put out one album. We didn't make no money off the album. We went thru slavery in the business with that album. Then I said, "You know what? Fuck that! We gon' get off and we gon' get our own shit after the first album!!" By puttin' out one album utilizin' that power to say, "Alright, I broke Free!" I got Free and I wasn't on some real, "Lemme drop another album, drop a second one..." like some of these artists who know they gettin' jerked for they money but they on they third & fourth albums. We're a living manifestation that Black Moon broke free from the contract. We ran wild from the contract and now we're Free and we're leadin' a bunch of other individuals on a free path. Like Heltah Skeltah, O.G.C., and all the other artists and anybody else under the Duck Down banner is gonna get the right thing; they gonna have the right shit done for them. Because we've been thru the rough shit and we got jerked. So we know how we tryin' to treat Niggaz and we know how we tryin' to do the right thing for individuals.
KRONICK: I've been blessed to see the whole Boot Camp Click perform both in NYC and L.A. In L.A. I saw you at a sold-out Unity joint that was packed wall-to-wall where you all Rocked! I remember specifically, you would keep on MCin' even after the music was over.
KRONICK: Your verses would keep goin' on and on like you were providin' the music yourself. How much goes into the live perfomance for you personally in connecting with that audience?
BUCKSHOT: Just like seein' what type of vibe the people are on. And lovin' to see that. It always still to this day makes me nervous when I see a lot of people in the crowd and they all waitin' for a good show. And they just want you to come out and do your best. It's a certain energy that comes thru the crowd and I feel that. Thru the nervousness formality, I transform that into the energy of hearin' my music in my head, feelin' what they feel, and sayin', "Alright, lemme just go out and do it and deliver to them." And that's what's goin' on. It's just like shit just starts to get better and better as time goes by onstage. Me and the crowd becomes more familiar with each other. We become like, knowledgable of each other. Like when you first meet somebody, you're like, "Oh how you doin'? Peace-Peace." But then the more you talk and you start to understand that person, you start to smile a little bit more. They start to smile a little bit more. And your personalities become a little bit more visual to each other. So I think that's how Black Moon is with the crowd.
KRONICK: A funny thing happenned when I saw you guys in New York. It was a benefit for City College of Brooklyn or something. And it was somewhere up in Midtown Manhattan. When I got to the show that night about 50 Brothas were standin' outside the joint in military gear, right? Camoflage! And to see the older business guys in suits and briefcases walk thru there and see all those Brothas; and then they'd start runnin' to get past `em with fear in their eyes, was hilarious to me. But it made me think like, "Damn, these Brothas got like an army!", so to speak. Would you consider some of your followers out here sort of like an army? Or a squadron of troops?
BUCKSHOT: Yea I would consider them like a squadron of troops, more or less like that. Or more or less like soldiers. People who are down for the Cause. And if me playin' a part in that is just simply havin' heads listenin' to a Black Moon album and feelin' it or projectin' it to somebody else, or speakin' on it to somebody else. You know, spreadin' the word. Then I'm doin' my job as a soldier because I'm awakening the people to what the bigger picture is, or the mission is. Which is Black Moon bringin' their music to Hip Hop. So these people become dedicated thru our music thru hearin' Beatminerz track and hearin' a Buckshot and a 5 Ft on it and sayin', "That is a form of Hip Hop that I love and that I miss. Let me sign up! Let me represent that!! Let me put people on to that because that not only represents Black Moon but it represents myself in a way also."
KRONICK: What do you want those kids that have been waitin' for so long to get out of War Zone? What's the essence of your Lessons?
BUCKSHOT: Two Turntables & A Mic. That is the essence not only of Hip Hop, but it's the essence of Black Moon generically. Not 10 guys that don't rhyme, but is onstage with us. Not anything like that. Nothin' out of the bottom line of what we comin' with. Nothing unoriginal. So I would definitley say Two Turntables & A Mic because that sums up War Zone. That's what we had to go thru for people to feel what Two Turntables & A Mic, or feel what we have to give them again. And feel what we have to project for them again. It's Ill! We in a War Zone. It's like a War out here. We just gonna be lacin' `em with a whole lotta tracks. We gonna give `em everything that they wanted. I think specifically for everybody out there to know, and every fan; is that yea, for your listening pleasure it is raw. It is all 14 songs produced by the Beatminerz how we did it the first time. It is Buckshot and 5 Ft that's rhymin'.
EVIL DEE: You know what's the good thing though? This whole Duck Down/ Black Moon/ Beatminerz collaboration is Hip Hop. It's like Yo, we showin' you how Hip Hop's supposed to be thrown down. That's the good thing about it. Because a lotta things came out that's not up to par. Personally Yo, I know you tired of gettin the album and three cuts are hot and the rest of it is just like album cuts. We givin' you a whole album fulla singles. Everything on it is Hip Hop. And another thing I could say also: this isn't one of those fake situations where somebody said, "Hey listen Buck, let's make some monney and have a reunion." This is like Family; we came in the business together. It's family sittin' back down and makin' it happen. It ain't a money thing. It ain't a `Yo, let's do it because...' It's reality and it's all good.
BUCKSHOT: This is some good food fa de pot shit! So consume, make room for the Black Moon!! Like I said in the rhyme Buck `Em Down, "In 1998 I couldn't wait/ to get all my Niggaz and do shows from state to state." And we just went outta `98 and we already did shows from state to state. And Black Moon is back in `99 and we just about to hit `em with what we was cookin' up in `98.
KRONICK: It's like prophesy the way you rhymed it back then after all the shit you been thru since.
EVIL DEE: It definitley is because I wasn't even conscious of it.
KRONICK: So Evil Dee, where's 5 Ft right now? He couldn't make it tonight?
EVIL DEE: Nah Man. He's temporarily locked up right now.
KRONICK: What? I just took for granted that 5 Ft was doin' his own thing right now? What's the story and what's the dealie?
EVIL DEE: You know Man, wrong place at the wrong time. It ain't nothin' serious though. I'm not gon' get into it, but it's not nothin' serious. Actually I'll just tell you like this. It's fightin'. It ain't that major though. So it's cool. He should be out way before the album drops. So it's all good.
KRONICK: For you, as the Producer and DJ behind Buckshot & 5 Ft, what do you see as the chemistry between them that makes it so powerful when they pick up the microphones?
EVIL DEE: It's like, you have one cat, 5 Ft who's like, he's a Bomb! He's about to explode any minute. And he just got so much energy stored inside of him, waitin' to be released! At the same time you got Buck who's laid back. But you know, it's them Cats that don't say too much you gotta watch. But it works though. It works! And they chemistry together is just crazy!! Two individuals like that put together in the same studio is explosive like TNT! Myself, I'm like exact opposites of both of `dem. I'm just like, the music Cat. All I do is music so it's all flavor. I like interpretin' their energy into music. Like when we go into the studio I'll make sure it sounds the way it's supposed to sound; make sure that the person listenin' understands what's goin' on. So it's all Flava!