Interview with Block McCloud
1) Block McCloud in the building, Brooklyn keeps on taking it!
YEZZIR! THAT WE DO!!!!! You can take me out of Brooklyn but can’t take that Brooklyn Spirit and attitude out of me. No place like it in the world. I’ve seen the world, nothing compares.
2) Hailing from Park Slope Brooklyn, take us to your hood (bring us to your world)
It’s a beautiful tree filled neighborhood, Park Slope, lots of yuppies and kids now, actors and hipsters, not what it used to be. When i was young it was all of us, White, Black, Latinos, getting smoked out and drinking in Prospect Park, It was the movie "KIDS" with some of its actual actors, but in real life, Brownstone parties, Mushroom, Acid, Mesculine then Crack. A giant radio and a forty of Olde English, a fat EL and a bottle of Brass Monkey, Banging broads in the meadows, or in there parents room while Native Tongue or KRS or Rakim play in the background, sniffing, strip poker, One on One fights, no guns just rumbles, That’s was Park Slope Brooklyn.
3) Has being from Park Slope influenced you musically?
Yes of course, that and then moving to Staten, Wu Tang and Sheistyness galore, bloods and crypts, pills and coke, bills and being broke, I am a product of my environment, then and now, I was literally hungrier then so my rhymes where a lot angrier, now I’m fat so I sing lol. Being a father changed me, but I’m still a sick fuck in the head, you can’t cure that, the Crazy Man.
4) You got an impressive hip hop resume, how did you get started?
Late eighties, early nineties, Lyricist Lounge parties and cyphers by Grey Papayas in the city! Just gravitated towards people that loved hip hop as much as i did, and did my best to become a part of it, Started Brooklyn Academy, doing shows at Wetlands, and CBGB's basement, places that have since closed, and fortunately came up in what I call the Inception of The Underground. Ill Bill, Jedi Mind Tricks, Jean Grae, Immortal Technique, Sons of Man, Mos Def, those were my co-conspirators in this thing call The Underground, we all came up together, some have forgotten who helped them along the way, that we were all in it together, that I recorded them or with them, produced for them etc.. But I’m happy, I’m a father to my kids, a husband to my woman, and a respected artist to my fans. I’m still the same dude i was then.
5) Rawkus was the movement in independent music.
Yes and No. It definitely turned our movement into a profitable one and for that I guess it can be accredited with putting it on the map, but it also streamlined it and blended it later on with mainstream artists, like Lyricist lounge Vol.2 and I think that was the beginning of the end of real Lyricism. Hunger defines art in my opinion, even I have lost a certain edge in my little comfort zone. You can’t rap about what you don’t understand, pain, fear, doubt, anger. You understand those better when you’re young, with babies and no sense of direction. It fueled my desire to write things to inspire emotion. I write my best under duress and I think Hip Hop did too. Now you got millionaires like Nicki Minaj and sounding fucking stupid, I mean stupid!! And that’s what people gravitate towards? People need to feel pain. They will soon enough.
6) Lyricist Lounge and Ecko Unlimited must have opened some doors for you.
They did. But like i said it got corporate and things changed, they gravitated towards those that would benefit them, the more "commercially friendly" cats, the "safe" artists like Mos and Talib, and cats like me who screamed " Ill beatchu down like Hedda Nussbaum, on a busbound for uptoan cus you wouldn’t give me a Bust down!!" , I got no love lol..
7) How the group Brooklyn Academy did came about?
We had a crew called Zooty Zoo that eventually evolved into Brooklyn Academy, I came up with the name and essentially recruited everyone from the old crew and added a few more and Will Tell did the beats and me and Mr. MNet and PH and I.see.on started killing it on the Underground and essentially laid the foundation for Horrorcore with cats like Non phixion and Company Flow, and the rest as they say is history.. So is Brooklyn Academy btw.
8) Talk to us about Disturbia Music Group and Well Done Entertainment.
Well Done entertainment is dead as far as i know, they helped with my Crazy Man video and a couple of pics and nothing else, the rest and everything you’ve seen since then is a product of my blood, sweat and tears.. People need to understand something, I came up with BA, i put Skeme Team on the map, and now I am again creating a movement, a label, an image, a musical revolution from nothing. Disturbia Music Group is an Artist run Label so to speak in that we move as one, we are a family, and we are what all the other groups I was affiliated with before DMG and AOTP could not ever be or even understand. We are a Group. We move in perfect harmony. And I am thankful I was able to prove all them faggots wrong who didn't understand what I was trying to do, or didn’t believe enough to play there position and do what they were supposed to do to get us there that much quicker. And if you take offense to the word faggot then you definitely are one lol.
9) You got a lot of headz on the roster. Name a few artists on the Disturbia Music Group.
F.T., Suicide Squad, Demunz the Dark Apostle, Kromeatose, Misk, Fresh Jones, Genghis Khan, Just One, Exacto, and Castro Fidel to name a few..
10) Your group Brooklyn Academy almost got signed with Mammoth Records. What happened to that deal?
We actually did the deal with them, it was a 3 Album deal starting at $300,000 with each albums advance doubling to $600,000 then 1.2 mil, but the owner who had borrowed his bread to start mammoth from Disney didn’t quite make things pop with his previous signings and lost the label to Disney, they bought him out and as one of his signings, we were dropped as well. We didn’t even get to drop the album unfortunately.
11) Brooklyn Academy sold 30,000 units with a single. It shows that you can still put that hustle and get noticed without a major machine backing you up.
Yes we did, and I continued up until now, to get it done with no budget, my only resources are the people who work with and for Disturbia Music Group, and the fans that support us. My fans are the best fans in the world!! And i try to talk to all of them lol
12) You also engineered and record Immortal Technique, Jean Grae and Pumpkinhead albums. You are versatile with many roles such as mC’ing, producing, recording and songwriter.
That’s True, them dudes practically lived in my studio in Staten Island, All of us would get up at my place and get fried, Barbecue and record all night, good times while they lasted, but people got there little deals and kept it moving, I’m not mad, I wish nothing but the best for people. I just know that despite my success I’m still close with all the people who have been there for me from day one. I have produced , Engineered or Recorded and done hooks for: Jean Grae, Immortal Technique, PH, Thirstin Howl the 3rd, Sean Price, Trife The God, Mr. Met, Dom Pacino, Method Man, Capadonna, Mastah Killah, JJPellegrino, Ghostface, Sun God, Shyheim, Slaine, Ill Bill, Killah Priest and another thousand or so artists I can even begin to count lol
13) You got a strong work ethic from music to the label, doing it all by yourself. How did your work progress from music, to production, to recording and the CEO of Disturbia?
I used to say that everyone around me were control freaks. Truth is I’m probably the biggest one, I don’t see anyone around me as being capable of doing what I do as well as I do it, even when they do lol (most don’t though). I’m a Virgo, a perfectionist, I got tired of paying for studio time to have people do shitty jobs at engineering, so i invested in and learned Pro Tools, then Logic, Reason, FL, Ableton etc.. I needed to hear things how I wanted them to sound, and people hated on me, new id be nice and wouldn’t allow me on their equipment, literally told me if you get nice block, what am I gonna do?? Like stifling my career was the only way they could shine. They tried but I got the studio, got the shine, and that’s been the same story across the board, no one gives me a shot so I make my own way, label, career. I’ve fought tooth and nail for every achievement and forced myself on to the forefront of UGHH, I essentially raped the hip hop world and force fucked my way in!
14) What is the difference between writing a song and spitting bars?
Anyone could spit bars, good or bad, and think they did something. Battle rappers for instance, they are soo fucking dope in battles but a lot of them go to do a song and it doesn’t have the same impact on the listener. I’m a songwriter, the lyrics compliment the hook compliments the music compliments the theme of the album, and the video compliments all of the above. A songwriter thinks of all of that before he even grabs the pencil and pad.
15) You got a singing alias Captain Hook.
Yes i do. Yes i am. nuff said.
16) You got an army of super groups. What is the difference between Army of Pharaohs and Brooklyn Academy?
One is probably the most relevant and powerful MC collective ever assembled, like the Avengers, the other was the most powerful and talented but dysfunctional MC collective ever assembled, like the Watchmen.
17) How was it working with Sean Price?
It was great, real Brooklyn dude.
18) What do you think about the music right now especially New York?
I don’t even know anymore man, my time is completely encompassed doing my own thing and helping my labels artists get where they gotta get.
19) Do you think New York City MC’s have gotten lazy with their hustle unlike the Southern MC’s?
People complain that the underground sucks now but no one seems to be good enough to really make it better, until you can out due me, Bill, Vinnie, Slaine, we will continue to run shit. Period! Whether it’s a matter of hustle or not, I’m not sure but I know I bust my ass daily, and them dudes down south that hustle and grind, they make names for themselves, that should tell you what needs to happen to succeed..
20) You are a veteran in the business. Do you think it would be difficult trying to reach to the 90’s babies and the new hip hop listeners with your music?
I hope not lol, no not at all. I have teenage fans that love my shit. Period! I’m one of the few that have managed to stay true to themselves while growing with and adapting to the times, that’s how you stay relevant, after all you’re only as good as your last video ;)
21) I like the title to your album Four Walls. What was the concept behind it?
DJ Waxwork actually came up with it and we have a sick beat which ironically didn’t make the album, with the same title. I see it as a cell, mental, metaphorical or physical. We all are trapped in our personal cells or personal hell. Four Walls depicts mine and how I free myself from them.
22) Four Walls was produced by DJ Waxwork. Are you satisfied with the outlook of the album?
I could not be prouder of DJ Waxwork, he is so young and to be so fucking talented and creative, we complement each other perfectly. Big ups to him and our album!
23) Who are the guest appearances on the Four Walls album?
Ill Bill, Slaine, Vinnie Paz, King Syze, Reef The Lost Cauze, King Mag, Celph Titled, R.A. The Rugged Man, Demunz the Dark Apostle, Just One, Hasan Salaam, and a bunch more lol, All Star cast.
24) What’s the difference between Splitting Image and Four Walls?
Spittin' Image was a showcase of my talents and sort of my rebirth as a solo Artist, It showed a lot of the different ways i could attack a song, melodic, singing songs, or straight spit, angry, sad, love songs or murder Music, it was an experiment for me. With Four Walls, I know what I’m doing, what direction I wanted to go, the theme, the sound, the feel of it, were all premeditated. And it’s all one producer which brought it all together seamlessly
25) Crazy Man is out, got the remix with R.A. the Rugged Man and Celph Titled. Love the video set up. How was it working with those guys?
Amazing, both class acts, both incredible talents, and both showed me the utmost respect by coming to the shoot, one with a hurt ankle (R.A.) and the other never having been in a video before (Celphs first ever video filmed was Crazy Man Remix). I was honored to have them and it felt good knowing that they too were as much a fan of me as i was of them.
26) Wow, you don’t see remixes from any artists that much like in the 90’s.
I recently saw an interview with R.A. where he discussed being an old school cat, I feel the same way, we are both fortunate to get the love we get still and like him, I don’t take that for granted, so I try to honor it by keeping as much of that old school Hip Hop in my music and lyrics: The scratches, the dirty beats, the collaborations with its greatest emcees. Thats real Hip Hop.
27) Hip hop had become main stream for a minute. Do you think corporations have disrespected the art form?
Totally, if you want to be mainstream you just have to be a fucking idiot. Rap about nothing or be an R&B singer that can spit a few witty lines and you’re in. No disrespect to the Joel Ortiz's and even J. Cole or Ludacris' cus i respect their lyricism, but some of the artists eating today should fucking starve and die. Kill themselves early. I’m sorry and pardon my French but it’s so blatantly obvious that Executives and the Masons who run them are eager to dumb down society, desensitize people to homosexuality, violence, and the degradation of our Queens. It’s sad that people consume that bullshit and are so busy popping e pills and mollys to notice.
28) Love the track with you and Vinnie Paz “True Lies”. You mentioned about how they are raping our minds. I definitely co-sign with the propaganda constantly showing on the idiot box
I can say a lot more about it, the reality TV shows glorifying the dumbest humans on earth with Jersey Shore and all that. Its fucking sad people are fucking dumb. I feel for them like I feel for a little retarded kid who shits himself and punches himself in the face. I think we should put them out of their misery and begin again.
29) Ultimately, it will convert itself to the old psychology theory of classic conditioning.
Conditioning, Desensitization, fear tactics, we are all being programmed daily, seeing a man with an assault rifle on the train platform is ok now lol, watching men hump and kiss in comedies is ok now, our favorite rapper wearing a fucking wig and a horses ass while sniffing coke is ok now. People are fucking stupid and getting stupider thanks to our president and label execs. Wake up.
30) Don’t mean to pull out of the music topic but what do you think about the overabundance of electronics, sex and drugs. Is it a distraction from the changes happening in the country?
Absolutely, it’s no coincidence that at a time when government is passing bill after bill that essentially destroys the fabric of our freedoms, deleting all those amendments that used to protect our rights, and militarizes our society like a third world country we are being offered the greatest innovations in video gaming, I-pads, apps, computers, TV's, free TV(netflix) and video and music galore online to keep us busy and keep our heads so far up our own asses that we don’t see they are pulling the rug out from under us and putting the wool over our eyes. If you just stop and look at the laws being passed, at what banks are plotting, etc. You would already be packing, stocking up on food and guns, seeds, medicine, etc. It’s scary. Like i said People are stupid. I repeat this so they can get mad a little, you’ve got to get mad." you’ve got to say I’m a human being Goddamit.. I’m not going to take this anymore!!!"
31) Any artist you would like to work with.
I’m working some things out now but I really don’t want to spoil the surprise. Let’s just say my wish list is also my upcoming feature list for the next album and that list does include: Krizz Kalico, Sick Jacken, Joel Ortiz, Sticky Fingaz, Cappadonna, Kool G. Rap, Krumb Snatcha, Havoc, Cormega, Jadakiss and Styles P, Action Bronson, Inspectah Deck and Gizah to name a few. Some are already in the works. We will see how it goes..
32) What is your advice to the artists on the come up?
Do whatever the fuck they tell you bothers them about you. If it stuck out that much in their mind to force them to talk about it, it works. If you suck, quit. Don’t ever stop believing in you because if you don’t believe in you, who will. And above all else, be a good person, that above all else will keep you in the mix when all else fails.
33) Definitely looking forward to the projects coming from your camp. How can headz can check you and get at your music?
You can purchase my projects on www.disturbiamusicgroup.com/bigcartel.com and also my website: www.disturbiamusicgroup.com/store.html . My singles "True Lies and Hallucinations off my "Four Walls" album are available on itunes. Click here:
http://www.disturbiamusicgroup.bigcartel.com (Disturbia Music Group's store)
http://www.facebook.com/blockmccloud (personal page)
34) Any shout outs!
Shout out to my manager Jimmy Kang and Str8 up Entertainment: firstname.lastname@example.org , he’s the guy to talk to if you’re interested in working with me lol, and Big Ra, all my people at DMG, Kromeatose, Misk, Just, my AOTP fam, my wife Fresh Jones who does most of my promo work, and my beautiful kids Lego, Bella, Dahlia and Rita for being my inspiration when it seemed hopeless.. Thank You Ty for taking the time and obviously doing your homework lol. Peace and love.