I was recently given the opportunity to interview one of my favourite MC’s, Queensbridge veteran Cormega. In lead up to sending through the interview I built upon what I already knew of his career by reading and listening to a bunch of his interviews, I didn’t want to ask too many questions he’d been asked in the past, anything to do with Nas for example. Unfortunately a few questions weren’t answered. I was interested to know more about his history and early appearances with Poet and DJ Hotday (PHD), I was also interested to know more about his QB Crew The Goodfellaz which consisted – to my knowledge – of names like Lakey the Kid and Worm.. While also building upon where he’s at as an artist today. What came back is what was answered, maybe I caught him on a busy day but I’m grateful for the opportunity regardless.
Thanks heaps to Trav from OzhiphopShop for putting the connect together, be sure to support his movement as he’s helped support ours. The intro to the interview was written by a dude named Rips.
For what had started as a kid in the hallways of a Nas storyline, Cormega has grown a notoriety as one of the most-revered emcees out of 41st Side and Vernon of Queensbridge, New York. Despite his independent career having been met with great adversary, twenty years after Cormega’s release he has stayed true-to-form and triumphed along the way with some well-regarded records, The Realness and True Meaning. For a rapper Marley Marl had once referred to as the ‘original gangsta rapper of Queensbridge’, Cormega regards himself a veteran of hip-hop. After long-service leave, his 2015 album, Megaphilosphy marks a return to fold for the rapper and, for the first time, is bringing his steez to every capital city down-under which opens up in Melbourne, September 25.
Before the arrival of one of QB’s finest, a purist of the art of rap who has always upheld the traditions of a microphone fiend, we decided to let one of our own emcees, Jake-Biz from Bris-Bang’s Karsniogenics label and one of the formidable few of the 750 Rebels to ask Mega anything and everything about the what-could-have-beens and look-backs at the commercially-underrated career of an incredibly-talented MC. Never shy to tackle the business-side of his business, Mega chopping-up with Jake Biz resulted in a frank and concise exchange of realness between two true heads of hip-hop.
JAKE BIZ – Your first album The Testament was shelved by Def Jam in the 90’s and didn’t see a release until the early 2000’s. How was your experience as a signed artist on hip hop’s preeminent label?
CORMEGA – Being on DEF JAM was a learning experience and introduced me to the industry.
You predate 50 Cent as one of the early artists to use mixtapes as a promotional tool but you rarely receive the credit. Was that the early inspiration for Legal Hustle and your independent grind?
I was definitely the first to utilize mixtapes as marketing schemes and also as a determiner of where I stood with the public.
The Realness and True Meaning could almost be viewed as companion pieces and are both clear, fan-favourites. Do you ever feel the pressure from fans and the public to recreate that early success?
Realness and True Meaning are definitely albums I aspire to equal or exceed every time I make an album.
You’ve shown immeasurable growth over the course of your career and you’ve never hesitated to cite peers such as Chuck D, Slick Rick and the Juice Crew for that, how have you managed to stay a fan of the game and not seem as jaded as other MCs from your era?
I love what I do and understand it is a blessing to be in my position as an artist plus I respect the foundation.
The chemistry you share with Large Professor is unquestionable and your latest album Megaphilosophy is a testament to that and you’ve also worked together in the past. How did the process of making a whole project together differ from getting single tracks from individual producers?
Working with LP is a challenge but when challenges are met you find out who you really are.
‘Industry’ (and its subsequent remixes) is one of the most profound statements in hip-hop from the last five years! In a time where digital reigns supreme and CDs are essentially obsolete do you think the recording industry could ever regroup and see the immense profit it saw throughout the 90s?
The industry will always find a new way to return like a villain in a superhero movie.
You’re a known sneaker head, do you still get out and cop on release day or has hype-beasting seen your interest diminish?
I love sneakers but I’m not a hype-beast and luckily I have some cool friends at Puma and New Balance. I really don’t wear Nike anymore until I see them show more respect to the black consumer who, by-the-way, kept them from going out of business.
Can’t wait to see you here in Australia. Thanks for your time!
– Jake Biz(750 Rebels/Karsniogenics)
You can catch Cormega on his massive upcoming Australian tour that kicks off September 25th in Melbourne