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Uno Dos: Love for the Old School
8/11/04 - exclusive interview (click here for 2nd interview)

Uno Dos rappers

Uno Dos have been on the scene for years, yet have somehow managed to stay just under mainstream radar. With their latest effort, "Amongst the Elite", things wont stay that way for long for this Long Island duo.

Puerto Rican brothers Cee and Chunk have earned names for themselves as producers, and have collaborated with a number of hip hop notables such as Mobb Deep and the Alchemist.

The brothers took a moment to discuss their latest album, and speak on why things just aint the same in hip hop in an exclusive interview. What's up with Amongst the Elite, how has the album been received?

Cee: It's been received real well. We get a lot of feedback on it, ‘cause of the artists on it, plus ‘cause we Spanish, we gettin' a good response.

Uno Dos has been in the game for a minute, since the album dropped have you guys been getting the shine from all your work over the years?

Cee: We getting some shine from it, definitely, but not really like to its full potential, ‘cause you know it's only been released independently, on the net. But I'm about to re-release it with some video, remixes, new songs we did with other artists, so its eventually gonna be in stores.

Right now you guys are moving CDs on your site,, what's the label situation looking like as far as you guys signing with anyone at the moment?

Cee: We have a lot of majors coming at us right now, but we gonna keep it kinda in the hush hush as far as naming names, for superstitious reasons. But a lot of people been asking us about major deals, but we comfortable on the independent route at this moment.

Who did you collaborate with on the album?

Cee: Mobb Deep, Tragedy Kadafi, Killa sha, Lake, and The Alchemist.

You guys also have strong reps as producers, how much of the album did you produce, and who did the other joints?

Cee: We produced 90 percent of the album, we had Havoc produce another joint for us, and The Alchemist produced a joint for us, other than that we did 90 percent.

Who are some of the artists you've done beats for?

Cee: Fat Joe, Lake, Cormega, Mobb Deep

Its been said that you sometimes lace known artists up with beats for free, so is Uno Dos more about making change from producing or developing connects from it?

Cee: I mean, both (laughs). Definitely making connects, but we gotta feed the kids too.

What artists do you listen to, if any, that inspire you to write hotter lyrics or bring it better?

Chunk: We old school dudes, you know, we got a lot of respect for Rakim, KRS, I don't really listen to too much rap nowadays. Financially its great, but artistic-wise, its at a low point. Definitely Jay Z, we definitely pump that, but that's about it though.

What are your thoughts on the state of rap music right now?

Chunk: More or less, its just like the street, a lot of the subliminal rules and regulations that used to exist just don't exist no more. Anything goes, you can sound like another rapper and just succeed, nobody really addresses you for sounding like anybody. But its definitely a lack of respect.

Cee: Lack of creativity and originality. That's really what it us.

Chunk: You get tired of hearing the same old dudes

Cee: Same flow

Chunk: Yeah they should give you 5 years and make you retire, ‘cause we heard everything you had to say.

But a minute ago you big upped Rakim and KRS, and they been in the game over 15 years. Does that apply to them?

Chunk: I think that's just exceptional dudes, that's why I named them. Overall the majority of what I'm talking about, [but] they still had tremendous careers. Its like an older boxer can still fight good, some boxers can be an exception to the rule.

Cee: But sh*t is horrible, millionaire rappers talking about they dealing drugs in the street, they shooting people. It's a lie. Like if you throwing out horrible music, you don't deserve to be there

Chunk: Its more of a business than ever before.

Cee: Don't get it twisted, we happy for the jobs that it created, Black and Spanish people able to come up from poverty, but after that you gotta do other things to uplift the community.

So how important is it for you to rep Latinos?

Cee: It's very important, ‘cause our father was a percussionist, and he was into music hard, and he always instilled in us our heritage and being proud of who we are. Its definitely to uplift other Hispanics.

Chunk: Plus we been here since day one, that's another thing. We [Latinos in hip hop] been there from day one. We try to let the youth know, the dudes that just coming up.

We ran a feature on Eric Bobo of Cypress Hill recently, his pops was Willie Bobo the legendary percussionist who played with Tito Puente. He puts that in his music, so what about you guys, did that rub off on you?

Chunk: Oh yeah! Rubbed off crazy, we got percussion in the music, we play a little conga, but we got another vet who played with Tito Puente, he kinda open up shows with us. It's in our blood, it's how we got good drums and good rhythms, I can see it in my kids.

So you guys bump Salsa music or anything other than rap?

Chunk: Me myself, I like polka.

(Long silence and everyone busts out laughing).

Chunk: (laughing) Uno Dos says its all about humor too.

Cee: Salsa, HELL yeah. We might play some opera, anything, just to clear the head, we ain't into heavy metal, rock music, but we listen to everything just get away from hip hop sometimes. We grew up hearing that, our uncles, our family be in the house jamming with glasses and spoons, makeshift drums, all that.

Chunk: Graters, pots.

Cee: Salt shakers, anything

Chunk: Yeah, my pops was a huge Tito fan, ‘namean, that was his dude.

Cee: May he rest in peace.

So what sets Uno Dos apart from your average rappers in the game at the moment?

Chunk: Originality, longevity, plus 20 years of experience, ya heard.

What's it gonna take for Uno Dos to say they finally made it in this music game?

Cee: I mean, right now we feel blessed. A lot of legends we run into, they got a lot of respect for Uno Dos.

Chunk: Shout out to Melle Mel, Dana Dane, Rakim

Cee: They got respect for Uno Dos and how we move, our hustle, our drive. We feel blessed to be respected by our peers.

Chunk: But you know, to sum it up, 10 mil baby!

(Both laugh)

Cee: Yeah, we put it in, 20 years of work, 10 mil a piece. Gonna definitely take some finance to be like: aight, we put a lot of work in, our families can be comfortable, we can open up bodegas from here to L.A.

Chunk: I say 10 mil a piece, but really I feel like we made it in a big way because we well respected

Cee: That means more than money, really.

Anything else you want to add?

Shout out to my O.G. who run with us, he 53 years old, he run with Uno Dos: Cuba. Originally from Cuba, originally from the Castro era, Freedom Town and all that. People will see him, he be at our shows, he run with us hard. We wanna thank Dante from Latin Rapper to take the time out to interview us, give us more exposure, and we wanna dedicate this interview to my pops, Big Cheese, rest in peace, the legend.


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