Kane and Abel - New
2/23/05 - LatinRapper.com exclusive interview
Born the identical twin
sons of Puerto Rican parents in the Bronx, the Garcia
brothers have endured both success and hardship. While
studying Mass Communications at Xavier University in New
Orleans, they eventually earned their place on the tank at
No Limit Records.
What followed was a ride to
success with the label, which ended with a friendly
departure from it, subsequent deals with other majors, and
the birth of Most Wanted Records.
Just as the twins began building a reputation for their
independent label, misfortune struck and they were sentenced
to three years in a Texas Federal Prison, essentially for not
providing their knowledge of a felony related to the trial of
reputed New Orleans drug kingpin and convicted killer Richard
PeŮa. After serving two years in prison, Kane and Abel became
free men, and have been piloting their label with a better
understanding of the business as well as themselves.
LatinRapper.com: What projects are you presently working
Da Block Party, itís a comedy. Reality Show is the new Kane
and Abel album. We got all the top producers for the Kane and
Abel album, Kanye West, Manny Fresh, Juicy J, KLC. We really
been concentrating on movies, the movie business is actually
booming, the music business is kind of declining.
Why the movie business?
One, itís more profitable, two, from a company standpoint, it
costs the same to promote a movie, but the profit is greater,
and in the urban market its less competition. DVD sales are
increasing every year, music sales are decreasing, youíre
going to see a disparity.
What distinguishes Most Wanted from other labels?
In 2000, we were Billboards #2 Urban Label before we went into
the unfortunate situation we went into. We have the hot beats
and crunk songs, but you will also hear about politics, about
religion, about the things the everyday person goes through on
the street. I think most people relate to Most Wanted because
we give them the complete experience. When major labels
realize there is a niche, they come in and sign some of the
acts that were underground. Now, if you get hot, itís best to
not take the deal. I canít tell you how many artists were hot
in the South, and major labels swooped in and killed their
career. They give you a certain amount of money, and youíre
their slave. We'd rather make the same amount of money, do it
for ourselves. You have lawyers and accountants running labels
now, they look at how marketable an album is, not if itís good
music. Now you see a mass exodus of good artists from labels,
nowís a good time to be with an independent label. You may not
get your videos on MTV or BET, but you can control your own
Youíve released multiple albums and have maintained strong
sales for being independent; What has been the formula to your
Promote, promote, promote. We donít try to be all things to
everyone. We go to five main states, we hit the radio stations
hard, we market Ďtil weíre blue in the face. If you maintain a
relationship with your fans, you continue to bring them hits,
and you have relationships with radios and clubs, you will
have an outlet for people. The key is that we put it all the
way out there, we make sure you know its out there. At the end
of the day, if people donít buy the album, we at least know we
did our job.
Many Hip Hop fans, including Latinos, have never realized
that you were both Latin. How does being Latino fit in with
your music, and do you ever feel the need to represent for
Latinos in Hip Hop?
We have so many Latino fans, if you listen to our records, we
do interludes talking in Spanish. Itís a necessity for us to
represent, we do shows at Hispanic and Mexican clubs, we
participated in the Puerto Rican day parade in New York.
Describe your overall experience with No Limit Records
You could actually see the principles of success put into
motion, believing in yourself, believing in what you are
doing. But on the flip side, when you are on top, you have to
pay the closest attention to what you are doing, because its
so easy to fall down.
So much negativity has surrounded your former label that
the phrase "No Limit curse" was created. Mystikal, Mac,
C-Murder all convicted, Big Ed died of cancer and Souljah Slim
was murdered . Whatís your take on the myth of the curse?
I really donít know, it seems like its been a lot of
misfortune when it comes to a lot of people associated with No
Limit. Itís something that I canít explain, if itís a
coincidence, or if we're like the Kennedys. Personally I hope
this is the end of it. With Souljah Slim, I saw him the day
before he died, my heart goes out to his family.
Speaking on your own experience with the No Limit curse,
how much did your time incarcerated affect your music plans
and that of your record company?
Well, to be honest, for us being incarcerated was kind of a
good thing. It taught us a lot about life, a lot of lessons
that had to be learned. As far as business, it really didnít
hurt as, because we still had business conducted on the
outside. It was a learning experience, you get to know
yourself, you learn who is with you and who is not. You learn
to sustain your health, sustain your mentality. You get to
learn a lot about people, about different walks of life, you
learn about how much heart you have, because it takes a lot of
heart to be behind those walls. In prison itís a whole other
word, in there anything can happen, if something happens you
canít walk away. You live your own life, you ainít dead. You
play basketball, you let time pass, try to be a better person
when you walk out than when you walked in.
Did the fact that you were known affect your stay?
At first itís a big deal. In a federal system, there are rules
to the whole system. Puerto Ricans stick together, Texas
people stick together, so its harder to get picked on. My crew
was Boricuas, thatís who I ran with every day. In my prison,
probably 30 [Puerto Ricans] straight from the island. My celly
was from Caguas.
Your circumstances are obviously better now, so what can we
expect from Kane and Abel in the future?
We arenít all about the fame and money, we want to genuinely
help people: our family, our fans. At the same time, as long
as God is willing, we gonna keep putting out projects,
investing and making life better for the future. We got
movies, records, books, e-commerce, we gotta keep moving.
E-commerce is amazing, how you can reach so many people and
sell stuff while you are sleeping. We have people buying stuff
from Africa, Europe, it just shows you how global hip hop is.
You've written several novels. Is this something you want
to continue doing and have you considered writing about your
personal experiences and being incarcerated?
We got a new called Diva. We put out The Last Ones Left, which
was a bestseller. As far as writing about our own experience,
I guess we will see how that story pans out, itís kinda early
right now. But, we take aspects of situations, experiences,
and put them in our characters. If you read any of our books,
you'll read aspects of ourselves, (laughs) the feds actually
wanted to use one of our books against us. The classic story
is a heroís journey. You have to go through a struggle, a
challenge, thatís with any hero. We are just waiting for the
Kane & Abel on Myspace: