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Don't Call it a Comeback: Raze Returns
8/8/06 - exclusive interview by Lex

New York rapper Raze

From Tony Touch mixtapes to Unsigned Hype columns to Fight Klub titles, New York City's Raze has been through it all.


After a failed label situation with Loud as a member of Ghetto Inmates, Raze has re-immerged on the scene with an onslaught of heat. Garnering the attention of Heavyweights in the game like DJ Muggs, the Beatnuts and the Alchemist, it's only a matter of time before Raze is a household name.

Fresh off a European tour with M1 (dead prez) and Talib Kweli, the Lower East Side General had a chance to kick it with LatinRapper's Lex and give some insight on where he's been, where he is and where he's going. Don't miss this exclusive interview with one of Hip Hop's nastiest Latin lyricists. For everyone out there who may not be familiar, let em know who Raze is and what you've been up to.

Raze the lord, the Latin General Patton from Manhattan, man. Straight up L.E.S., Lower East Side. The most lethal lyricist out here, you know what I'm sayin'. I've been reppin' this from jumpstreet and right now we 'bout to get it on the map.

The first time I heard Raze was on Tony Touch's Power Cypha 3. What did it mean for you to be featured on this legendary mixtape?

That was a big thing for me you know. That was a minute ago but it was a big deal at the time because it was nothing but heavy hitters on there and he was only doing three CD's nah'mean. [Tony Touch] asked you himself. He'd come to you & you had to be somebody. Everybody that was on there, you had heavy hitters. You had Eminem, M.O.P., from Kool G. Rap to ni**as like KRS. He had everybody on there that dudes was feeling and I was on there with them. Raekwon & everybody, it was a good look. And Unsigned Hype, being in that class when Unsigned Hype really meant something, you know.

What type of opportunities did that create for you?

That created a lot of opportunities. That had the phones ringing. A lot of dudes was reaching out to me, other rappers and labels. It definitely drew attention to me and I was in a few other mags at the time. That just helped everything generate, you know what I'm sayin. Riggs had just got Eminem in the Unsigned Hype. It was good. Biggie and Mobb Deep and everybody else that got that, to be in that class was a big deal.

From DJ Muggs to the Beatnuts to Alchemist, you've managed to connect with some of the most respected names in the business. How does that effect your approach towards moving forward?

That's definitely a positive thing because the relationships I have with those dudes is usually different from the relationships they have with other rappers. I carry myself a certain way, I keep it 100% real all the time and ni**as know that. They see the ni**as that be around me, it's not a joke. I'm myself. When you meet me, you get the realness you know. We crack jokes, we might drink a beer, smoke an L, whatever it is. I'm down to earth but you know we don't play around.

Are there any artists you'd like to work with?

Yeah man. Definitely. Theres a few dudes out there that I like. You know, the Jadakiss', the Styles P's, the Young Buck's, the 50's, in that class. The Jay-Z's... even the dudes from different areas. I just want New York to get its due. We have a sound, you know what I'm sayin. Primo used to take ni**as from other states like Scarface and all them and put them on his beats and they'd just do what they do and incorporate that with us, you know what I'm sayin. Don't try to do what other people are doing. It's good to experiment, but be yourself. You don't even know how dudes are gonna appreciate that.

You've been able to consistently release vinyl and mixtapes to critical acclaim. What can fans be anticipating from you in the near future?

Right now I'm dropping the Fullscale G-Check. I peered up with my homies Mixtape Merchants. They do the Alchemist and Mobb Deep Mixtapes and CDs. This is a street album that comes with a DVD. I got 2 videos on there. One of them The Beatnuts produced. It's called "Peace Son" and I got my click on there, my ni**as Eddie Snub and Jesse Da Body. I'm working with my click.

Speaking of clicks, you tend to work primarily with a core set of producers (Chaze, The Beatnuts, Emile). How important is that to you?

Like I said, it's the relationships we have. I can go to those dudes. I don't like funniness man. One thing in the game that I can't deal with is the funniness, the fakeness. My thing is the music. That's what's fun for me and that's my life. That's how I get to vent if I'm angry or anything or feeling a certain way, that's what I do. And them dudes you named they come at me with ideas like "yo we gotta do this." And I'm not even on a major yet. Right now everything's on the table. They just come to me like "doggie, we gotta work." And they got the sound that I like. The sound that I feel people wanna hear, you know what I'm sayin.

I know you had a show last night at S.O.B.'s, have you been keeping busy with performances and touring?

Definitely. I got some things pending so I don't even wanna say nothing about that, but I got some things coming up right now. Everything's just being worked out. I just did a tour with M1 and Talib. We did some shows in Italy and France in Paris. That was cool. Right now we're about to do some stuff over here. I'm just working on putting my music out and making new music and getting these situations right. Plus I'm working with new producers. I'm doing what I've been doing, but now it's time to get on the radio and show ni**as that I can make hits. I can rip the underground apart and I can do the lyricism and that's all dope, but I also can make hits. We're party dudes. We like to party and I like being around female company, you know all of that. Gettin chopped and wildin, that's what we really do so that's in my music and I also go through pain and struggle so that's in my music, you know.

You represent the Lower East Side heavily in your rhymes. How was life coming up in this part of New York?

Ah man, you got the sense of pride man. We stand on our own you know what I'm sayin. We get our props. Any old-timer from anywhere or anyone that's been in jail or from the street game, they know about L.E.S. cause we put it down from day one. Legendary cats come outta here that dudes pay homage to.

There's also a large Puerto Rican community in L.E.S. Does that take effect on your writing?

Of course. Cause we bang out. We hold it down, you know what I'm sayin. We've been a part of Hip Hop since day one. This is a Black and Hispanic thing. We were all people of the struggle. That's were Hip Hop comes from. All the roots is in there. sh*t is just a whole mix of all that in one. And when you hear my sh*t, you get my side of things. You get to hear the tales from the people that they come to see for the work. (laughs) Nah'mean you get to hear Papi's side of things.

Papi got a story too...

Papi got the real.. Papi got the whole story smashed out. We Don Juanin'. We livin it, we really did that. That's in my lineage right there. I come from a line of Ballers and Shot-callers.

Who would you consider to be your musical influences coming up as an artist?

The roots of everything came from Big Daddy Kane, EPMD, Rakim, Kool G. Rap and KRS One and also the Biz Markie's, the A Tribe Called Quest, the N.W.A., the Brand Nubians, all of that. Their producers, all that music effected me. Then when Wu and Nas and Biggie and those dudes came it just went to another level and all of that just formulated. It just influenced and I grew on my own. The way I was taught is you gotta be an individual and come bring your own sh*t to the table, nah'mean. To stand out and represent yourself. When you hear me, that's all me. . and L.E.S. ni**as from L.E.S. ain't been out, so when you hear me, you gon' hear something else. You ain't gonna hear the same flow that you hear the next 400 dudes kickin. You ain't gonna hear the wack punchlines or simple punchlines, you gonna hear thought. And time. And sh*t that sounds like it took time but sometimes it's effortless.

With the Reggaeton movement jumping off, a lot of Latino rappers have been taking that route as an entry into the game. It doesn't seem that you're shifting gears at all. Can we ever expect a Raze record with that appeal?

(laughs) Well, like I said, I like to party and bug out and dance and chill with the ladies and all that and I am Hispanic. I love Tego. I like Voltio, I like Don Omar. I like them dudes and I respect what they do, but I'm an MC. I would definitely work with the types of dudes I named. I'd do a song with them in a heartbeat. But you won't see me going in that route or getting put in that box. If I do a song like that [collabo] and that ends up being the song that pops and everybody gets to know me by then, hey... Because then when they cop the album they gon' see every element on there. They gon' see he's dancin and jokin and doing this over here, but he bodied 400 dudes on the mic right there. I'ma take you from the gutter all the way up to the penthouse.

Has Raze reached his pinnacle yet?

Nah, definitely not. I'm still rising you know what I'm sayin. My sh*t grows everyday and the star is still soarin. I'm at a perfect position right now. I can pick and choose and I'm bout to come in the game the right way because my hood is gettin attention right now and we bout to get more attention. I'm at a good point right now where I got an understanding. I know everything thats going on. ni**as can't come at me sideways, they can't make no promises or beat me in the head with no bullcrap. And musically, I'm an artist now. Before, I was a young emcee. Now I'm an artist that knows what I'm doing. I'm ready made. You know you ain't takin a gamble when you mess with me. Other dudes, they gotta develop them, we smash those dudes, man. Some kids rap or they rhyme good and they can win battles, but they ain't makin no songs that you're gonna feel like that. That have substance or that's gonna touch your heart or anything. Some dudes could make songs for you to party and dance, but they ain't reppin the streets. They ain't makin you think or nothing. They just not makin you go "Ooooh" (laughs) know what I'm sayin, like this ni**a just killed it. When you hear my sh*t it's gonna be all day "this ni**a killed it." It's gonna be snapping your neck head back and forth beats and all of that. That's what it is.

Any last words or shout outs?

Shout out to 8*48, L.E.S., the Lower East Side Manhattan, New York City, my ni**a Pola, my ni**a Eddie Snub, Jesse da Body, all my homies that just touched down and got back, all my homies that's waitin to come back and some that won't and my fans and that's how we gon' keep it man. Raze, I'm bout to smash the game right now. Everybody says they gonna do this and that, talkin 'bout step ya game up, but they don't be coming with it, they sh*t be weak.

Purchase Raze's latest release "Fullscale: G-Check": Click Here 


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