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