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Brothers Uno Dos Join Roc La Familia
6/25/06 - LatinRapper.com exclusive interview (click here for 1st interview)
 

Uno Dos rappers picture

Back in 2004, Uno Dos spoke with LatinRapper about their place in the Hip Hop scene and making moves in this game (click here for past interview).  Puerto Rican brothers Cee and Chunk of Long Island had produced for the likes of Mobb Deep, Cormega and other notables, and earned new fans overseas and abroad with their release "Amongst the Elite". With Jay-Z's blessing, Uno Dos have joined the ranks of Roc La Familia and become part of the family that includes Noreaga, Tru Life, Hector el Father and Aztek Escobar.

 

The brothers speak with us about how they made it to the Roc, their upcoming projects, and the business side of being an MC in this exclusive interview.

LatinRapper.com: You're going to be part of Roc La Familia, right?

Chunk: yeah, exactly.

Is the ink dry on that, it's set in stone?

Chunk: You know you my boy, but as far as from the higher ups, we aint really at liberty to talk about exactly what's going on with the paperwork. But we in effect, we in full effect with the Roc La, due to the president and Hov himself, so its a good look.

How were you able to connect with the Roc?

Cee: Jay been peeping our moves for like the last three years or whatever, we been catching him at different spots having different meetings with him. He respected our drive, our hustle and our ambition. We ended up getting up with the A&R Lenny at Rocafella and Def Jam, and we got put on with the OG Juan.

Chunk: Since then, thank God the OG Juan showed us love since day one. That's really how that came about.

In our last interview you didn't want to talk about which majors were talking to you so you wouldn't jinx things, was the Roc one of them?

Cee: At that time, we didn't wanna speak about that. We definitely met with Jay during the time we had that interview with you, like August of '04, around that time we definitely was catching up with Papa and we didn't want to put it out there. But now its out there.

As far Dropping an album with them, do you have something in the works?

Chunk: That's looking like '07, definitely not this year or none of that. We got an upcoming project we're putting out, some of the material between Amongst the Elite and doing this Ro La Thing, that's what we promoting right now for the most part.

Cee: Actually its Amongst the Elite pt 2, its a CD - DVD. But for right now, if anyone want to get some material on us, we got the Roc La Familia Mixtape.

Chunk: Its hosted by Cipher Sounds in New York

Cee: DJ Strong in Cali.

Roc We got a Roc La Mixtape same mixtape hosted by hosted by DJ Strong in Cali, one out there hosted by DJ EFN in Miami. Same music same mixtape, just hosted by different people to touch, different regions.

As far as the album not dropping until '07, is that your decision or the labels?

Chunk: They got a heavy roster up there, know what I mean. They got Noreaga, Tru Life...

Cee: Hector Bambino -

Chunk: - the Father. They pretty full as far as releases. Its real early for us right now, we just grateful to be where we at.

Cee: As far as getting respected by the label and being able to put a mixtape out under that, its just a big thing for us at this time.

Can we expect collaborations with Roc La Familia artists?

Cee: Like my brother said, we aint at liberty to really speak about Roc La on that level as of yet, but we respect all those artists so you'll definitely see some collaborations.

Chunk: Cipher Sounds is the executive of this, so he blessed us, hosted the mixtape, but we definitely gonna be working with the label mates of course.

You mentioned DJ EFN, I know he was doing really big things in Miami with Garcia, how'd you end up hooking with him in Miami?

Cee: Uno Dos, you know we get around. We been to Miami before, we been to Cali before, we been to different areas. We caught up with him actually on the Miami strip, we actually was in the same Source together with 50 Cent on the cover. When he was in "off the radar" and we was in "off the radar", so he read up on us, we read up on him.

Chunk: We kinda known the homie for a couple years now, he blessed us with that. Shout out to Garcia and EFN, we been nurturing the relationship over the years. It was only right that he host the joint, know what I mean.

As far as the mixtapes and other work, did you do all your own production or are you shopping around for beats?

Cee: Actually, we do most of the production on the independent level with our music. We definitely open, I'm not biased to no other producers doing anything for us, we looking for a different sound, we looking for that.

Chunk: On this Amongst the Elite 2 that we got coming out, there's a lot of our production, a couple others that's in there. I'm sure the major release is gonna have dudes like Just Blaze, shout out to Just Blaze, you know all the heavy hitters that's doing their thing. Kanye, and of course production by us

Have you been producing for others in the last two years?

Cee: Kinda fell back on the production level 'cause we wanted to get our skills and be tighter with our music. I did a few independent, like I did my man Lake the kid with Death Row East, 'cause we actually doing the senior A&R work for Death Row East. Cormega, that was really it, just independent artists that we came across, other than that we really just working on our own music.

So were you producing for the bread, or just to get your name out?

Chunk: yeah yeah, you know, both. As we get money as we get our name out there. But we still doing our beats forever. We still exercise in production, but as far as shopping a lot of music for other artists, we haven't really been doing that the last 12 months.

Cee: And beats that we gave out was all love, these artists, we got crazy love for these dudes. We didn't even charge, its all love.

Who haven't you worked with that you'd like to collaborate with?

Cee: Definitely Rakim. We in touch with Rakim, since our last interview we was able to catch up with Rakim, he gave us the key to Long Island. We got love to son. 

Chunk: The legendary Hov, we gotta do something with the Hovester. Mantronix, that's a favorite producer of my brother's.

Cee: From the 80's... '83. Scarface, Shyne.

Chunk: I like the new kid Ray Cash. I'm like a big fan of Marc Anthony, so we gonna try take it to the next level on the major release.

For those not up on your music, how would you define your style?

Cee: Right now, anything that really been put out on the independent level been real street, gutter music, real hood orientated that we been living by. But we well rounded, we can do any kind of music, as far as radio friendly music we got all that in the stash.

Chunk: I would say anywhere from real underground to real mainstream, we don't try to limit ourselves to one type of music. I feel like the major release gonna show y'all the versatility, and all the independent releases we putting out on the underground is the raw part of us, the everyday life. We real broad, I don't like to limit ourselves.

Cee: We not gonna put a limitation on what we can do.

Chunk: We're very original, we always do original music. We be able to change with the times and stay fresh and new.

Cee: You not gonna say Uno Dos sound like this or they sound like them, we sound original. We not gonna limit ourselves to saying we do this kind of music or that, but on the independent releases its gonna be the street gutter music, on the major releases its gonna be versatility at its finest.

And you guys are repping what area?

Chunk: Its funny, when I was on Slay I always tell people I'm from everywhere cause I know its all types of dudes like me. But we definitely repping Long Island. Rakim Allah was the first ill artist and still today a lot of the major rappers favorite artist, so we repping L.I. to the heart of course. We from the Port Knox, we rep Long Island on the broad tip.

So you were at the Puerto Rican Day parade?

Chunk: We was creeping through there. We been doing that damn near since they started. We been at every parade, we watched it grow ever year with more and more people.

Cee: Since the early 90's, '89 going to the Puerto Rican parade.

You go out there to chill or promote?

Chunk: We had a team out there, know what I'm saying, at the local one, and the ones in the city.

Cee: We was chilling, getting our Coco de lato on, and all that on (laughs) our Bacardi shots and all that, really to see and feel the energy of the people out there, that's our people.

The people that cop your CDs and approach you in the street, are they mostly Latino or is it everyone?

Cee: Really, everybody. From all the way from Chinese people to Indian and all type of people show us love, its a beautiful thing.

Chunk: We don't discriminate. Amongst the Release was a real nice release, lot of love from Germany, Spain, its been real diverse type of people that's been showing support

So you've been doing shows?

Cee: Actually like we told you before, we just really been marinating. We did a few shows, like around the city, SOB's. Did a show on Long Island, we jetted overseas to do a few shows. Mostly we just been marinating and getting skills right so when we come out with the major major music its ready for the time.

What time is it dropping?

Chunk: the major release is real early, we just working on our hit record. As far as Amongst the Elite 2, that's dropping Halloween.

Cee: And the Roc La Familia presents: Uno Dos presented by Cipher Sounds, that's already out, you can get that at http://myspace.com/unodosbros or they can get it at www.unodos.com, they just gotta pay for shipping. We giving it away, they just gotta pay shipping.

Chunk: We actually encourage people to look up on us, check out our interviews and music that we got available, do they history and keep up on the catalogue.

For any MC trying to break into the game, do you think there's anything someone new to the game should know before they get into it?

Cee: there's a whole booklet on that. Be original, stay hungry, never give up.

Chunk: Don't never take no for an answer. Do your history. Make sure you know who came before you, who opened the doors, have respect your elders. Its almost like a book of life, the way hip hop is. You just gotta know your history, from there you can kind of find yourself through the people that came out before you.

Cee: And if any artist or any executive sell you a dream, smack 'em in they motherf**kin face.

Chunk: (laughs) We aint trying to promote no violence, but at the same time, that's like a statement to say really don't take no for an answer, go on everybody in the game word, cause its a lot of dudes that will sell you a dream.

Cee: They'll string you along and sell you a dream.

Chunk: Do everything you can do on your own, more or less

So they should stick to the indy route?

Cee: The indy is always a good way, 'cause you really control what happens. You go out there and really want to hustle some music, sell some music, that's gonna work for you.

Chunk: But you can't deny the strength of the majors. You can still sign with a major and still not work, you gotta do a lot of the work on your own. If you lazy this game aint for you, if you lookin' for instant gratification -

Cee: - This game aint for you

So people need to be careful, basically.

Chunk: I say originality, independence, depending on yourself to make things happen, consistency.

Cee: Believe in yourself. If you're gonna do it, do it to the best of your ability. Try to control your own destiny

Not to discourage artists, but there are still people stepping into the game that think they will record a demo and instantly get a deal, and drop an album or video later that year. What should they understand about how long this can take?

Cee: As far for Uno Dos, we got a tape from 1985, that's like our resume. I show a lot of executives, millionaire artists that videotape. We was rapping, breakdancing, popping, spinning on our head, Adidas pinstripe, all the official stuff that went on '83, '84, '85. For that culture, breakdancing on. It took us this long to even get our toes and our feet wet, and we hustled. Some people get lucky, they get discovered, it falls in they lap, but most artists that do good for themselves, been in the game or been striving and going hard for a long time.

Chunk: That's why I said do your history, so you can see what it took for DMX to get into the game, he didn't just become who he did overnight. Jay Z, recording back in '88, '89. The demographic of the game changed. You cannot make a demo and get on. It hasn't been like that for years, you gotta get yourself out there, get yourself seen, always carry yourself with respect.

The days have changed when you could spit to an exec in front of a gas station and then get signed.

Cee: The percentage of that changed drastically, could have been 85% that could get on doing that, but now its 1-10%.

Chunk: And then to encourage them, and not discourage them, the rap game is bigger than its ever been. To the point where there's enough room for everyone to get money. You gotta look at it and embrace it at the same time, because it only grew since '85, people used to tell us it was a fad, it would never be as big as other genres of music. Here we are, 20 years later. And we still working hard to maintain at the game. Its a struggle and at the same time its beautiful.

Cee: They used to look at us like we crazy, come in our town walk around with flip flop Adidas and s**t like that, they looking at you like you nuts. Now its the biggest thing out, the rap culture is the biggest music in the game now..

Chunk: A lot of opportunities, you gotta work hard.

You guys have any side ventures or businesses?

Cee: me and Chunk just came back from skydiving, water skiing, mountain climbing, all types of crazy s**t

Chunk: (laughs) we been doing us the last maybe 6 months. As far as other things we involve in, Senior A&R to Death Row east, Shout out to Suge, big Del the VP.

Cee: Big Los from the West Coast

Chunk: As far as on a personal level, we involved in real estate, other things that make money. Other than that, this is where our heart lie. I got my man Cuba, he got an album coming out. He just featured on Cormega joint, Lake joint, We got some release coming out.

Anything else you want to add?

Chunk: First and foremost, we wanna thank yall for yall support, encourage others to support yall as well as us too. I just want to let them know that Amongst the Elite pt 2 drops on Halloween, its a CD DVD collabo, which features all types of people from Nelly, DJ Enuff, Eve from Ruff Ryders, DJ Skribble, Saigon, Cormega, the Comrade Lake, a couple of surprises.

Cee: Its gonna be in stores, available on the website. We got a single coming out in late July, August called "Get Money" that's gonna be heavy on the radio. We growing with our music, Tell them to listen out for it, they gonna like it, its a new style with Uno Dos, its official. Once again, we gonna dedicate this interview to our pops Big Cheese, the legendary, our father, without him we wouldn't be where we at, we wouldn't be the men we are.

Chunk: He passed away in 2000, I usually dedicate my interviews to him because he's legendary in Long Island, one of the first Boricuas in long island.

Cee: And my aunt, one of the first Puerto Ricans in the town we stayed at too in Long Island. My son, they got a little group, Lil UDs, bout to get featured on Cormega's album. On the Roc La Mixtape, he's about to get his shine with the Lake and Cormega mixtape coming out. Once again, we wanna do a special thanks out to the legendary Jay Z, the OG Juan, and the whole Roc La Familia staff for showing us love, and all the artists coming out there, we support yall to the end.
 

Uno Dos on Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/unodosbros 

 

 




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