Apr 6, 2003

Juggaknots

Juggaknots

As former East/West Records artists and a significant part of the Fondle Em roster in the late nineties, the Juggaknots built upon a solid following that has really helped pave the way for not only themselves, but for others also. From their vinyl only Clear Blue Skies to the Rawkus/Ozone single “Fire in Which You Burn” with the moniker Indelible MC’s (which comprises of El-P, Big Juss, Mr. Len, J-Treds and the Juggaknots) and a song on the first Lyricist Lounge offering under the same supergroup guise, plus the beautifully crafted concept album/movie produced by Prince Paul “Prince Among Thieves”, the Juggaknots really put in work. However, like many other artists that were considered “hip hop heroes” during the wave of underground independent, free-musical expression mania, the Juggaknots did not fully capitalize on their situation the way they felt they should have. Although thoughts of eating off of making the music they love should be in full effect, that isn’t the situation. Yet, they have overpaid their dues and now is the time for them to reap real benefits for themselves, their families and loved ones.

When did you guys start out?

Buddy Slim: We’ve been doing it for a long time, but professionally since 1995.

And who are your influences?

Buddy Slim: Hip Hop or regular music?

Regular music and hip hop.

Buddy Slim: You know, Just Ice, BDP…..growing up in the Bronx and everything. Also, I liked artists like Jimi Hendrix and cats that did their thing.

(After answering the above questions, we talked for a few and then the interview was passed on to Breezly Brewin)

Enters Breez…….

How was it for Breez as far as Prince Paul’s project?

That was hot! It was kind of bugged because Prince Paul would have me say the same thing 30 times and he would make me repeat and repeat things. He would chop up my vocals and flip it. He already had an idea of how the story would go. Other than that, he basically did everything and working with him was cool.

Tell me about how you feel about hip hop today?

It’s cool. I ain’t really thinking about other artists. Some things bother me and others; I don’t really pay attention to. I really spend time digging some things and others I don’t worry about it. The only thing that worries me is the lack of concepts. A lot of cats want to battle, but they don’t do concepts and can’t come up on concepts. A lot of cats can win 40 battles and no concepts. Kane would battle, but then have a song like “Word to the Mutha”. I just want to see more balance. I ain’t mad at these cats getting their paper. I will listen to any whole album once. I listen to Jay’Z whole album and I hear his radio shit…..then I buy the album, and I see not only his songs like “03 Bonnie and Clyde”, but I pay attention to his lyrics and observe songs like “Meet the Parents”. You know, can’t hate on cats with out giving them a thorough look up and down. But, Uhm Hip Hop is cool.

You got kids?

Yeah

How many you got?

Two, Slim got three.

I got a girl myself.

Yeah man, you’re gonna have a lot of sleepless nights.

Ha, Ha, Ha!

Hopefully, our music will give a little balance and give a better look at things for females in their perspective. I got my sister in the group and everything. I think about my mother and my daughter. Cat’s say they think about the women in their life, but how often is your sister in the group?

How was life with my mans Bobbito?

Bobbito is the coolest cat on the planet. He’s a real NY cat through and through. But the real thing about him is that he traveled the world. Every time we would come home we would tell me that he went to this spot and it was ill. Hip hop is universal and you wouldn’t know that unless you travel the universe. He would be up on shit before other cats. I wish he was still on the radio. I hope something sparks him to get back into this shit. I’m here now and I want to carry on for cats like Bob. It’s frustrating, but I know there is real hip hop out here.

Tell me which cats you think are wack?

That’s a tough one. Be honest, no one jumps out to me. All I play is stuff I am digging. If I’m not digging a joint, I don’t pay it no mind. It’s like if a cat asks you about a movie that you ain’t checking for. It don’t even play in your psyche. I can tell you how Nelly ain’t an ill lyricist, but he serves a purpose. I don’t see Nelly as noting but another MC Hammer. For me to say he’s wack? I wanna say it, but it’s not my steez. Stuff that I ain’t acquired is tasteless to me. There is an acquired taste and stuff that ain’t tasting….see me in the club after a couple of drinks and girls take their clothes off and he’s my hero! (Laughter in unison!)

If you asked me who was better: Lakim Shabazz or Greg Nice. Cat’s gonna look at you crazy. But in the party, you will definitely want Greg Nice. The problem today is that shit is so segmented that cats ain’t even allowing themselves to be together. At times I analyze lyrics, but at other times I wanna hear Nelly.

Back to Slim! Aiight Slim, what’s in the plans?

We’re just dropping an EP in the next few months, hopefully before the summer. We’re doing the final mixes for it. We got a Breez Solo album, I’m doing a compilation and Heroine got a poetry book…new things, something original…not a clothing line.

Not a clothing line?

Nothing wrong with it, but there is other mediums.

How did the first project sell (your own opinion)?

Numbers? Uhm….Well, that’s the reason why we are releasing the first album, and doing things in a more business way instead of mercenary for hire. At first, our mission was making the hottest music and getting the dopest albums to sample. A lot of artists suffer from just putting too much passion into the music and not in the business. They get so focused with that goal and don’t look at all the tangibles involved and the business side of where we at. We sold pretty well, but to be absolutely clear, bottom line? I don’t know. We made a little bit of money, got a little exposure. I would like to get a number, but it all fluctuates. We just gonna leave it at that. We just gotta be more assertive of handling our own destiny and things like that. Trying to do things in an orderly fashion. Trying to get the ball rolling, na’mean. We hope to have good things with the releases. I think it is better for us. If I’m shooting basketball, I will notice my form getting better. At the end of the day, we’re just trying to see our numbers and our natural progression.

Log date: February 4th, 2003
Time: 8:15 p.m. Central Standard Time
Interviewee: Heroine, the femme fatale of The Juggaknots

Buddy Slim hipped me to the fact that it would be best for me to call her the next day since she had to go to work in the morning. That was cool with me because I definitely did not want to wake a sleepy woman (it can get dangerous, people!). So, the following day, I gave her a ring, and like a true professional, she was awaiting my call. As soon as I told her my name, she said “That sounds like a pimp name”. A quickly told her that it was in reference to Batman, and she was cool with it. Good thing this was an over the phone interview and not in person. She would have seen me blushing. On with the show!

How’s the weather in Indiana?

Cold. Very cold. Breez is in school?

Yeah, he does everything, hard working cat.

Tell me about Heroine

What do you wanna know? (LOL)….I rhyme and I guess that is Heroine. Heroine is the MC part. One extension….one part

That’s cool. Tell me about your poetry?

Well, I’m trying to get some stuff together. I would love to get it out there sometime in the near future, but I can’t really set a date. I’ve been writing poetry since the time I’ve been rhyming. I mean, rhyming and poetry is all words, but still it’s all about performing. You know how shit gets labeled. I pretty much been writing, let’s put it that way….for, I don’t know, ten, eleven, twelve years. Really, twelve, I’m not good at math. Gotta do the equation and work it out. Actually, 12.

Tell me something that you yourself bring to this hip hop game, if it is a game.

Lots of people say life is a game, so it’s like a collaboration with that…I wouldn’t say that I am really tapped into any real major form of influence like saying that I brought something to hip hop like I want to. I’m not really sure what that level is, but I know that it is a bigger place than what is known. I don’t wanna undermine what I’ve done, I just don’t know how much of an influence I have had in hip hop so far because that hasn’t been a lot of promotional tactics involved. But, you know, for the select few that have been influence and dug it, even if it was just at the end of the show, it definitely done something. Not to undermine anything, because everything matters and it adds up.

How do you feel about your group as far as your “infinite potential”?

If we gonna use the word potential, you might as well use infinite. As far as potential, I think as a group, as that triangle as we are, and it can be an infinitely very much a juggernaut…very much an unstoppable force. Plus the fact that we are all family, no matter if we add or subtract it, it is infinite in being. That is the group we are regardless. As potential goes, it is a very tricky word. You can’t really define it. I definitely think we can do a hell of a lot. The incredible thing I think we can do together, and if we all work to our own individual potential and master our own craft or bust our ass trying to come close to doing so…is pretty much knowing yourself and knowing your strengths and voltroning it and getting it together…and the potential in that is very much infinite. We maximize that, then things can be great, but that is the “if” word. It’s all “if”. It’s a great thing to use as a motivator because it can motivate, but it ain’t shit if you don’t do nothing about it. If people say if you got it, but don’t do shit with it, then that’s crazy. Everything has its season. It may seem like you ain’t dealing with it, but you are. But, yeah, infinite potential is it.

You got longer answers than your brothers. But that’s a good thing.

Sometimes, but not all the time.

How you feel about females in the game?

MMMMMMM, (sigh)

Uh, oh……I think that females in the game is a good thing. You need women. Women are very much apart of what’s up and what is going on. Having them be apart of hip hop is very important if not essential. And more and more are doing it and I think that is fresh.

Why haven’t we heard as much of you as we would like?

That’s a damn good question. Most people haven’t. And there is a damn good explanation. I’m the youngest of everyone involved in thee group and I’ve been writing for quite a while. I think when I started, I was young, and so a lot was going on. I know that having what I experienced so far…it’s a lot of work if you intend on taking it beyond your notebook. It’s a lot of work and it takes a lot of time and polishing. It takes a lot of reinvention and it’s definitely serious. In addition to the workload, it’s the atmosphere and environment. From rhyming to recording to shows to the unpredictability of things until you on a level which I haven’t achieved. Where things are totally secure financially and mentally in a lot of ways. You may think you are ready a lot of times, but the experience when you get out there will sedate you a little bit. It will make you reflect and look for a second. I think it is good because you get a lot of things done creatively. But when you gain the focus of things, it’s like “whoa”. It would have to come with time. Basically, I was young. I had school in the morning and studio sessions all night into the morning. It wasn’t feasible and it wasn’t working.

How was it being in Indelible MC’s?

It was a cool experience doing the joint. We did “Weight” and it was really big for me since they didn’t know me, but became familiar with me with my verse. Very good exposure. And I think it also added to the project, so that was a good experience. And along with that there were a lot of shows. I guess that whole conjunction and dealing with those cats. They some cool people.

Have you had any trouble getting recognized for your skills?

(Laughter) Hell yeah! Yeah, you know but that is nobody’s fault but my own. Me, in the sense that it will take more work and more discipline and more focus and drive. When I do put the effort forth and people are around, from my experience, people tend to dig it. I think that the problem is going back to things being on a better scale and being more productive and therefore being seen with more exposure. At least it starts there. If I put out an album and its in someone else’s hands and I put my trust in there and things don’t jump off then there is some blame to be on me. Until that happens……..

Do you think there are some artists that really need to step their game up?

I would say, perhaps, yeah, but who they are isn’t relevant. If anyone, I’m worried about my squad stepping their game up. I’m worried about hip hop as expression and as an art form and culture. If that is the case, then either step it up or maintain that level of commitment and sustain what they have. And that in itself is a changing process. If my game ain’t up, then I’m not offering too much.

When I say a name, I want to give me the first word that comes to your mind, okay?

Aww geez, let’s hear them.

Bobbito: Cool

Breeze: Fresh

Eminem: Cool

50 Cent: Like

George Dubya Bush: Asshole

Hussein: Crazy

J-Treds: Cool

Hip Hop: Speechless (Laughter)

Ja Rule: Aiight

El-P: Cool

Heroine: Fresh!

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