I recently got a chance to sit down with longtime Wu-Tang Clan DJ and producer, Mathematics, at the luxurious, Virgin Hotel Chicago, ahead of the groups recent performance here in Chicago at Riot Fest. In the second and final part of my recent interview with Math, we pick up talking about his upcoming new album, Wu-Tang: The Saga Continues, and how similar in sound it’s to the groups iconic and timeless classic debut album, 36 Chambers, how he came up with the groups iconic logo, how being a DJ and previously a graffiti artist, as well as having a close relationship with Method Man over the years helped him a lot in putting this new album together. So check the final part of my recent two-part interview with Mathematics below to hear some of the other gems he dropped in this amazing interview I was so fortune to get with such a key part of the iconic group, who some may not even know or simply just gets overlooked at times, even despite all he has done.
Nello: Yeah, like I said it kind of going back to that sound from the first album with 36 Chambers , it’s kind of appropriate too that with the new situation with 36 Chambers LLC, that this is the first release under that umbrella too. What’s your thoughts on being the first release under that new joint venture?
Mathematics: I think it’s a good thing, just because 36 Chambers was the beginning and when it first came out, I was the DJ. You know I had other roles because I did the logo too. But you know Hip-Hop started with the DJ. So it’s like it’s coming back full circle, I guess, cause it’s coming back to the DJ right now. But right now I’m stepping it up in production.
Nello: Like you said you came up with the logo too for the Wu-Tang Clan. So how did that come about?
Mathematics: While I used to do graffiti. So that W, is basically almost, it was already in my catalog. Cause as a graffiti artist you have letterings already. You got certain ways you do your As, your Bs and your Cs. So you have all different kinds of styles. You don’t have the same styles. So I had probably about 5-7 As, Bs, Cs and all the way down. And I’m talking about upper case and lower case. So with that W, it was just one of my renditions of it and that one had the karate type feel to it too. Cause we was all into the karate flicks. So that definitely played a role into the W and then even the music, cause that was just us.
Nello: It’s like you said were it’s kind of going back to the DJs and even the graffiti artists now, it seems. It’s like they say everything comes back around. Do you think that kind of plays apart in helping you put this together now too?
Mathematics: I think as an emcee, cause I used to try to rhyme too. I could rhyme. Don’t laugh, cause I used to get busy too. But I got nine of the nicest emcees. I’m like no, let them do that. Ya’meen. But as an emcee, you just want to hear that beat that makes you want to go in the booth and spit. Not something that you play for somebody and they like, “Oh, yeah, it’s alright. It’s cool.” And then they do it just because, it’s you. It’s like I want you to really love the track, that you’re getting on because it’s going to bring the best out of you. So an emcee, when they hear that I’m doing it for them, to get it out of them. They’re doing it for me cause they want to make sure that track is right. So when I put it on, the track, it’s like, oh yeah. So the pens and pads or phones or somebody like, “Yeah, I got something for that!” It’s like then you know, you did your job. You know it’s a good process overall.
Nello: You said that Method Man was the first one to kind of bring things together. He’s probably one of the core members, you have really worked with most over the years. So do you think that relationship that you have with him, kind of helped?
Mathematics: Of course and especially being on the road together a lot. He heard a lot of my beats, so it definitely helped. And it’s like when you hear Meth on this album, man, trust me. Watch when you hear Meth, on this album, you going to be like, “Ohhh!” Like, I know he’s doing his acting thing right now, which is all beautiful, but some people might be surprised cause they see him all on the TVs and movies. But to hear him spitting like that, they going to be like, “Wait hold up!” Cause in all reality, Hip-Hop is us period. We are Hip-Hop, cause it’s in us to do it, period. Like if I wasn’t here doing this right now, I would still be doing it. There’s a lot of people who probably feel the same way too. Like sometimes I go on Instagram or Facebook and I see some peoples, memes, that say, “If you over 30 and you doing Hip-Hop, stop.” I mean you can’t tell nobody to stop their passion. You never know when somebody’s going come off, at what age. It’s like some people don’t come off till later in life. It’s like DMX, he was 30 something when he got his deal and he came on. Even actors. Samuel L. Jackson, the highest grossing actor in know in American movies. But he didn’t get on till he was 50 years old. Even like Leslie Jones, I didn’t know till recently that she just turned 50 and she didn’t even really start popping till now. It takes time sometimes. So that’s one thing I always say, “Never give up on your dreams or passions.” Or even if it’s your hobby, your hobby is your passion. That’s something you love to do. So I would still be doing it regardless.
Nello: Besides Method Man, what other Clan members really brought the project together?
Mathematics: Oh, everybody. Ya’meen. RZA came through doing his thing. Masta Killa, Deck, Redman came through for a couple of joints. He definitely brought it. You know Killah Priest came through he blessed it. As far as non-Clan members or affiliates, Rest In Peace to Sean Price. I got Sean P on the album, he did his thing. Chris Rivers, Big Pun’s son, he came through and murdered it.
Nello: Besides the upcoming project, is there anything else you are currently working on?
Mathematics: Yep, I stay working. I’m working on a few projects right now. I don’t know if I could really say right now, but I got something up the sleeve. That’s coming soon. It’s just like me personally I don’t really like to promote nothing till it’s done. That’s why a lot of people didn’t even really hear about this project because you could talk about it all day, but then people will be like, “Where’s it at? Where’s it at?” Projects take time if you want it done right. It took me time to do this and it doesn’t just happen overnight. Even when it was finished, it wasn’t really finished because I had to sit there and study song and really work it. Cause the expectations when my brothers hear it, I want them to be like, “Oh yeah! Get the fuck out of here!”
Nello: Method Man & Redman, were here a couple of weeks ago for The Breaks Music Festival. Redman had actually said that Meth & Red were working on Blackout 3. Where you going to be working on any of that project with them cause you were on the first two?
Mathematics: Of course I’m going to be working with them. You know, like you said, “I was on Blackout 1 and 2.” Shot, “I hope I’m on Blackout 3! *laughing about it*” Over the years, I’ve been on a lot of projects, whether people know it or not. From when I first started producing cause I didn’t produce till later on cause I was the DJing and RZA was killing the production. It’s like, after watching him that made me want to get into production and just the love of the music. Like I need to take it a step further and that’s what I did. So I’ve been on albums from like Cappadonna’s The Pillage, to Supreme Clientele to GZA albums, to Red & Mef, to Wu albums. It maybe just a song or two, but I’m on there.
Nello: Besides RZA, who else has inspired you on the production side?
Mathematics: Dr. Dre, Marley Marl. Hip-Hop, those ones. If I had to do a Mt. Rushmore of producers, those 3 would be on it. Marley Marl, Dre and RZA. The fourth spot, I’m not sure. Not taking nothing away from nobody, but there’s a lot of dope producers I know, that I love. Like Premier, Pete Rock, Erick Sermon, Kanye, Just Blaze, Bink! Showbiz & AG get busy, Diamond D gets busy. Even some of these dudes today, like Statik Selektah and 9th Wonder. At the end of the day, you listen. I may not listen with the same ear, everybody else listens with because I’m listening, like I want to be the best. Ya’meen. Like I want my name mentioned. So I listen with a different ear cause they inspire me. Cause they’re dope and there is a lot of dope dudes out there. I just want to be mentioned.