As a part of seminal Hip-Hop group and not only legendary Hip-Hop, but one of the greatest groups of all-time period, Wu-Tang Clan. Group member, U-God, who’s one of the most underrated and more underappreciated members has seen a lot in his 25 years. Which he talks a little about in his recently released memoir, RAW: My Journey into Wu-Tang. Which is one of several topics I delved into with U-God in my recent interview with him before his performance at Beat Kitchen for the Chicago stop of his recently wrapped up Raw/Venom Tour. We also of course talk about the new album and how he thinks it may help him get more of the recognition he really deserves as one of the most underrated and underappreciated members of the group. So kick back and check out my brief recent interview with U-God.
Nello for TheHipHopDemocrat.com: I’m Nello Rubio with TheHipHopDemocrat.com.
U-God: Nice to meet you.
Nello: So you have your new album, Venom, which is supposed to be coming out this Friday. How’s the process working on that and what’s kind of your expectations or that you think the fans will have with the new album?
U-God: I don’t have no expectations. I’ve never really been an expectations type person. I just do my music and keep it moving. If you got good taste, you fvck with me. You fvck with me if you got good taste.
Nello: You have your book. Your memoir that you came out with recently too. Did you purposely do that or it just so happens that they were both coming out around the same time?
U-God: While the marketers they wanted it to come out the same time. Cause they wanted me to have more content to promote. So I’ve had the record done. It was done over a year ago. So they was like the book and record you may as well put it together. So they just put it together and kept it like that.
Nello: I think you’re actually one of the more underappreciated and underrated members of Wu-Tang. You think this album will help get your name out there to be a little bit more appreciated?
U-God: A little bit more. It’s inch by inch. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. So inch by inch they starting to appreciate and love me more and more. I gotta keep on hitting them and keep hitting them. Like, ‘Oh! Oh! Oh!’ Gotta keep on surprising them and once I keep surprising them, I feel like they will fold eventually.
Nello: Obviously being in one of the best not only Hip-Hop groups, but one of the best groups of all-time period in Wu-Tang. How is the process different from recording with the group to your solo work?
U-God: I don’t have to worry about a lot of attitudes, ego and I don’t have to worry about doing 16s. I can do 22s. I can do four 22s. I can do three 16s. I can do three 8s and a hook. I just don’t have to worry about a lot of things you have to in recording with a group. When you record with a group, I gotta worry about getting in my right position in the song. Or I gotta make sure my rhymes are up to par. I don’t have to wait. I can just go. Do what I want to do myself.
Nello: Speaking of Wu-Tang. What’s your thoughts on Martin Shkrila?
U-God: I’m sorry, I don’t have any idea about this dude. I just hear about him in the news. For me to personally speak about him, I just don’t know him.
Nello: So you obviously worked on the supposed, Once Upon a Time, Wu-Tang Clan album he had. Do you know anything about the album?
U-God: No I never even heard the album. Not one thing or nothing. I gotta go see the FEDs for it now. Hopefully they’ll play it for me. Maybe one day, (haha) who knows.
Nello: I seen in a recent interview you did with The Breakfast Club that you said you’ve always had a really close relationship with Meth and even Raekwon. Is there any other members you’ve really had that type of relationship with?
U-God: Cappa, Deck, Masta Killa. That’s about it. That’s my close, closest.
Nello: Obviously with this album, who are some of the producers you worked with, that you want to work with even more?
U-God: I want to work with Green Lantern some more. I would definitely work with Green Lantern a little bit more. I got a couple of dudes. I don’t even really like talking about producers. You gotta look at the back of the pamphlet to see what’s going on with that.
Nello: That segues perfect to my next question. I’ve always been somebody who as soon as I rip off the packaging, likes to read the producer credits, liner notes and go through the pamphlet, as I listen to an album for the first time. With retailers like Best Buy and possibly even Target saying they wouldn’t sell physical copies of albums on store shelves anymore. What’s your thoughts on that and especially for consumers like myself who still like to purchase and have that physical CD copy of an album?
U-God: Times change, but there will always be certain amount of CD’s pressed up for those fans who appreciate having a collectible piece they can hold in their hand. The demand might not be the same, but like wax it will become more of an independent record store and a collectible type thing. As an artist I have successfully made the transition with my music. Whether mixtapes or albums, they’re available on all platforms (Spotify, Apple, Amazon, SoundCloud, YouTube, pretty much everywhere). I stay active on social media and even my book is available on Kindle and audio. That’s important cause some kids just stream, others like holding it in their hand.
Nello: With all these biopics coming out over the past few years on N.W.A., New Edition, as well as Tupac and Biggie. There’s always kind of been a question about you guys doing one for Wu-Tang Clan. Is that something you would be interested in?
U-God: Of course obviously, yes, we would be interested in that. But it would be a little hard cause you got nine members who got different ideas and different questions and different scenarios. It will be rough, but maybe one day we will figure it out.
Nello: Is there anybody specific you would want to play you in a biopic?
U-God: No I can’t say nobody specific. When we get there I will figure it out.
Nello: Being here in Chicago, is there any Chicago artists that you guys haven’t worked with or that you yourself haven’t worked with that you want to? Like say Twista, Common or Kanye West?
U-God: I would love to work with Chance the Rapper, John Legend and get a beat from Kanye. Chicago has lots of soul. A great city with great history.
Nello: Being one of the members that’s always kind of had that rough, raw edge to them. Who’s also been one of the more lyrical members of the group too where when you listen to U-God. You can tell it’s from you and not no other members of the group. Is that something you kind of did purposely or it just came naturally?
U-God: It just came naturally. Naturally, just me being me. See when I do my solo stuff you get a chance to see me. That’s another reason why I do my solo stuff because I want you to see more of my essence. I know I’m always shielded behind Rae, Ghost or even Meth. No, no. Who’s U Go to the D? Who’s that person? And that’s what I’m doing with Venom.
HNello: Venom. What’s the reasoning behind naming the album, Venom?
U-God: It sounds crispy, right? It’s deadly venom. Deadly rhymes. Rhymes are deadly. Rhymes are very fierce on this one.
Nello: Mathematics came up with his album towards the end of last year and a lot of you guys like Masta Killa have been starting to drop a lot of solo stuff besides yourself. So do you think this is like another resurgence of the Wu with all the material?
U-God: No, we just do what we do and ain’t nothing really calculated. I wasn’t even on that record. I don’t gotta be on everything. I just been working on my book and my music. So Math did his thing and that was really supposed to be a Mef album. So Meth getting his stock back up. He’s trying to keep relevant. Been in the game for a long time. So trying to keep out there and make sure what you put out there is quality and good shit.
Nello: This will be the 25th Anniversary of your guys seminal classic debut, Enter the 36 Chambers. Is there anything you guys plan on doing for it besides obviously still touring together?
U-God: I’m putting out books and records. That’s what I’m planning on doing. And moving around and promoting. If you tuned in to some shit. We going to do some shows. We are going to go out and rock.
Nello: You said about that record originally supposed to be a Method Man album. There’s been talks of Method Man actually working on his Crystal Meth album. Is that something you would be willing to work on with him, if you haven’t already?
U-God: I’m waiting for the call. If I don’t get no beats sent to me I ain’t doing shit. I can’t do nothing if I don’t get no music.
Nello: Finally before I close. Is there anything else you would like to let any of the Wu-Tang Clan or U-God fans know about the new album or memoir?
U-God: The book, RAW: My Journey Into Wu-Tang, outlines everything that happened to me from 4 years old all the way till now. It captures a moment in time where NY was very different, the koch era, pimps roamed Times Square, only bad motherfuckas could rock gold chains or dope sneakers. You had to know how to defend yourself and use your hands. It was vibrant too. It’s from these gutters in Staten Island and Brooklyn under project life conditions that a group of brothers with one goal banded together under one flag and became the greatest rap group in music history. This book is my journey, it is our journey … Venom is the soundtrack to that book. They go hand in hand.. it took three years to pen. It’s my masterpiece. I hope y’all enjoy it.