He’s the man whose verse you always waited for on every Onyx song. He’s the only man who could hang with Eminem on The Marshall Mathers LP. And he’s still doin his thing a full fifteen years after making everybody Slam. Sticky Fingaz is, inarguably, one of the nicest to ever touch a mic and this week he sat down with us at RapReviews to talk about the new Onyx retrospective that just came out on DVD, his feelings on the way Hip-Hop historians have been treating the group’s legacy, and what Patrick Swayze, Tia Carrrere and Tom Berenger all have in common. Editor’s Note – I’m pretty sure I lost some money at the end of this interview.
Adam Bernard: You have the new Onyx DVD, 15 Years of Videos, History and Violence, in stores now. What does it have for longtime fans?
Sticky Fingaz: It basically has every video we ever did as Onyx and as solo artists and it has an hour and fifteen minute documentary. They had these dudes called Underground Funk that used to just follow us around everywhere we went with a camcorder, so we got all that caught on tape. It’s definitely never seen before footage. And they got a special features section and a karaoke section.
AB: You know, when I think of Onyx I don’t necessarily think karaoke.
SF: Yeah, that’s what I thought, (laughs) but my webmaster put that karaoke part on there and it’s cool because you got some people who have it at the family reunion and play karaoke “Slam.” You never know.
AB: Or a very strange family reunion if they’re playing “Blac Vagina Finda.”
SF: Yeah, I don’t know if we got that one as karaoke, though. (laughs) You just gotta know the lyrics.
“The moments we share with Jam Master Jay in the studio. It was a lot of fun. We were joking around and having fun and making hit records.”
AB: Do you have a favorite moment from the tour documentary?
SF: The moments we share with Jam Master Jay in the studio. It was a lot of fun. We were joking around and having fun and making hit records. I would say that was one of the greatest moments.
AB: Now that you have a visual retrospective of what Onyx accomplished as a group, what are you thoughts in terms of where you would like people to place the group in the pantheon of Hip-Hop history?
SF: Well, right now I feel like they’re tryin to write Onyx out of Hip-Hop history. I be sittin here reading a ten year review of a magazine and I don’t see us anywhere in there, so right now what we’re doing, we’re going hard in the studio right now to finish this Black Rock album, which is basically a hybrid album of Hip-Hop and rock n roll. We’re tying to take it to the next next level. If “Slam” was our biggest record we’re tryin to make ten of those.
AB: Why do you think magazines are leaving you out of the conversation?
SF: I can’t make an excuse for these people. There’s no excuse. We left too many marks in Hip-Hop. We’re the first, not even the first, the only rap group to make a crowd slam dance, stage dive, throw water. We started the grimy voice, we started the bald head fashion. I guess as we started doing a lot more movies and we kinda fell back on the music a little bit, maybe that has something to do with it.
AB: When I think of groundbreaking groups I look at Onyx and Naughty By Nature as the acts that really brought the hood, or street, Hip-Hop into the burbs and got it accepted. Do you see any groundbreaking artists in Hip-Hop today?
SF: Aw, man, not really. I think Kanye is a groundbreaking artist. He went against 50 Cent and beat him, so yeah I think he’s groundbreaking. He’s starting some new fashions, glow in the dark and all that. I like a few guys that’s out. It took me a second to like Weezy. At first I ain’t like him, now I like his music. I’m still not too sure of all this stuff going on with kissing men on the lips and shit with him and Baby. I definitely like Jay-Z. I gained a new appreciation for him when I saw his concert at the Hollywood Bowl. It was good, I was sitting there watching his performance like I was a critic, or something, and he did good as far as my standards are. He didn’t do no Sticky Fingaz shit, but you know what I’m sayin.
AB: In addition to everything you’ve done with Onyx you’ve also branched out with some really interesting solo work. Personally, I dug the Kirk Jones album, but I know it didn’t necessarily connect with a larger audience. If you had to do it over again would you change anything about that project?
SF: Yeah, I wouldn’t have broken my foot. I broke my foot a month or two before it was supposed to come out and that halted all the promotion. So I wouldn’t change anything about the album, I think the album was a classic, if it sold one copy or ten million that’s a classic album and anybody that hears it will say the same thing, but I used it as a stepping stone because the next project I’m coming out with is called A Day in the Life and basically it’s Black Trash, the Kirk Jones album, on steroids. The actual movie is coming out in October or November through Lion’s Gate, the whole entire movie is a wrap. There are no regular parts in the movie at all, all the dialogue is in rap.
“I go to the gym every day. I’m fit. People that are on steroids, they get big and then they get small.”
AB: Sounds like some dope Hip-Hop Theater. Now, let’s clarify something. You said the album is like Kirk Jones on steroids. I know a lot of rappers are roiding up now, so for the record, it’s just the album, right? Sticky Fingaz is not on steroids.
SF: Oh no, never on steroids. I go to the gym every day. I’m fit. People that are on steroids, they get big and then they get small. Like I heard 50 Cent’s small right now.
AB: I remember when he made a guest appearance on the Onyx joint “React.” Speaking of guest appearances, yours have been legendary. I heard one freestyle where you noted you felt you had the best verse on The Marshall Mathers LP.
SF: Definitely, and the public said that. First Eminem told me, he was like yo dude, it took me like two months to write a verse to come after that verse. I was like yeah right, get outta here, stop tryin to gas me up, nigga. I figured he was just talking shit because he’s a big joker. Then Dre came behind like maybe two weeks later like yo Sticky, you know it took Em two months to write that verse, right? That’s when I believed him. I was like word? It’s all good. I heard one time Eminem was saying that I was his favorite rapper. He’s definitely one of my favorite rappers.
AB: Why haven’t we heard you making any guest appearances recently?
SF: I’ve been so focused on taking over Hollywood. Now I’m back on my music focus. I have the new solo album coming out. I just finished the single, it’s called “Debo The Game.” We just finished the video, too, so the video should hit the streets in, I don’t know, a week or two.
“Before the end of the year guaranteed. The album is just about done. I only really need two or three more songs at the most.”
AB: Do you have a perspective release date for the album?
SF: Before the end of the year guaranteed. The album is just about done. I only really need two or three more songs at the most.
AB: Don’t break your foot this time around.
SF: No, I’m not gonna break my foot. I’m not gonna break nuttin. If I break something it’s gonna be on somebody else.
AB: Is there anyone in particular whose ass you’d like to kick?
SF: Everybody! I feel like it’s time to Debo the game. The radio is saturated with bullshit. Videos is saturated with bullshit. You never see a rapper put out a video without twenty chicks in it, so I’m like why am I watching the video, for the rapper or for the chicks? I’m watching it for the chicks, so what good are the rappers?
AB: You said earlier you’ve been trying to take over Hollywood…
SF: Nah, not Hollywood, I’m tryin to take over the world, but the way to take over the world is through Hollywood.
AB: Celebrity is our biggest export in America.
SF: Exactly. Entertainment and celebrities are the biggest people on the planet; bigger than teachers, even bigger than presidents. The reason why entertainers make so much money is the whole planet is bored to death. They need entertainment. So forget the doctors and the teachers and the lawyers, entertainers make the most money.
AB: What are some of the projects you’re working on now?
SF: The pilot that I just shot for A&E just got picked up. It’s called “The Beast.” It’s starring me, Patrick Swayze and a couple new faces. I think we start filming the regular season in like a month or two and they’ll probably star airing in January. I’m playing an undercover federal agent and we think that Patrick Swayze is dirty. He’s a federal agent, too, but we think he’s dirty, so we try to bust him. I also have a movie called Hard Breakers that’s coming out. It’s like an American Pie type of movie. It’s starring me, Sophie Monk, Bobby Lee from Mad TV and Tia Carrrere. And Order of Redemption is coming out. That’s with me, Busta Rhymes and Tom Berenger. It’s a dope ass movie. I play a hero, Busta Rhymes plays a villain, Tom Berenger plays a dude who ends up becoming friends with me. Then there’s the Onyx album, Black Rock, and the Onyx documentary that’s out right now. We’re also putting out, before the end of the year, it’s called Onyx Live Overseas. It’s basically a compilation of all the shows we did overseas, from Columbia, Chile, Russia, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Bulgaria, all over the world. THAT is crazy. Anybody that’s never seen an Onyx show, you get to see how crazy an Onyx show really is.
AB: I want to rewind for a second because you mentioned Patrick Swayze and I know he’s going through some health issues right now…
SF: I saw him at the Lakers game and he looks strong as an ox. I heard everything about the pancreatic cancer, but if you know Swayze you know he’s gonna beat it because he’s strong, his spirits are up, he’s out and about.
AB: I saw him rip a man’s throat out in Road House.
SF: (laughs) See, that’s exactly my point.
AB: And you also have in one film both Sophie Monk and Tia Carerre. How do you keep your attention on the things you’re supposed to be doing while on that set?
SF: Man, (laughs), who said I was keeping my attention?
“We got this Onyx gear coming out. Basically it’s the mad face hoodies, shirts, jeans. The line is crazy.”
AB: Ha ha! Very true. Is there anything else you’d like to add about your career, Onyx, or life in general?
SF: We got this Onyx gear coming out. Basically it’s the mad face hoodies, shirts, jeans. The line is crazy. I got this one hoodie and it just got little mad faces all over it, it don’t even say Onyx on it, and every time I wear that hoodie I swear to God I get at least twenty compliments a day. “Yo, where can I get that? I’ll buy the one right off your back!” So you know that’s a good thing going on.
AB: What went into the decision to finally create a clothing line?
SF: As an artist you’re not making that much money off of record sales no more, so you gotta stay hot in the streets and do other things that generate money, whether it’s getting liquor deals, clothing lines, vitamin water deals, you gotta just take Hip-Hop to the next level and be an all around entrepreneur.
AB: The Mad Face Condom – for when you want to Slam all night.
SF: OH SHIT! I love it. You get no publishing, I’m running with that!