If you think we forgot about this whole interview shizz on RapReviews.com, then ya best play like Biggie Smalls and Eminem cause ya “Dead Wrong.” Steve ‘Flash’ Juon sat down for a little phone chat with Mr. Complex on November 8th, 2001 to ask him his thoughts on hip-hop, bootlegging, and his upcoming album. Y’all know the name – now hear what the man had to say in his own words!
Flash: Mr. Complex, sorry I missed your call earlier. Good to talk with you. Anyway there’s some confusion right now that you have more than one album out, so to start out we can clear that up.
Complex: Well I’m sitting on 40 songs, and I gotta get things out. I’m like, I hate working on songs and nothing ever happens.
F: Right, right.
C: If they’re wack, that’s expected for them, that they don’t come out. “Listen to that song yo.” But I put out “The Complex Catalog” to show I’m not playin anymore. These are things that were laying around while I was doing these other releases, I’m trying to get a new wider audience.
F: So you’re kinda like Prince right? You got all this shit you’ve done that hasn’t come out – but then you’ve got this album of classic shit you did and this new album..
C: Yeah, “Hold This Down.”
F: Right, so tell me about that – and more to the point I was wondering why “Gitcha Gitcha Gitcha” wasn’t on there.
“.. Rawkus had it two years before they put it out. Originally they were gonna put it on Soundbombing, but then they fronted on it…”
C: Well with “Gitcha Gitcha Gitcha” – see “Stabbin You,” Rawkus had it two years before they put it out. Originally they were gonna put it on Soundbombing, but then they fronted on it. So then they said, “Let’s put it out as this hot new single” and I did the flipside with Pharoahe.
F: And I noticed you used that and one of your older joints that came out on a Japanese label too.
C: See that’s where I figured give the public a little bonus, y’know, put some extra tracks on the new album with the older shit. But Rawkus and me had this little arrangement – I kept “Stabbin You” and they kept “Gitcha Gitcha Gitcha.” Both songs are kinda old anyway; but hey, at least they paid me.
F: So when you listen to “Hold This Down” what’s the song that stands out to you right away, the one you feel the most?
C: “Desire” is like, the music really hits me. I can listen to this, even though it’s three to four years old. “Everybody Everywhere” – I did like, I had that concept in my head for years, I didn’t realize it was gonna come out as good as it did. “Stupid Dope Fresh” I did that with this guy before I even met him.
F: You mean over the internet?
C: Yeah. It was cool cause like, I recorded my verse first and sent it to him, and then he had to record around it and send it back.
F: That joint’s tight on the album. Who did the beat for that?
C: Darp Malone. He did three of ’em – the joint with Shabaam too.
F: Word, that’s cool.
C: We were both there doing shit – he was sittin around, and I was tired, but he heard the beat and was like “Yo, let’s do this!” So we just did it.
F: So I noticed you’ve got the comedy on this album; even from the intro down to the lyrics. Heads have been feeling you over the years for that – the clever lyrics but the wit too. Speak on that.
“.. I’ma just make you feel good. From studying films I know one thing, music plays a part in the stories..”
C: I just figured, y’know, I’ma just make you feel good. From studying films I know one thing, music plays a part in the stories, it sets the mood up.
F: Right, and you want to set people up to have fun instead of be mad.
C: It’s like people – they tend to listen to the songs a certain way. People are worrying about being so hard all the time, they trying to scare you, make an ice grill. The sound was like, y’know, murda murda and all of them.
F: *laughing* Yeah, like Ja Rule. It’s crazy – you can’t have fun. You have fun with it though – even when you tell people, “Hey – if you buy this shit and you hear me saying this, it’s a bootleg!”
C: This is the first time I sent out this many promo copies. Downloading is so common, I’ve seen where some people will have more than one CD, they have one in the house, one in the car – a copy everywhere. Some kids will get one copy and will service the school, service the whole neighborhood.
F: It’s got to be frustrating, especially coming up, trying to get people to buy the records. The people who know you from the underground sure, but other heads will just take the free download.
C: It’s a task, to get ’em to buy it, and times is really tight right now. I try to, install that, that feeling like; y’know when there’s a lot of records that come out that I didn’t buy, “Ahh I’ll get it next week.” But then you miss out, and years later when you hear it you want that record and can’t get it. When people start realizing that, this collections is gonna be for your kids, for your library.
F: No doubt – if you’ve got the $15 it’s like, “You like the record, why wouldn’t you buy it?” But I feel you on that. Back when, what the DJ’s spun WAS classic. Now it’s all computer beats. It’s so hard to make great records anymore like you’re doing.
C: It kills me like, the other day, I was in a party in Medina. Rich Philly was playin the classics. You go to other countries, and so many people have, what was hot, in their area. You hear their different variations of classics.
F: Right, right.
“.. It’s like ‘They Reminisce Over You’ y’know – who’s keeping up with the Pete Rock beats?”
C: It’s like “They Reminisce Over You” y’know – who’s keeping up with the Pete Rock beats? Then there’s DJ Spinna, these, these cats here that’s doin it.
F: Primo, Alchemist, et cetera, but you’ve got hot beats of your own. How are you gonna make people aware of that in promoting the record? What about BET and MTV?
C: Y’know, it’s all politics with them. I’m trying to build other mediums. Like this hip-hop game show I’m doing; I’m talkin to a lot of people now about gettin that on. And I wanna shoot some movies at film school. I’m just looking at, how some of these peoples do movies. Snoop, Ice Cube, Master P how they doin it.
F: Yeah, a lot of movies these days.
C: Necro shot a couple of his little films. Open Transport – you check that out?
F: That rings a bell – can’t say for sure.
C: That was the joint. There needs to be more of those joints like Open Transport, music with a little bit of performance in it.
F: So cats can actually see the rappers they’re hearing on the internet.
C: Now with the internet around, I’ma shoot a few videos like “Everybody Everywhere,” and I might shoot a video for “Desire.”
F: Right, and then put that up on your website. What’s that URL again? With one X right, not two like your e-mail?
C: Yeah, MrComplex.com – with one X.
F: And the label’s got it’s own website right?
C: SevenHeads.com – check it out.
F: So do you have any favorite websites of your own?
C: Nah it’s like, I’m too busy answering my fanmail when I’m online. I gotta be all business, so I don’t get time to surf much. And then there’s all these crazy Asian sites with the text I can’t read.
F: Yeah they love hip-hop in Korea and Japan. Crazy how rappers can get more love there from a financial standpoint than many do here.
“.. but can’t buy the album. If you can’t buy a ticket for the show – go to the show and scream out loud.”
C: It’s good to get a taste of things, it’s all up to real love if somebody goes and really downloads that but can’t buy the album. If you can’t buy a ticket for the show – go to the show and scream out loud. I love when they know the lyrics.
F: So in closing, what’s up next, for Mr. Complex?
C: I’m constantly busy. I’m setting up jams, answering shows, and just doing a little business. Trying to make things happen.
F: Right, and what’s next from “Hold This Down” people should check for?
C: “Desire” is the next single, and I gotta “Stupid Dope Fresh” remix with L-Fudge on it. Oh and look out for Chapter, up next on 7 Heads.
F: I wanna thank you for taking the time Complex, you’re a real cool cat to talk to and I hope people go out and buy that album. Peace.