Is the music industry trying to hold Cormega down? Despite his success independently, one can’t help but wonder if there is a conspiracy to keep the gifted emcee from reaching the masses. Def Jam had the audacity to hold the man’s work hostage for seven years, delaying the release of what was meant to be his debut album. Thankfully, Cormega doesn’t let all the bullshit affect him. “The Testament” finally saw the light of day on February 22 of this year, and with its release Mega’s ready to start a new chapter in his career. With a DVD and soundtrack scheduled for the fall and his new and self-proclaimed best album, “Urban Legend,” following, problems from the past are the last thing on Cormega’s mind. Mega’s positive outlook was ever-present as he shared his plans for the future, views on the industry, and what being real is all about.

Pedro Hernandez (PH): I know you just released “The Testament” after a very long wait and I was wondering if you could give some background info on the album and the process of releasing the album for people who don’t know the story.

Mega: I mean, the process was basically, the people who don’t know, it’s an album that originally was recorded when I was on Violator/Def Jam and it was never released. You know what I mean, being on the shelves and me having been released from the label. So, as years and years went on, you know, it became an obstacle, the album became an obstacle. So I decided I didn’t even want it, I didn’t want the album anymore. I didn’t really care about it. You know, I just made “The Realness” and “The True Meaning” But through all those years my fans kept asking about that particular album, “The Testament,” so we decided we were gonna put it out 2005, so 2005 is upon us so we just put it out. I mean, everything, everything that we do there’s a reason and there’s a message behind it. Like we’re doing that basically just to let people know, like that’s just justification saying that this album should have never been shelved. Like we’re letting the people decide for themselves whether or not is should have been shelved, you know what I’m saying.

PH: As a person and as an artist how did it feel to finally reclaim your own work, and regain control over your own words.

“…it would have been more significant or it would have felt better if I got it out when the album was more relevant…”

Mega: I mean, I don’t know how to really describe it, it felt good but it’s like, I guess it’s a bittersweet justice because it would have been more significant or it would have felt better if I got it out when the album was more relevant, you know what I’m saying. Like right now, the album is like a retro album as opposed to if I had, if they had gave it to me when I really intended on releasing it or if they had not had it on the shelf it would have been more better because it would have been more relevant. Right now it’s just like a retro album. So it’s bittersweet. You know what it’s like? It’s like somebody who has been in jail for a whole bunch of years and then he got found innocent and they finally let him out. But you still can’t take those years back that was lost, you know what I’m saying. You can’t get those back so it’s a good thing but I don’t know…

PH: Moving on to the newer stuff, I know you have a DVD coming out, are there any new albums or other releases from Legal Hustle?

Mega: Oh yeah, Cormega, the Cormega solo album is about to come out called “Urban Legend..” What else, Dona is coming out, my female artist. And, what else we got, we got the DVD coming out like August, then we got Dona coming out like October, And then after Dona I’m a come with the Cormega album.

PH: The DVD, what is that going to be like?

Mega: DVD’s gonna be like a documentary. It’s like a documentary but it’s also like following my life during the last, you know what it is? It’s like life after “The Testament,” like everything after “The Testament.” Those years when I started recording “The Realness” and “True Meaning” and all of that, everything is on there, like studio sessions, you name it, show footage, exclusive videos that I recorded. And my whole reason for doing so was I was telling a friend, cuz he was like ” Why are you doing videos?,” cause you know it’s a political thing to get your videos played, and all that. So I said that’s even more incentive for me to do a video because my fans that don’t get to see me on BET or whatever they’ll get to see me when they buy my DVD. So on the DVD you’re gonna have videos, you’ll have behind the scenes footage, you know what I’m saying. It’s crazy dope, I guarantee you it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before because I already got like newspapers and people like that already calling me, they’ve seen the trailer and they were blown away by it. And actually somebody tried to get me to put it in the Sundance film festival, like that’s how dope it is. And as you go, as the video goes on, like say you were with me during the making of the documentary, so they’ll know “Okay that’s Pedro,” you know what I’m saying, so they’ll know who he is. So the people will be relating with you because they’ll see you in the video chilling with me or they’ll see you in the streets, and such and such and such and as the video goes they’ll follow you. To make a long story short, one of my closest friends , his name was Floyd Quinones, he was killed by the police a couple of years ago in New York City. It was a big shooting, it was a big thing, it was on the news and everything. So he’s all in my DVD, like he’s at my videos, he’s at my baby shower, he’s just on the regular scene chilling. So when he got killed, initially, everybody had their side of the story. Like people in the streets said it was wrong, the police, they said that it was justified what they did. So everybody had their side of the story, but the fly shit is after my man died we went to his wake and after the wake we’re all chilling. You know usually people get together and they have drinks, you know. So we all standing in Brooklyn in the projects and no exaggeration 100 cops came and they had sticks, they had shields, and they had helmets on. Now, I’m familiar with the police and I’ve been living with them my whole life, police never roll like that unless they ready to do, they were ready to do, basically fuck people up. Only reason they didn’t do it cuz we had it film guy there and the guy was white and they didn’t know who he was because that was a whole high profile situation like the news crews and everybody, they were coming around all the time. So, we actually captured it on film when the police came like a hundred deep, and you’re gonna see the reaction of the people that’s in the streets, you’re gonna hear the scattering feet. Cuz, like I said, everybody was cool with the guy, Floyd Quinones, like you’re gonna see little girls there , grown ladies, old men, old ladies, like everybody, you know what I’m saying. People, we’re just there, people just standing there, they’re burning candles, they got his pictures, nobody is doing anything bad or anything , but the cops came 100 deep they was ready to fuck us up. Only reason they didn’t do that cuz we had a film guy. But to be actually, to be actually there was shocking, cuz I was shocked when I was there. But when you see it on footage, my friend, Jordan, his father’s white, his father is probably in his 50s, he seen the footage he said “Oh My God.” He showed Jordan his arms, the hair on his arms was standing up. And this was before I even seen the footage, by the time I seen the footage, the shit made me wanna cry. Cuz it reminded me of the civil rights shit, like I never seen no shit like that ever in my real life, you know what I’m saying, maybe on TV. But watch, when you see the DVD you’re gonna bug out it’s crazy. … When I seen the footage I almost started crying, you’re gonna see grown ladies, you’re gonna see little girls like “Why don’t ya’ll just leave us alone” telling the police that. You’re gonna see another lady, she’s the mother of two children, “What are ya’ll doing? We not doing nothing, ya’ll just wanna kill us.” I’ve never seen like just ghetto passion like that captured on film. And it’s not a movie or anything it’s actually real, that’s what makes the shit so crazy. When I was there I was just there shocked I could not believe it. But when I seen the footage when I got home I was like “Oh Shit.” Like I said, there’s people like old music guys seen the trailer, they went crazy, they asked me “As soon as you get done with that let me see that.” I think L.A. Times’ people liked the shit, a lot of people seen the footage and they bugging out over it.

PH: That footage ties in with another question I was going to ask you, since you’ve been doing music I’ve noticed your music has a real social message behind it, it’s more than your average “shoot ’em up, bang bang” rap. So I was going to ask, since you’ve been putting out records do you feel there’s been a social change?

Mega: What do you mean? As far as my contribution?

PH: Yeah, as far as your contribution, when you go back to Queens?

“We have to take responsibility so I’m proud that I took responsibility with my music.”

Mega: As far as my music, I know one thing I know I changed, once I made “The Realness” I know I changed the soundscape of Queensbridge. Because if you listen to everybody’s album that came out since “The Realness” people don’t really talk, like a lot of people, you know what I’m saying, they had to change and tone it down so they had to really, you know what I’m saying, check what they was saying. Because I wasn’t overexploiting the hood, you know what I’m saying, and I wasn’t glorifying the drama and the bullshit that was going on, I was telling you about the pitfalls of it and basically “The Realness” is just realistic. It ain’t no made up rhymes. Ever since then I know it’s a lot of people, they don’t talk about guns as much and they try to get social, some of the other artists. I think that’s a good thing about it. And another thing. Another good thing is that I think like as far as “The Realness” and “The True Meaning” has gained, like I got a lot of respect from my peers, like the media, etcetera etcetera. People that always had question marks next to my name, they started giving me my props. I got the first ever Source Award for independent album, I got the Impact Award at the Underground Music Awards, you know what I’m saying. And you know, my words, I get fan mail telling me that my words, like “Yo Mega, I was going through some hard times in my life and your music really helped me come through it,” so stuff like that it really, you know what I’m saying, that stuff like that it really hits me the hardest. It makes me want to take more responsibility with what I write. Because I don’t want to be that dude that’s just writing about “shoot em up bang bang” and indoctrinating the young dudes that want to do that. Whether rappers know it or not, what we do is influential, like the clothes we wear, the cars we talk about, everything we do they want to do that. So if we’re talking bout we’re robbing and we’re doing this and we gun-ho, just makes you wonder why 15 and 16 year-olds are running around with guns trying emulate a rapper, you know what I’m saying. We have to take responsibility so I’m proud that I took responsibility with my music.

PH: On the same note, how do you feel about hip-hop right now? Because it seems like right now everybody is either obsessed with cars, clothes, money-type things or everybody’s trying to see who’s the hardest , who’s the most violent, or there’s beef popping up every two seconds when someone looks at somebody else wrong. You think that’s giving a bad image of what the hood is really like? One of my boys was talking to me and he’s like “People have the wrong idea about what it’s like growing up in the hood because not everybody is doing what you hear in rap music. Most people are just trying to get by trying to make a living.”

Mega: Exactly. That’s why I try to tone it down in my music. As far as rappers, rappers are the bottom of the food chain when it comes to the hood. Like no rapper is hood anymore, once you’re a rapper you’re not hood no more. Like I did more shit in the streets than probably any rapper in Queensbridge. But I don’t exploit, I did more shit than anybody, not just violence, I’m talking bout drugs. Like nobody from Queens has sold more drugs than me. They probably people that was in the streets more or mighta been wilder than me or whatever or whatever, but nobody sold more drugs than me. But, you know what I’m saying. Yet I don’t scream QB in all my rhymes because I’m not trying to exploit the hood cuz I’m not in the hood no more. I don’t know about the pain that’s going on in the hood right now, this second. Because right now this second I’m at my house talking to you on the phone, you know what I’m saying. So I think a lot of rappers, like from my hood in particular, they front, they exploit the hood but they don’t know the pain that’s going on the hood cuz they not there, you know what I’m saying. And another thing, there’s other people that keep it realer than rappers. Like everybody talking bout they a real nigga, nah, the realest ma’fuckas in New York, and everybody wanna be the king of New York, the realest niggas in New York is the New York motherfucking Fire Department. Because it takes a real motherfucker to run up in the World Trade Center, you know what I’m saying, when there’s a good chance. When you’re a fire man you can evaluate the situation, you can look at it and say “The likelihood of me coming out of here is such and such percent,” you know what I’m saying. Anybody that seen the World Trade Center Building that was a fireman knew the likelihood of them coming out of that building was slim to none, yet they still did it. That’s Real! You know what I’m saying, standing in the projects talking bout you wild or cuz you got a gun or cuz you sell drugs, that’s not real. Cuz even when I did sell drugs, I wasn’t proud enough to go to my grandfather and say “Grandpa, I sell drugs.” I was ashamed. So basically, if you do something and you’re ashamed of it in some aspect, then that’s not real, you know what I’m saying. So that’s what a lot of rappers need to do, keeping it real is keeping true to your self. Like the people who work for housing that help clean up the projects, they keeping it real cuz they keeping the projects looking like something, instead of making it look like a desolate place and just bring, you know what I’m saying, gloom. And the fire department, those are some real motherfuckas. And the old people that, you know what I’m saying, that stay in Queensbridge, that stay in all the projects that’s wild because they really love the place, you know what I’m saying, and they try to make changes, those are the realest people. All these rappers talking bout what they do, half of them, not even half, more than half of these niggas is frontin. Like my hood in particular, all these niggas screaming Queensbridge, they don’t even come to Queens.

PH: Still talking about Queens, you came up at a time when a lot of acts were blowing out of Queens, like Mobb Deep and Nas, and I was wondering what was it like back then. What was the scene like, what was it like to be there?

“When they first started blowing up, I was in jail actually. So when that shit was happening I was proud of them niggas…”

Mega: When they first started blowing up, I was in jail actually. So when that shit was happening I was proud of them niggas cuz I was like “Oh Shit.” Cuz it’s a reflection of the hood, you know, they was representing the hood, and that was a good look for me. Cuz I’m sitting in jail watching dudes that I grew up with on TV. That’s big. As opposed to me watching on the news talking about they about to go to jail or something stupid like that. I was proud for them niggas, you know what I’m saying. So that was big, that means Queensbridge was good, you know what I’m saying, especially after all those years of Queensbridge being shut down after the KRS-One/ Shan situation. So it was dope and it was big, like when I came home it was dope. I felt dope that I was a part of it. So when I cam home I was just proud to be a part of it, you know what I’m saying, being from Queens is like being on the Yankees man, you know what I’m saying. It was like everybody was doing they thing, we had a lot of props from the industry, it was dope when I came home. I wasn’t even home two days, Mobb Deep had a big show and they put me on stage, you know what I’m saying. Then Nas came and scooped me up, you know what I’m saying. It was like a dream for me, not for me but like for a rap fan it was like a dream. Like my life when I came home from jail was like a rap fan’s dream. Like you come home from jail up state from Albany, next day you with Nas, next day you at Marley Marl’s house, you know what I’m saying. And within the next few weeks you meeting Foxy Brown and AZ, and shit like that so it was crazy. I met Ghostface, all these niggas around that time, everybody embraced me. I met Biggie Smalls, nigga gave me, Biggie Smalls one of the most humble dudes I’ve ever met. I mean here he is double platinum artist, every ten minutes his song is on the radio. This nigga hugs me and shit, he like “Yo, I heard a lot of good things about you, man” and I was like “Thanks man, I heard a lot of good things about you too,” you know what I’m saying. He was madd cool, so that was a good experience for me. You know what I’m saying, I met Pun. Me and Pun, Pun is like somebody I could actually say was a good dude, like a good friend of mine, you know what I’m saying. Like if I could just quit rap right now, like if I was to never rap again, or let’s just say I have move away to fucking the north pole or something and I never could do rap or nothing again, I still lived a good life. Even though I never came out on a major label or something , I did so much. Like I performed on “The Apollo” when Steve Harvey was hosting with The Firm, you know what I’m saying. I did “Soul Train” when Don Cornelius was the host. I fucking opened up for Eric B. and Rakim at The Apollo. I was on Nas’ second album , his most successful album ever, I was on Mobb Deep’s most successful album ever. You know what I’m saying, I did so much in my time that’s why I can’t be bitter. Like a lot of underground and independent artists, it’s like they got some kind of grudge against the mainstream, I don’t got a grudge against the mainstream. I feel sorry for the mainstream cuz the artists are getting pimped and then the people with the power they’re destroying the art. So I really feel sorry for them, but other than that I lived a good life, you know what I’m saying, I’ve seen a lot and I did a lot.

PH: Going back to the “Legal Hustle” album, I had a question I always wondered about. You had a song on there, one of my favorites from the album, called “More Crime” with a West Coast cat called Jacka, how did that collaboration come about?

Mega: Okay, Jacka is one of my friends, like Jacka is another artist, like you know some artists you just cool with, but Jacka is one of my friends, you know what I’m saying. Jacka is like my little cousin and shit. Like I met Jacka years and years ago and he wanted to do a song with me, so I did a song with him, you know what I’m saying, so I did a couple of songs with him, you know what I’m saying. They flew me out to California and they broke me off with some bread and I did a song for em. But after I was in California, I learned so much. Like Jacka and ’em taught me so much about the culture and about a lot of other things. Because New York is just another society, and we stuck in our own ways. Like I never new about muscle cars and all that. Like people on the west coast with ’64s and all that I always thought that they was broke or something, you know. Cuz New York, we tend to be more like Benzes and, you know, you know how New York is. So I learned from them that those cars, you might have a ’64 that cost more than a Benz. Or I learned about their culture, how they lived and that they real just like us and that they go through the same thing we go through. Like when I first went out to the Bay Area, California – within one hour of me getting off the plane I was face down looking at the floor, police had me on the floor, me, Huss – Hussla from the Mob Figaz, you know what I’m saying, so that right there just woke me up, the whole world go through the same shit. Like I don’t give a fuck where you from: Cali, Chicago, wherever, East Coast, West Coast – we all go through the same shit. Everybody trying to survive and the police fuck with everybody. You know what I’m saying, they taught me that. Then I went to the studio with them to listen to they tracks, we knocked shit out, and then ever since then we’ve been cool. Like you know we had a bond, like he came to New York, like he showed me how he live in California, like they showed me a ’69 Malibu, you know what I’m saying, they put me on to those shits and ’64s and all those type of cars. They fucked up my mind so much I came home and bought a ’64, you know what I’m saying. And then after that we started just communicating, like throughout the years we always stayed in touch. Then Jacka came to New York, yo, he come to New York he didn’t even stay in his hotel, the nigga was with me half the time. Like he spend the night in the hotel, like I had my own hotel room he stayed with me. Like I took him to Queensbridge and let him see how I lived. You know, cuz a lot of rappers will say they this and that, but then they won’t go to their own hood. So Jacka and all of them niggas from Cali, they know how I am, they came to Queensbridge and they was in the, you know we ain’t have no security, they was in the hood. So, you know what I’m saying, he chilled out there all my niggas came out, and it was dope. So ever since then we always been cool. I put him on “Legal Hustle” cuz he don’t really got fans in New York, people don’t really know him. So I said “Niggas need to know him” cuz his shit be dope and this is some different shit. Cuz you know, I wanted “Legal Hustle” to be, you know, like when I made “Legal Hustle” I wanted it to be like when Dr. Dre made “The Chronic.” Like he introduced the world to a lot of people and it was a dope compilation album. So that’s basically what I was trying to do. I was trying to make something different and I was trying to hold people down cuz I didn’t have a solo album ready. So I wanted to make something dope that people could relate to and I wanted to introduce the world to like, like you got Maino. Maino got a deal right now, the first album that Maino was on was “Legal Hustle.” He has the song “Rumors” out right now, but prior to that the first thing he was on was “Legal Hustle.” And I introduced Jacka on there, and I introduced Dona, my artist was on there. Lake was on there, you know he’s been on something else. And you know I tried to reach out my hand, I didn’t want it to be looked at as a Queensbridge or New York I wanted people from all, like I wanted to put DMP on there from Virginia but the track came too late. All the people that wasn’t on “Legal Hustle” that should have been on there are going to be on the soundtrack to my DVD, so that’s going to be like “Legal Hustle Vol. 2.”

PH: I’ve been listening to Mob Figaz for a while, probably since their first CD came out, but I didn’t realize that was Jacka on their til he dropped his album.

Mega: Jacka would be the easiest artist from the Mob Figaz for New York to adapt to.

“I mean if you don’t smoke weed and stay with Jacka I promise you’re gonna be high by the time you get to your room just from contact.”

PH: Defintely. I’ve been listening to his new album that he just dropped and it’s just good music, it’s not really West Coast, it’s just good music overall.

Mega: Exactly. And the nigga Hussla, you know, Mob Figaz is nice matter of fact they got a lot of ma’fuckers. You know what’s dope about Mob Figaz, Mob Figaz is like how Wu-Tang is. Like they got their own personas, like Jacka reminds me, his demeanor, like Jadakiss. He’s like a laid back nigga and Jacka smoke weed all day. Like when I say smoke weed all day, I mean if you don’t smoke weed and stay with Jacka I promise you you’re gonna be high by the time you get to your room, just from contact. And he smoke like the best shit, like he smoke weed like you never heard of. Like Redman and them would love Jacka. Fucking Hussla, Hussla, he’s the fucking personality of the crew, he’s the motherfucker, he has personality, he’s the Method Man of the crew. He’s the one that got the ill personality, mad humorous, but he’s a real nigga too. Like he’s a straight, real gangsta nigga. So, you know what I’m saying, they all got their own demeanor. The nigga Feddi, all them niggas is real, that’s why I fuck with them.

PH: Outside of Mob Figaz, what do you listen to on your spare time? What’s in your CD deck right now?

Mega: Lately, what I’ve been trying to do lately is I’m trying to push myself the way like a basketball player would when he’s trying to emulate a great. Like lately I’ve been listening to Rakim, I listen to Rak,im’s first three albums. The last few days I’ve been listening to Rakim’s first three albums. So basically you could say I’m studying, that’s what I’ve been doing, you know what I’m saying. Like the way Kobe be studying Micheal Jordan’s film, I’m studying Rakim right now. And I listen to some of Big Daddy Kane recently. Like basically I’ve been listening to the trendsetters, like the pioneers and shit. I don’t wanna call em old school cuz I hate that word, like the golden era rappers, I listen to that a lot. I don’t really listen to the new stuff that’s out but I listen to John Legend’s stuff, a little bit of that. Alicia Keys’ album, that blew me away last year, Sister Nancy, reggae, Bob Marley, stuff like that. I listen to various different kinds of shit. Even Guns N Roses sometimes, depends if I’m in the mood.

PH: Do you think there’s anybody that’s next to blow? Any up and coming artist who’s going to be the next big thing in the game?

Mega: Ehhhh, I don’t see nobody that’s really, I don’t. You know who I think could blow right now? If niggas, you know, you know who I think has a little buzz right now as of lately, the nigga Big Daddy Kane. Like he did a show recently at S.O.B.’s and everybody was talking about it and then ever since then a lot of people doing songs with him. So if somebody step up, like somebody big, and put some shit behind him, he might promote some music. But as far as the new artists, I see the same shit. Cuz if you listen to a lot of these new artists they all sound the same. Like everybody got that, half these ma’fuckers got that Jay-Z flow, they sound like they trying, the same way I said I was studying Rakim , it’s like they students of Jay or they trying to mimic him. They after everything, you know what I’m saying. So I don’t really hear anybody that’s differentiating themselves from the pack, you know what I’m saying. I wanna hear somebody that does. You know who I’m interested in hearing? Little Brother, out of North Carolina, I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about them.

PH: You mentioned Kane and Rakim, are those your main influences, or who are your main influences as an Emcee?

“… he never gets his credit. And he’s one of those niggas that helped elevate the game is fucking T La Rock.”

Mega: No, you know who? One of my biggest influences ever is somebody that like I feel is like the Bernard King or Dominique Wilkins of rap. I can’t even say Bernard or Dominique cuz he didn’t play as long as them but he is somebody that is so dope and better than so many artists yet he never gets his credit. And he’s one of those niggas that helped elevate the game is fucking T La Rock. Like he was using those complex words and infrastructures when niggas was still talking about “chicken and collard greens” and that simple bubble gum rap, you know what I’m saying. When I heard T La Rock, when I first heard him I was like “Oh Shit.” And then LL, you can tell LL and KRS-One and people like that study from him. So he was one of my earliest influences. MC Shan was like my fucking idol, like you know what I’m saying, I wanted to be like Shan. Then fucking Rakim of course, Slick Rick for the way he tells a story. The way Slick Rick tells a story and his aura, like the way he commands, the magesty of him is irreplaceable. So it’s like Slick Rick, Rakim, Shan, Kane, Kool G Rap of course, Grand Puba, KRS- One. Actually half the motherfuckers that inspired me on one way or another, it’s dope , are going to be on a song on my next album, “Urban Legend.” I got a whole bunch of them to do a song with my on “Urban Legend,” it’s gonna be dope, you know what I’m saying.

PH: I noticed you do production on your albums, do you do anything outside of your stuff?

Mega: Oh yeah, “QBs Finest” I got co-production credits for that, though it should have said “Produced by Cormega,” but whatever at least they tried, you know what I’m saying. I did shit on “Legal Hustle,” “Realness,” and Dona’s new album. I did a lot of other shit, MC Shan’s verse on “Bridge 2001.” Matter of fact niggas didn’t even want Shan on it, and I was infuriated. How you gonna remake a man’s song and not even ask him to be on it? Niggas didn’t think Shan could come with it, and I was like “That’s the point.” We got a group of elite rappers, we can help Shan. So I said “Fuck it,” wrote the verse and coached Shan on how to do it, you know what I’m saying. When it was done, niggas was blown away cuz Shan really brought it.

PH: For those out there who are interested in production, what’s your production style? What do you use, are you a crate digger?

Mega: I’m a crate digger like a motherfucker. Actually, I just started buying vinyl again. A lot of soul records, shit like that. Last piece I picked up was “Move The Crowd.” I also found a copy of “Hawaiian Sophie,” you know I had to pick that up. I buy a lot of soul records and try to create intricate sound from ’em. When I find something that I’m feeling, you know what I’m saying, as opposed to looping I get people to play it all over again. Like, on “Beautiful Mind” that was played all over again, I had someone play the entire thing all over again. I just wanted to recreate it as opposed to just looping, you know what I’m saying. A lot of producers got the same beats, they don’t do nothing innovative. I guess they just say “Fuck it,” let me just loop some shit and get some money. I got an ear for beats, you know what I’m saying, people actually be jacking some of my shit. Like the beat for “Dead Man Walking,” Jay-Z used it for that song on “The Blueprint,” “Lyrical Exercise?” No, wait, how does it go? Either way, Jay used that for one of his songs. Saigon just used the same beat from “62 Pick Ups,” that was done in 1998, so you know, who’s first? What else? Saigon used some shit from “True Meaning” and that came out, what? Two years ago. In a way it’s flattering, you know what I’m saying? Fuck it, it’s like “Shit, I’m on top of my job,” you know? Next album I’m telling you son. I can’t explain it, it’s going to be crazy dope. I’m glad I took my time on it, because I never took my time on my albums before. “The Realness” I did that in like 3 months, “True Meaning” was done in three months too. I had never taken that much time for an album. The next album, “Urban Legend” the songs are gonna be crazy.

PH: How do you feel about technology making it so easy for people to make music? Like, how anyone can just make a record and release it?

Mega: You mean like computers?

PH: Yeah, like how all you need is a computer to make a record nowadays.

“…fuck it, get on the internet, download my shit and take it at the push of a button and then critique my shit.”

Mega: To each his own, I really don’t care, you know? If it’s dope who can complain? I mean, let me ask you this, if Lauryn Hill had made “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” on a computer could we be mad? The only thing I don’t like is that people can say “Fuck It,” get on the internet, download my shit and take it at the push of a button and then critique my shit. People rob it and then critique it, I hate niggas who download. I mean some people tell me that they’ll download a song and listen to it and if they like it they go ahead and buy the album, I guess that’s okay. But shit is repulsive, you know what I’m saying. It’s affecting people when they do that, it’s affecting niggas’ work and niggas’ livelihood. You know, we eat off of this and we live off of this, and people just go on there and basically steal our shit, you know what I’m saying.

PH: Do you have any advice for people trying to make it in the industry?

Mega: Stay true to yourself and don’t send demos to record companies. If you’re gonna play something for a label, go there and take your shit with you when you leave, don’t leave it with them. People will jack your idea and shit. Stay true to your self, don’t let anyone change your view. Don’t try to emulate a style or a fad, what if it dies? You’re gonna be like that style and die with it. Go to every convention you can go to and politic, that’s very important, it’s a must to get out there. And don’t bother niggas at every in-store or whatever. Don’t give him your CD, you’re just flooding him, it’s tacky.

PH: I know what you mean, I was at a convention where Russell Simmons was speaking and right after he was done, everybody flooded him trying to get a foot in you know? I as thinking, the man is here to speak and he’s busy, anything you do afterwards he’s not gonna remember or pay too much mind to you.

“So if you’re up and coming, don’t flood people with shit, you just decrease the likelihood of getting heard…”

Mega: Exactly, it’s tacky. If it’s a one on one and you’re kicking it or whatever your gonna have a much better chance to catch someone’s attention and get a break. The likelihood that someone’s gonna listen to your shit if you flood ’em is close to zero. Sometimes I get done with something and go and find 15 or 16 CDs on my car, no one’s got that kind of time, we’re busy. Shit, I have to listen to my own beats, I don’t have time to listen to all that. So if you’re up and coming, don’t flood people with shit, you just decrease the likelihood of getting heard when you do that, you know what I’m saying.

PH: Any parting words for your fans?

Mega: Thanks for the love, thanks for all the support throughout the years.