Strong Arm Steady’s latest album is titled In Search of Stoney Jackson. Here at RapReviews we were in search of an interview with someone from Strong Arm Steady. As much as we wanted to just jump in the official RapReviews ride (i.e. my ’98 Subaru Legacy), throw the album into the CD player, and ride around Cali until we could find them, we decided it would cost way too much in gas to cross the country and it probably wouldn’t have really helped the cause at all, although the change in weather would have been nice. After doing some digging we managed to get in touch with Krondon and get five minutes of the Strong Arm Steady member’s time. Krondon is not one to mince words, so we were able to get quite a few questions in as we asked him about In Search of Stoney Jackson and his thoughts on being considered underrated. He also revealed the one thing “even the most thuggest thug” has.

Adam Bernard: When hip-hop heads discuss Strong Arm Steady one word almost always comes up – Underrated. How do you feel about that tag?
Krondon: I like it. I think if an artist is smart it creates longevity and an unpredictable peak with a long time before decent. And although it feels good to be held in high regard, I think high regard is a state of mind, truly.

AB: The Strong Arm Steady lineup now consists of yourself, Phil Da Agony, and Mitchy Slick. This is the smallest your lineup has ever been. With that in mind, did you have a different approach when recording this time around? Has being a three man group changed the dynamic of your music and how you write and record?
K: No, we always created the same way, but I will say this, Stoney was recorded differently. It was recorded somewhat like a jazz record. Each session was a jam of lyrics and beats.

AB: Tell me more about In Search of Stoney Jackson. Is this REALLY a reference to the mid-80’s detective show The Insiders, and if so what about Stoney Jackson inspired you so much as to make you want to name your album after him?
K: Yes it is, but it’s also deeper. In the 80’s his likeness represented something cool, from the curl to the clothes, and everyone who called them selves cool looked like that. It’s just like that now in that really different is dope, so it’s an homage to a freedom of expression, of just being you. It’s not like he was a big huge star but he was big enough to influence.

AB: Other than the group’s lineup, what do you feel makes Stoney Jackson different from your previous releases?
K: Of course the production of the amazing Madlib. This album also has a freedom of expression that allowed concepts to form that makes it a joy to listen and learn from over and over. We didn’t just stick to hard edged street topics, yet we still kept it street.

AB: Were there any other 80’s era television dramas you thought to honor? Quantum Leap? MacGyver? Jake and The Fatman?
K: No, but we are thinking of doing a search for Egyptian Lover, Stevie B, and Arabian Prince. {laughs} Or we might name our next album Miller’s Outpost, or become the new World Class Wrecking Crew!!!

AB: I’m gonna have to YouTube that. Changing topics, in hip-hop, and music in general, sales are down, but variety is up. Labels have blamed lower sales numbers on a lot of different things, but is there a chance they’re simply the result of musical sub-genres growing into unique individual markets? What are your thoughts on this?
K: It’s exactly that people know what they want and these big companies don’t, so they force you to like crap and look at it on TV.

AB: You guys really utilized the mixtape game as a means to get heard. Not to be too blunt about it, but what the heck happened to mixtapes? I remember going to college in NY (‘96-’00) and coppin dope mixtapes on the regular that were true mixes. Is the mixtape scene dead, or has it just been radically altered?
K: It’s not dead, it’s digital. Even the most thuggest thug has a Mac or PC, so they get there’s on the spot. We are surely still doing recording. Even though recording what we hope to soon be classic albums takes its toll, we’re back at work in that arena. I have a solo joint, Let Em Live, available for free download that will be on iTunes real soon.

AB: Strong Arm Steady has been together for a LONG time and I’m guessing you have a quite a few crazy stories from those times, so hit me with one of your favorites that you can legally tell.
K: Those that know don’t tell and those that tell don’t know! {laughs} You have to be there to believe it.

AB: OK, well, one last question before you have to bounce; what’s the absolutely best thing that’s happened to you thanks to hip-hop?
K: I got a chance to perform with Metallica, amongst other greats, while on the road with Xzibit. Thanks X.