Let’s get to it!…..
It’s definitely a glimpse or introductory illustration of my world views so to speak. How I’ve grown to see things and interpret the way things work in the world we live in. The title can have many different meanings, from illusions and reality to my last name being “Legend” [said arie interruption] “CUTE! ” and you, the listener, deciding whether there’s truth to that.
When you put a project out, especially at this level of my career, which is still at its infancy so to speak, you are putting your heart out there to the people. To me it represents me as an artist, saying that I’m here, lend me your ear and take heed. It’s almost like I’m running for election in this rap game. Fox News is known for stealing the truth from its viewer’s perception, so I’m a steal the slogan they use during election years: “You Decide”. It’s like the appetizer for what’s about to come. So that being said, welcome to my universe, please take your shoes and coat off, eat these hors d’oeuvres, dinner’s about to be served.
Well I’m excited!
The EP contains one track that gains major interest. “Lost Chapter 1-The Ascent”, is this based on person life experiences?
For sure, that song encapsulates a lot of what I’ve experienced and seen through my years growing up from a boy to a man. Through spitting raps and my hustle, I’ve already seen many parts of the world and been exposed to many lifestyles at a young age. The song really starts out with me talking about the pitfalls and traps that western society and globalization set for young men and women growing up and trying to make something for themselves. It’s the first chapter of this audio hip-hop book I’m starting to write, so it’s the first of many chapters. This one is the “come-up”, because that’s where I stand in my career. I’m building a foundation for myself to prosper in the future and live productively. I’ve seen friends and acquaintances fall for the allure of the fast cash “by any means” so to speak, just to see their lives get destroyed in a nano-second. I just always thought it was wild how someone’s life can just change at the snap of a finger. I could be getting a call from my boy telling me he’s on his way over to my spot to listen to beats. Just to have him never show up and call me the next day telling me police jumped out of an unmarked van when he stepped out the door and bagged him just like that. His children just left behind with no explanation as to what happened to their dad. We live in an unpredictable world. My music reflects that. You are just watching the story unravel in front of your eyes, so stay tuned…
The record is great… Was it easy to take your experiences, put them on paper, mix it with a beat and present it to the world?
I’m inspired by life, a will to survive, to express myself and my predecessors in Hip-Hop who made me fall in love with art form. As far as this record, it came very naturally, the words kept coming to me and I just kept going till the breath in my lungs ran out. It wasn’t a record where I was looking for a “hit” or a catchy “hook”, it was just pure expression. The record just came to life and kept growing like a tree from the ground up. My EP is called “The Myth or The Legend”, which are opposites, and my first line on the record is “Fortune and fame, misfortune and pain” so it stays true to the theme till the end. Now I can’t front when I listened to the record “Get Loose” I was actually surprised.
You come across as a fan of hip-hop that knows his stuff. But does conscious hip hop always have to be so serious? People can find enlightenment while partying right? (laughs)
Of course [laughing], when I first heard the track I was drawn by the drums, which reminded me of African drums you know. Right then and there, I told myself, I can flip something to this. Life is boring when it gets too predictable, you know. When you on the basketball court, if you telegraph a pass it gets intercepted, so you have to dish out no-looks sometimes. I refuse to be boxed in, art is freedom, so this is a part of my experience as well. The record is actually getting positive response from club DJs in different states. I feel as though, if you consider yourself a real MC, you can flip something over anything without sounding watered down.Quoting you’re lyrics on “Veni, Vedi, Veci pt. 2″ you said “I’m dropping jewels for the people in scientific manner”.
Explain exactly what you mean by that?
It’s like chemistry fam. If you combine the right molecules with the right temperature levels in the proper order, you get a reaction. Once you master that, you master your elements. People are tired of that same ole same ole, cats rhyming the same words with the same flows and same content. I’m surgical with mine. So my rhyme scheme is scientific in the sense that I combine the right words in the right rhythm to spark the right neurons in your brain.
“March 2 Zion” is a good record as well. How do you come up with titles for your songs?
It really all depends, I would say that for the most part, unless the instrumental really strongly suggests a title, I come up with the song and then pick a title that’s suited for it. As for March 2 Zion, I came up with that title after having laid down all of my verses.
What was the idea behind “March 2 Zion”?
March 2 Zion was a song I originally was supposed to be featured on. I was doing some shows and a promotional tour in Europe at the time, and was passing by my man Niroshima’s studio in Paris, France. He wanted me to lay something down for one of his projects and played that beat for me. I immediately came up with the first verse and laid that down. I didn’t have a concept in mind when I first started writing, I just was lost in the atmosphere of the music. However, later on, I guess the other features never came through so I asked him to give me that song for my own project and I finished the rest off. The concept is me looking at society, the obstacles to success and the challenges that are thrown at us on the daily and how we persevere beyond them and keep marching towards the prize. I have a deep love and appreciation for Reggae music, and artists such as Bob Marley mention Mount Zion as a common theme in many of his songs. Zion to me represents the promise land and the overall mental state of peace. It was only right I tapped my brother Tweeta Bird, who’s an amazing up and coming reggae/dance hall artist himself, told him the title of the song, made him hear it and the rest was history. He provided the glue that made everything stick together. We were in his studio with nothing but Jamaicans around blowing trees, it was a powerful vibe. As you can see the making of that record was a journey in itself, which stretched through two continents.
Yeah… That’s what’s up.
You’re very knowledgeable of hip-hop and have a gift for supplying good lyrics. With that said who are your favorite top five emcees of all time?
Lyricism is a must when it comes to Hip-Hop coming from a fan’s point of a view. It’s as important as a dope beat. I’d rather bump an instrumental than listen to a dope beat with a rapper that’s just saying things just to say them. I wouldn’t consider myself a Schwab of Hip-Hop because I know many people who know a lot more than me, but my appreciation for it is evident. Since a young age, this art-form struck a chord with me. My top 5 MCs would be: Raekwon, Nas, Jay-Z, Kool G-Rap and Big Pun in no particular order. Of course there are many more, but from the top, those are the names that popped in my mind.
Are you feeling any of the new guys in today’s game and if so who?
There are many new guys I’m feeling out there that bring a fresh energy to the game. I’m feeling what I hear from Roc Marcy, J Cole, Edan, Head Ice, Philly Swann, Vado and a rack of others bro. The streets want to hear something with power and substances. That cute shit ain’t gonna cut it, it’s just not relevant with the reality of our lives. Life dictates music not the other way around.
Oh yeah, I can’t forget the album cover. Very creative. (burning buildings and such) What’s the symbolism and influence behind such a creative cover?
A picture says 1000 words. The cover is definitely a powerful image. It takes on different meanings for different people as does the album title. It’s the type of image that makes you notice different elements and details every time you gaze at it. The dilapidated buildings represent the slums to me and as you can see it stands right along side of the Nation’s Capitol building and currency symbolism of capitalism. America as seen from the outside looking in, is a symbol for freedom and the promise of opportunity and a better life based on hard work regardless of your racial-social economical background. It’s the proverbial “American Dream”. However the reality is that the majority of people end up losing more (being money, health, freedom, and loved ones) from chasing that dream. The elite prosper regardless of who succeeds or fails. As you can see I wear a helmet, because this environment is complex, rough, ugly and beautiful, just as the image suggests.
Okay, jumping to another subject.
Your name is Napoleon da Legend; If you could go back in time and have a one on one with the real Napoleon what are three questions you would ask him?
Why wasn’t being crowned Emperor enough for you to have to seek to conquer the whole world, which ultimately lead to your demise?
What made you feel as though you were somehow destined to rule other human beings with an “Iron Fist”? Do you feel as though you were somehow better or above them?
You reinstated slavery in some Caribbean countries, what make you distinguish black or “indigenous” people as different or even inferior to “your” people?
I would love to hear his answers to these questions. As the saying goes, absolute power corrupts absolutely.
I have to say you are very intriguing… Before we go tell our readers why they should go out and support Napoleon da Legend and your latest project ”The Myth or The Legend”?
I poured my heart into this body of work. I share a part of myself with you with this project. I want people to know that there are others that are just like them, that go through pain and heartbreak and still have the motivation to seek for higher heights and to better themselves. I want people to know, that lyricism, wordplay and originality is not dead in Hip-Hop. There are artist out there with their own style that do not seek to sound like whoever is “hot” at the moment. I don’t kill 8 brothers in every 16 bars I spit in this opus. I’m just being me, give it a listen and then love it or leave it. I appreciate the interview and the platform you are giving for my project to be heard. Look out for more from Napoleon Da Legend in the future.
The pleasure is mine. How can people contact and keep up with you? Any final words?
Follow on twitter.com/napoleondaleg and www.facebook.com/napoleondalegend. Let’s stop all the senseless killing. Music is a mission not a competition. We rise together or we fall together. Let’s dead the zero sum game.
Love is love