Thursday, July 19, 2007
Canada is back on the map. U don't trust me? Then it's definitely time for you to check out Rugged Intellect's debut Album "Renaissance Music". This very talented dude offers dope rhymes, Beats far away from these years typicall synthi-club-sounds and a featurelist you'd only expect on some kinda "lord finesse's best of hiphop compilation" album. Surely, I had to talk to him - and it ended up with one of the most interessting talk downs I ever did with an artist...

First of all, please introduce yourself for those who might have never heard of you!
name is Rugged Intellect aka The Renaissance Man representing Montreal, Canada.

You’re now about to release your first LP, “Renaissance Music”, what do you expect from it?
In terms of personal accomplishments I've already attained what I expect from it but I would like this album to serve as the introduction to the rest of my career and familiarize people
with the type of lyricism and music I bring to the table.

The first thing that made me wonder was your impressing featurelist; Kool G Rap, AG, Party Arty, Ras Kass, Buckwild, Adam Sampler on the beats – just to name a few -. These are huge names for a debut album. How did you get in contact with those peeps?
When I first started working on this album I was signed to a label in the U.S. which then led
me to meet with a producer named Domingo who did Dream Shatterer for Big Pun and The MC for KRS One among many others. After the deal didn't work out for me, I hooked up with Domingo who took me under his wing as a protege and hopped on as executive producer of the album.
Then Domingo felt we should showcase my talents by pairing me up with some of the greatest emcees and producers of all tim
e and really make the project something exceptional. Working with these artists allowed me to learn a lot from the legends and point me in the right direction of what to do and it was a blessing to be able to work with them one on one.

Don’t you think some heads may misunderstand such a featurelist on a debut album, especially relating to it’s subtitle“the introduction”, as a sign for a missing abilty of your own skills to introduce yourself to the public?
I don’t think there will be any misconceptions when people hear the actual record. Anybody can do records with famous rappers but at the end of the day the music will speak for itself when it comes to holding it down with legends. What I bring to the table is something unique and more than 75% of the album is solo material where you really get a sense of knowing who I am as a person and as an MC.

I don't think it would be wise for any untalented MCs to collaborate with cats known for being savage lyricists so obviously if I'm doing it its because I feel that I am up there with the best and that will eventually be recognized as such.

What made me kinda happy was that your record don’t actually sounds like a 2007 release, it got that nice mid 90’s NYC flavor – is that your personal taste of music?

Yeah man the type of music I grew up listening to is in majority no longer being made so I try to reintroduce these values to the younger generations of hiphop fans who don’t know about Kool G Rap, Rakim or other legends that paved the foundation for what cats are doing today. My album is renaissance music: the introduction because it is a renaissance of that golden era sound and it reintroduces that sound to the new generation. I tried to make an album that would pay homage to HipHop's golden age and at the same time add another chapter to that rich legacy of lyricism and bangin beats.

A plan which is very dignified but quite brave relating to sales figures...

Sales figures are down the toilet for HipHop in general but as much as sales are important to me it’s even more important for me to look back on my project with pride knowing that I delivered something rare and authentic in a
period of complete saturation and disrespect for the culture of HipHop whether I sell 5 or 5 million records. I think the album fulfilled what I wanted to do in terms of celebrating HipHop-culture and it just so happens that some of the best of all time are along for the ride.

Aside the features you actually got on your album, who’d be your utimate dream-feature?
I'd love to collaborate with Nas and Rakim either individually or both on the same song. Also Big Daddy Kane, Canibus, Last Emperor, Royce 5'9, Pharoahe Monch and Jay-Z cause you know that shit's gonna get some radio play (laughs). I want my next album to be produced by DJ Premier, Buckwild, Showbiz, Diamond D, Lord Finesse, Just Blaze and Dr Dre - we'll see how close I get!

While talking about Jay-Z and Nas; did you hear the rumors about a recorded feature-album of Hova and Nas existing?

To be honest with you I really think that's just a rumor. Throughout the years HipHop has seen many fantastic album rumors that never came to fruition like Dr Dre and Ice Cube's "Helter Skelter" project, the Nas and DJ Premier album, and even Detox! I would love to hear a project with Nas and Hova but I doubt that's going to happen.

I just have to hear your choice: Who would you give the crown to; Nas or Jigga?

No question the better emcee is Nas because lyrically Jay cannot hold a candle to Nas any day of the week. However
record sales, fame, and glossy flosssy singles will make the masses believe Jay is the best but lets not forget Jay idolized Nas from day one!

What’s the story behind “biters block” ? I think that song is interessting...

The concept behind Biters Block is pretty simple: I'm just calling out artists who I feel are enjoying success strictly from duplicating and imitating other rappers. I felt I had to say something because I found it incredible that no one else ever said something about that. People looked at Biters Block like "oh rugged's just dissing artists to get on" but if you listen closely I only diss rappers that are biters. You listen to Fabolous and Lloyd Banks and tell me their whole style ain’t based off Mase. And that’s just one little example. I don't do diss records or nothing like that but i said if I'm going to do one let me do something with real value to actually prove a point, especially to the younger generation: Be original!

Mentioning the younger generation, what do you think about the development HipHop is going through at the moment? I mean, kids don’t even know G Rap, Buckwild or what a sample is nowadays.

I think the corporate outlets that are pushing HipHop are doing an excellent job in brainwashing today's youth into forgetting the origins of HipHop-culture. However I find this is the case mostly in North America where media propaganda rules with an iron fist and anything not pushed by the BETs or MTVs are considered obsolete and outdated. However, it is refreshing to see that in other parts of the world like Europe for example, people are much more appreciative of HipHop-culture and its origins and for that reason I got nothing but love for Europe because the respect for the culture is there and I don't think it will ever go away. I think America has taken its culture for granted but not by the choice of people making HipHop but by the corporations who refuse to give any light to the foundations of HipHop.

Beside that love you got for Europe due to its love for the HipHop-culture, you got another quite interessting connection to it; the last time we talked you told me that you’re half german...

Yeah man that is absolutely true. My father is German, he is from a town called Meinerzhagen and I lived in Germany briefly when I was very young. I am extremely looking forward to go back to Germany and connect with the heads over there because they show me nothing but love all the time and its definitely something I want to reciprocate. So if there any booking agents reading this: Lets get some shows poppin!!!

I remember you also stated Jazz and Funk records when we were talking about diggin, which is a sign for a wide ranged taste of music to me. Did your parents influence you relating to your love for music?

Definitely, from a very young age music was always around me, all different styles from rock to soul and funk to reggae and many more. I always loved music and knew I wanted to be a part of it someway even as a child and growing up in a multi-culturally diverse neighborhood I was exposed to HipHop all throughout my childhood and adolescence even before I realized what it was. It is crazy to see that years later I was able to add my own little contribution to HipHop-culture especially coming from Montreal Canada where HipHop is not really treated with the respect it deserves.

Do you remember how you got in contact with HipHop? I mean, HipHop in Canada wasn’t that big as it was in the states back in the days.

You would be surprised that HipHop has been around in Canada since at least the early '80s as you may or may not recall such artists as Maestro Fresh Wes and his hit "Let Your Backbone Slide" which is one of the earliest HipHop records I remember hearing. Maestro actually had Showbiz produce records for him back in the day but people rarely refer to him as one of the pioneers for HipHop in Canada. Back to your question, there was this park next to where I lived as a child and they had HipHop concerts with b-boys and MCs and I didnt even realize what it was then but I always was fascinated by what they were doing. I grew up in a largely West Indian neighborhood so I was exposed to a lot of HipHop early on based on my surroundings.

And did you immediately start as an MC or did you take that usual route from writing to breaking, from breaking to spinning and from there to the mic?

From a young age I was always inclined towards writing poetry so becoming an MC was a natural progression especially listening to such artists as Rakim and Wu-Tang it made me want to rap and do the same because these were people I looked up to among many others. I was always a chubby dude so b-boying wasnt really something I persued because when it comes to break dancing I’d probably break floor before doing any actual dance moves (laughs) as far as writing I always scribbled in my notebook and I used to tag SACE which stood for Sonically Advanced Criminal Entrepreneur (laughs).

Haha, same with me – even if the mind wants to, the body wouldn’t be able to!

Exactly! (laughs) - I don't think I've met too many corpulent or chubby break dancers in my lifetime but im not saying they don’t exist!!

Yeah, chubby dudes rule! Ask the ladies; More to love, kna mean?

More cushion for the pushin!

Now, being happy to see your album being released, what can we expect from you next? Any new projects planned? You definitely need to get some unreleased Big Pun Verse and put it on your track – you dudes would sound nice together!
Definitely working on some new projects, I'm already recording songs for my next album which I might call “Mama Ain't Raised No Fool” but we'll see if I end up keeping that title...No matter what its called the second album will be a continuation of the first one and hopefully I'll get to work with some of the producers I mentioned earlier, definitely Buckwild and Showbiz. As far as Big Pun, a song with both of us would definitely have been classic and I know Domingo would have laced a sick beat for that but unfortunately he had to pass on (R.I.P.). We might do something an unreleased verse for a freestyle joint but I don't think Fat Joe would be too happy having a Pun verse on anyone's album but his own, especially since he owns a portion of Pun's publishing.

True... But Show and Buckwild are already definite relating to production?
Well I'm not gonna say for sure 100 percent but as soon as the cards are in place there is no reason that can't happen. I have tremendous respect for both of them and we've had conversations of doing more work in the future. But yeah, it’s going to be gigantic!

I guess so…well, I hope so. Showbiz’ latest production I heard, which was “Business As Usual” with Premo on the cuts, didn’t meet my expectations at all.

Respectfully I won't get into details but I know for a fact Business As Usual is a warm-up joint from the latest Showbiz & AG project slated to hit stores in the fall 2007. I have personally heard selections from the project and I can guarantee it has CLASSIC written all over it. Showbiz is still ahead of his time with the production and HipHop fans worldwide will be able to appreciate that even more when the project drops. And for those that don’t know: AG is killing shit right now, the new material is incredible!

No disrespect at all, you know I got mad love for Showbiz, but I was kinda disappointed cause I know he can do it way better.

Lets put it this way, if every Showbiz & AG joint sounded like Soul Clap then people would say they still sound the same. Unfortunately HipHop is at a different place right now and it’s a blessing to see pioneers like Show & AG still doing what they do.

A little game for the end: Short questions – short answers:
Pete Rock or Premo? Premo
Runaway Slaves or Breaking Atoms? Oh man... Runaway Slaves!
Dipset?! Trash!
This interview? Extra dope!
Your last words?
Much respect to all the heads in Germany and all across Europe, keep holding it down! Make sure you check out my album Renaissance Music: The Introduction on July 24th and extra shout-outs to Adam Sampler, Domingo, Ras Kass,Showbiz & AG, Kool G Rap, Heltah Skeltah, all my people in Montreal and my dude Maze at!
Oh yeahhh and check me out on for collabs, interviews or whatever else you need from your friendly neighborhood german rapper!

Thanks for taking your time bro!

Labels: ,

posted by Maze@DiggersSpot at 2:28 PM