Kompazz Fleet Interview (by Matin Salaam Bari)
Kompazz Fleet consists of a highly talented collective of emcees that spawn from all parts of New Jerusalem and even have roots in the South, from Atlanta all the way to the Bottom (MIA). They hail from Irvington to East Orange and everywhere in between. I caught up with Kompazz fleet, led by producers Klassiz and NajeeGold (Alphabeatz Produktions), on a nice Newark Saturday on what will forever be remembered as my first Brick City experience. Please believe the hype! It is just as gully as you can imagine and have heard in the music of such legendary artists as Redman and, I guess to a slightly lesser extent, The Artifacts. Coming from Southeast, Washington DC via Brooklyn, I felt right at home! There also was a quiet consciousness that surrounded the crew, which is always a good thing. And it wasn’t that fake Kanye “I’ll blow then start wearing my jeans two sizes smaller and pop my undersized pink Izod polo collar” West consciousness shit. These dudes were as real as it can get. They are the self-proclaimed “hottest in Jersey, hands down.” You know what? They might be right!
Introducing KOMPAZZ FLEET!
So how long have you been in the business?
Klassiz: Well, I was exposed to the game early since my older brother had a deal on Select Records a while back. I started off DJing, but then I just fell in love with making beats, ya know? Actually making the music. Kompazz Fleet became official in 1999. We added Spanky Gums and Stress Malone a few years after that.
Yeah, so who is Kompazz Fleet?
Klassiz: Kompazz Fleet consists of me, and my partner Najee Gold as the producers. And emcees D.U.S.E., X.O. DUS, BiLevels (Petey He Strong, Remarkable Marc Missun), Fanatic, Stress Malone, Spanky Gums and also my man Hom.
Tell me some of the people you’ve worked with or about some of the projects you’ve worked on?
Klassiz: I’ve worked with Fierce Nervous Records; I’ve worked with Fat Man Scoop. We did Fox TV’s Skate Maps. I’ve worked with Stimulator, Sean Price, Napoleon of the Outlaws, Drift from 106 & Park. I’ve worked with the Clipses’ team, The Outsidas on Shady Records. I got beats, man. I got over 850 by myself, not to mention what my partner (Najee Gold) has. I try to make at least 2-3 beats a day!
It seems as if you put together a strong team and you’ve paid your dues. How do you feel about the “game” as it exists now and your competition?
Klassiz: Everybody in Newark is a rapper. But not everybody has beats. We have The Attic. We record everything in-house. We follow a Wu-Tang blueprint. While I have Alpha Beatz Pruduktions, I’m still trying to get the emcees some deals. I basically serve as their manager too. And I’m confident that we can get that major deal, too. People tell me my production is strong enough. Or at least as strong as so and so. So if so and so can do it, I see no reason why we can’t do it. As far as I am concerned we are the hottest in Jersey, hands down!
The rest of the crew (l to r in the photo above):
Remarkable Marc Missun (Bilevels) – Irvington, NJ
CD: “Musically Inclined”
On hip-hop: “A few artists are trying to make change (from the fake thug mentality) :but not a lot. You got all these emcees pickin’ from the same pot :that ain’t pimpin’. They all want that limelight so all we can do is keep marching where WE got to go.”
Spanky Gums – Newark, NJ via Atlanta, GA
On the “game” in Newark vs. Atlanta: “The game is mush first of all. So I’m gonna impact the women. I’m the ugliest pretty-boy in the business. I ain’t worried about dudes up here. The game is too cutthroat up here. There’s much more teamwork in Atlanta. So since I’m here, I’m taking it to the streets. It’s whatever. Niggas get at me!”
Fanatic – Newark, NJ via Miami, FL
CD: Untitled (coming soon)
On the future of hip-hop: “Everything rappers are associate with the image of hip-hop ain’t really there. It’s good that hip-hop has gone corporate in many aspects because brothers are eating. At the same time we on the verge of losing the essence of the culture, which is real hip-hop from the heart. All this fake Hollywood shit it gonna take a back seat.”
D.U.S.E – Newark and East Orange, NJ via VA
CD: “Stress Factor” (www.hiphopsite.com)
On the future of hip-hop: “I see doors opening due to people like Kanye West. I see niggas being more lyrical due to Jay-Z and Nas. Me and my niggas got a lot to bring, though. We gotta just rely on the music since we are out here in Jersey and not the center of the media like NY or LA or whatever else city is considered ‘the hot shit’ right now.”
Stress Malone: Newark, NJ
CD: “Author of the Street” (www.soundclick.com)
On the ‘hood: “I’m hungry. I ain’t leavin’. It’s money here. A lot of kids are messing up of the game cause they rap about shit but they ain’t really in the streets. Niggas need to cut out all of that bullshit out. Either way, I KEEP MY CLEATS ON!”
Najee Gold: Newark/Irvington, NJ
Producer: Over 400 tracks
On focus: “I been in this game since ’87. I’ve seen it all. Right now, I’m just focused on the music. There’s many ways to get money in life. So with this, I’m just focusing on the music and bringing more positive messages than harmful.”
Petey He Strong (Bilevels): Overton, NJ
CD: “Musicaly Inclined”
On hip-hop: “Hip-hop is at a standstill right now. A couple conscious emcees trying to break the barrier. All I can say is that people should not be scared of the truth and accept different varieties of this.”
X.O. DUS (not pictured)
CD: “Time, Life and Pain”
On his style: “My lyrics are a bridge between hard & positive life. I feel like I don’t have a right to talk about shit I ain’t doing. ” (writer’s note: that’s rare to hear a emcee come real like that)
So, yeah, that’s Kompazz Fleet in a nutshell. And don’t think I’m dickridin’. These brothers got spit pon spit. I even man’d up and spit with them. The cipher was john blaze, son. I wouldn’t be writing this shit is they weren’t official. If you wanna see for yourself, get at me. Or send comments to xclusivemagazine.com. Shit you can even get at Klassiz, himself, at Klassiz@aol.com.
And as cherry on top I gotta bigup one particular verse. For all you rap niggas, if your lyrics ain’t on this level, turn ya mic off!
Verse of the month!
Sometimes we quietly think to stay ahead of the game
Cats get caught up, and passed, and left in shame
You wasn’t to blame
You just got stuck in the slow lane
Wasn’t accustomed to change,
It took a toll on your frame
Simple and plain
Balance happiness with pain
Desperate measures of which you claim
Last thing on mine, fame
Makes us different from you lames
Vocab get strained
Hell, in long range, left timeless marks on the brain
A spiritual lift on a plane
As we regain we gain
Help for the fiends walking the blocks in Hell’s flames
And their kids walking around begging strangers for change
Finding family love in ruthless gangs
I lay my soul to rest for the world to breath again
Acres of land for liberated people to harvest in
Civilizations built with strong African morals, nobody starving
Musical monuments enkompazz scissorhand carvings
Uncut saturated dirt grows conscious oak trees and forests
Venture through our minds, remarkable, they all for us
Lyrics projected as if it was somebody’s sacred chorus
Prose and pc serenade the air like angel harp chords
The waters of life get drank never poured
Acquire knowledge as we think with wisemen smarts
By: Petey He Strong (Bilevels – Kompazz Fleet)
That shit is ill!
Thanks to Kompazz Fleet and Matin Salaam Bari.