Killarmy Interview (by A to the L)
They say “slow and steady wins the race.” Over the course of their six-year career Killarmy have slowly and steadily built a solid foundation of skills and fans. With two powerful albums under their belt and with the release of the third Fear, Love, & War, Killarmy is ready to tear the roof off in their own unique militaristic way. Killarmy, the Wu-tang’s most militant order of MC’s, got its start in 1995 when the four New York-based members of the group: Killa Sin, 9th Prince, Dom Pachino, and Islord, met up with 3 MC’s out of Ohio: Baretta 9, Shogun, and the group’s chairman of the board – the only producer in the group, 4th Disciple. 9th Prince, RZA’s little brother was responsible for bringing the group together.
With the lineup complete the group had all of their bases covered: Seven vicious MC’s and an in-house producer whose platinum bangers would end up on million plus sellers like 36 Chambers and Tical 2000. Within the next three years the collective would go on to release two critically acclaimed full-lengths: Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars and Dirty Weaponry on Priority Records. With the release of their 3rd album on 36 records “Fear Love and War” imminent, I had a chance to talk to some of the group members…
Is there any significance in the album title?
Islord: There’s a whole lotta significance in that title. Fear Love And War – everybody gotta deal with fear – some niggas fear love, some niggas fear war. There’s a balance right there. Plus this is the third album, so its like we been through it all, and we still trying to learn shit.
How does this album compare lyrically and beatwise to the other two?
9th Prince: I think that things have advanced to full capacity right now. Disciple he’s iller than ever right now on the beats, and we at our best right now lyrically.
To some people it seems that to get a credit as executive producer nowadays, all you have to do is show up and hang out in the studio. How much, if any, did RZA put into this project, and how much was left to 4th Disciple.
9th Prince: RZA got involved in 99 percent of this – he’s the teacher, the founder. And as far as being executive – thats the business side of the game. Plus RZA put the money up to sponsor this shit, so thats why he got the executive tag on there.
New producer Falling Down. What tracks did he work on? How did it feel working with him?
Islord: Falling Down did some bangin’ beats. He did the first single Street Monopoly and Monster. He’s cool to work with.
You’ve switched labels to release this album, from Priority to 36 Records (distributed by Loud). Whats the difference between Priority and 36 Records? Do you have more freedom to do what you want with 36? Or was that always the case with Priority?
9th Prince: We ain’t really noticed any difference. We’ve always been free artists with the freedom to do whatever we wanted to do. But I ain’t gonna front, lately we been having a couple of meetings – the labels getting more involved with it. They ain’t trying to change us or make us switch it up… they giving us their little bit of input, but we ain’t really feeling it too much. Personally I think there may be a little less freedom this time around, Priority may have been a little better.
Are there any collaborations with other Wu-fam like Black Knights or Sunz Of Man on the album or in the pipeline?
9th Prince: Well we got U-God on the second single – its called Militant. We also got Frukwan from Gravediggaz on a cut. Gotta say Rest in Peace to Poetic. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Thats a sad story right there.
Do you have any tours lined up to promote the album?
Islord: We just came off the Digital Bullet tour, and we about to go out again. DB was beautiful man. We captured a lotta new fans on that one. I think we got some college tours set up real soon too.
You’ve said in interviews that Killarmy are all about killing negativity in hiphop – the jewels, the cars, the bitches etc. How does it feel then to be in a situation where this type of hiphop is dominating the airwaves. Do you feel like you’re maybe swimming against the tide?
9th Prince: Nah man, we with that too! We love jewels, we love cars, we love bitches. We love all that shit. Thats some everyday life for us. But it ain’t the only thing thats important to us in life. We’re not against that, and we’re not against anybody who’s down with that. We roll with the same shit – we got fat whips, and fat houses too man. So we’re with that, but what we’re trying to say is, life ain’t all about that. There’s more to life than that. Life is about teaching the truth.
A lot of people credit the entire Wu-fam with writing some of the more cryptic lyrics in hiphop where you really gotta listen and do some research to find the levels of some of the messages and the hidden meanings in the songs. Do you ever feel that you have to write your lyrics for a global audience, sometimes toning things down and simplifying things to overcome language and culture barriers?
9th Prince: Yeah you might have to slow it down a little so everybody can understand it. But we speak for all human beings on the planet earth. For the babies. For the ones who can’t speak at all – we speak for them.
Over the last few years a lot of cats have been saying that Wu-Tang and Wu-Fam as a whole have been in a slump. Whats your take on this?
9th Prince: You know the media are playing a major part in that. They’re to blame for at least 70 percent of that. And as far as them going against the grain, going against us, writing bad articles about all of us… the industry is against us. Everybody’s teaming up. When you got the whole world against you, what are you gonna do? You know we gonna move on regardless, but its hard sometimes too. We know though that all our real soldiers out there got love for Killarmy… that keeps us going.
How has hiphop changed according to Killarmy, in the last 6 years you’ve been in the game? What do you see ahead for hiphop as a whole?
Islord: I don’t see enough! All you see is the same certain motherfuckers on TV. You know in order to get that real shit, you have to listen to the radio at 11 o’clock at night on a Sunday or Monday. It just seems to be a limited amount of niggas getting exposure.
So then you’re feeling the whole college radio vibe, where they play the more underground shit?
9th Prince: Absolutely.
Wu-Tang rocked the boat in the beginning with every emcee dropping solo joints. Other crews seemed to pick up on this, and now we got Prodigy and Jadakiss and the rest dropping solo projects? Any of you guys ever figure you’ll go this route?
Islord: We going solo in a minute. Once this Killarmy shit blasts off… its like a rocket. You know how a spaceship when it takes off, it goes up so far, then it starts to split, and individual parts fall in different directions, but the main part keeps going? Once this Killarmy blows up, and goes platinum… all my other people on the side, we gonna catch gold and platinum with them too. There’s a lot of shit coming… 9th Prince, PR Terrorist…everybody…
Something you may not be directly involved with, but you might be able to shed some light on for the fans. Whats the situation with Killah Priest and Wu? Are they beefing?
9th Prince: I dont know man. Next question.
In a few sentences can you tell me what can fans expect from the new album?
Islord: You can expect our inner thoughts – “Fear Love and War”. Expect street warfare… on the beats… the lyrics… street warfare.
Thanks again to Killarmy for taking part, and for Jigsaw at Concrete Planet for setting this up.