Impact: Junior MAFIA Talks Riot Musik, Lil Kim, & The Notorious BIG w/SOHH.com
Wednesday, Mar 9, 2005 12:00AM
8 years since the Great Frank White was here to excite, his clan, The Junior M.A.F.I.A. have resurfaced with a new album. Listen in as JM sits with SOHH.com to clear the air on regrouping, the Lil Kim trial, and their legendary friend/mentor the glorious Notorious B-I-G.
In 1995, when The Notorious B.I.G. became King of New York, he made room for nine of his Brooklyn peeps to sit beside him on the throne -The Junior M.A.F.I.A. But, just when their career was about to take off, tragedy struck, and Big was taken away from us all. Without their leader, the family started to drift apart; and while lead member Lil Kim moved on to solo success, most of the others faded from view. Now, core members, Lil Cease, Klept and Banger (aka Larceny) are ready to release JM's much-anticipated second album, Riot Musik on their new label Mega Media Records. Re-energized, reshaped, and refocused... Junior M.A.F.I.A, the steelo -ya'll niggas the know half!
SOHH: You're about to drop the first Junior M.A.F.I.A album in ten years. Did you feel a need to approach the music differently than you did in 1995?
Cease: Not really, it's all about just making good music. But right now it's not like it was when Big was here, because people don't listen to lyrics no more.
Banger: They listen to beats and hooks. That's it.
Cease: As long as you got a good beat and a good hook the lyrics don't matter nowadays. But on our album people get a little bit of everything. We stepped our lyrical game up, and it's good music at the same time, good hook and good beats. We're making a new thing called riot music. Like, in the South they got crunk music - in New York, we're making riot music. Real loud, real uptempo a lot of guitars, Just that type of stuff that brings good energy.
Banger: It's like rap and rock and roll. Taking off your jewelry, slamdancing and not giving a fuck.
Cease: The album is called Riot Musik, and it comes out April 19th. People ain't seen us in a while, but we've been working non-stop since the last time you saw us, so it's like we never left.
Klept: We just had a lot of issues that we needed to rectify, and we had to wait until we got into the right situation. Now we've finally got that popping with the label Mega Media Records, we hooked up with them and got a team that knows how to get things done right.
Cease: And we got Jadakiss, Method Man, Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleek and Prodigy from Mobb Deep on the album. So people are gonna be happy to hear from us, especially when they hear how much niggas stepped their game up since last time.
SOHH: A lot of people are talking about The Chronicles of Junior M.A.F.I.A. DVD you put out, how did that come together?
Cease: We just wanted to put all the stories from the past out there once and for all. So when we come back, people could focus on what we're doing now. Cuz there are so many questions people are always asking, "What's up with the Bad Boy situation, with the Tupac situation, with the Kim situation?" We wanted to address all that and nip that in the bud before we even come back around. We want people to focus on what we're doing now, so we made that DVD to clear the air of all the old bullshit.
Banger: We wanted to clear the air of all that, so we can focus on our creativity and get a chance to show that we're real artists who do good music.
Cease: And it was a good thing, it made people tune into us, and it showed that people are still interested in us. So that was a good start, and if people like the DVD you're gonna love the album, cause it's just like a soundtrack to what you see on the DVD.
SOHH: So to clear the air on what's happening right now, how do you answer people who say you were snitching by testifying in Lil Kim's perjury trial?
Lil Cease: None of us was there on our own behalf, we got subpoenaed. And this not the state police, this is the federal government.
Banger: We got subpoenaed by the government, and when the government sends you those papers, you got to show up or you get locked up. The government called in everybody involved in the case, not just us but 35 different people, and we all just went up and said what we saw. We didn't see nobody bust no guns or nothing, we didn't say we saw nobody doing nothing. So I couldn't sit there and point anybody out, to incriminate a person and get them locked up. That would be snitching, and we didn't do nothing resembling that.
Lil Cease: We wasn't in there telling on her, cause she didn't do nothing for us to tell on. The people that actually did things already copped out to it, they already got sent away. So this should have been over and done already, but now she's on trial for lying to the grand jury. She said she didn't know certain people, and they got evidence together that she did know them. So we got subpoenaed and had to come in and testify again to what was already on the record. The people she said she didn't know, we know those people too. So if we didn't go up there and tell the truth that just means we go to jail. Why would I go up there and jeopardize myself like that, for someone who's not even on good terms with me, who doesn't even mess with me?
Banger: Everything we said is already known and proven. They have videotapes, phone conversations, pictures, how am I gonna go against that and go with her story, when I don't even know her story? She don't fuck with me, I don't fuck with her, so I don't even know what she said. I can only go in there and say the truth of what I saw.
Lil Cease: She did that to herself. They subpoenaed her just like they subpoenaed all of us, and they decided she was lying. If 35 people went in there and said one thing, but she said something else, that's on her. You know in federal trial situations only 1% of people ever beat the case? The only one I know who ever beat it was Gotti, and even he died in jail. So I don't know why her people decided to put her in this situation, but I hope they have something up their sleeve for her, cause we don't wish that on her. We don't want to see nobody dead or in jail.
SOHH: So moving on from that, the anniversary of Big's passing is tomorrow.
Lil Cease: Yeah, we have an anniversary tribute tomorrow night at The Roxy. We're performing with Jadakiss, Sanchez, Mr. Cheeks, Mobb Deep. We're gonna pay our respects for Big, and at the same time celebrate us coming back out with our thing.
SOHH: How do you define Big's place in history?
Banger: Big played a major part in hip-hop, he completely changed the game in such a short period of time. But for me, he was also just my nigga from the block, that I just miss and have genuine love for. Even if there was never any rap going on, I would've still been cool with him and kicked it with him, so I miss him on that level.
Cease: Big was just that dude. I want him to be remembered as that real Hip-Hop dude, that had all the success in the world, but still stayed like that, stayed as humble as possible. A real cool nigga that would do anything for anybody. You can look back on it now, look around right here, and see that he put a lot of people in positive situations.
Banger: He was so much of a good dude. Whenever you came by the crib and had a fucked up day, he would crack a joke and make you happy, buy you liquor, even have you take his bank card and get something for yourself. Whatever was the problem he had the remedy. He was just such a good, genuine dude. So I always had love for him and I still miss him.
Cease: That's how I want him to be remembered, just as that real cool, genuine dude.
SOHH: And how do you view your own legacy as Junior M.A.F.I.A?
Banger: I feel like our legacy is to carry on for Biggie and represent for him through our music. And I think now is our chance to really fulfill Big's dream for us and fulfill the opportunities he gave us. Because when Big put us on, we wasn't ready at the time; we was just little kids. We were caught up with driving big cars, making money we never seen before, and weren't really ready to make the most of what Big gave us. But this time we're gonna show you that we don't have to piggyback on nobody else, we're doing this ourselves, me, Cease and Klept. We're gonna show the world that we're serious about this craft, we're serious about making good music.