Guest Star: "It's Hard To Determine If These Cats [Out Now] Are Really Talented..."

Friday, Aug 5, 2011 4:40PM

Written by J. Bachelor for Smif-n-Wessun

[With the release their Monumental LP last month, New York duo Smif-N-Wessun hit up SOHH to reflect upon their musical journey, which took them from being young, hungry MC's to joining one of the strongest teams in independent hip-hop.]

We came from a "nervous" situation, no pun intended. We came from Nervous Records. We was were the second rap group ever over there, besides Buckshot. We introduced Funkmaster Flex over there and he dropped a 60 Minutes of Funk Mixtape. We introduced KRS-One over there, which brought Mad Lion ... so we've been pioneers in the game behind the scenes for the longest.

We lucked up. We came out in the era where it was shine time for everybody. Tupac's "Keep Ya Head Up" was our era. Everybody that came out in the 90's had a window of opportunity. Na'mean? Loud Records was poppin'; they had Wu-Tang, Mobb Deep, Cella Dwellas. It was a big amount of music comin' out. Now, it's like you have to make music about a certain thing, so its hard to determine if these cats are really talented, they just give [artists] a rapper chain and a rapper piece and they are the next new hot kid.

We had to wait and build that energy.

For example, somebody recently asked about Black Moon recording sessions. You can hear us in the background in [many of] the songs from "Enta Da Stage". We would wait 'til the 11th inning for Buckshot to say, "Yo -- I'm ready for you guys." Know what I'm sayin'?

Once he gave us that green light, we made the song "Black Smif-N-Wessun". We was ready to go. For us, it was something we wanted to be a part of so bad. We are truly fans of the art, so when we do something, we do it big.

[After leaving] Nervous Records, we all sorta looked around at each other like, "Yo, why can't we [run a label] ourselves?"

That's how Duck Down Records was born. Started with Duck Down Management and then came Duck Down Records and we're still one of the top independent labels that's out rockin' it to this day.

Smif-n-Wessun is a Brooklyn rap group consisting of members Tek and Steele. They debuted on the 1993 Black Moon album Enta Da Stage and their first project as a duo, "Dah Shinin" was released in 1995 on Wreck Records. Their most recent album alongside veteran producer Pete Rock, Monumental, was released in June 2011.

Check out a track from Monumental entitled "That's Hard" featuring Styles P..

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