[TC Izlam, founder of hipstep and longtime Zulu Nation member, recently sat down with hip-hop personality and SOHH correspondent Shawn Setaro on his popular “The Cipher” podcast. Listen to the full interview and check out five gems he dropped during the Q&A.]

On his goals in hip-hop:

“This may sound crazy, but I never wanted to be a big rap star or DJ or producer. I always wanted to be a Grandmaster. I always wanted to contribute to hip-hop culture. I wanted to be in the underrated category, because why strive to be something that’s not me?”

On rhyming over jungle music:

“These cats, they rhyme over it. Me, I’ve always been a part of the jungle, and the jungle’s always been a part of me. A hip-hop pioneer once told me, ‘You’ve got to step to the perfect beat inside you. You’ve got to find your perfect beat.’ And me, I’m a breakbeat b-boy, so I followed to breakbeat, and it brought me straight to jungle. Me and jungle, we just locked.”

On keeping the Zulu Nation together in the 1990s:

“Me, whatever I do, I put my whole heart and soul into it, and I ride with you. It wasn’t easy putting the Zulu Nation on my back in the ‘90s. Bam was on the road, Ahmed [Henderson] was working, the other founders were working in the industry, and I had to carry the Zulu Nation forward. Me and a few other brothers and sisters, we did the best that we could.”

On the fallout of the Bambaataa accusations:

“I feel like, when you just lost one of your best friends. I just lost a big homie, and I miss him. But I can’t fuck with him because it’s like, you turned your back on your family. You had that open window with us, but you chose to stand with Farrakhan. You chose to go be with Ed Lover. You chose to go be with Lisa Evers. When you should have stood with your people. He didn’t even address us.”

On Bambaataa’s influence in hip-hop:

“I consider Kool Herc the father of hip-hopism. And I consider Bambaataa like the Prophet Muhammad, where he added the Five Pillars, but the Five Pillars were already there. The elements were already there. He didn’t name these things.”