First off, what does the title reference?
My start in doing hip-hop was almost exclusively underground. Everybody was wanting to get signed to a label. We didn’t care about that. The song did have something to do with coming back after Katrina and finding we’re still the music mecca of the world. It’s referencing I had ’em jumpin’ before too. Music will never be muffled.
How does location matter to you?
Growing up in Hollygrove, I always equated it to being like the Queensbridge [birth place of Nas and Mobb Deep] of New Orleans hip-hop. We were reared by some of the greats like Fiend to Black Menace. I was born and raised in the Ghost Town Lounge—the corner of Eagle and Edinburgh. Ghost was a major promoter. He used to bring major acts like Run-DMC to the city. After that it was Big Time Tips. They had a Friday night open mic and we used to get our feet wet. It was learning, sharing and experiencing New Orleans culture.
The song’s production is unique. It doesn’t sound like other New Orleans music, but yet it still fits.
It was by Track Wizards—Brent Herrera, Derek Killer Cav, and Bun. We call it The Spirit when we get in the lab. We’re all friends, so we start vibing and end up making music. You have to surround yourself with people who have the same spirit, not necessarily the same ideas you have. Sometimes that makes art you can be mutually proud and respectful of. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, you know it.
Were the lyrics written or off the cuff?
I write as an outline, what the main focus of my song is gonna be. You have to be quick on your feet because things change in the studio. This song was about me roaring back at the world after Katrina and everything else. I’m still here. My biggest influences were Rakim, Nas, Wu-Tang, Killah Priest, that kind of vibe. A lot of New Orleans music too.
The energy and the spirit of the song combined with the video makes a 1 + 1 + 1 = 5. How’d that come about?
I did The Reunion album and put it out but wasn’t getting a lot of feedback. Dennis Holt was doing a lot of work with Skip and Juvenile. I happened to pass by a photo shoot and gave him one of the CDs. Three days later Dennis called me and said, ‘This is the kinda music I like. I wanna do a video for you.’ I was ecstatic with what he did. I’m very proud of it. It was classic.
Follow Hasheem Amin on Twitter.