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" 'Cause everybody got to be underground at one point."

Planet Asia: Part Two

[Part 2 of 2]

Here is the second part of the interview with Planet Asia ...


 

[more:]
Prefix Magazine:
Grand Opening's first track, "16 Bars of Death," has a beat that uses an electric guitar, which is different from most hip-hop songs out there. Did you immediately take a liking to it or did you have reservations?

Planet Asia: Part Two:
Immediately. My boy Protest came up with that, and I grew up with him. I was like, "Wow. This is some crunk shit. Hip-hop crunk. Crunk-hop."

PM:
Fanatik produced your 1998 self-titled EP. Still working with him?

Planet Asia: Part Two:
Fanatik is in the trenches somewhere. He's doing his spiritual thing right now with Islam. He's on spiritual hiatus.

PM:
How would you compare it to your older work?

Planet Asia: Part Two:
It's more to the point of who I really am. Really though, the next record is going to be who I really am. Pure crack.

PM:
How would you compare this album to the stuff off Interscope?

Planet Asia: Part Two:
Two songs were from Interscope -- really one song, pay-wise, 'cause really we created all that stuff ourselves with the producers. A record label is really only a loan. Half the time the people you're paying you already know anyway. It's a business. If I'm kicking it with my man right here (Ruddy Rock) and we ain't go no dough today, and the only thing we know is music, then it's like, "My nigga, let me do something for you that's gonna get you paid and me paid." 'Cause this is what we do. We don't want to work no 9 to 5. I know all the producers out there personally. 'Cause everybody got to be underground at one point.

PM:
So a lot of the Interscope stuff will probably never see the light of day?

Planet Asia: Part Two:
Nah, I'm saying it will. I got the Pete Rock joint that'll probably be a white label. The song I did with Battlecat will be on a mixtape, probably DJ Warrior's next mixtape.

PM:
What can fans expect from a Planet Asia performance? How does it compare to you on record?

Planet Asia: Part Two:
In New York, I'm real comfortable because I don't have to pull nothing; this is the home of hip-hop, and since I'm a natural grain of hip-hop, it will be like an O.G. on stage. You got the new style of cats, but being in New York, that's just like being at home to me. The first time I ever performed in NY, I felt like that was a real Planet Asia show. There was no hype about it and I had to prove myself. I was loving it. Tore it down. Every time I perform in New York, we tear it down.

PM:
How did you link up with Rasco?

Planet Asia: Part Two:
Met him at college. He was in a rap group called Various Blends.

PM:
I read he used to play basketball at Fresno State University. You ever play him one-on-one?

Planet Asia: Part Two:
He used to be real, real tight. I don't know though, I might serve him [Laughs]. He got some handles. Rasco's quick. That's my boy though.

PM:
I've seen you use the term godbody. What exactly is that?

Planet Asia: Part Two:
The body of god. That's who we are. That's what the black man is. That's what I believe.

PM:
How important is it to infuse spirituality in your music?

Planet Asia: Part Two:
Spirituality, reality, whatever; it's all the same to me. It's the truth. When I hear spirituality and spirits, I think of ghosts. And I know I'm not supposed to think like that, but with me it's just reality. At one point we have to deal with reality. We have fun, we party, but that's what I'm saying about Planet Asia. I'm not just representing that. I'm representing everything. You got the truth, the bullshit, the party, the sorrow, the happiness, the death, the life. All that shit exists on earth. It is what it is. Everything is everything. I can only have emotions for what I have emotions for.
What you call consciousness gets smaller and smaller. You're not gonna be here forever. You start looking at shit like it's smaller and you don't let shit get to you as much, 'cause stress is the number one killer. Stress can trigger anything off in your body. I don't care what you know if you're not feeling right. Sometimes it takes other types of shit to make people feel that. Not even talking drugs -- it could take a reality check. It could take anything.

PM:
You've traveled all over the world to play shows. How is Europe different from Asia different from America in terms of how they receive you and hip-hop in general?

Planet Asia: Part Two:
Overseas, they're more '93.

PM:
In a good or bad way?

Planet Asia: Part Two:
In a good way. They accept the real deal. If you're a real cat over here and making some noise, then you're probably making a lot of noise over there. They keep hip-hop alive. We can breathe out there.

PM:
You've talked about your days working at Amoeba Music when you were first starting out. Did you ever do anything when you worked there to get your records more exposure? Like place it in the section of the biggest selling album at the time?

Planet Asia: Part Two:
I used to do all that stuff. All day I'd be like, "Buy my record. Don't buy that. Buy my record."

PM:
What's Gold Chain Music? What's the ethos behind it?

Planet Asia: Part Two:
That's the gold chain era, the golden era. Anything that's coming off Gold Chain music is gonna be real funky and real street. Not too pretty, but we get pretty too. We got real spitters. Everyone is gonna have to have thorough everything -- thorough beats and thorough verses. I got some soldiers.

PM:
Are you sticking around New York City? What will you do?

Planet Asia: Part Two:
Yeah, I'll be in New York for a week doing in-stores, studio time.

PM:
To kick back?

Planet Asia: Part Two:
Oh yeah definitely. We partying. Got Ruddy Rock.
Ruddy Rock: Might go to Flow tonight.
Got Jean Grae coming through. The hardest female. She kills it.
Ruddy Rock: Last night we did a show with Ghostface.

PM:
Last night? How was it?

Planet Asia: Part Two:
Ruddy Rock: That show was crazy. That shit was fuego: Doom, Jean and Ghost.
PA: No! It was packed, huh?

PM:
It was at a college, right?

Planet Asia: Part Two:
Ruddy Ruck: Yeah, it was packed. It was at SUNY.
BPA: Did Ghost come out dumb stupid?
Ruddy Rock: Yeah, gold chain in effect. Straight up with the four-finger ring on.

PM:
I figure his neck would hurt from all his jewelry.

Planet Asia: Part Two:
Ruddy Rock: Nah, he just wore some thick shit.

PM:
Do you remember the bird he used to rock?

Planet Asia: Part Two:
PA: He be killing me. Can't nobody get more creamier than dude. He's out-dressing everybody, man. To me, that's Gold Chain Music. I can say that 'cause he's older than me, 'cause he keeps it funky and doesn't give a fuck about the industry. He's doing his own thing. That's hip-hop to me. That's Gold Chain Music: the whole Rakim era, Kool G. Rap.
[Planet Asia's phone rings. It's Jean Grae.]
Speaking of the fucking devil. We just talked you up in this interview.

Planet Asia - " 'Cause everybody got to be underground at one point." The Beta Band Critical acclaim isn't everything
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