On his rainy album release day, Blaq Poet dwarfed the ragtag Fat Beats crowd, which consisted of sun-starved rap nerds, basement producers and rambling old-heads — all in tow to get their CDs signed or just catch a glimpse of a Queens-bred rapper who braved the bridge wars when he was 16. Low-key, businesslike, and perhaps even a little bored, Blaq Poet spoke to Metal Lungies about his career, his musical tastes, and his newest album Tha Blaqprint, which is produced almost entirely by DJ Premier.
ML: Who are your all-time favorite Queens rappers?
BP: Queens rappers? Run DMC, LL, Mikey D – he’s a old school dude, people don’t really know about him too much – The Rhymin’ Wizard Sudan – it’s a lot, but I don’t remember ‘em right now.
ML: Is there anybody in Queens we should be checking for? Newcomers?
BP: Coming out of Queensbridge, you know, The Mighty SSR, Little Young Boys, Crime Fam, they coming up – there’s whole lot of little dudes coming up, you just gotta check for them real hard.
ML: You were in the Bridge Wars, the most legendary battle ever. Do you think beef today is dead? I haven’t heard a good diss track in a long time.
BP: Nah man, beef today is not dead. But, you know, it’s more serious, it can get realer faster. You know you got the Internet, so you can have beef with anybody. Instant beef. Before you had to earn beef, but now it’s instant beef.
ML: But do you think diss records are dead?
BP: Well, no no no. Everybody’s got something to say. If you have beef, you have something to say, you gonna say it and that’s gonna always be interesting to hear.
ML: You’ve worked with Pete Rock and Marley Marl. What’s unique about working with Premier?
BP: Everybody’s different, they got their own different shit. I learned different techniques from all of them. Everybody’s real different. Premier, he’s more of a magician with records. His instruments are the records.
ML: What are your favorite Premier beats of all time?
BP: A lot of Jeru the Damaja shit, Gang Starr Step [in the] Arena – there’s so many, there’s too many to name just one. That’s not fair.
ML: You should get Preme to put you on a gutter boom bap remix to a Christina [Aguilera] song. You think he could make that happen?
BP: I mean, I ain’t sweatin’ it, but whatever happen happen. I ain’t lookin’ for that, but if I do anything like that I’ll make it my style. I wouldn’t go into her style.
ML: Do you think Tha Blaqprint is your best work?
BP: For now, Yeah, but there’s much more to come.
ML: At the show tonight, Torae and Marco are also going to be in the building. They also have a boom bap record. Do you think boom bap is making a comeback?
BP: It ain’t go nowhere. It’s just not being listened to by that many people because it’s not being forced down your throat. You just gotta go hard to listen to it. Just like that good bag of haze and that sour diesel, you gotta find that on the street, you gotta find that with that boom bap.
ML: Do you think we’re ever going to hear it on the radio again?
BP: It don’t matter. I hope it stays underground. That way it stays special.
ML: On “Who Shot Rudy?” there’s a line-
BP: Here you go, right here. That’s who shot Rudy. (pulls over Keron, who does the intro on the song) We got a “Who Shot Rudy?” question.
ML: How did people respond to “Who Shot Rudy?”
Keron: Oh shit man, I was on parole at the time. The mayor’s office went to my P.O.’s office and snatched all my paperwork. Shit was crazy. I got taken to Bellevue by the hip-hop police. It was bananas. It wasn’t all good, but it wasn’t all bad neither.
ML: Was it worth it?
Keron: I don’t know, maybe it- I don’t know. I guess so. He needed that. Somebody had to do it.
ML: (back to Blaq Poet) What are you doing next?
BP: Working on Screwball material for the next Screwball project and another Poet project. I’m not gonna stop, I’m gonna keep coming and get ready for me. I’m not going nowhere.
ML: What was the last thing you bought?
BP: Last thing I bought? These boots I got on right now. Timberland, nigga.