RGF Exclusive: Columbo Black, Words Sharper Than Blade
In the past years, new and talented hip-hop artists from California been highly slept on, while nationally known stars been slowly selling out.
But than you got a rapper from Compton, Columbo Black, who been slowly getting recognition, since the release of his debut mixtape Blood On My Blade, and who's music clearly makes me think: ''If Nas really is right about hip-hop being dead, than rappers like him will bring it back.''
RapGodFathers.com caught up with Columbo to discuss his thoughts about hip-hop going digital, Barack Obama and his beef with The Game, among other things.
RGF: How did you start writing songs and rapping? Who was your main influences to do that?
CB: I experimented with rhymes when I went to college at Morehouse. After I graduated, I would go to the homie's pad and he had a karaoke machine, and we would record our shit to tape. Well, I let some of my friends hear it and they gave me the confidence to go all in and here I am today. I officially really started writing in '04, but I've been a student of the genre since about 2nd grade.
Far as my influence, the homie NYCE (of Broady Champs) was the best freestyler I've heard to this day and he really had me wanting to say fresh shit, but ultimately, I would have to say Canibus is really who had me wanting to rap.
RGF: How did you came up with your name Columbo Black?
CB: Well, the Black part is a comment on my race, but on another level - Black represents mystery to me or an enigma and I wanted that to be a part of me. Columbo was the detective on T.V. He was hella grimy, people underestimated him, but he was clever as fuck, hence, we have the name Columbo Black.
RGF: Whats your main goals to reach in the music and who would you like to collaborate with in the future? What do you think you could bring to the rap game as a new artist?
CB: My main goal in music is to inform and entertain. To take the listener's attention off what they are doing and listen for a minute to what I have to say. The prospect of a record deal isn't the main objective, it's never been that way with me. Sure, I'd like to make money off this, but I ain't holding my breath, I got a job... so that's what it is.
As far as collabs, I'd love to fuck wit Crooked I, Canibus, Nipsey Hussle, MF Doom and Mykestro. What I bring to the game is well thought out hip-hop without the frosting. I bring skills and information. I bring back what was good about the rap I used to listen to. I bring new material.
RGF: How did you star working with Spider Loc and eventually join his BAYMAAC crew? Are you officially signed with them or just affiliated? Are you connected with other G-Unit members too?
CB: I started by being introduced by Dags, one of SPI's close friends. I joined by being invited by him to be apart of his pool of artists. I won't and can't get into the particulars of being signed or affiliated, but I am officially BAYMAAC. Consider me a contractor that receives benefits as well.
I am not connected with the other G-Unit artists. I ride with Loc till the wheels fall though. He has kept it 100 with me from jump and I love him for that. G-Unit or no G-Unit. Sometimes I feel like his affiliation with G-Unit outshines his individual contribution to Hip-Hop, cause Loc's skill level is superb and his Hip-Hop I.Q. is impressive.
RGF: Many people think that you are affiliated with Wu-Tang, since your mixtape’s Blood On My Blade artwork is heavily influenced with martial art theme and intro is produced by legendary RZA. Whats your relationship with them and can we expect you to work with them in future?
CB: There is no relationship with RZA, the DJ that did the mixtape had a connect and put the beat on there. I don't forsee any future work with the Wu, although I would love to.
RGF: How do you feel about todays rap game? Whats your thoughts about artists losing they originality - sounding the same, rapping bout the same shit fellow rapper did in the last song, etc?
CB: I love the underground, and the mainstream will hit you with a few hot shits once in a while. Overall, I just wish I heard more skill and more innovate topics. I'm not even gonna get on my soapbox right now. I've had to realize that everybody doesn't have the same taste in music as me, I am incredibly self-aware at this point in my life and I realize that I don't like a lot of the stuff the majority likes.
Hip-Hop is a copy cat industry and it's at the point where nobody says anything about it, that's why Jay's [I]Death Of Autotune[/I] joint hit so hard, it was a shock to mainstream's establishment. But in sum, it's way more wack than hard rappers out these days.
RGF: What do you think about hip-hop and music going digital — albums selling worse than ever, but new artists can make more listeners. Its good or bad in overall for music?
CB: I think it's excellent. The technology has us on a new level as far commerce goes. The record industry will just have to find a better way to regulate the distribution of music online, that is, being able to curtail the bootlegging of music.
[B]RGF: In one of your latest songs I Love Obama, you discuss your, and biggest part of our society's, disappointment with our presidents decisions. Do you think, that over the years anything will change or still nobody wont care that the recession or whatever just keep on going and fucking everything up even more?
CB: The I Love Obama joint is a call for all us to hold our President accountable for the things he promised us. I think it was needed to offset all of the unquestioning acceptance that Obama has received. I'm not stupid enough to back his agenda just because he is black. Think about it, the president race is immaterial because he ultimately has so serve the interest of all people, with out bias.
I certainly hope things change, and I do like Obama, his positive messages of hope and so fourth, I dig his charisma and all that, but time will ultimately tell us what we need to know.
[B]RGF: You had diss song Its Nothing aimed at fellow Compton rapper The Game a while back. What was the motive to take shots at him?
CB: I took shots at him because he be on some bullshit as an artist to me and I'm privy to the fact that he uses ghostwriters. His image is just fallacious to me. Part of the motivation was Loc ridin' on him at the time and me wanting to get at him.
RGF: Do you agree that beef is one of the rap musics major elements and truly shows rappers skills?
CB: As far as Beef goes, I love it, nothing is wrong with it as long as no blood is shed. It's healthy for hip-hop and keeps everybody honest. It's has become one of rap's major element's and can be extremely entertaining if done right. Look at all the good beef's we had Pac vs. Big, Jay vs. Nas, LL and Mo Dee, and the list goes on. We wouldn't have gotten No Vaseline, Ether and Toe Tagz without beef.
RGF: So at the end of the interview, do you got something to say to your fans and RapGodFathers.com readers or give any special shoutouts?
CB: I love ya'll for listening and sincerely appreciate all off the feedback I get from listener's, the fans and the haters. Big up to JML, SPI, Ace a.k.a. Sam Perelli, Cuban, Perfecto, Apollo, Deadly, regaltenant.com, thisistruelies.com, DJ Flipcyide, Mista Monta and Conspiracy Radio, Diz Gibran, Pac Div, Mykestro, Piper, Bigfoot, Smurf, Paybacc and to all those I missed I apologize. - Jamal Green