RubyHornet: Chicago Hip Hop and underground/indie hip hop in general was much different in the early 2000’s and you guys were all very active as was Galapagos 4. What does that time look like to you now when looking back? It seems like a lot of things with the early days of the Internet, the bubble growing large then bursting on scribble jam, and interest in the underground Hip Hop all came together in a unique way.
Qwazaar: The 2000’s, everything was all new to me. I was on the Southside and I had my box that I operated in. I had my crew and a few other cats that I’d come across and build with like Venom and Nightmare or Optimist Q9 from Qualoheem, but that was it until I met the rest of the Cats around 98-99 and that just opened my world up. I had no idea there was so much underground Hip Hop going on and so many crews, shows and battles. The scene was alive, extremely active, and cats were creative by default. Being creative and doing your own thing was a given. Looking back on it, I don’t think any of us really realized how good we had it or that it would never be the same again. Funny thing is when I talk to a lot of the older heads, they start to tell me about how it was in the late 80’s and early 90’s and they say the same thing. so we missed out on that too.
DJ Natural: Man, that was a fresh time… Me and my partner, Kid Knish, had just finished up a three year stint with our radio show on HPK, and we didn’t really know what would be next. We loved what we had become a part of during that time, and we didn’t know to what degree we’d have to part ways with all that. The early 2000’s were dope because all the best elements of our participation in the scene back then just got magnified. All of a sudden, we were flying out to spots like Seattle, Montana, etc., and being fucking dumbfounded that there were all these heads going crazy at the shows, saying all the lyrics, etc… That was some crazy shit. As far as commentary on the time in underground Hip Hop, I feel like it was a time where the scene got elevated to a more visible place, but the cracks and fissures in the scene became real visible too, and then the shit sort of deflated. As far as a time to make good music, I like the moment right now more than then. I feel shit is wide open creatively, so that’s fresh.
RubyHornet: There is a whole new generation of Chicago Hip Hop kids making music. A couple tell me again and again how much they enjoyed your music and you’ve influenced them. Are you aware of these kids, and has that done anything to energize you? I even heard you maybe working with Chance The Rapper?
Denizen Kane: Chance is raw. My homeboy Kevin Coval sent me some of Chance’s joints and told me he was tearing Chicago up. My young homies in Kuumba Lynx tell me Chance is on point. I’m glad there are heads who are innovating and bearing the tradition at the same time. It lives.
Qwazaar: I haven’t gotten used to that. Sometimes I find myself trying to be dismissive of it when someone says it cause even though the calendar says we’ve been doing this for a good minute, in my own world I still feel new. Typical Cats is still fresh and on tour and on our grizzly. There are a lot of young Chicago cats who are nice with the skills, I’m always checking to see who’s coming in. Chance is one of those cats that I’ve been checking out for a minute now. I’ve always had a healthy appreciation for artists who aren’t afraid of really using their voice and have something to say on top of that. As an artist I feel that out of anything you could ever hope for or accomplish, for someone to say that they relate to you or that you’ve made a positive impression on them is a great compliment. You can’t really ask for more.
RubyHornet: What are you looking forward to most with the release of 3? Is this a one-time release or could we see a more active return of Typical Cats?
Qwel: I am expecting total and utter world domination. I am expecting rappers to stop saying lyrical. I am expecting. Not telling what to expect. As far as what’s next, I’m not telling, depends on the kickstarter love.
Qwazaar: What I’m looking forward to most is just performing these new songs and hitting the road with the album. I look forward to that energy. Folks have been asking for this for awhile, I’d like to see the look on their faces by the time they get to the 5th track and they say ‘these motherfuckers really did it.’ TC is never done.
DJ Natural: I can’t wait for people to actually get a chance to sit down with the LP, and listen through. We put so much into this record, and we made sure that the energy of the creative process stayed in a pure place. I just want to share this shit with the world and TC is definitely never done! We are gonna be writing and recording shit for the next joint when we’re on the road, touring for this record. Like I said before, I know our best music hasn’t been made yet…