By Sunez Allah
A rare debut to catch an MC swimming 9000 miles, feeling winded and still rhyming dynamically. With great miles written through his Wisemen group albums to the countless features, Die Ageless is an ideal debut. It is a complete record yet history will note it as his precocious entry, that first ill album that just set up even stronger ones. And this Wisemen movement of Hardcore Hip Hop Blues gots many jewels. Kevlaar wisdomed a few to start off our edu-study of his official beginning, Die Ageless.
SUNEZ: Some of these tracks are past material?
KEVLAAR 7: Yeah, you right. It’s like sometimes we’re working on projects, we put something away. Like the joint on the album, “Someday,” with me, Bronze and June Mega. You know how long I’ve had that shit waiting to put it on this album right here. We did that track in ’04.
SUNEZ: That was one song I wanted to ask about. You paralleled the verses where they are mirror images but distinct. The way you describe shit, musically it’s perfect the way you guys come in on the break, just perfect. A clinic. When you both mirror an idea. When you both speaking about someone passing and feeling less alive. You both repeated that line. How’d you create it?
KEVLAAR 7: We sat down and did that on purpose. I think it was originally for Bronze [Nazareth]. He was working on it for his project Great Migration, I believe. So he didn’t really like how it fit with the rest of that album so he didn’t put it on there. I was like, ‘yo let me get this.’ But before he even decided that he wrote his verse and was like, ‘what you think of that?’ I was like, ‘that shit was crazy.’ He said I want you to write a verse that’s symmetrical. Like write it just how you said when I said, “when Tyler died I felt less alive.” At the same point I said it in my verse he had said it in his verse. On the same bar. That’s part of the reason why that song was so epic to me and why I saved it for so long. Nobody ever heard that shit until this album.
KEVLAAR 7: Word! Basically that’s survival, man. Surviving on pennies so long cuz mentally I’m rich. My intelligence gets me through. That’s how a lot of us brothers are thinking…We try to come up with as many double meanings as we can come up with sometimes but then even sometimes we won’t even think about and notice later. I said two things up in there. Sometimes it just comes naturally.
SUNEZ: As a click, The Wisemen, you brothers have a successful obsession with double and triple entendres, just clever lines to fuck the head up. Salute with “paragraph niggas-intent’s indent” on “Kings” or Bronze on “Duel of the Minds” with “Faced with long sentences, my niggas run on,” or on “Final Call,” where you say you’re “penny pinchin’ with my mental riches.”
SUNEZ: There are also great beat choices aside from the chunk of Bronze bangers. That Central Intelligence beat for “We Gon Make It” with the tumbao on it is just too ill. Tell me about him?
KEVLAAR 7: Word. Central Intelligence, that’s my dude, and he got some heat. We’re supposed to be doing an EP too. Unfortunately one of his computers crashed so that shit got delayed for a while. We got like seven tracks and that one was just one we had to have for the album. To me it sounds like the whole Hip Hop community is saying “We gon make it, and if we don’t make it, then we gon take it”—you know it just sounded real community, like everybody gon feel this shit cuz everybody trying to make it right now.
SUNEZ: And how’d you get George Clinton on the album for “Metamorphosis”?
KEVLAAR 7: That’s my man M-80. He hooked that up. He was out in L.A. I and they was in the studio with Kurupt and some cats and I guess George Clinton came through. So 80 was like, ‘can I get some vocals from you?’ They worked something out and George Clinton just went in the booth and sang some shit, ad libbed some shit, rapped some shit for like eight minutes and that’s how that shit came about. Me and Bronze was trying to put together some production for it and it just wasn’t—I’ve always loved George Clinton but I don’t sample him. That’s not the style of music that I make. So I reached out to my man E Green. In fact, that’s Central Intelligence’s man. We met them cats when we went to Albuquerque to do a show and we vibed real well together. We hit the studio, radio stations together, did the show—all that shit. So we had long conversations about just music, reminiscing about shit Pops used to listen to and all types of shit. Then we got on the George Clinton subject. Now this is about ’09. Jumping back to the song, me and Bronze were struggling to try to find—I mean, we was making dope production for the song with his vocals but it just wasn’t fitting. So then all of a sudden E Green comes to my head and I call him, run it by him and he was amped. I sent it through to him and the next day he sent me something. We had to tune it up, change a few things but two days later he came with that beat. And I was like that’s some shit coming out of left field. The Wisemen ain’t never did no shit like this. I still wasn’t entirely sure about it but then I wrote to it and recorded it in the span of like four hours. And I was like, yeah, this embodies the metamorphosis, that change that I’m talking about that we need to go through to get to that next level.
SUNEZ: Let’s get deep on “Now.” I really think this song has the entire album’s theme and ideas you’ve got to share all in it.
KEVLAAR 7: Yeah, you right.
SUNEZ: Not sure if I’m on it here but it seems the first and second verse seem like a hell to heaven chronicling.
KEVLAAR 7: Right.
SUNEZ: I want to throw some of these verses out and you build on them for me. You had said in the first verse, “I’m the descendant of masters raping slaves..” As I see you as an Original Black man that’s a heavy line, a tough and brutal idea there. How do you see that?
KEVLAAR 7: That’s some real shit. Our whole family is real multi-racial as far as the Caucasians and Blacks and even Native Americans. Basically we can trace our whole way back to Virginia and the slave master who basically started our family by raping the slaves. That’s real personal. That’s how our family started.
SUNEZ: The rawness is unheard of and rare.
KEVLAAR 7: I never thought of it like that. I was just being honest.
SUNEZ: This honesty is really a Wiseman essential I keep hearing from y’all. Word. In that first verse you also said, “Navigating on elevated thinking, swing my fists, there’s a half a mil waiting for me…” It’s deep and it’s delivered butters. So the origin is a horrible place then now to fight. What’s that fight?
KEVLAAR 7: The fight is like a 24/7 fight. “Now” is just like you said. It’s a progression of this whole struggle. Through the 3 verses it’s kind of like I’m hitting bottom mentally. This line it’s like mentally I felt like in that verse that I was grown enough to actually see where I’m going. At the same time, mentally navigating, moving through the struggle occasionally we gotta swing our fists. It’s not all mental. It’s gonna get physical at times. It’s a mental and physical struggle. The goal is not just the money, the half-a-mil, but that mental power, that mental superiority. As brothers, you’ve witnessed some of my growth from the first time we built until now. It’s a struggle and it’s a growth process. It’s beautiful and it’s ugly.
SUNEZ: Another great line is when you described yourself as the “Black Sand Ministry”?
KEVLAAR 7: What I’m saying is we’re from the dirt. We the ashes, the original ashes, the Black sands. It was just a clever way to say I’m the Original man preaching the truth to you.
SUNEZ: Real peace right there. You then said, “Where’s the applause? It ruins minds so inclined on holograms..”
KEVLAAR 7: A lot of times a lot of success will ruin minds. I was just reading an article on D’Angelo from GQ and that line is exactly what happened to him. All that success fucked him up. Some people can’t handle that shit.
SUNEZ: And he was on a path to be a legend.
KEVLAAR 7: I’m glad to read he’s sober and got like 50 songs and is just choosing the twelve for the next album.
SUNEZ: Word. And you also followed those lines with “Seriously funny, can’t hold disappearing money…”
KEVLAAR 7: It’s a serious situation but sometimes that cliché that sometimes you gotta laugh to keep from crying is real. That’s “seriously funny.” Now with “disappearing money,” in this day and age we can’t seem to make money fast enough to keep that shit. We were taught to try to save some money when we grow up but now it disappears before you get your check. At the same time another meaning is dying ageless having money isn’t what’s gonna make me. I can’t take that with me. I’ll be dead. That shit don’t even matter. Money is nothing. On one hand it’s nothing. On the other hand it’s a whole lotta shit when you’re here.
SUNEZ: Word. Now you’ve got the Sophisticated Movement album next.
KEVLAAR 7: It’s a progression from Die Ageless. We’re on another level lyrically. It’s fully produced by Woodenchainz and it’s got twelve joints. We knocked that out in two studio sessions where we were actually together in the studio. Niggas don’t do that shit anymore. We wanted to make it a point to be working in the studio together. So over the course of two months picking out beats and writing to it. I wrote half of it in the studio and the other half wherever I was. We did all the recording of it together. Sophisticated Movement is the mentality of it lyrically. Woodenchainz is mixing and mastering that joint now. We got a couple of features to show up on the joint but other than that it’s almost in the bag. The album I’m dropping after that is all Bronze produced. I picked out all the beats already for it…
[Editor Notes: Sunez’ review for Die Ageless can be found @ http://lavoerevolt.blogspot.com/2012/05/kevlaar-7-die-ageless-review.html
The following excerpts are additional exclusives from a conversation that can be found at: http://www.hiphopdx.com/index/news/id.19908/title.wisemen-member-kevlaar-7-explains-taking-back-an-unused-ghostface-killah-beat-making-solo-debut ]