Describe your other members of the group in one word.
I: Novelist – Wizard E-Fav – Wizard L.A.Z. – Wizard
N: Damn this is good question. Ilajide in one word, “energy.” E-Fav in one word, “Rebel.” And L.A.Z in one word…”wise.”
E: L.A.Z: Integrity. Noveliss: Dedication. Ilajide: Family.
L: Noveliss: Pure. Ilajide: Rambunctious. E-Fav: Tact.
Rappers try to bring a new style to the table and at the same time, they all have had their influences. What rapper(s) do you try to emulate the most?
I: Em, Red, Tip, Busta and Snoop.
E: I don’t really try to emulate other artists but sometimes, the different influences come out.
L: Man, I recently just swallowed my pride and acknowledged that you kind of have to pay homage and emulate MCs and not just “do you.” I would definitely say both members of Outkast, Mos Def, Biggie, DMX and Blu.
N: My favorite two rappers of all time are Eminem and Black Thought. Em’s rhyme patterns were crazy and so was his imagery and imagination. Black Thought’s flow, vocabulary along with his word choice, I definitely try to draw from those things for my style.
E-Fav, in the Red Bull documentary, you briefly talk about your discharge from the military. Can you share any words of advice to any kids out there that might be in a similar situation as you before you discovered music?
E: Try to stay positive. Search for a creative outlet to channel that energy and stay away from those antipsychotics.
Noveliss, you talk about how some people may be surprised at how well you rap. Does that motivate you to continue to get better and prove people wrong?
N: Of course. I remember when we used to go to these hood ass open mics in Detroit and these assholes would look at me and make me like spit some rhymes at the door before they let me in. Then try to dap me up after I had crazy rhymes [shakes head].
L.A.Z, the way I see it, Colorado or Detroit, trouble is everywhere. How did your move to Detroit shift you away from trouble and onto your focus in rap music?
L: Moving to the D is the second greatest thing that ever happened to me behind the birth of my daughter. Most people say you can only find death in Detroit but it’s crazy because that’s where I found life. I didn’t have a plan for my life when I moved but all the stars lined up for me to find hip hop. I was just on some following the crowd shit making bad decisions and risking my freedom running the streets with my boys in Colorado. I was isolated from running with crowds when I first moved to Detroit, just staying with family, listening to music and going to school. It’s what I needed at the time.
Ilajide, as the lone producer of the group, can you shed some light on the balance between producing and writing lyrics?
I: It was hard at first. But after doing it for a while, I found a balance. I got a good feeling on what sound should go where and what track matches with what. So I just separate everything to the point where I’d just have certain beats tailored to certain members in the group, including myself, and we’ll all kinda just come up with shit on the tracks. We like the tailored shit the most and then we’ll all just hop on the other tracks we aren’t on. Once I feel like there’s enough beats, I’ll just put the machine down and write until there aren’t anymore [laughs].
Some big names in hip hop have been repped by Fat Beats. How did your deal with the label go down?
I: [Silence] Ask our manager Rich [laughs].
N: Aw man, we have our manager Richard Taylor to thank for getting the deal squared away. Fat Beats was interested in us for a little while. It was just a timing thing. It’s a dream come true though. I’ve wanted to be on Fat Beats since Black Milk came out with “Tronic.”