April 27, 2014

Cormega "The Realness" Interview (Billboard, August 2001)

"Cormega Gets Real: In 1997, it seemed the Firm was poised to be hip-hop's newest supergroup. Consisting of solo artists Cormega, Nas, Foxy Brown, and AZ, the Firm ruled the airwaves and charts with its Aftermath/Interscope debut, The Album. But personal conflicts among the group members left Cormega to fend for himself - which he's been doing ever since. Initially signed to Violator/Def Jam, the rapper created anticipation for his solo debut, which is finally coming to fruition. The Realness (Legal Hustle/Landspeed) was released July 24 and entered Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart at No. 24. "They mad me on the shelf too long," Cormega says about his decision to leave Violator/Def Jam. "If you feel you're good at something and somebody's holding you back from doing it, then you're going to want a change of scenery. I was on the label since '96, and I was patient," adds the rapper, who remains on good terms with Def Jam. "It wasn't like I was a difficult artist. I was so patient - I waited three years and nothing came out." Cont'd below...

"He decided to change all that by taking matters into his own hands and releasing an album on his own label, Legal Hustle. "I had majors still hollering at me, but I wanted to put an album out this summer," the Queens, NY native says. "I got tired of disappointing my fans. Regardless of whether or not it was my fault, I'm the one who wasn't out, and people look at that. But by the time we got through the paperwork, etc., my album wouldn't have come out until 2002. With the indies, once you do your music, that's it." "Some people thought I should have called it "The Realest, but that is a self-promotional declaration," Cormega says. "Who am I to declare that I'm the realest? The Realness is just a reflection of what's going on in my life. It's the essence of it, rather than a bravado declaration." Having recently completed the album, which features production by Havoc of MobbDeep, Alchemist, and Ayatollah, Cormega is already preparing a follow-up set." Billboard 8/01