KAM : Keepin’ Tha Peace
Interview conducted by:
Todd Davis
Rapindustry.com

KAM is a West Coast vet most commonly recognized for his, often, political and pro-black lyrical content, and notorious affiliation with the infamous N.O.I. {Nation of Islam}.

His first appearance on wax came courtesy of the song 'Every Single Weekend,' from the Boyz n the Hood movie soundtrack, which helped to set the stage for his well-received East West Records' debut, Neva Again [1993].

Kam's since dropped two additional solid albums; Made in America, and, his last, Kamnesia, in '01, been bounced around to a couple of different labels, and has also been vehemently promising a brand new CD for awhile now. Rap Industry Dot Com recently tracked down the, M.I.A., emcee to see what he's been up to? And, what he has in store for the coming months…



"I think that the key to my longevity and success in this grueling industry is the fact that I rap about REAL ISSUES. The kind of issues that everybody else in this industry is either too AFRAID to Rap about, or they don't have enough KNOWLEDGE to rap about it. "




There have been talks of a new album for quite some time now -- What's been holding up the process?

Acts of God…And Satan, are basically what has held up the process of me putting out my fourth album, Self & Kind. I have been through a whole lot of personal trials & tribulations over the past seven years. It didn't kill me, so it must've made me much STRONGER, right? Professionally, I've just been "Under the Radar," putting a few business moves together. I've also been pushing/promoting the start of my lil' brother, Y.B., (a.k.a.) Yung Bruh's, rap career. I'm doing a little acting right now, too.

Wasn't your long overdue forthcoming CD, Self & Kind, initially scheduled to come out on Paris' Guerrilla Funk Recordings??

I was never "Legally Signed" to Guerrilla Funk Records. Paris is my brotha, and is somebody that I always had big respect for because of the "Revolutionary-Line" that he has been pushing in this industry for so long. We agreed to do a few albums "ON OUR WORD," without the NEED for me to SIGN anything. We were just about to get started on that when my mother passed away. And, around that same time, Snoop came at me with an opportunity to put out a few records as well. Paris supported my decision to postpone our plans in order for me to capitalize on the opportunity to benefit from Snoop's "Machine." But, God willing, we gonna still do our thang!

Now originally the record was actually titled The Self, correct?

My upcoming solo album is called Self & Kind, (but) it was gonna be called The Self. But, I thought that I needed to EXPAND that title a little to really get my idea across better about what I am trying to SAY with this album. Self & Kind means, to me, that WE are both our own worst enemy, through our ignorance, and at the same time, we are our own potential BEST FRIEND -- We are THE SOLUTION to our own problems! We can't really blame anybody else TODAY for the problems that we are having, because we have been informed enough now about "Who the real enemy is," (and) that we can't use that/them as an excuse anymore of "Why we can't get our house right!" We KNOW BETTER now, so we are responsible for what we know.

How does this effort measure up to your first three releases?

This Self & Kind album is probably a lot like my first album, Neva Again, in terms of "Conscious Subject Matter" and "Revolutionary Street-Gangsta Rap!" It's the kind of rap album that was made before Hip-Hop/Rap went corporate and commercial! (It's) revolutionary and controversial!

Who all did you get to work with?

I have production so far from people like Focus, Battlecat, DJ Pooh, Warren G, Def Jef, (DJ) Premier, Pete Rock, and the list goes on & on. I just keep doing songs and when it's close to "Show Time," I pick the strongest records and "Hit the field" with 'em. I don't really produce too much, but I know what I wanna hear!

Are there any cameos?

I don't wanna really speak on who's featured on the album yet, because I'm still not sure if those records will actually make the album yet or not.

Where does your "pen" game come from?

When I sit down to pen my lyrics, I draw from "The Struggle for Justice and Liberation of ALL Oppressed people!" From PAIN! Or, I might make a feel-good song, or a fun record, to help BALANCE the pain that we suffer from everyday.

Tell me how it first started for you, Kam?

I started out like any other young kid in the ghettos of America. I always loved music. But, I couldn't sing. So, I KNEW that I would never really be a singer. But, when I first heard rap music in the early '80's, it was "Love at first SOUND." I started out with my homeboy, Lorne Sibrie, in junior high school -- He had some turntables, a mic, and a lil' 4-track mixer. We used to make lil' tapes, clownin' and shit, but it wasn't until after high school that I really kinda looked at rap as a way to make some money. My big homeboy, who i grew up with, named Randy Williams, who lived in Compton, turned me onto one of his young neighbors named Lil' Dee, from 118th Street, and we got real cool. Lil' Dee turned me onto one (of) his big homies named BIG JESS, (also) from 118th Street, who had just started his own indie label called Watts Up Productions. We clicked up through my homeboy, SOLO, who was from that same 'hood, and Solo basically set up a meeting between me and Ice Cube later on down the line -- The rest is pretty much history.

Coming from the West Coast, what music were you inspired by?

Yeah, I was born and raised in L.A.; Compton, Watts, and even Inglewood. My musical influences were; Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, Gil Scott-Heron, and a lot of old school Soul music.

As you mentioned, originally you were down with Cube, and his, now defunct, Street Knowledge imprint, but you all later had a very public falling out -- What was that all about?


The reason I fell out with Ice Cube was over what I felt was a lack of support from him, as well as a few personal thangs. We both was young and dumb in a few different areas than each other. But, yeah, man, we been squashed that shit back in 1995 at the first Hip-Hop Peace Summit at Minister Farrakhan's house in Chicago.

Is there any chance of a reunion?

Yeah, there's always a chance of people who were once "beefin'" to work together again -- If they're mature enough!

What type of music do you make? And, how did you come to be known as Kam?

I would describe my style as "Revolution-Rap," or "Conscious-Gangsta Rap." The name KAM is short for KAMAL -- It has a few other meanings, too.


What has been the secret to your success in music?

I think that the key to my longevity and success in this grueling industry is the fact that I rap about REAL ISSUES. The kind of issues that everybody else in this industry is either too AFRAID to Rap about, or they don't have enough KNOWLEDGE to rap about it. I'm a "street dude," but thanks to GOD, through the Nation of Islam under Minister Farrakhan, I have a KNOWLEDGE, WISDOM & UNDERSTANDING that MOST people on Earth don't have. So, we are able to speak directly into the conditions that people are in, the HEARTS & MINDS of people, and even rap about things before they ever happen. So, our words prove true.

Do you have any future aspirations?

My aspirations are ALWAYS to MASTER MYSELF! To perfect myself! To get my SOUL to be PURE! To be myself! A natural Child of God.

Let's talk about this offshoot collective project with MC Eiht and Goldie Loc, from Tha Eastsidaz, Warzone…

The group Warzone came together as a result of Snoop Dogg's "Western Conference," that he held a couple years back to call for peace and unity among West Coast artists. Initially, the only positive thing that SEEMED to come out of having that conference was that Tha Dogg Pound, Daz & Kurupt, got back together. So, there was a lot of skepticism about whether or not that conference was just a publicity stunt for Snoop or something. But, a few months after that, Snoop reached out to me with a business opportunity. He was supposedly in negotiations to become President of Capitol Records, I think, as well as another record label that wanted him to become their President. But, I can't remember who that other label was. He said that these labels promised him that position, as well as a nice budget and power to run the label the way he saw fit. So, he asked me would I be willing to do a solo deal with him and push a few KAM albums through his label. We had been talking about doing something like this together for over 10 years, and he told me that he was finally READY. Well, unfortunately, for whatever reason, that deal between him, Capitol, and whatever other label, did not go through the way that he thought it would, so he wasn't able to secure that solo deal for me that we talked about. He said that there was a lot of "West Coast HATIN'" going on and that nobody wanted to give up MONEY for West Coast artists, even though the whole industry was now basically ALL doing "West Coast Gangsta Rap." So, Snoop's back-up plan was to form the six individual solo artists that he was trying to sign, into two groups; One, Westurn Union; Damani, Bad Lucc & Soopafly, and Two, The Warzone; Me, MC Eiht & Goldie Loc.

What can be expected from the group's debut?


The idea was to show West Coast rap unity in ACTION! To put artists together who you would NEVER expect to be working together on albums and shows, etcetera. I thought it was a real good idea, so I just rolled with it. It was Snoop's idea. We all have different IMAGES that we are known for, so it was a challenge to find that COMMON GROUND that we could all get busy on. I think it's gonna make a good amount of noise in the street. I don't know how the INDUSTRY will accept it though, because you already know how they feel about ME! But, you can expect from each one of us exactly what we are KNOWN for!

How did the name Warzone get chosen?

The reason why our group is called the WARZONE is because we each represent the MAIN CITIES, or ghetto war-zones, that are known for giving birth to ALL of this West Coast Gangsta Rap lifestyle -- Watts, Compton, Long Beach, South Central L.A. & Inglewood. Of course, the BAY AREA is a part of the whole thing out here as well. That's why we gotta have features on the album from the BAY! The same with San Diego!

Has the Warzone album been titled yet?

I believe the album is gonna be titled Welcome to the Warzone, but that could change.
It will be released on DoggyStyle/KOCH Records in early August.


Will you all be going out on the road to support the record?


We are in the process right now of putting a ground-breaking tour together called "THE WEST-FEST" tour, which will be kicking off this Summer featuring; Snoop Dogg, WC, Glasses Malone, Mistah F.A.B., Westurn Union, Warzone, and holding it up for the females, The Lady of Rage! We will be hitting pretty much the entire western region, so be on the look out for that!


 




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