NCC Records' The Empire is a traditional hip hop group, bringing that raw, golden era Boom Bap hip hop back to the modern era! In this interview the group talk about the artists that influence them, who they've worked with, plans for the future, their current single "A Message To Hip Hop" featuring MC Serch, Lin Que AKA Isis and Craig G. and more! Read all about what this dynamic collective of skilled lyricists have to say.
South East Hip Hop Magazine: What's up? How are you doing?
5th Letter: Not bad. Trying to stay busy.
Mistajay: Good. Working, and networking as always.
South East Hip Hop Magazine: Why do you call yourselves The Empire?
MIstajay: Just sounded epic.
South East Hip Hop Magazine: Although you've called yourselves The Empire waaaay before the hit Television show, has anyone ever mentioned the name of your group being the same as the hit show to you all?
5th Letter: No, haven't had that happen yet.
South East Hip Hop Magazine: Who were some of your musical influences?
5th Letter: Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, Nas, KRS-One, Phonte, Scarface, and there's a few others. Mostly, I tried to model myself after more lyrical emcees that I grew up listening to.
Prince Imperial: I know big influences for myself were A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang Clan, Tha Alkaholiks, Little Brother.
Speak no E: DELtron, & Canibus
Mistajay: ICE Cube, Rakim, KRS- One
South East Hip Hop Magazine: How would you describe yourselves as a group?
5th Letter: 4 artists from different backgrounds, all trying to convey a useful message in the genre in a creative way.
Speak no E: We just want to do reality music there is so much fallacy out there doing music about everyday life seem like a no brainer.
South East Hip Hop Magazine: Who are some of the artists you all have worked with?
5th Letter: Well, mostly, we've worked with other independent artists such as Mic Will (producer from VA), Vintage (producer/MC from Hampton VA), Shamrocc & DOS (also known as Ground Zero [MC/producer duo from Fayetteville, NC]), Dutch P (MC/producer from NC), Lil D (MC from KC). Also, I should mention that on our second album, The Dark Ages, we had plugs on the track "A Message To Hip Hop" from Craig G, Lin Que aka Isis from X-Clan, and MC Serch. So, that was definitely a good look from them, and we still appreciate the shit out of that.
MIstajay: Just got a feature from Pace Won for my up coming project One Heart beat away.
South East Hip Hop Magazine: Who are some of the beatmakers / producers you've worked with?
5th Letter: For the most part, we've gotten our beats from Vintage & Mic Will, although on my solo EP A Long Time Coming. I had a track that was produced by Lil D, which he also had a verse on. Also, on Speak's album The Deen's Office, and on our second group project, The Dark Ages, one of our own, Prince Imperial has done some production, on "What Am I?" and "Excalibur," respectively.
MIstajay: On my upcoming project Rik Marvel
South East Hip Hop Magazine: This or that? DJ. Premier or Pete Rock?
MIstajay: Premo. So many people have mad classics with him so many different artists from Nas to Game and of course Guru.
Speak no E: Hard question
5th Letter: Probably the hardest question ever. I'm a huge fan of both, buuuuuuuuut, if I gotta pick one, I gotta go with Premo. Not a slight to Pete Rock at all, but I've just always loved the sound of a Premo beat. Same goes for Pete, but I've just always preferred that Premo sound.
South East Hip Hop Magazine: Who would you like to work with in the future?
5th Letter: Obviously, more Vintage & Mic Will. Outside of that, and I know these are gonna be reaching, but I'd love to work with Premo, Nas, Royce da 5'9", Joey Bada$$, Phonte, 9th Wonder, Khrysis, Rapsody, Big K.R.I.T., J. Cole, Battlecat, Tash, Yasiin Bey, Pharoahe Monch, Talib Kweli, Apathy, and a buncha others, to be honest. But, those are some of the first that come to mind.
South East Hip Hop Magazine: Speaking of the future, what's next The Empire?
Prince Imperial: We're working on our new album tentatively titled.....This is Where We Leave You.
5th Letter: Well, we got an album we're brainstorming through right now, as yet untitled definitively. Hopefully, we'll have that out sometime next year. Also, maybe some other projects in work. We'll have to see...
Mistajay: Working on wider release for SPEAK NO E THE DEANS OFFICE AND 5th Letter A Long time coming www.empiremusiq.com, twitter.com/NCCRecordEmpire, facebook.com/people/NccRecords-Theempire/1183337450, http://www.reverbnation.com/5thletter, http://www.reverbnation.com/speaknoe and http://www.reverbnation.com/theempire
South East Hip Hop Magazine: Where do you see the group in the next five years?
5th Letter: In five years, hopefully we've got a couple more group albums done, some solo projects underway or completed, and hopefully, we'll have worked with some of those artists I mentioned earlier.
Prince Imperial: Leaving our mark on the game hopefully showing lyrical content is important.
South East Hip Hop Magazine: Is there anything else you would like to plug? Any shout outs?
5th Letter: S/O to Vintage, Mic Will, Lil D, Dutch P, everybody puttin it down for NC, Phonte, Rapsody, Khrysis, Rapper Big Pooh, 9th Wonder, Supastition, J. Cole, Rain910, Sean Boog, Median, Joe Scudda, and everybody else. Also, to the cats that have been such a big influence on us, BDK, Kool G, KRS, Rakim, Nas, Pharoahe, Kweli, Yasiin Bey, Biggie, Pac, Big L, Pun, and everyone else that made that real hip hop.
THE Empire: Thanks to (Southeast Hiphopmagazine) for the feature shout outs…Big ABe, Big Bruce, R.I.P.DJ Flash Fader, Mic Will, Creep, Vintage, Dutch P, DJ SPINWIZ and Will Munny the advocate Pace Won and Filthe (Bommsheltuh)…..We would like to send and extra special thanks to those who helped inspire the Dark Ages and lent their voices Craig G, Linque, and last but not least Mc Search.