Meeting Cormega ahead of new album ‘Mega Philosophy’
Rapper Cormega is one such artist and I met with him earlier this week while he was in London at Tribe 7 Studios to hear about his forthcoming album entitled Mega Philosophy produced by the Large Professor.
Cormega, one of the original Queensbridge Hip Hop pioneers has enjoyed success and longevity, achieving more in the rap game than many while retaining an independence that few have managed, hailing from an era and neighbourhood that is famed for producing artists like Nas, Mobb Deep and many others.
Combining raw powerful straight lyricism, with a trademark no frills delivery, Cormega’s music often reflects the trials and tribulations of life lived and breathed as seen through his eyes. More like a lyrical poet than a rapper, his lyrics often transcend tales of individual struggles to critically analyse the wider world, the lines often becoming blurred with wordplay and clever imagery.
Respected for remaining true to his roots, Cormega built up and sustained a solid fan base over the years, forming his own label Legal Hustle-while other artists hailing from the same era often drew much criticism.
“Mega Philosophy is unlike my other projects. It’s produced entirely by the Large Professor. Among others it will include AZ, Styles P.”
I ask him what we can expect content wise from his new project.
“Among other things I would say it deals with how African people look at other African people in the wider world. It’s also gonna talk a lot about the (music) industry.”
This is interesting because whereas many mainstream artists have lost their shine Cormega didn’t.
“I’ve always questioned why other rappers fall off-I don’t think I will fall off.”
He also notes that longevity is not necessarily staying relevant; “Relevance is in the eye of the beholder”
Perhaps its this outlook that ultimately fuels his success as a writer. His own growth and maturity as an artist had always manifested in his work as avid fans can testify to.
Its refreshing too to hear first hand about Cormega’s past work in Haiti, following the devastating earthquake and his reasons for teaming up with Sean Penn’s charity-primarily because it didn’t seek publicity and has garnered respect as a genuine charitable force from the people while many others have been accused of pocketing Haiti’s aid money and seeking publicity.
He worked with several other artists including Redman and Stic man and created a track in aid of the cause and has been vocal in his support of the Haitian people.
Hip Hop at its best has always had artists more intent on pushing the boundaries of what is expected rather than playing the corporate game-Cormaga is certainly one of those artists.
Lessons he has learned from his many years in the rap game? “Don’t change who you are to be who they are” He then pauses and passes me his phone and I listen to one of the tracks from the forthcoming album. It’s unlike anything I’ve heard for a long time, and I have to say personally I am really looking forward to hearing the whole project-a far cry from the commercial bubble gum we are used to.
We talk about the UK and the fact that after many years he is warmly received by the people and that unlike other artists doesn’t need to walk around with body guards. He points out also that the UK Hip Hop scene is thriving without name dropping. What he does say is that he thinks the UK has the best vocalists at the moment.
To his UK fans he says simply; “I wanna thank everybody for the love they have shown it’s been humbling”
Mega Philosophy is due to be released this summerTagged in: Cormega, hip hop, Mobb Deep, Nas
Recent Posts on Music
- Fantastic Man on his return to London
- A Guy Called Gerald on technology and live performance
- The Menzingers – “I believe in writing from the point of view that this could be the last thing you ever say, so make sure that it’s worthwhile”
- VerseChorusVerse Interview: “Folk and punk music are very much entwined”
- Ryoichi Kurokawa: "Digital art is already classical"
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter