Saiku 720 is a rap artist from Queens, NY who has done quite a lot for his career. He is a well respected artist but is also a behind the scenes type of guy who possesses many talents. Not to mention, he is also running a not-for-profit organization that he took over from his father. When he first started in the music business he was working a lot with Ja Rule and Murder Inc, a record label founded by Irv Gotti. Saiku proclaims that his music has taken a turn for the better and he has become more mature in his approach and his lyrics but still maintains his authentic sound. Check out the interview and get to know Saiku 720 a bit more, new music is on the way.
Snitches Ain’t Shit:
He has come a long way since Snitches Ain’t Shit and now has tracks like Pray 4 Me, below:
MusicalFury – How’s it going?
Saiku 720 – I am alright, doing pretty good these days. I am running the African Poetry Theatre. It was started by my father and I took it over. It is a non profit organization and we have a variety of classes all throughout Queens.
MusicalFury – That’s great, I like to hear that you are doing well. Let me start out by asking about your rap alias, how did you get the name Saiku 720?
Saiku 720 – Well, Saiku is my first name, so that was an easy one. 720 is a name that I have been using since about 89 and it represents the best of both worlds. It is like three cyphers together. I can be good or bad or twice as better than you. When it originated it was a bunch of us and we were called the Sons of Light. We put out CDs in the late 90s. One of the members was Superb 720, he is known for the controversy with Ghostface Killah. I ended up keeping the 720.
MusicalFury – I first heard you on the 848 Mixtape that was put together by Lakey the Kid. How did that collaboration come about?
Saiku 720 – Um, well, I know a lot of people from Queensbridge, I have strong ties in Queensbridge. I actually learned how to make beats by Ceasar Sanchez aka Big Ceaz. Everyone knows him all the big heads, people like Tragedy and Prodigy would be at his house. I started out as a rapper and turned into a producer so I could get on. I met Lake because I did a bid with Lake. In my earlier days I was getting in trouble and I met him in prison. When he came home I was already in the game and signed to Murder Inc as a producer. We had the same manager and one day I brought him to my house and he said we have to work together. Then he was saying we have to get together and we did that 848 mixtape. A lot of stuff we didn’t even put on the CD. We already knew each other outside of music and a lot of people respected me as a dope MC.
MusicalFury – Do you guys plan on releasing the other music?
Saiku 720 – That is pretty much up to Lake, 848 is his thing. If he is going to release another mixtape, I have no idea.
MusicalFury – A couple of tracks that stood out from me that you were on are Stay Fly and Snitches Ain’t Shit. How did you end up getting a solo track on that tape?
Saiku 720 – I had that song pre-recorded and I was pretty much a solo artist at that point. Lake put a solo joint on there to help me out in case someone wanted to pick that up.
MusicalFury – You also have your own mixtape out called Once Upon A Time in America. How can I get my hands on that?
Saiku 720 – The first one, I don’t even have it anymore. I have to put it on the internet and I put that out a while back and was selling CDs at shows. Last year I did Once Upon A Time in America pt. 2 and threw it on Soundcloud. People were liking it and now I plan on shooting a video for each song.
MusicalFury – I heard a few other solo tracks that you have that sound good, are you recording for your own mixtape or solo project?
Saiku 720 – I am doing two things. I have an album I want to put out called We Are Still Niggaz. The last song on the mixtape will be the first song on the album. I also have Elevator Love which is a Funk album. It was something I always wanted to do and I finally have the guts to do it. Two songs are on Soundcloud, the playlist has two songs that will show you where I am going with it. I have at least 30 songs completed for that. I plan on shooting videos from like now until July and then release it all.
MusicalFury – What happened to Death Row East? Why didn’t that pop like I thought it was going to?
Saiku 720 – Whatever happened to Suge Knight is what happened to Death Row East. That is always something he wanted to do and between mutual friends and Lakey the Kid they decided to do that. They made me the A&R at Death Row East at that time. I was also an A&R on Black Childs album from Murder Inc. It was Suge Knight’s bankroll and once he got caught up in the lawsuit it kind of fizzled. There was no more money coming through the pipeline. I had ended up working for BET at that time and won some awards. I have a couple of projects coming up but I don’t really want to speak on it yet. I do music for TV shows and independent movies.
MusicalFury – Joel Ortiz made some comments recently about New York radio DJs not playing enough music from New York artists. Do you feel he is accurate? Why the heck are these guys not supporting as much as they should?
Saiku 720 – Well, because it is not even fair. NYC is one city compared to an entire country. How much impact can one city have when compared to the entire country? NYC doesn’t really represent what music sounds like in the rest of America. They are going to start promoting what is making the most money. Today you can make yourself and you don’t have to be good at all if you have some money to back yourself. There is still a lot of good music coming out of NY. The record labels are irrelevant because nobody cares about radio as much, it is just something that is on when you are driving. That NY sound is coming back, when you think about the biggest stars in hip hop right now besides Drake, they are not doing trap music. We are talking about Kendrick Lamar and guys like that who are using samples and are sounding more like a Tribe Called Quest.
That whole movement that they have going on over there on the West Coast is really bringing music back to a good sound. When I hear J Cole I hear a NY MC, everyone thought he was Queens because he spent so much time here. He went to St. John’s University, same college that Run DMC went to.
MusicalFury – Can you elaborate a bit on your business, Hoodstock America?
Saiku 720 – Hoodstock is something that came out of Murder Inc, we are all from the same neighborhood. Everyone would come to my studio and I would give them demos. A lot of artists like Cadillac nah and black child would come and make music. You name a label and I met with their A&R. I started making beats and figured that was the best way to get on. Ira Gotti called me and was like are you the guy making all those demos? I saw guys from getting on to making millions of dollars. There were a lot of guys on the label that were not getting love because Def Jam was saying focus on Ja or focus on Ashanti or whatever. I was saying to Chris Gotti that we should take the rest of the artists that aren’t getting the same focus, we should make a group out of them. Chris Gotti taught me a lot and taught me a lot about the industry. The biggest name out of them was Black Child so we started with him and some other neighborhood people. It grew into a movement until a whole neighborhood was called Hoodstock so we called it Hoodstock America. Black Child and Snails from Murder Inc came up with Hoodstock along with me, it wasn’t just my movement. Murder Inc was on top in Queens and we were the street guys. The plan was to put out an album but then when that whole fed thing happened and 50 Cent thing they started shutting things down.
A lot of guys were getting arrested because they were being watched by the feds but I beat that case. I did a track on Lake’s American Rat Killer that had the Ice Cube Today Was a Good Day theme. I was acquitted but some guys weren’t, I decided I had enough with this t
MusicalFury – You have worked with Ja Rule in the past, do you still have a business relationship with him?
Saiku 720 – They are always going to be family to me. They are from my neighborhood and I know a lot of the guys from the hood. Ja Rule is cool but my mentor is Chris Gotti, he taught me a lot. I cam cool with he Inc for life, period.
MusicalFury – I saw some where that you wrote and produced for Ja Rule?
Saiku 720 – I never wrote anything for Ja Rule. I produced some songs for him and I wrote or contributed to some of the hooks you could say. I never wrote for him though.
MusicalFury – If 50 Cent asked you to do a song would you be fine with that?
Saiku 720 – Me personally, I wouldn’t because I am loyal guy but I wouldn’t be mad at someone for working with him. You have to do what you have to do to feed your family. If he wanted some beats or something I would be totally fine with that.
MusicalFury – If you had three choices to work with any artist, what three artists would you choose?
Saiku 720 – I would love to do a song with LL, I don’t care what anyone says. I would like to do a song or even a whole mixtape with Jadakiss. I was actually compared to Jadakiss and one time I was actually offered a deal on Ruff Ryders. Jadakiss respected me so that is one person I would love to do a mixtape with. Anyone now that I would like to work with, I don’t know. I would have to say Redman, he is one of my favorite rappers of all time. And his shit is still hot.
MusicalFury – Where do you see hip hop in the next five years? More skinny jeans or do you feel that hip hop will revolve back to its roots?
Saiku 720 – To be honest with you, people wearing skinny jeans is kind of roots. The baggy clothes is more of the 90’s but look at Run DMC, they had less baggy jeans. The thing about skinny jeans now is that they hang low. Skinny skinny jeans is punk rock, not hip hop. When it comes to skinny jeans though I can’t wear that. I don’t know where hip hop is going to be in 5 years and I am upset about this news about Africa Bambattaa, this could really damage hip hop. I have heard these rumors since the 80’s but it is really coming out now. I was really upset when I heard that, they could choose anyone but it can’t be him. He is the foundation of the culture, it is an attack on culture now.
MusicalFury – Would you say that you are a religious or spiritual guy? If so, what are your beliefs?
Saiku 720 – I am spiritual, I am not religious and I do not have a belief. I choose not to believe, I choose the facts that I know until I know more facts. I am spiritual and I believe in good and evil.
MusicalFury – Thanks for your updates, good luck with your career.
Saiku 720 – No problem, thank you.
Don’t let some of the grimey lyrics fool you, Saiku comes off as a pretty intelligent guy. It is no wonder that he is not only a rapper but he is also a producer, an A&R, among a host of other skills. Check out his argument below on Afrocentrism.