Cormega is one of my favorite MC’s for a few reasons. He is very lyrical and you can tell that his rhymes are very well thought out. He is able to do the street sort of music very well but as he grew you can tell that his style changed quite a bit and now he is much more conscious about what he puts out there. I also appreciate his viewpoint on religion because I share similar views and can relate to his response. Guys like Cormega should be in the forefront of hip hop, not the underground.
MusicalFury – Hey Cormega, first off want to just say I am a big fan, have been for years so appreciate you doing the interview with us.
Cormega – Thanks, I appreciate the interview.
MusicalFury – July is the release date of your latest project Mega Philosophy, how do expect fans to perceive this album?
Cormega – To be honest with you, every time I make an album I don’t know what to expect, I only hope. But, this album is very different for me and judging by how people reacted to my new single Industry yesterday, I think this album is going to be well received. The feedback that I have gotten from Industry is humbling and I couldn’t have asked for a better response.
MusicalFury – It has been a little while between projects from now and the last full-length studio album, Born and Raised, what have you spent most time doing in the interim?
Cormega – I have been spending the most time being a dad, never a break from that. I have been really just trying to cook this album up the right way. I wanted to come out last year but there were a few technical difficulties.
MusicalFury – Not all rappers are able to make a living off of being an artist but you on the other, as far as I can gather, have done very well. Didn’t you win an award for True Meaning and independently sold over 100K albums?
Cormega – I got an impact of the year award for making the most impact as an independent artist and a Source award for True Meaning as independent album of the year. I am the type of artist that doesn’t even keep up with the sales but I do appreciate the money that comes in. This album right now is new to me though because today you got digital sales and all of that, it’s a different realm than before. I just want this album to be appreciated because this will be part of my legacy. It will be an indication if I really belong here. Some artists are just there for co-sign or affiliation or record label generated hype.
MusicalFury – You are one of the first rappers to really make a great introduction starting in the independent route. Has this been a more lucrative choice for your career than if you would have stayed on Def Jam?
Cormega – There are advantages if you unlearn. Sometimes you have to erase everything you thought you knew. Once you unlearn, then there are no disadvantages. A lot of rappers anticipate the big money, cars, popping bottles etc… but you aren’t going to see those bottles being paid for by the label, cars returned back to the label and eventually some of the artists end up going through financial struggles. Being independent, you aren’t going to see all of those illusions and you may not sell a million records but look at the major label artists who sold a million records who aren’t doing well. If you make a dollar off each record sold in the majors then you have a good deal. Numerous independent artists who are not household names are living better then some of these household names. When you are independent you maintain your own garden and you inevitably get to see the growth and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
MusicalFury – That’s true, I was reading about Tech Nine and how he has become very successful as an independent artist also and pulled in upwards of $7 Mill in one year!
Cormega – Tech 9 is definitely a huge success as an independent artist. E40 is also doing quite well, people form the bay area in particular who don’t care if anyone else hears their record because they are going to eat off the sales in their area regardless.
MusicalFury – You have a really cool single cover for your new track Industry, how did you choose what rapper was going to go where in the last supper portrayal?
Cormega – I didn’t, I didn’t really know whom I was going to put where but I did know that I had to put Tupac in the middle because that is the one artist around the world that everyone liked. Everybody loves Tupac so I decided to put him in the middle and of course I had to have biggie right there also. But after that it didn’t really put them in any particular order because all of them brothers are legendary and contributed a lot to hip hop.
MusicalFury – Where do you find the inspiration and motivation to write rhymes and create these masterpieces that you do?
Cormega – Inspiration, there is no way to really explain because there are so many things you can get inspiration from, pain, fears, etc… There are a number of things that inspire and motivate me to write my music.
MusicalFury – Does the composition of music come naturally for you? Is it very easy for you to put together your rhymes or do you actually get writers block from time to time?
Cormega – I think every writer gets writers block, it is very natural for that to happen. Everybody who walks is going to stumble one day, everyone gets it but how are you going to come back from it? You need to know how to close the book and then recharge and come back. Recently I have had a surge of energy and the inspiration I am getting lately is incredible.
MusicalFury – What are your aspirations for the remainder of 2014?
Cormega – I want to put this album out, I want to have videos to accompany some of this music. I already have remixes done for some of the songs too. I have never been this efficient before and there are a lot of features I have done with a lot of artists on their albums. I want to tour this album as well as try to put out an entire remix album for Mega Philosophy. Then I am doing a whole other album that is completely separate from this one that I am planning to release this year. I don’t know if I can sustain this zone that I am in but if you listen to some of the features I have done recently you can see the difference of how I am coming now. This surge of creativity and energy that I possess now, I want to be able to make the most out of it.
MusicalFury – From what I gather, you seem to tour quite a bit. Is that your favorite aspect of this business since you are able to 1. See other parts of the world that most will never see in their lifetime and 2. Get that incredible adrenaline rush from entertaining people that love your music?
Cormega – Traveling is definitely something that artists have to take advantage of and not take for granted. You have to learn to take the right thing from these opportunities. If I weren’t a rapper I probably wouldn’t have been to London or Italy as many times as I have. When I go to all these different places I make sure to bask in it. I will look at the architecture, landscape the people, it is a blessing. If you watch a lot of documentaries, artists all say that being on stage is the ultimate high. That feeling that you receive from adulation is very hard to explain but it is an incredible feeling. When people embrace it and salute what you are doing it is one of the best feelings that you can ever get.
MusicalFury – How have you changed since you released the Realness 13 years ago?
Cormega – I have changed a lot as a person, I am obviously not hanging in the hood every day. I don’t feel obligated to certain people anymore. Before I felt obligated to certain people in the streets. I’m not seeking acceptance from certain people anymore. If someone has a problem with me these days I don’t have to be a peacemaker, fuck it. I don’t use the word bitch anymore and I am a father now. I am obviously not on landspeed anymore and not affiliated with them in any way. Everything isn’t based on street credibility or how real I am anymore like street bravado, all that stuff that doesn’t mean anything.
MusicalFury – You are a sneaker head like myself, what is your favorite sneaker of all time?
Cormega – I don’t even know how to answer that one, I really couldn’t answer that, there are so many that I really love. I really really really admire suede pumas. I have an affinity for them and they are my old school joints that I really love.
MusicalFury – You have worked with some of the best in the business, who that you have done a song with in the past has made you kick it up a notch?
Cormega – Ghostface, Prodigy and I have done songs with a lot of artists that make me step it up a notch. I have done songs with some that are arguably the best ever like Nas, Prodigy, Krs One Ghostface, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, Pun, DMX, Styles P, MOP, Poet, so many that made me step my game up unless you have a style that is really predictable. For the most part I am a competitor and as an artist I like to go in, I don’t put it in cruise control.
MusicalFury – Who are some of your biggest influences as far as MC’s that came out before you?
Cormega – Rakim, T La Rock, LL, MC Shan, Kane, Slick Rick.
MusicalFury – Last but not least, I love to hear other’s spiritual beliefs and opinions. Do you follow any particular religion? What is the Cormega Philosophy?
Cormega – My philosophy on religion is uh, there never was supposed to be a religion. God is God and God had messages. Sometimes it is the messenger and how he convey the messages that has an impact or has an influence. See, I am Muslim, but the word Allah is God. It is no different from what Christianity or what the Jews believe in. Actually, Jesus is spoken of in the Quran, we all believe in the same God. We have people who are very influential speakers who tend to sway peoples visions. The very fact that there are animosities in religions is the biggest flaw, period. The fact that Jesus is the lead singer in religion is questionable because every religion tells you not to praise any other God more than him. I think the concept of religion is beautiful but I think people flaw it. My perfect churches are the ones where everyone could get along and respect each other. There is no better religion because everyone is created equal. All these religions are Abrahamic, but then you have people that corrupt the message. I respect everyone’s spirituality and I believe in God. The word Allah translated means God; it is not I thinking my God is better than your God. Now a days, Islam is given a bad rep due to some of the worldly events but a lot of these events, true Muslims don’t condone. Suicide is a sin in Islam and if you have people doing radical things, you cannot put that on one religion. Columbus and them came here with a cross and decimated whole communities. The beauty aspect of it is to have faith in God and the corruption portion is the exploitation of it like when you have religious leaders who are filthy rich. I respect religion but don’t respect how it is being exploited. There are some that exploit religion because they know it is a powerful mechanism over the power of the peoples. I respect all people of peace and ones who believe.