Friday, July 27, 2007

The Play's the Thing...In the Library, That Is

After doing two performances of Twelfth Night in one day, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey NextStage Ensemble is tired. But you wouldn’t be able to tell from the performance of Henry IV, Part I, they put on in the Jefferson Township Public Library. Brandishing fake black swords like light sabers and giving very real stares of vengeance and honor towards each other, the small group probably spoke louder than anybody else has in the history of the Jefferson Township Library.

And though there were only twelve cast members to portray the nearly forty roles that make up this sprawling spectacular of a play, all your favorite characters (if you’re a Shakespeare fan, that is) were there, including the heroic King Henry, the mischievous Prince Hal, and even the bumbling braggart Falstaff. All of whom usually found themselves darting behind the metal braced “curtain” hanging in the back only to return with different wardrobes and an accent thick with tension.

“I think more libraries are trying to have events [like this] because if gives the area more ‘cultcha,’” joked Senior Librarian, Christine O’ Brien, who pronounced “culture,” like “cultcha” while raising her chin as if she were a YALE alum speaking of her Alma mater.

“We have activities all throughout the summer, like foreign films, musical groups, photography classes…it gives people something to do in the town.”

While she talked, the crew practiced a big fight scene on the “stage” and was told to stop a few times by Jack Moran (“It’s Irish”), who played Hotspur, among others. He warned them not to thrust too far off to the left because people would soon be sitting in the seats they were waging war next to. Careening out of character for only a few moments, once they started up again, they all began clacking their fake, black swords together as if they were actually swinging around swords of real steel.

And as the clacks continued, over in the corner crouched tour manager, Meghan Conda,, who set up the sound and shifted from left to right on her haunches while she made sure the auditory boomed just as loud (if not louder) than the actors themselves.

“I help them pack the van, drive, contact venues, and took over the paperwork,” says Meghan, who’s part of the intern program at NextStage and looking to be a stage manager after she works at a few more places.

“I didn’t study theater in college, and we’re all mostly interns,” says Meghan, who calls her fellow van mates, “aspiring actors.”

Aspiring actors or not, every cast member acted like a professional, swinging their arms, spinning around, and ignoring the audience while delving deep into their characters, not one of them stumbling on their words; or, for that matter, even breaking a sweat.

“We really run a lot,” says Matthew Simpson, who played King Henry and donned a makeshift crown throughout a majority of the play. “We probably do up to 20 miles a week and sleep in the van [when we travel].”

A pretty hectic schedule indeed, but luckily, one they don’t have to keep up with for the entire year. This particular Shakespearean group performs throughout the summer, while the other Shakespearean group, Shakespeare Live, takes over during the school year, which some of these students have to return to once the summer’s over. One of whom being Pressly Coker, who probably had the most menacing scowl on his face throughout the entirety of the play.

Performing mainly as the Earl of Westmoreland, Pressly hails all the way from the University of South Carolina and joined NextStage (everybody had to audition, mind you) just because he really “likes the theater.”

A theater major back home, Pressly also performed Richard III (playing Richard, but not for the entirety of the play as many people portrayed the hunchbacked megalomaniac in this rendition) and studied the mannerisms of crippled people to nail the challenging character to a tee.

Still, Pressly, who’s also minoring in advertising and public relations, isn’t positive he’ll make it in acting, but he’d certainly like to try.

“Who knows?” he says, smiling a half-smile, “One day, I might be driving a potato truck for a living.”

Potato truck or not, if he works his butt of like he does on a library carpet (a far cry from the Globe Theatre, but a better conduit for static electricity) he’s sure to go far. And that’s not just because he’d be driving in a truck.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Obsessed! Newsvine's Newshound

Newsvine launched in March 2006 as a new kind of community news site, one in which its readers suggest news stories, and even write them. The stories range from Iraqi bombings at an all time high to a principal throwing feces as students. No surprise then that Newsvine quickly became populated by frequent posters. And none post with the fervor of Chris “Killfile” Thomas, a 27-year-old web application developer from Christiansburg, Virginia. SMITH chatted with the newshound via email.

SMITH: What’s Christiansburg, Virginia like?

Chris Thomas: It’s a small town just outside of Blacksburg (home of Virginia Tech). For me, this is “enemy territory” in a sense. I graduated from UVA (Tech’s big rival) in 2002 and find myself introducing myself as the guy who went to the “other” Virginia University a lot. Old collegiate rivalries notwithstanding, it’s a nice little town.

Why the urge to write so many entries on Newsvine?

When I graduated from UVA with a BA in History, I’d completed a degree in what I loved doing—writing and learning. But as I learned shortly thereafter, no one will pay you to write about the economic development of the post-Lenin Soviet Union unless you have a PhD. So, I went back to school and got a degree in computer science so that I could program, which, as it turns out, people will pay you for.

But, I still loved writing. For a while there, I had my own blog that no one really read. But when I stumbled upon Newsvine back in 2006, I found a community that enjoyed the same things I did. In that sense, it is not so much that I write many articles for Newsvine as that I write a lot and Newsvine has given me a place to put them and an audience to read them. I even get a cut of the ad proceeds from my column.

What kept you coming back to Newsvine?

The communal aspects of the site are more than a little bit addictive. Getting immediate feedback on everything you write, even comments and off the cuff remarks, really cements the notion of community and encourages participation. For me, that and the discovery of a group of similarly inclined writers, was enough and I was off to the races.

What was the first entry you ever wrote? Can you remember?

I can’t, but Newsvine can. It was entitled The Myth of Modern Communism (a rebuttal) and is still available on Newsvine. In a sense, it’s fitting that my first entry on Newsvine was a clarification of Marx, as that has been a battle I’ve fought over ever since. A lot of people have some very strong opinions about Marx and Marxist thoughts, but very few have actually taken the time to read his work. I don’t claim to be an expert on the matter, but I know enough to be dangerous.

What do your friends think of all the time you spend on Newsvine?

They’re very supportive and at least pretend to read my articles. I think they’re a little amused and a little curious about what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. I used to think they didn’t really take my writing seriously or pay that much attention. But when the Virginia Tech shootings happened on April 16, I did a running column as events broke on the scene. Most of my friends remembered that I write for Newsvine and expected that I’d be covering the shootings given my proximity, and they checked in on my column to see if my wife (who’s a post-grad at Tech) was OK.

My friends outside of Blacksburg checked it throughout the day for information—often well ahead of the mainstream media. My friends in Blacksburg kept me posted on what they could see on Tech’s campus. I think we all saw some of what social media is capable of that day.

If somebody found out you had the most entries and wanted to beat your record, what would you do? Would you pull all-nighters to retain your crown?

That’s already happening. Newsvine recently absorbed the regulars from the New York Times‘ forums and one of the new users from that influx, epiphany sorbet, is setting new standards for volume of work. It won’t be long now until she blows past me at her current pace, and honestly, I don’t mind. Newsvine consists of two types of user submitted content—seeds and articles. Articles are where I feel I’m strongest at and where I get to really have fun. Seeds are more of a “I found this, and it’s important” type of thing—like a link to a web site or a breaking news story covered elsewhere.

Since epiphany sorbet showed up on the scene, I’ve been slacking off on my seeding since she gets to most of it first anyhow. So I’ve been concentrating more on my writing instead. In the long run, that’s probably best for Newsvine; even though it will probably see me dethroned as #1 on Newsvine’s leaderboard in a few months. On the other hand, obsessive seeding is what put me at the top of the leaderboard in the first place. So, yeah, it’s a little frustrating to see everything I encounter in my morning news sweep already tagged, cataloged, and posted. Que sera sera.

Do you have any obsessions besides Newsvine?

I’d say no, but my wife will tell you “yes.” I’m a PC Gamer, but I refuse to get into the Massively Multi-Player stuff like World of Warcraft. I still love and enjoy history, particularly Cold War history, enough so that my cats are named Nikitty Khrushchev and Fidel Castro. I also work a lot with a group called Special Love that provides services to children with cancer. Given how far I drive for that and how often I find myself going, that might count as an obsession too.
Do you think Newsvine is a better source of information than your nightly news?There’s an old acronym from the early days of computing that really sums up Newsvine. GIGO—Garbage In, Garbage Out. You get what you put in. If you just show up, read the front page and read some stories, you’re likely to get something on par with the nightly news though differently focused. If you really participate, argue, comment, write, seed, and get involved in the community, though, you’ll vastly expand your awareness.

That said, a huge chunk of Newsvine’s content comes from mainstream media. For every citizen journalism story that breaks something big, there are a thousand seeds to media outlets and stories by professional reporters. A lot of people will tell you that that social media is going to change the world, and that might happen someday. For now sites like Newsvine aggregate the news. They don’t often break it.

To that end, Newsvine serves much the same roll as the nightly news—a roundup of the day’s stories. But unlike the nightly news, if you want to dig deeper, you can.

Tell us a story about yourself that you haven’t told anybody in a long time.

Some time back, I used to work phone support for DISH Network. The discount satellite TV provider has a technical call center located in Christiansburg, VA. For a year and a half, my 750 best friends and I staffed the place, typically for the evening shift. If you or someone you love is considering a career in phone support, let me urge you to reconsider. I have never worked a more unpleasant and spiritually draining job in my life.

What’s next for you on Newsvine?

That’s a tough one. With the Democratic Congressional victory in ‘06, I find myself leaning pretty hard into the Democrats to keep their campaign promises and that’s making me an agitator from the far political left. I’m not sure how I feel about that status. At the same time, there are the primaries coming up and the race of ‘08 is starting to heat up now, too. Honestly, I don’t have a plan. I respond to things as they happen and, if something comes my way, I’ll address it as best I can. News is, as they say, the first draft of history. Being in the middle of it all, it’s very hard to see the big picture. Looking back over my work as part of this interview, I’m struck by the sort of meandering path I’ve taken thus far. I think trying to plan it would take some of the spark out.

What’s your six word memoir?

Life is short; eat dessert first.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Poetic-Rest In Peace, Nov. 12, 1964-July 15, 2001

Six years ago, Anthony Ian Berkeley—better known to fans as Too Poetic from ’90s horrorcore group Gravediggaz—succumbed to colon cancer. Initially given only four months to live, he hung on for just over two years. It was this willingness to live and tenacity towards death that made Poetic a far contradiction to the title of his group. For that reason, his early passing left a foul taste in the mouths of many hip-hop heads, as he had so much more to contribute to this art form.

Born in Trinidad and raised in Long Island, Poetic fell in love with hip-hop early on and formed the Brothers GRYM with younger siblings Brainstorm and E Sharp in 1989. Sharp handled some of the production duties, while Poetic and Brainstorm rocked the mic. They created a buzz for themselves on the underground with their first official demo, which included notable cuts like “Circle-Circle-Dot-Dot” and “GRYMnastics.” Just when the group was close to landing a record deal, Brainstorm surprisingly decided to quit rap altogether and forced Poetic to pursue a solo career. Despite scoring an underground hit with the 12-inch single “God Made Me Funky/Poetical Terror” on Tommy Boy Records, success didn’t come easy for Poetic. The rap vet spent a brief period of time homeless before longtime friend Prince Paul offered him a spot in the supergroup Gravediggaz, which also included Frukwan from Stetsasonic and the RZA from Wu-Tang Clan. The quartet’s debut, Six Feet Deep, was released on Gee Street/Island in 1994 to high praise and introduced “horrorcore” rap to the masses. Poetic, who had by this point changed his moniker to Grym Reaper, was a stand out member because of his eccentric flow and maniacal laughter that could often be heard scratching the walls in the background.

The ingenious novelty of the Gravediggaz insanity act began to dissipate by the time the group’s 1997 sophomore effort, The Pick, the Sickle and the Shovel. Poetic began to stray away from the morbid Grym Reaper side of his music and leaned more towards his philosophical side. Songs like “Repentance Day,” “Dangerous Mindz” and “Fairytalez” displayed his talent as an MC much more than his previous work. Gravediggaz, however, went through tough times shortly after the album’s release. Looking to pursue other avenues in their careers, Prince Paul and RZA—who had evolved into one of hip-hop’s most respected producers—decided to leave the group. Then, in May ’99, Poetic collapsed in his home studio and was rushed to the hospital, where doctors discovered he had an advance case of colon cancer. Lacking health insurance, the diminutive rapper saw his medical bills soar while hip-hop artists and fans tried to raise money for his costly surgery and chemotherapy. Tragically, the efforts were all for naught as Poetic died from the disease on July 15, 2001. In an effort to keep his rhyme partner’s legacy alive, Frukwan released 2002’s Nightmare in A-Minor, the final Gravediggaz’s album he and Poetic were working on before his death. Now, six years later, pays tribute and respect to Poetic. On record and in life, he still holds a place in our hearts.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Teacher of the year stands out after 32 years of service

It’s not every day that Milton Elementary speech therapist, Mrs. Barbara Winson-Riedel is given the best teacher of the year award by the Jefferson school board. But it is every day that she feels like the luckiest teacher in the world, “I’m so privileged to have this job—it’s quite an experience to work with handicapped children.”

On June 18th during a school board administration meeting, Mrs. Winson-Riedel (formally just Ms. Riedel, she recently got married), received the prestigious award from the school board after colleagues nominated her for her stellar work with preschool disabled, three, four, and five, and kindergarten disabled, four, five, and six.

One of the people who gladly nominated her was Angie Carney, the school nurse who has many times watched on as Mrs. Winson-Riedel taught her classes.

“You can see her success with the kids. It’s measurable,” says nurse Carney, who has known Mrs. Winson-Riedel for the past 12 years of her service at the school. “She’s dedicated to the children.”

Mrs. Winson-Riedel, a Montclair St. alum who has worked in Jefferson for the past thirty-two years, attributes her work with the kids as a one on one experience that she calls, “a journey.”

“Whatever I’m doing is good,” said Mrs. Winson-Riedel, who received the message that she was the best teacher of the year from her Principal, Tim Plotts, a couple of months ago.

“She’s a constant professional,” says Principal Plotts who also nominated Mrs. Winson-Riedel for her service with the school. “The way that she takes every student and empowers them to want to speak…she’s outstanding.”

Nurse Carney also adds that it’s not only how hard she works but also the way she works that’s been so effective in the past.

“It’s all how she runs the program,” says Nurse Carney, who says Mrs. Winson-Riedel teaches every child specific to their needs. “There are 30 to 35 children in each class [and she gets] very personal [with them].”

Friday, July 6, 2007

Former Janitor Cleans Out School, Stirs up Trouble

It was a bitingly chilly morning on October 27, 2006. And if anyone can attest to that, it’s the students of the Jefferson school system who had to stand outside in the cold after a bomb scare was called in to the Morris County Sheriff’s Dept. Communications Center.

But after an eight month investigation by the Jefferson Township Police, it turns out that former school janitor, John Weigel III, 24 of Parsippany, stirred up the trouble by making a false call. Charged by Det. James Caruso with terroristic threats, false public alarm, and a false 9-1-1, Mr. Weigel was released on a $10,000 bail. A motive as to why he made the threat in the first place is still up in the air.

“We issued a complaint and had a warrant written up,” says Lt. Eric Wilsusen.

It all occurred when Mr. Weigel called from a payphone at the Green Valley Shopping Center. He said that a bomb would go off at the high school at 10 a.m., which forced the police to move into action. A bomb squad was sent to the school to sniff it out.

The threat, which turned out to be completely spurious, stirred up some commotion with parents. Some were merely upset that the school wasn’t better prepared for such a scenario since it made the students stand outside while the bomb search took place. Others—a select few—were downright furious when their children were suspended after they left the school grounds prematurely before the school sent all the students home.
Still, at a school board meeting on April 30th that quickly followed the bomb scare, Superintendent Kathleen Fuchs didn’t apologize for her decision to suspend certain students from the school.

“I did it so similar threats don’t happen again on later occasions,” said Superintendent Fuchs at the meeting.

A trial date has yet to be determined.

Monday, July 2, 2007

PSP Review: Hot Brain

Want to go to the Big Brain Academy, but your parents only have tuition and trust fund money for the PSP? Don’t sweat it, comrade, your life’s not over (Not yet, anyway). Believe it or not, you can actually get quite an education at the Hot Brain Institute, the PSP’s equivalent to Nintendo’s college of large craniums. But I must warn you, if you’re not prepared to be alert and attentive during class, Dr. Ed Warmer (voiced by, wait for it…Fred Willard!) can make you feel awfully dumb and insecure in only a matter of minutes when he tells you your brain is “ice cold.”

Structured in a form of tests that measures your logic, memory, math skills, language and concentration, Hot Brain is a lot like Big Brain in that its purpose is to flex your cerebral muscles at the same time it’s showing you your I.Q. And that’s one of the reasons I like this game—it has the ability to mentally jumpstart your brain AND show you that you need to bone up on your addition (yes, that’s right, I said addition) table. But also like Big Brain, you won’t be playing this game for hours on end, as you’ll quickly find your brain gets tired after about an hour of play. So don’t pick this game up if you’re expecting a game that you can just lean back in your Papasan and play with one eye on the TV, and the other on the PSP because this game really demands your concentration.

But you wouldn’t pick up this game expecting Contra anyway, so if you’re the type of gamer who thinks the only type of puzzle you want to solve is pushing boxes onto levers, then you’re looking at the wrong game here, pal. What this game does do extremely well, though, is wake up your brain with its easy (yet challenging) questions that increase in difficulty the faster you answer them. So if you’re actually still in school, I’d recommend playing this game early in the morning for a few minutes before you take a test, as it will definitely get your brain cooking.

But if you’re thinking this just sounds like a PSP rip-off of Big Brain, I’d have to tell you, weeeeell, not exactly. The catch of Hot Brain is that it measures the temperature of your brain with the activity it’s giving off by how hard you’re thinking. The hotter your brain is, the more your brain is getting a work-out, and the three groups in each category (for example, the Language category has games that measure your knowledge in spelling, letter order and matching pictures with rhymes) do a great job of keeping you interested for a little while. But therein lies the problem—there’s not enough variety. While you won’t find your brain memorizing patterns and therefore, rendering the game useless, you also won’t find yourself having the same enthusiasm you once did when you first booted up the game—unlike a game of Sudoku, which seems to have limitless potential for fun.

Also a little disappointing is how often Fred Willard repeats the same educational facts over and over again. While I do think it’s interesting that a yawn comes from neurotransmitters located in the brain, I DON’T think it’s interesting that you just told me that fact seven seconds ago Mr. Willard, but thanks for reminding me. Even so, that’s really just a small quibble of mine, and if you’re not bothered by learning things through repetition, it may actually help you. But for me, it’s just an annoyance.

Also of note is that there is a multi-player feature for two to four players that sounds pretty interesting. But since I don’t know anybody else with the game, I couldn’t try it out. So keep that in mind if you’re thinking about making a purchase as that adds about one more star to my vote as I like it when like minds think alike (and also get a brain grade of “lukewarm”).

All in all, Hot Brain is a fun experience if you’re only playing it for about ten or twelve minutes a day. Anymore than that, though, and you’ll quickly get a chilly reception from your brain telling you to turn it off.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Guru interview

Due to a question I asked Guru and his new "super-producer" Solar regarding how many people hated his Street Scriptures album, this interview couldn't go to print because the two artists wouldn't be cooperative with me. But let me explain.

If any of you know me, you know I wouldn't just state a comment that many people didn't like one of his albums if it wasn't true. And after reading on MANY message boards that people didn't like it, I brought it up as one of the questions. Needless to say, Guru wasn't happy.

Feeling bad for awhile that I had apparently stepped on a toe I shouldn't have, I was reassured that HE was the one who was acting out of line after I asked a friend of mine who's very involved with the hip-hop community (He's the online editor for XXL) why he might have gone off on me the way he did. I found out that many publications haven't been interviewing Guru lately because he's been very confrontational with the press as of late. And while this article would beg to differ--basically, it just makes him look very laconic as Solar does most of the talking--I can tell you that after I was finished with the interview, the next day when I called up for more quotes, I got an earful of "You're a faggot" this, and "Watch your back on the streets" thats. And this is all for stating something I found out on a few message boards. Talk about a tough crowd. So, without further ado...The Guru interview.

For better or worse, Guru has always stayed true to himself and his beliefs, and never allowed the critics or even his fans to dictate what he was going to do with his next project. With a long run of glory as the other half of the critically acclaimed duo, Gangstarr with DJ Premier, it wasn’t difficult for Guru to keep his braggadocios ways intact, as he had definitely earned it—Daily Operation and Moment of Truth are legendary albums in themselves. But after the supposed separation of the group and his new, more recent work with Superproducer Solar, some have gone on to say that Guru has lost the spark of creativity he once had when he was with Premo. His solo projects have received iffy responses from some of his fans, and it’s gotten to the point that even his beloved Jazzmatazz series has been slightly tarnished. XXL-Mag takes an in depth look at his latest project, his current status with his new producer, and what the two of them have to say about DJ Premier.

Every Jazzmatazz album has a different vibe to it. What’s the vibe with this one?

Guru: The vibe with this one is energy. And perfection. It’s star-studded, and all of the feature artists gave it their all. It’s more than just a collabo. It’s 110%. Solar probably has more he can say about that.

Solar: They’re all great.

So, what’s the deal with 7 Grand Records?

Guru: 7 Grand is a movement. It’s putting a better face on music in the North East. It changes it all.

Okay. So how’d you guys go about picking out the guests this time around? I kind of miss Herbie Hancock.

Guru: First of all, no artist has been on these albums more than once except Donald Byrd, and that’s because he was my mentor.

Solar: Yeah, how we went about it, we brainstormed, traded, and vibed about it. Then we reached out to them and got them on the record.

And nobody declined when you asked?

Guru: No.

Solar: It was like, when Guru asked me to do this album, I said, let me listen to the past albums and take it all in so I could make a fresh Jazzmatazz album. And then I said, well, let me take a look at Jazz fusion with hip-hop, and I found that Guru really was the father of it. So with the hip-hop and jazz, I took the influences and found that they’re really the same thing. Jazz is a subculture, and it’s a mixture of people from different cultures. I looked at hip-hop and said, yeah, this came from New York, and Manhattan, and then I’d look at Jazz and said, this and this came out of Harlem, and I took all the things that I could personally dig into. Because even though I was born and raised on the streets of New York, a lot of the things I grew up on came from a jazzy influence. Like Bob James, who did the intro to the show Taxi. To get him on this album with Common, and of course, Guru, was great. Another example is one of the breaks from Good Times. They got that song from an upright bass (*makes jazz beats with mouth*). So, how I see it, jazz is right here, right now. We’re bringing it back to the forefront.

And so that’s why the new Jazzmatazz album got the title, Back to the Future? Because you’re bringing it back, but still making music towards the future.

Solar: Ex-ac-tly! Without the past, you can’t have the future.

A complaint some people have with these Jazzmatazz albums is that it’s not as jazzy as it used to be. What do you think about people who say that?

Guru: Can’t please everybody! But I think this one will satisfy those people [who say that]. It’s lyrical, New York, and it’s got that BOOM BAP. It has everything.

Solar: It also has a laced up production. As a New Yorker, my soul is unique, and the musical composition has a very futuristic sound. And it’s kind of like the Street Scriptures album. I don’t mind that a lot of people haven’t caught up to that album yet. Like, we’re on the Redline soundtrack, and that’s big. So I have no problem being ahead of the creative curve. Not on the commercial curve, but the creative curve.

Speaking of Street Scriptures, a lot of people hate that album, why do you think that is?

Solar: I think a lot of people didn’t even listen to Street Scriptures, and people were just comparing me to Premier. Those people got stuck on one point, and didn’t know how to get off it. When you look at the world wide appeal, that shows and proves. So far, we’ve sold 100,000 copies.

Guru: And to add to that, the New York Post, Black Beat, Critical Beatdown, all gave it great reviews.

Solar: The people who talked about it seemed to get more attention than the reviews themselves, and from the critics who actually matter.

You guys seem to be more famous overseas, why do you think that is?

Solar: For me, this is a new thing. BBC UK just put me in something they were making, and this is from me coming right out the box. Russell Simmons was in it, and they of course had Guru because of his legendary past. But I wouldn’t say that’s still how it is now. Coming up, we have a five week sold out tour. Now we’re getting huge shows, but we’re still not going to go pop. We’re not going to go all out.

Guru: I couldn’t say it any better. We’re real people with real passion.

Solar: We love what we do and we’re real passionate about it. It’s like with great painters like Renoir, or, and I’m into martial artist myself, like Bruce Lee. How he dedicated himself to his art, that’s what we do.

What ever happened to Ill Kid Records?

Guru: That was a good start, and it came from the ground up, but this [7 Grand Records] is the real deal. Now we have the hottest new production, it’s on a whole new level.

Solar: It’s like with J-4 (Jazzmatazz 4). Just look at what’s going on [around you]. Some albums are all over the place, not from somewhere close. This album applies to the times we are living in. Because really, what album speaks to the streets like Street Scriptures? This album is for thinkers who care about what’s going on, not for people who care about what kind of new hairdo Sanjaya has.

Guru: Just to add to that, there was a story about a big riot at the M&M store [near Times Square] where 5000 people applied for only 188 jobs.

Solar: And who else is going to talk about that? If you don’t want to hear what we have to put out, I’m going to have to direct you to somewhere else. Like the porno section.

Going back to Street Scriptures and Premier, what do you think about people who still talk about him?

Solar: Honestly, I think it’s only a small group of people who do that, and I think it might have been over business relations. With this album, we have some outstanding people. And to be completely honest with you, I don’t have anything against Premier, I’ve worked with him, I know the man, and I have nothing against him and I never will.


Guru: I’d just like to say that it’s industry wise, not street wise.

Solar: Some of the people who talk about it might just be trying to get me and Guru to start a beef. But this is how it is, if I have a problem with Premier, I’ll take it up with Premier. But I don’t, and I wish him all the best with his career, and I’m sure he wishes me the best for mine, too.

Guru: There it is.