Freestyle Fellowship – Don’t Call It A Comeback!
They are here again – but don’t call it a comeback: Freestyle Fellowship. Though it has been 20 years ago, most will remember the group because of their classic albums „To Whom It May Concern“ and „Innercity Griots“. Two West Coast Underground classics that had great impact on the scene. If you are not familiar with that, it’s now time to know about Fellowship. DEAD Magazine author Kolja Liebau got answers from Aceyalone, Myka 9, Self Jupiter and P.E.A.C.E. about the ideas behind the Fellowship. They bridge the gap between the now and the past and give insight in their future.
DEAD: For those who were born in the 90s, can you explain who and what Freestyle Fellowship is?
Freestyle Fellowship (FF): We’re still figuring that out but on the surface we’re a collection of entities whose soul function is to create ways to communicate our inner most thoughts thru music challenging our listeners and ultimately establishing an open forum for expression and soul searchers alike.
DEAD: By reading an interview with Myka in late 2008, I heard for the first time that you had recorded new material together. Then it was said that the Impromptu reunion show in L.A. in 2009 (I think it was the Project Blowed 15th Anniversary) served as decisive inspiration. When did the idea of recording a new FF album get more concrete? When did you start working on “The Promise”?
Realizing that we had some unfinished business …Seemed like perfect timing.
FF: Basically, realizing that we had some unfinished business… Seemed like perfect timing… Jupiter gets released from prison. A few friends started giving us beats, really that’s all it took. We all knew it was time to unite… To form and here “we are” like the song implies.
DEAD: You wouldn’t call this a reunion, would you?
FF: Don’t call it a come back tho we been here 4 years.
DEAD: There is the saying “let bygones be bygones”. What do you reply on that? Why is it good to renew the view on Freestyle Fellowship?
Together as friends we’re always gonna come back to the ship cause of course our job is to explore strange new worlds, to boldly go where no crew has gone before.
FF: I’ll use this analogy, let’s say that the fellowship is the star trek enterprise… and this is the next generation… Myka9 is Data, Acey is captain Kirk, P.E.A.C.E. is that doctor and Jupiter is the big guy in the engine room who’s always screaming… I’m giving her all she’s got Scotty! Together as friends we’re always gonna come back to the ship cause of course our job is to explore strange new worlds, to boldly go where no crew has gone before. I’m joking but oddly the metaphor is without a sense of irony.
DEAD: And what is your “Promise” within?
FF: We will never fall the fuck!
DEAD: If I remember correctly, the songs on “Shockadoom” were recorded in 1998 supposedly for a new LP. After that you recorded “Temptations” in 2001. “Shockadoom” was released as an EP later in 2002. Why was that?
FF: Jupiter fell in love and moved to Maryland. When that didn’t work out he came back and that’s when we got the studio in Leimert. This was the first time we had ever had studio of our own. Jup felt that it was either now or never. Jup was focused! So we compiled started making songs at our new spot. Temptation was born 2001 and since we had older songs Jupiter pressed up Shockadoom to help pay other merch and of course the new office space.
DEAD: So it is almost one decade after the last release of FF. It is a long time with new experiences and influences (including imprisonment). From Accepted Eclectic to Aceyalone & The Lonely Ones. From Mikah Nine to Myka 9. Megabite and Haiku D’Etat. How did that effect “The Promise”?
The main formula of the group in this day and age is to understand and to play to our own individual strengths.
FF: Not sure. But still catching up to A LOT of things I (Self Jupiter) have missed. However, interestingly enough, I’ve been blessed with a good memory and so I guessed I was an untapped resource of ideas and concepts. And note: the main formula of the group in this day and age is to understand and to play to our own individual strengths. Each one of us is (a) powerful entity in our own right. U know being solo artists and all. But there’s a certain magic that occurs when all is equal to the sum. Kinda hard to explain – but that’s why DEAD Mag asked what and who is FF (and) I told we’re still figuring that out. Still living and learning.
DEAD: Aceyalone, you have worked closely with Decon before. Is that the reason why the latest work of FF is released on Decon as Haiku D’Etat was?
FF: Well, they showed interest and took initiative. For future reference, if there’s any other viable company that’s willing to unite with us contact us…
DEAD: Who has done the production of “The Promise” besides the appearances of Eligh, Black Milk and Exile?
FF: We have 2 songs by Kenny Segal, Biz, JMD from the Earthquake Brothers, Omid, Bionic, Esuper, Myka9…
DEAD: What I have heard so far, your new album sounds familiar with its type of unison chanting and fast rhyming of what I thought FF would sound like (e.g. “We are”). Was it a reflected decision to build on what is unique about FF or was it just the result of meeting each other? I mean you are all out of the Good Life with its focus on freestyle and your name implies it, too. How much is improvisation when you are working on new songs?
The idea was to be traditionally present.
FF: Not too much on this album… This is a different kinda offering. Kinda wanted to fuse all the elements of each one of our past albums together with new and past producers. The idea was to be traditionally present.
DEAD: Do we have to wait another 10 years for the next FF album?
FF: No. We already have another album as we speak we’re selling at our shows called “Power Plant”! All New material! For 20 dollars u get a FF T-shirt and a “Power Plant” cd.
DEAD: Thanks for your time! I hope people will take their time to find out about Freestyle Fellowship in 2011 and way back then.
FF: Cool. Yeah, thanks man.Text: Kolja Liebau
Tags: Decon Records Freestlye Fellowship