HipHopGods - Where Classic Hip Hop Lives

General Steele of Smif-N-Wessun: The HipHopGods Interview, Part Two

General Steele of Smif-N-Wessun: The HipHopGods Interview, Part Two

As one half of legendary Hip Hop duo Smif-N-Wessun and a member of the revered Hip Hop collective, Boot Camp Click, Brooklyn MC Steele (also known as General Steele) has been carving out his own niche in Hip Hop history for over 20 years. Along with his partner-in-rhyme Tek, he’s perfected his craft and diligently studied the culture to create his signature style. At the same time, he continually evolves as an artist and keeps pushing his musical boundaries. In Part II of the HipHopGods interview, the tenacious MC divulges what his music means to him and some of his favorite places to write. 

 

HipHopGods (Kyle Eustice): Any time I see comments on your music, people are saying things like, ’Thank you for delivering real Hip Hop.” Does it feel good to be embraced after all of these years?

Steele: It feels great to be received and loved by the people. It’s very humbling. I like to grow with my fanbase and I love to meet new fans. It gives me a boost at times when you may feel unappreciated.

Where do you prefer to write? 

I like to write alone, either in closed quarters or more preferably, outdoors. I prefer not to write in the studio around a whole bunch of people and distraction. I’m flexible, especially when I am working on a Smif-N-Wessun song or project. Tek and I have an interesting chemistry when we create, which is what makes us Smif-N-Wessun. I’m a bit of a weirdo, so I bring this unorthodox flavor at times. When I am creating alone or working on a solo project or feature, I implement or accent other characteristics and bring them more to the forefront. I have a project titled “Space Traveling” dropping in 2017. I wrote quite a few of those songs on my roof during the summer. 

What are you most excited about in terms of projects you’re working on? 

I just love to work and I love to create. I like to meet creative people. I like to learn new things and try different things. What excites me is the aspect of creating something that will reach and possibly inspire someone, and more so be placed on the timeline of history no matter how successful.

What qualities does someone need to have in order for you to collaborate with them? 

You have to be humble yet confident. I have met many artist and the ones who tend to stand out are the ones that are confident in their space. They don’t have the need to be like or sound like someone else. They also have a knowledge and respect for the culture and the craft. I don’t like arrogant artist. I don’t care how nice you are. You got to be willing to work. You can’t be a lazy guy or girl with talent. You have to have a heightened work ethic and an appreciation for progress.

What does the music you make mean to you on a personal level? 

The music I make is a connection between god, myself and the people who it reaches. It is spiritual in the sense that I have to dig past the surface to find relevant conversation that will interest you. It is also a release. It is extremely therapeutic and it has healing properties. Sometimes I listen to some of the songs I made and I can’t believe its me. It’s like I was possessed by the ancestors to deliver a message. And that message is just, “Love life, live.” 

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