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Sun, 15 January 2006
NMS is the duo of former Company Flow MC Big Jus and Californian avant-rap legend Orko Eloheim. Their first LP together, Woe To Thee dropped in 2003 to underground acclaim, and their latest opus Imperial Letters Of Perfection takes their politically relevant music to the next level. GrooveOn had the chance to chat with Big Jus about the new album, leaving NYC and world politics.
Imperial Letters Of Protectionshould have been released just after Woe To Thee. Why did you wait two years?
JUS: Peace... Big Dada wanted to release Black Mamba Serums first...3 albums in 3 years, not bad....
This album is quite different than the one you wanted then. Is it really the world events that changed your musical creativity?
JUS: Of Course, 9/11 happened right where my label Subverse was located. I was directly affected by bullshit.
Could you explain why this album is much more experimental than it should have been?
JUS: We're torn between making the record we really wanted to make and what our conscious allowed. Our process has to have some form of enjoyment & challenge. Experimentation allowed us to protest yet still challenge our creativity.
Some of its tracks even don't have beat, which is a very important criteria for Hip Hop purists. Do you have a plan to change the face of Hip Hop? Is it something you really look for? Are NMS revolutionary artists?
JUS: I thought I’ve been making innovative music from the start? I’m a NYC Original B Boy; I deal in style and culture...Not emulation. Zulu nation. Don’t get it twisted.
Your lyrics are really politically committed. According to you, what are the solutions to get USA on the right way?
Seek indictments against the Bush administration for war crimes, most importantly relating to the inside engineered plot of September 11th. All evidence posed for going to war have proven false. Anyone looking closer at the events of 9/11 can clearly see that it too is completely impossible as the government portrays it. September 11, 2001 changed the world and the US forever. Only a proper 9/11 inquiry can set the re-set course of history for the better.
Do you have, like most of the world’s youth, the impression that the American politics influence the ones of other countries? There is a paradox because the USA is really late about a lot of things, but seems to be very strong in politics. What is your opinion?
JUS: American Politics are a sham. Period...It's the classic shell game.
Orko walked into the room...
Orko: Once upon a time, people in the USA would believe anything the government would say. But two Presidential coups in 4 years has a way of awakening a large part of the population.
In the past, Hip Hop artists were to the forefront of discontent. Recently, Kanye West said in public what he thought about the events in New Orleans. Don't you think it is high time that most of hip hop artists take the floor and be very critical towards the politicians? What is your own opinion about the events in New Orleans?
Ork New Orleans was a blessing in disguise. First, it put the race relations in Amerika on Front Street. Even the president of India said, "I don't understand this. When the tsunami hit, you where here in 18 hours with food and help...but not for your own people?"
Two years ago, you (Big Jus) left New York for Georgia. Could you explain the reason behind the move? Was it like a new beginning for you and your career?
JUS: I needed to get away from ground zero. Georgia was extremely productive for me. I did both NMS albums and Poor Peoples Day. The country living and southern hospitality is great, except it's an overwhelmingly Republican state. During Bush's
Re-election, Georgia recorded more Bush votes than Texas. Then it was time to go. I’m out in Cali now, fun in the sun.
How did you meet Orko Elohiem? Could you introduce him to us because you're better known in this part of the world?
JUS: I met Orko in ‘96 on Company Flow's first West Coast tour. He opened for us in San Diego with a tambourine. I bought Crop Formations from him after the show on cassette. I listened to that album for months. Orko's the truth.
Could we compare NMS and Company Flow in the way you work and how you approach the music in general?
JUS: Different personalities, same work ethic, and the desire to innovate.
You've created Subverse Music, which does not exist anymore. What are the advantages and consequences of leading a record label? Is it something you plan to continue for the future?
JUS: Once again 9/11 played a part. We were a couple blocks away. It killed off our operational budget and tanked the economy. Even more so in NYC. I’m working on something now, and if I could pull it off would be monumental for the entire industry worldwide.
You've just released Poor People’s Day on Mush Records, which sounds much more conventional. How did you approach it in comparison with NMS?
JUS: Poor Peoples Day is more straightforward social commentary, for a wider audience. I prefer to creatively place the message and meaning, a la NMS, but strive
for perfection either way...
So who is the real Big Jus? NMS one or Mush one?
JUS: LUNE TNS has many, many MC styles. Untapped production chops. And concepts out the ass.
What are your plans for the future? Another record? Another collaboration?
JUS: NMS 3, JUS solo 3, a visual DVD, New Company Flow material, and another Picture Disc single and other assorted goodies.
Free words for the end - Peace and Respect.
NMS’ Imperial Letters Of Perfection is out now through Inertia.