interview STRONG ARM STEADY (AUGUST 2007) | Interview By: Eddie Gurrola

Dubcnn recently sat down with Strong Arm Steady at the San Diego stop of the Rock The Bells tour for an exclusive interview. In this feature, we discuss the SAS Gang’s new compilation album “Deep Hearted,” which is in stores now. In addition to this, we get into detail about their forthcoming major label debut “Arms and Hammers,” which is scheduled to drop next year. We also cover various topics such as the mixtape game, new solo projects, their relationship with Talib Kweli, and Xzibit’s current role in the group.

As always we have both the transcript and the audio for you to check and please feel free to send any feedback regarding the interview to: eddie@dubcnn.com

Interview was done in August 2007.

Questions Asked By :
Eddie Gurrola

Strong Arm Steady Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That Here

Full Interview In Audio : Here

Dubcnn: What’s up everybody, we're here with Strong Arm Steady - Mitchy Slick, Krondon & Phil Da Agony. How’s it going everybody?

Krondon: Yeah, yeah - we right here!

Mitchy Slick: Yeah it’s all good, we at the Rock The Bells, just enjoying the love in my hometown. Mitchy Slick, this my hometown, it’s deep!

Dubcnn: Let’s get right into the new album [out now,] "Deep Hearted." What can we expect from the album?

Krondon: "Deep Hearted" is a collaboration, compilation album. It’s not the debut record, but it is a full length album with all original material, with all our friends and family around the music industry that we call Hip-Hop. We got Juvenile, Chamillionaire, Black Thought from The Roots, Socrates, Dilated Peoples, Talib Kweli of course, who is our label mate from Blacksmith/Warner Bros and the CEO of the label. Of course the whole Strong Arm Steady [group is on it too,] and we just wanted to put that out before the debut album and [show] how we work with other artists.

Dubcnn: So it’s more of a compilation than a full-on album?

Krondon: Oh yeah, totally.

Mitchy Slick: The real album will be finished in a minute. It’s the craziest shit ever made, especially in a time when everything is one sounding. You turn on [Power] 106 and every fucking song sounds the same and shit. We really came creative on our solo album that we got coming on Blacksmith/Warner Bros, so you [will] most definitely see a difference between this album and the "Deep Hearted" album. "Arms & Hammers" and the "Deep Hearted" album are very different.

Dubcnn: Arms & Hammers?

Mitchy Slick: "Arms & Hammers" is the name of the real album that’s coming up!

Dubcnn: How long did it take you to put together the “Deep Hearted” compilation?

Krondon: It was actually a year and a half in the making because we were doing a lot of travelling with X to the Z [Xzibit], who was a part of the group at the time. So we were doing a lot of touring, promoting “Weapons Of Mass Destruction,” as well as doing Strong Arm Steady shows. So we [were] putting the record together like that, and that’s how we even got a lot of the songs, because we [were] travelling to different markets. We’ve worked on “Arms And Hammers” for a year too, so we’ve been recording non-stop for the last two and a half years, without one break man!

Dubcnn: Wow! Since you guys do a lot of mixtapes as well, what would you say is the difference in the approach to crafting a mixtape as opposed to making an album?

Phil: The album “Arms & Hammers” is more conceptual. A lot of the songs you hear on there is more like klack music, like the title “Arms & Hammers!” You know what I’m sayin’? It’s a real hard sounding album. You’re gonna get a lot of bassy [sounds] and hard-hitting snares. We come up with our mixtapes conceptually too, but the “Arms & Hammers” album, as far as the beats, we’re going for the best production. [We’re] paying the top-notch producers what they’re supposed to get for the beats. On mixtapes, we’re just rhyming over whatever we want to. On the album, we go hard. You know, it’s our album. Our mixtapes is one thing, but we’re perfectionists at whatever we do. Our mixtapes [are] great, but our album is just greater.

Dubcnn: Who do you guys have on the “Arms & Hammers” album as far as production?

Phil: Of course DJ Khalil, Jelly Roll, Blaqtoven, Hi-Tek. Basically everybody that’s been working with us, and a lot of new cats that we’re bringing to the table as well.

Dubcnn: You guys also have a new mixtape with DJ Warrior, “Cali Untouchable Radio Volume 17: Klack Klack Edition…”

Mitchy Slick: Yeah, that’s crazy. It’s a lot of exclusive shit on there too, so that’s one to check out right there. The mixtape game done kind of changed. Now it’s about being competitive with the songs and the music. So now everybody’s [been] putting out real shit on their mixtapes. So when you hear that shit, it’s fire. Warrior, you know that’s our boy! He’s been fucking with us since…

Krondon: Day one! The unique thing about that tape, like Mitchy was saying, is we’ve got a lot of exclusive shit that you’re probably not gonna hear on no other tapes. A lot of cats put out mixtapes, and then they get to take the same song to all the DJs. [That’s] not our case. When you get a Strong Arm Steady tape, that tape is exclusive. Especially with Warrior and DJ Envy from the East Coast, [who] is doing a collabo with Warrior for us. [That’s] another special thing – we’re kind of hitting two coasts at one time.

Dubcnn: So it’s going to be more like a street album than a mixtape?

Krondon: Yeah, it’s gonna be like a street album, mixtape – all of that. One in the same.

Dubcnn: Are you guys planning on going on an international tour?

Mitchy Slick: We’re on one now! Every time we go out, our work ethic is just to promote everything we’re doing. We’re doing two different tours at one time right now. We’ve got the tour where it’s mostly our dates, and then we’re doing dates [for the] Rock The Bells tour. We’re promoting all this shit. It’s all one movement.

Dubcnn: What’s Xzibit’s role going to be on the album?

Krondon: He’s on the “Deep Hearted” album, a song that we did a long time ago with Ras Kass [and] Chamillionaire. But X inspired all of this shit, you know what I’m sayin’? I’ll just put it like that. Our records are inspired by cats like Dr. Dre, X to the Z, Ice Cube, and all these cats. We the New West niggas. [We’re] the face and the poster [children] of the new West Coast. Big shout to everybody like G. Malone, Roccett, Mykestro, 211, [and] all the homies back home doing their thing. Strong Arm Steady is the face of that. We’re the N.W.A. of this new time.

The uniqueness of the “Deep Hearted” album is [that] you’re really getting the friends and family of Strong Arm Steady. All the producers, every rapper – [they’re] cats that come to our house daily, or whenever they’re in L.A. they come to our crib. So you’re really getting to see how strong our affiliations are, [and] how deep our roots are in the game. That’s why it’s called “Deep Hearted.”

“Arms & Hammers” is all the bells and whistles. Real high-level production, and the marketing and promotion is going to be real heavy and big within that. “Arms & Hammers” is coming in February ‘08, but “Deep Hearted” is [in stores now!]

Dubcnn: How did you guys hook up with Talib Kweli for the Blacksmith deal?

Phil Da Agony: Kweli has been a friend of ours for years. He’s an international brother – he be back and forth from New York to L.A. all the time. He was an artist on Rawkus before the Warner Bros. deal that we’re doing right now. A mutual friend of ours, Black Shawn, introduced us. We’ve been friends for a while, and that relationship just [developed further.] When he built this Blacksmith label with Warner Bros, he offered us a deal, and we took it. That’s basically what happened.

Dubcnn: Is he going to be involved in the creative process for the albums?

Phil Da Agony: Kweli lets us pretty much do what we do. We felt that’s a reason he wanted to sign us, because we were pretty much self-contained. We try to incorporate Kweli, and vice versa. We do mixtapes together, and we’ve got him on our first single, “One Step,” which is on the “Deep Hearted” album. [He’s] just a friend of ours. It’s not made up, or anything that we tried to put together. [We’re] just good friends who have the same common goals and interests [in] music.

Dubcnn: What’s the plan for new solo ventures from you guys?

Phil Da Agony: Solo ventures will be coming after the Strong Arm Steady album, although we’ve all got mixtapes and solo albums in stores. Mitchy Slick’s got the “Urban Survival [Syndrome,]” I’ve got “The Aromatic Album,” [and] Kron got an album coming out early next year. So definitely check for that as well.

Dubcnn: You’ve got “48 Hours On Gang Street” coming as well…

Mitchy Slick: “48 Hours On Gang Street”: it’s gonna be an opportunity for all the niggas that I fuck with, that’s reputable cats, and especially Southern Cal cats, [to work with me.] I’m not discriminating or nothing, but it’s a certain type of vibe that I’m gonna bring to this [record.] It’s gonna be all the grimy, street shit, and all the reputable cats that do this shit that [have] a fan base in Southern California that I fuck with, they’re going to be on this project. The purpose of this record is to let all everybody feed off of one another’s fan base, and be able to open it up a little wider for everybody. That’s what the purpose is for “48 Hours On Gang Street.” I’m gonna take you to every street in Southern Cal that’s a gang street, and give you a bar of what this Southern California life is like.

Dubcnn: Krondon, do you have anything in the works solo-wise?

Krondon: Yeah, I’m working on finishing up “Krondon The Kronicles: The Black Gold LP.” That’s gonna be coming out probably after the Strong Arm Steady “Arms & Hammers” record. We’re working on a deal right now with a couple of labels that we’re already in bed with, to see what’s going to be the best situation. If not, another one will be the best situation. That’s probably gonna come right after Strong Arm Steady.

Dubcnn: Is there anything else you want to say?

Krondon: Definitely. On Dubcnn, y’all keep doing what the fuck y’all doing, because without y’all, there would be no West. Please believe that “Deep Hearted” is coming in stores August 28th. Go get that shit, everybody’s on there – Chamillionaire, Black Thought, Juvenile, The Roots, Socrates, Talib Kweli, Dilated Peoples, Tha Alkaholiks…everybody man! So please go support that shit. It’s the West Coast’s finest new niggas coming to the motherfuckin’ game, and we’re not stopping. It’s only the beginning. “Arms & Hammers” in February of ’08, [and] “Ear Drum,” Talib Kweli, in stores [now,] go get that shit! We’ve got something in store for y’all niggas every week. Please believe it. Get that! Klack, klack, klack, klack!



Strong Arm Steady Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That Here

Full Interview In Audio : Here


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