KdawG: What's good Zagnif? Glad to have you here for this interview.
Zagnif: I'm cooling fam. How are you? Thanks for having me.
KdawG: Good to hear. Im' well. Just put on your record "The Meridian Gem". Of course, no problem!
KdawG: Let's talk a little about your brand new album first. This was your official debut album, as well as the first release from the Noble Scity collective.
Zagnif: Yeah, my first official album. As far as official albums go, yes the first from the Noble Scity camp. Although, Kaotny "Unpolished" could be considered the first official album, but that was completed before the brothers Crucial and Kaotny became officially apart of Noble Scity.
KdawG: Yeah, yeah. That's true. Can Noble Scity said to be a label as well as a collective of artists?
Zagnif: Yeah, it's a brotherhood. Our chemistry is that of kids that grew up together. Its amazing being that we're all from different areas of the globe and we have that chemistry together. On top of that, we don't just link through the internet, we also link up together in the physical as well regardless of our locations. And we definitely try to treat it as our own label.
KdwaG: Sounds very dope. Nothing better than that. Especially with regard to that you all know each other on the physical level, and you all together pushing out some real hip hop with roots in the good old boom bap. Exactly what the real heads want. Yeah, I also see you as a label, and that was my first thought, that this isn't just a collective, it's also a record label as well.
Zagnif: Yeah, definitely without a doubt. That's what were about, there's nothing flashy about us. We don't come from happy realms of life, I wish and I'm pretty sure we all wish, but unfortunately we weren't blessed with that. So we deal with what we know. And we do it on our own if thats what it has to be. We have our own beats, 6 MCs that can really rhyme, mixing/mastering, artwork, press our own CDs, everything is done pretty much in-house.
KdawG: Yes, exactly. No gimmicks around here.. It's also very impressive
that you do all of the work yourself. we've got some examples of artists who have done this before, started from scratch and built up something that reached a lot of people. So that's really something to look up to. Something to be proud of.
Zagnif: Yeah for real. Hopefully he catches on it.
(The interview continues below the picture.)
|"Pyramid Builders" One of the singles from "The Meridian Gem". Feat. Heaven Razah (Formerly known as Hell Razah of Sunz of Man and Wu-Tang affiliate, and Kevlaar 7 of the Wisemen. Produced by Crucial The Guillotine.|
KdawG: Yeah. "The Meridian Gem" also offers guest appearances from all the members of the Noble Scity collective, right? And you produced a couple of the joints yourself. Were you satisfied with the final outcome?
Zagnif: Yeah, everyone is on "The Meridian Gem" album. Yeah, I produced 5 joints on there. Very satisfied with this album, probably the only project of mine that after completed I've been consistently listening to. Usually, I release something and a week after releasing it I don't listen to it ever again, lol. But this album, I've been technically working on it since I was in high school, about 10 years ago, none of the songs are that old, but that's how long its been being constructed. When I finished the album, I waited almost 5 months before I actually released it just to make sure I was completely satisfied and everyone apart of Noble Scity loved it and never got tired of it.
KdawG: Sounds fantastic. Yes, the outcome can be said to be very good. It's a great album where everything is connected well. Flow, lyrics, beats, etc. No doubt about that. You have put a lot of work in this album, and I'm sure listeners and fans can hear it.
You also got some more guest appearances on the album, by artists outside of the Noble Scity?
Zagnif: Yes, Kevlaar 7 from The Wisemen who's been sort of family to me for over 10 years now is featured on there and also Heaven Razah, formerly known as Hell Razah from Sunz of Man/Wu-Tang.
KdawG: Yeah no doubt. Some strong names to have on a record. And I gotta say that they fit perfectly on this album. A really good collabo.
Zagnif: Thank you. Definitely do, they brought amazing verses to the table and Kevlaar also gave me a dope beat as well for Zubair.
KdawG: Yeah, that's true. Kevlaar also produced a track on this album. Except from your own productions, I see that most of the other tracks was produced by Illy Vas and Crucial The Guillotine of Noble Scity.
Zagnif: Yeah, all in-house production, except for the one Kevlaar produced track.
KdawG: As we talked about, "The Meridian Gem", is, except of Kaotny's "Unpolished" the first official album release on Noble Scity. But it ain't the first release in general. In 2011, you released the "Insignia EP" entirely produced by Illy Vas and Crucial The Guillotine. Tell us a little more about that.
Zagnif: Yeah, "Insignia" was a EP I kind of put together with songs I already had and then recorded like 2 new tracks and we put it out there. Actually, tracks such as "Icarus Ashes" and "Crown of Thorns" were originally done for "The Meridian Gem" album, but I kind put them on "Insignia" instead.
KdawG: Aight, interesting. So the EP was released as a collection of unreleased tracks in a way?
Zagnif: Yeah, pretty much.
Will there be any more releases on Noble Scity during 2013?
Zagnif: Yeah, right now were working on Sleeps "Blood Type Emcee" and Crucial The Guillotine's EP. I also may put out an EP on my born day (June 16 as stated on "The Overture" from "The Meridian Gem") entitled "Grandeur." Also, Illy Vas has a project called "The Circle Tape" he's working on and I'm executive producing a project for my man Kabe out in France, he's a producer, and that project will feature a bunch of artists rhyming over his beats.
KdawG: Sounds like we all have a lot to look forward to, then! In the meantime we can enjoy "The Meridian Gem"!
Zagnif: Definitely! True indeed!
KdawG: What inspires you to write?
Zagnif: Everything pretty much. But dope beats get me writing for sure, hearing others come dope on a record makes me want to murder the track lol. Sometimes my surroundings as well, even reading can sometimes bring up a couple of bars which then makes me extend those bars into a full verse. Sometimes I watch National Geographic Wild and see a Lion chasing and tearing apart his meal and that can inspire me too lol. But truthfully anything can inspire you if you're truly dedicated to writing.
KdawG: (Laughs) sounds very nice. The words of a true emcee. It is not hard to hear that you're passionate about this. You say that beats also can inspire you to write, how about when you create your own beats. What can inspire you to producing?
Zagnif: Truthfully, I hate producing, lol. My brothers will tell you, I hate every beat I do, almost. Its surprising I have 5 beats on the album. Sometimes, I'll hear a old soul track and I just love the track so much I want to sample it, but half the time it doesn't come out the way I like and I get frustrated lol. I really don't have the patience for beats which is why I don't make too many.
KdawG: Oh, I see. Well, anyway I gotta say that the beats you made for "The Meridian Gem" was very dope. So you got all reasons to proud of those.
But yeah, if you don't like to make beats that much, It's impressive that you actually made five for your album.
Zagnif: Thank you. Yeah, like I said its surprising they made it, lol.
KdawG: Haha, yeah.
What is hip hop for you? What's like the most important for you to reach the listener with, through your album, or your music in general. Not just on this album, but as an artist.
Zagnif: The words and message. The beats create the atmosphere, but the words and message is what you can take with you in the end and relate to.
KdawG: Well said. I agree on that one as well
KdawG: Any artists that you have been inspired by through the years?
Zagnif: My biggest influence is Kool G Rap, thats my favorite MC of all time, but besides him growing up I was influenced by Boot Camp, Wu-Tang, Rakim, Big Pun, Tragedy Khadafi, Nas, Mobb Deep, so many others. As far as recently, I've been inspired by artists like Sean Price, Roc Marciano, Ka, Heaven Razah, and of course my Noble brothers.
KdawG: Word. I can definitely feel you on the artists you named.
What's your thoughts on hip hop today? is it where it should be?
Zagnif: No, hip-hop in general is garbage to me. At least, thats my opinion. And I'm not talking just mainstream, underground is weak to me as well. I know that may be crazy talk to some, but truthfully as far as the mainstream goes we all know thats complete garbage, there's no words for it, but as far as the underground don't get me wrong there's a lot of dope music out there, but there's a lot of dudes out there who try to sound dusty and gutter, then claim that to be underground. Just because your recorded in a basement and its unbearable to listen to, doesn't make you underground, lol. Then, of course, you got the internet which is a blessing and a curse to hip-hop music.
KdawG: Yeah, that's true. No doubt about the mainstream at least.. It's like it's hurts the ears to listen (Laughs)
Zagnif: (Laughs) True.
KdawG: And yeah the internet can be a very good "tool".
Zagnif: Yes, if used correctly by artists and fans both.
KdawG: Yeah, I agree.
It's true about the underground as well.. Nobody is perfect, it's some garbage in general everywhere you look. But I have to say that it's a lot of blessed artists in the underground with much talent. Pretty much as yourself.
Zagnif: Yeah, definitely. We just got to get back to making albums and not just songs.
KdawG: I can talk for me, for example. I have promoted a lot of artists and producers,
and it varies how known they are. But in common, they all talented and/or great artists already. But yes, you are definitely on point: We have to get back to making albums.
Back to your album "The Meridian Gem". What's your personal favorite joint on the album? Do you got one?
Zagnif: Not really, I like "Egalitarian" a lot for the fact that everyone is on that track, minus Sleeps, he did have a verse on there, but unfortunately we received it after everything was mixed down. I just love songs with my brothers. I also love "Faridat." "Burial" is another favorite which because of Illy's verse forced me to write a dope verse and then forced me to add it onto the album because it was originally just a random track recorded. "II" is a big one also, then you got "Pyramid Builders" where I get to share the spotlight with one of my favorite artists of all time in Razah. I mean really, I don't have a favorite, I just love it as a whole.
KdawG: Word. If I had to say one, "Egalitarian" is definitely one of my favorites as well But yeah the album is solid, so it's not easy to pick just one track..
Zagnif: Thank you.
KdawG: All good. One question about the forthcoming EP. What can the listeners expect on that one?
Zagnif: More grime. The tracks I have on that one are more on the grimy side of things, one track was released in preparation for the album, it was actually entitled "Grandeur" which is what I'm calling the EP, other than that track everything else is more grimy, straight lyrics.
KdawG: Sounds nice, Zagnif. Will there be any guest appearances on there?
Zagnif: Yeah, just Noble Scity.
KdawG: Nice, nice. Do you have any release date on that one or is it to early to say?
Zagnif: Yea I was planning on releasing it on my born day next month, June 16, to give it "The Meridian Gem" album some extra promotion, but I don't know we'll see what happens.
KdawG: Oh yeah, my bad. I think you already said that (Laughs). Yeah, no doubt.
Zagnif: (Laughs) Yeah no problem
KdawG: Do you have something special on your mind: Something you would like to say?
Zagnif: Just cop the album, "The Meridian Gem," and support what we're doing. I appreciate everyone that has purchased the album already, its an honor and blessing for those people that have supported it. I recognize some names that always show love and we truly appreciate it, for real.
KdawG: Word. I would also like to recommend this album to everyone! Thanks to you Zagnif Nori for your time, it was a pleasure to listen to your words.
Zagnif: Thank you for showing me love and interviewing me. It means a lot, man. Thank you.
KdawG: No problem Zagnif. We all look forward to what's next on Noble Scity, and continue to have good luck with your new album "The Meridian Gem". Thanks for now!
Zagnif: Thank you fam.
Don't forget to check out the article about "The Meridian Gem" on S-R-H-H:
Zagnif Nori - The Meridian Gem (2013) Out now!
Purchase "The Meridigan Gem" here:
Also available in many more online stores, visit: NobleScity.com for more information on that!