It's been a minute since we've heard from Queensbridge veteran Cormega. In fact, the last BallerStatus heard from Mega was in late 2006 when he dropped the collaborative project with Lakey The Kid titled My Brother's Keeper, and then right before the end of that year when he shocked fans by showing up on stage with Nas in New York. But since then, he's been rather quiet. That was until the end of 2007 when he came out of silence and dropped the DVD/soundtrack, "Who I Am?" So with the question lingering, we decided to get up with Mega to find out once been going on.See Also:
Despite the lengthy vacation, Cormega is always in demand. He has a core audience and knows what they want. Yes, he's underrated and he knows that, but he's determined to show and prove when his first solo project since 2005 drops later this year called The Inevitable.
With a full time record label to run (Legal Hustle) and being a rapper at the same time, Cormega has stayed busy though, but he's done it behind the scenes. In this exclusive interview with BallerStatus.com, Mega speaks on his time away, his latest DVD, why the forthcoming The Inevitable is probably the most important album of his career, and being a businessman versus an artist.
Give recognition where recognition is due, say hi to Cormega, again.
BallerStatus.com: It's been a minute since your last release Cormega. According to the press release sent by your publicist (Jackie O.), you took some time away to focus on your family. How was your time away?
Cormega: I dunno. I guess you could say it was interesting. At the same time, your fans get restless. At the same time, out of sight, out of mind, so your relevance becomes a factor when you're not there. Those were some of the concerns I had while I was gone, you know, just some of the things that were stuck in my mind.
BallerStatus.com: Did the time away put anything into perspective for you?
Cormega: Yea, yea. I mean, I know this is gonna be the most important album of my career right now because I took so long and my last album was well received. I got a couple of awards for it, etc, etc, so this is the one that's gonna make me or break me.
BallerStatus.com: With fans waiting on new material from you, you comeback with a DVD and soundtrack, rather than just a straight album. Why did you decide to do that?
Cormega: Because there was still some finishing touches that I wanted to do for the album. The DVD is just gonna set up the album, like just getting people in tune to what I've been up to. It kind of explains what was going on during my time away. This gives me time to fine tune the album, just get everything perfect. When I put out the album, I ain't gonna have no excuses, let's put it like that.
BallerStatus.com: Ok, now I understand the DVD has been in the making for the past four years. How did you originally decide to do something like that?
Cormega: Originally, I didn't think it was gonna take that long. Originally, we was gonna do it quicker, but the guy that was doing it was just... umm... unprofessional. Like he was taking so long with it that after a while -- with time elapsing -- I was like "F--- it, I might as well stretch it out for a couple years." It took more years than I thought, but I put a cap on it at 2005.
BallerStatus.com: Being that it's titled "Who Am I?" how personal does this DVD get and how personal is it to you?
Cormega: To be honest with you, it gets personal, but it's not... it's personal like after watching the DVD, you will understand me more as a person. It was just something I wanted to do, something to get off my chest, and it's a product that I wanted to put out that represents me before the album.
You will see whatever... whatever a fan could possibly imagine, it's on there -- personal life, studio life, shows, interaction with other people, other artists on there talking (Marley Marl, Tragedy [Khadafi], Godfather III, a few people). A lot of people is on there.
BallerStatus.com: The accompanying soundtrack, this is all new material correct?
Cormega: Yea, a lot of people was asking if it was old Cormega from previous album, but nah, it's all new stuff, all recent. It's not a Cormega album, it's a soundtrack though. So you're gonna have a Tragedy record with Tragedy on it, or a Jacka record, or a Ransom record.
BallerStatus.com: Tell me about it and how it relates to the DVD.
Cormega: I don't know if it relates to the DVD. It's just music. There really isn't no tracks catered specifically for the DVD, except for maybe "Sleep Well" featuring Dwele. During the duration of the DVD, I'm still struggling as an artist to get recognition in some ways. In some ways I get it, and in some ways I don't. To this day, when someone speaks about underrated artists, my name always comes up. That's why I made the song "Sleep Well," because I know I'm underrated and I take that as a compliment.
BallerStatus.com: Being underrated this deep in your career, does it kind of get to you sometimes?
Cormega: Not really because it's like... it means that I got room to grow. At the same time, I don't mind being underrated because some of my favorite people ever are considered underrated. F--- it. I'd rather be considered underrated than considered wack.
BallerStatus.com: What else is in the pipeline?
Cormega: I'm talking to a few other artists right now about possibly doing some projects through my label. Basically, we're just gearing up for the next album. The next Cormega solo album is the one. It's definitely the one.
I'm finalizing it right now. Some of the songs are mixed and we're just adding the spices to it. We got the side dishes ready, now we just adding the spices to it and putting it in the oven.
BallerStatus.com: You mentioned your label, Legal Hustle, and I remember you used to have a female artist named Dona. What happened to her and what other artists do you have on the roster right now?
Cormega: Dona is doing her. As far as other artists, I'm working with a few other artists, but I'm just trying to figure out how I'm gonna do it. I wanna put out a Jacka album and I'm working with my man Bags and a few other artists. I don't know what's coming next as far as new artists. I'll have some announcements in the coming months.
BallerStatus.com: Being an artist yourself and trying to run a label, is it hard to juggle both?
Cormega: It's hard putting out artists, but if you know what you're doing, it's really not that hard. Labels just don't have a clue right now, that's why they f---ing up. They can't identify with the artists. They try to go with the fads or what's poppin' right now. I'm the type of dude that lets the artist be an artist, and let them do them. Like Ayatollah, he makes beats, that's what he does, but you gotta know who his core audience is and who wants to hear his sh--. So right now, me and him is in negotiations. He's real passionate about doing an instrumental album because he has been doing them recently, but they haven't caught on the way they should have. That's because he didn't have the promotion, etc. etc. He know if he f--- with me, I'm gonna do it right, he gonna get his promotion and he gonna get his money. That's a project that we're discussing right now.
But as far as juggling all tasks, it is kind of hard. This isn't for the weak. Everybody thinks it's cool to have that title, but it's really not. There's just so many things that you gotta do. There's so many things you gotta perform. There's so many meetings you gotta be in. As an artist, you wanna be likeable, but as a businessman, sometimes the coldest businessmen are the most successful. So sometimes, as a businessman, you might have to do things that you don't wanna do. You gotta put your foot down, but as an artist, you don't wanna do that. Sometimes I gotta be like Jekyll and Hyde, saying one time "What the f---?" Than other times saying "It's cool."
BallerStatus.com: Last December, fans were shocked when you appeared on stage with Nas (see "Nas Reunites With Foxy Brown, Cormega At New York Show"). Tell us a little about how that happened?
Cormega: There's not much to say, everybody saw what happened. We came out and f---ed everybody up. That was a good Christmas present for people.
BallerStatus.com: It was crazy man. So anything else happen with you and Nas since then?
Cormega: No comment.
MTS Centre, Winnipeg - May 26, 2008
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