"Uncommon like Erykah. / Phenomenon hysteria. / Height rocks millenium. / Shante' criteria" - Jean Grae
Following Blacksmith Record's re-release show for Jeanius (review to come) at the seminal Fat Beats record shop in lower Manhattan, I had a chance to steal a quick 6 minutes with the grossly underappreciated, illest FEmce, Jean Grae and the new Pete Rock, producer 9th Wonder. Read on to find out about Jeanius's "risky" production process, the status of Jean's unreleased video "My Story," 9th's relationship with legendary producers Pete Rock and DJ Premiere, peach cobbler shakes, and Vivrin...
TCM: You're talking to 2 Carolina cats right now?
9th: Oh, where you from, man?
TCM: I'm from Greenville.
Yahnick: South Carolina
9th: Oh, ok! Ok.
Yahnick: I spend a lot of time in the Raleigh/Durham area. My sister went to A&T...
9th: Too bad!...Whats her name? Sadiqua? Sadiqua, too bad. You went to A&T, it was a bad choice. Its a dumb school. I don't they learn anything...
TCM: Ay, my mom went to A&T, man. We gotta slow down a little bit.
9th: Oh, your mom went to A&T, man?! Be glad that thats your momma!
TCM: Watching you guys, and listening to you guys, you have a real natural chemistry...
9th: I don't like her ass to tell you the damn truth...
Jean: I fuckin' hate this dude.
TCM: So whats it like being in the studio? Are you actually in the studio together?
9th: Uh, we did Jeanius together, yes. We did Jeanius in 4 days. Recorded in 4 days.
Jean: We both just blacked out. We totally blacked out. And when we came out of the blackout, it was an album.
9th: Are you familiar with the restaraunt called "Cookout?"
9th: Lots of "Cookout." Lots of "Cookout."
Jean: And No-Doz. And Vivrin.
9th: And Vivrin.
TCM: So it was, fun?
9th: Yeah, yeah, yeah man. It was very risky. We was eatin,' man, burgers and grilled chicken sandwhiches. And taking Vivrin at the same time...
Jean: Peach cobbler shakes...40s...
TCM: Gotta watch your sodium, now.
Jean: No that was years ago. I can't do that now.
TCM: Fried foods gonna catch up to the cigarettes and break your health a little bit.
9th: Exactly. Its all good.
Jean: Thats why he's eating homecooked meals.
Yahnick: What you got in there? Lets see that, lets see that.
9th: Uh, uh.
Jean: Nope nope nope....Well it was roasted chicken, sweet potatoe fries, some vegetables with rice, and homemade apple sauce.
9th: I'm gonna take this to Baseline and finish it.
Jean: Yeah, go for it. Wheres (someone whos' name I didn't catch)?
9th: At Baseline with Pete Rock.
Jean: Oh. Pet Rock?
9th: Pet Rock.
TCM: So how does it feel to be compared to Pete Rock, to Premo, to those cats?
9th: I love it, man. They're friends of mine. They think its cool too, so, you know...Some people go around claiming that...Pete and Preme don't think its cool. But they think its cool. They like [the comparison]. And, you know, I with it, man. Those are my adopted big brothers. They take care of me, man. And I truly take care of them.
Yahnick: You deserve it, brother. You deserve it.
9th: When you put in the work, thats what happens.
9th: I appreciate that, man. I appreciate it.
TCM: So Jean, with lyricism coming back to the forefront now, and as a female Emcee...
Jean: Is it?
TCM: Oh yeah, certainly. You don't think so? Or would you disagree?
Jean: I mean, it would nice. It would be nice.
9th: Jean thinks a lot of people can't rap.
Jean: Yeah, of course.
TCM: She's right about that.
Jean: I do. Definitely do.
TCM: As a female Emcee, its twice as hard at the same time...
Jean: Its a little more than twice. A littler more than twice.
TCM: Thats fair. Thats fair.
Jean: It is what it is. Thats my battle so I never look at it like that. [But] Yeah, its hard.
TCM: One of the things that I do appreciate about your show is that you always look like you're having a good time on stage.
Jean: Because we are having a good time. We are genuinely having a blast. And most of the jokes we share are a blast. And I can feel free to talk. I can listen to...'fun chillin' in your living room,' thats what you always feel like. [Motioning towards 9th] Except when he's on stage and then I just want to get off stage.
TCM: So how is it over at Blacksmith right now?
Jean: Its getting better.
9th: BLACKSMITH IS FANTASTIC.
Kweli (in the background): Its amazing!
9th: Its an amazing place. Ran by an amazing guy. Who makes amazing records.
Yahnick: I have a question, ever since they altered [My Story], you were kind of upset about that.
Jean: I don't know. Never seen it. Don't plan to. And its not coming out.
9th: I haven't seen the video either.
Yahnick: Well she doesn't like you so, thats probably why you haven't seen it.
9th: I don't like her ass either...
TCM: So whats up next? Are you going on tour for this release?
Jean: Yes. We have to.
TCM: Wheres the first stop?
9th: Carboro, North Carolina. Outside of Chapel Hill. The cats craddle.
Yahnick: When are you going to be in Greenville?
9th: I don't know.
TCM: We need a definite behind that.
Yahnick: They desperately need you.
9th: Thats what I heard, man. Hold on a second (into cell phone: 'Mommy I'm doing an interview and the cameras on me and you're on the phone').
Jean: They gotta actually ask us to go. They gotta actually ask us to go. Otherwise it would be really really weird if we just, like, went to a place for a show and...Do you have a venue?
Yahnick: Yeah, I'm gonna get one.
Jean: Okay, yeah. Then we're there.
TCM: So, was it more fun making This Week, Jeanius, or the re-release?
Jean: Oh, everythings just different. Everythings a different experience. I can't judge.
TCM: I hear that. Well, I appreciate it [the interview]. Again, I'm with The-Quotable.com. Good lookin...
9th: You slid into interview kind of slick.
Jean: Yeah, that was nice.