Alongside Skoob, Krazy Drayz was one of the most-influential emcees of the Golden Era of hip hop, as one half of Das EFX. The two met in college and went on to contribute to hip hop during its creative peak. Over two decades of releasing music and Krazy Drayz has gone solo.
Krazy Drayz and Skoob have kept busy, touring all over the world. But, when he is not with his partner, Krazy Drayz is working on his upcoming solo debut, Showtime. Though he is preparing his debut album, Krazy Drayz is far more experienced than the number of new rappers preparing debut albums.
Hip Hop Vibe had the opportunity to speak with Krazy Drayz and he discussed his upcoming album, Showtime, the overall impact Das EFX has had on the hip hop culture, the golden era of hip hop, and the current landscape of hip hop.
Read the entire interview below:
What does it feel like to finally get in there and begin recording your own album? It feels great. I have been working on songs by myself for at least ten years. It’s just something you do as an artist, every song wasn’t necessarily for this project. But, when I began the project, it felt liberating. I went in, doing as I feel, and not having to wait, like you do with a group. Working on my own was a different experience.
Does it seem different recording your own album than it does to record with Skoob for a Das EFX album? Yeah, like I said, it’s all on me for choosing the beats, I’m now working on my own time and I enjoy doing all of this on my own. When I’m ready to wrap up, I wrap up. Also, the beat selection was much easier.
As far as features go on Showtime, will you have a lot of collaborations? I started out with a few in mind, but due to scheduling, it wound up being Fredro Starr from Onyx, Sean Price and Smif-N-Wessun on a track together. Those are the only two joints I did in terms of features. I had plans for more collaborations, but scheduling didn’t allow it. Maybe on Showtime 2, I’ll have more features. With this being my solo debut, I did not want to have many features. It is not necessarily a good look to overdose on collaborations your first time out.
Because this is your solo debut, is this why there is not a Das EFX track on the album? Yeah. To me, doing a Das EFX track would defeat the purpose of me doing a solo album.
Following your solo release, will you and Skoob reunite for another Das EFX album? I can’t predict the future, but I’d say I hope so. I do know I have wanted to do this for a while. With or without another Das album, I will continue with my solo career.
Years after forming Das EFX, the group still has a strong cult following, can you explain the impact Das EFX has had on the hip hop culture? Back in the early 1990s when he came out, we had our own style, using the “iggitey,” the content was different. We had our own thing going on, a lot of pop culture references for punchlines. Our whole thing was “emcee emcee, did you hear what he just said.” It was all about lyricism, and it turned into making good music. We were more like Big Daddy Kane, EPMD. We tended to stay away from social issues, we were that 1990s era of boombap “real hip hop” music. That was our claim to fame in the 1990s. We shot music videos in the sewers, we were one of the first crews, started the Hit Squad with EPMD, worked with Redman, and then many other squads came. We had our own time and place in hip hop history.
What has it been like traveling the world and performing your previous tracks? It’s great, I’m blessed to be able to travel the world. A lot of us kids from the 1990s are still doing what we do. At the airport, you’ll see us, M.O.P., EPMD, and many others. We’re always out there, Germany, Spain, we just got back from Russia. Doing these countries and seeing how they still enjoy hip hop is amazing. We have done Europe, South America, recently did Equador. A lot of those people overseas still breakdance and do the old school like it just came out.
In the eyes of many, Das EFX was the epitome of “Golden era hip hop,” how do you feel about that time in hip hop music overall? I feel great about it. I came up in hip hop in the 1970s and 1980s, it was just a time. Now, this is the New Millennium.
What was it like during the Golden era, rising to stardom at a young age? Being on the top of the charts of Billboard is like any movie. Having all the money in the world, a lot of fans, large crew, we did everything.
Do you feel as if there could be another “Golden era” of hip hop? A lot of people are saying “real hip hop” is going to return, but it depends on the level most are expecting. If you’re waiting to see us, Rakim, EPMD, and more like us dominating Billboard and “106 & Park,” I hope it happens, but personally, I don’t see it happen. The game is changing and now it’s a mixture. I don’t see these different genres going away. The spotlight keeps moving, but I’m not going to sit around and wait for things to back to the way they used to be. Disco came and went and now we have R&B. Boombap is still relevant, there is us and KRS-One and there is still a lot of support for it. The game got younger and major labels are not doing what they used to do. There is a lot of factors and for me to give a “yes” or “no” answer is not putting a lot of thought into the question.
Despite your history in the rap game, you’re coming out as a new artist, what is that like for you? I am aware, that there are a lot of people not aware of Das EFX and Krazy Drayz. But, I’m hoping they will learn Krazy Drayz and then Das EFX. A lot of the material on the album is current boombap, but it’s a Das Sound, I’m one half Das EFX. I’m using my old style, using the “iggity,” but I’ve evolved like many other artists. I am doing what is expected of me, I have a song called “Mike Check,” but it is not an imitation of the “Mike Checker” with Das EFX. I look forward to gaining new fans and hoping they go through the Das archives. I love the old material, but I am interested in being a current artist and releasing current material.
As you have already experienced, the game has changed since you enjoyed your run with Das EFX, how do you feel about these changes? Change is natural, evolution. I feel great about it. I’m not going to sit on the sidelines. It is what it is, roll with it, or get rolled over. I’m getting up and playing in the game. You post your music and a million people have access to it. Upload a music video and people can check it out. I’m changing with the times, I embrace change, I don’t run from it. I like the latest and greatest stuff. Recently, I ran into a guy who has a lot of stuff from the 1980s and the 1990s, I wish I could have more of the nostalgic stuff. I love the past, but I love the new stuff out there.
In 2012, do you think hip hop, overall, is in a good state with the current leaders of the game? I think all of those guys are talented kids. I’m not trying to say they don’t deserve what they have. Everyone puts in their work to get what they have. I respect their hustle and grind, 2 Chainz, Slaughterhouse has Eminem co-signing them. For me, you just have to hustle and do what you do and either you find, or get found, by the spotlight. I want to bring boombap back, but I think Rick Ross is a talented beast, Drake brings something different, and I am a fan of Lil Wayne. But, I also like Slaughterhouse and I like M.O.P.’s new material. I also know Fredro Starr is trying to put something new out. It’s no longer New York and California, the map is full and now Canada is in the mix. The 1990s was a small scope of what hip hop is currently is. But, New York will have it’s time again, everyone will have their term. The future of hip hop cannot be predicted, it changes so often. I hope, in the near future, this summer people are talking about Drayzy and then I can be back at the hip hop table.