Guilty Simpson: Guilty As Charged

If Guilty Simpson was to stand trial, his charge would be something along the lines of providing musical connoisseurs with a USDA product. Coming out of the Motor City, which is rich in musical history yet starved of a promising economy, you can understand why for artists like Guilty, making music overrides making money. But, […]

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If Guilty Simpson

was to stand trial, his charge would be something along the lines of

providing musical connoisseurs with a USDA product. Coming out of the

Motor City, which is rich in musical history yet starved of a promising

economy, you can understand why for artists like Guilty, making music

overrides making money. But, if you are truly talented as he is,

monetary gain is inevitable.


been embraced by the royal family of Detroit, producers like J Dilla

and Mr. Porter paid close attention to the talent that this Almighty

Dreadnaughtz member oozed on the streets of the D. He captivates us

with his energy, enthusiasm and his ability. And as he readies up for

the late summer release of his album on Stone Throw Records, after

successfully promoting The Chrome Children, fans can expect a

lyrical torrent of substance laced with dexterously constructed beats

from those perched on top of the production chain.

With tracks like the Dilla assisted “Clap Your Hands” and features with artists like Jaylib on his song “Strapped,”

Guilty Simpson has already put himself in a league of his own, not just

in his home town of Detroit but, on a nationwide level. The future is

full of opportunity for him and his crew.


charged with providing a watered down product in Hip-Hop equates to

maybe a three year stretch, but to be charged with providing and

embodying the true elements of Hip-Hop which this 313 MC does, will

have him facing nothing less than a life sentence. He is as his name

suggests Guilty…. as Charged. So what are you Guilty of?


Simpson: [Laughs] A lot of things. Well really the name Guilty crept up

as when we were younger we were more or less kind of wild. Then when I

just started getting into rap and I had this real aggressive style, the

name Guilty came. Simpson came a little later because I heard that

there was someone who had my name [Guilty] and with my last name being

Simpson, I put Simpson on it to add a personal touch. The first time I

said it, it just sounded like it fit. So for the last four or five

years it’s had Simpson at the end. A lot of people think it is an OJ

spin off but no, Simpson is my name. Coming out of Detroit, being such a musical city, was this what you always wanted to do?


Simpson: Not necessarily. I have always been a fan of it in my younger

days, listening to NWA, Scarface, Pete Rock and CL Smooth. I had always

had a fascination for it and I definitely appreciated it. Further on

down the years I had friends that were into Hip-Hop whereas I was just

wildin’ and living for the moment and it did actually give me a sense

of belonging. I always appreciated the good music but it did take me a

few years to get involved in it but once I got in and realized it was

something I could do at a pretty high level, it was like a drug to me

and I just couldn’t stop. I wouldn’t necessarily say that it was

something that I always wanted to do, but I would say that it was

something I had a fascination for and once I got into it, I knew I was

supposed to be doing it.

Detroit has such a rich culture when it comes to music. When you think

back to the time where Motown was the label and then move forward to

now when Hip-Hop is so prevalent there, are there any parallels between

the two?


Simpson: I think there are parallels to it. Basically with the current

state and financial growth in Detroit, there are only a few things you

can do. The struggle is in the music and the people can hear that; the

whole Motown era and I think it has come back full circle. We are still

in the same situation where there isn’t anything to do here and when

you hear the music, you hear Emimen, he is actually able to put his

pain on paper. I do think the city and the environment in general

builds a kind of hunger within the people, so no matter what you do, if

you are an engineer, being from here, poverty is such a reality that if

you want to accomplish your dreams, you can see poverty every day so it

becomes you. It is just that hunger. If you are living in Malibu in

California, being homeless is probably far from your head, but being in

Detroit, the grime and the grit, being in a blue collar city, being

homeless and not being able to function in an every day society is a

general reality to us. It is not a far fetched thought. People are well

aware, if you don’t work, you don’t eat and they are the values I was

brought up with as a kid. Once I decided that rap was going to be the

thing that I was going to do for the rest of m life, I knew I had to do

it 100% because you see poverty every day and I think that came through

during the Motown era and the rap music in general. Do it or don’t do

it. If you do, put 120% in it and grind hard. You have quite an extensive history in Detroit; you are part of the Almighty Dreadnaughtz aren’t you?


Simpson: Yeah that’s my crew; we are in the process of working on our

projects right now. But right now I am focusing on my project and they

are going to be featured on a song or two on there and I have

production from people that are involved in Almighty Dreadnaughtz

production team. They are involved in my project but, at the same time

they are well aware that when my record comes out I am always

mentioning my crew in everything that I do. Shortly after my project we

want to drop our records and let everyone know that my existence is

with a crew too. It is all about making good music and my project

should be out in August and then the Dreadnaughtz project should be out

in late September, early October. Does it ever cause conflict within the crew when you go off and do solo stuff?


Simpson: Of course, I have sensed a change in things but, I think they

are well aware of all the time that we have put in, if someone has an

opportunity to do something, then people should support it. That is

what brotherhood is. They are also well aware that whatever

opportunities I am brought into I couldn’t do anything but help them.

Initially when things started happening I was pulled away from my

comfort zone of being around them every day to the point to where I

can’t spend as much time and dedicate as much time as I used to. It

made some people have to step up and work harder in certain situations

but I think in hindsight it made the crew a lot stronger. They support

what I do and they know any opportunity I get is beneficial for

everybody. I can do it without my crew, but I definitely wouldn’t do it

because they work hard and they support me. Everything I do is for them

and they support me 100% just as I would with them if they were in this

situation. Was being part of a crew something that you needed to be as you evolved into an artist?


Simpson: Yes most definitely as your crew gives you an identity. My

crew makes up a huge part of who I am before the world even

acknowledged Guilt Simpson as an exceptional rapper, or MC, my crew

before then had that faith in me. They put me in that position to be

heard. So when I look at that I always remain humble about my situation

but at the same time I am well aware that this is what I am supposed to

be doing. We have a whole lot to say and I am one of the first to be

put into that position but it is all for the crew. I am not making

strides just for myself, it is for everybody. I think as long as you

have that embedded in my brain as every time I am in the city I am with

my crew. They know where my heart is and what I am doing this for. It

will give them a voice to be heard. Does Detroit move as a unit like it appears to do?


Simpson: We have segregatism within Detroit too, but at the same time,

in the position that I am in I have been able to work with pretty much

everybody and there is a lot of different circles. I can basically say

I am an Ambassador when it comes to crews, so I don’t have to deal with

a lot of things that other people in the city might have to deal with.

You know I am locked in with a circle of people who are leaders of

their crew. So regardless of if this rapper doesn’t like me, I have an

understanding with his boss and those are the people I deal with more

or less. It is not as unified as I would like it but when I look at a

lot of other situations, where you have this rapper in this rapper in

this city talking about another rapper that is in the same city an

sometimes the same neighborhood as him but we haven’t taken it to that

level and I am definitely thankful for that. At the same time I feel we

could be more organized but I think success will bring that. It is

aspiring to be a certain type of rapper but it is harder for people to

listen to what I say and the guidance that I have and take that

seriously. But the strides I am taking, the more wind I am getting

behind me and the more they will take what I say that much more serious

because at the same time, until I really get out there and put my first

record out and see how people really accept me and what people really

think, I just focus on the people who want to work and have the same

goals as me. Those are the people I deal with and they are pretty

influential people in the city, so I don’t have to deal with a lot of

the confusion that a lot of other people in the city have to deal with.

You were brought to Stone Throw Records by J Dilla (RIP). Just how

influential was he to you as a person and as an artist?


Simpson: Well, honestly before I met Dilla he was a huge inspiration

and you know because I had studied his music and I was aware of the

different things he had done in the industry. After I met him and we

had that bond and we developed a friendship, he was a huge part of way

I do what I do. He was one of the first people that I could look at who

had been in the industry and had saw different things to come back and

say to me that he had that faith in me and was confident that I could

make songs onto the level as most of the MCs out there. he could feel

that confidence in me to keep my fire going. I have a couple of other

people that have helped me, Mr. Porter, Kon Artist from D12, he is

executive producer on my record and he has stood out to me. He has some

crazy stuff on my record. They were very influential in my career as

they had been to the other side and worked with this person and that

person and for them to come in with a long list of people who wanted to

work with them and come back to the city to work with me, who was just

a hungry guy from the city, that helped my confidence level. That let

me know it was what I was supposed to be doing. I owe so much to those

two guys; words can’t even describe how influential those two are. Not

to take away from Dilla at all, that is my heart right there and that

is a large part of why I do what I do right now. You say on your joint “Jungle Love” ‘real n**as don’t need sponsorship’ in regards to co-signing. You really think that?


Simpson: Oh yeah because even though those two people influenced me and

they have co-signed what I have done because they have been in Detroit

and seen the work that I have done. Denaun Porter I connected with

after show that we did; Jay Dilla I connected with after an Open-Mic

that Dilla went to. Just for me to stand my ground and let my talent

speak for me, these people gravitated towards me and had that

confidence in me. That lets me know that I have to be my own man before

I can reach out to either or of those people to give me validity in the

game. Them coming into my cipher and helping me out makes me stronger,

but it all boils down to I only have me and I have to be able to hold

my own because like I said Dilla passed and Kon Artist is a member of

D12 and there are a lot of times when I am going to be in a certain

situation and there is only me. I don’t have those two people to fall

back on that’s what it is. I don’t really care what squad you with/a

real ni**a don’t need sponsorship, as a you have to be your own man and

that is what I am doing. What do you think it takes in today’s environment to be a good artist?


Simpson: I think the main thing to be a good artist these days is to

put the music first. That is one of the main things that I try to do. A

lot of times people try to reach and they do certain songs because they

feel like they need to do a club song, they might feel like they need

to do a song for the ladies. But I feel that there is nothing wrong

with trying those topics and wanting to do certain things but I think

being true to yourself is the most important thing; as a lot of people

are trying to do what was successful for the last man and in a sense

the creativity of the music is dying because there is so many people

reaching just to get the easy check. You know if one guys come out with

a certain dance then another guy might come out and think ‘well now I

have to do a single with a dance’ and it is virtually taking away from

the culture. They might reap the benefits financially but where does

the responsibility to the music come in. That is the main thing. I came

up in the era where whoever came out, even if they were different, it

was cool to have a Will Smith in the game along with Kool G Rap, along

with a Big Daddy Kane, it was ok to be different. But now people want

to be a rapper from a certain region with the exact same image as

another rapper that is successful from another region. I think they are

trying to be successful in one vein in a sense. It is not really giving

the music any room to grow, so I think that is like the biggest thing.

Fall in love with making music now, don’t fall in love with cashing a

check fall in love with the creative element of a good song, lyrics. Be

coming up with the next s### as I think that is very important to let

the game grow and be ok with being different to a certain people. I am

a rapper and I don’t sell crack and I am comfortable with that. You

don’t have to be a drug dealing rapper. People need to focus on what

works for them and what elements they need to bring to the game and go

in and do your thing that way. The old school Hip-Hop values, well one

of them was like breaking a commandment. I think we need to take it

back to the creative levels, stay creative and just stay true to you. What are you giving people with this album?


Simpson: Expect lyrics and I mean well the producers on there, you know

I am going to have sweet beats as I cant go wrong with Dilla and Mr.

Porter and Blak Milk and people like that. I am not using those beats

as a crutch; I am trying to have my lyrics bring an element to the beat

to make a good song. I think the most important thing that people

should look out of is something fresh and new. I am definitely not

coming from left field to the point that you will be hearing a lot of

stuff you have never heard before. You are going to hear something that

you might have head before but you will be hearing it in a more

creative element. I think that is the biggest problem in the game right

now, it just isn’t original anymore, real hip-Hop lyrics over banging

beats is what I am bringing. Do you feel that real songs have been lost among ‘tacky’ dances?


Simpson: Yeah, but I am not going to go out on a limb and say that

Hip-Hop is dying as there are people putting out good quality joints.

It is just that those people are not getting the shine and the light

shone on them to the point where there music is pushed into the

background. Then you have radio, where every song that comes out sounds

like an extension of the last song just by a different artist. A lot of

the cookie cutter music isn’t even selling a lot of units like it used

to and I think that it is just leveling the playing field for a person

who really wants to be creative on a record. you know you might have

someone at a label that wants to do original stuff, but the cookie

cutter thing is a sure fire way to make a lot of money and now they are

doing the cookie cutter stuff, they are not even guaranteed money

anymore, so maybe it will make the artist take a step back and take a

look at themselves to get ideas to what they really want to do with

their careers, rather than just going for the easy money. I think it is

fair and I know some people might think that is a haters statement but

I am from the underground, I always root for the underdog. Now that all

these other records that are not bringing anything to the game or are

not really adding anything to the game, personally I love it, because

that is what you get. You can’t fool the people forever with this

watered down music that’s not creative. If you are not creative it is a

shame that I have to listen to someone’s song and before the video goes

off I might know how to do the dance but I can’t remember one lyric in

the song. You would rather go out and dance rather than do your music,

be a dancer. When you pick up a Mic you have a responsibility to give

the people some real lyrics and real music. I think it is time for

people who come from that angle to get their shine on and I am just

ecstatic to be part of that. What is your album called?

Guilty Simpson: I might just go ahead and call it The Verdict.

Basically with the verdict my music is the evidence of what I am trying

to say and what I am trying to do, where it is up to the listeners to

decide what they think about it. I have a couple of titles that I am

throwing around right now, but I am probably going to turn the record

around in another week and a half and once I turn everything in, we

will sponge everything up and I will figure out what Stone Throw picks

and then I think it will be safer. Once I see what is going to be

incorporated in the record it will be a little safer to come out with a

title. I am more or less trying to take care of the songs and then I

think the title will come to me in time. I am not trying to force a

square into a circle, I just want to take care of the songs and then

the title will come to me. But I am leaning towards The Verdict as that

was something Dilla and I were supposed to be working on and it was

something we wanted to do.

Guilty Simpson’s website is

Guilty Simpson’s Myspace page is Guilty Simpson’s