IT’S COLD IN THE D, Pt. 4: Guilty Simpson

When Detroit-bred lyrical assassin Guilty Simpson walks down his block there are no flashing lights from cameras or gawking hysterical fans. Simpson isn’t ordinarily bombarded with ball points to sign his name upon articles of clothing, CD’s, nor body parts. But that is cool, because if it were up to him, the industry can take […]

When Detroit-bred lyrical assassin Guilty Simpson walks down his block there are no flashing lights from cameras or gawking hysterical fans. Simpson isn’t ordinarily bombarded with ball points to sign his name upon articles of clothing, CD’s, nor body parts. But that is cool, because if it were up to him, the industry can take fame and fortune and literally, shove it where the Sun don’t shine. Relative anonymity hasn’t stopped the late J Dilla christened MC from hitting the booth hard for his hood. After releasing his 2008 solo debut Ode to the Ghetto, and being featured on numerous track listings like the Kidz In The Hall Mid West scorcher “Middle of the Map Pt. 2,” Simpson has cemented his footprint at the forefront of a creative surge for the Detroit Hip-Hop scene. The studio addict is set to pump out various collabos with Sean Price, Black Milk and is featured on Madlib’s upcoming BBE Records album. Nonetheless his hustle is proven exemplary to the solid yet still fledgling Hip-Hop movement brewing on the rugged streets of the Motor city. What do you bring different to the table as an artist?Guilty Simpson: I bring that balance, able to straddle the line to do whatever. Guilty is one of the few artists from Detroit that can do a song with T.I. or Young Jeezy, and in the same day do a session with Common or Black Thought. I think I am one of the artists some people don’t really know how to classify me, some of the Hip-Hop heads are like “he’s too hood” and some n****s in the hood will be like “he’s a little too lyrical, I don’t want to think when I hear this n***a rapping.” I think I am able to do both. I had an A Tribe Called Quest album and an NWA album at the same time, and nobody made me choose which side I would be on. So if Britney Spears was calling you up to do a collabo, you’d be down?Guilty Simpson: Hell yeah, I would pop that s**t out. But I’m going to bring her to the hood. My s**t is going to be hood, I’m not going to be on that b***h smiling and dancing. Guilty Simpson “Beast (Live)” What type of response do you feel you received from Ode to the Ghetto and were you satisfied with it? Guilty Simpson: I think the main thing is regardless of sales the record is doing pretty well. Projections with Stones Throw they are pretty satisfied with it and keep in mind that it was leaked three months in advance before my record even dropped. I’ve always considered Ode to the Ghetto, a setup record to basically give my fan base something. It is just an introduction to what is going on, but me, I’m only scratching the surface with where I want to go with it. In this game you’ve got to have short memory, whether it is highs or lows. The record came out, that’s great, I’ve been working the record, doing the things necessary to make it successful. But I’m in the lab everyday, I’m anxious to move onto my next thing because I am an artist above everything. I really want to get this music out, and let this music take care of itself. Even if it has to age and people can’t appreciate it for five years, I don’t care. Where do you think Detroit is as a Hip-Hop musical movement in gaining national exposure?Guilty Simpson:  Besides talking and dudes getting along we have basically accomplished that. Now that is a whole different animal when your talking about recognition because it is only a small percentage of people who recognize Detroit for what we contribute to the music industry. Mainly those are Hip-Hop purists, people who are really into the underground following. But as in a household name with the exception of Eminem and D12, a lot of people don’t even have Royce Da 5’ 9’’ as a household name. I think as a movement we are good, the thing is now that we have this unity we have to take it to that next level, where everybody is established as a household name. When I mean household name, I don’t mean 106 & Park and TRL, but legitimate s**t that is being placed on the radio, stuff that levels the playing field. I might hear my song twice a week, and I might hear The Dream, a T-Pain song, or “Lollipop” three times in an hour. It’s hard for me to become a household name when the playing field is not levelBlack Milk f/ Guilty Simpson “Sound the Alarm” Are you worried at all about the state of the industry once your name grows into becoming a household name?Guilty Simpson: No, I like that industry and all, but I just really want to find my lane. I want to do the music but I don’t really care about the fame. I want to consistently make my money and do my thing. So when I look at the industry, I want to be a part of it because I want my album to come out. But I really don’t want everything that fame entails, no privacy, motherf***ers all in your business, Mediatakeout. Basically your not able to do anything, they can keep that. My dream is to of course have a fanbase to where I can eat but I want to work out of home. I want to be judged by my music. I don’t want someone to be like “I talked to somebody in Detroit, that n***a is hood for real, he be fighting and shooting.” Even though that was my lifestyle, I don’t care about that, I’m not glorifying that, judge me as an MC. Playing a person’s record that has been shot 55 times, just because you support him being shot. But when your making excuses for supporting these artists and it has nothing to do with the music, your basically grasping for straws finding a reason to support them. Guilty Simpson “Get Riches” Many people see that cats from Detroit are not up on the movement happening in their own city as much as outsiders or purists. Why do you think this is?Guilty Simpson: I definitely don’t want to s**t on Detroit as fans, but we can get into well-known fact. Detroit is a testers market for records. From what I understand talking to different people in radio, if a song is hot in a certain region, they feel confident that no matter what that song is, they can bring it to Detroit and it will create a brush-fire. The music industry doesn’t really consider Detroit, Michigan to be a great place to break a record, because they look at the fan base as kind of fickle. You have to think about it, being in Detroit, you have some people that rock with the Hip Hop stuff, people that rock with the South stuff, some with the West Coast stuff, so when you thought about Detroit as a whole you really don’t have a common found stamped as a Detroit sound. Our listeners have a broad ear to where they like different stuff, but when it comes down to really standing behind an artist and really break them, Eminem was the biggest star in the world but it’s a fact Detroit didn’t break his records. It’s like we’re not really taking pride in our own. Guilty Simpson “Baby (Live)” (produced by J Dilla) Which producers you’ve been working with, do you feel captures the same essence of your sonic chemistry with J Dilla?Guilty Simpson: Mr. Porter, that’s my dude right there. Even when Dilla was alive, when I was going to do my record called “The Verdict,” Mr. Porter was going to have half and Dilla would have half. I definitely think his production exemplifies what I want to do, whether it is a grimey beat or a soulful beat. We definitely have that chemistry, “Ode to the Ghetto” was basically a small portion of it. Dilla taught Mr. Porter how to work an MP, so Mr. Porter is an extension of Dilla, but he is his own person in his own right. He embodies everything I try to do musically, but I can’t go wrong with a Black Milk or a Madlib either. I’m just thankful these dudes want to work with me, his clientele and schedule is so busy. He sells beats to 50 and Game and for him to take the time out to even work with me, made me instill pride in what I am doing. Because I am well aware he could be doing other things that make him multi-thousands of dollars within an hours time. Instead he was dedicating four and fives hours to work with me, and I didn’t have anything to give him. He doesn’t even smoke weed so I couldn’t even twist one and pass it to him.