Numskull: Just Hangin’ Out

You don’t need Rakim on the remix to tell you that in hip-hop, the truth hurts. The truth is, twelve years ago, the Oakland duo of Yukmouth and Numskull got it in as The Luniz, and still hold one of the biggest records to ever come from the Bay in “I Got Five on It.” […]


don’t need Rakim on the remix to tell you that in hip-hop, the truth

hurts. The truth is, twelve years ago, the Oakland duo of Yukmouth and

Numskull got it in as The Luniz, and still hold one of the biggest

records to ever come from the Bay in “I Got Five on It.” However, after

that, the truth got blurry. The light-hearted group who

celebrated mischief and self-medication split in two directions. After

publicly ignored disputes with Master P and Too $hort, Yukmouth headed

South to align with Rap-A-Lot Records in his more thugged out approach

– something that Numskull says was fictional. Meanwhile, Numskull

returned to his roots with Digital Underground on the road.

Now an admitted alcoholic, the honesty is hard to ignore. Numskull admits to a blue-collar lifestyle, as he releases Numworld,

an album that tells it like it is. In a discussion tracing the

evolution and demise of The Luniz, Numskull speaks candidly, despite

his intention to bring the fun back to the “muzik.” In 1995, The Luniz put out Operation Stackola and E-40 dropped In a Major Way.

Those were two very important albums. Was that that a crazy point for

you guys and the bay area in terms of the attention you were getting?

Numskull: I think that was the peak of it, yeah. Dudes like Too $hort

were bringin’ attention to The Bay already, but yeah, that right there

was the peak of it for me. You were always a lyrical dude. A lot of people don’t

consider MCs from Oakland to be lyrical. How do you feel about that


Numskull: Thank you man, thank you. I appreciate that. Everybody’s

always talking about that lyrical stuff. I just wanna hear people say

something. If you’re sayin’ something, that’s what’s gonna make me like

your music. Talk to me, say something to me. Let me know you’re going

through the same thing I’m going through. And I’ll buy your records

then and I hope that’s what people think about Nummy. On Lunitik Muzik particularly, you brought a light-hearted side to the music, at times comedy. How intentional was that?

Numskull: I’ll tell you, man, me and Yuk was all about havin’ fun. That

was our lives: just clownin’ and havin’ fun. We baggin’ on everybody

all day. That’s what our families do. We have fun. But were still

struggling so we try to make it better with our music. We try to make

it better with ourselves. We laugh all day, that’s what we do. We

laugh, we play, we make money, we struggle, all in one, and it comes

out in my music. I got a comedy side, man, I got a struggle side,

that’s me. I take what I live and I put it into my music. What’s your relationship with Yukmouth, right now?

Numskull: Me and him are on some like “whatever is whatever.” If we

come together to do something, it’s gonna be for the money. You know

what I’m sayin’? It’s like having a brother, man. Sometimes you not

gonna get along, and that’s what we’re at right now. We’re not getting

along right now. But maybe one day it’ll get better and well put

something out for the fans, you never know. Where does this come from?

Numskull: Aw man, I don’t know, man. This is what I have to say: I

don’t like lying about the s**t that I do in my raps. That ain’t me,

man. Basically, that’s what me and Yuk had a problem with. He ain’t

telling the truth in his raps, and I won’t do that. I’m a broke n***a,

so I rap about that. [He’s] rappin’ about flossin’ and all that. N***a,

we didn’t have that s**t. We wasn’t havin’ that s**t. N***as wasn’t

buying houses with elevators in them and s**t. Basically, that’s my

whole beef. Don’t lie in your raps, n***a, because I’m not. That’s how

it is, man, and if a n***a mad at that then f**k ‘em. I was listening to “I’m Not” and “40’s in a Brownbag”, two of your new joints. What’s the album situation?

Numskull: My album will be out June 26th, called Numworld.

This album is about me ‘cause people haven’t seen me or heard me in a

long time. This is what I’m rapping about. This is my struggle. This is

about everybody who thinks I can’t do it without Yuk. That’s the type

of s**t that’s on this album, plus me being an alcoholic. It’s just me,

man. This album is me, and that’s what I’m writing about. When you say you’re an alcoholic, do you mean that literally?

Numskull: Literally, I’m an alcoholic. I drink six 40 [ounce bottles]

of Mickey’s a day. Wake up with one, I get one before breakfast

[Laughing] and I have [four more] of them before I go to sleep. Do you consider that a problem?

Numskull: Nah, that’s what I love to do. I love Mickey’s man. Tell

Mickey’s to sponsor me. It’s not like that, but if you drink six

forties a day, you’re an alcoholic. I ain’t gonna deny it. You haven’t been in the public eye for a minute. Tell me what you’ve been up to all this time.

Numskull: Actually, I’ve been on tour for the last five years with

Digital Underground, man. I’ve been traveling. Them n***as taught me

how to do shows, man, and I was just soaking up game. I know you had a relationship with Tupac. What was that like?

Numskull: Yeah, I knew ‘Pac. We weren’t best friends or nothin’. But we

respected each other as rappers from the Bay. I mean I was with

Digital, and he was under Shock and them so it was a relationship like

that. When ‘Pac and me saw each other, it was all good. I go to his

hotel, he came to my hotel, s**t like that. You know we did some stuff

with ‘Pac. And after he died, we went in and did some stuff that never

came out, but you know how that is. Me and ‘Pac was fam, it was like

that. Operation Stackola and Lunitik Muzik both did excellent on the charts. After that the sales started slowing down. Why was that?

Numskull: Well, what happened was Virgin expected the single to blow up

just like “I Got Five on It” did. And putting out “Me and You” after “I

Got Five on It,” that was the biggest mistake. I told them not to do it

but they did it anyway. They wanted to take us somewhere where you

can’t take street n***as from Oakland. We had a ghetto classic. It only

related to the world because it was about weed. The hook was

tremendous, the beat was cool. But you cannot follow that up with

[singing] “Just me and you, we made it.” F**k all that s**t. They f**ked that up. They didn’t wanna put no money behind us. Like you said “I Got Five on It” was a classic. How important was and is that song to Hip-Hop?

Numskull: You can’t talk about rap music and not talk about “I Got Five

on It.” That’s how I feel. I mean I had old people come up to me, old

enough to be my grandparents and say, “I love that song.” That’s huge.

And I’m glad I was able to make a song like that. When you were recording the Silver and Black album, did a lot of industry politics already come into play?

Numskull: Yeah, yeah. That was an album that Yuk and me wanted to do,

but I didn’t wanna sign to Rap-A-Lot. But n***as needed money, man, so

we was like, “Let’s go,” but I didn’t even sign over there at

Rap-A-Lot. I just did a one-album deal. No contract or nothing. Looking back, you’ve seen a lot of trials and

tribulations. Is there anything different you would have done with your


Numskull: Yeah, I would have invested my money.