Rasco: Unassisted

One of the fiercest MC’s to ever grip the microphone is the Soul Father Rasco. The beautiful mind who is often quoted for his line, “My mind shines harder than your chain” has been grinding away for a decade, and been making records for over half. One of the leaders in the Bay Area movement, […]

One of the fiercest MC’s

to ever grip the microphone is the Soul Father Rasco. The beautiful mind who

is often quoted for his line, “My mind shines harder than your chain”

has been grinding away for a decade, and been making records for over half.

One of the leaders

in the Bay Area movement, Rasco’s debut Time Waits For No Man

is largely considered one of the major independent releases of the “Underground


But while the times have

changed, Rasco truly hasn’t. His focus is still making ground-breaking,

defiant, and revealing records – and running a budding label. Fresh from a show

with KRS-One, AllHipHop.com caught up with Rasco to discuss the re-release of

his classic, the continuous comparisons to Rakim, and even a few more off-topic

jewels that may surprise you more than you ever imagined.

Some cats are doing it with

help, but regardless – Rasco will always be the unassisted.

AllHipHop.com: I see you

re-released your classic on your label this time. How’d you pull that


Rasco: We came

to an agreement on that, and I was already puttin’ stuff out – you

know, reissued stuff on my label. I just got a deal with Caroline [Distribution],

and was making everything available, and wanted to be sure Time Waits For

No Man was available.

AllHipHop.com: You had some

label troubles after that album. I was always curious as to why you never stayed

with Stones Throw, considering your album was a key player in their foundation.

Rasco: It was just, I felt

like I wanted to start building something myself at that point. I learned a

lot of stuff from [Peanut Butter Wolf], so he was going one direction, and I

was going one direction, not really on no beef. It was just, I wanted to have

a label after I was doing this.

AllHipHop.com: Are there

any bonus treats on the re-release?

Rasco: Yeah, it’s

got two remixes on there that we did back then. It has a Lord Finesse remix

on there, and a 45 King remix that we did back then, that wasn’t available.

AllHipHop.com: For an “underground”

MC, to be able to release an album says a lot. Non-Phixion and Jedi Mind Tricks,

that’s like Platinum status. How do you feel to be able to put out an

album less than five years old, back out. That’s gotta be great.

Rasco: It feels good because

I had a lot of people asking if it was available anymore and different stuff

like that, so that makes you feel good. But the way I look at it man, is, it’s

kinda a double-edge for me because I’d like to be able to add something

else to that. I want everything to be that way. I look at it as, “How

can I get that status back?”


Now that time has passed, what made that your most successful album in your

opinion, as opposed to an Escape from Alcatraz or Cali Agents?

Rasco: I think the reason

it is, it was just a different time then. You didn’t have as many people

out with records. You didn’t have a lot of cats out. You had Company Flow,

myself, Defari, Dilated. We was at the beginning of the whole thing. Now, it’s

a little bit different. And then, if you try something a little bit different,

people may not accept it, or it just may not come out the way that you expected.

If somebody now can tell me that I was better then than I am now, I don’t

believe that. I didn’t know what I was doing on that record. Maybe that’s


AllHipHop.com: That’s

a perfect lead in to your fan base. How does your following differ on the coasts?

Because frankly, you have mass appeal in the East.

Rasco: It’s

weird because with the Cali Agents, the top market for us was New York, then

L.A., [then] San Francisco. But on my stuff, it always flips around. It’s

like, L.A., then New York. So I don’t know if it’s the addition

of [Planet] Asia that helps it with Cali Agents on the East, but’s always

those three cities.

AllHipHop.com: We talked

about your recent work as overlooked. One recent track that I really liked was,

“My Life.” It has a timeless hook. You rarely hear the hook get

love in the underground, but for such an intimate track, what made you write


Rasco: One day I was watching

Donahue, and it’s funny because it was [also] on the Dave Chapelle Show,

but dude was talking ‘bout angry White men. It was dudes talking about

Black people taking their jobs. I was like, “Wait a minute. Where the

Hell these dudes yappin’ from?” So let me just write as, it’s

my life. But it’s also my life as a Black man and the way that I see things.

Just how I see Black men in America.

AllHipHop.com: One thing

about Bay area cats is…in the liner notes, you’ll see a group like

Latyrx shout out gangsta dudes like San Quinn or Brotha Lynch Hung. I always

marveled at that beautiful Hip-Hop unity. How does that come into play with


Rasco: Back when I came

out and a little bit further, you had Hobo Junction and the Living Legends and

Blackalicious and Hieroglyphics, and everybody had their own thing, and we’d

support each other. I always liked the Bay area for that. Then you have people

like San Quinn and Messy Marv who are dudes who know that they don’t do

what you do, but they like what you do. It’s never been like, “Aw,

these n*ggas are backpackers.” It’s always just been, “I’m

really feelin’ what you doin’.” For that reason, it’s

been good. A little bit of that [Bay Area unity] has been lost with people goin’

away and movin’ to L.A.

AllHipHop.com: The Rakim

vocal tone comparison is something you must get a lot. How do you take it? I

would take it as a compliment.

Rasco: Yeah, man.

I mean, if you talkin’ ‘bout tone? Yeah. But that other, non-lyrical

stuff? But I appreciate just to be mentioned like that. I don’t mind,

voice-wise. Lyrically, he’s in a class by himself. If somebody was ever

sayin’ that s**t. To me, that’s coppin’ a line.

AllHipHop.com: A lot of

writers have called you an “Angry MC.” I think it’s in your

delivery. But how you do deal with that claim?

Rasco: I’m not angry,

man. Maybe when I started, I was a little bit more, MC kinda [braggadocious].

I feel like it works against me, kinda. I feel like the crowd now is more White,

suburban kids than it’s ever been. So I think that they want a little

bit of edge, but if you give too much edge, it’s something kinda abrasive.

Whereas dudes in the hood wanna hear something that’s a little more aggressive.

Their situation is more aggressive. That’s why somebody like DMX can do

well in the hood, because he’s spittin’ with that anger that a lot

of brothers is feelin’. That’s why if I was to go over and play

Atmosphere in the hood, they wouldn’t be feelin’ him, not even Atmosphere,

if I go play somebody that’s Black. If I went over and play Kweli, some

areas, n*ggas ain’t gonna be feelin’ it just because. I’m

not sayin’ it, ‘cause I love him. I’m just sayin’ that’s

just how it goes. Me rhyming the way I do has hurt me more with the fan base

that I’m subject to, that comes out and sees me. It hurts me in that area,


AllHipHop.com: You’ve

always been pretty loyal to West Coast production. Is that you making a statement,

or simply taste?

Rasco: You know what it

is, man? All these dudes that I’m workin’ with, I feel are talented.

I’ve worked with people on the East or Midwest. From Molemen in Chicago,

to Beatminerz in New York, to Jake One out here. I feel like those people are

bringing something out of me. Jake is doing my whole next album. I’m gonna

go that route for once. We both just sit there and him as the producer, and

me as the MC, and put together a complete work. He’s gonna be able to

sit down, hear my vocals, freak the beat around my vocals, and make it a complete

song. Those dudes are bringing things out of me.


So that, The Cali Agents EP just dropped, you’ve got the re-release, what

else is on your plate?

Rasco: What I

just finished was The Minority Report. It’s a compilation [on

Pockets Linted], like 20,000 Leagues Under the Street. It’s got

me and Asia on there, Jean Grae, Phil Da Agony, a lot of cats on there. That’ll

be out August, 10th.

AllHipHop.com: Last question

for the boys of summer, is your boy Barry Bonds using steroids?

Rasco: Know what? A good

friend of mine grew up with him and is good friends with him; business partners.

He seems to think, he seems to know that he is.

AllHipHop.com: Oh, wow.

Rasco: Yeah, it’s

crazy. Yeah, ‘cause these dudes are tight, tight. I went to school with

Bobby Bonds, Jr. So we all grew up in the same area, outside of San Francisco.

He seems to think that he is. For him to say that, is crazy. If anybody would

know, he would know. But [who knows] with this new stuff.

Time Waits

for No Man

is in stores now.