Where Are They Now: Chubb Rock

When Hip-Hop opened its arms to Chubb Rock, it was clear to the world that the big man could do more than just look intimidating. Since 1984 he’s been making music for you to nod to. Although he’s known for party songs like “Treat Em Right” there’s alot more to the man formerly known as […]

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When Hip-Hop opened its arms to Chubb Rock, it was clear to the world that the big man could do more than just look intimidating. Since 1984 he’s been making music for you to nod to. Although he’s known for party songs like “Treat Em Right” there’s alot more to the man formerly known as Mr. Large. After a little over a decade off the radar Chubb Rock returns to the music he loves as more than an MC. As a father, and owner of his own label, Hyztory Records, Chubb Rock has moves to make, and promises to keep. Keep your wallets closed, Chubb’s got you open.     AllHipHop.com:  You’re a big dude. At 6’4″, 300 pounds you could’ve come in the game with the usual “tough guy” image. But instead you came in with that feel good, party music. Why is that?Chubb Rock: When we got into the game, we were more into the music and being creative. We came in to make music because we wanted to make music. We weren’t into images.  I’m from Brooklyn. I know what a real tough guy is. Real tough guys don’t get involved with fiction. AllHipHop.com: With your music and image not being what most people would expect, how were you received when you first got into Hip-Hop?Chubb Rock: We came out with the first record in like ’84. It wasn’t even received in New York. We were doing shows in Cleveland and the crowd knew every word. But we go back to New York and no one really knew the record. So we did the opposite of what usually happened. We hit elsewhere before it swung back to New York. The first album [Chubb Rock] we were more into music. We played everything. There were no samples and at that time no one in New York was hearing that. Everyone was sampling James Brown records and stuff like that and we were playing everything. No one was feeling us. So on the second album [And the Winner Is…], I sat down and said, “What did I do wrong.” Then Howie [Tee] came to me and said, “Yo, New York dudes want to hear samples and loops.” In our mind that was simplistic music but that’s what they wanted so we did that. Soon as we did that we caught a hit. AllHipHop.com:  You’ve been gone for a little over a decade. What made you want to come back? Chubb Rock:  I’ve taken everything I’ve learned from my old stuff and grown. The new album is real personal. It was actually made because of a promise I made to my wife. She passed last year from cancer. It makes you not take life for granted. She was younger than me, in perfect health. You never know what can happen. She didn’t like how music was going. She was a Hip-Hop fan to the fullest. But she’d turn on he radio and be like, “What’s this.” So I’m doing this for her. I don’t care if this record sells. I’m not trying to get the youngins. It’s not that kind of party for me. When I sat down to do this album I actually fell in love with the making of records again. Not making records for deadlines and all that but, the process of making music. I fell in love with the art of Hip-Hop again. If it sells, who cares. Completing it was the accomplishment. AllHipHop.com:  So what’s it like now being a parent and an artist/label owner?Chubb Rock:  It’s hard, man. Sometimes it gets to me, but it is what it is. My kids aren’t young. They’re in their teens. They know what I do and they support that. I work from home. I have a studio in my home and I run the label from my home. I also have a good support system. I have my mom, my sister, good friends in my cypher. AllHipHop.com: You do a lot of touring. What’s it like being on the road and crossing paths with some of the new artists out there? Chubb Rock:  These youngins have records, but can’t get shows. But the older guys, me, Doug E. Fresh, [Dana] Dane, we do like 200 shows a year. These youngins can’t get 200 shows. They can barely get 30. No one knows though, except for the audience coming to our shows. I’ve done shows with all of them. I get there and they look at me funny like, “Why is he on this show?” But I’m sitting there with the promoter talking about when I’m going on. And there have been times when they’ve said, “We want you to close the show Chubb.” The youngins be like “Why is he closing, I’m platinum.” And they don’t understand until I perform, then they see why.AllHipHop.com:  What’s the biggest difference between how the new guys are and how you were when you came into the game?Chubb Rock:  They’re not in it for the long run. They have a song or two and that’s it. They’re really limited because the minute their music slows down on the selling side, which most of it does anyway, they really don’t have any other source of income. Then if they’re getting shows, they’re part of an R&B show that will also put Hip-Hop acts on the show, just to level things out. When I first wanted to make a record, the whole time I’ve been making music, I was never trying to make money. And really, when we first got on, nobody was making money. With those deals, there was no money to make. And nobody cared because we were doing it to hear people say, “Yo, I like that record.” We did it because it was what we felt. I remember seeing my first show at the Roxy. Masterdon and a young Doug E. Fresh, with no records out at that time, rocking the crowd. At that moment I said this is what I want my life to be.AllHipHop.com:  Have you talked with any other old school MCs about going back in the studio for new projects?Chubb Rock:  There are a lot of old school cats that won’t go back in that studio. They won’t do it. They’ll stay on the road and get all the respect and admiration they need. AllHipHop.com: How has the response been to your new music? Chubb Rock:  I did the record and brought it to Steve Harvey’s show and Michael Baisden. The record has been blowing up crazy – my song from my label. A lot of these young guys on major labels have a hard time getting on these shows. Now all the affiliates, even the youngin stations, are asking for the record. AllHipHop.com:  With Hip-Hop sales being at an all time low, do you think people will support the record? Chubb Rock:  Well with this record I stuck to a formula I like. Made some good music to keep you dancing, keep you in that club moving, but also, I gave hope to other cats too. I’m not trying to sell it to you. It’s up to you to plug into it or not. These young guys will come out with a record and won’t care if people think it’s a great record but it only sold 60,000 it’s first week. They’d rather hear the record was that or this and sell 500,000. And that’s alright if that’s how you want to live with your artistry. That’s like saying my son became a successful businessman making millions of dollars, but he’s a rapist. That’s not successful to me. To me it’s cool when someone walks up and says “Yo, that was a dope record.”AllHipHop.com: Where did the “Mr. Large” persona come from and will it make an appearance on your new album.Chubb Rock:  Mr. Large was for a certain record [Prince Paul’s Prince Among Thieves]. There were different personas that reflected where I was in my career. There are no personas on this new album. No preservatives or additives just everything stripped raw. It’s back to lyrics, delivery, and music. If you want gimmicks you’re definitely going to have to pick up somebody else’s album.AllHipHop.com:  You were involved with one of the sickest collaborations in Hip-Hop, the Crooklyn Dodgers, how did that project come about?Chubb Rock:  The record came about because of Spike Lee. He’s straight Brooklyn. He was like “Yo, we need to do this record.” We ended up doing it in parts but it was a brilliant record. Preemo [DJ Premier] made the beat right there and everyone came in, did their part, and left. The record was organic, that’s why it was so good. There was no pre-discussed ideas. Everybody just came in and did their thing. I think it would be a good idea to do a whole album. I haven’t bumped into Spike in a minute, but if I brought it up, he’d probably want to do it. He’s all about that feel good music.AllHipHop.com:  Would you ever do a super collabo like that again?Chubb Rock:  After this album, I’m trying to do jam session records like how the old Jazz boys used to do. And that’s never been done in Hip-Hop. Get a bunch of guys in a room, producers, DJs, rappers, and do a record. If you’re a real lyricist you can do that all day. And the name of the album will be whatever day it was done. The Jazz guys, before they died or retired, had over 200 records under their belt. Most rap guys can barely get six or seven albums out. That’s because the Jazz guys believed in doing music. If you believe in doing music, we should be able to get together at any point and make an album. AllHipHop.com:  Who would be involved in your dream collaboration?Chubb Rock:  I would love to call Preemo, Evil Dee, Alchemist, get Talib [Kweli], Mos [Def], Jeru [Da Damaja], Guru, Heltah-Skeltah, and dead prez in there, and leave with a record. Do it all in one day just like dude from that show, 24.