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Interview With Sun R.A. – Global Warning – December 2003


18 December 2003 No Comment

Hip Hop isn’t all about disrespecting women and excessive riches. Sun R.A. never lost his artistic vision, and he couldn’t have picked a more apropriate time to present his long awaited album “Global Warning”. We spoke to Sun R.A. recently. Peep the interview.

What’s Up Sun R.A., where from you and where you at mentally?

Peace, This is Sun R.A. from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, within the gates of the United Snakes. Mentally I’m striving to stay in a state of constant enlightenment.

You’ve described your new album as your most important to date, before we get into the album what
other albums have you released?

I put out alot of joints out here and there, especially early on, alot of cd-r albums and shit like that, and then I had an album we got pressed up, called ‘One Man Army’. We had like 500 copies of that pressed up, it was in alot of stores around here in Pittsburgh, and one or two websites, and I also gave alot away at shows. I got real good feedback from it, but it wasn’t the album I wanted to officially debut with.

What can you tell us about the producers who did the tracks for you and what were the reasons why you chose their beats?

I’ve always self produced all my own music, but this time I wanted to get some different sounds and work with some different cats. I got my man 7Wounds on there, he produced a track for P.R. Terrorist of Killarmy and I had heard a few tracks he did so I hit him up. We ended up gettin mad cool over time and that’s my main man right there now. He recorded half of the album in the Bronx at his studio. Also on there you got Rendesten, I heard this cats tracks on the net and told him I was really feelin his style, so he hit me with alot of beats and he will produce tracks on future releases too. He’s from Denmark and is actually a young teenager, but his tracks speak for themselves, he’s mad cool too. This cat Alkota Trackz from Alaska did 3 tracks on the album, he sent us a beat demo and I was feelin some of the beats so we went from there. Origen from here in Pittsburgh did a couple tracks, we hooked up on a few shows and recorded some tracks together and I was feelin his production so I asked him to throw me a few beats. Of course, I had to get behind the boards on 5 tracks.

What has the feedback for the album been like from websites, magazines and radio?

Honestly, that’s the stage I’m in right now, the album isn’t officially out yet so right now I got copies sent out to alot of media and your the first cats to review or interview me on this project. I know some others are coming though, like Urbansmarts and some others. Alot of albums are coming out now, and media outlets are mad busy trying to check alot of it, just another byproduct of over-saturation.

What artists influenced you in the past and today?

My biggest influence is the Wu-Tang Clan, that’s the group that got me into hip hop. I was younger and I didn’t buy any albums, I would just hear what’s on the radio, like Fresh Prince or whatever, but when I heard 36 Chambers I was blown away. I went out and copped the cd the next day, and then every other Wu-Tang related release I could get my hands on. Also though I got to give respect to Esham, I don’t know you if you know about him, he’s from Detroit and he’s been doing his own genre of music they call ‘acid rap’ since like ’89. The thing is he was all the way independent, him and his brother put his music out, he broke alot of ground and doesn’t get alot of credit. He was a major influence cuz he said whatever he had to say, he didn’t bite his tongue.

When I listen to your album I feel that this is the kind of messages we should be sending out (Peace Queen, Big Brother, Out Of Darkness, Stars and Bars), but at the same time we got an industry that is pumping out gold, glitz, sex, violence. How does it feel to be standing between all of this?

It’s a balance. I got love for the art of Hip Hop and the freedom of expression, but at the same time I got love for people more. I don’t want to see people being influenced by alot of the negative shit that gets out in Hip Hop, but there’s also the good shit. The media only promotes the ‘crazy urban kids with guns’ aspect when there is so much more. But if the daily shootings, rapings, and drug pushing didn’t exist, people wouldn’t be talking about it as much. The problem comes in when life imitates art instead of the other way around.

After watching “Bowling For Columbine” I get the impression that America is a country with people
filled with fear. We all know that sex and violence sells. But why would that shit sell? Where does the fault sit? Does it sit with the buyer or the seller or something else?

Sex and reproduction are the most natural things to human beings, so generally people will be attracted to that. It’s a different story when sexuality is exploited. I think the original want for sexual exploitation and violence was manufactured, much as fear is manufactured now, but it has become so ingrained in American Society that it feels like second nature to many of us.

I enjoyed your album, mostly for the lyrics, you have a talent for distributing messages that stick. What tracks were you the most happy with?

I’m really feelin the way ‘Stars and Bars’ came out, I had the concept and I recorded it over a different beat. My man 7Wounds who recorded it was tellin me how bad the beat was mixed and that he could make a better one, so he did, and the final version is dope to me. Some other tracks I’m feelin most are ‘As We Continue’, ‘Big Brother’, ‘Prophetic’, and ‘Elevation’.

When you write where do you draw your inspiration from?

Usually I’ll just be chillin, like on a bus or walking, and a line or two will come to me and then I’ll keep building on it in my head, and sometimes I’ll do a whole 16 bars in my head then when I get back to the lab I’ll write it down. Other times I’ll have an idea for a song, I do that alot, I have the song concept and name, then I just listen to beats till I find one that fits the idea, and I write from there. That’s how I wrote alot the new album.

Which artists would you like to collaborate with?

Oh damn, there’s so many cat’s I’d wanna do a track with. Premier, Prince Paul, the RZA, Esham, Kool Keith, Dead Prez, Ol Dirty, Killah Priest, GZA, AZ, Del, man I could for days with that list.

What’s the hip hop scene like where you live?

The scene is there, but it’s not really that known. People that are involved in the scene know what’s good, but there are mad people in the city who don’t know about any local music, or if they do it’s just the group from their hood. The biggest reason is that local media doesn’t really support local Hip Hop, alot of the clubs won’t book it, the radio station only plays it for 5 minutes a week on ‘Battle of the Beats’, and the city paper’s don’t show much love either. There are a few groups that broke out though, like Lone Catylists, alot of people worldwide know about them. There’s some cats that moved from Pittsburgh that got on too. Like the rest of the industry though, you gotta dig through alot of sound alikes trying to emulate whoevers hot to find the quality music.

What are your favourite books?

Right now I’m reading George Carlin ‘Napalm and Silly Putty’, and it’s funny as hell. I like a wide range of books from historical to political. Noam Chomsky is a great writer.

What are your thoughts on the recent Iraq occupation? When you watch the news you see that even
some American soldiers don’t want to be there. This seems like an age old problem, where the young go to die for the plans of the few who control.

Definitely, it’s the same story played out again and again throughout history. Iraq never posed a threat to America, what it did do was pose a threat to American Interests, and as we’ve seen in Nicaragua, the US is never one to have it’s interests threatened.
I say this; support American troops, bring them home!

If any was there any negative feedback to your album and if so what was it about?

So far nothing negative, but it’s only been heard by open minded people.

How long have you been involved with hip hop and what was it that sparked you to get involved?

I started making tapes and all that in like ’98 but I got serious in like late 2000. I was just listening to alot of music that was coming out at the time and I was listening to it thinking I could do it to. I never really worried about record labels or trying to get a deal, I was always just making music how I wanted to make it and putting it out. I used record mad people in my little studio from all around and outside of the city.

What do you think was the worst event in hip hop history?

All of the murders that have occurred were all equally horrible, but one that stood out especially to me was the murder of Big L, who was one of the most underrated MC’s of all time.

And the best event?

So many great things have happened in Hip Hop, but I have to say when Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five dropped ‘The Message’, because it showed that we could use this new platform to get messages accross and it could be bangin at the same time.

What was the best period in hip hop for you?

Like ’91 – ’97, for me that’s when all the best shit was coming out. But that’s relative, I think it depends when you grew up, cuz I know alot of cats that are a few years older that talk about ’86 – ’89, you know? I think the best period for everyone is when they discovered the art.

Do you freestyle often? Any memorable battles you can tell us about?

That used to be me all day freestylin, at school and shit, battling whoever, but I haven’t battled in a while. I’m fightin enough battles for social change you know? I just lost interest in battling basically, but I still get my freestyles out, I freestyle at shows alot. I freestyle to my daughters at the crib and they dance around (laughs).

How old are you and where were you born?

I’m twenty years old and I was born here in Pittsburgh.

What would you do over again if you had the chance to?

I would like to have came up more peacefully, and I’d like to go back and squash all beefs I’ve had wit cats over years, and treated some people differently, you know? The past can never be erased, so all I can do is use it for a foundation and build for the future.

Where would you like to take your music? What is your ultimate goal?

My ultimate goal is to have supporters all around the world. I want my music to be heard worldwide by as many people as possible. I’d like to reach a level when I can support myself and my children with this music, and I’d like to do a tour of every continent. By setting an ultimate goal though, you limit your potential, so sky’s the limit.

What is your impression of Africa and South Africa more specifically?

My impression is that of rich land exploited by colonization, imperialization, and greed in the forms of slavery, oppression, apartheid, and unfair labor practices. At the same time, I know that it remains one of the most beautiful lands on earth, with beautiful and determined people who strive for freedom. I got alot of peeps from Africa; Ghana and Zambia to be specific.

Any music videos planned for any of your songs?

We actually shot a video for ‘Get Live’ from the new album, and we still got the tapes here still waiting to be edited. The video should be available by the end of January on the website.

Describe a typical day for you?

Alot of reading, and alot of communication with the music thing. Trying to get albums reviewed, booking shows, looking for distribution, etc.

Your favourite foods and drinks?

Without question Apple Juice, Mother Earth’s finest product! Food? Probably pasta.

What do you think is the most important hip hop albums ever made?

To me? 36 Chambers, it changed the whole game. Wu-tang is big worlwide too, they had a huge part in exposing the world to Hip Hop in it’s purest form.

Do you still get white supremacist operating openly in America? What experiences have you
witnessed/experienced with regards to racism?

Without question! You’d be surprised how many people drive around here with confederate flags on their car, or on their license plate holder, t-shirts, hats, whatever. The funniest part about that, shit to me though, is that Pittsburgh is well above the mason-dixon line! People just adapt it as a symbol of separation and hate. Actually, I’ve been told the KKK has a head quarters in Greensburg, which is a small city about 35 minutes out of Pittsburgh, and I know for sure that the Aryan Nation World Headquarters is located on a huge plot of land in North Eastern Pennsylvania. It’s all ignorance and separation. It keeps the people from uniting more than anything and has no real biological basis, it’s a constant battle for equality, both physically and mentally.

The message on Bad News is something that should be taken very seriously. What is the solution to the greed from the major corporations?

Destruction of major corporations! That’s only real way to completely rid the world of corporate greed. As an individual though, you choose what you consume and where it comes from. You got to do the research on what your buying and what went into making it. Coca Cola for instance, is a cut-throat corporation that has even went as far as having labor union organizers in Columbia assassinated, they also violate human rights in factories world wide, including Africa and India. So, you just got to know what your taking in, and if the means of production are wrong, let the companies know, and boycott.

If you could come to Africa for a week what would your schedule look like?

Yo, I would love to come to Africa! Africa and South America are two places I definitely want to get to as soon as possible, it’s a lack of funds issue though ya dig? But I’d love to do a show or two in Africa, with free admission, also I’d want to check how people are living, talk to some people about what’s goin on there socially, politically, and economically. History to, I’d want to find more about the history, and check some historical sites. Also, I’d want to check out them natural surroundings, peep the scenery. My schedule would mos def be full though.

What’s next on the menu for you?

Progression! Me and my man 7Wounds are planning on touring the US, hittin like 26 cities, we’re booking that now, which is an involved process. We’re shopping my album for distribution, trying to get it out there to as many places as possible. January 13th the album will be available online at places like www.undergroundhiphop.com and www.hiphopinfinity.com, and as always it’s available from our website. Just trying to move forward and get my music heard by as many people as possible.

If people want to learn more about you where can they go?

There is mad info about me and the whole label on the net at www.doubleinfiniti.com

Thanks for talking to us, we hope to meet you soon, any last words or shout outs?

Peace to the whole continent of Africa, and every one reading this worldwide, much love and respect! Those in the struggle, never give in! Look out for my new album ‘Global Warning’ coming at you soon, PEACE!

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