Chopping it up with your favorite emcees is always fun but sometimes you can only catch them for a few minutes, so Five Round Knockout maximizes this time by squaring up with some of the illest artists in the game and squaring up with them to get the answers fans are looking for.
We caught up with Skyzoo shortly before the release of his fourth solo LP, In Celebration of Us. The album, which dropped on February 2, features the Brooklyn wordsmith raising his lyrical bar again with his signature storytelling, lyrical acrobatics and introspection. Suffice to say, the album is fire, stay tuned for my review later this week. Also, special thanks to Skyzoo for taking out some time to chop it up with us.
SA: With In Celebration of Us dropping, what are you trying to get across in this chapter of your story?
Skyzoo: The idea of the album comes from its inspiration, which is us as a people. As black folk, our fabric, who we are, how we move, grow, live, what we’ve experienced, and why things are the way they are for us. It’s an extremely pro black album, but that doesn’t make it anti anyone else. Celebrating us doesn’t mean putting anyone else down.
SA: Your albums remind me of comic books, they feel almost cinematic, how have you managed to tie everything together so well?
Skyzoo: I’ve always been a fan of great storytelling. Since a kid I was always the one who gravitated towards the rappers who told stories, poetically. Albums being cohesive and flowing as one complete thought was always my thing, so I just kept that going once I started to make music.
SA: You’re one of the most consistent emcees in the game, and it’s dope that fans can count on hearing something from you, at least once a year. However, none of your music feels repetitive or phoned in. How’d you find that balance of consistency and quality?
Skyzoo: Again, I think it comes from what I grew up on and me being a fan of what I’m a fan of. BIG, Jay, Nas, the GZA, Rae, 3000, The Lox, Mase, EPMD, I feel like when I make music I have to carry those traditions, and I’m never about taking a day off. Ever.
SA: You’ve got your First Generation Rich imprint on Empire Distribution. Any artists on your radar?
Skyzoo: As of now, no. I created FGR as a home and a hub for my work. Whether it’s music, film, TV, literature, I wanted it to have a home that I solely own, so I created FGR. But who knows, down the line there could be an artist or two.
SA: So being that you live on kind of the opposite end of the lyrical spectrum, compared to dudes like Lil Yachty, what do you think of this current crop of rappers?
Skyzoo: I’m all about balance. There were always rappers who were kinda “ehh” when we grew up, but the balance was when the radio played them they also played Illmatic and Bizarre Ride To The Pharcyde and Liquid Swords. There’s always gonna be a lane for the “so so” artists, but nowadays that’s the only lane that’s open for people to ride down.
SA: Finally, I’ve got some rapid fire questions for you.
Albums You’re Looking Forward To in 2018?
Skyzoo: Off top, I’d say Nas and my brothers at Griselda Records.
SA: You’ve got to choose only one producer for your next project, who do you lock-in with?
Skyzoo: I’d say Black Milk since we’ve never done an album together.
SA: Top 5 Emcees of the Moment?
Skyzoo: That’s tough, I’m not too hip to the new artists that drop daily but all-time I’d say BIG x Jay x Nas x Black Thought x Mos Def.
SA: NBA Finals Matchup?
Skyzoo: Boston vs GSW, but I wanna see OKC get it so my bro Melo can get the chip he deserves.