I recently got a chance to get a few questions in for the Industries biggest Villian, Stevie Crooks. Standing at a towering 6’8” the lyrical giant has been doing his thing for a couple years now. One thing that I noticed about him is that he’s REALLY about perfecting his craft and everything it has to do with it.
After dropping the Big Pun sampled banger “Punishment” yesterday, Crooks is ready to show the world why he calls himself a “Villain”. His newest project VLNS NVR DIE will be out November 29th and we got the got some details about the project as well as his thoughts on the industry, favorite picks from this year and what’s next to come.
Before we get begin, CSNW+ appreciates you taking out time for this, we know you’re a busy person. First off, how are things at the moment? Any complaints?
SC: Man, no problems over here. It’s gloomy weather which I love, and no one is dropping anything impressive at the moment. I feel like Bishop after his first kill on “Juice”.
Ha! Is that right? Okay, let’s get into it.
VLNS NVR DIE is your 4th publicly released project coming after The World is Not Enough, which was heavily influenced by the James Bond/007 series. Would you say that this VND is a concept project as well?
SC: VND isn’t quite as detailed as the “World Is Not Enough” & there isn’t really a concept to it this time, just pure Villain. My fans miss me spazzing I’ve heard, so I’m giving them the Monster they miss hearing.
Being that VLNS NVR DIE is your 4th project, was the creative process different than what it normally is for creating a project?
SC: The process was more so getting away from as much wack ass swag rap & foolery as possible. World Star Hip-Hop can mess a young man’s mind up if you aren’t careful, dig what I’m saying!? Lmao. I took a lot of time studying Illmatic, Diplomatic Immunity, also a lot of old Mobb Deep, and lots of street watching observing and being a sponge to that! As well as a whole lot of cyphering with TheRose on late night occasions until the sun comes up.
This release just from the title alone sounds extremely dark and gully, is that what you had in mind for this project?
SC: The sound is exactly that with a splash of gem dropping. I wanted to explain why I choose to call myself a “Villain”.
Every show that I’ve attended with you on the bill you seem to be very comfortable and have a lot of fun, what are your favorite song(s) to perform?
SC: Ahh. I have a few favorites I like to rock but recently it would have to be ‘Punishment’ until I can release the rest of VND.
The underground hip-hop scene is feeling really good right now, with artists and sounds emerging from everywhere. Are you content with the condition of it at the moment?
SC: IT’S COMING BACK! I’m glad to be a part of the reason why people want to hear something with substance, they want to hear BARZ & NOT BULLSHIT.
Your last 2 projects were very progressive and showed your growth as an artist, how does this release reflect the artist we see today?
SC: You’ll see a more passionate side a more vocal side. More standing up for what I believe in. Keyword –“REBEL TO AMERICA”
Who handled the production on this project besides yourself?
SC: 95% of the project is produced by me. You will be catching 1 or 2 Zeniro beats & maybe a surprise producer, but for the most part I wanted to give a go at making my own beats. It’s a challenge & that’s what I truly enjoy, plus I know what sound I want so it’s easier to create.
What or who do you find yourself listening to these days?
SC: I’ve been playing a lot of old DipSet, NaS, Mobb Deep of course Old Busta. With the dreads, not the “Gotta Get It” Busta. Really just that raw shit that I LOVE.
As the year starts to come to a close, you have done a ton of events, shows and. What were a couple of your favorite moments from 2011?
SC: Ah yes, well to be honest I love every show I do but it really would have to be me in the crowd watching Stalley perform in Pasadena earlier this year. It was just an inspiring experience for a Young Black Man.
I’ve been seeing “Black Rose Renegades” everywhere since May. Sounds like a Black Suit/Tie affair. Can you explain what and who is a part of this collective?
SC: The collective is a group of renegades with talents in all aspects of the boards: Mega Badabing, Terrence F., Micheal Morales, FAMxBIZ, Ryan Henderson and a few others who will surface In due time.
Sweet, moving along.
Your projects normally have little to no features at all, can you tell us who is featured on VLNS NVR DIE? If there are any.
SC: I’m really not big on features, never have been but VND may have a hidden renegade or two.
You and Terrence F. haven’t collaborated on a record in a long while, can we expect this to change on VLNS NVR DIE?
SC: As you know me and Terrence F. are Machines when it comes to music, he may just be one of those renegades on there, who knows.
We know you’ve been all over in the past couple months and you’ve performed in every nook and cranny of the IE/LA area, any plans for a “VLNS NVR DIE” Tour?
SC: If the feedback comes in positive Of COURSE tours are one of the fun things that comes with being a artist plus niggas gotta EAT!
Veering off track for a second and into the personal side of things.
If you were to pick 3 classic hip-hop albums, what would they be and why?
1. Mobb Deep – The Infamous. I don’t have to answer that.
2. NaS – It Was Written. I don’t have to answer why.
3. Wu-Tang – Wu tang Forever (both discs).
A Hip-Hop head will know why I choose all of these and I didn’t choose “Illmatic” or “Reasonable Doubt” because those are registered in my head like a tattoo. I don’t need the albums I know those from front to back as you should.
What’s the best thing about being Stevie Crooks?
SC: The best thing about being Stevie crooks it would have to be knowing that I’m the voice & face for the ones who want change in this industry & world we live in. I’m not the only one but I know God has given me a gift to lead a few that others can’t touch to something great & Music is Universal & reaches all walks of life. I represent a wise group of young rebels out here and like Muhammad Ali said “ME, WE” meaning [I Am You/You Are Me] and I’m grateful to represent US.
You seem like very well established young man. You know the women love big dudes, how tall are you? Now the next question is if you are single or taken?
SC: Haha. I may just be the tallest nigga rapping from Cali! I stand about 6 foot 8 and I’ve forever been in Love & Married to H.E.R – [Hip-hop in it's Essence is Real.] since I was 8.
Nice. Very nice way of answering that,
You recently just came back from New York. Was that a small vacation or was that business. How was that trip coming from all the way here on the West Coast?
SC: It was both. Desi had us on the good foot! Mike and I captured some things we didn’t think we would see while we were there. The experience at the age I am now was perfect for my mental changed my perspective & I met a lot of cool cats. S/O to my BK brother Kris Casanova, Remy & Cody from WorldsFair and everyone else I linked up with. I’ve always felt I belonged in the East and the trip was just a conformation, so I’m planning on making that move in maybe a year or two.
I saw that you shot the visual for “Darkside” out in LA which was shot, directed and edited by Joone Johnson for Artistic Dreams. I heard it was an a dope shoot. How was it shooting that with everyone that was out there and when can we expect that to be released?
SC: The “Darkside” video shoot was a BLAST. Despite all the running from police, prop moving, fire hazards with FAMxBIZ & machete accidents lol. YO! I hit my fucking forehead on day 2 and woke up looking like Martin when he fought Tommy’ Hit Man’ Herns but it was fun, s/o to everyone who was involved look for that real soon. Jonne is a talented dude dope sleep.
What’s next for Mr. Crooks and where do you see yourself and your team in the next 5 years?
SC: Next is Covers on magazine, MTV, BET maybe if they clean they act up, more BLOG coverage like this one and more traveling, As well as more big shows, parties Bar Mitzvah’s at ya local liquor store, boutique, where ever! BlackRose is the Future.
S/O to all my VILLAINS
To catch up on EVERYTHING Stevie Crooks follow him on Twitter: @Stevie Crooks
Facebook: Stevie Crooks
Music: Stevie Crooks Discography