Originality is becoming more and more absent in Hip-Hop. Labels are scrambling to create replicas of established artist to boost revenue and creativity is at an all time low. However, Hip-Hop heads need not to worry, for C.I.T.Y. Counsel is prepared to disrupt the monotony and inject authenticity back into the game. We caught up with The Counsel as they offer the audience a little bit of Southern Comfort.
How’s everyone today?
We’re effen pumped, been drinking Green Tea all cot damn day.
Aight. Why don’t we start by everyone introducing himself and telling us what your role in C.I.T.Y. Counsel is?
I’m jUST oFFICIAL 27 years old; they mostly compare me to Stalin, Hitler, Joe Jackson and the Sith Lord. I’m the motivation in a better choice of words.
My name is Lon.Z, 23 pronounced Lonzie; I’m the resident engineer and producer, the backbone of the squad, who happens to rap.
They call me Nytez B (Nights) 21, Even Though I’m The Blackest, I Bring the Light to My Group.
I’m You Know, 20, the main producer of the group.
I’m Y.O.U.N.G. C. 18, the T-Pain or the hook-man of the squad; I bring a younger energy to the table.
And I’m Izzy 18, Odd God of the Squad and 1st solo Artist of the Great Expansion Team (G.E.T. Music Group), our upstart label.
What does the C.I.T.Y. of C.I.T.Y. Counsel stand for and how did you guys come up with your name?
Lon.Z: The C.I.T.Y. stands for Colorful Intelligent Thoughtful Yesteryear. jUST oFFICIAL and You Know are the geniuses behind the acronym.
What’s the story behind the origin of the crew?
J.O.: January 2007, Lon.Z and I had just split up with our former group T.H.E. Foundayshun over creative differences, plus You Know and I had already established a rapport via Myspace, so I asked him to join our unnamed group. At the same time, Nytez also had left his former group, and one night found Lon.Z’s Myspace pages and myself and got down with us. Y.O.U.N.G. C. literally auditioned for us at our place of employment and Izzy followed the Nytez B route, but had a harder time thanks to the lack of enthusiasm from Nytez.
Your latest mixtape “Stimulus Package” is a thirteen track underground classic. Everything from the beats to the rhymes to the subject matter is all on point. How’d you put it all together despite the distance between you all?
Lon.Z: Being that You Know was in Detroit and the rest of us were down bottom in Columbus, GA, Myspace became a helluva drug.
With a name like The Stimulus Package, one would assume that America’s current economic situation had some type of inspiration on your mixtape’s title. What input did politics have on the decision to name the mixtape Stimulus Package?
Lon.Z: The current state of the nation didn’t have a major influence on the title. It mostly had to do with making fun of unknown rappers who stand at your local corner store. Example, some cat asks you to check out their CD, you listen to it, and you reply that it’s straight. You pay for your gas, buy a soda or whatever. Once you return to your ride, you hear “hey imma need that 5 dollar donation from ya to support my movement.” Not a good look. Basically, we’re still unknown and we would like to give our music to the masses, hence “Stimulus Package.”
What would each of you say is your favorite track on the mixtape?
Nytez B: Work It Out.
J.O.: Sorry, but I have two. Good Stuff and Work It Out
Lon.Z.: Cause Of
Y.C.: Heavy-Hitters, that’s when I pretty much claimed my spot in the group.
YK: Honestly I think Work it Out. Everything about that track is phenomenal to me.
Izzy: Heavy Hitters
The entire mixtape is dope, but I’d have to say that my two favorite songs are lyric wise: “Cause Of”, production wise: “Dollars Circulate” which are two bona fide bangas in their own right. Who was responsible for coming up with the concept and putting those tracks together?
Lon.Z: I produced Cause Of and it’s simply myself, Nytez, and J.O. rockin’ the mic; no crazy concept behind it or anything like that.
J.O.: Dollars Circulate is of course a beat from the late great J Dilla; the hook was 8 bars that I had intentionally written for the song, but I could never finish so I gave it to Nytez and he made it a classic.
Your style is crazy diverse and some might say you’re like a mixture between Outkast and A Tribe Called Quest. How would you describe your music?
Lon.Z: We’re honored by the comparisons being that those are two of our favorite groups. We always catch flack for this, but whenever we’re asked this question we reply “Its good music.”
A good example of your diversity is displayed on “Work It Out”. This song could very easily be the working class’s anthem. From the verses to the bridge to the hook, it’s a very well put together song. Oh yeah, the way you flipped the Willie Hutch sample was a good look. What was the inspiration behind this song and how did it come to fruition?
J.O.: First and foremost, shouts out to Whiskaz for the beat, another up and coming producer from Detroit, he produced “Heavy-Hitters” and “The Sideshow” as well. The whole idea for “Work It Out” came from an argument I had with my mother about going back to school and getting a real job. Seeing that Nytez, Lon.Z and myself all had school and college issues, the track spoke to me. I wrote the bridge and hook as soon as I heard it. It took some coaxing to get Lon.Z on it and I asked Nytez to put some of his life on wax.
“I Remember When” takes the listener on a trip down memory lane and gives us all a view into the formation of C.I.T.Y. Counsel. What obstacles did you all encounter along the road that you’ve traveled to get to this point in your musical career?
J.O.: The biggest obstacle, BEING FROM THE SOUTH! Let me quote the great Phonte “I’m from the south where if you ain’t snapping or rapping bout trapping you’s a freak of nature such an anomaly speak so well and talk so collegee such an astonishing contrast to all the bullshit you been following.”
What other artists or producers have contributed on making Stimulus Package a success?
Nytez: Random Rap Song is a throwback No ID and Dug Infinite joint called Fate Or Destiny, we found the instrumental on Boxden. All other production is from You Know, Lon.Z. and Whiskaz. Shouts out to V.A.R. one of their members Self-One is the only featured emcee.
Where can people cop your latest release?
What’s next for C.I.T.Y. Counsel?
Lon.Z: We’re dropping Stimulus Package 1.5 in September, featuring original tracks from The Stimulus Package, brand new material, and the debut of Izzy. After that we’ll be releasing our next mixtape, entitled “Rapping to Walls” either late 2009 or early 2010.
How can other artists that are looking to collaborate or fans get at you?
myspace.com/counsel911 we all are in the tops so get at us, don’t be shy.
What advice to do have for other artists who are trying to establish themselves in today’s music world?
Lon.Z: Do some effen research and keep it hip-hop.
J.O.: Be yourself and don’t let your surroundings be a crutch.
Nytez: Stay optimistic and use the force wisely.
Y.C.: Don’t let any single source of negativity ever get you down.
Izzy: No one will believe until you believe you.
If you could describe your music in one word, what would that word be?