Interview – Maji
The Yuinon just put out one of the most "banginest" (is that even a word?) albums out this year – GENOCIDE. It hasn't even been out good and already there is a craze going on in the streests and in the church. Jason "Maji" Wilson, CEO of Yuinon Records, is the mastermind behind the majority of the production on this. Zee was able to catch up with him and get an exclusive interview. By the way, this is the very first interview with Maji since Genocide has released.
What's good, Maji? Congratulations on putting out a phenomenal album, man. And thank you for doing this exclusive interview. This is an honor and a privilege if you ask me.
I really appreciate the encouragement and the opportunity to do this interview.
Genocide is blessing my socks off! Are you excited about it finally coming out?
I guess thankful would be a better word to describe my feeling. It was a long time coming.
How long did y'all work on this album, and did you encounter any bumps in the road while making it?
This CD is 3 years in the making. It was first entitled “Next Level,” a soundtrack for the Next Level Documentary on Holy Hip Hop by Team Elohim. We deviated from that plan due to various reasons and decided to make a full length Yuinon CD. Another reason for the delay was because I had to juggle taking care of my family, making beats, and running my Ceramic Tile Company. Gotta eat! We never encountered any bumps but over time the songs recorded had become dated, lyrically and musically. So I decided to scrap them all and start from scratch. After listening to Genocide now, I'm glad it took so long.
What were you trying to achieve with this album?
We simply wanted to try and raise awareness to what's really going on in Hip Hop. Identify the problems within the culture with indicting wordplay and rugged beats that forces artists and consumers alike to ponder whether they are a part of the problem or if they are presenting a solution.
Why the name Genocide for this release, and who thought of that name? That's a strong word, man.
I thought of the name Genocide because it defines the systematic and planned extermination of an entire group of people; but in this case it's the hip-hop generation. Satan is the author of any genocide and its time for this generation to wake up to what's really going on.
Whose feet are those? Just kidding. But who thought of the cover? That's the kind of cover that immediately makes you want to pick it up and see what it's all about. Extraordinary.
Lol! Those are I Ron Ic Lee's feet. The cover was my idea. I wanted to capture how this Hip Hop generation is going out for a dollar but in the end are obtaining nothing. That's the purpose of the dollar bill instead of a toe tag. Everyone is yelling Get Rich or Die Trying! But they never stop and think what happens after they die. I actually shot that picture in my basement and Neal of Ikreator added the nice grain effect to create the look I'd envisioned.
I was listening to The Common Denominator on Holy Culture Radio, and Shai Linne and DJ Essence asked Duce (Ambassador) if he was encouraged by what is happening within Holy Hip Hop right now. He said that he wasn't. What about you? Are you encouraged?
No I am not. Duce and I go way back and we talk at least twice a week. We both share the same sentiments about the state of Christian Hip Hop. It's hard to explain in one paragraph. There are too many selfish motives and not enough unity and love. Put it this way, I am thankful that God still has this movement under the underground. Could you imagine if some of the foolishness you see in this movement was magnified 20x and viewed by the world? We all have a lot of growing to do. I believe we are in a preparation stage but the problem is that many of us aren't getting prepared.
What do you think is around the corner for HHH?
Prayerfully, humility and REAL love for all who are in this movement.
I think this album is way before its time. This is next level stuff right here. Does it surprise you to hear that? Are you surprised by how it is being received?
No I'm not surprised but very encouraged. I thank the Lord for confirming who I am when I didn't believe in myself or my gift. Knowing who I am prevents me from altering my production style to fit what is “hot” these days. God trained me to be a leader not a follower. Legends in music are made by being themselves, not imitating a particular style or sound. Since I do this for Christ, I want to stand out from rest.
How do you feel about people giving their opinions about albums on message boards? For me, I can't stand to hear someone say an album is “wack,” or “I wasted my money,” or “I'm gave it to my cousin ‘cause I wasn't feeling it.” What do you think about those kinds of comments?
Well from the jump, to call something wack especially on a message board is a diss. As Christians we are suppose to encourage each other daily so that none of us will be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. Don't get it twisted, I do feel that people who have spent their hard earned money on a CD are entitled to speak their opinion, I don't care if it's good or bad as long as it's done in love. I personally feel if you are giving constructive criticism you should tell the person, not type it on a message board. Being down with The Yuinon you have to have thick skin when it comes to constructive criticism because we hold nothing back. If I make a beat and its wack, I Ron Ic Lee has no problem telling me to stop and start over. And the same goes for the Mcs.
Do you think Holy Hip Hop is missing anything as far the production end?
There are not enough "producers" and not enough Mcs who are willing to be produced.
What do you mean, can you elaborate?
Well first, just because you made a hot beat doesn't make you a producer. But can you take that hot beat, the lyrics and make it into a song? This is why many releases sound like a Mc rapping over a beat, not a song. Now on the other hand, the Mc has to be willing to submit to the producer's vision for the song. For example: If a producer tells an Mc that their rhyme is not up to par and then ask them to go back to the lab, the Mc will then say, "Well that's what God gave me!" This is where the double standard takes place. Mcs expect beat makers and producers to go back to the lab when they don't like a beat that God gave us but when we ask for the same consideration, we are messing with God's plan. There needs to be more balance and trust. Another problem that exists is this “invisible” wall that blocks the up and coming producers from being on an established artist's album. It saddens my heart that we do not utilize as many producers as we can to accomplish what God has set before us. For this reason, I reached out to my boy 4 Sight Sounds to come aboard and help with Genocide. He has been putting it down for years in HHH but usually the same circle of producers get the calls.
Anyone can tell from listening to your music, especially Genocide, that You are not new to hip hop by any means. How long have you been producing?
I have been producing Hip Hop for since 1988. Wow, I'm getting old! I started secular with a group called Kaos & Mystro. I produced for artist like Kurupt, Chris Webber, Redman, Breed, Rosco and many others. After giving my life to Lord, I produced songs for the Corey Red & Precise, the Cross Movement, The Ambassador, Da Truth and various Yuinon artists.
I heard Jim Jones got a copy of Genocide? I hope he lets the messages sink in. It seems like every time I hear of Jim Jones, I'm hearing Jesus mentioned somewhere. The Lord must be trying to save that dude. He's trying to save everyone! But, how did he get a copy?
He was at a meeting I was at on the behalf of Yuinon Records. He was captivated by the cover and wanted to check it out, so I gave him a copy. I pray he will get something from the CD.
There are just a few remixed songs on here that people have heard before. What made you decide to put those back out? I think they're tight.
Most of the songs remixed were on our 2002 release The Prequel. We only pressed a limited amount so we decided to remix a few of the hottest songs since only a small audience heard that CD.
Is your site the only place where Genocide can be picked up? This album needs to hit the streets, man! It would be shame for it not to get out.
Currently Genocide is only available at our website and The Bus Shop. I agree that Genocide needs to get more exposure but right now God hasn't opened that door, so I walk through the doors He has opened. After many years in the music industry, I realized that national distribution is only good if you have the proper marketing and promotion. It's almost futile to be every where and no one knows you are there. So for now, we are hitting the streets ourselves and focusing on grass-root efforts.
There are quite a few artists on this CD. How did you determine who was going to do what and how many times they were going to be on the album? I'm sure that wasn't an easy decision. Everyone on the album is talented.
Actually that was the easy part. Whatever song (lyrically and musically) was hot, we used it. There we're a few songs I wish I could have kept like this song called "Exodus" by my man Ethicz but due to time we couldn't re-record the vocals.
I think you have some of the hottest female artists in the world on your label, man. I'm ready to hear some solo projects! Are any in the works?
Mahogany Jones has already started working on her CD with I Ron Ic Lee and I will start working on Light Da Flow Minista's CD in the near future. I'm glad that Genocide and the H.E.R. Project finally have people checking for female Mcs. There are so many talented and blessed sisters that are on fire for the Lord.
Who is that young girl on the album? I don't see her anywhere on your site as one of your artists. Or is she on your label by default?
Nah, that's my beautiful and talented daughter Alexis. She's actually the girl on the cover of the H.E.R. Project. She's my hardest critic!
Is there a tour scheduled or in the works?
We have been approached by several people to do a Genocide tour. That's something that has to be planned out in detail. Maybe next summer, who knows.
Is Flip-A-Key going to be on your label?
Lol! Nah, he's a character I made up about 5 years ago. He is the persona of this Hip Hop generation. What's bugged is that I wrote that wack rhyme in 2 minutes and would you believe young cats in the hood thought it was hot? I Ron Ic Lee added the southern flavor that made it come alive! Lol! What's sad is if a label got behind that garbage, it would sell.
Someone told me you were Mr. Funny Man off of Corey Red & Precises CD "Resistance Iz Futile"?
Yeah, that was me clownin!
Are you working on anything new? When I spoke with Knine, his album had just come out and he said that he was already working on his next album. What about you?
Well right now, we are finishing up the Mad Prophets CD and then I will focus all my time and energy on Light Da Flow Minista's album. That's going to be fun!
Well, I certainly appreciate this interview, Maji. Any last words you want to leave with the people?
Thanks for the support and encouragement. Please keep the Yuinon in prayer as we move forward. God bless.
Once again, congratulations. Let's win some souls!