When I first heard music from the 7th Foul Nation I didn’t expect this crew to be from Holland, until I checked their anthem called “Amsterdam”. I hooked up with Rick Done of the group’s two MC’s (other members are Complex and DJ Essence) too find out what they were all about trough the wonderful world of internet. After getting some freestyles and new joints from Ricktrough internet, we decided to hook up so the group could tell me more about what they are doing. After the first hook-up was’Sabotaged’ by police: Rick D got arrested after he found back his scooter which was previously stolen and drove it back home, the police asked him to show his legitimating, and when he did (he has anAmerican nationality) they didn’t trust him and thought he was here illegal and the legitimating was a fraud, so after two weeks of jail (he has a wife a baby-daughter of 6 months old at home) they saw they made a mistake and had to release him, look for this story to get a tail…), so due to this history we had to postpone the hook up until a month after.
In good company with MC Soulartic and JyotiI went to [I’m from Rotterdam] Amsterdam to hook up with the group at Rick’s crib. Although Essence was prevented to come and Complex couldn’t be there on time, we still had enough to talk about. Rick played us some songs from the 7th Foul Nation and their affiliates and told us how they were affiliated. First off he put on some of the older 7th Foulnation tracks while we were chilling in his little studio, which they use to record demo’s, equipped with a PC, several mixers, two Technics SL’s and a MPC 2000 and loads of minidisks, CD’s and LP’s. Explaining how the 7th Foulnation is a branch of the 101 Foul Nations family tree, we get deeper into the subject of how the crew got started. The 101 Foul Nations have representatives all over the world, Rick Dbeing an US representative who moved toAmsterdam after visiting the city when he was here too look for a relative, but it all started in Brooklyn back in 1988. The name 101 Foul Nations comes should be explained like this:
“1 = Knowledge”
“0 = Cipher”
“1 = Knowledge”
“Foul = The State of Society”
“Nations= Each Individual who holds their own in our crew”
With 7th Foul Nation being the seventh crew that was established, the 101 family had their chance to spread their knowledge not only through The Netherlands but also are keeping it on a global level, trough their site, trough the mp3.com site and also through the many contacts they have worldwide.
As Rick D explains how the whole family is connected he plays us some other tracks by groups 7th Foul Nation is affiliated with and raps along with all of them. He also lets us listen to some tracks by Gennesee, an MC from Brooklyn who is about to blow up big, while his two dogs (a half-breed pit bull/chow chow and a American Stafford-Shire Terrier) come checking what’s going on every now and then just like his daughter who already seems to show some interest in her father’s work. We decide to wait till Complex arrives with the interview about 7th Foul Nation, soRick D listens to some of the records I brought and decides to sample some stuff from the “What is it” LP from S.O.U.L.chopping it up and erasing the whole sequence several times. He’s still busy with the MPC when Complex comes into the room with a big smile on his face “Yo was sup, you must be Loot” he says, I calledComplex the same morning when I couldn’t reach Rick to ask where he lived. He already knows Soulartic and Jyoti, as he has hooked up with them for a projectSoulartic and Jyoti are doing, and Complexhas been giving them some advise about how they might want to handle certain aspects of the project.
We pick up the conversation right where we left and Complex explains how they are planning to handle their business, “We hook up with different people who want to bring out compilation albums out and stuff like that to make some noise, that’s the strategy for now”. “If you want to repAmsterdam you can’t just come with an album full of your own shit”, explains Rick D:“There’s a lot of people out here who are skilled and got a lot of shit, but they run parallel to you so that means you almost never cross paths, so it’s like we had that for the first time the other night, we had this session out in ANP studios, we just brought together the four corners of HipHop in Amsterdam, and we was tripping of how that sounded just to freestyle for a night on some live joints with dope keyboards and live shit.”
“3 mics and 5 or 6 MC’s, so everybody was just repping”, says Complex. Rick D adds:“When you come through like that, and you got like ten heads in a room, all judging each other, and checking each other, it kinda shows that Amsterdam has got to be unified, to really make a stance in HipHop”
“Not only Amsterdam”, I state. “Each major city got to be like that, we are just speaking for Amsterdam” confirms Rick D. Complex: “Right now in Amsterdam there isn’t really anything being repped to the extend where it really holds ground and holds weight but we know there are definitely a couple of talented cats who haven’t been brought out yet, but who are definitely up to par, it’s heavy you know?” Rick D continues: “The Postmen [had] a different format of music which is a form of HipHop and it gets accepted, but can you break out of that chain and come with some hot shit for the peeps. Represent where the shit blows up like worldwide and people are like ‘whoa’ you know? That’s what I’m tripping off, is that possible here? So in order to do that, it would probably have to be coming from a compilation where people are brought together and then some people saw that, that and that, and in order to let it blow world wide it couldn’t be just something that blew in the Netherlands, and then you can do each persons solo projects and give em a little props worldwide, and maybe they even make the money to have promotion tours to a scale where they get recognized.”
Complex explains: “It costs 25.000 dollars + to get a page in The Source, you know what I mean? It’s like it’s all about the capital. And what HipHop is about, is an underground movement, it’s creativity, [the artistic aspect], individuals who come out of a struggle of life and then want to break free from that, but independently because they are aware of the world, what’s going on in politics and the capitalistic system, so what happens now is that HipHop becomes commercial, I mean the diva of HipHop and Soul Mary J. Blige is called pop now…” Rick D laughs “Get the fuck out…”while Complex adds: “Where N-Sync get best R&B award!”
I amplify : “…And Sisqo gets bets HipHop award!?”
“And Sisqo gets bets HipHop award!”,Complex repeats.
Rick D has an other view on this award though: "You got to admit, in a sense it is, because when you see that shit on TV or you hear that shit (sings “thong thong thong thong”], it’s HipHop, where he gets that from is the whole shit he rose with it’s their culture" Somewhere agreeing with him I state: “It’s certainly not the best though”
“Not even close”, agrees Rick D to the fullest.
Once again returning to the main subject -what does 7th Foul Nation stand for?-Complex continues his explanation: “We are trying to keep it true to HipHop in that sense that we are just building ourselves as individuals as artists, individual strong artists so that’s Rick D and this isComplex and that’s Essence.” Rick Djokingly calls Complex the Complex Dread asComplex goes on about their goals: “That’s why we are still building, we are not slowing down, were also testing it on an international level here we get good reception.” Rick D adds to Complex’s story:“If you check it right? Essence he is producer for us right now and Essence is his own entity with or without us he’s gonna blow, he is in a shine, that’s what7th Foul is all about, if you ain’t your own person who is gonna blow on your own, then you really cant fit into that shit cause what were trying to do is to unify them people who are like not known got all the skills to blow by themselves as unified with synchronized peeps who are on that level so Essence is on that shit, I played you the shit from Genessee, where he is with A.G. and Masta Ace, he is fromBrooklyn, but he is not from 101 he is from the Ruffneck Soldiers but now he’s solo, he is really on his own shit, [although] he is reppin with Street Reportas, he repped withL-Roneous.” “Raw Elements was their label they got free promotion in The Source that is how much props they got from peeps”, adds Complex.
“Now Essence is producing two tracks onGenessee’s new album so if you think about it, the whole shit is coming together on an international level it’s not just something like were toying around with them like ‘yeah well maybe this is some kind of thing we can blow with and make money with’ that’s not what were about we’re really about making a bridge for HipHop fromAmsterdam to the States and to the other countries where it’s really blowing up like even Sweden or Germany for instance I mean in Germany the top charts is all HipHop, the top eight songs in the charts is HipHop and it’s all German shit!”, Rick Dcompares, while Complex has his own view on this phenomenon “And that’s just because the media puts a light/lit? on it and just supports the video’s that they get from the label from their company I mean 5 million for Hype Williams? They just have to put it on, that’s all!”
Rick D adds “If this government was smart they’d put on a track like Amsterdam, it’s a track about a city in Holland if they’d pay for the whole distribution so it gets out to the States and it can become a tourist promotion thing but they don’t see the keys of HipHop to where they can make a profit. In the end I’m bring it to them in the end, show peeps like ‘yo are you silly?’ If you got like a 150.000 HipHop heads pumping that song a day, at least 25.000 are gonna hit this city every year they gonna like what they hear in the song all that shit is just about this place and how it is run not this city for instance but this country. You know? People don’t really get it like what it can bring and shit so were tripping of that. We don’t wanna come with one kind of track for instance only a R&B featuring track or this, we wanna keep a broad horizon and do everything we fit into where it really makes sense and doing some hype shit that’s real in the end I’m not saying that every single track I did was real but sometimes people pay me to do things that was just a project I was involved in that’s not HipHop to me, I’m also a writer, so I will sit down and write some shit, I can write some poetry or some kind of R&B lick or whatever I gotta do if I got a topic I just bang it out!” Which is the same for Complex, who for example did a song with Dignity some years ago.
I remember reading an article by someone who stated that once people start labeling your music, your career is about to be over, I say, on which Complex replies:“Yeah, and we keep a broad horizon with that, you know, I love, live music, I even worked with a project for a kind of a drum n bass/rapping thing.”
Rick tell us: “I did Drum-n-Bassline for three months, hosting it in Paradiso, freestyling all night, till 4 in the morning, just on drum ‘n’ bass, I didn’t keep it up cause them people wasn’t paying me, first they pay me 3[hundred], second time they pay me 2 and the third time they are offering me one, and I’m like, yo, I’m stepping out right now I’m taking the one without even doing the work, that shit I’m not too fond of because the whole thing of they trying to steer the way it should be where HipHop lets you be free with what you’re doing and express yourself…” where is points out one of the main aspects of true art: artistic freedom, "So I mean as far as live I wanna keep it to HipHop as far as projects I wanna go all ways because I like to write also, I mean the latest track were doing is called “Damn Nigga You Dangerous”, so that’s more some underground shit, we gotta keep it real for our peoples so they understand where we coming from and what’s going on around us and what’s happening in our lives right now I mean you can talk about money Bimaz, cars Rolexes, chains and ice, and I’ll talk about ice in my fridge, cause I’m happy that I can have a cold drink instead of watch this motherfucker floss his shit and thinking he is the man cause his wrist is heavy, I will never forget, whoever this was, maybe they will remember, I went up to them at the end of a show, and I was like “yo wasup, props”, I felt their show, you know? So I felt the urge to give them props, I was with my girl and walked up to them backstage, went to give them a pound, and this is someone in the HipHop scene inHolland, and they snooded off with their high head like “they gonna blow regardless” and I’m not trying to say whatever , I’m just trying to give them daps and show some love to keep doing their shit, and they are refusing that for themselves, so you gotta think about what we broke down in HipHop , what we’ve come to find out in HipHop that’s why we stick together as like a family entity and like back to back kinda fist up drawn with rhymes"
This is exactly one of the things which always seems to be a part of the culture inThe Netherlands, it seems to much inHolland like people have to prove a point,"Yeah, I can’t go to a HipHop club here and say lets plug in the mic lets freestyle, are you kidding? They think I gonna some guy like “Humptydodry” I’m coming trough trying to rep worldwide HipHop put them on a higher level, cause that’s the DJ that’s gonna put me on, an they’re worried about asking me you have a demo I can hear first? I heard that shit at least ten times, and I’m friends with all the people who said it to me, but it’s a fucking joke that you gotta prove yourself in this city, because what are people doing? they’re afraid to loose the little shit they’re holding down, that’s what they’re afraid of. And it’s a sad thing right there", Rick agrees. As where Complex further explains, "It should be much more building, and understanding that what you’re working for with HipHop, what you live in in the same world the other guys live in, we living the same live style, same mentality, we wake up the same way everyday, putting a tape in the deck and taking a shower with heavy HipHop music in the background and walking down the street with your Minidisk on, listening to the hottest joints, rhyming or writing in the metro you know everybody does that, so what the fuck? We are all the same, with that you know, but out here people have a misconception of what holding it down means, back in the days you had a lot of crews on the streets, you know in theBijlmer, in West we had all these community centers and all the spots in Rotterdam as well, where kids was just rocking the shit and everybody was rapping in a little crew and you got shows of local artists, but they were wack they booed off stage or another mc from the crowd would feel the urge to get onstage and grab the mic and say “son you really got skills, cause I don’t hear none, you talk about this and that I wanna know why you’re rapping”
Rick D continues: “I will never [play] myself by to going up onstage and try and rock some shit from people, cause when I go up there, people will be hating so much in the midst, that you cant even get your vibe on , that’s exactly what’s going on in a HipHop chatroom too, people will start hating and shit it’s the same exact type of thing, like it’s has got to be brought to a real standard and held there. I mean I’m sure its gonna reach that cause so many people know about the spot now people like you and me and y’all are just representing all the time so its gonna manifest onto something , its just a matter of time…” “So there’s got be unity in HipHop”, we state,Complex says “Yeah the unification comes with people in a synchronized mind state and then we can collaborate and that’s what’s happening now, you see like groups opposing different people and other people think about projects to be collaborating like us I know a lot of cats in Amsterdam because I’ve been brought up here I’ve been living here for a long time you know everybody in the community who is doing some shit on the low who hasn’t been on stages and been brought out like that and some did..”, Rick D: “…some have came out and flopped…”, Complex: “…some came out and made some moves…”, and Rick D points out:“But everybody is stuck in the game and if I say flopped it ain’t due to them flopping its due to who they’re connected with , who’s representing and how HipHop is brought out in this town I mean we’ve got a few record shops here in Holland that really represent HipHop and you know the standard which goes there it’s a high standard so that’s why there’s not much HipHop in them shops because none of them records are made to that standard, so we are trying to get it there , it ain’t only about 7th Foul, as us it’s about 7th Foulas representing other people and trying to get them heard , that’s been a long time mission, but I’m not gonna represent no fake people if they prove themselves fake somewhere along the line if something went wrong something went Foul, they understand that we can’t move as a entity no more we keep moving as we was before they stepped in or as we always planned to be cause we gotta keep it real”
Complex explains us: “So that’s why you learn a lot about people and communication and what you can expect trough all the experiences we also had that evolution of knowledge where we all seen like okay right now is the time and now there are a couple of heads who are on point so now we are definitely making strides and we gong forward and also not afraid to do something , move you know! Bring it out, we have to make a ruckus right now, now is the time to make some noise so in the near, near future, you are definitely gonna hear more about 7th Foul, and definitely about the different artists we’re working with”.
“Even peeps we ain’t rolling with no more for whatever reason they still gonna be on doing their shit forever, because those people were doing music like serious projects in live but we have to keep it as a full projection we can’t have a vibe-block between us where we cant get it on lyrically or otherwise because some other person in the cipher is not being a 100% true to the cipher where we can look them straight in the eyes okay we understand that , so that’s why it’s down to me, Complex and Essence, we got brainstorm representing up in there, we gotGenesee, Smoking Joe, Resurrectors also, they came through with me, kept it on some real shit, a lot of peeps I repped with from Dr. Doom to all types of peoples from the scene like DJ Knowhow, I know him he is cool, peeps all around, but were all on some different missions, we got to combine some shit now. and make it like some kind of monument for Amsterdam in HipHop so we can say, “yo this shit right here this broke through and that’s why people know that person, that person, that person and that person”. Cause so many skills was unified without the ego’s, we going to bring that shit definitely but right now we just busy on me and Com ‘s shit, busy on making an EP with all the hottest artists we know from the underground in The Statesand bringing it out here on 7th Foul Records, and something called Noble Housewhich I’m doing with my man Genessee, so that’s also in the works right now, we gotAmsterdam done, he was here only for a couple of months he was finishing his album, he had a lot of stuff to take care of we wanted to make some beats for him he wanted to do some beats for me and do some writing cause he had a whole album to do so he is another member of what we’re up to and when the EP comes out you will hear him on it, and he has got artists out in the states so the shit is just banging, he andSmoking Joe Gotti do Street Reportastogether and Paul Nice (producer who also did Biz Markie’s latest joint on Goodvibe Records), that’s just some next level HipHop right there."
As y’all can read there’s a lot of things going to happen in the future if it is to7th Foul Nation, Complex speaks about the near future: “But as you hear that’s a lot of plans which all need to come together, but that’s the goal we want to reach so in the near future you definitely gonna hear more tracks here and there, collaborations, featuring here and there…”, “…and a lot of production shit…”, “…a lot of connections…”, “…and from Joe…”, Rick D and Complexalternate each other: “Joe is coming out also, Q.F., and all type of other cats, so when people see the connection they will know that that’s the way we want to go.” “That’s the plans…”, Rick D concludes.
When talking about the way how they start working on a particular project, Complextells, “Basically we are trying to keep it HipHop and keep it true not only the art form but also in that business sense of straight dealing with human beings that’s the key element that we’re trying to uphold and bring it to a higher international and intellectual standard, cultivating our music right now. people got to listen more to what were trying to say our concepts are really brainstorms together, like what’s the concept of the song, what’s the topic about it, what is the hook about then we build our rhymes on that, it’s really conceptual writing , like he touches one part of the topic and I follow it trough”.“We sometimes script some things out. What we was doing lately it was almost more like writing a script to a story or to a point that we exactly knew what we were gonna say and how we had to break it down, so it just became a puzzle we had to put together, where we used to write mostly of the head about how hot how dope or how fat, and that’s cool cause that’s some mc shit, but on a LP or a album you can have a couple of mc tracks but you also want to have some shit that’s touching people nationwide.”,amplifies Rick D.
Complex: “…and that’s what we rather have, cause even when we make a danceable joint like what we trying to do is always bring in some info it always got substance its not all this bla-bla-bla and even if it’s a battle rhyme it’s not boasting it’s like intellectual breaking down MC-ing that’s what we try to focus on, that’s way more important. It’s not about negativity, if you spread negativity through your music minds will get infected as well , so what we trying to do is to be conscious with that to see that what we gonna talk about if people really want to listen, follow the music, follow the flow, try to catch the vibe we trying to bring then they gonna understand what we are about as people.”
Rick D shares this opinion with Complex:"If they are listening to it they are joining it, that’s basically if they really listen to it more than once then they’re kind of part of what were about because we touching subjects in rhyme like you heardFoul World you heard metaphor wars which wads the last mc track we did which was only about what each one of us as a sole MC was doing on the mic, but ‘Foul World’ or’Poverty’s Paradise’ that’s just really about touching what’s happening in the streets and how you got to live to survive and shit also like ‘Intelligent Crooks’that was something but it’s more about like’Poverties Paradise’ and ‘Foul World’ type of tracks that’s what we are really trying to get on stuff that makes you envision things when you hear it like “Damn that shit is hot to me!” Complex explains further: “Scripts, you know…current issues, things that’s happening we all have the different way of looking at a story and how we bring it, while it is the same, that’s why it’s a good combination we in/evolving in concepts, flows, and idea’s cause right now, because we want to bring it to that higher level, we are thinking differently now it’s not just flowing, free styling all the time just for yourself, I’m hosting shows right now, and working with different people, to project your rhymes and your words clearly to an audience, what do you want to say? It has to be for other people to be perceptive to it they got to hear it and understand it what you’re saying so its breaking a style down into different vibes now to make it more universal we really developing our style of music to international, universal music cause that’s what HipHop is four elements combined that’s what we are striving for …”
“7th Foul…7th Foul… it’s just a whole bunch of ill shit…a whole bunch of plans put to one piece…”, Rick D sums up and concludes:"We always gotta give props towww.simplyradio.com … definitely simplyradio they are probably the biggest promoter of our shit, that’s my cousins radio station on the internet, it’s always up streamin 365 days a year, 7 days a week 24 hours on HipHop and there’s also an R&B stream, so they always play our shit and that’s always been a big thing …DJ Scan, 101 Foul Nations, the author Tech Squire,Kayotic 1, Proteus, the Sheriff, that was all peeps that repped for me in Brooklyn hold the shit down for 7th Foul…