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SCREWBALL
KNUCKLE UP

interview by Meshack Blaq
photos by Lone-Shark
On our historic first visit to the Infamous Queensbridge Projects we knew we were in for a treat. Not only does this sector of Hip Hop play host to some of the most notorious MC's to ever bless a Mic, but Queensbridge also lives up to the rep that Kats like Mobb, Nas, G Rap, Tragedy, and the whole Juice Crew rapped in albums gone by. The future of the QB now rests in the hands of crowd movers like Nature, Cormega, and the fellows who gave us our guided tour thru their Hood. They go by the name of Screwball. And here's their collective version of what happens when it's time to KNUCKLE UP
KRON:
So tell me what was the deal with The Kamikazee. I've been readin' alot about it and need a little background info.
SCREW:
That was basically me & KL. This is Kyron speaking. We was Kamikazee when we started off in `93. We were with Marly Marl and signed with Warner Bros. and shit just didn't go right. We put out a bangin' album and they ain't never wanted to release the shit due to a buncha corporate shit.
KRON:
Was this back in the Benny Medina days?
SCREW:
Yea, and it was madd corporate shit that was goin' on at the time.
KRON:
So during Kamikazee was it still Screwball?
SCREW:
Yea, yea! No doubt. Screwball was there before Kamikazee. Poet made up the name Kamikazee.
KRON:
KL, there's a lotta history right here in these Queensbridge courtyards. But you guys are makin' history now goin' into Y2K. Why would you say that it's been such a long time comin'?
SCREW:
Well you know, it's like you know you in the Game an' shit. But when you see it for what it is, it's like you got everybody watchin' what each other's doin'. So it's bein' done without even bein' said. So the rest of it is basically that this has been goin' on in Hip Hop so long that this is just the cycle. I think that's what it's all about; it's just a cycle.
KRON:
Now you guys have basically everybody on your album from around here except Nas.
SCREW:
Nas and Trag'.
KRON:
How is it that you guys have been kinda slept on for so long outside of maybe the New York area?
SCREW:
I don't consider it bein' slept on. I just think it was the timing and the companies we was tryin' to mess with. We never got a chance to get exposure or for people to get a whiff of us.
KRON:
But you hear shouts out on everybody's album of everybody else. But it's hard to hear that ³Screwball² shout thus far.
SCREW:
We have to make that mark first and let them see that it's Real wit' us. After they see that we're makin' the mark standin' by ourselves. Like how you see us right here right now? Everybody respect that now. Now you gonna hear Screwball! You can expect that shit to blow now `cause we was on the le-low, lu-low! Only people that really knew about Screwball was Mobb Deep. And on the strength of Ty-Nitty, Screwball was Ty-Nitty's brother. That's why they the only ones who really knew. Nobody else really had took a whiff of Screwball. They knew Poet was comin', they knew Kamikazee was comin'. But they ain't know about Screwball. They ain't know what we was doin. It's like seein' a pregnant woman; you don't know the first month she's pregnant. But you know after nine months when you see the stomach stickin' out, you know she's pregnant! That's how it is wit' Screwball.
KRON:
Now who was Screwball? because some people might think it's just a name or the symbol of the baseball with a screw in it.
SCREW:
That was my Man. Me an' him go back to Jr. High. BOOM! Then he gets gunned down in cold blood years later. Now we reppin' him til' we back to the essence. That's all. We have to rep' for his name now. His blood spilled for our Shine.
KRON:
That's Real. OK, H.O.S.T.Y.L.E.; Hostyle can you talk about it?
SCREW:
That's the song we're releasin' as a single. And that song that burst forth from Ghetto livin'. And I just brung it forth writin' about the things we do and how we just get down. For the people that wanna hear the song, they'll analyze it for what it is. It's just a song talkin' about gettin' up in the mornin' and what I gotta go thru. It goes like that for a whole day focused on all that. I wasn't braggin', I wasn't out there talkin' about jewelry and cars like that. Even if I had it or didn't have it, I don't brag about things like that. It's all about just the mystery of buggin' on how life is in the Hood. Just like you in the Hood now sittin' on a bench seein' how our thing goes and how we do our thing. Things are goin' on all around you and a lotta people are movin' around. A lotta conversations and stuff are takin' place. And I just went on about how I see it thru my eyes. And my pain thru my pen and pad on how I laid it down. And that's what it is; showin' how them evil types have fucked with me and the rest of QB.
KRON:
So tell us, why are you so hostile?
SCREW:
Oh I'm hostile for alot of reasons. Police, knowhatI'msayin'? I got people just...
KRON:
Wait a minute. What's the beef with the Police?
SCREW:
Police, you know...
KRON:
What happened to your eye and jaw?
SCREW:
I'm sayin', right now I'm goin' thru a lotta drama with Police in court about different things. I got people, you know... [just then Kyron chimes in] Tell `em what happened, Man. [Hostyle continues] Yea, yea. The court system started when the first incident, I had got shot in the eye by some taser darts. And then I lived thru that to talk on it. And then years later I wound up havin' a confrontation with an off-duty court sheriff, and I got shot in the face. And I lived thru that to talk about that. And a lotta scufflin' an' things. But it's here; I'm in livin' flesh and I'm able to talk about it. [KL butts in] He can't really get that into it. Dude got court cases goin' on so we can't get too detailed about that.
KRON:
Now, to take it even further; what's the beef with the mayor? `Cause everybody in New York City, from cab drivers to limo drivers to the average Joe on the street got somethin' to say about Mayor Guiliani. And you guys wrote a song about it.
SCREW:
Word Up, we went at the Mayor. But we just did our thing. We just wrote the song on the strength. I had a dream about it in jail; woke up and just started pourin' it on the paper. Came home and did the joint, naamean?! And it's been crazy since that.
KRON:
Were any of y'all at the Million Youth March?
SCREW:
Nah, nah. It was another one recently. Like last week or a couple of weeks ago. But you know Rudy's tryin' to shut the Million Youth March down because it was drama at the first one. You heard about the drama goin' down in Cleveland?
KRON:
Nah. What's up?
SCREW:
Somethin' I was watchin' on TV where the triple K's are supposed to be holdin' somethin' on the day of the Black Expo and a few other things like that. So the KKK is tryin' to build back up they status right now since they died out. They tryin' to see how the Black people are gonna act towards them. They might have a whole different angle comin' out the Game, but I wish I was there for that! As long as my Black people are together, I'm happy about that. But if I can be there, we gon' be there! `Cause we like to perform at those things. Just like how it was a big thing in Harlem and one of the groups performed and there was a shootout. And the crowd was runnin'. I think it was a year or two ago out there on Adam Clayton. So you know, I would like to be around just to be able to perform about these things. And be there to bring a new history of Black people joinin' together. Besides Screwball, but as one unit. Just as the Industry is one unit.


KRON:
Righteous. So now we're goin' from the KKK into the year Y2K. What is it about this year comin' up that made you guys name your album Y2K?
SCREW:
Because it's the year of technology. It's all about gettin' better and enhancin' yourself. Plus that's the year shit's supposed to get crazy; Y2K. Screw that! We Represent that to the point where we got a song called `Screw That`. So we kinda ahead of our time, and we behind time. So it's like, we right on time basically. So we just gotta hit everybody in the head in a minute, and just hope that it's not gon' be screwed up for Screwball. We here to let you know, it's there to be srewed up.
KRON:
Listenin' to your music, shit iz just bananas! From ³First Blood² on thru, ain't really too much fast-forwardin' goin' on. What kinda vibe do y'all wanna put out there to the people? Because it seems like people are hungry and they're gonna be checkin'?
SCREW:
I'ma leave that to the critics. Whatever y'all get out of it, y'all get out of it. But I'm tellin' you, Shit iz Real!! We comin' wit' the Really Real. It's Real and it's Raw! So if you want some Really Real; get a whiff of some real Thugged-Out strait QB shit!! Strait Up!! But it's different from any QB shit that ever came out. `Cause you got adrenaline bangin' over music. We like the Heavy Metal rap group from QB. You can thrash, you can slam, you can get in the mosh pit on our shit. That's basically how it is. You can get in the mosh pit on this shit.
KRON:
Poet, let's take it back to `87 with ³Beat You Down² and bring it up to `99 with your time to Shine. What's up with KRS? Back then, what you made was like a classic joint that not too many people heard. What's up for `99? Are you takin' out Sucka MC's?
SCREW:
Well whoever say somethin' sideways is gon' be dealt with. Whoever gonna say somethin' sideways will be handled the same way `til I die. If you don't come at my Hood, you don't come at us. [KL adds on] We goin' out on Niggaz. We goin out on all y'all wack MC's. Like I said... "Y'all washed up" They need to pass that mic down so Screwball can move notch up/ Under our Timb's is where you squash stuff. But to make that point like Poet just said, all that shit was left in `86. This is `99 goin' to 2000, and we on some Screwball shit! We want Niggaz to know that. We from Queensbridge but we representin' SCREWBALL. We don't want Niggaz to gettin' it twisted to thinkin' we into all that other shit. We grown men. [Poet ends it with] Unless somebody comes sideways.
KRON:
How much does this Hip Hop Institution called Queensbridge influence you guys' lyrical content?
SCREW:
I think it influenced everything. That's just from KL. [Kyron takes his turn] That's what I live off. That's what I breathe; Queenbridge! [Poet keeps it simple] Everything.
KRON:
What does QB mean to you Hostyle?
SCREW:
QB means a lotta things to the future. We have a lotta programs goin' on for the kids. Then we got a lotta things where we got the Thug Niggaz out here. But everything is on the lower-low. This is our convention and this is our world. And a lotta people gotta come in here and see it as what you see it. How do you see it? `cause I know how I see it. It's a place to live and it's the best place to live at this point. [Smiling] You know what I'm sayin'?



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