Hello, salutations, hi, welcome all. I go by the name Cee-Rock "The Fury". Born and raised in Q*Sector / Queens. In this Hip Hop game I was 'born to do it' like Craig David. Been puttin' in work for many years to get my rep and street credibility as a emcee, writer and PRO-ducer. I went from street battles to showcases to collaborations to making hott records. Blessed with a musical talent and looking to elavate to the next level everyday. For all you ladies out there, I'm chocolatety, stocky, beefy, charming, amusing, handsome and just plain lovable. I can't help it, it's my gift and my curse. Call me Byg Fury.
First off, where did the name come from, both ‘Cee Rock’ and ‘The Fury’?
Cee-Rock is one of those name that everybody had back in the days. It originated from my government name. I was called Cee-Ski, Super*Cee, Cee-Lover, you get the idea. My sister Roxie used to call me Cee-Rock alot. Cee-Rock pretty much stuck. Why, because Cee was always rockin' at a block party or always in the center of something. I was a 'ham' and I always had to be in the mix of something. "The Fury" actually came by 'doodling' (don't get it confused with what you do on the toilet). Doodlin' is just scribblin' on some paper with a pen, pencil, crayon, whatever. Anyway, when you scribblin', you sometimes can make out pictures or designs. My scribble looked like a dragon in the form of the letter 'F'. The first thing I thought about when I saw this was Bruce Lee's 'Enter The Dragon' (I'm a huge Bruce Lee movie buff). From there, I started thinkin' about Fist Of Fury (one of my favorite kung-fu movies of all time). All of a sudden, BOOM! M.C. Fury popped up. I was feelin' that name and it stuck in my head all day for some reason. I already had the name Cee-Rock and I didn't want to give up that name. So I incorporated both names. The more I thought about the name, the more the name sounded like a concept. The name was like someone tellin' me to release 'the fury' on individuals like, "Yo Cee, rock the fury!" 'The fury' is the delivery I'm about to drop or 'rock'. Cee is rockin' The Fury. The name has stuck ever since.
How did you get in to Hip Hop? I guess it was all around you when you were growing up?
Sure nuff was. I think Hip Hop was always in me. I used to see Salt 'N Pepa, Butter Love & Cool T, Run-D.M.C., LL Cool J, The Afros, Black Rock & Ron and other veterans back then. Queens gave birth to a lot of talent and I wanted to be included on that list. Over the years, my goal was to master my craft and get to the level of these other artists that I was seeing on Hot Tracks, Friday Night Videos and Yo! MTV Raps. It was Hip Hop fever and I still got it to this very day.
Can you tell us a bit about where you are from, that is Jamaica, Queens isn’t it? There are a lot of famous artists that have come from there.
Yeah, that right! Jamaica, Queens is where I'm from. I'm on Linden Blvd. and Francis Lewis Blvd. I rolled with the Linden Crew. A Tribe Called Quest put Linden Blvd. on the map royally. I stay not too far from A Tribe Called Quest. LL Cool J and Mikey D put Farmers Blvd. on the map. M.C. Shan, Marley Marl and the Juice Crew put Queensbridge on the map. Run-D.M.C. put Hollis Ave. on the map. Organized Konfusion and Grandmaster Vic help put Southside on the map. There are many more catz puttin' it down today like 50Cent (do your thing, playa), Nas, N.O.R.E., Mobb Deep and of course, yours trulee.
Who was in your crew back then? Would that have been Cipher Sound or Squadron Supreme? Were all those people interlinked and how did you get together, would that have been at school?
The Linden Crew was my crew. We also went under as the Linden Boulez (pronounced like 'bullies') and Da' Linden Boulevarderz. Cipher Sounds were big in Southside and was holding it down. They were down with my older brothers mostly. I did my first real demo with Cipher Sounds. Squadron Supreme was the mothership of our battling crewz. My man Shakespeare (a.k.a. Drak, a.k.a. The Coach) was the founder of Squadron Supreme. There were 3 leaders: Drak, myself and Thundergod (a.k.a. Chilly D). We used to be battling catz like the breakers in that movie 'Beat Street'. We would go to schools, parks, blocks, playgrounds, competitions and rip kidz to shreds. This was how we stayed on point lyrically by gettin' in the battlefield and throwin' wordz at people's craniums. I really miss those dayz, for real.
When would it have been that you first stepped up and started participating in Hip Hop, rather than just listening or spectating?
I took advantage of any opportunity I could to get on demos, showcase and live cyphers. I've also listened and watch. Being observant was very important to get the complete understanding of how things worked. It was a method to this madness and to this science, and if you had the formula correct you would be the freakin' man.
So when did it really kick off for you? Would it have been with he Swedish Hit with George? Tell us about that, how did you come to hook up with people in Sweden?
I've had projects out that I featured on before the George record. For the record, I don't want catz sayin' that George's record was MY record. I was featured on a maxi cd and 12" single consisting of 4 different of the song entitled 'The Things You Do'. Many people really felt my version of the 4 songs was the strongest. In any note, it helped put my name out there.
As far as me coming to Sweden, I took a trip over in 1997. I came over due to my brother Carlton Lauray (the family calls him Collie). I haven't seen my brother in many, many years until he popped up out of the blue and contacted me. He told me that he had a life over in Sweden and he was working with an organization call 'Down By Law Productions'. He was in charge of that movment which consists of entertainment and helping troubled youth. I got myself a passport and I flew right over.
How did your career move from there? Can you talk us through some of the releases and collaborations and let us know how they went?
I earned a certain degree of 'street credibility' where people either heard of me through word of mouth or actually heard me displayin' my skillz as an emcee in person. Word travels fast and people were talkin'. The streets help get my name out there. I did a collaboration 12" single a few years back with DJ Erase, LoopTroop and HeadTag. There was limited supply of vinyl but for those who heard it loved it. The song I recorded on that project was called 'A Stroke Of Genius'. I will be re*realeasing that song on my upcoming album.
Having experienced the music business on both sides of the Atlantic, what are the main differences you can discern? Have you found it easier to get over in a particular area and why?
Accent and certain attitudes mostly. It's the same but different. Hip Hop in America is mucher harder compared to many artists in Scandinavia that depend on commercializing their music. There nothing wrong with that if that's your thing. I'm just tellin' you what I've noticed. Especially in New York, we have so much attitude on our vybe that it appears intimidating to most people. We may come on a little too strong than what most parts of some countries are used to.
What do you tend to write about and what inspires you? You mention that foul language is not on your agenda…
I brag a lot. Emcees tend to do that. If you do it in a certain way, the listeners will never get tired of it. I be talkin' that talk about skillz and my crew, etc. In addition, I drop deep storytype rhymes that I gather up from things that happened in my lifetime and spice it up lyrically to make it a good story. Hit you with a lot of trivia and talk about classic things from wayback that many catz may have forgotten about now. I'm not a political person so I don't really spit the politics. However, I do voice my opinion without making a song too political. I speak from a neutral point of view or from a point where I can express both sides of the coin, unless it is a topic so obvious that there can only be one side to it. My topics are thing the average cat can relate to: men & women, relationships, drama, decisions, the streetz, club scenes, life, etc. I just happen to spice my topics up with a little bit of 'Yowzah!'
Cursin' is not on my agenda. I don't even have the desire to curse. I may say 'damn' but that's about it. Don't get it twisted...if someone drops a boulder on my foot or stick a needle in my behind or get into some serious drama, you may very well hear a curse or two from me. In regular conversation, interview and showcases you won't hear me me do it. It's not in my nature to say it just to be sayin' it. When I speak, I want my wordz to be heard. On the radio, if you curse on records you would have to make an edited version anyway. I simply cut out that option by not cursin' at all. 50Cent's song 'In The Club' is a hit song and that had to be edited. Those aren't the exact album lyrics on his video. Some emcees have no choice to do it because their vocabulary is very limited and they use them to fill up a song. I personally don't consider fill-in curses as lyrics. If you use it to make a specific point, fine. Just don't be sayin' it to be sayin' it because it has no merit nor purpose. To me, that's wiq*wiq*waq!
Can you explain your style to us?
Explaining it is pretty difficult because I could break it down to the very last compound and you may still get a complete different picture of my flow. I have to be heard and that's that! My voice shall not be denied! I will say that I have a very distinctive vocal tone that's very potent. I speak with a lot of confidence and authority yet I can ride the rhythm smothly. My flow is like a sailboat glidin' over a stick of butter. If you like Chuck D, Chubb Rock, Guru, Ice Cube, Chill Rob G, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Kool Keith and Run-D.M.C., put them all in a blender for about 20 minutes, you would probably get me. I am everyone yet no one. I am original yet you will always compare me to one of your favorite artists.
Who or what are your main influences? I understand that as a youngster Rakim told you that you had skills! That must have inspired you?
For shizzle, my nizzle! I was goin' job huntin' one day. I was in my grey dressy suit and black shoes with a baseball cap on my head and of course, my walkman. When I was walkin' in Manhattan, I saw Rakim's jeep. I knew it was his jeep because it was the same jeep on his 'Follow The Leader' album cover. He had it parked in front of a building so I waited for him to come out. He never came out so I was in the process of writing a brief notation with my contact info and place it under his windshield wiper. Just about when I was finished, Rakim comes out the building. He was with his son and a girl. I confronted and told him that I was a big fan of his and I wanted his opinion of my music. I always carry my music with me so he told me to get into his jeep. The girl gets into the back seat. So here I am chillin' shotgun with the one and only Rakim. I pop one of my tapes into his deck and he was boppin' his head like he was really gettin' into it. He asked me "was that you" and I said "yeah". He then told me that I had skillz. One of the main reasons I waited for Rakim in the first place is because on his album he was being produced by a man named Paul C. McKasty. Paul C. was one of biggest producers in New York around that time. I was working with Paul C's brother, Tim McKasty. So I knew both Paul and Tim personally. It was common ground to spark up a conversation with Rakim. He said for me to make contact with Paul so we all can hook up on a later date. It was like a dream come true at that time. As fate would have it, Paul C. was brutally murdered shortly after that conversation with Rakim. We never had that meeting. If you ever have a chance to interview Rakim, be sure to ask him about Paul and Tim McKasty. I am still working with Tim in the studio off and on to this very day.
So now it has to be all about getting your album out there? I understand that for the UK release you have hooked up with Tricksta and Late of Wolftown records? How did that come about?
I sent him an email presentation. I can pimp the internet like no other. I search engines for companies, agencies, promoters, etc. and send them my presentation / resume. On my presentation it has my contact info, website and mp3's to check out. I throw out the bait and basically see who bites it. Wolftown heard my material and was impressed. I've invited Late & 10Shott to be featured on my album. I am also featured on Late's upcoming album entitled 'International Rhyme Spittin''. That is a name and concept that I came up with. We have a great working relationship and you can expect to hear a lot more projects with Wolftown Recordings and myself. I will be hangin' out with Wolftown shortly when I arrive in Wolverhampton.
Was there a concept behind your album? Can you tell us a bit about each/some of the tracks on your LP, what they are about, what effects, moods or messages you were trying to create/pass on?
I just wanted to put out a album in which you don't have to fast-forward. These days, artists are puttin' out albums with 20 or more songs and only 2 or 3 of them are good to listen to. The rest is album filler garbage. The consumers are being robbed in the worst way on the very first listen! My album will give you your money's worth, make no mistake about that. I don't believe any of my songs are worth fast-forwarding. It's a solid album all the way through from the lyrics to the production to the scratches to the quality to the content. It is very versatile and delivers satisfaction to the ear. It is not a gangster album, it is not a wanksta album either. It is an album of skill, lyrics, production and flavor. It's an well-balance album....part of your balanced breakfast.
You have been gigging and touring to promote your stuff. What's the reaction like when you are live and what do you feel when doing live shows?
I get a lot of luv after a show or performance. Catz come up to me and hit me with the 'poundz all around', ladies hug and kiss me and ask for to sign autographs on papers or person. It's a great feelin' when you are appreciated for something you enjoy doin. I appreciate all of the fans who have supported Cee-Rock "The Fury" over the years. I hope they continue to do so. When I perform, I get the same sensation as someone bitin' into a York Peppermint Patty or garglin' with Listerine. It's refreshin' and it wakes you up.
When I perform, I like to get the crowd involved like they are part of the show. I usually find some kind of way to get them involved. That way, when they come to my show they can feel like they have contributed something to it as well. I like to interact with the crowd and sometimes pull an unsuspected listener onto the stage. I make things up. I usually don't prepare for a show because I like each show to be different and spontaneous. That really get my adrenaline pumpin'. I feed off of the crowd's energy and vice-versa.
What are your more memorable moments? What about when you were on stage with Public Enemy?
It wasn't Public Enemy, it was Flavor Flav. He has a show at KB's in Malmo, Sweden. I got up and rocked with him for a bit. I have worked with other members of Public Enemy. I did shows with Professor Griff when he was signed to Luke Records and had a crew called 'The Last Asiatic Disciples'. We did schools in New York. It was a cool experience. Griff is a cool cat. He'll kick your behind too if you mess with him. He's small but he packs a wallop.
Probably my most memorable moment was when I did the Apollo Theatre for the first time. Before showtime, I had to snatch up 2 dancers from Andrew Jackson High School during school hours. I told the principal that I was going to do the Apollo and I needed some dancers quick. I got two male dancers and we didn't have time to prepare much. We practiced a little bit before the show backstage. My thinking was that if I can rock the Apollo Theatre, I can rock anywhere. The crowd was booing catz off right and left and Sandman was just pullin' catz off. They finally called my name to the stage. I was nervous as a mutha. Before I even got onto the stage, the crowd was like, "BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" "Hold up!", I said. They was booing me before I even got on stage! The audience was just on some 'clownin' anyone who comes out on stage' mode that night. Instead of getting nervous, I got mad! I said to the dancers, "Let's do this! Freak this mess!" They played my music and they was still booing. The song I selected has about a 10 second wait until the beat drops. When that beat dropped, the crowd was like, "Ohh shhhhhhhhh...!" Then I started spittin'. The crowd finally stopped playa hatin' and started particapatin'. My dancer were sick with theirs. They were doing stuff that would have made Big Daddy Kane's dancers jealous. I was sayin' to myself, "Yeah, I got the crowd now right where I want them now!" Then Sandman came out... It was like my life just warped into slow motion. In my mind I was like, "Noooooooooooooooo!!!" Yeah, Sandman came out alright, but it wasn't to boo us. Sandman actually came out and was boostin' the crowd to make some more noise for us. He was in the back throwin' his hands up and hypin' up the crowd. I was like, "Say word! I got Sandman in the back as a hypeman." Got a standing ovation that night. Too bad we didn't win though. Some cat that was in the competition brought a few bus load of people and they wasn't gonna sell their man short. Of course, they rooted for their guy. I did survive the Apollo Theatre and that was my main purpose for going. To me, having Sandman back you up, that's Yowzah!!!
What sort of reactions have you had from the UK so far?
Can't complain. I'm gettin' love from all corners. My name is spreadin' like fungus in the U.K., Scandinavia and the U.S. I have received many offers to collaborate with U.K. catz. Can't wait to do that because that's showin' a brotha love and I want to give some of that love back. 'Nuff respect to the U.K.
What else do you do promotion wise, how do you get your name out there?
I run around the country butt naked with my cd taped to my forehead sayin', "Get this album, aiight?!" Seriously, I do radio interviews, mixtape and radio drops, and cable video shows,etc. (anything that gets my face and voice out there to the masses).
How does it work with Stellar Artist Management, what territories do they look after? What do they do for you? I understand that you were the first Hip Hop act they took on...
I've been working with S.A.M. since 1998. Each year that passes, we have made considerable progress. S.A.M. is based in Malmo, Sweden and just opened up another office in Copenhagen, Denmark. S.A.M. will work whatever territories that are negotiated with various entities. I am the first Hip Hop act with S.A.M. I've corrupted an innocent Michael Hoffman (my manager) and converted him into the notorious Hoff-Dawg. I would love to tell this story but it would be better if you heard it from Hoff-Dawg himself.
What is your connection with Wendy Day and the Rap Coalition? I only ever hear sense coming from her camp.
Wendy Day is like the ambassador of Hip Hop. She know just about everyone and everything you need to know about this business. I believe she was responsible for hooking up Cash Money Click with Universal Records. She have given counsel and advice to many artists in this game and steered them in the right direction. Wendy used to have a place in Manhattan for emcees to hook-up and display their skillz. That is where I met Percee-P, Poison Pen, Breez Evaflowin' and Stronghold. We used to spit there all of the time for about 2 hours. You can find out more about Wendy Day at www.rapcointelpro.com/Wendy%20Day.htm. She is a great person to connect with and she has done a whole lot for Hip Hop.
How do you feel you are positioned within the marketplace and is that through your wishes or with different circumstances, would you do it differently?
I am in a different position because I go against the grain and don't follow the typical formats of artists coming out today. I try to take control of my own destiny. When an artist sign with a company you may not put out what you want to put out. The label has the final say. Sometimes, what you hear on the radio is not the artist's fault. The company tries to make an image for you and put out a song that they feel will generate money. It's not always about the illest rap you got. You may have done a whole album yourself, get picked up by a label and they may not use any of what you have done. You don't have much say because you are an artist. An artist is supposed to play their position (so to speak). My situation is a little bit different. My management is also a label. I am the A&R of the Hip Hop / Urban / Soul Division of the label. I am also an artist under them. I helped build S.A.M. to where they are now so I am in a unique position to play a part than just an artist. It's a lot of work but our formula seems to work with us. S.A.M. plus the label trust my judgement when it comes to choice of music. We have a mutual respect and relationship that you wouldn't normally see in your standard artist / company manual. We made our own rules and use it to our advantage. This may not work for everyone, but so far it is working for us.
Continue on to Part Two