Exclusive: Tragedy Khadafi Interview: Discusses Maino Fight, Lil Kim, Mobb Deep, New Project

- By Bossip Staff

Posted by Bossip Staff

Bossip: B4 we begin, I just wanted to know what you prefer to be called…Tragedy, Trag, Mr. Khadafi, what?

TK: Tragedy is cool

Bossip: OK, Tragedy, I have a few random questions to break the ice…..What song do you usually sing in the shower?

TK: It depends on the mood I’m in—sometimes the Spinners, Earth Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, etc.

Bossip: What is your favorite movie?

TK: Usual Suspects, Domino, Scent of a Woman, Braveheart, Gladiator, Anger Management.

Bossip: What was your nickname when you were little?

TK: Bubba

Bossip: Oh, that’s cute

Bossip: I understand you have an upcoming album, Blood Ballads…

TK: Uh, No

Bossip: Not anymore…why not?

TK: Well, it was like a mix tape thing…..
(Phone ringing in the background)

Bossip: Did you want to get that? No you’re cool…

Bossip: Maintaining your underground status…is that voluntary or do you think you would ever change up and go to a major record label?

TK: Um, I don’t really feel majors right about now. You have a few out there, but for the most part they are majors, just B to B. The approach just messes the whole game up to me. A lot of artists should go independent it would benefit them more…educate themselves in the business. Networking and making relationships with certain DJs—street reps things of that nature. It would more beneficial for them to go to an independent label and promote themselves with the internet…If you have good quality music you would be surprised at what you can do.

Bossip: You consider yourself the modern day Che’ Guevara, the Cuban revolutionary is that true?

TK: Somewhat, I feel I could come off that way. I read some literature on him, and I was gravitated to him and his story…he was a real interesting character…

Bossip: Did you see The Motorcycle Diaries?

TK: Exactly, yeah, you know about that?

Bossip: Yeah

TK: It was interesting, he came from a family that wasn’t necessarily poor…more privileged…he felt compassion for the people in the struggle and dedicated his life to them….that took a lot of integrity, honor, and principle on his part— in my opinion. A lot of people don’t realize he was very instrumental in helping Castro overthrow Batista, the president of Cuba at the time. Without Che’ Guevara that would not have been possible, but Castro was at the forefront, concentrated on more so than Che’ Guevara. That also made me gravitate towards him…on me a lot of people look at a lot of artists that I made and concentrate on them and tend to overlook me, so I looked at myself as that Che’ Guevara type of cat. In that regard, I consider myself….in rightness to him and his beliefs. I also read when he was about to be assassinated and shot in his back, you know, he was like “go head, cowards, remember you are shooting a man”. He wouldn’t even turn around and face them, they were beneath him. They didn’t deserve the honor of looking him in the face when they shot him, you know? I just respected that in my own twisted way.

Bossip: On that note, the rappers that you quote-un-quote made, what do you think of them now?

TK: What do I think of them now? I wish them well, I wish the best for them…no negative feelings towards them, someone gave me an analogy one day: holding vinegar and hatred to anyone inside yourself is like you swallowing the poison to helping the next person die….no harsh or bitter feelings, but at one point I did, I’m a human being. If anyone knows me they know I would give a stranger the shirt off my back, so just imagine what I would do for my friend or someone I cared about, but in this cold harsh cutthroat business, for the most part, I didn’t allow that to effect me in that type of way. Some may agree some may not agree that’s just their opinion…I wish them well….they realize what this business is really about, because once the smoke clears all you have is friends…you can’t rely on this business for friends. This sh*t is like Tinsel town.

Bossip: Do you feel the industry depleted the unity of Queensbridge rap?

TK: I believe the unity has yet to be discovered…as a collective form there are different entities, different artists, yet at the same time there was never a full union. Artists were just collectively coming together forming different groups at that particular time for certain reasons— to make money and do business. Outside of that in consideration of the fans, a lot of fans love Queensbridge artists and have yet to see this unity. That’s not the industry that’s like saying money changes people, I don’t believe money changes people, just money makes them more comfortable….show your true faces so they show who they are all along, when they didn’t have the money they just weren’t comfortable, and that’s when they’re putting on the mask. The industry has the same effect, the industry doesn’t change a friendship in that regard, but it just makes people relaxed and more comfortable with themselves. The industry could change people, but at the same time I gotta think about that cause you gotta hold on the integrity regardless. If that is who you are, that’s who you are, but unfortunately that’s not the case, you know?

Bossip: You know I have to bring up the incident with Maino…..um, with your response to that you were cool on it, you really didn’t retaliate too much…can explain why you didn’t …and take the higher ground and be a man about it.

TK: Basically it’s because I am a man, you know, aside from what people want me to do or want to hear I know the consequences and repercussions of real beef and war, I lived thru that. A lot of readers and listeners and consumers of music get caught up in the sensationalism of drama and beef. And I understand that sells. I brought up Capone and Noreaga that way, revived Mobb Deep in that way….the west coast effort of New York, New York….the east came back with L.A. L.A. Their careers were slowing down a bit, so it helped a lot of people. I lived through a lot of things in my little 35 yrs on this earth and seen a lot of things and aside from being an artist unfortunately more than fortunately the street life it’s not a pretty life I watched people die for nothing. I watched men die and lose their lives over nothing. And I realize the power of words— power and energy that words give off and excite things in this nation. I won’t participate in that anymore I know the power of words because I am a man. I’m not walking around on some happy go lucky sh*t, but I am content with my actions and my response to what happened. I’m not gonna be a fool, and be I’m not gonna be a savage… that’s how Tragedy’s gonna deal with it, that’s how Percy’s gonna deal with it. You know what I’m saying? At the end of the day, you got people in this business in the industry and corporate structure that are scared to deal with artists based on these type of things. I’m not trying to that artist anymore. I don’t want to be that business man anymore. Like I said in a previous interview on the subject, it’s counterproductive….I overstand he’s looking at it in a different light…he’s struggling trying make a name for himself …it’s kinda parallel to street life…when I was a young boy trying to come up…there were OGs with certain status…..I was like I gotta go after his head cause I gotta make it. That’s a young mentality, as a grown man I know beef is gonna rest. Nobody wants that….I don’t care who you are or who you claim to be on your records. I know better than that. I know that no man wants to sit in jail….one individual can go zipped up in a bag, and the other can go to jail or both can go to jail or both can go zipped in a bag It’s counter productive it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t prosper and doesn’t make money. I ain’t the one to score points on either…so go figure, you know.

Bossip: So do you think it was a publicity thing, since he’s been riding the coattails of Lil’ Kim?

TK: I feel she been trying to carry him for the most part and I ain’t gonna sit and front…I mean if things aren’t going the way he anticipated in his career, it’s not as easy as it seems, everybody’s not built for this rap game. We look at the success stories and of course we want to follow those stories. I’ve been in this game for 20 yrs. since I was a child. But I’ve always endured it. I’ve have a lot of ups and downs…real high ups and real low downs…But through it all my medium is I’m still a rider, still a force to be reckoned with on the artistry side and business level putting things together, closing deals. I guess things ain’t working for the dude, I’m not gonna say it was a planned strategy…but he seized the moment so to speak which is an art-of-war tactics, that’s not gonna necessarily work for him. That’s not gonna make his career,You know what I’m saying, it’s a gonna take good business decisions, skills, talent and definitely gonna take not scaring the money away…you don’t want to walk in the office of a record label and the staff looks at you as a threat or threatening or violent. That scares the money away, nobody wants to do deals with you…I want people to do deals with Tragedy Khadafi. I want people to feel comfortable doing deals with Tragedy Khadafi or whatever Tragedy Khadafi brings to the table….especially since there is gonna be good business and incredible talent involved….

Bossip: Do you feel violence is a major issue associated with hip hop, especially with the Fabolous shooting and everything going on with that?

TK: I was just about to bring that up…you know you gonna have spin doctors that capitalize on situations and try to make the best out of the situation and some people that are gonna turn it into the worst case scenario. In regards to hip hop, hip hop doesn’t need that, that’s not what hip hop is based on. We got in this business for the most part because a lot of us love the music love a lot of us the business of it….you know, some people don’t…but ultimately to help build a better life….the opposite side of the spectrum is f*cking it up and not having a better life…that harms hip hop to a certain degree. Situations like the Fabolous situation, and again I hope he is alright, I hope he is safe and comes out of this situation with his credibility and dignity and his health…but where it transpired…at Puffy’s restaurant, that’s not good for Puffy…not good for Fabolous and everyone involved. I respect the way Fabolous handling it because at the same time there is a code of ethics based on a lot of things so to speak….for the most part not good for hip hop you got a man like puffy who carries a movement within himself who works years trying to get away from incidents like that. I watched a special on BET at 8 o’clock last night and I’m familiar with Puffy’s story we started out at the same time. I watched Puffy grow in this business and I have a lot of respect for him. You know, I don’t like to see anybody go thru unnecessary changes especially when they have nothing to do with it…the man is trying to build his empire make his thing stronger making his movement stronger. Releasing new records younger fans that don’t have him on their top 5 right now…it’s not a good thing, it’s a shade on hip hop…that’s not gully…I’m not feeling that….

Bossip: Speaking of top 5, who are your top 5 rappers in the game right now?

TK: I got different categories of top 5….

Bossip: I want to hear all your categories…..

TK: Ok, lyricists, lyrical dudes….of course myself, Jay, Nas, Jadakiss, Cormega
Hood wit it—Mobb Deep, G Unit, Dip Set, TI, Young Jeezy
Top 5 awesome type lyricist—–energy produces a movement themselves….Rae, Ghostface, Game, Ras Kass, Styles P
Old school 5—Slick Rick, G Rap, Kane, Biz, Rahkim

Bossip: What other type of music do you listen to other than hip hop?

TK: Oh Man, that’s funny, cause I really don’t listen to a lot of hip hop….. a lot of the dells, earth wind and fire, stylistics, Harold Melvin and the Blue notes, Donny Hathaway, blue magic, Gladys, Commadores…

Bossip: I just listened to Harold Melvin’s Bluenotes live in Japan the other day

TK: Wow, you gotta give me a CD for real!! I love that type of music, my mom would always be like you are not a child, how you know these songs…
Minnie Ripperton, Gladys… I’m just into that… I can’t forget my man, my man of all mans…Curtis Mayfield. That’s my dog right there, me and Curtis go hard together… If you go on my Myspace page I got a joint….called “Walk with Me” about Curtis Mayfield we are together thru-out the day, yeah…

Bossip: I think that’s all my questions is there anything else you want to add?

TK: yeah, my new group I’m working with, Proud Fam, they’re gonna be the next big thing trying to put Queensbridge back on the map in terms of new artists. A current mix tape Hustlin 101, hustlin for dummies…my new mix tape which is called The Boss: Money Makes You also working with Grammy nominated Scram Jones, closing his deal right now, also Havoc’s solo deal, steer a lot of artists towards independence….

Bossip: You mean independence from record labels or from being in groups, for instance, Havoc and G Unit?

TK: From the record labels…l don’t want to steer them from being in groups you know if that’s gonna help them make money. Just more so not get locked into a major, consider your options. If you’re an artist with a strong fanbase, why not put an independent project out, it’s not gonna hurt you. You’re promoting your upcoming major release as well as putting money in your pocket and giving you a position of power and strength of negotiations for future endeavors. That’s what my company All Marketing Solutions is concentrating on setting up independent situations for artists, of course making incredible music and getting it out there, promoting and marketing it the best way we can– getting exposure for these artists. I also want to get people towards my Myspace page .

Bossip: Do you check your Myspace yourself?

TK: Yeah

Bossip: It was nice talking to you and thanks for your time

TK: Thank you for yours and hit me up

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