articles: Word from the Inside


True Lies and White Guys

By a Gossiping Bitch on August 19th, 2003

White rappers from New York? The hell, you say! What’s next, terrorists from Saudi Arabia? They went from The Street to Da’ Streetz. Then they became frightened and promptly returned to The Street. The crew is called Sworn Enemies; and if that name is familiar to you, you are probably throwing up in your mouth right now. If, however, you have not heard of them previously, then it is only a matter of time before you do. So, please, enjoy your temporary ignorance in all its bliss, because the Great White Hype Machine is in full effect on this one.

I’ll even give you a couple of extra seconds.

It’s not too late to stop reading this.

Still here?

Your funeral.

OK, so Sworn Enemies consists of rappers Killa Josh and Timothy McPaid, and their disc jockey/producer DJ Dow Jones. They are receiving all kinds of unwarranted attention lately from the music press and have already built a following, despite the fact that their music has yet to be heard by anyone. Next month’s Rolling Stone will include a review of their demo tape which was not based on an actual listening of it, but rather on the press release describing what was on it. Their forthcoming debut album will reportedly be nominated for the Shortlist prize by an unidentified British rocker, and Pitchfork Media has already requested any kind of information at all on it in order to commence praising it as soon as possible. We caught up with KJ, T McP, and DJ DJ to hear their thoughts on hip-hop, race, fashion, and other topics they are not qualified to speak on. This interview was conducted partly at their recent URB photo shoot, and also through a series of faxes, their preferred means of communication.

GB: Are you fuckers ever going to actually release anything?

DJ DJ: It’s all gonna come out soon. We’re not in control of these things. To the fans we say just be patient!

GB: But doesn’t it seem strange to you that you’re getting all this attention from the press? It’s almost as if they like the idea of the group more than anything, like they’d prefer not to even hear your music at all and just go on using you to promote whatever hidden agenda they have. I don’t mean to sound cynical.

KJ: Well, I don’t mean to sound like I’m gonna fuck you up right now. I don’t know who you think we is, but we’re not your regular whiteboy rappers that you can get away with criticizing in articles behind our backs. Nah, we’re from the Wyclef/Masta Killa/DMX school of dealing with the MEE-DEE-UH. Y’all alternative press motherfuckers think you’re slick, dissing fools on the low, thinking they won’t notice because it ain’t The Source or XXL or some shit. Fuck you.

GB: So, how does one go about getting his demo reviewed in Rolling Stone?

T McP: Well, first off, there are three of us.

KJ: Yeah. Can’t you count, motherfucker?

T McP: I only say that because you asked how just one was do it. Since there are three of us, you may have to divide the recipe into a third or some shit. How did we do it? I think it all goes back to when we were each born white.

DJ DJ: Exactly. Once we made that known to some of the Rolling Stone people, it was on. We let them know what we were about and shit, you know what I’m sayin’? Our backgrounds in the business world. How we dropped it all to do this full time, you know? From there, I think one of our people sent them a press sheet or something and then we got word that the shit got 3 stars. Pretty good for something they never heard.

KJ: Word, we were real proud of that. When it comes out, I’ma go to Barnes and Noble and buy up all the copies for my moms. That’s real, straight up.

GB: When did you guys first link up?

T McP: I used to pick up Dow’s tapes at the record stores. Josh and I got at him from there.

KJ: Yo, Dow was well known on the mixtape circuit. But still keeping it underground. So, people knew, but they didn’t, know what I mean? It was like some covert ops! Know what I mean?

T McP: No, we don’t. Anyway, Dow’s tapes really made an impression on me. Not necessarily a positive one, but an impression nonetheless. Very peculiar. He used to play shit like “Still D.R.E.” and shout “EXXXXXXCLUUUSSSSSSIVE!” over it. He would do this months after the record had already dropped!

GB: What’s up with that?

DJ DJ: Uh, I got some bad information on what that term was supposed to mean. You know, in a mixtape context.

T McP: There were other things. The tape covers used to talk about all the “battles” that were on them. But the battles would just be recordings of him arguing with people. Like, fights with his girl, his mom yelling at him. That kind of thing. He’d put the fights over some beats, and call them shits battles! [laughs]

KJ: Yo, “Dow vs. Kelly II” was the dopest one. “I’m not paying for shit until you get a blood test! I found out how you fucked my cousin, whore!” [laughs] Shit was fire!

DJ DJ: Yeah, interesting story how that all started. I was at my mother’s house in my old room working on a mix of “DWYCK” and “Gangsta’s Paradise”. This is before I knew what BPM’s were.

T McP: Or good taste. Or common sense.

DJ DJ: So, I was working on my shit and then my mother bangs on the door, telling me to turn my shit down because it was too loud. I was trying to turn something off so I could hear what she was saying, but I accidentally hit the Record button on my tape recorder. The mic was way up on it so it was picking up the whole conversation. I still had my headphones on and could hear the beats at the same time. I thought to myself, “wow.” It was like a revelation. At that moment, I knew what Grandwizard Theodore must have felt like. I started incorporating different battles onto my tapes. Beefs with my old bosses, collection agency people, telemarketers, whoever else.

KJ: Word, they used to call him “The Drama Major”.

GB: You guys dress in business attire, which is not normally what you see from rappers these days. I mean, they wear suits, but usually like purple ones. Call me a cynic for asking this, but aren’t you worried about alienating today’s hip-hop audience?

KJ: Yo, Alien Nation was some shit, right? I woulda fucked some of them female ones, you know? I mean, assuming they had pussies and shit! [laughs]

T McP: I think we’re going to revolutionize hip-hop fashion. We study rappers on the video shows, trying to see what’s dope and what’s played out. One cat we really like is that Lil’ Jon. That chalice he carries around with him all the time is hot. There’s a man who knows how to accessorize.

DJ DJ: He bit that shit off that famous pimp guy. What’s his name? Magic Wand? Motherfuckers look like they just got back from trying to find the Holy Grail.

T McP: They chose poorly, by the looks of things.

DJ DJ: Word, everyone knows the Cup of Christ isn’t all blinged out and shit.

T McP: Well, that and how it looks like dude’s been melting for a while. Not a pretty one, that Lil’ Jon. But anyway, it’s a hot idea, and I’m gonna take it to the next level. I’m gonna carry one of them Starbucks cups with me at all times. See, that’s how you relate to all the working people out there who do the same shit already. They do it out of necessity for caffeine, but I’m going to make it a full-fledged steez.

GB: What audience are you going for anyway?

T McP: I’ll field this one. The white audience. Next question.

GB: Care to elaborate on that?

DJ DJ: What he means is if you look at who’s buying hip-hop, it’s like 70% honkey. Yet, rappers still pretend they’re making their shit for the urban audience, like that’s their target market. It’s bullshit. We want to reach the white people out there. Tom and Tom’s dad, know what I mean?

GB: So you think rappers are insincere.

DJ DJ: Word.

T McP: And by “word” he means “correct”.


T McP: In other words, he’s indicating his assent to the proposition you stated.

GB: Yeah, I get it. Now, what made you leave your lucrative careers to pursue rap music? Pardon my cynicism, but hip-hop is not exactly the most stable means of income.

DJ DJ: We got tired of some of these so-called rap executives fronting like they know how to run enterprises and shit. But they’re not from that world. The problem with cats like that is they’re not of the culture, you know?

GB: What culture?

KJ: The corporate culture, fool!

DJ DJ: Exactly. So they’re outsiders to shit we’ve been living all this time. They can’t properly represent this shit. Need to stop frontin’.

KJ: We live this shit!

GB: Where do you see yourselves taking it, then?

T McP: We started where all these guys want to end up. Like the Dame’s, the Puff’s, the Gotti’s…they’re all into this upward mobility shit, gaining the power. We already came from that. We’ve already done what they’re trying to do. So we’re taking it back downward, yo. Gradually going down to the point where we’re struggling to even get put on. Rappers get successful and lose what made people like them in the first place. So, we’re reversing the process — starting out rich and hated on, finishing broke and loved.

DJ DJ: Revered.

T McP: Cherished.

KJ: We live this shit!

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