There are those who believe that it took six days for the creator to craft our universe. But in the world of Hip-Hop, it’s the men who master both mic and pen who hold dominion over creation. And with the advent of their new bi-coastal album collaboration, VeteranAssassins, Hip-Hop heavy hitters Veteran Eye and ethemadassassin aim to restore fans’ faith in the music by proving that in only six days, two emcees can resurrect the foundation of Hip-Hop legend.
About the Artists
Solo artists ethemadassassin and Veteran Eye initially forged their bond while on the forefront of the Greensboro, NC music scene. Regulars at the many of the Hip-Hop staples in the city, E and Vet developed a mutual respect for one another's art prior to getting to know each other on a personal level. It wasn't until a mutual friend, (B-Star of UpRite Lions), invited both of them into a recording session for his album, that the artists were formally introduced. After a while, they both realized that their personal views and musical tastes aligned, and that they shared a strong commitment to supporting those principles and movements in the streets. Having forged a mutual respect for each other as artists and brothers, ethemadassassin and Veteran Eye continued to discuss the potential for a collaborative album even after Vet relocated to Los Angeles in early 2007.
VeteranAssassins - From Conception to Completion
Shortly after Veteran Eye’s shift to the west coast, French production team, The FakeHunters, (comprised of members Dadz, KnK, and Nolive) sought out E to record a track for a project entitled ‘Blue Soul’, featuring emcees of note from around the world. They were so pleased with E’s work on the track, they extended an invitation for him to record another song (which eventually became the lead single on their next album, Jazz Is). Sensing the perfect opportunity to explore the fusion of their individual sounds, E called in Veteran Eye to lend his lyrical stylings to the project. The song and subsequent video (entitled “Chips”) opened the creative floodgates and cemented their reputation as an artistic tag-team to be reckoned with. The artists began to speak more seriously about making the VA record a reality and perhaps having the FakeHunters produce it. Halfway around the globe, FakeHunters had also recognized the potential to create a new sound. In a stroke of fateful synchronicity, they emailed Vet and E with an offer to produce a full-length album for the artists. They decided that there was no better time than the present to “assassinate the game,” or more directly, the bullshit that lies therein. And the rest, as Veteran Eye would say in his characteristic understatement was, “straight like that.”
The album’s name –“Veteran Assassins “- came together perfectly, representing both the collaborative nature of the project, and the artists’ respective track records for being quick to take rappers out of commission when it comes to battles of lyrical prowess. Both veterans in their own rights (from the
streets to the mics), ethemadassassin and Veteran Eye have cemented reputations for moving like
assassins. Operating among the most skilled in their craft, they’ve mastered the art of stealth – two very public figures with very private lives, who let their lyrics write the headlines while keeping their personal dirt personal. From beat one to the last lyric of the final track, “Veteran Assassins” will immediately register with the audience as music worthy of the Hip-Hop crown. Designing it as a concept album, ethemadassassin and Veteran Eye walk listeners through the intricate story of two professional hit men, protecting the secrecy of their mission by operating undercover as dope emcees. The Assassins’ goal is to find and eradicate emcees who play into the “keep it real” marketing scheme, those who intentionally mislead the public with the glorification of a lifestyle that both E and Vet view as real, but not worthy of praise. As the tracks progress, they launch a gut-wrenching verbal assault on rappers who attempt to pull the wool over the listening public’s eyes by following the destructive trend of selling ignorance to the public for commercial gain, instead of keeping true to themselves. The Veteran Assassins have been hired to eradicate these posers and false idols, while simultaneously shedding light on “the actual.”
The Project – Creation
In keeping with their trademark aversion to the ‘half-assed’, the Veteran Assassins decided that it wouldn’t be productive to record their signature album a coast apart via email. So E bought a plane ticket to LA, and issued the challenge – they would write and record the entire “VeteranAssassins” album in the six days before he had to fly back to NC. Never ones to be daunted by hard work, the duo also managed to record while slipping in a couple of shows and other business. Vet and E finished recording at about 4am on the final evening, and had E at his airline terminal by 6am. In reflecting on their ability to accomplish a globally-networked project in what would take even the most well-connected industry artists months on end to complete, the Veterans simply remarked that, "nothing worth enjoying should come easy...or something like that [laughs] …the reward is that we have a dope and original project. Good things come out of hard work." The first anticipated release from the album, ‘All Boro’ shows itself as a live anthem for Hip Hop. Inspired by the grind of both artists’ home base in Greensboro, NC (often referred to as “The ‘Boro”), the track not only reps the Veteran Assassins’ status in their own borough, but highlights how the reputations they’ve earned there (from the street to the stage) have spread to boroughs world-wide. Moreover, the song’s chorus expresses the depths of the artists’ evident compassion for those who give their all for the love of Hip Hop, proudly vowing to "...put ya face on a mural for Hip Hop..."
Although “Veteran Assassins” is a joint project through and through, there is clear evidence of each emcee’s unique individual style and flow on every banger. Both artists agreed that The FakeHunters provided the perfect bridge between those two elements – their diverse fusion of Jazz, meshed with Boom Bap and elements of scratching gave the artists a fresh canvas to paint their picture. True Hip-Hop heads ‘til the end, E and Vet appreciated the opportunity to work with producers who were talented enough to bring a “renewed” perspective to a very “throwback “ sound. The end result is a vibe reminiscent of the glory days of Hip-Hop, when the craft was all about exploring the boundaries of sound and consciousness. Something with beats you can rock to, and lyrical concepts that follow you home long after the radio has been put to rest… flows 10,000 leagues deeper than the unfortunate ‘rap bullshit’ that plagues the airwaves today. In addition to FakeHunters, longtime friend and west-coast artist Tommy Lockhart (Mr. Locks) was also invited to reunite with E on a track. Once a Greensboro resident, he worked closely with ethemadassassin in 1995 as one of the original emcees in E’s old crew, Circle of Steel.
When asked what they want fans to take away from the album, scheduled to be released July 2010, both emcees readily agreed, “First and foremost, it’s a gift from us to Hip-Hop. Hip-Hop is and has for so long, been a blessing to myself, E and the world. And you could never understand how much I mean that. We want the listener to be entertained by the sound, the rhymes and the theme. I mean, and I say this humbly- the rhymes is Crazy!!! We aren't your average emcees. The album has a genuine story line, and you just don't get that much these days. More than anything, we want fans to know we will give them as much as they give us in return. More music, tours, or whatever. This Hip Hop shit is real, and we just wanna play our part in its
preservation. Straight like that!”
For more on current projects from ethemadassassin, Veteran Eye and the Veteran Assassins camp, check out :
The artists are currently putting together the official Veteran Assassins pages, so hit them up individually until launch. In addition, the solo albums by ethemadassassin, “Proverbs” and “Tomorrow Never Comes” are still available on iTunes.com and CDBABY.COM . Stay tuned for updates and the latest info on solo projects to be released later this year, including an album produced entirely by Kyo Itachi of Hong Kong!