In life, there are people who are content with going to work everyday, living in their cubicles, and getting by. Then, there are others who take advantage of every opportunity and make a difference in this world. For rapper, actor, director, producer and writer Sticky Fingaz, he is definitely the latter.
Sticky Fingaz is known for many things, from being a member of rap group Onyx (who sold 2 million records) to an actor and starring in TV shows and classic movies such as Clockers and In Too Deep. Sticky has taken his destiny into his own hands. In his new movie, entitled Caught On Tape, he stars in a hip-hop drama — it’s dialogue is entirely in rap from the beginning to end, and stars actors like Vivica. A Fox, who also raps the entire movie as well.
We caught up with Sticky Fingaz to discuss his new genre of music, how he almost signed to Dr. Dre and Aftermath, working with greats, and his movie… of course.
You have this movie to promote, Caught On Tape, which is in stores now. But, I definitely want to get into some other stuff. Your album, Black Trash, is a personal classic to me. I love that album.
Thanks man. That’s my masterpiece right there.
People wanted to know about that album more than anything.
This movie I am promoting now came from that album. This is my second movie where the whole movie is in rap. The first one was called A Day In The Life, and this new one that is out now is called Caught On Tape.
Did Blacktrash have singles on it?
I had “Get It Up” and “What If I Was White” with Eminem on it.
You were also on the Marshall Mathers LP, and you are one of the only rappers to kill Eminem on his own sh**. How did you meet Eminem back then?
Through Dr. Dre. That song was supposed to be on Dre’s Chronic 2001, but Eminem liked it so much he put it on his album.
So Dre reached out for you to be on The Chronic?
I was signed to Aftermath, but then Universal offered me more money, so I went with them.
Damn, I am a big fan and I didn’t know that.
Dre signed Eminem and Snoop, and then I told him I wanted a million dollars. The last Onyx album barely went gold, so Jimmy Iovine said they would give me half a million. I went up to Universal to shop my boy’s music and Universal asked to hear my music. I told them, “Nah, I am signing with Dre”, and they said, “Could I hear your music anyway?” I played them a couple songs and they wanted to sign me. I said Dre is giving me 500K and they countered with 800K. I said, “F*** it, I am a kid from the ghetto and that’s a lot of money,” so I took it. The marketing got f***ed up because I broke my foot right before I was going to go on tour. The album got pushed back and it got bootlegged, so the numbers weren’t that strong.
That album was so good. I feel like it really went under the radar. “Licken Off” is my favorite song off that album. It has so many quotables on it.
Thanks man. You gotta hear my new sh** I am working on now.
You are working on a new solo album?
People might not realize, not only do you do music and film, but you do TV as well. I was watching the show The Shield the other day with you on it.
Yea, that was fun. I liked doing that show.
What was the timeline, as far as when you started doing music versus acting?
My first movie was Clockers, which was Spike Lee’s movie. It was in ’94 or ’95 — that was my first role.
When you started rapping did you plan on acting?
Nope, I didn’t intend on being a rapper or an actor.
What’s the story behind that?
Onyx was a group with only three members at first. Two of the members got stranded out of state when we were shopping our sh** to Jam Master Jay. Our manager, at the time, said “Go record some more sh**.” I went to the studio with Fredro [Starr] — because he’s my cousin — to help him record. They played our new sh** to Jam Master Jay and that’s how I got inducted into Onyx.
You guys put out a few albums through JMJ, and then he signed 50 Cent right?
Yea. The first time anyone saw 50 was in our video for “React.” It was the ice hockey video.
You guys were cool at first, because you were on the same label right? I’m 26, so I remember a lot of this stuff vaguely.
You were 6 years old when we came out. This year is Onyx’s 20-year anniversary. We almost legal man. We are 20 years old.
I remember you put out the “Jackin For Beats” song when you went off on the industry. You had a couple lines for 50 in there. I am just curious: what was 50 like back then?
He was cool. He was just another hungry rapper from the hood… just like us.
Your career is so crazy. So far we talked about Eminem, 50 Cent and Dre, but you also worked with Big Pun. Do you have any stories behind the “Shut Em Down Remix?”
That song was crazy. It had Pun and N.O.R.E. on it, and the original had DMX on it. That is one of my favorite songs I ever did. My favorite is probably “Last Dayz,” which was produced by Fredro. Anyway, the session with Pun was crazy. I remember Pun fell asleep while we were talking to him and sh**. He was talking right and in the middle of a sentence, he fell a sleep. He’ll wake up like a minute later and finish his sentence. I was like, “Yo, this n**** is crazy.”
What is your favorite moment in your career so far?
I have a lot, so it’s hard to just pick one. Our first album sold 2 million records; I have been in over 60 movies and TV shows. Right now, I have my own production company where I produce write and direct my own movies. We were the first rap group to stage dive and climb speakers and all that. I am the first rapper to play a super hero when I did the “Blade” TV show. I am the first rapper to put out a whole movie where the whole dialogue is in rap.
What’s your secret or your motivation because you have done so much?
When you accomplish one thing, it makes you want to keep going. If you do one thing, then you move on to the next one. You keep going until your dead or lose the love for it.
Didn’t I read that you guys saved Def Jam?
Hell yea! Def Jam was in the hole and JMJ signed us through his label. Then our album sold 2 million copies and we brought them out of the hole. I invented the word “phat” — p-h-a-t. We helped invent Phat Farm in a way too. We used to change the spelling of words. We had our song called “Phat.” It went “Phat phat phat, a dat dat.” Russell took the word and made a clothing line around it. Another thing people don’t know is Fredro named Dre’s album, Chronic 2001. Dre had his album called Chronic 2000 originally, but Suge put out some bootleg album called the same thing. I was on the phone with Dre and Fredro overheard me say Dre stole his album title. Fredro said tell Dre to call it Chronic 2001. Dre was like, “Oh ight, that’s cool,” and then next thing we know, the album was called Chronic 2001.
Let’s talk about your new movie that you have coming out.
The whole sh** is in rap. It’s visual, it’s the future its new sh**. N****s writing little 16 bars, doing the same sh**. I wrote a whole movie in rap and we have known actors: Vivica A. Fox, Cedric The Entertainer, Malik Yoba, Joe Torres, Angie Stone and Bokeem Woodbine, and tons of more. This is my second rap movie — this one is called Caught On Tape. It’s all real actors that are rapping throughout the movie. It’s out on DVD now, you can buy it right now. I am coining this sh** — this is rapping from the beginning of the movie to the end of the movie. I probably won’t get the acclaim I deserve for this, but I am going to change that. This is a new genre, a new take on rap that will catch on eventually.
What else do you have going on in the future?
I have a kids show I am working on, where it’s all rap as well. I shot a movie with John Cusak and Robert DeNiro that should be out soon. I am working on my solo album right now and I am just working man.
Caught On Tape is available now on DVD. It’s about a young boy, a video camera, and a bank robbery gone wrong, setting the stage for this hip-hop musical drama. Order your copy at Amazon.com.