In remembrance of Tupac, fifteen-years after his passing, his original group The Outlawz released a brand new project today
, dubbed Perfect Timing. VIBE caught up with ringleader E.D.I. Mean to discuss the new album, Pac’s legacy and his influence on the hip-hop generation.
VIBE: What do you guys have in store for us with this new album?
E.D.I. Mean: The album is called Perfect Timing. We got about 15 songs on there, just high-level Outlawz music. We got features on there from everybody from Lloyd, Scarface, Krayzie Bone, Trae da Truth, and Z-Ro –we got them on the same record (:52-:54). We also got production from a lot of exciting, new up and coming producers. We also got one on there from Focus, who used to be down with Aftermath, who still is. It's our best work to date.
Seems like this album was a long time in the making, the group is all back together.
This project actually took us some months to do and it also marks the return of Hussein Fatal back into the group format. He was the first to go solo pack in '96, after Pac passed so this is 15-years in the making for him being back in the group and it's just perfect timing for some real music and some honesty to come back.
Rap music has changed so much since Pac left us, are we getting some of his warrior spirit with this project?
Absolutely and our album is going to take you through the gamut of emotions that we go through even in a day, like the ups and downs, the highs and lows, the goods and bads. This album reflects all of that. You're going to be album to party on this album and reflect. You're going to be able to reminisce about the people you've lost or any emotion as all that you might go through.
So are we going to hear any totally unreleased Tupac verses?
Nah, nah we don't do that anymore. Pac has put in enough work and then some. He's the hardest working dead man in the history of music. We're putting it to rest right now. In this album you're going to get 100% Outlawz along with features of the people that we vibe with musically and that we respect in the game and that's why they're all a part of this project. You want some more Pac go back to that old stuff; it still sounds new.
Can you tell us about one of your most personal or one of your favorite tracks on the album we should look out for?
I got a few, man, but right off the top of my head I would say the title track. "Perfect Timing" is the first song on the album. It's quintessential Outlawz music. It's what people come to know and love from us post-Pac. That's one of my favorites. Also the one Focus did for us called "Keep it Lit." It takes it back to the 90s era. The album kind of gives you a 90s vibe mixed with what's going on nowadays.
It's like an updated perspective from the Outlawz about what's going on today?
Were there any “Dear Pac” letters or tracks dedicated to him?
Being that our work is heavily inspired by Tupac, you get that vibe on every song. Like on "Perfect Timing," I can almost hear Pac on this track. We got a song on there called "Remember Me" and I think a lot of people, when they hear it it's going to remind them of a Tupac song. So I'll point to that one as far as being a somewhat dedication to him or something like that.
Do you see his influence in young rappers today?
It's all through the rap game. It's definitely going to be all through us because we were the ones that knew him for real. Of course Pac's spirit is going to loom over this industry for many more years to come. So people probably didn't think it would last this long and we see they were wrong about that.
How hard was it for you guys to actually put the album out on Tupac's 15 year anniversary? Was that something you guys planned for a while or did it kind of come up recently?
It kind of came together like that. Actually we were planning on putting this album out in early 2011, but you know how the music industry goes –clearances and paperwork kind of delays projects sometimes, so it delayed our project and our label was like "September looks like the ideal month," and we were like "Damn the 13 falls on a Tuesday, so why not." Let's turn a negative into a positive for us and everybody else.
So this album is like a celebration of his life?