featured interview

Seven Shawn The great seven Not quite world renown, but a long-time player in the rap game is Seven Shawn. Good friend of the legendary K-Def, he started the group World Renown with Marley Marl's cousin John Doe, they made an album, got three and a half mics from The Source, but eventually wasn't released officially. After years of anonymity, except for a feature on Marley Marl's 'Re-Entry' Seven Shawn is on a comeback, but...

First of all, how did you hook up with K-Def?

I grew up with K-Def in Passaic, New Jersey. We went to the same high school.

When did you meet John Doe?

John was from Queensbridge. He came to Passaic in 1986/87. I remember him saying that he was Marley?s cousin. John and I would meet up in the street and hustle that crack back in the late 80's

So when was the group World Renown founded?

Him and I both was caught and put in jail. I bailed out but John had to sit because of some other shit. I was out looking at the streets after coming home from jail saying to my self; ?I can't go back to jail?. When John got out, he tried to do an album with K-Def. Then, when John and K-Def went to Marley?s and recorded, nobody picked the album up. I was making trips from Pennsgrove to Passaic spittin dangerously. John called me and asked me to come with him to Queensbridge. This was around the time Nas had ?Halftime? out. I went to QB and did my thing. From then on I knew we was going to be together.

Where did the name ?World Renowned? come from?

It came from a Budweiser can!

So you did a demo for Marley?

Yeah, we went up to Marley?s to do a promo for him and he was liking the flows. He felt he could get a deal without a doubt, but he was taking too long for us. I got to know Tragedy The Intelligent Hoodlum up at Marley?s. He was working on an album for A&M Records. Me and him had similar Islamic backgrounds so we hit it pretty good. I decided to get John to sign Tragedy as our manager. We was the first cats signed to Twentyfive To Life Management. Tragedy took us around to a few places and we?ve seen how the game was for a minute. Marley had connected us to Warner Bros. Records, but under one condition; we had to cut Tragedy off as our manager. I had to tell him he had to let us go, he told me Marley had me ?shook?. Not soon after, Mobb Deep came out with ?Shook Ones?. I always thought that was targeted toward us because Havoc and Tragedy was cousins. John and I eventually opened up for Biggie on Famous Entertainment booking. Biggie wasn't the man then, Craig Mack was, the year was 1994 and we toured the East Coast.

Can you tell us the story behind ?why you got dropped by Warner Music??

Warner was restructuring the Black music department and every rap group got dropped. Well, it was only us and the Bush Babees.

So how far were you with the World Renown album?

We finished the album in two weeks. 16 joints

You guys emerged on the scene with the singles ?Come Take A Ride? and ?How Nice I Am? in 1994, those were supposed to be on the album?

Yes. ?Take A Ride? and ?How Nice I Am? were both on the album.

Did the video to ?How Nice I Am? get much air play on MTV, BET,…?

?How Nice I Am? got a lot of airplay on BET.

Who are the girls dancing in the video clip?

The girls in the video just walked on the scene and did their thing.

Wasn?t/Isn?t there any bootlegs of the album out?

There are some copies floatin around but the clear ones are secure. I remember we got ?three and half mics? in The Source for the album.

On the World Renown Myspace page it states ?Lost Sessions? 1995, are those songs (?Long Gev?, ?Butta Love?, ?Easy Connect?) from the first album?

Yep, those are on the album as well.

Shortly after the album was supposed to release, John Doe was on the run for the cops, what happened there?

We lost the deal in 2/95 right after the Gavin. Me and John knew that we had to do things ourselves. We started hustling again, down South. To make a long story short, John was picked up by the US Marshalls at the Manhattan Bridge in 99'.

What did you do between 1995 and 2001?

I took care of my daughter. Flippin job to job. Doing hooks for other cats. I lost that time. I wish I could get it back, but it?s gone.

In 2001 you featured on Marley Marl?s ?Re-Entry?. So you and Marley finally hooked up again after all these years, why did he decide to give you a feature on that album?

I always brought talented producers to Marley?s to do some work, so I always stayed around the game one way or another. One guy I brought to the table was 88. He has some credits on the album. Marley always knew what it was when I came through. I keep fire for your soul.

Was the feature on Marley?s ?Re-Entry? a new boost for your rap career?

Yeah. I got a new-found energy and vibe because shortly after that, we went to London to perform. I?ve seen how the world embraced hip-hop. Hip-hop was kept fresh in London.

After that feature however your actual comeback is this year, the big ?06, what did you do in the last four years?

When I went to London with Marley in 02' I was inspired to try some new but old flavas. Me and K-Def smoked a Dutch and he programmed a beat. I gave it to Marley and he did nothing with it. I moved to Altanta for a year and tried to use the joint for promotion and K-Def put out a mixtape with my version of ?It?s Over? on it. Ghostface was working on his album for Def Jam and he wanted to use it. At first I was like ?Hell No! That?s my shit!?, but K-Def needed money and some new work. Def Jam asked me to sign over my rights to the song and Ghost would use the song as his next single. They also said there was going to be a video for it. I figure this was my opportunity to come back but nothing happened, except for my credits for the song.

You love singin right? But is a rapper supposed to sing?

I love to sing. If you have a strong background with hip-hop you will remember when cats from the Bronx used to harmonize in their routines. More and more songs are incorporating soul/R&B in their hip-hop songs.

You?ve got your own solo album comin up. What can we expect from that?

I have my own album coming out on a digital label called Rustics Digital. The album is called ?Talking Crazy?. Look for it in September when school starts! This album is just to reintroduce myself. I just worked with K-Def on this one. I?ve already started on another one. You can go to my music Myspace (seven shawn) and hear 4 joints of it.

What about a new World Renown album or the old one being re-issued?

There is a toss-up right now. A toss-up between an old World Renowned album and/or a brand new album. We are leaning more towards new joints because of legal issues. John has been home for two months just getting his shit together. It?s still hard for him to get around. We should take off where we left off at. Nobody knows our flows. We don't have a date as of yet.

How and when did the opportunity appear to release the WR album at last?

When we saw how many people on Myspace that really wanted the album, we started to search for the old tapes.

When did you first come in contact with hip-hop?

I came in contact with hip-hop when my cousin received some turntables for Christmas in 1982.

So how was the New Jersey scene back then?

My cousin would cut Friday nights in the project basement. The scene in Jersey was crazy. Believe it or not, but Jersey had more break beats than New York. I never forget when Kool Moe Dee took out Run DMC on Graffiti Rock. That was hip-hop!

What was the first rap record you bought?

The first rap record I bought was ?Christmas Rap? by Kurtis Blow.

Do you produce? If so, what equipment do you use?

I produce, I use a Fantom 8 keyboard, the MV8000 G5 computer with Logic and Cubase. I?m rockin.

What artists are you feelin today?

I?m feelin Gnarls Barkley, they're on some other shit

What?s in your CD-player right now?

Right now, Busta Rhymes is in the CD player.

What more can we expect from you in the future?

Expect some game changing shit from me and my WR affiliates we pay our dues and the game owes big time.


POSTED 08|09|2006
conducted by cpf

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