featured interview

The Legion Still Krill It was the year 2000. The year in which you could find us digging in a darkened, dusty second hand shop weekly. Looking for unearthed hip-hop pearls, we stumbled upon this obscure looking album from 1994. With three men in leather jackets, one of them had a yellow one. The title was this intriguing calculation 'Theme + Echo = Krill'. The credits mentioned Black Sheep, Showbiz & AG and our all-time favourite teen rapper Chi-Ali. Now, almost 14 years after their last release, The Legion is about to make a remarkable comeback...

Please introduce The Legion to our readers who might've missed you in the 90's…

The Legion consists of Molecules aka Cules, Cee Low aka The Dice Man and Chucky Smash. We dropped our first single 'Jingle Jangle' in '93, which featured Dres of The Black Sheep. Our second single was a nice Roy Ayers looped-up song called 'Legion Groove'. We have video's for both tracks, which can be viewed on YouTube. We released a full length album 'Theme+Echo=Krill' in '94 which had a limited edition double vinyl, CD and casette's release! Prior to this release we were featured on a skit on Showbiz and AG's classic album 'Runaway Slave'.

How exciting is it for you to have a sophomore album coming out after a 14 year hiatus?

It's really exciting to return to the hip-hop scene for our sophomore album. Consider it like going back to school. The structure and format will follow our raw path of beats and rhymes from the 'Theme Echo'-days. With Molecules on the bulk of production, some features and production from the likes of Buckwild and Sadat X, Showbiz and DJ Premier and more!

How do you remember coming up in the game as affiliates of Black Sheep, being on their One Love imprint?

Being on Black Sheep's One Love label was pretty dope.The main label was Mercury Polygram with links to Payday records. So our label mates were Show & AG, Diamond D, Jeru the Damaja and Edo G., to name a few. We were part of the era when groups were getting record deals with budgets, video's etc. The game is different now as far as the big budgets and major label deals. With the 21st century came internet and the digital revolution.

So how different is your focus now compared to then?

Our focus as a group now is to do pure hip-hop music, however fuse it and sprinkle it with enough elements to be relevant in today's game. We basically just recharged for a really long time (laughs) so our approach is simple dope music. It's the core focus. Whether you go independent or major it doesn't matter, we have the elements and the experience

We only discovered you around the year 2000 and it was a bitch to find your first album - we remember a review which put us on the album, but apart from that there wasn't many info on y'all. Do you feel like you got the attention you deserved or…?

It's cool you discovered us in 2000. No, we don't feel we got attention we deserved but it's a 'catch 22'. Even with limited availability, the people who heard us or saw us live usually give us a positive vibe or response.You are not the first person to have said they never heard of us till recent years and that's ok. Because that will allow us to take you back and then bring you up-to-date old to the new or vice versa.

Suppose you would make the 'Theme + Echo = Krill' album now, with all the knowledge you have now, how different would it sound?

We wouldn't say the music would be different. These days the sounds are obviously a little more refined. But if you go back to the track work of the 'T+E=K' album -listen to all the instrumentals for instance- the complex and the boom bap on that album was pretty representive to be our own BX expression and flavor. Mixed with obscure and grimy elements. So we could still spit over a good portion of that album today.

In anticipation of the new record, you released a seven-inch single with some unreleased, self-produced tracks from 1995. Are there more unearthed tracks that will see the light of day?

Yes, in addition to 'Straight Flow/Automatic Systemic', we will drop a full project with more songs called 'The Lost Tapes'.

You recorded the album in D&D-Studios - how do you recall meeting Premier for the first time?

We don't recall the exact period of meeting DJ Premier, but it was most likely '91 we believe. We recorded in D&D and would see the whole Gangstarr fam in other rooms. M.O.P., KRS One, just to name a few...

What do you remember of working with Chi-Ali?

Working with Chi-Ali was a good thing. He was young and on the rise. He appeared on the 'T+E=K' album. On the song 'Who's It On Part 2'. Through his affilliation with Black Sheep and his stage hype man being Ralo Square (Brother of The Legion's Chucky Smash, ed.), we did a lot of shows together. We were all together at times.

How would you define the influence of Showbiz on your production work?

We always consider the influence of Showbiz as a very good thing. Because of his knowledge of records and of the SP1200 and because he's just a good cat and friend overall. We value those days. We value the whole DITC fam for that matter.

Now you're releasing records on Ill Adrenaline records...

We hooked up with Ill Adrenaline Records through mutual aquaintances in the game. But primarily through the Beneficence song 'Aim, Fire, Spit', the first collabo with them. Beneficence is cool with Artifacts, we were also cool with El and Tame in the 90's. And today still...

So were you familiar with the other artists on Ill Adrenaline; Rashad and Confidence?

A little bit. However once we linked with Benny and Ill Adrenaline, we got to hear more of their work and it's offical.

There have been quite a few names from the 90's making a comeback lately, any in particular who inspired you to do the same? Or what was the final impulse to return?

Yeah, 90's artists still doing music and making some noise. A few people we ran into have inspired us; AG, Kurious Jorge, Brand Nubian, Nice & Smooth, Craig G, Artifacts,... And of course Dres of Black Sheep. He is still getting busy. Part of the impulse is purely the three of us and our internal crew and family encouraging us. It's like 'Unfinished Business', if we could quote EPMD. (laughs)

The 'Krill' is slang for 'crazy (krazy) ill' - I suppose the 'ill' hasn't gone out over the years, but what about the 'krazyness'?

Krill still our lingo at any given time. We may say 'Krill' still applies.

What can people expect from the new album?

Expect some solid tracks with our B-X-formula. It'll surely be dope!


Shout-outs to you for the interview, Ill Adrenaline and Benny plus all our people and fans who have supported us!

What's next for The Legion?

Next up for The Legion is working on some video's for songs on our 'Lost Tapes' project and an offical re-release of 'Theme+Echo=Krill' and some very new heat of hot material. Peace!

'Legion Groove'

'Jingle Jangle'


POSTED 02|15|2012
conducted by Wulf

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