The Empire has over ten years of experience in the Underground Hip-Hop game
and have performed at various venues from Providence, RI to Fayetteville,NC.
They were featured in an article in the Fayetteville Observer in January of
1999. They have worked with Producers like Rik Marvel (featured in The
SOURCE June’96 with Characta Assasinz) and Arvelli (of the R&B Group Intro).
They currently have three local hits under their belt “Ice Hot” &
“Fayettenam (Ride or Die)” which both went ..1 on HOT 104.5’s Hot Picks at
Six, “Breathe” which was ..6 on 99.1 the Fox’s ’04 Indy Count down and the
most recent hit on Hot 104.5 ” It’s Wonderful” featuring D.O.S. & Shamrocc
(Ground Zero) & Speak No Evil(who has recently joined The Empire)the
late”Carolina Bad Boy” DJ Flashfader put the finishing touches on the
Undergound Experience Mixtape Vol.1. which features old and new material
from the Empire and a host of other upcoming acts. The Empire has also been
the catalyst in the formation of the new extended family of emcees and
artists named “The Round Table”. There is also a new album called The Dark
Ages out with production from Vintage , Rik Marvel, Dutch P,
D.O.S., Mic Will, & group members Speak No Evil & Prince Imperial!
1. For starts how did you come up with your name The Empire and how was the label/group formed?
Mistajay: 5th letter, Speak no (E)vil Prince Imperial, and myself we are based out of Fayettnam (Fayetteville, NC) we have been making music individually since 96 but this incarnation of the group since roughly 2003-04 group evolved from one of Fayettevilles earlier Hip-Hop collectives Omega Clan. Prince Imperial 5th letter, and myself having the longest time together and Speak no Evil coming later and being an amazing fit for this group…..the label was formed early 00s to give us a better platform to work from.
2. To Clarify, The Empire is the flagship group for NCC records right?
THE 5th Letter: Yes
3. Who are all the artists that make up The Empire?
MIstajay: The group is currently composed of Mista J, 5th Letter, Speak no Evil, & Prince
4. It’s not often you hear about a Hip Hop group from North Carolina. How would you describe the Hip hop culture and sound out there in present day, and is it a challenge trying to be the first group out of NC to make it?
Prince Imperial: I wouldn’t call us the first group I would call us the next group. North Carolina has long cemented its place in Hip-Hop.
Mistajay: There has been Yaggfu front the first grout to sign to a Major and Little Brother I feel we would be the first to work to position ourselves in a different way.
5. Your Audio video for “We Can Make It” was so real and genuine and it was geared towards the female fan base. Was it important for you guys to drop a record that would draw in the female fan base first?
Prince Imperial: I think it was important to address females positively for a change. I think women in hip-pop are looked at merely as sex objects now and not actual human beings.
Mistajay: I think that in the commercial end of music we are being programmed one way we have to provide a different view it wasn’t necessarily to draw in the females first although that seems to be the mode on radio and at the labels nowadays.
6. After listening to you we can tell that substance is a main factor in a lot of what you guys do. One album in particular that really was intriguing was “The Dark Ages”. The raw “Horsemen” record was so refreshing compared to todays hiphop climate. That song and a lot of your others sounded more North East Golden Era style compared to what’s going on in the South. For starts is that east coast boom bap more of your flavor and how do you guys feel about the sound the South has been churning out over the last decade?
The 5th letter: The South as a whole is not responsible for the sound that is being put out commercially there are real emcees and a different sound that rarely gets played on radio
Speak no E: The horsemen track came about as part of the concept of the entire mixtape and lot of what we listen to and are influenced by is reflected in what we do.
Download here- http://www.audiomack.com/album/the-empire-1/the-dark-ages
7. One of our favorite songs on The Dark Ages is “The Rain”. That was a powerful song that almost anyone can relate to with some type of struggle. One of the lines that jolted us was, “Grinding at my job just to make a couple of bucks/ paying bills on time seems like it’s nothing but luck”. What real life struggles made you guys make a record so deep and do you feel like most artists nowerdays are missing that substance music like you guys are cooking up?
Speak no E: We just want to do reality music there is so much fallacy out there doing music about everyday life seem like a no brainer
8. You guys have done tons of shows all over the country. Which show really sticks out to you guys and tell us why?
MIstajay: The shows that I put together myself because I make it a point to search out other indy artists to put on stage as well there are lot of other artist at any level who would not do that
9. Back to your start. Who were your personal influences to get into emceeing?
Prince Imperial: I know big influences for myself were A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang Clan,Tha Alkaholiks, Little Brother.
The 5th Letter: EPMD, NAS, LittLe Brother
Speak no E: DELtron, & Canibus
10. What projects are coming up next from The Empire?
Prince Imperial: We’re working on our new album tentatively titled…..This is Where We Leave You.
Mistajay: Working on wider release for SPEAK NO E THE DEANS OFFICE AND 5th Letter A Long time coming
11. Any official videos on the way?
Mistajay: Working on some on the next six months but let the “We can make it” clip tide you over till then.
12. What do you guys think of J Cole going platinum and making that substance music? It must be big that he reps NC right?
Prince Imperial: think it’s great J. Cole went platinum and had a record that was more than just life embellishments and basic recycled hip-hop fodder that’s been done to death. He showed that you can still be complex and do numbers.
5th Letter: It shows you real Hip-Hop never went anywhere
13. It was cool chopping it up with you guys, in closing let our readers know where to check you out and whatever else you want to let them know. Also thanks for keeping real hiphop alive with the lyrics and linking up with us fellas!
The Empire: Thanks to (MTK) for the feature shout outs…Big ABe, Big Bruce, R.I.P.DJ Flash Fader, Mic Will, Creep, Vintage, Dutch P, DJ SPINWIZ and Will Munny the advocate …..We would like to send and extra special thanks to those who helped inspire the Dark Ages and lent their voices Craig G, Linque, and last but not least Mc Search.