Planet Asia
Asia is one of the dopest MC’s that you may not know. He’s been a permanent fixture in the hip-hop game for a minute with tons of classic material. Check out this exclusive interview as we get at Planet Asia.
Interview by Rob Schwartz

WHO?MAG: How did you first get introduced to hip-hop?
Planet Asia: : I first got introduced into hip-hop in 1985. I wouldn’t say introduced to it. That’s when I got involved with it. I was introduced to it through the Sugar Hill Gang, but I wasn’t looking at it like it was a culture. It wasn’t like when I came out, which was when hip-hop was really that big. It was more like just another part of music like R&B. It was extra. They had all these extra funny songs. Hip-hop wasn’t really on the surface at that time. Back then it was like “Oh, what’s that funny Sugar Hill Gang song where they’re talking about the bad food at your friend’s house and all that other stuff.” Then when RUN DMC came out, it became more serious. I got introduced to it in the eighties with the Def Jam era.

WHO?MAG: What made you start Gold Chain Music?
Planet Asia: : Gold Chain Music is paying homage to that era. It’s not that the artist on my label are on this old school hip-hop tip, but back then, music was original. That’s what Gold Chain represents. Just original type music. Not like a lot of stuff that’s going on right now. Not that anything is wrong with what’s going on right now, but it just doesn’t really influence me. I’ve been in this since ’85 so I’ve seen a lot of style go out and come back

WHO?MAG: How do you feel about the state of hip-hop today?
Planet Asia: : Right now I feel that the real shit is coming back because people want to hear it. There was a lot of real stuff out before, but I guess people got bugged out a little, but you have the real stuff coming back. If you turn on BET and watch Rap City, you’re not going to find anything you like if you are into real hip-hop. Even if you are into regular hip-hop, the stuff is so programmed right now, you don’t even get a variety of music any more. There are only a few songs you hear on the radio everywhere. I just got off a 30 city tour. The same songs are playing in every single city.

WHO?MAG: How did you feel about getting your Grammy Nomination with Mystical?
Planet Asia: : It was all cool, but that’s politics. That doesn’t equal out to how I’m living. It’s like all that is glitz and glamour.

WHO?MAG: What advice can you give an upcoming lyricist trying to get recognized?
Planet Asia: : Just do you. Be original and be honest with yourself. That’s the only way to be original to the world.

WHO?MAG: You collaborated with a lot of big artist like Black Thought, BT, Dub Pistols, Talib Kweli, and Ghostface Killah. How do you go about deciding who you want to do a song with?
Planet Asia: Timing and if I like your stuff basically. It depends how we interact. If we don’t see eye to eye, it’s not going to pop off.

WHO?MAG: Where do you see the future of hip-hop going?
Planet Asia: I see it as going more independent. It’s already that way, but I see it going straight independent. There’s no more of signing that one artist. That’s over with. Labels want to sign other labels. It’s more business now. It’s more like “If we sign you, who else are we going to get?”

WHO?MAG: How do you feel about technology combined with the music industry?
Planet Asia: I feel it’s positive if you have the talent to match the technology. A lot of people don’t have talent so they use the technology to cheat the game basically. Knowledge with technology is a plus. I’m speaking as far as the internet, Protools, or whatever.

WHO?MAG: If you could change 1 thing about the hip-hop industry, what would that be?
Planet Asia: I would change the radio and video situation. I wish it was more of a variety out there giving people more of a choice out there.

WHO?MAG: What’s next for Planet Asia?
Planet Asia: I got an album coming out called The Medicine in January produced by Evidence. I got Black Thought on the album as well as Prodigy from Mobb Deep, Killa Ben, Jonelle, Cali Agent, Dilated, and Strong Arm Steady. It’s crazy and there’s some real stuff on this record, so when it drops, it’s going to be something vicious.