Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sticky Fingaz: The Blade Interview

Interview with Kam Williams

Headline: Sticky Stuff

Born in Brooklyn on November 3, 1973, Kirk Jones joined the rap game as a member of the hardcore hip-hop group Onyx, along with Sonsee, Big DS and his cousin, Fredro Starr. Better known as Sticky Fingaz, he’s recorded five albums with Onyx, plus two solo CDs of his own.
In 1995, he made his screen debut in Spike Lee’s Clockers, and he has already added about another 40 credits to his filmography. He’s appeared in a variety of movies, ranging from gangsta sagas such as In Too Deep and Dead Presidents to urban comedies like Malibooty and Next Friday to mainstream flicks like Flight of the Phoenix.
On TV, he’s enjoyed roles on both comedies and dramas, including CSI: Miami, New York Undercover, Nash Bridges, The Parkers, The Twilight Zone, The Shield, Law & Order, Over There, House of the Dead and Tell Me You Love Me. But he’s probably most closely associated with the title role of the television version of Blade, where he played a half-man/half-vampire with super-human powers. With the complete series being released on DVD, he talks here about that show and about what’s next in his illustrious career.

KW: I want to start by expressing my condolences on the passing of your brother, X-1.
SF: Thanks, I appreciate it, although he wasn’t actually a blood brother. A long time ago we started a group together called Gang Green. Our demeanors were so similar, everybody started calling us brothers.
KW: Well, I’d still like to express my condolences, since you were close. What does the name Sticky Fingaz mean?
SF: It means: Everything I touch, I take.
KW: I read that you left a gun behind after a stay in a luxury hotel. Seems like you forgot something. That doesn’t sound very sticky-like.
SF: [Laughs] It wasn’t mine. Somebody else must have left it there. I don’t know.
KW: Have you ever met another person with the name Sticky Fingaz?
SF: Never.
KW: I didn’t think so. Neither have I. So, how did you enjoy doing Blade?
SF: I loved it. It was incredible.
KW: Were you comfortable with the violence and bloodsplurt?
SF: Oh, I love all the gore. [Chuckles]
KW: How demanding a schedule did you have while shooting the series?
SF: Not only do you have twelve or thirteen hours on set per day but, outside of that, you gotta go through all the vigorous training: martial arts, kickboxing, sword work, wire work, stretching. And on top of all that, you have to know your lines, and you get hurt occasionally. So, it was really cutting into my party life.
KW: Yeah, whenever I interview TV actors, they say how much of a daily grind the work is.
SF: Figure it this way: Blade the TV show was an hour long drama every week, right? A typical movie is about two hours long and takes like three months to shoot. We’d only take eight days to shoot a one hour episode. So, not only were we going through all the rigorous training, but we had to film in one-eighth of the time of a normal movie. It was really crunch-time.
KW: Do you have a preference for making movies over TV shows as a result?
SF: No, I don’t really have a preference. I like ‘em both.
KW: What about comedy versus drama?
SF: I prefer action, although, don’t get me wrong, I like comedy, too.
KW: Which do you enjoy more, rapping or acting?
SF: You know what? I’ve never been able to answer that question directly, and that’s why I recently finished writing, producing, directing and starring in my own movie, called A Day in the Life in which basically, all of the dialogue is in rap.
KW: Like a rap opera?
SF: I don’t think that’s the proper word to describe it, but yeah it’s like a rap opera.
KW: Why don’t you call it a hip-hopera?
SF: Nah, that sounds kinda cheesy. This is a regular movie with action, sex, violence and everything. It’s just that all the dialogue is in rap. But it doesn’t feel like rap, but like regular dialogue, because they’re talking to each other about the situations that are going on in the movie.
KW: That’s interesting. It sounds like a trademark David Mamet play where the actors speak in a staccato cadence. I heard Troy Garity’s in your movie. Isn’t he Jane Fonda’s son?
SF: He sure is. He’s good, too. He plays a cop.
KW: Also Mekhi Phifer and Michael Rapaport, who’s in a lot of black movies.
SF: He’s half black?
KW: What?
SF: Not really, but he is.
KW: He has a black vibe.
SF: I gave him a new saying, “Once you go rap, you never go back.” He’s my boy.
KW: When do you expect your next solo album to drop?
SF: Probably April or May, alongside the movie.
KW: I’m sure you’re aware that in response to the uproar over Don Imus, Master P and Romeo have launched a clean record label. Are you going to write PG-rated rap lyrics?
SF: Never! I fee like this: a curse word is only a curse because society labels it a curse. For instance the word “f*ck” could mean “love” and the word “love” could mean “f*ck” if they labeled it that way. Words are only sounds, you understand?
KW: Yep.
SF: All words come from sounds. The whole human world is surrounded by words, while the rest of the world is surrounded by sounds. We humans have transformed sound into words, and then Big Brother, the government, what have you, has decided to call certain words curse words, even though there’s freedom of speech. They’ve censored certain words to show their power. I just feel that since I wasn’t born when those laws were created, I shouldn’t have to follow all of them. I’m going to tell you something. The Hip-Hop Generation is so smart that we created new curse words that aren’t even in the dictionary.
KW: Like what?
SF: The new word for “bitch” is “blick.” How are they going to censor that? They can’t even bleep that because they don’t even know it’s a curse word yet. We’re too smart for them.
KW: I think African-American culture has, historically, always changed whenever the mainstream has attempted to co-opt it, as if to say, “You can’t take our soul.”
SF: Exactly.
KW: What advice do you have for anybody who wants to follow in your footsteps?
SF: Follow in my footsteps? Don’t follow in my footsteps. Make your own path. You’re your own person, so you gotta create your own path and your own footsteps. Don’t ever follow in anybody’s footsteps, because you’re always going to be led astray.
KW: I know that you’re from Brooklyn. I went to high school in Bed-Stuy at the corner of Nostrand Avenue and Carroll Street, where Medgar Evers College is now. Do you know that area?
SF: Of course. I used to live not too far from there. On Franklin and President.
KW: I grew up in St. Albans. Where in Queens did you live when you moved there?
SF: Southside Jamaica.
KW: That’s right next to St. Albans. Because of Jimmy Bayan, realtor to the stars, I have to ask: Where in L.A. you live now?
SF: Woodland Hills, although I call it Hoodland Hills. [Laughs]
KW: Anything else on the horizon for you?
SF: I’m also working on a new Onyx album, a collaboration of hip-hop and rock & roll called The Black Rock.
KW: Well, I really appreciate the time, Sticky, and best of luck with all your ventures.
SF: Bet, thank you, brother.

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