SameOldShawn: One of your main TV gigs was The Chapelle Show. What was that like, working on something like that?
Cipha Sounds: I had no idea it would be..
SOS: I was gonna say, did you have any idea of the lasting impact of those skits and the legacy of the show?
CS: When the Rick James skit came out, I knew. But I didn't know I was part of a cultural show that would change the face of sketch comedy
Chapelle's an underground hip-hop head. I met him through Mos Def when I used to DJ for Mos Def
SOS: Yeah, he did that skit on the first Kweli solo album, where he plays Nelson Mandela
CS: Oh yeah. I didn't even know that. I mean, that's how I met him, through them, but I didn't know that at the time. We were out one night at maybe a Green Lantern..it had something to do with Eminem, and Chapelle showed up, and I saw him. He's like, yo, come with me to this comedy club. And we went to the Comedy Cellar. He just walked in and got on
We were hanging out and talking sh*t, talking about music. This was someone I could talk about underground hip-hop with, that Rawkus era. He's like, "I'm starting this show, I'm looking for a DJ. Would you come shoot the pilot with us? Just playing music beforehand?" I'm like, yeah, whatever, alright. And we went and shot the pilot, and it was real funny
Then it got picked up, and he's like, "You want to DJ on the show?" So I was like, yeah, sure. Did the whole first season, most of the first season. It was funny, had a ball. Second season, I'm like, oh, this is back? And now I'm trying to be more involved. So if you watch some of the episodes, I'd scratch some stuff and he'd react to it. Like Lil Jon, "Yeah!"
Then he shot the Rick James skit. We would go to this studio, and there'd be an audience, and he'd already have it recorded and play it for the audience to get their laughter and reaction. He played that and we had to stop taping because people were laughing too much. He'd try to continue talking, and they were laughing. The director was like, we have to cut it because it's too long
Then afterwards, people would ask us to show it again when the show was over. Like, "Can you play it again?" So we played it again
So for six months, I was saying, "I'm Rick James, b*tch!" before anyone knew what I was talking about. I would say, "I'm Rick James, b*tch!" and they're like, what are you saying. Then when it came out, I was already tired of it. And it blew up to the level it's at, where it's like the famous sketch