[Looking Through The Grim Lenz  (Interview)]

Interview Date: 05th January 2010

Conducted By: Dark 7 Invader

Special thanks to Myalansky and Joe Mafia  


Wu-Syndicate (then Joe Mafia, Napoleon and Myalansky) hailing from Virginia, USA, captured the world with their debut album almost 10 years ago, initially known as Crime Syndicate, the group became Wu Syndicate upon meeting and establishing a music and business relationship with the almighty Wu-Tang Clan, specifically between The RZA and Divine who saw the potential of the group and quickly signed them up and amalgamated  them onto the then new but ever growing Killa Beez family tree.

The trio came together to create music way before their Wu-tang affiliation, Myalansky was a solo artist creating a buzz on his side of Virginia, while Joe Mafia and Napoleon then collectively known as Hell Raisers were also eminent on the underground, a chance meeting via a mutual friend ended up with the trio becoming a group. When the album "Wu-Syndicate [Myalansky & Joe Mafia]" was released Napoleon was incarcerated and was featured as a guest artist on the album which sold very well and to date is considered a classic within Wu fans and any hip-hop fan who have heard the album in its entirety. Due to a number of circumstances the group members took time out amid being locked up to focus on other things. Joe Mafia released a solo album independently entitled “This One” in 2002, Myalansky came back home and joined forces with Joe Mafia around 2006/2007 and continued making music resulting in the highly sort after mixtape “The Syndicate is Back” which was later given to fans for free via Wu-International in 2008. Napoleon on the other hand released his solo album “Kingpin Wit Da Inkpen” in 2007, and 2008 saw Mya also dropping his solo album “Drastic Meazures”. While the group members have been independently active within the game, its been about 10 years in exact since the fans heard a full album from Wu-Syndicate as a group not taking into account the mixtape or features.

Wu-0010, the new year sees Mya and Joe Mafia finally complete and put out the highly awaited and anticipated  “Grimlenz” album that have been in talks for a while now. This digital only release is an exclusive album for the fans and can be purchased directly via their own site www.myspace.com/myalansky757, This album produced entirely by upcoming producer Antagonist, reflects the grim horror witnessed through the eyes of Joe Mafia and Myalansky over years of struggling in the Ghetto, the music industry and life on the streets, politics, relations and what have you. This album can be considered as a free album as The Syndicate brothers felt it necessary to give something back to the fans for their constant support over the years and have made it available for only $1.99 as a way to say thanks and hold on for bigger things as the group is currently working on their 3rd album (or 2nd official album depending on how you want to view it) expected to drop something this year. This will involve features from their Killa Beez affiliates as well as The Abbott (The RZA) being involved as well.  

With the release of Grimlenz, The RZA back in the picture, continued steady growth of fans, and a more matured Mya and lyrically sharper Mafia, 2010 seems like a year to watch out for the duo (unfortunately as of date Napoleon is not in the pipeline). Wu-International went to the labs to look through the lenses as seen by Joe Mafia and Myalansky to view the music, Grimlenz, their Wu affiliation, Mya's public fall out with Napoleon, future plans and everything else the fans wanted to know. Happy Wu year 2010. Enjoy!!

I like to say thanks first and foremost for taking the time to answer these questions, highly appreciated, and will also point out that nothing will be altered, edited or changed when this is published online.

Wu-International: How are the Syndicates doing?
Myalansky: We cant complain who would listen.

Wu-International: what is the official date for the release of Grimlenz?
Myalansky: Its Available Now...

Wu-International: You released “The Syndicate is back” mixtape a couple of years back, why has it taken you this long to complete this album?
Myalansky: No reason just weighing out options as far as wait for major distribution and budget or go ahead and hit the fans with some new shit...

Wu-International: How would you say this album differs from your first album at Wu-Tang records?
Joe Mafia:
Maturity in Myalansky's voice for one lets you know that we are not kids anymore and our budget is different but lyrics and concepts will continue to rain supreme.....

Wu-International: What label is this coming out from and will it also be available on a physical format?
Joe Mafia: Yes this is only a digital release only, no physical copies are available and this will be released independently on our own label Syndicate Entertainment. By the way thanks to the kid out in England, TCG GFX and Wu-International for hooking up the cover art.

Wu-International:  Why is the album called Grimlenz?
Myalansky: Because it reflects the Grim pictures we witnessed through the windows of our eye lenz over years of struggling in the ghetto....

Wu-International: So where can fans get this album for now?
Myalansky: www.myspace.com/myalansky757  just scroll through the profile and click the pay pal buy now button $1.99.

Wu-International: Any particular reason this album was produced by just one producer?
Myalansky: As you know the first Wu Syndicate album production was covered mostly by DJ Devastator and then a few tracks by others but Once again we linked with a kid that held enough heat to cover the entire album by the name of ANTAGONIST once he hit us with the tracks the album wrote it self.....

You also kept the features minimal, was there anyone that you wanted on this album that never happened?
Its always a honour to collaborate with other artist but our reputation was built on mostly our own voices being soul controller of each album but who knows what the future has in store?

Wu-Int: I love what I have heard so far, “The Lights Here” is one of my favourite, are they any songs that stand out to both of you and if so, why?

Joe Mafia: We also agree that "The Light's here" is a banger guess because of the political standpoints we covered.

Wu-International: The album is just 12 songs, tracks like “Killa Be Stung” and Torch Still Burning” and a few others you leaked never made it to the album, any reason for this and will they be officially put out?
Joe Mafia: Killa Bee Stung and Torch Still Burning was promotional just to keep the buzzzzzzzz.......

Wu-International: You are practically giving this album away for free as you are selling it for just $1.99 on your site, any reason why you have decided to sell your highly anticipated second album this cheap knowing fully well you could sell it for more?
Myalansky: Its not about the money right now its about the promotion allowing the fans that supported us from day one to continue to get Wu Syndicate material regardless if we have a major recording budget or not, we started from the street with this shit so once again like a hustler some times you gotta cut the middle man off and deal directly to your customers at a lower price.......

Wu-International: Thanks, I speak for the fans when I say they are grateful for these free albums, this is not the first time you have given music away for free, as an artist you also have costs and expenses, how do you manage these costs if you are given albums out for free and are they are long time benefits of this apart from free promotion and keeping your names active?
Myalansky: It's a bigger picture ahead and as far as the cost and expenses like we said we started in the street with this shit so you do the math...

Wu-International: Thanks, what's with the constant group name change from Crime Syndicates, Wu-Syndicate and then apparently dropped the Wu to just The Syndicate and on this album you are once again back to Wu-Syndicate, fans are wondering which is it and why the continuous changes?
Myalansky: Really that's a dumb question because what difference does it make what the name of the group is, the name Wu Syndicate don’t make Myalansky and Joe Mafia who they are, we will always be two individuals that no matter what you call us our lyrics and concepts is what made you fuck with us not our names, The name Chicago Bulls didn’t make Michael Jordan play the way he did no matter what name he use its still Michael Jordan........

Wu-International: Its evident you are still closely linked to the Wu, could you please tell us of any recent development as far as making music with The RZA, Divine and other Wu affiliates?
Myalansky: Rza reached out for us and we have been communicating back and forth he's asked us to submit new materials to him for 2010. So by then we would start all and any  negotiations and hit the table so lets see what happens.

Wu-International: Great to see you are dealing with the RZA on a business and personal level again?
Joe Mafia: We will always be family..........................

Wu-International: There were talks of your group and Westcoast Killa Beez “Indoviduals” and their manager working on a project together?
Myalansky: We reached out to Indoviduals to get some shows in motion on the West coast but for some reason it didn’t happen other than that they cool Westcoast killa beez aint nothing but love.........

Wu-International: Thanks, Your first album is a definite classic, and was released almost 10 years ago, with the group just resurfacing again, would you say Wu-Syndicate is still relevant in the rap game and if so, why?
Joe Mafia: No matter when we strike our message will hold weight because its dealing with maths so today or tomorrow our message adds up.......

Wu-International: You had Napoleon feature as member of the group and word was when he got back home from incarceration, the 3 of you would go back to making bangers again, is there any reason why Napoleon was not included on the Grimlenz?
Napoleon Who?????

Wu-International: Mya, you went all out at Napoleon on the diss song “I’m Syndicate”, why was the reason for this?
They interviewed him on Chambermusik and he said the wrong shit...

Wu-International: That song broke down a lot as far as the history and formation of Wu-Syndicate; could you kindly tell those that missed it, how the group actually came about, Hell Raisers and everything people need to know?

I was was solo at first,  Joe Mafia and Napoleon had a group together called Hell Raisers but I didn’t know them one day in the hood this cat named Thin let me hear this tape I peeped the shit and was like niggas got some heat and I asked dude what's up with me and them doing a track so he put it together we linked up a few times then I got locked up but was still reaching out to Hell Raisers like yo when I come home I'm gonna feature you on my album titled Crime Syndicate which I had drawn the logo on the table in the back cell block, 5th floor Portsmouth city jail. When I came home to make this long story short my concept for a solo record was chosen to be the name of us as a group true story .......

Wu-International: So Mya, what is your current relationship with Napoleon and is there any chances of you three ever working together again?
Myalansky: Beg ya pardon, Napoleon Who?

Wu-International: Ok, Joe Mafia kept pretty much keeps out this beef, is it safe to assume Joe Mafia, that you are still cool with Napoleon and can he please tell us your point of view with this whole situation?

Joe Mafia:
Myalansky and Napoleon's situation is their thing,  I got love for both of them,

Mya, you let the music do most of your talking for you, why did you make a song called “He is still alive” ?
Myalansky: Some fans thought i was dead, rumours can be good and they can be bad but at the end of the day I'm the only one that really knows what's going on if the fans wanna know anything next time cut the middle man off and call me direct 7572682171.

Wu-International: You released your album “Drastic Measurez” last year on a digital format only, how well was it received by the fans?
Myalansky: With no major budget for marketing and promotion I didn’t cover my full sound scan of consumers so I think it could have done better with the right machine behind it.

Only Heaven knows was reminisce of “Where was heaven”, what inspires you to write heart felt songs like that?
Myalansky: The reality of the struggle needs a voice.

Wu-International: You featured a producer and also rapper from Germany on that song, how did that collabo come about?
Myalansky: Jesse Taylor let me hear the track and I was like that's my first single.

Wu-International: What would you say is the difference between making a solo album and a Syndicate album?
Myalansky: How bad u wanna know?

Wu-International: Thanks for those questions, so Joe Mafia, was there any reason why you re-released your first solo project again “This One” via Chambermusik last year?
Joe Mafia: Fans requested for it?

Wu-International: You initially put it out via 58 West Diamond Street, is that label still in existence and who’s on it?
Joe Mafia:  Yes it is still in existence, and myself and few up and coming artists are on it.

Wu-International: The album review for “This One” was very good, is there any reason why you have not followed it up with another solo project?
Joe Mafia: Thanks, in 2010 I'm thinking about giving the fans the next solo record but with a new Wu Syndicate venture on the table some sacrifices will be made.

Wu-International: Your chemistry with Myalansky is equivalent to that of say Rae and Ghost, what would you say is the difference between you and Mya as far as music goes? 
Joe Mafia: I'm more complex, and Mya simplifies the message, a complete balance. 

Wu-International: You were featured on Napoleon’s album, are they other collabos you have done you might want to share with us with other artists within or outside of US?
Joe Mafia: A few within and outside, mostly paid features from local artist.

Wu-International: Thanks for all the solo answers, now back to the group, what’s next for The Syndicates after this album?
Joe Mafia: The 3rd Wu Syndicate Album......

Wu-International: You were instrumental in putting VA in the map, the likes of The Clipse are currently carrying the torch, will the fans see both camps collaborating any time soon?
Joe Mafia: Why not who knows what the future unfolds....

Wu-International: Anything else you both like to say to the fans that have not already covered on this interview?
Joe Mafia:  Thank yall for coming out god bless you goodnight...

Wu-International: Any shout outs, message for fans?
Myalansky: Yes, thanks to Rza, Divine, Daddy O, Glenn Wallace, Real Hood Music and the fans.

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