Hip-Hop’s street messiah, CORMEGA, returns with The True Meaning – the highly anticipated sophomore album from Queensbridge’s microphone maestro. On his latest creative effort, Cormega feeds hip-hop’s hungry disciples with sixteen lyrical commandments, resurrecting hip-hop with his street scripture. On The True Meaning, Cormega stops short of walking on water; instead he anoints the minds of followers and fans with another ‘testament’ of ‘the realness’ needed in hip-hop today. “I consider The True Meaning to be a mirror image of myself. A lot of emcees try to portray thug life in their lyrics. They claim to have seen and done things to get street credibility. But everything that they imagine themselves to be on ink, I am in life. Whether or not I chose to be, it’s the true meaning of who I am. I know how to tell you about the game and the pitfalls of the game because I’ve lived it.”
Personal tragedy is no stranger to the prolific MC who because of his life experiences paints such vivid images of life first hand. At the tender age of four, Cormega witnessed the violent slaying of his mother. After the tragic loss, a young Corey McKay, went to live with his stepmother who raised him until the streets claimed it’s own. “My stepmom insisted that I read a book every week. I owe her for nurturing my mind and teaching me the importance of words. At the time, I didn’t understand what she was instilling in me, because I wanted to hang out like all the other kids. It wasn’t until I touched the mic that those alphabets came to life. ”
Cormega acclaim on the microphone began in 1996 when a young rapper from Queensbridge named Nasir Jones featured him on “Affirmative Action” from his sophomore album, It Was Written. Afterwards Nas invited him to join the all-star supergroup, The Firm - Nas, Foxy Brown, and Cormega (later replaced by Nature). “I know a lot of people want to know what’s up since Nas shouted my name on Stillmatic, but I don’t want to go through the Joe Frazier stigma. As great a boxer as he was, he’ll only be remembered as Muhammad Ali’s rival. He spent his whole career answering questions about Ali. I don’t base my life on being Nas’ rival. The True Meaning is about me and how I put it down as an artist.” Questions surrounding Cormega’s personal and professional relationship with Nas are addressed on The True Meaning’s street scripture “Love In, Love Out.”
The alliance with The Firm was short-lived, but Cormega’s lyrical prowess and street credibility landed him a contract with Violator/Def Jam. He recorded a critically acclaimed album, called The Testament, which although never commercially released, made its way to almost every bootlegger on the street. The Testament went ghetto gold and was bootlegged enough to gain Cormega national exposure and a reputation in the underground circles as someone to watch. -
After several major setbacks, Cormega started his own label, Legal Hustle, and released his own music with distribution by Landspeed Records. In the meantime, he was featured on Mobb Deep’s Murda Muzik, Prodigy’s HNIC, and Funkmaster Flex Volume II and a host of underground mixtapes. When he could no longer stand in the shadows, he released a solo commercial debut, The Realness in 2001. The Realness sold over 100,000 copies in just a few short months as an independent release on Cormega’s own Legal Hustle Empire; an extraordinary accomplishment for an album that didn’t get any radio airplay or video rotation.
Cormega contends that The True Meaning has a different artistic tone than his debut album. “It’s not as dark as the last album. One of his favorite songs on the album is “Soul Food” a poetic ballad he calls ‘a ghetto soap opera.’ “In the song, I’m dealing with a female, but she has a man. We go back and forth and I finally stop dealing with her, because I don’t want to ruin the relationship she’s in.” Another song, “Live Your Life” tells the tale of women going through various stages of struggles. “People will be able to relate to this song because a lot of people go through it,” he explains. “The first verse is about a women having problems with her son, and the second verse is about a woman on drugs trying to get her life together who’s facing losing her kids.”
The song “Verbal Graffiti,” is an ode to all the elements of hip-hop working together as a whole. “It’s a real hip-hop record, it’s got scratching and a really exotic beat. I really wanted to incorporate the deejay and the graffiti culture into my album because a lot of people take their importance to the foundation of hip-hop for granted,” he explains. “Depending on the artist, I think graffiti can be a beautiful form of expression.” “On ‘Verbal Graffiti,’ I am giving you a picture, a verbal illusion, but it’s verbal not visual.”
The album executive produced by Cormega and features several songs he co-produced with Hitmen producer, J. Wax Garfield including “Soul Food, ” “I’m Built For That” and “Live Ya Life”– a song that Mega feels will be a contender for the first single from The True Meaning. Known for featuring up-and-coming producers on his previous albums, Cormega works with several well-known beatmakers including The Alchemist, Buckwild, Hangmen 3, Hi-Tek, and J Love. Underground production guru, The Alchemist, teams up with Cormega on “The Legacy”- a tribute to Queensbridge emcees who have been in the game since the early ‘80’s.
Cormega describes The True Meaning as the next chapter of his life. “The True Meaning is umbilical cord linking The Testament and The Realness. It’s where you arrive when you lived the realness, created the testament and are experiencing the true meaning.”
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