Courtesy of Dazed Digital, who also have an interview with Shocklee wherein he discusses a new Bomb Squad album.

Hank Shocklee Mix Of Heavy Dubstep From The Bomb Squad

DD: Surely some hip hop producers are still creative – what about, say, Timbaland?

HS: Listen, I know Timbaland from way back. I was one of the first Timbaland supporters before he even did the first Aaliyah album, when he was up in Rochester trying to put together a group called Girl with Missy Elliott. But the stuff he’s doing now, he’s just regurgitating. He’s an assembly line, just cranking it out. He’s just taking a loop, putting it on a tape and putting a vocal on it. Musically, almost everybody’s taking a step backwards today.

DD: What about rappers – Lil Wayne?

HS: I give Lil Wayne credit because he’s been able to stay the course. He’s reaching a new audience that doesn’t remember him from back in the day. But I don’t think that’s innovation. Innovation is where you push the envelope to the point where you create a new sound or a new persona. It should make you say, “Who is this? I never heard this before.” But you hear Lil Wayne, and you just say, “That must be Lil Wayne.” Everything sounds the same by default. But I’m not criticisng the new stuff – going back to the 60s and 70s, it’s never been pop music that’s innovative, it’s always the alternative music.

Let’s take Bob Marley. He’s probably one of the greatest conscious artists that we have. But everyone time you hear a Bob Marley record, it’s because someone’s said, “OK, now it’s the time when we want to give some respect to the reggae culture. We going to play a Bob Marley song.” And what do they always play? “One Love”. The weakest, most diluted song in his entire catalogue. Whenever you have anyone speaking about their political consciousness, their popularity goes down.

You not only have to be middle of the road in terms of your content, but also your consciousness. If you project any status outside of that, your pop status is struck off. The pop culture business is monitored all the way round. Look at hip hop – it’s not saying anything any more. Hip hop used to be the voice of people. Who are the stars and what are they really talking about? I’m quite sure Lil Wayne is just as much of a rebel as he wants to be. He’s a rebel in every other aspect of his life – why is he not on record? Jay Z is a big icon, but at the same time, why are his records so safe? There are so many artists I could mention. In their real lives, there’ll be drugs involved, shootings and gun-running and all type of stuff, but the one thing they do manage is to make a safe record. Why don’t we hold up the artists that are talking about something real but got a clean background? If that doesn’t show the music industry is monitored, what does?