An Episode of Strange Journeys with the CunninLynguists
The CunninLynguists are the Gulliver’s Travelers of Hip-Hop. Their sojourns have led them to the hills of Norway, a castle in Kentucky, a frat house in Vermont, and even to an Alaskan porch. They’ve lost rental cars keys, been compared to Neapolitan ice cream, and bought Heinekens for street bums. One member even recently split his head open. They narrate all like clever court jesters infusing every anecdote with a touch of hilarity. It’s the same sense of humor and wit that makes their latest album Strange Journey Volume 2 such a sonic treat. The trio’s fifth album has cemented them as a mainstay in alternative Hip-Hop. So, get past the name because Deacon the Villain, Kno, and a vicarious Natti (who had to forgo the interview because of daddy duty) have gotten way past it and are back to tell about their fantastic journeys.
OKP: I’m very impressed by Strange Journey Volume 1 and Strange Journey Volume 2 so I was thinking I’m gonna honor the themes of those albums, and all the questions I ask are gonna be based on strange journeys.
Kno: You sure about that? If you wanna ask how we met or how we got our name, you’re more than welcome to do that because it’s only been done like 15 million times.
OKP: (Laughs) I feel you. Na. So, the first question is, out of the three of you, it you went on a strange journey who would drive and why?
Deacon: Who would drive? I would say I’m letting Stevie Wonder drive a Jetson mobile, going straight so there’s nothing to bump into. It’s going straight to the sky, no obstacles, no clouds.
Kno: We’re not letting Natti drive. I’ll tell you that much. Natti gets to ride, but I would rather have Stevie Wonder drive than Natti.
Deacon: Natti keeps some of them smokables on deck, so we know we’re gonna be straight.
Kno: Willie Nelson, I would rather see him drive. I’ve never seen Willie Nelson drive obviously, but whatever he can do behind the steering wheel is better than what Natti’s got on deck. So, we’ll roll with it, you know what I’m saying.
OKP: What is the strangest place you’ve ever been and why?
Deacon: I’m gonna say Alaska because there were all types of weird things going on in Alaska. Number one, we’re in Alaska. It’s cold as fuck, but we managed to have what was probably our hottest show ever. It was so packed that the walls were sweating. People’s sweat would evaporate and hit the walls. Then you go outside and it’s cold as fuck and people are still walking in flip-flops. That has always boggled my brain. They were trying to prove a point like, “It ain’t cold, we’re wearing flip-flops.”
Kno: The show got over at 2am that night and it was still light outside. You could see Russia from the stage.
Deacon: We went by somebody’s house and instead of wind chimes they had a bunch of forks and spoons hanging on strings.
OKP: What’s the strangest hallucinogenic journey you’ve been on?
Kno: You know, I would have to say that the pain that I felt while un-medicated in the emergency room after I split my head open. That’s been strangest hallucinogenic journey I’ve been on since I don’t really partake [in smoking weed], you know what I’m saying? Though people say I have high beats. I understand that but I think my mom had drugs when I was in the womb. I think that’s probably an issue.
Deacon: That’s definitely the case. I think this story is probably about Natti. I don’t know but we was in Norway. He smoked an Earth bong. They dug a hole in the ground and made a bong out of the dirt to smoke the weed and get high on the hills of Norway. Like in the mountains. They put it in the ground and I think they put some rocks or coal-like substance. I missed out on it though.
OKP: That’s some strange shit right there. Kno, how did you split your head?
Kno: I don’t know, I was watching Wolverine the movie and I just felt kind of funny because the movie sucked ass. The movie was so bad it made me pass out. I don’t know. I was out at the movies chilling. I mean I’m glad it didn’t hit me while I was on tour or on stage. I just felt kinda funny and passed the fuck out and busted my head open on the way. It was completely fucking random, but I have no idea.
Anybody reading this, if you know anything about Atlanta hospitals, just praise Jesus they didn’t take me to Grady because your boy Kno would be “no longer.”
OKP: Oh shit, now I can see why you guys have such a big fan base on OKP.
Kno: They hold us down. OKP always holds us down.
OKP: That’s serious. So what’s the strangest thing that happened on your journey to becoming Hip-Hop artists?
Deacon: There was one point in our career where we got compared to Neapolitan ice cream. That was pretty strange. You know a white guy and a black guy, like chocolate and vanilla.
Kno: What’s funny was that they were saying that the Puerto Rican guy was Mexican. Sonya Sotomayor would be pissed off. It’s not a good look.
Deacon: I think the strangest thing is that a large chunk of our fan base don’t even like rap. They’re music lovers and they support us every time we come through.
OKP: What’s the strangest journey you’ve ever taken to visit a girl?
Deacon: Oh boy. I got go back for a while for that. I remember when I was about fifteen, no seventeen, me and my boy stole his Pops ’76 deuce and a quarter. I was seventeen, didn’t have my license, but I drove. We got lost on country roads looking for the girls’ houses and didn’t find them until like four in the morning and we had to have the car back by 4:30 so his pops could go to work and we didn’t know where the hell we was at and we had to find our way back in thirty minutes. It was fucked up.
Kno: And after all that, Deacon didn’t even get a hand job.
Deacon: That was before cell phones. That was a pitiful trip.
Kno: I will say that I had a long distance relationship with a girl from Canada and I don’t even have to explain why, but it worked.
OKP: I hear that. What’s the strangest place you ever spent one night?
Deacon: We had a rental-car and my best friend had a slumber party. It was in Vermont. We lost the rental keys. The thing is after we had to leave, we had to stay all day and all night at this frat house because we lost the rental car keys until somebody randomly came with a set of car keys like, “Did somebody lose these last night.” We were stuck an extra 30-40 hours in Vermont because of that.
OKP: Oh my goodness.
Kno: We’re in the middle of nowhere, Vermont. It was obviously a newer car, it had a chip in it and we lost the only key—well Deacon lost that shit, I ain’t gonna take responsibility. We lost that shit and we basically had to sit there because we would have had to tow the car 40 miles to make the new key with the chip in it. It was totally fun—
Deacon: It was early in our career 2003 and we was in a rental car and we wasn’t supposed to be above Kentucky state lines and we were in Vermont.
Kno: That was in the days when we weren’t really making no money off this shit.
Deacon: We were in the trenches like hell back then and we smoked a whole lot of weed and played a whole bunch of Madden.
Kno: And all of a sudden, a dude comes out like “Dude did you leave some car keys,” and fifty people at once were like “Oh shit!” and then we left.
OKP: Y’all got some crazy stories.
Kno: We got plenty of them.
Deacon: They’re a dime a dozen for real.
OKP: Aight, what is the strangest thing that happened on your journey to the corner store?
Deacon: We live right downtown in Atlanta, right by Georgia Tech, as far as outside looking in, everything looks tight, but back in the day, it was the hood. It was one of those places that got gentrified. Right outside there’s the hood store that survived the times.
I go over to the corner store. I walk over there. It’s a nice quick walk. I’m like let get me a Heineken. I drink beer but I never drink Heineken. Never. So I pass by this bum and he says, “Yo man, are you on your way to the store?” I’m like, “Yeah” He says, “What are you gonna get?” I said, “I’m gonna get me a brew. Imma quench my thirst.” He says, “What type of brew you gonna get.” I say “I’m gonna get a Heineken.” I say “Heineken” and he looks at me like I’m about to buy a Ferrari. He looked me up and down and is like, “Hmmm Heineken time…Heineken time!” I’m like, “You damn right it’s Heineken time.”
I got him a Heineken, got me a Heineken. Damn right, it’s Heineken time, I work hard for mines. Imma buy me a Ferrari today. Imma buy him one too.
Kno: You can’t say he drinks Heineken. That’s fucking up our promotion. He drinks whatever you guys pay him to drink.
OKP: What is the strangest place in Kentucky?
Kno: There’s a castle, not a White Castle, a castle. Not only that but according to Kentucky lore, there’s so many stories behind that castle. At one point whoever owned it killed his lover, but there’s all these crazy ass stories, but it’s a fucking castle in Kentucky.
Deacon: We grew up literally five miles from a castle.
OKP: That’s random.
Deacon: Not only that, we never got past the fence surrounding it my whole life, but the day we shot “K.K.K.Y”, the door was wide open. For the first time ever, I got to go inside that castle. That was random. Our lives are very random.
– Sidik Fofana
Watch CunninLynguists perform “Nothing To Give” live at the QN5 megashow, in this high quality vid below: