Supreme Cerebral: «Dividing the coasts by sounds is irrelevant to our Culture»
We interviewed Supreme Cerebral a.k.a Bugzy Nino, a Californian MC from Santa Ana, who told us about his more than a decade-long career, why he doesn’t like his music to be labeled in a certain way, the origins of his name, his background as graffiti writer, his plans for 2022 and much more …
Peace fam. Thank you for letting us ask you some questions and dedicating us some of your time! Maybe some of our readers don’t know you yet, but actually you have been moving into the underground hip-hop scene for more than a decade. So when and how did you come into contact with this culture? Where exactly do you come from and what is your cultural background? Where do you live now and where did you grow up?
SUPREME CEREBRAL: “ I was born into this culture. I’m an early 80s baby. I was literally born into Hip-Hop. I come from Santa Ana, California with roots from Brooklyn, NY. Culturally I’m creole and Puerto Rican and my moms is European. I still live in Santa Ana and grew up here since I was 5-6”.
How has your path in the underground scene evolved over the years and what were your first works that began to attract some attention to your name in the underground scene?
SUPREME CEREBRAL : “I wouldn’t single myself out to an “underground” scene. I was doing music that wasn’t considered underground when I was younger.
I’m a student of Hip-Hop so of course my music might sound what some call east coast but to me it’s just REAL Hip-Hop. I’d say 2015 when I dropped the Master Builders album with Clypto is when people started to take notice in this new underground scene“.
They call you both Bugzy Nino and Supreme Cerebral. Where did these names come from? What’s their origin and meaning?
SUPREME CEREBRAL: “Bugzy Nino is a street name given to me by one of my OGs. The origin was just Bugzy & I added the Nino later on when I started to do the mixtape series with the same title around 2011.
Supreme Cerebral is and has always been my one and only rap name. Having KOS (Knowledge Of Self) one of my elders gave me the name Supreme Born Justice. Me feeling that was too long and didn’t really sound like how my raps where I decided to add the Cerebral to the Supreme because it felt more on point to my art. Basically Supreme Cerebral meaning Ultimate Mind and I feel like I have the most expansive vocabulary in the game so the name just fits.
“The Loop 2: The House Of Loops” is just the last chapter of your deep catalog. How was this project born? How did you get in touch with Clypto and what is the idea behind this album?
SUPREME CEREBRAL: “The Loop 2 was just the follow up to the Loop 1 which was dropped in 2016/17. I came into this scene with Clypto, he is like a lil brother to me so our relationship is beyond rap. I’m always rapping on his beats and I had the idea for a minute to do a part two. We talked about it then manifested it per usual. The idea behind the album is to showcase how dope Clypto’s beats are & how nice I am next to the underground elite.
We don’t overthink the albums or try too hard to make it something special. The natural chemistry of us together is what gives the album light. The hardest part is trying to strategically place all the right emcees on the right song”.
How can our readers orient themselves through your vast discography? In your opinion, what are your most important albums and why?
SUPREME CEREBRAL: “For anyone interested in purchasing Vinyl, CDs or Digital copies of any of my many albums you can visit bugzynino17.bandcamp.com.
I personally think that all my albums are extremely important it shows the maturation process and evolution of each album. Anything in the last 3 years tho I’d say is elite. There’s about 12 albums to check for”.
The quantity of projects you have released has never influenced their quality. What keeps your pen sharp and your inspiration at so high levels despite you’ve been so prolific during years? In your opinion, what are the elements of your style or content that distinguish you from the rest of the scene?
SUPREME CEREBRAL: “I’m Supreme Cerebral my name says it all tbh. I have the Ultimate Mind.”
I’ve always been a storyteller and a big reader so I’ve always got new ideas and things to speak about. Plus I live an extremely wild lifestyle and I live a life worth writing about. My life alone is enough to have endless ideas for music.
I just think personally no one can rap like me. I’m an acquired taste tho also and I realize that. My music isn’t for everyone. I must say tho my writing style and aggressive nature is what separates me from the rest”.
We don’t like to put people in “boxes” like this but essentially you’re a West Coast MC with more of an East Coast style and approach. So can you tell us more about this aspect of your attitude? Where do these influences of yours come from?
SUPREME CEREBRAL: “See this is something I have plenty of arguments about. I don’t sound “east coast” I sound like Hip-Hop! Where does our culture come from? The Bronx. Where are some of the first emcees I heard from? New York! Plus that’s where my roots are from. So it’s only natural.
Don’t get it twisted tho I love west coast Hip-Hop and I use slang from both coasts. I hate that because I don’t rap like some west coast gangster rapper that I’m automatically east coast. Is Dilated Peoples east coast cuz they don’t rap like the typical west coast artist? It’s just a way for people to divide the coast and make a narrative that is irrelevant to our culture. Rap is rap no matter where you’re from”.
So is it correct to say that in the Californian underground scene there is a relatively big niche sonically more linked to the east coast rap culture? What is your point of view on this? Where does it come from in your opinion?
SUPREME CEREBRAL: “California has many many different styles within it. From the Bay to San Diego there are plenty of different styles and forms of rap music. From backpackers to Hyphy to Gangster rappers there are many different forms and styles. The so-called underground scene tho in Cali mostly sounds the exact same. They all wanna rhyme like someone they admire. No originality really out here. But I can only speak for LA/OC. I can’t speak for all of Cali because Northern Cali & Central Cali are a completely different world”.
Over the years you have collaborated with some of the most valid emcees and producers of the American underground scene, from Planet Asia to Hus KingPin and Big Twins, from Dirty Diggs to Clypto. With whom you have developed the closest relationship and how were they born? Who would you like to collaborate with whom you have not yet collaborated with?
SUPREME CEREBRAL: “I mean I have shit with Ghostface Killah, Wu Syndicate, Chino XL and others as well as the names you’ve stated. I’ve been putting in work for many, many years now and when you’re nice people gravitate towards you.
I’ve been down with Planet Asia for over 10 years and making music with him puts a new spotlight on you for others to take notice. Some collabs just happen. I like to do things organically not forced or paid for.
As far as people I would like to work with, it’s up in the air really. Whatever manifests itself in the flesh organically is what most likely I’ll be into more than seeking a collaborative effort.
There’s a lot of people I’d like to spar with but mostly just to prove to the world I’m equally as dope if not better. That’s why I started to do features in 2016 to prove I was better than all these mfers who were getting more notoriety than me”.
In our pages we often cover the graffiti movement. Are you or have you been in contact with the local graffiti scene as well? If so, how and who are the artists you like the most?
SUPREME CEREBRAL: “I’ve always been into graffiti and all the other elements of Hip-Hop. As far as the local scene for that I’m not into to many artist out here
I’m more into my own graf. My graf name is Rugby, look out for my pieces all over Cali. Tbh I’m more into artists from Europe that 3-D graf and push the limit with their art”.
What are the next albums you are working on? Can you anticipate any surprises?
SUPREME CEREBRAL: “My next album is an EP entitled “Samurai War Scrolls” with famed Japanese producer BudaMunk. Slated to drop around early March. I also have a full length album with up and coming producer Yoga Flame Kane titled “The Bad Guy” slated to drop August. Another EP with producer Vinyl Villain titled “The Emperor Deity” and one more full length album for the end of the year with multiple producers and that has yet to be titled yet. So a total of about 5 albums this year. I also have Vinyl for The Loop 1&2, The Bad Guy and Loose Change coming this year.
A lot of very dope moves are coming, so stay tuned!