great, man. I got up a little earlier today. There's some business calls
coming in and it's another great day on the West.
you been up to lately?
up to a lot. I've been trying to get my business swagger together and
really show the corporate side of the music industry that I can communicate
with them just as well as I can communicate with the streets. I've been
doing that and trying to strategize the best ways to win in the business.
I just released a DVD called Life After Death Row. It's in stores now.
It's doing pretty good. We're about to start a real promo run on that.
It's a good piece. I got Master P, Loon, W.C. and Russell Simmons. It's
a tight documentary and you get The Young Boss mixtape hosted by DJ Skee
happened between you and Death Row?
was I was over there repping and I was trying to resurrect one of the
biggest hip-hop labels on the West and in the industry, period. I was
in there banging out joints, doing what I had to do and spreading the
word in the streets. To be honest with you, I think the problem was that
with Suge Knight being the CEO and the way he was after he got out of
jail, he couldn't even jaywalk without them throwing him back in. Every
time he got thrown in, the label would suffer. It got to the point where
it was time for me to pack up and put my destiny in my own hands. I decided
to step out. I've been out here holding it down. Being on Death Row isn't
like being on one of the average hip-hop labels. It's a boot camp and
it's a survival course. After being through everything you could be on
Death Row, it was time to go. The industry gave me a lot of love and I
have no bad feelings towards Suge. 2Pac had the throne over there and
Suge put me in position to be the heir to that throne. I can't be upset
with a dude who's willing to put me in that position. It just didn't work
out so it was time for me to dip and go get some cake.
the heir to the throne on the West?
To be honest
with you, there are a lot of cats on the West talking about being the
King of the West Coast. We could look at it like 2Pac took the crown with
him because he definitely made his mark as a historical rapper. The way
I look at it is you got Game. Game is the only new artist on the West
that's really pushing units right now. To me, people like Dr. Dre and
Ice Cube will always be kings of the West. Dr. Dre built three labels
from the ground up into something historical. I always give props to Dr.
Dre for being one of the kings. I always give props to Ice Cube and I
always give props to all the O.G.'s. As far as these new cats trying to
be king, they have to do some work. I have no doubt that after my debut
album, people will decide if I'm trying to go for the throne. Me personally,
I'm just trying to be a boss. A boss is going to have morals, principles,
honor and that's what I represent. I'm not really tripping on that crown,
but I do spectate and I do laugh when I hear people saying they're the
King of the West. They're not really built like that and they need to
focus on getting their career together instead of using a marketing plan
to try to fool consumers. Game is definitely the Prince of the West.
speaking about Ras Kass?
all, I got love for Ras Kass. I've known Ras a long time. He's not the
only one that says that. I hear it on countless mixtapes. You listen to
all these mixtapes and everybody's the King of the West. I'm speaking
to everybody who's claiming that title. Ras Kass has a reputation for
fierce lyricism. He has that reputation and I love Ras Kass. If you were
to ask me straight up if he was the King of the West, I would say no.
You have to sell a lot of records. If you're the King, how come you haven't
sold those records? Now if you say you're the King of Spitting, then I
still have another problem with you because really when it comes to the
West Coast underground scene, it's really all me, and it has been like
that. The thing is, I'm not out here saying "I'm the King of the
Underground." That's cool, but all these titles and all that can
go out the window. I'm here to put out dope, gangsta hip-hop. I'm here
to put out street music. I'm here to put out my product. I hear countless
artists saying they're the King of the West but what have you done? If
you haven't done anything for the West than how can you say you're the
King? And if you haven't served me on the microphone, how can you be the
King of Spitting? That's just my opinion.
you think about the Ras Kass/Game situation?
To be honest
with you, I wish they would just squash that. I got love for Game. I remember
Game when he came to Death Row. I've done joints with Game and he's a
cool dude. Of course I've done joints with Ras Kass and I love Ras Kass.
I really wish they wouldn't beef but sometimes it has to be war. If they
keep it on wax, it's cool, but they already went further than wax.
approach it from a spectator point of view. Forget Crooked I the hip-hop
MC, let's look at me as a hip-hop consumer. I wouldn't have made the moves
that Ras made as far as that beef goes. The thing about it is you have
to make an impact when you're beefing with somebody. You have to make
sure they feel you and you have to make sure the whole world feels you.
I don't feel he made the impact he could have made. You have to understand
Game is a multi-platinum artist and he's going to be on all the magazine
covers and he's going to go on an incredible promo run. You can't throw
rocks at a tank. You have to make sure you're in a tank too. You have
to be more strategic when you go up against somebody of Game's caliber.
I think a lot of times we get lost in the fact that we're dope lyricists.
That's just my opinion as a consumer. I've followed both of them and I've
been following hip-hop since Kool Moe Dee and KRS-One. Beefs keep the
hot joints coming like "No Vaseline" or "Hit 'Em Up."
The beefs are usually on equal level but when they're not, the person
lower has to be more strategic than the other person. That's just my opinion
from being a consumer. From me as an MC, I wish they would squash that.
a good representation of the West Coast?
a good representation of the West Coast to me. A lot of people like to
say Game sounds too East Coast or that he raps over East Coast beats.
The thing is, hip-hop is a culture and it's supposed to be like that.
The East is supposed to have an influence over the West and the West is
supposed to have an influence over the East. That's how we communicate.
NWA had a lot of breakbeats in their production and they had a lot of
influences that people could have said stemmed from New York in certain
aspects. I see Game as a good representation of the West. I can see Game
sitting out there in Compton. Compton is right next to Long Beach.
mixtapes a success?
I got an XL for my first one and I didn't even send out my second one
like that. We just hit the streets with it. The hip-hop consumer changes
over generations and you have to stay fresh in the minds of everyone because
a hip-hop fan is born every minute. If you're hitting the mixtapes and
you're grinding it out and reaching the new fans with some raw material,
that's a great thing. I know a lot of people like to say stuff about how
they don't write, but on some real shit, I did my first mixtape in two
days and the second mixtape in three days. That's about nineteen, twenty
joints in three days. I was in that zone where I could do that in three
days. When people say that was dope, I'm like, If they only knew I did
that in three days.
you started your album?
is definitely going to change the West. I know people have heard all of
us artists say that before, but I just feel like I'm a different artist
and I'm adding something to the puzzle. The album is off the chain and
I can't wait to get it to the people. I'm one brother that had a lot of
obstacles when it came to putting something out. If it ain't right, I
ain't rolling with it. I'm not going to put an album out where it can't
do well because we're missing a piece of the puzzle. If we're missing
a piece of the puzzle, I'm not putting that shit out. Fuck it. I want
my fans to see the whole picture of me and I want to be able to hear it
on every radio station and I want to be able to see it on every music
program. It's not a cake thing right now because I'll get my money regardless.
It's an artistic thing where it has to be right. The album is incredible.
I have songs on there that will make grown men cry and young men think.
I have songs that will change the perspective of the gangsta rapper. Me
and my crew, we're not gangsta rappers. We're gangsta MC's. I'm going
to explain what that means on the album. The album is banging.
it come out?
to run this DVD through the fourth quarter. I'm going to keep it 100.
My fans get on me on my forum and get mad that the album isn't coming
out 'til the first quarter of '07. I'm pushing this DVD and I'm doing
some touring, trying to shut down stages from here to Massachusetts. That's
what I'm trying to do from here on out. Right now it's C.O.B., the Circle
of Bosses. I started that boss thing in California. I see a lot of people
trying to bite my style and bite my swag, but they know what it is. We're
coming in '07 and it's going to be interesting.
been in the game for awhile. Is this album overdue?
I feel like
the album is way overdue but it's a blessing for me to still be relevant.
I got my first deal when I was 16 and I was a baby-baby. The album is
way overdue but I've been dropping joints on the internet almost bi-weekly.
I got a new mixtape with DJ Warrior and DJ Strong and then we have Volume
4 coming after that. I feel good with the amount of music I'm giving to
the people. The album is the atomic bomb. I'm a different type of cat
from the other rappers that represent the West and that's a good thing
because you have to have A, B, C and D. Crook is going to speak his mind
on whatever he wants to and I'm not going to water down my style for nobody.
Some of my views might upset people but that goes back to the boss thing.
A boss is going to ride for what he believes in and the album is going
to reflect that. We're taking this gangsta MC thing to a whole new level.
Don't be surprised if you hear a gangsta-ass spoken word piece on this
pay attention to what the fans want?
I pay attention
to what the fans think. I go in the studio with the mindset of making
some good music. A lot of times it happens to be the stuff they want.
There's a market for it. You just have to learn how to market it to people
who might not like those songs and open them up to it. I think the consumers
right now want something brand new from the West Coast and want something
that's going to raise the skill level and is a representation of the new
era. We're in a whole new zone right now and that zone isn't really being
shown because there are a lot of older artists that are still in the spotlight.
It's hard for the new artists to show the hip-hop world what zone we're
in now. We're not in that same zone that the older artists who were repping
the West were in. We're in something totally different. You're going to
be surprised with how big the response is going to be. We're the evolution
of the old West and once we show the world what we've evolved to, the
world is going to love it. The world already loves it. New York, St. Louis
and Miami already love it. I'm anxious to show the world what the new
West looks like.
Boom Clap" was your single and then Jeezy dropped a very similar
song. Are things cool between you and Jeezy?
I met him
at a Russell Simmons party one time. I think that was a coincidence because
who thinks of "Boom Boom Clap"? For two people to have that
was a coincidence. It would have probably got a little more controversy
if we had pushed that on our end as a major release. Really, what I was
doing was trying to keep that street buzz right when I was tending to
some other business that was holding me up from putting the next project
out. I wanted to throw the streets a little banger real quick and do a
video for it. It did its job and the people in the streets loved it.
going on with you and Treacherous Records?
label but I'm not an artist there. We have a joint venture. We sit at
the roundtable together and I make all the decisions on my label, Dynasty.
Sometimes it's a little more complicated because I do everything myself.
I walk in the studio, do my thing and take it from there. I wear a lot
of hats. It's a beautiful thing. I tell a lot of young cats to get their
business mindset early. Make sure you get your business together early
and you might be able to get that imprint or that label venture deal and
boost your deal up. We are business partners and I have nothing but respect
for them. They weren't asking to sign me as an artist. They wanted to
be business partners.
your next move?
corners in the GT trying to find some new ways to make money in this rap
game. I'm putting my money on the Horseshoe Gang. Battling is still a
sport to us. We write songs but we'll still engage in some combat on the
street in a cipher because that's a hobby for us. We are songwriters by
nature because we want to show what's going on where we're at, but we
battle as a hobby and my Horseshoe Gang is ready to lay anybody down.
I got the 0-1 Squad. It's a Blood and a Crip together in the same group.
I'm also working on Dynasty Films. We already have Life After Death Row
and we're going to shoot a film. I have to bring the West into a direction
that I want to take it. I think a lot of people want to see it move in
that direction. It's been a minute since someone's said "Fuck Arnold
you want to say to everybody?
as a whole and keep supporting these artists. I appreciate it and we can't
keep giving the power to these suckers. If they don't come back to the
community and they're not giving out computers and football uniforms to
the kids or turkeys on Thanksgiving, then fuck them. You don't have to
pay for their records. Download those bitch niggas. They're turning their
backs on the hood and then they say they're hood on MTV but they have
all the police around them when they're shooting their video. You're protecting
yourself from your own people when you say you're hood. We have to really
start looking into these artists because that's what's going to make us
thrive and that's what's going to make our generation straight. We have
to show them a positive figure now because there's not a lot of positive
images now from pimps, dealers and thieves. Y'all motherfuckers better
get on your P's and Q's because when we hit the streets, we're going to
do it how it's supposed to be done and we're going to bring up the next
generation. Everybody, keep your hip-hop hat on. It's not about East,
West or South. It's one culture.