good. We're putting that final push on the mixtape. We're on the grind
all day out here. I couldn't feel better.
Custom Made come about?
We all went
to high school together. We were always seeing each other around either
battling, ciphering or anything else. We all knew each other just from
rapping. We decided we should link up on the crew thing. We had a respect
for each other's skills and each other as people. We just decided to do
it. I met Aneek through doing graffiti. I do a lot of writing. Aneek started
battling Element and Bluff. Since then we were like, This dude is nice.
You have to get down with us. He got down with the camp right away. That
was '02 and we haven't looked back since.
the most memorable battle you can remember?
some crazy shit. I remember back in high school when Element and Bluff
would battle every day. Element started battling on the first day he came
to our school. He was hungry from the first day. I've seen him rip heads
at all the underground spots out here. I've seen him do some crazy shit.
I wish I had it all on video just to show the world. When you're coming
off the dome sometimes you say stuff that you wouldn't be able to think
of because it's coming more naturally.
the chemistry of the group affected by the fact that you're all from different
parts of LA?
friends first and we all went to high school together. We're family first.
We all have different styles but all the styles all go together like a
puzzle. We've been running together forever. We don't do none of that
bullshit. We used to freestyle every day. That's all we used to do, every
day, all day long. That's how we got the chemistry we got together because
we were always rapping and battling together. By the time we got to the
age we're at now, our chemistry together is just crazy. We don't even
question each other. We all just go to the lab and drop our shit. I never
have to question anybody else's verses because I know they're going to
be hot. We have a mutual respect for each other. I know whatever Bluff
drops is going to be hot and vice versa. We're just on some MC shit. It's
all about the lyrics. If you're not saying shit in your lyrics, what are
you rapping for?
the challenges you faced putting out your first project, LA State of Mind?
I was 14
or 15 years-old. Element was the same age. It took us a year to do ten
tracks. That's a long time to do ten tracks but it was really our first
time getting in the lab and recording. We were in the streets running
wild. Dudes were getting locked up and catching court cases. I was getting
locked up, Bluff was having legal problems
That's why it took so
long because we had to wait for dudes to get out of jail. There's no time
for that anymore. We're trying to make moves. Fuck the bullshit. When
you're a kid and you're younger, you have that "I don't give a fuck"
mind-state so you do get in trouble.
the project do for you?
right there opened up the doors for Custom Made. It gave people a respect
for us. It sounded so East Coast. People thought it was an East Coast
album. No one out here is making the music out here that we make. It's
just completely different. They're not used to the shit we're making out
here. People out here are like, Where y'all from? You're not from LA,
are you? It's just different. LA State of Mind just opened up some more
doors. It showed people you don't have to be banging on wax all the time.
You can still talk about other shit.
the best way to get your music heard in LA?
have a mixtape circuit out here. New York has it down out there. Out here,
everything is spread out. LA is so big. The area to cover is fucking humongous.
The way we do it is we just get a shitload of copies pressed up and we
just hit the streets hard. We go everywhere in LA from the beach to the
valley. We just hit the streets and we hit as many people as we can. We
hit all the little mom and pop stores. We hit everywhere. We're trying
to hit every city. There are so many cities out here. We have to keep
bombing it over and over and over again until they get sick of is. You
might see us on the bus hustling our CD's. You have to do that. There's
a real gangbanging culture out here and you have to get out in the streets
for people to respect you.
the new project Sidewalk Mindtalk dropping, which features the best of
the mixtapes. How did you put that together?
approached us about doing the project. It was some real spur of the moment
shit. They approached me about it and we decided to do it. We basically
took a lot of the tracks that people were feeling. We put it all together.
I'm not trying to brag about it, but the shit is hot. Lyrically and production-wise,
this shit is crazy as fuck. We threw the DVD on there too so you get two
discs. It couldn't be better. You're really getting some real, hardcore
hip-hop and it's coming from LA so you're getting a whole new perception
on LA hip-hop with Sidewalk Mindtalk. This is on some real MC shit.
seems to be doing real well for you. How important is that song to Custom
right there, the dude who made it, KBeatz, is from Australia. We work
with producers from all over the world. If you have hot beats, we'll fuck
with you. This dude is from Australia and he sent us some fire. I didn't
even know they were making shit out there. We did the track and it was
some spur of the moment shit. "Dawn" is the type of music we
like making. We're really into that grimy shit and that hardcore hip-hop.
LA is known for g-funk and all that but we're into that grimy, dirty shit.
We like that real dark music. We heard that beat and we just had to use
it. That's our favorite type of hip-hop. That track just had to be done.
It wouldn't be right if we didn't do it.
do you guys work together?
we get some beats. We might be sitting around freestyling. One of us might
get a concept and we'll talk about it. Someone might spit me a 16 and
then I'll write my verse. We'll go to the lab and lay it down. Sometimes
we'll just all write to the same beat and go to the lab and lay it down.
We don't need to run our verses back and forth. If somebody fucks up,
we'll let them know. That's constructive criticism. We keep everything
natural. That's how hip-hop is supposed to be. We're not trying to go
gold, platinum or diamond or get a million radio spins. If people don't
like it, fuck it. I don't give a fuck. If you do like it, good looking.
I guess it's for you. This is for the streets, the real hip-hop heads
and us. We just go in and make the music we like to make. That's why it
sounds so natural and why people respect it. They appreciate the time
we put in and we're doing it for the artform. We really respect the culture.
you're not trying to be like Wu, but a big group with high energy is bound
to draw Wu-Tang comparisons.
trying to be like the Wu, we're not trying to be like the Mobb. The comparisons
come up and they're an honor to us. To even be mentioned in the same sentence
as those dudes is crazy. We grew up listening to those dudes. They paved
the way for us. There's never going to be another Wu. There's never going
to be another Mobb Deep. We're Custom Made. We got the utmost respect
for Wu-Tang and Mobb Deep. They turned out classic after classic. Just
being mentioned with them is an honor. That's real shit.
you feel when fans tell you that you don't sound like LA hip-hop?
bother us at all. We grew up on all the East Coast shit. We listened to
Nas, AZ, Mobb Deep, Wu-Tang, Big L and Cormega. We were listening to all
the classic East Coast spitters like Kool G. Rap. That's what our style
is basically fueled by. That's what motivated us to rap. We don't judge
skills by how many units you're selling. We judge skills off of lyrical
content. We're MC's when it comes down to it. We're not rappers and we're
not entertainers. We're MC's. We're showing you a different perspective.
A lot of dues aren't doing that out here.
dissed the Game a couple years ago. What was that about?
We just didn't
like the way Game was saying how he was going to "bring the West
Coast back." We didn't like how he was talking all that shit and
we felt he was a bad representation of us. This dude is fabricated. We
knew a lot of the shit he was talking about wasn't true. Aneek was the
first dude to call him out for being on Change of Heart and saying that
Game was lying about his age. All the shit the people are talking about
Game today, we were the first to say that shit. We felt like Interscope
was using that dude as a puppet. There's a lot of shit I don't even want
to get into just because. There's a lot of shit that dude fabricated.
Don't come out saying you're representing the West Coast when half of
the shit you're talking about isn't true.
Custom Made album coming soon?
actually working on that right now. It's called Fresh Out. That's Six's
concept. Six is locked up. He's doing a county bid right now. We really
need him to be a part of this project. By the time this album is done,
he's really going to be Fresh Out, so I guess it's going to be perfect.
It's really about being fresh out. It's kind of like a West Coast Only
Built 4 Cuban Linx. It's a concept album like Prince Paul's Prince Amongst
Thieves. It's going to be like a movie on wax. It's going to be a concept
album and it's going to give people a good idea of what's going on in
Los Angeles. Whether you're fresh out of jail, fresh out of school, whatever,
you're going to like this album. Custom Made is here now.
the next move for you?
Mindtalk drops September 19. That's the next move for us. We're pushing
that. We're trying to get overseas because they love underground hip-hop
overseas. It wouldn't be right if we didn't go over there. We're doing
that and we're working on the Fresh Out project. Paradox is our extended
fam and he's working on his album Blessed by the Gods. We got the mixtape
shit that we're working on too. Within the next year we're going to be
dropping a lot of shit. We're on the grind. It's all going to be quality
too. We don't drop no bullshit. We're about to drop some real shit on
you want to say to everybody?
our MySpace. Check out our videos and check out our music. I just want
to say thanks to everybody who's showed their love and support. Without
y'all this shit wouldn't be possible. We're doing this shit for all the
real hip-hop heads and for hip-hop in general. We want to make money,
of course, but there's love involved in the music we make. We're putting
our blood, sweat and tears into this. Hit us up.