Interview with Scoobs
Your last official project, Sidewalk Mindtalk, was a mixtape so it must be nice to finally drop the official album with independent distribution.
Yeah, it is. This album is the first project to drop since our last album in 2003. We did a whole lot of mixtapes in between. We basically got in the studio with the whole squad. That’s why we called it Original Dynasty. We kept it all family. That’s why we didn’t have any guest appearances. We just wanted to showcase our skills and show people what we could bring to the table. We just got in the lab and we were taking all our life experiences over the past two, three years, since we last dropped Sidewalk Mindtalk in 2006. This is basically taking everything that happened since then. Six got a two year bid. Element had a daughter. Paradox, he ended up murdering three kids that ran up in his house. He got acquitted for self-defense. The rest of us have been catching cases and we’ve been trying to get established and do hip-hop shit at the same time. It was basically taking all of these life experiences and basically going in the studio and putting it on wax and making an album.
How was it different recording Original Dynasty without Six?
Well, it was different because we were missing an element, but Custom Made is like a basketball team. That’s what I like to tell people. Without Six, it allowed other cats to step up and basically get a little bit more playing time. Of course we didn’t have Six on the album so that was the missing link and the missing element. But he gets out in two weeks. Once he gets out he’s back with us. It allowed everyone else to step up and showcase his skills. We wish we would have had Six on the album because he’s one of the founding members of the group. We wish he would have been here for The Original Dynasty, but we’re actually working on an album called Fresh Out. That’s the reason we did Original Dynasty. Fresh Out was Six’s concept and we were actually going to do that LP and that was going to be our first LP on Babygrande, but since his incarceration, we decided to do Original Dynasty instead so we could do Fresh Out when he returns.
What does the title “Original Dynasty” mean Custom Made?
Basically we’re the original dynasty. This is the original dynasty of Custom Made. This is what we started. This is our history. We didn’t have any guest appearances. We kept it all fam. Everybody that’s on the album has been down with Custom Made since day one. All of the producers on the album are all from our production squad. It was basically in-house, the entire project. That’s basically what the concept of the entire album was. We’ve been doing this since 2002 and a lot of cats aren’t giving us the respect we deserve. A lot of cats are sleeping on the whole Custom Made movement. This is the original dynasty. This is us. We’ve been here for years. You might not like it and it might not be your type of music, but you have to respect it because you can’t deny the talent all across the board from the MCs to the producers. You don’t have to like it but you have to respect it for what it is.
Are you getting the response you want in L.A. for Custom Made?
Out here in L.A., we get a lot of love out here in L.A. I mean, we get a lot of love. The thing about Custom Made is that we work with everybody out here. The L.A. hip-hop scene is real open right now and it’s real divided. You have your Project Blowed and your backpack rappers and then you have your gangsta rappers. Custom Made is kind of in-between. We can walk both lines. The thing about Custom Made is that we get love across the board. We fuck with the hardcore gangsta rappers and then you might see us up in the ciphers and up in the battles, which are real MCs. Custom Made, out here, they show us love all across the board just for the fact that we show love back. We show love and respect to everybody. If you show love and respect, you’re going to get it back.
And the thing about L.A. is that a lot of people are scared of L.A. A lot of these labels, they don’t really know what to do with the L.A. market. The L.A. hip-hop scene is here and a lot of people act like they have to bring it back. It never went anywhere! It never left! L.A. never left! The scene is real divided and I think one of the reasons it’s so divided is from the gangbanging lifestyle and everything being so territorial. It carries into the music and I guess you can’t expect everybody to be unified because everybody’s not going to fuck with everybody’s shit. But L.A., everybody thinks that it’s all gangbanging and that nobody likes each other out here. For the most part, the artists show each other love.
You also have your cats that are signed to the major labels but they’re not really getting that push now like G. Malone, Jay Rock and Problem. They’re probably next up in the mainstream and then you have your underground artists. But at the end of the day, it’s hip-hop. As long as you have good music coming out of L.A., that’s all that matters. L.A. is the face of the West Coast. With that being said, we just need good music coming out of L.A. and to show cats what we represent and how we hold it down out here.
You guys were recently chosen as part of the Rawkus 50. How did that help Custom Made?
It just helped us get more exposure and it helped us get more fans because a lot of people liked that project, the Truth Be Told project. Those were some of the original tracks that were supposed to be on Fresh Out, but we had to change things up with Six being incarcerated. So we ended up throwing it on that project. It did help to open up some doors and it got the word out more. I can’t complain about working on a project with Rawkus. Overall it was a good look. There’s definitely nothing negative about it. It was really just for the fans. That’s what it was for. It was for everybody that was supporting. It was for the fans to have something fresh to hear until Original Dynasty came out.
We try to keep it consistent. That’s the thing about us. There’s so much bullshit and the game is so watered down. We try to keep it consistent and bring the people projects. All of our projects are solid. That’s really what this project was for. It was something for the fans to enjoy until this full-length album came.
The bio Babygrande sends out compares you as a mix of Mobb Deep, Wu-Tang and N.W.A. Are those comparisons fair to Custom Made?
I’m starting to get tired of these comparisons because it kind of is putting us in a box. I’m tired of hearing the Mobb Deep and Wu-Tang comparison. I don’t even see how you can compare us to N.W.A. because we don’t even make music like them. I can see the comparisons a little bit because of the beats or the large group, but that’s the problem with hip-hop. Everybody’s always trying to compare something and you have to look at it for what it is.
We’re Custom Made. That’s why we’re called Custom Made. We do our own thing and we have our own style. I guess one of the things is they don’t know what to call us out here because we don’t make the typical music that you hear out here. Out here in L.A., our music stands out the most because we don’t sound like anybody. We’re respected in L.A. for our music. People are just looking and scrambling to find something to compare us to but it’s Custom Made. Just because we’re relatively new artists, that’s basically probably why. But fuck the comparisons. We got mad respect for N.W.A. and Mobb Deep and Wu-Tang. Those were all groups that we listened to and were influenced by, but that the end of the day it’s Custom Made.
What are your goals for Original Dynasty?
Basically just to cement the legacy and keep it moving and let cats know that this bullshit hip-hop…That not everybody is on the bullshit out here. Not everybody is on the bullshit. Right now I’m tired of hip-hop. Fuck hip-hop. I’m going to start a new campaign. Fuck hip-hop. It’s not hip-hop is dead. It’s fuck hip-hop. Most of these artists are so wack. It frustrates me and it frustrates the rest of the group that there’s so much bullshit music coming out. That’s what Custom Made and Original Dynasty is here for – to keep contributing quality music to the hip-hop scene.
If we were doing this for the money or whatever, we would have given up a long time ago. It’s about doing it for your artform and about doing it for the culture. We truly love doing hip-hop and we do it for that reason. And we’re here to keep the legacy going. Cats like Ras Kass and Kurupt and Crooked I and Cali Agents, they paved the way for us to come out of L.A. and we have to keep the movement and the legacy going. We can’t let it die out. That’s basically what Original Dynasty is here for. You can be an MC from Los Angeles and you don’t have to be gangbanging or on bullshit all the time. You can be an MC and you can keep it real and you can still succeed in the hip-hop industry.
What’s the next move for Custom Made?
The next move for Custom Made is Six getting out of prison. He’s getting out of prison on June 16. We got another project coming out called The Lost Weekend. We’re wrapping that up and we’re actually going to start working on the Fresh Out album. We’re going to get into some touring. We’ve been doing a lot of shows throughout the West Coast. Hopefully by the end of the year we can hit the East Coast too. We’re filming to do Custom Made TV with Kyte. We’re filming a DVD. We’re always doing something. We always stay real busy. That’s basically what it is. We’re just staying real busy and staying consistent because this hip-hop shit never stops. Right now it’s Original Dynasty but in the next months it’s going to be Fresh Out.
The only thing I also want to say is the industry is real crooked-kind of right now. The internet watered this shit down just the fact that everybody out there thinks they can be an MC now. Hopefully with all this new technology coming out right now it can help the game in more ways than hurt it.
The only other thing I want to say is a comment on Ransom dropping a Street Cinema project on Babygrande. We thought that shit was wack. I just want to put it out there. No disrespect because I don’t even know the dude like that. He might say that he doesn’t know Custom Made but you dropped an album on Babygrande, which is the same label, and the name of the album is called Street Cinema. That’s the shit that we do. We put out the Street Cinema series. For you to do that, that’s wack. It has nothing to do with the music. It has to do with the fact that you bit our shit and that’s wack. And to be real with it, that Street Cinema name came from Sporty Theivez and it’s been used before. We came in and we flipped it on the mixtape shit and the movie shit. All of our mixtapes are named after classic movies, so we took it to a whole ‘nother level. So for him to come out with that on the same label, that was wack. Fuck that. But other than that, it’s all good. It’s all hip-hop and it’s Custom Made.
Would you want to talk to Ransom about Street Cinema?
I mean, I don’t really care. We just wanted to put that out there because it felt like it was on some biting shit. Cats felt like it was some biter-type shit. Cats really felt like he was biting our shit. I know dude might say that he’s never heard of Custom Made or that he doesn’t follow us or that he doesn’t follow our shit like that and that he’s not even tripping on it so it doesn’t matter, but if you’re in this hip-hop shit, you have to follow everybody that’s coming out. That’s what I do. Custom Made is known for the Street Cinema series. No disrespect to the music he makes or him. We’re not trying to call him out for being the wackest rapper or shit like that. But we felt that him taking our name and running with it was wack. It was our concept. But it is what it is. Much respect to everybody. Hopefully the project did what he wanted it to do.