I’ve been real good. I’ve been excellent, just working hard.
Getting Money, Getting Paid, you new mixtape, is now out. How do you feel about the way the project came out?
I’m loving it. It came out a week behind the day it was supposed to come out, but it really showed me that my fans are anticipating it. A lot of people were looking for it. When it finally did come out, it did really well in the first week.
What does this mixtape say about you as an artist?
I’m just happy I’ve been able to consistently put out more music and my buzz is really starting to make me feel like I’m appreciated for what I do. It’s good. It’s the biggest project I’ve released so far, but not the biggest project I plan on releasing. There are a few big surprises coming. It just makes me feel like I’m doing what I’ve supposed to be doing.
How has the response been to Getting Money, Getting Paid so far?
It’s been great. A lot of my fans have been hitting me up on MySpace or they stop me on the street or they hit me on my website. It’s been great. There have been a lot of debates on message boards about it. A lot of cats are calling it the best mixtape in 2006 from a West Coast artist. Some people aren’t familiar with my old music, so it’s like a new album to them. I’m loving it.
What response are you getting in your hometown of Fresno?
I’m the man out here, not to be arrogant or cocky. Nobody represents Fresno like me. Nobody loves them like me. Anytime I do anything, Fresno gets behind me. It’s not just Fresno, but all the surrounding cities in Fresno in the central valley get behind me. They get behind me 100%. Every time I put out an album, it’s like they put out an album because this is the soundtrack to their life. Everywhere I go, they’re knocking it.
You got a song called “Kevin Federline” where you’re dissing K-Fed and Jamie Kennedy.
I don’t really have anything against Kevin Federline personally. If you listen to the song, I’m telling the story of when I was a high school kid dreaming of being a rapper. Me and my mother would have a debate about it and I would be eating breakfast. I’m in a hurry to get out and I’m in class and I’m not paying attention to my schoolwork. I have rap dreams, but I’m also getting sucked into hustling. I’m telling the story of a kid who really wants to be a part of hip-hop.
It’s not really a diss track to Kevin Federline. I’m talking about how much I love this and then other people turn around and make a mockery of it. I’m speaking on behalf of those whose lifestyle made hip-hop, not those who made their lifestyle off of hip-hop. I don’t want to fuck Kevin Federline up when I see him, but he’s a dancer and he’s playing with this shit. I don’t personally know him, but we supported him when he was dancing. Then the first chance he gets, he goes and does a rap album. I never heard him mention Fresno until he tried to do the album. He could have put the money behind somebody who deserved it.
And Jamie Kennedy is a funny guy. But it’s not really funny to me to see you make some senior citizen lady say, “What’s cracking, yo?” Are you trying to be funny or do you really look at us like this hip-hop culture is just a joke?
That can be frustrating.
Yeah. It doesn’t drive me crazy, but it was just a thought on my mind and I said it. I don’t have anything personally against those dudes. I know people who know Kevin Federline. We’re from different walks of life. He’s from the good side of my city and I’m from the bad side. I wouldn’t do anything bad to him, but if he says, “I want to do an album,” you have to defend that because we feel you shouldn’t do one.
What was your inspiration for “Turnt Out”?
My life. Most of the songs on the Getting Money, Getting Paid mixtape are relating to my life in some way. I used to be a drug-dealing kid and then I went to trying to find my way and doing music. That song was talking about how I went from a good kid who was going to school everyday with a mother who tried to do everything she could to keep me from being like my older brother, who did seven years in a penitentiary. I got turned out. It was nothing on TV that made me do some of the things I talk about. It was my situation. The hook says, “I’m a product of my environment. Look how I turned out.” I’m a product of my environment.
How is it working with Needlz?
The dude is awesome. The thing is, I heard his music prior to meeting him. My guy Success sent me a few Needlz tracks and they were dope. Needlz liked my joints and he was real about it. He came through and played me more tracks instead of just sending me a beat. He’s a real humble, hard-working dude. He’s working with the artists some of us listen to, but he’s a real humble dude and he treated me well.
The last time I interviewed you, you said you were talking with GLC. Now you’re working with him.
That feels good. The thing about GLC is from the day I met that guy, he’s always been a real dude. He reminds me of the older guys from my neighborhood. He’s always asking me how I’m doing instead of how my mixtape is doing. He keeps it 100. If I see him in the club, it’s always open arms. Doing a song with him was easy and I want to do more songs with him. If there’s anything I can do in the future to help him, I’ll do it and I’m pretty sure he would do the same. He’s 100% real. His project, Haterville, is coming out real soon. He’s got a fire album. I can’t do nothing but support that guy right there.
How far have you come in the past year?
This past year, although I had a deal in the past with Def Jam and a few indie labels that didn’t jump off, has been the biggest year I’ve had. Last year was great. I went further than I’ve ever gone and I accomplished more. I was more recognized. The goods were better than ever but the bads were too. The things that went well made it much easier to deal with the bads. I was signing autographs everywhere I went and I’m appreciated. People are singing my songs now and I’m on the radio. Last year was great for me.
Are you working on an album?
It’s fire. I’m probably three albums deep right now. That’s how much material I got. The album is called Diego Redd – Rebel With a Cause. The album is hot. I got some fire. Hopefully Devin the Dude will be on the record. GLC, more than likely, will be on this record. The production is hot and the concepts for this are hot. I just wish I could play some of these records now. A lot of people are loving this new mixtape. If they love that, then they’ll love my album because my album is that times ten.
You talked about your Def Jam situation in our last interview. What are you looking for in your next deal?
I’m actually looking for a deal that would allow me to have total control in my projects. I don’t have a problem getting features and getting hot producers. We’re a self-sufficient company. We’re a self-contained unit. We don’t have a problem acquiring things that other labels need people for. We’re so into the game and our network is so strong that we have all that. Really, all I need is somebody who can distribute and market the album. We’re a self-sufficient company. I don’t need an A&R on my project because I have three close friends working with me. I’m just looking for a label that’s going to believe in me. I don’t need a company that’s going to try to tell me to do what somebody else is doing. I need people who are going to brand this rebel lifestyle. I’m looking for a label that has their money right and believes this kid is exactly what he says he is and is going to do exactly what he says he’s going to do.
What’s going on with your group Underworld Rebellion?
We’re working real hard. We’re actually going to start shooting a movie this month. It’s called The Life. A lot of people think it’s a documentary but it’s not. My friends and I wrote the script. The soundtrack to the movie is going to be our group album. My guy Skeam’s album is coming real, real soon also. He’s also in the group.
The Life used to be titled Diary of a Dealer but I changed it because I didn’t want to pigeonhole it. It’s called The Life because it goes over the whole picture of the street lifestyle where it gives the perspective of the dealers, the police, the mayor…We’re going to start working on that this month.
You’ve got a lot going on. What’s your focus going to be for the next couple of months?
I’m going to start on my new mixtape called To Whom It May Concern. That will be coming soon, whether it comes out before or after my next album depends on the label. I have a few offers from people looking at me. I have a lot of shows coming up soon too in Southern California and the Bay Area. I’m going to keep working. I’m trying to keep my buzz hot.
What do you want to say to everybody?
Stay focused and put God first. I am exactly who I say I am. I’ll be around for a minute and I’m an artist you should get to know. There’s more to me than just this rap shit. My music is rap but it’s actually something that you need to listen to. Get to know me. You can cop my music from numerous sites. You can hear me on DJ Warrior’s show on Sirius channel 40. Look for me. I’ll be around.