I' m feeling good, sir.
Your album, The Most Underrated, is finally out. How do you feel?
It feels good. There were a lot of mishaps and setbacks. It's finally out and I'm happy about that. We'll see what happens.
Your album leaked very early. What were your thoughts on that?
I thought it was fucked up that it leaked. I'm not a major artist per se, but it just showed me that it's an open field for everybody. What these kids don't think about, and I don't want to sound like I'm complaining, but they don't think about the money being lost. One link had over 800 downloads. If you counted $10/album, we just lost over $8000. That's off of one link alone. Kids that are downloading don't really think about all that. The math on that is incredible.
Because of the leak, you redid a lot of the songs on the album. How did you approach remixing the album?
I didn't have a problem with it. I have talented producers around me. My man Daneja redid the Joell Ortiz song for me and Eric Vanderslice did the Termanology song “Cold World.” Termanology actually reached out to me when the album leaked and offered to do something new. That was dope. I owe cats big time. Slug from Atmosphere also stepped up and told me if I needed anything to hit him. It turned out to be a good thing, in a way. But redoing it was frustrating because I definitely wanted to give people the best product and they just didn't give it a chance because it got put out there prematurely.
Will you be taking any legal action against the people who leaked The Most Underrated?
I don't know what the legal side of the label is going to do. It's easy to point a finger because certain people are telling me where they found it. The legal side of Latchkey started hitting up the links and immediately they were taken down.
Did you get everything you wanted for The Most Underrated?
No. I actually wanted a different Kool G. Rap song, but he's working on his new album and I couldn't get what I wanted. There's actually a Poison Pen song that was getting done but again, everything went to press. We couldn't get it in on time. Me and Pen plan on putting it out in the future. That's my dude and I'm saying that because I know he's going to read it and I love him to death! (laughs)
You don't want an angry Poison Pen coming after you.
No, I don't. (laughs) I saw Poison Pen jump on stage and the stage fucking shook. It was fucking ridiculous. I read his journal and laugh and he probably doesn't think I do. I even read yours every time you got a new one.
Your journalism is very clever and enjoyable to read. That's real shit. Your shit is enjoyable and clever. I like reading things that make me laugh, not things that don't make any sense at the end. And Poison Pen is just adventurous. It's like a new adventure every time you read his journal. It's like The Adventures of Poison Pen. I invited him to my release party tonight. Let's see if he shows up.
Even though you didn't get everything you wanted, you must be happy with what you got.
Yeah, I am. For the record, the Heltah Skeltah song is no longer on the retail version. I'm fine with the album. But redoing that album, I had a big bottle of Tylenol because it was a headache.
What are your goals for The Most Underrated?
I would like to bring the album to a stage where we bring the artists out and I DJ the show. A lot of people don't know that I DJ. I still have a little skill, I guess. Cats like Ras Kass could come out on the road. That's what we're looking for for the next step. I'm just trying to let the new generation know that Domingo's around and I'm not going anywhere, whether they love me or hate me.
Scratch Magazine said your album is great if you're stuck in the '90's. What did you think of that statement?
You know what? It can go both ways. You either love or hate '90's hip-hop. Believe it or not, there's a '90's hip-hop crowd out there. Not everybody wants to hear what's on the radio. If I'm stuck in '97, so be it, dude. Come on, there are still cats like me and Primo putting it down like that and there are still people who are into it. I'm not disrespecting the sound of today, but if I'm stuck in the '90's, so be it.
Do you feel you're stuck in the '90's?
Nope. You could put my album next to an album like Ghostface's Fishscale. I'm not taking anything away from Ghost, but between his samples and my samples, where do you get it that I'm stuck in the '90's? I bought and listened to Ghost's album and he's got samples I can't really see the whole “stuck in the '90's” thing. I think it was either an intern or someone who's new to hip-hop who wrote that.
And for the record, all of the reviews that are coming in, they were reviewing the bootleg joints. They weren't even reviewing the new version. They really didn't hear what the album sounded like because everything leaked prematurely.
You have a very consistent, hardcore hip-hop sound. Do you have to work to get that every time or is that just how it comes out naturally?
Back in the '90's, a lot of cats in the industry told me I had the hardest drums in the industry. Like any other producer has their signature sound, I had mine. I was told my beats sound like something to commit suicide to. The streets are hard and it's about the gutter. It's not about playing proper. I bring the sound of Brooklyn, the streets, the gutter, the crackheads, the dopeheads and all the hardcore. It comes naturally to me because it's my mindstate when I sit down and create beats. I'm looking to create the illest possible sounds that I could find.
I want to be consistent with my sound. I wanted to give fans flavors of what producers I work with do. If you listen to my album, you'll hear some good hip-hop. I don't say it's “real hip-hop and not that fake shit.” It's New York City hip-hop. They need to get back on their grind and get their identity back.
Do you feel pressure to bring a certain sound out of New York?
I would like to be one of the people who contribute to bringing back that New York sound. I would definitely like to. Can we bring it back? Yeah. But it's going to take more than me, Joell Ortiz and some other people. Joell Ortiz is dope and I definitely believe 100% that he can bring it back to New York, but it's going to take more than that. It's going to take the DJ's and the radio stations. I know some things are controlled and some things aren't, but New York DJ's have to get behind that sound again. Back in the day, DJ's didn't even know what the South was about.
You've been going through a legal battle with KRS-One. What exactly happened?
I'm going to be real. What happened with Kris was unfortunate. Kris knows what happened and he can say what he wants. This lawsuit has been two years in the making. If nothing happened and I'm wrong, then why did I win a settlement with Koch and KRS? You don't win settlements by doing nothing or by just lying. It's unfortunate. I don't hate KRS and I don't hate his people. I hate what he did and for him to be saying what he's saying about me to people. I'm not doing the he say-she say. I know Kris personally and I know he can act like a victim. He knows what he did and he knows how he gets down. I would like to leave it at that. I had a blog up about it on my MySpace. If he wants to talk about it, he can talk to me. I doubt he will. He probably hates me, but it's okay. He wouldn't be hating me if he did the right thing. I was mad loyal to him.
Yeah. You would need a whole extra page for me to tell the whole story.
A lot of fans look at KRS like he can do no wrong. What do you think of that?
I know there's already people who question me, but I'm cool with that. I know KRS has his following and has his people who are like, “No, not my KRS.” Yes, your KRS. Let Kris' followers be Kris' followers. I don't knock people for liking KRS. What we had was personal issues and he knows what happened. The bottom line is he should have done me right and this would have never happened.
What do you think of the settlement?
Thank you, Alan Grunblatt for cutting the check on the settlement. Thank you, KRS for signing off on the settlement. I love you guys. Thank you. Because the money you took from me back then, now I got just due. Alan Grunblatt is the man. We settled. If KRS and Koch did something wrong, why would they pay me? To shut me up? Ask them why they settled. They didn't settle to shut Domingo up and because the stars aligned, the sky turned red and my hand came out the sky while the cow jumped over the moon and then KRS signed off on the paperwork and Alan Grunblatt cut the check.
And to any artist feeling they're getting fucked over by their label, go see my man Jeff Gandel aka “Royalty Recovery.” He's on my Top Friends list on MySpace. He'll sue the fuck out of anybody who owes you money. And Alan Grunblatt, I love you.
You've done some great work with Joell Ortiz. What potential does he have?
From all the music I've heard from Joell Ortiz, that cat is going to blow up something awful. I think he's that next cat. My money's on him. He's going to hold the torch for New York. I'm telling you. He's going to be the first Latin nigga that Dre signed to go platinum. Joell's got some shit. The Brick is incredible. Some of the Aftermath stuff, hell yeah! Joell Ortiz for President.
You've also put in a lot of work with Rugged Intellect. Why should we check for him?
He's a dope lyricist. Rugged Intellect's album is coming out May 8. The album is finished. We just did a distribution deal at Traffic for him. The album is hot. Rugged is on his grind right now doing shows. He did a video for “Next Dose” with Ras Kass. It's hot.
Are you still working with Ras Kass today?
Ras Kass is my West Coast brother from another mother. Ras Kass is dope. I love him like a brother. I love being around him. He's talented and heavily slept-on. We're working on something called "The Diary of John Austin". He's putting it down.
What's it like working with Kool G. Rap?
G. Rap is a legend, hands down. He's one of the greatest who ever did it. He's another one who's like a brother to me. He's the originator of gangster hip-hop, I don't care what anybody says. He's been putting it down for New York and G. Rap is a legend. He's still hanging with the best of them today. G's album is tight. I believe I have three songs on his new project which also has a song with Premier.
What do you look for in new artists that make you want to work with them?
Somebody who's not doing what everybody else is doing. And that's truly hard to find right now.
How has your production techniques changed over the years?
Everything has gone more digital and become more computer-oriented. I used to be one of those producers who would stay away from certain things, but I've grown with the times. Some people may say my sound is in the '90's, but I've grown with the technology and I use programs now. I heard some cats don't like programs, but I've gotten a lot out of what I use. The technology has definitely made it easier to make beats, which is bad and good at the same time. You still have the MP producers like Black Milk. There's a lot of MP producers out there. I still got my ASR10 but I barely use it now. I'm more technological and computer-oriented.
Do you feel you get the respect you deserve in the game today?
I don't have a problem with the respect. If you want to respect me, respect me. If not, oh well. Not everybody is going to like what I'm going to do. I'm not one of those people to cry about it. Am I the most underrated? I'm nicer than a lot of cats.
Are you still working on the new Big Pun album?
That's up in the air. I don't even know what's going on with it. There is an album. Sony has this problem of not wanting to take care of Pun's family and I think that's unfair. They're making millions of artists off a dead artist. Unfortunately, that's how these record companies do. They keep milking the 2Pac's and Biggie's and they know they'll make millions of dollars off it. Take care of the fam. I was told Sony's not doing the right thing.
What's your focus right now?
I want to try to push this album. I want to also help out producers trying to get on without managing them. Me producing records, I don't know what I'm doing as far as that anymore, but I'll be around.
What advice do you have for up-and-coming producers?
Go be a doctor. (laughs) Don't think that just because you got Reason yesterday and a new keyboard that you're a producer. It takes a lot to be a producer and a lot of time. It takes a lot of paying dues and a lot of stress. Don't think because you can play a clap that you're a producer. Go graduate college and become a doctor. That's your best bet.
What do you want to say to everybody?
Thanks for the support. Go buy The Most Underrated. Go download it. If you don't feel like doing either one, go get the bootleg. I'm pretty sure there's a link to it somewhere. Go listen to the new version and the old version and compare the difference. Write me a MySpace message or don't do nothing. (laughs) I really do appreciate all my fans reaching out to me on MySpace though.