In a shocking revelation,
some of dr. dre’s closest
associates have broken ties
with aftermath records
and are ready to expose
some of the label’s secrets.
Big chuck, mel-man, neff-u and
the legendary eric b. have launched the drama family
and they’re ready to get
the credit they deserve.
t’s time for me to do what I got to do for myself,” states Big Chuck.
As Aftermath’s senior director of A&R, Chuck spent seven years helping
build the label into the money-making machine it is today. Chuck says he convinced
Dr. Dre to sign Eminem, and even arranged for Jay-Z’s contribution to
“Still D.R.E.” But with Dre living up 2001’s “Big Egos”
a little too often, creative differences soon arose. Big Chuck has now left
Aftermath, aligned himself with noted Dre collaborators Mel-Man and Neff-U,
and is looking to secure a label deal for his stable of artists, the Drama Family.
Also helping out is the legendary Eric B., who is scouting potential talent
as a VP for the Drama Family. In this exclusive, Big Chuck and Neff-U catch
up with The Source to offer a glimpse into the inner workings of one of hip-hop’s
most successful boutique labels. This is the interview Aftermath does not want
you to read.
The Source: When
were your final days at Aftermath Records?
Big Chuck: I left on July 21 because of creative differences between Dr. Dre
and myself. I stayed loyal to the dude but I knew no matter how long I stayed
I wouldn’t shine like the real diamond I am. I’m a boss, period.
I’m not comfortable sitting there stroking niggas. I ain’t a dick-sucker.
Dre wants people to praise him all day like his name is in the Bible, and I
can’t do that.
When did you first meet Dr. Dre?
I met Dre in the ’80s. I was with [Big Daddy] Kane and he was with N.W.A.
It was in Detroit. I came in when the first Aftermath album jumped off and everybody
counted him out. I was the Krazy Glue in the situation.
It had to take more than a personal beef for you to leave after seven years.
Have you guys spoken since then?
Big Chuck: I haven’t spoken to him. I called him and he said he would
call me back and he never did. He had the general manager, who is a dear friend
of mine, call me and say he thinks we should part ways. He wasn’t man
enough to holla at me. He [told] the GM that I ain’t brought him something
hot in three years. This is what he told her. How the fuck is he going to say
that when I recently brought him Neff-U? I hooked him up with the Training Day
script. Me and him listened to the Eminem jump-off in his house and I told him
he had to sign him. Even the new single, [the “P.I.M.P. (Remix)], with
50 and Snoop—I told them that this joint is a smash. He fought me for
it and we kept it. Now look at it—it’s a smash. My ears are my talent....
A lot of shit is being done over there where muthafuckas are being mistreated.
People aren’t getting credit for records they’re doing. It’s
like, “Take this money and be cool.” That happened to Neff-U a couple
of times. Mel-Man might have gotten the [co-producer credit on Dr. Dre’s
2001], but he didn’t get that paper.
Neff-U, you’ve been working with Dre for about two years. What records
have you done?
Neff-U: I did the beat on the Coors Light commercial featuring Dr. Dre. On The
Eminem Show I did “My Dad’s Gone Crazy,” “Say What You
Say,” and “When the Music Stops.” On 50 Cent’s album,
I did “Back Down,” “If I Can’t” and I played on
The songs you just mentioned on Get Rich or Die Tryin’ were all credited
as being produced by Dr. Dre. How did that happen?
Neff-U: I have no idea. I thought I would get co-producer credit [on “If
I Can’t”] but I didn’t, so I told my uncle, [Big Chuck], and
he handled it. They are fixing that as we speak. They screwed up the credits
really bad, but Dr. Dre is Dr. Dre. I don’t try to focus on the business;
I just love staying in the studio and doing the music part. Sometimes the business
gives me a headache. I can’t get into the creative vibe so I let my uncle
handle that stuff.
Big Chuck: As a producer, [Dre] is aiight, but as a person he’s a piece
of shit. One minute you good with the muthafucka and then he treating you funny-style.
But a lot of people believe Dre’s got the chemistry. I was very surprised
when Eve came back. Eve was being her own individual outside of the studio when
they dropped her [in 1998]. I thought it was crazy when he got rid of her because
she was doing what she wanted to do.
There is a lot of talent on that label; you would think they would release more
Big Chuck: Well, you got one person who wants to be a superstar. He’ll
sign these artists and keep them on the label for a year or two. I guess it’s
a tax write-off. It’s pretty sad that most of the artists that get signed
to Aftermath sit until they lose their adrenaline. They go in the studio and
record then [Dre] gasses them up and drops them.
That sounds like a harsh fate; too bad it happened to one of the greats. Everyone
was waiting for Oh My God. What happened with Rakim? Did he get dropped? Was
the music coming out of the sessions really sub-par?
Big Chuck: I think Rakim got tired with that bullshit; he left. The god isn’t
going to sit around and be mistreated. You got to look at Rakim as a guy who
changed hip-hop entirely. How do you sign him and then stick him in the studio
with a whole bunch of C-list producers? That’s disrespectful. Dre would
throw him one track and not even sit in with him.
Neff-U: It was a shock to me because [the music] was cool. Rakim was Rakim,
the Living Legend; the music was good.
Big Chuck: If Dre did the beats and Ra did the rhyme, then what is the problem?
These can’t all be Dr. Dre’s decisions.
Big Chuck: The investors have too much say in the artistic part of the game.
These 75-year-old men are telling us how to sound, and they don’t understand
the type of music we’re doing. You got these muthafuckas A&Ring a
record and that’s bullshit. Damn the interests of the 75-year-old investors
of the company. Damn that because it all falls back on the artist. And a lot
of artists are scared to do what they want because they know if you don’t
do it their way, sooner or later they will sabotage your career.
You’re going to have to deal with those same 75 year olds trying to get
your Drama Family label off the ground.
Big Chuck: I’m trying to get creative control and a fair situation. A
couple of real check-writers are hollering at me right now but I don’t
want to say whom because I want it set in stone. These labels have been calling
me and they’ve seen what I did.
What will be the first album released by the Drama Family and when will it drop?
Big Chuck: We’re working on a secret weapon and we’re going to shock
the world with [this album]. The secret missile involves the whole label, and
outside artists like Jay-Z and Missy will rock with me. It should be out at
the top of the New Year.
As of now, what artists are associated with the Drama Family?
Big Chuck: I got Punch, who wrote Dre’s verses on “What’s
the Difference?” and “Big Egos.” Some other artists are Blood
Thirsty, Huggy, Goon, Dollar Roc and Stat Quo. Stat Quo’s been writing
joints for Dre’s Detox album. Each person we bring along will be able
to stand by himself and be superstars. I’m also bringing Freddie Foxxx
and Jayo Felony to the label. And Hillstorian [Mel-Man] is going to be a key
player in the production. He also has a good ear for talent.
Are you going to try to reach out to other Aftermath associates?
Big Chuck: I went up there [Aftermath Records offices] to get thousands and
thousands of demos that get thrown in the garbage. You know how many thousands
of demos are sent in and not even listened to in that office? I’ll reach
out to all of them. We are going to embrace everyone who is trying to do the
Neff-U: We are trying to bring originality back into the game, start new trends
and give people a chance to have an equal opportunity.
Big Chuck: We’re just going to find raw talent, and let the streets be
the judge of the music.
to be a superstar. he’ll sign artists and keep them for a year or two.
i guess it’s a tax write-off.” —Big chuck
“How do you
sign rakim and put him in the studio with c-list producers? that’s disrespectful.”