Will we really see the long awaited Beach Cruiser album this year?
Yeah. Hell yeah.
How overdue is the album at this point?
It’s sickening. Oh, man, it’s sickening. It’s sickening how long ago that album should have came out, man. It’s disgusting. You should have been had my first album but I got a lot of albums coming out after this one. I’m gonna get my Plies on. That’s the new slang. I’m finna get my Plies on, dog.
What’s been the most frustrating part about not getting the album out when you wanted to?
You know what? Actually, I can’t blame anyone. It ain’t like nobody ain’t put it out. I haven't been frustrated at all with getting the album out. The problem has been…really, man, nothing. It’s just been timing. Universal and Cash Money had a huge year with Wayne. It was hard to really maneuver. He was the biggest person in the music business. Wayne is the biggest artist in the world. You’re trying to come out under that shadow and that’s real hard. Dude is 5’7” but in the music business he’s 8’9”. I had to let him take over the game and have his time and when it’s time for me to come off the bench I’ll be right there.
Do you think your fans understand your struggles or have they moved on to other artists at this point?
I think fans always understand. If you’ve got real fans and if your fans are legitimate, then they understand. I always kept my promise to them that they’d always have my music whether it was on Beach Cruiser or not. I released Fuck Glasses Malone and that didn’t get the attention it deserved. All my fans got my music and I gave them enough music to last them for the whole year, if not forever because that’s a whole ‘nother piece next to the album.
Why didn’t Fuck Glasses Malone go as far as you wanted it to?
I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s a combination of me…My big thing is that I’m a street rapper. My stuff is really huge in the streets and it’s not huge on the internet. I think that’s just time. It’s nothing to worry about. It just takes time for people to realize what I do. They’ll go back to my catalogue and realize that I’ve been sick. The streets already know. The streets of Miami and the streets of Atlanta already know. The streets of New York and the streets of L.A., they already know.
How much longer do you feel you’ll be slept on for?
Oh, man, I don’t know. I’m fine with it. I’m big where it’s important to me and with the people that matter to me. It ain’t about that. I really do it for music and I really do it for the art so appreciation really ain’t needed. I just wish that more people could see the art. It’s just a matter of time. It’s just time, man. Hard time.
How has the Beach Cruiser album changed from when you first started working on it four years ago?
It’s pretty much the same thing. It’s the same story, I just got the story perfected. It didn’t really take any big changes, just small, minor changes with songs. The story’s still the story.
What story are you telling on the album?
The album is kind of based off of a real story but it’s still my imagination at the same time. The whole album is a story but I give you my imagination. I use my imagination to make it come fully to life. When people listen to it, hopefully they’ll see that I’m just like them and all the music I make relates to them. It’s not about me saying I’m richer than you. I’m just like y’all.
Your lead single “Certified” has been doing well for you so far. How did you put that record together?
That was the record that I was supposed to make. When I was coming up I had one of the most credible street albums and I felt like “Certified” was the record I was supposed to make. I was in Atlanta working with Toomp and Akon heard about what I was doing and Akon being the scholar and gentleman that he is, he always connected with the real thorough dudes. He said he wanted to get on something. He came right to the studio, which is in the ‘hood. That was just one of the songs. We got a lot of good stuff.
And that song, that song will always be my defining song. When you talk about Glasses Malone “Certified” will probably always be next to it. It’s great to have that next to your name because it’s legit. It’s like that song that defines my career. I think “Certified” defines where I was at in the streets at that time as well as my career.
The “Certified” remix featured Kam. How important was it for you to get a respected West Coast vet like Kam on the song?
Kam is from Watts and I’m from Watts. He laid down the foundation for my career. That’s just paying homage. That’s what real niggas do. Real niggas do that shit, man. I just wanted to keep it thorough, man. There’s a lot of people I could have put in that spot.
Kam is like my Bun-B. He’s been putting shit out forever and that’s how Kam is to me. Bun and all of them know that he’s ill and whatever I’m doing, you can bet your bottom dollar that Kam is going to be heard with me. Kam is going to be there. He’s been there for my whole career and he did a lot for the West Coast. A lot of niggas blocked his shine but he’s been there. Look at the dudes that are starting to blaze up out here and Kam was here before all of them. You can bet your bottom dollar that you’re going to hear Kam with me.
Are the West Coast vets receiving their just due today?
If you go anywhere where Kam records are sold at, Kam still goes out there and gets money because people still respect his craft. When you look at it like that, yeah, he gets his just due. But I feel like he never got that commercial chance where the world could say if they liked or disliked him. So if Glasses Malone can get him into the masses’ eyes to decide if they like or dislike him, then that’s what it’s going to take. He still does his shows and all that. He gets his just due in a lot of ways, I just want him to get that opportunity in the mainstream that a lot of his counterparts got.
Is there unity on the West Coast right now?
As crazy as it sounds and I know there’s the whole “New O.G. West” shit, there’s unity. We all see each other and fuck around but on wax it’s a lyrical competition. Pretty much, yeah. Snoop has done things for me. Cube has said my name in a positive light and of course W.C. has said positive things about me. Like every other coast, we could be a lot better. If you look at some of the biggest people anywhere, it could get better.
Do fans ever make too much of so-called beefs with rappers?
A lot of times. They’re supposed to. It’s not really beefing. If I’m fighting the person I’m fighting them. It’s all good, man. Game, right now, is the man out in this bitch and I’m doing my thing in the streets and everybody else knows what it is with the street corners. I get mine and that’s no disrespect to him, Snoop or anyone else. He’s the king of the business. I’m the king of the streets out in this motherfucker. I do it for the streets. The fans are thinking I have a problem with Game. Game is filthy rich. We don’t even see each other. I’m always in the streets. It’s a totally different thing but fans forget that. That’s typical.
Are you happy at Cash Money so far?
Oh yeah. 100%, man. 100%. Everybody can complain about some label and you can always find a reason to complain but how can it not be the No. 1 rap label right now? They had the No. 1 artist in the world in 1998 with Juvenile and now they have the No. 1 rap artist with Lil’ Wayne. If you think Slim and Bird don’t know what they’re doing, look again. They’re legit. Look at what they’ve done for my career. I think “Certified” surprised everybody and they didn’t expect it to do as well as it did. And Mack 10 is one of those executives that go under the radar but he knew. That team is crazy and with Wayne I can pretty much go to Wayne for any type of advice in music or business. Honestly, he’s the fastest one to respond. Having the No. 1 record label in the game and the No. 1 executive on the West Coast and having a team to take your questions to, that’s a blessing.
What’s it like working with Wayne on music?
We got a lot of shit. Wayne is amazing, man. He actually inspires you to be better. Dude is the dude. I wasn’t his biggest fan prior to understanding his work ethic. I see where he’s going now. I didn’t pay no attention at first. I’m a serious Scarface, Cube and Jay-Z fan but when you look at Wayne and you see what he’s done and what he do, this nigga is that nigga. He’s kind of unfuckwithable and you can just tell with him, man. His drive is crazy.
I remember shooting the video for “Haters” and I was a little nervous and sick because it was cold and shit. He asked me if I was straight and I told him I was sick. He told me his mom would cook me some food. That was crazy. He’s just that type of nigga where he’s that real and that cool where he would have his mom cook a nigga some food because a nigga is sick.
When I thanked him for getting on the track, he told me he loved the shit and you could really see the fire in his eyes. For a nigga to be a 10 year veteran, that’s what people don’t understand, he’s still got the fire like he’s never put out an album. People don’t have fires like that, man. He’s a cold motherfucker. That’s just a blessing to be around that type of shit. It makes you be like, ‘Shit, hold up, let me get on the court.’
White Lightening was your first mixtape that really got everything started for you. How do you look back on that project today?
That’s my baby. That’s the one I really took my time on and made me realize I could do this. People will hear Fuck Glasses Malone and my freestyles but White Lightning is what got me big. When somebody hears that they can really get an idea of where I can go with music and every project I’m going to show how brilliant I am and how brilliant my whole team is. It’s going to be a motherfucking problem. I can guarantee that.
What’s going on with your label Blu Division today?
Well, honestly, man, I’m just making sure they can see everything I’m going through. I’m not acting like I’m bigger than them. I let them make choices and choose a lot of things in their careers. I let everybody know the reality of what they’re dealing with. And plus if I can do a feature for them and get them free beats for their album, shit, I’ll do it. I use my name as much as I can and to the rest of the world I might be a new up-and-coming artist, but in L.A., I’m that nigga and in the Bay Area as a whole. I’m the nigga here. I’m exposing them to shit that I learned so that they don’t have to bump their heads even though they still do.
Getting back to the album, who did you work with on Beach Cruiser?
I got T-Pain, Rick Ross, Birdman, Fiasco…Most people don’t know that they were trying to offer me a deal early in my career. I got Tyrese and Kam from Watts. I got a few people, man. I got a really nice record. I definitely put it together and took my time. I got a lot of stuff and every song I’m talking about something.
Who have been your favorite producers to work with so far?
Toomp, man. I love Toomp and I love Tha Bizness. We always make records. We always make magic. LB Fitted has done a lot too. He produced “#1” on Fuck Glasses Malone and we’ve done a lot. “Kickin’ Off” pisses a lot of people off. Tha Bizness, I’m really feeling Tha Bizness and Toomp.
Your album is finally coming out in March. What do you need to do to make it a success?
“’Til the Sun Come Up” is my next single. I’m looking to put out some more singles. They don’t do nothing but put your name on the television and the radio. I’m just letting people know what I’m about and what I’ve been going through. I’m also working on my DVD titled March 10. That’s when the album is coming out and this is the build up to March 10.
There’s also Strictly Business, a DVD with Huey and Maino coming too. Filming that one was fun. That was fun. They’re street niggas like me and we have fun making music. Recording “24/7,” that shit was fun. I had a good time. I was smiling until the camera came on, then it was all business. But I had a good time doing that, man. Hopefully that’s the first song of many. Hopefully we can make classic songs like that all of the time. Hopefully when people listen to that song they can realize the hunger in motherfuckers’ faces. Niggas are not playing.
Do you have any sales goals for the album?
The album’s coming out, man. The public can purchase it. Any numbers I do is a success. The public can purchase it. Getting it out is the goal. And when’s the last time besides the Game that a new L.A. artist had anything on the shelves?