I’m good, homie.
You just dropped your latest mixtape, 2007 B.C. How’s it doing for you?
The response has been crazy. That’s good to see. It feels good to hear people bumping it in their rides.
How did you want to make this different from your last project, Cruzification?
We could press up more copies of this one. The B.C. stands for “Before Cruz.” This has a lot of what I’ve done in the last two years. We sprinkled it with some of my older joints and are working to prepare people for the summer when my debut album, Sign of the Cruz, will drop.
You talk about building your legacy on the intro to 2007 B.C. How’s it going so far?
That’s a loaded question. I have my own position and I have my own lane. I don’t think there is anyone that can stop me from doing what I have to do and from fulfilling my destiny. I just look at it like I’m doing my part to represent my people and my culture. You have a lot of cats that sound like a lot of other motherfuckers. To me, I’m just doing me and I feel like my voice needs to be heard. I feel proud to represent my side of town and my culture and my struggle. It feels good to be getting the love that I’m getting. God willing, when this album drops, I’m definitely going to solidify my place in the game.
Will the style you give fans on mixtapes change on Sign of the Cruz?
Mixtapes are mixtapes. At the end of the day, personally, I’ve always put a lot of thoughts into my mixtapes. I approach my mixtapes like albums. This mixtape was definitely approached like an album and it happened at a point in time when I was really working on my album. Cruzification was like an album too with all original beats. I’m approaching this album like it has to be complete from beginning to end. I want this album to be a full depiction of what I am. The mixtapes are definitely going to prepare you for what I’m going to drop in the summer.
You rhyme over an interesting selection of industry beats on 2007 B.C. How do you pick what beats you rhyme on?
The beats pick me, for real. Sometimes I don’t even hear the original song. I just hear instrumentals and pick what I like. It’s almost better if I never heard the original version because then you get a fresh track. I just prefer to rock over a hot track that I’ve never heard anyone on before.
What did you want to give fans with the song “Vatos Locos”?
That was me letting people know we got spitters. The approach on that was to let people know who I am, what I represent and Jay was saying things in that song that make a lot of sense to me. He said, “Vatos locos, got rap in a chokehold, and I won’t surrender it.” This song is addressing critics saying we’re not able to rap and can’t flow. I had to let fans know that we can make hit records and hit the streets with some gully shit.
What are your goals for 2007 B.C.?
To hold the streets off until The Sign of the Cruz drops this summer. In between working on an album, you get pumped up when you hear certain tracks and you want to collaborate with different cats. I gave up a lot of songs on the mixtape and a lot of them could have been on my record. I’m about 60 songs deep for this record. I realize you have to give the streets records. You can’t just give them instrumentals. I have to let people know who I am.
You have an impressive roster on “Where My Homies 2007”. Was that a challenge?
Yeah. Me and Lulu came up with that idea when we were in New York. Not a lot of cats in my position really try to help other motherfuckers. I look at it like if I can’t help and reach out to others, then what’s the point? I wanted to reach out to cats I respected and help them and work with them like Sick Jacken from Psycho Realm and Joell Ortiz. I don’t think people realize how important it is to get people to come through. The message of the song is big. It doesn’t have to just be one dude out there doing it. We have a lot of different styles and flows. It’s a beautiful thing and when I listen to that song, it’s a moment in time to remember and I’m glad I was able to make it happen.
Rome did most of the production on 2007 B.C. as well as on your previous mixtapes. How is he growing as a producer?
It’s amazing. It feels good to see everyone growing together and making the moves. He’s definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with. I think what he does on my debut is going to be his blueprint for the rest of his career. That’s why the quality control over here is crazy. I’m always asked what my favorite song is and I always reply, “My next one” because I’m always thinking ahead to the next one and trying to outdo myself. We also have Javie Lopez. Our in-house production team is strong and it’s definitely a good look for us.
How have things been going for you at Interscope since you signed last summer?
They’ve been going good. A lot of these things that we’ve done so far have really been on our own. They’ll be ready for the big push when the time is right. It feels good to know that Jimmy Iovine and everyone there is really behind my project. You hear all these horror stories about labels not knowing what they’re doing and not really backing you up. Interscope understands it and they have my back. It’s crazy. I’ve been in the studio with Hi-Tek, Nottz and DJ Khalil. It’s been crazy since our last interview.
You worked very hard to get the deal you got. Now that you’re signed, how is your grind changing?
It basically got turned up. A lot of people think it gets easier at some point. People get the game fucked up. They think it’s all fucking roses, but that’s far from the truth. You work hard to get a deal, but once you get a deal, it’s ten times harder. A record deal is really an opportunity to get heard. I’m at a point now where I’m busy and I’m working hard on every song. You grow as an artist every time you’re in the booth. I have to turn it up ten more notches.
How are you growing as an MC working with experienced producers like Nottz, Khalil and Hi-Tek?
I learn from them and feed off of them. It makes me just that much more of a stronger MC. They’re working with me not because I’m on Interscope but because they’ve heard my earlier music. I’m looking at their plaques they have in the studio and that inspires me. It also makes me realize that I’ve come a long fucking way. My mom worked three jobs and I never thought I would be doing this shit. It’s definitely an inspiration and I don’t take it for granted for a second. I realize my position and all of this just makes me step my shit up even more.
How is your debut album Sign of the Cruz coming?
If you would have asked me six months ago, I would have told you we had some cool songs. Now, I’m impressed with what we have and the songs we’ve already chosen. I just hope people are ready because it’s definitely a record. We’re not making an album to push a single. This is an album. This is something that will be able to withstand the test of time. Hopefully people will respond to it. We’ve been working on it for over six months now. I think working on a record and taking your time with a record, people will be able to hear all the work we put into it and I think the people will be able to appreciate all of that. I’m excited about it. I believe it’s what hip-hop needs right now and hopefully a lot of people follow suit. What I’m talking about, cats aren’t saying. They’re not saying shit no more. It’s a bunch of motherfuckers trying to be something they’re not. At this point, hip-hop needs me and I’m going to rep for real.
Do you ever feel the pressure to be successful to open the door for other Latino artists?
Not really, because I already am. I feel like being the best MC I can be is what I have to do. Songs like “Where My Homies 2007” is opening the door. If that’s not, I don’t know what is. I know that my buzz in the streets is allowing other people to eat and I’m happy about that. I don’t forget that I got my deal because of the cats before me either. I look at cats like Pitbull. He definitely opened a lot of doors for me even though our music is totally different. There are so many different styles and approaches that there’s room for all of us. Do I feel pressure? No. Do I feel proud that I’m able to be a part of the movement? Yes.
What did your nomination for a Justo in the Best New West Coast Artist category mean to you?
It felt good. There were a lot of heavy cats on the list and just to be nominated was cool for me. We went to the Apollo and were a part of the whole shit. I’ve been to New York twice in the past month and I love New York. The response there is crazy. We went up with the Clipse. Those are my people. It was dope. Cats were showing love and it was dope. That’s hip-hop. When you’re able to be on another level with other artists, to me, that shit was some shit that doesn’t just happen every day. I don’t really sweat awards. Being nominated was good enough for me.
What else is going on with B.Y.I. Entertainment?
We’re focusing on my album. We’re putting everything into my album and this summer. We’re just pretty much wrapping this record up and getting people ready for the Sign of the Cruz. Look for it around July and August.
What do you want to say to everybody?
Thanks for the love and thanks for the support. Sign of the Cruz is coming. Be ready.