man. We're on this Mobb Deep Blood Money tour.
the tour going?
good. Of course the Mobb has a core fan-base and my fan-base is kind of
different from theirs, but I'm getting a good response and it's showing
me people know who I am. It's a good tour for me.
people like your debut album Cash on Delivery so far?
the response that people really fuck with it because it's some real rap
shit. I'm not fronting on you. I'm not giving you the bullshit. I'm giving
you the hood and real talk. I think people will be happy someone is being
honest with them.
happy with how the album came out?
happy with the way it came out. Sony's the machine. Of course I would
love to do it without any help from anybody, but for it to be my first
album, I'm happy with it. It's me. Me and my man A&R'd most of the
album. I went to the first three sessions to record for the album in New
York which was a year and a half ago, and everything else was done in
Cleveland in our room with a mic in it where everyone else has to shut
the fuck up so you can record.
I got Bun-B,
Beanie Sigel, and Scarface. I got production from Rick Rock, Cooley C,
Chad West, the Kick Drumz out of Cleveland
I didn't really want a
lot of the big-name producers because you can get overshadowed. I wanted
the appearances to be on the same level as me where it's mutual. I wanted
it to be somebody I respect. I knew with Scarface, Beanie Sigel, and Bun-B,
I would have to go hard. Coming up, none of my people rapped, so they
were my competition, so to rap with them was a pleasure.
you get Beans and Scarface down with you?
of my company is Real Recognize Real. I do my best to keep it moving and
I think they see that in me. I think that's why a lot of the OG's fuck
with me. I was taught to pay homage to the older niggas who really did
it the way they were supposed to do it. That's how I treat it and they
give me the same respect back. They give me advice and they help me move
forward. One hand washes the other. It's all about karma and I don't think
a lot of people who do this rap understand karma.
paid your dues?
grinding. I'm a humble dude, man. People look at you being on TV and they
think it's a whole 'nother world. When people see me, they react kind
of crazy. I'm a humble dude and I know I'm nowhere near where I need to
be. It's good to be in this position here, but it's not where I want to
be five years from now. By the time my first album was done, I was already
working on my second album.
of record do you have to make in 2006 for it to be successful?
have to do you. I don't know how a lot of artists are, but I do me. Either
you respect it or you don't. If you don't like it, that's fine. This music
is therapy for me. I can get on the mic, say whatever I want to say, and
I get it off my chest. People like my swag but I'm nowhere where I want
to be. I'm still perfecting my craft. This is the set-up and you have
to make sure you have the right set-up. This is just the beginning for
people ready for Ray Cash?
I think certain
people are because I think they miss actual lyricism and actual stories.
I came up on Nas but my swag is different. I think they're ready for it.
My first single was in the streets real heavy last summer and I came back
this year with 'Face and people can see that I can rap. My single now
is different from my first one, but I'm still getting it in. If you can
mix lyrics with swag, you can win. If these people on the radio can win
with their bullshit, I can win.
it working with Scarface on "Bumpin' My Music"?
It was an
honor for me. I did the song before he heard it. He heard it and wanted
to do it on the strength of what I was doing. He saw how I wanted to pay
homage. This is what I came up listening to. He liked it and he wanted
to pay homage to the people he grew up on. For him to get on the song
was classic, but for him to get in the video with me was even bigger.
He's a good dude. He's a real good dude. We fuck with each other heavy.
must have been dope working with Rick Rock.
was crazy because before I wrote the song, I already had the hook and
everything, "You can hear my speakers go boom, boom, boom."
Two weeks later, that beat was there. Rick must have known what I wanted.
It was a match made in heaven. People don't realize how heavy Rick Rock
is. He's a Bay Area legend. He's playing a big part in the Hyphy movement.
You have to respect Rick Rock.
your Apphiliates-hosted mixtape going?
real well. I also did one with Joey Fingaz from Cleveland. We got a good
response off that. It got out there a lot further than we thought it would.
I'm talking to a couple other DJ's who want to do mixtapes. You're going
to be hearing a lot from me.
the hip-hop scene in Cleveland?
relating to hip-hop doesn't seem too special unless it comes from New
York. It's a little bit harder out here because people look to see who's
popping on a national level but they never check for Cleveland artists.
We fucked with Mike Jones two years before he blew up. Artists like that
come to Cleveland and get mad love. There's a movement going on with us.
We're building our own mixtapes and we have to keep knocking down these
doors so the kids can get inside. I fuck with all the DJ's in the city
and they fuck with me. We need each other. They said artists who came
before me were wack, but they couldn't say that about me. Now they're
more likely to listen to the kids after me because there's something to
compare it to now.
ever frustrating that Ohio is mainly known for the legendary Bone Thugs
as well as Bow Wow?
No. It doesn't
bother me. I knew coming into the game that's how it would be because
that's all we had. If I played basketball, they would compare me to Lebron.
you first get into the game?
Just by bullshitting
with it. I never really wanted to do it. I'm kind of a private dude. It's
weird being in this business. I was basically doing nothing. I graduated
high school and played ball. I started doing what everyone else was doing.
You either got a job, went to school, or hustled. I hustled. My man wanted
me to try this rap shit. He said I was nice. He was from Harlem. He would
call me to see if I had anything new. I must have been doing something
right. We were like, "Fuck it, let's try it." I was in the right
at the right time.
the Sony deal come about?
We have our
company Real Recognize Real. Hip-Hop from Atlantic was with my partner
and they were chilling. We gave him our music and he felt it. We met Kevin
Woo and a few months later, we got a deal. Thank you to my nigga Hip-Hop.
Kevin and Shaleeq have really put the work in to make it happen.
happy with how things are going at Sony?
to start controversy! (laughs) It's a record label. I'm blessed to get
the opportunity but Sony isn't really known for hip-hop, so we really
have to do a lot of grinding ourselves. It can get a little frustrating
at times. It's like a game. The only thing I don't like is there's a lot
of politics and a lot of snakes in the grass. You'd be surprised what
people do just to get their shit off. The game is kind of fucked up, but
I'm comfortable and nobody can make me do anything I don't want to do.
I'm a man first before I'm an artist. As long as they respect me, I'm
good. Let's get this money.
your next move?
sure they hear the music. I'm already ten songs into the second album.
I'm on my grind. I'm staying on the road constantly. I just had a baby
girl and I need to make sure she can eat. I'm staying on the road and
in the clubs so people know. I'm going everywhere just putting the grind
in. I'm not going to stop until it pays off.
you want to say to everyone?
Ray Cash from Cleveland is not a fluke. There is a movement going on and
the name of the movement is Real Recognize Real. Watch your feet because
we're coming through. We're dropping June 27. Fuck with us. Real niggas