Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Interview And Pictures


Added a classic interview with T-Lowe from Hunters Point and also went back and posted pictures that I scanned to a bunch of previous posts. Check 'em out.

Classic Interview - T-Lowe

Interview by Doxx...

This interview originally appeared in Issue 2 of Strivin' magazine.

So how's your new album doin'?
It's doin' pretty cool. It's been out like a month. Got my boy Rappin' 4-Tay on there, Black C from RBL, Hitman, Tayda Tay. It's kinda fat.

You got Herm on there too?

His debut rappin' appearance. He ain't never rapped in his life.

What would you say the difference is between the first album, Keep It Real, and the new one, Mack-A-Flama?
My matureness. My last album I was like eighteen and didn't really know what I was doin'. This one I got to do more of my own thang, create beats and do a lot of my format. It's really a continuation of Keep It Real. Keep It Real was just one book. This is book two.

Talk about some of the songs on there.
I got this bomb joint called "Don't Smoke Up All My Weed." That's the first single off the album. I got another one with 4-Tay, it's called "Real Playas" and 4-Tay droppin' that ol' shit as usual. Then I got one with Black C of RBL and he ain't rapped since our boy Mr. Cee died. I had to bring him up outta retirement. Me, Black Chris and Tayda Tay got one called "Kick It Wit Us." Then I got a track that was inspired by Mr. Cee. Me and him was probably gonna do that on the new RBL album if he wouldn't have got deceased. "Momma Used To Say," that's the track I dedicate to Mr. Cee 'cause he insprired that song in me.

How did him getting killed affect you?
It hurts. I grew up with him. I got a baby by his sister. He was practically like my brother-in-law. I been around him since he was ten, eleven all the way 'til he turned twenty-one. I'ma always have love for him. That's who I dedicated my album to, him and Herm's brother, Rodney Lewis.

How would you describe your style because your voice really sets you apart from other people?
The ill flow. That's our motto. See a lot of people fail to realize that I'm from RBL. It was just that I kept gettin' incarcerated. The first (RBL) album-incarcerated. The second album-incarcerated. People never even got to witness me. That's why on the new (RBL) Posse album I'll be settin' it off. I'm on like six tracks on the new RBL. The new one is called An Eye For An Eye. Like Black C say, "We just some niggas with the ill flow." I can't even explain it. Some people be like, "You got some old Busta Rhymes, Redman type of sound. Where you get it from?" Just about anybody can rap. They might not be good at it, but just about anybody can rap. When you take rap and make it into an art, then you're a rap artist. That's what I am. I don't wanna be sounding like this brotha over here or Mr. Cee or my boy Hitman. I wanna be distinguished like Eddie Murphy. I studied this. It ain't like one day I just woke up and I started rappin'. It took me years to perfect this art of rappin' with my voice 'cause I kinda got a scratchy voice. I know how to work it by doin' my doubles and people talk to me on the streets and they like, "Damn, you sound way different on wax!" That's the artist part.

What do you think it takes to be successful in the Bay Area rap industry and make a name for yourself?
Hard work and like Too $hort say, "Don't stop rappin'." I feel like this, and 4-Tay told me this, the more you (are) heard... Like you keep doin' things like workin' on your own albums or compilations or networking with other artists such as 4-Tay or Black C or Richie Rich, the main thing is you wanna be heard. As long as people like what you sayin', you gonna be felt. Some people luck up and it happen overnight. I prefer to work for it. I can picture me workin' six years and havin' my meal ticket. It's major labels jockin' the hell out of me, but I'm not ready to make them decisions like that. They make you look successful, but that shit be a hype. Y'all could blow me up, but I don't want no label tryin' to make me look more than what I am 'cause then people see me in the videos flossin' and they like, "Damn, I seen Lowe drivin' a Toyota. I thought he had this." I just prefer to work. I prefer to put in my years. I'm a young man. I'm ready to just work hard, be like twenty-four, twenty-five and have paper. You'll feel much better workin' hard for it than somebody handin' it to you. Like how you started your magazine independently. I'm pretty sure with your ideas you could have went to a few investors easy. You work hard and your reward's gonna be grand. That's the definition of success-workin' hard and puttin' it down.

Friday, August 26, 2005

The Man

The Man is once again trying to keep Bay Area hip hop knowledge from the deserving public. Apple.com has decided that I'm not deserving of a credit account with them so I can't get a computer yet unless I want to shell out the $1,300 up front for the system I want. So since I still don't have a computer at the compound I'm currently posting from an undisclosed location.

New classic interview will be up Monday or so and hopefully within a month my hate mail campaign will convince Apple to stop hatin'.

Stay tuned.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Classic Interview-Andre Nickatina (formerly Dre Dog)

Interview by Doxx... This interview originally appeared in Issue 2 of Strivin' magazine.

The thing most are wondering about is the name change (from Dre Dog to Andre Nickatina). Explain that.
The name change is basically a change for the better. As for the Dog name it would just go down like a Rock or a Ski, those old MC names. The name change was basically based on I figured I had a little more to offer people and I didn't want people just to be judging me by the Dre Dog name.

How did you choose Andre Nickatina?
It just came about. Nickatina doesn't mean anything. I actually did it in a song to try and make something rhyme and it just came up. It just sounded good and I used it.

Let's talk a little about the new underground album, Cocaine Raps. You're not with In-A-Minute (Records) on this one. Talk about why you're not with them anymore and what label this new one is comin' out on.
Basically I'm not with In-A-Minute anymore because my contract was up. This new label that I'm on is my label. It's called Fillmoe Coleman Records. It's a label I put together that's gonna put this album out called Cocaine Raps and it's gonna be an album as in a volume one so you might be seeing a couple of volumes. I'm gonna try to make a few volumes, at least three or four Cocaine Raps albums.

What song do you really want people to check for?
"3 A.M." I really like "3 A.M." for the beat. I felt that it might be a nice little dance track. Not even a dance track, a something to ride to track. Just the feel of the album... It's just a more mature album I think. I think I did a good job on all the songs actually. I tried to make it random (so) that people would be able to choose from. If you don't like this one, somewhere one there you'll like at least one of 'em.

One thing I noticed was that the sound is a lot harder this time as far as the production. Who's on this one on production and why did you go with these new people?
Basically it was me and this other cat, Nick Peace. We went to the studio and vibed on a lot of shit. I came through with most of the ideas or he had a idea and we both just made it happen like that. Usually I would only work with one or two producers on a album anyway. I don't think I especially need a lot of producers on it. I basically like to go in the studio when I wanna go in there. Sometimes it ain't like that with a lot of producers. You gotta go in when they wanna go in. When I wanna go in the studio I just be like, "Fuck that! I wanna go in now." That's why I mostly be workin' with myself and shit like that.

Yeah, I notice on some songs you say, "It's Thursday the whatever. It's about 2:30 in the morning."
Yeah. When I wanna go in the studio man, I wanna go in there now. When I feel it, I need to go in there and put it down 'cause it'll come out just the way I'm thinkin' it. I don't care what time it is. That was what was so cool about Nick-it didn't matter what time. If I had to wake him up in the morning to come through, he would get up.

Give a little insight as to how you come up with your concepts and lyrics. When I interviewed you before we talked about how you had the lyrics about all sorts of different shit and animals and bugs and ways of putting things. How does it all come up in your head? What's the process?
There is no process. It's just about havin' a open mind when you rappin'. If you put it out there to where you concentratin' on what you want people to look at you as the way you rap, they'll put you in that category. If you're always talkin' about guns, people will label you like that. When I rap I just try to keep a open mind. I just try to put a little somethin' in there for the people who are listenin' to it. If you like what I'm puttin' out there then I think I always will surprise you with somethin'. If you like my music I think you'll always find somethin' on my tape that you'll like to listen to.

One thing I tell people a lot... They ask me who are some of my favorite rappers in the Bay a lot and I always tell 'em that I think you're one of the most underrated rappers in the Bay. You hear a lot of names like JT (The Bigga Figga) or 40 or so and so, but you don't hear about you a lot. Does that bother you at all that you'e either not known or as talked about as some of the other artists out there?
No. It doesn't bother me at all. I'm not doin' it for popularity. I'm doin' it because I can do it. The people who like it, the people who listen to it is the ones I'm tryin' to reach. I didn't jump into this as a popularity contest. I jumped into it 'cause I knew there was a couple cats out there that'll like listenin' to what I think is listenable. I'm not the type to be goin' hella places and be presentin' myself like a rapper. If I go to a club or a record release party, I just be chillin'. I might be the one that's just over in the corner just kickin' it, watchin' the party, but not walkin' around like "I'm Dre Dog" or "I'm Andre Nickatina." I know every rapper out there. I know all the Bay Area rappers. All the Bay Area rappers who I know and don't know always say what's up to me. Everybody give me respect. I give them respect. I'm not trippin' on the popularity.

I think you told me before that you really don't like to do interviews. Is that just another thing like you don't like to be presenting yourself at functions?
It's not that I'm not into doin' it, but I only wanna do it with somebody who knows my music. I don't want nobody to interview me because they seen the tape cover. I want 'em to do the interview because they listened to the tape and they wanna talk about the tape or they wanna talk about a couple other thangs. A lot of these writers don't know me. Like I get people who wanna interview me and don't even know that I got two albums out.

That's why I appreciate this a lot.
Yeah, that's why I told you at the thang... I say I'll do it with you 'cause I remember the article you wrote up. I really liked that article.

Like I said before, you come up with some interesting stuff. Talk about "Crack Raider Razor."
That came about... I was sittin' downstairs with this little broad and we was just smokin' a blunt, choppin' it up before we go up in the house. On the block it's like this big hill and it was real late and the moon was just shinin' and I can see up the street. It was this figure that was comin' down that long ass hill. Just came over out the light and just streakin' down the hill. It was this cat on a ten speed and he's like a dope fiend, but he knows how to fix cars. He's just a master wizard mechanic and that's how he make his livin'. When it comes to cars he just razor sharp at that shit. Anyway, he was just covered with car oil, dressed in black, had a beanie on. The beanie was over one eye and the other eye was up and he was ridin' on a old ass ten speed. Just dirty, covered with oil, ridin' around lookin' for somebody to buy some crack from. His mind is sharp when it comes to fixin' cars, but he's on that shit. I started callin' him the crack raider until he had to fix one of my cars and I sat down and actually talked to him and he's smart. He's just on that shit. The song wasn't to be talkin' about him, but he gave me an inspiration. It was about two in the mornin' too. It was just late night, he came over the hill. He was just ridin' down quick as fuck! Everytime I see him I think about that beat. He was just lookin' for somebody to buy some crack from.

Was Fillmoe Coleman Records something you had in the works for a long time?
Not for a long time, but there was something always in the works whether it was Fillmoe Coleman or Japanese Coleman or whatever. There was always something in the works. Always.

Where does the name Fillmoe Coleman come from? I know what the Fillmoe is, but what's the Coleman?
Coleman is just to make it sound a little more presentable. I just put Fillmoe Coleman to make it sound more of a name type feel. Most people say, "Who is Fillmoe Coleman?" He or she is nobody.

When do you think this first volume of Cocaine Raps will be out?
The first volume of Cocaine Raps will be out at the end of the month of December.

Are you just doin' it straight yourself or are you goin' with City Hall (Records) or anybody?
I'm goin' underground for a second. For the first couple thousand I'm gonna be on the streets. So for people to get this they gonna have to see me, somehow get my number, page me, somehow. For the first couple of months I'm on the streets workin' it like that.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

New San Quinn Interview @ The Siccness

There's a great new San Quinn interview up over at The Siccness.

Go here to listen: San Quinn Interview


Updates are going to be a little slowed down for a bit here.

When I started the blog I was doing all my posts from work since I have no computer at home anymore. The reason I could do them from work with no hassle is because about a month ago it was announced that my company would be closing. Because of that, my position's duties were essentially halted immediately so I literally have had no work to do since June 28th. I could sit at my desk and twiddle my thumbs all day or I could do something fun. I chose fun and started the blog.

Well, now I'm out of here as of 4:00 PM today and will be starting a new job on Monday morning. Obviously I won't be able to fuck around on the computer all day at my new job so I'll most likely be posting once a week or so from other people's computers for the next few weeks at least. But with the new jobby job paying me $10,000 more a year I can afford to buy a new computer for the house and get the high speed shit hooked up. So in a few weeks to a month I hope to be on a more consistent posting schedule.

Today is pretty busy with closing out my old job, but I'll try and post up another old school interview or two before I'm done here. If not, I'll post some stuff early next week from an undisclosed location.

Also, once the old shit runs out, the new features and interviews begin. I'm already starting to line up some new interviews and it looks like the first one will be with Bay Area legend Sean T. He's got a brand new album coming soon titled, Ain't Playin', on his own Get Gone Records. Look for the album and the interview soon.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Mr. Cee (RBL Posse) Dedication Track

This is a great RIP track for Mr. Cee of RBL Posse which appeared on a rare compilation called The Pusha' Man on The Road Productions. It features OG Herm on the intro, T-Lowe, Baldhead Rick of UNLV, Primo and a raw verse from Cougnut (RIP) of IMP.

"Tribute To Mr. Cee"

When you click that link scroll down and hit the "FREE" button. On the next screen, you have to wait for some crazy ass 13 second countdown shit and then you can click the "Download" link and the download will begin. A lot of bullshit just to listen to one song I know, but I still need to learn how to just post audio directly on this bitch. Until then, it's a great song so deal with it.

Related: http://strivin.blogspot.com/2005/08/classic-rip-dedication-mr-cee-rbl.html

Monday, August 08, 2005

Classic Letter-Billy Jam's Open Letter To 106.1 KMEL's Program Director

Letter by Billy Jam...

This letter originally appeared in Issue 2 of Strivin' magazine. This shit is classic and made a little bit of a buzz around the local music industry because it was a straight shot to KMEL's program director at the time, Michelle Santosousso. These days KMEL is playing a lot more Bay Area rap and that's great. I have no actual proof of this since I haven't turned on the radio (besides talk radio) in the past nine years, but from what people are telling me, the Bay is finally getting a little recognition from the powerhouse station. To understand this letter you have to know that around the time of its publication (1997), KMEL had all but abandoned local music. They were calling themselves the "The People's Station" and "The Station For The Hip Hop Generation," but were actually far from it.

On to the letter...

Dear Ms. Santosousso,

I am writing you this open letter since you didn't have the professional courtest to return any of my last four phone calls over the past six months for stories I was writing for numerous publications read by many of the "people" that "The People's Station" targets. Hopefully you will see this letter in Strivin'. However, based upon your format, which pretty much ignores the Bay Area's rich rap/hip hop talent, I doubt that you spend much time reading Bay Area rapzines or even listening to much music from the Bay. If you did you would no doubt realize how incredible most of it is and immediately have in heavy rotation the endless radio-worthy Bay Area artists in place of your current biased playlist.

In case you think this letter is an attack on KMEL's staff or on you as a person, it is not. Firstly, I have no beef with anyone on KMEL's staff. Many, including Davey D, Sway and Chuy Gomez are respected and valued friends. In fact, I got fired from Wild 107 a few years ago when, after calling in on KMEL to congratulate Chuy (a former Wild 107 DJ) on his new gig, my program director kicked me out of the station for going on the "competitor's" airwaves. I could have kept the job if I had apologized to him and disowned Chuy as a friend. I didn't.

Regarding you Ms. Santosousso, since I've never had the opportunity to talk to you, I don't even know you and therefore have no opinions about you as a person. However, I do have many strong opinions, many negative, about your programming decisions. The first of these was when, after a backstage problem at a KMEL Summer Jam a few years ago, you decided to ban all of Too $hort's music. Then you justified this blackball move with a statement made to the San Francisco Chronicle about how Too $hort hadn't had a hit in two years anyway! The irony of this story is that a year into the ban Too $hort blew up with the title track of his next and "final" album, Gettin' It, and you had no choice but to recant your decision and program the man's music. Of course you never admitted your mistake nor apologized to Too $hort, the godfather of Bay Area rap. And when $hort was interviewed live on KMEL he was a true gentleman and professional so he didn't bring it up. Comically though, the album that you helped him promote on your airwaves still had his side of the story including that famous and ultimately prophetic line from "That's Why," "fuck all of that blackball shit / It won't last / KMEL, y'all can kiss my ass."

Now I could go on with more examples of your questionable programming decisions, but I don't have enough space so I'll jump up to the present or rather to March 14th, 1997, the day that "The People's Station" underwent its recent image makeover. At 6:00 PM the new format was introduced by a rap freestyle that falsely promised, "Regardless of the time of day / All you're gonna hear play is hip hop," and then we were told that KMEL is "The Station For The Hip Hop Generation." This slogan, which has been driven into the ground every single mic break since then, is not only misleading and insulting to your listener's intelligence, but it is also totally disrespectful to the artform of hip hop. Having the voice of KRS-1 telling us that this is the sound of "the hip hop generation" wedged between a cheesy jingle for Levitz Furniture and a sappy Mint Condition ballad is not hip hop by any means! It seems to you that "the hip hop generation" is interchangeable with "the Pepsi generation."

But it gets worse. It appears, in light of the 2Pac and Biggie murders, you've upped your "no color lines" and "increase the peace" type slogans. Don't get me wrong, "Street Soldiers" and "Street Knowledge" are highly commendable shows. So is Sway when, on March 21st, he had former gang members and peace activist Pastor Sonny on his show dropping knowledge about putting an end to gang violence in our community. However, when the very next DJ comes on and plays (from your playlist) the gangsta athem, "Gangstas Make The World Go Round," you totally diffuse your supposed stand for peace. But then I wouldn't expect much more from a programmer who in a sampled evening hour's format (March 27th, 6:00 to 7:00 PM) of music for "the hip hop generation" plays, out of twelve songs, six R&B cuts and out of the six rap/hip hop songs only one was local and that was the multi-platinum 2Pac.

So Ms. Santosousso, how come "The People's Station" doesn't give much love to the "people" of the Bay Area? Why doesn't your "hip hop" daily playlist include such super talented hip hoppers as Saafir and the Hobo Junction family, Rasco, DJ Shadow, Lateef and Lyrics born and the SoleSides crew (and not just as background music!!!!), Homeliss Derelix, Invisibl Skratch Piklz including Mixmaster Mike or Q-Bert with Dr. Octagon, Bored Stiff, Mystik Journeymen, Hieroglyphics, etc., etc.? And since you're playing the self-described "gangsta" music of Westside Connection, why don't you play the unlimited supply of popular local reality rappers like C-Bo, B-Legit, 11/5, Mac Dre, Cougnut, The Delinquents, Andre Nickatina, GLP, RBL Posse and the classic 415, etc., etc.? And tell me, why didn't KMEL add The Conscious Daughters' killer 1996 single, "Gamers," or the Whoridas' incredible single, "Shot Callin' & Big Ballin'" which even The Beat, your sister station in LA added?

Based on your past record I don't expect you to reply this time, but if anyone reading this happens to be calling, writing or e-mailing KMEL's programming office, please join me in asking that they cease and desist pimping the words "hip hop" and that they start to act like a real "people's station" and give some love to Bay Area artists.

Billy Jam
Strivin' & Hip Hop Slam


The Bay Area oriented group of blogs on the interwebalotti is growing and recognizing each other.

Thanks to pacificstandard and somanyshrimp for mentioning my blog in recent posts. Also gotta give appreciation to bestwest for the mention and the linkage. bestwest is in French so I'm a little lost over there, but it's all good. cult-status also slapped my blog up in their link list. BTW, let me know how that Too $hort interview went for your cuzzo.

Let's keep it going.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

A Touch Of Newness

I know I said that for the first few weeks this blog would be showcasing classic shit from my old publications, No Joke newsletter and Strivin' magazine, but I have to throw this post in here not only to support my people, but to make sure you know about a high quality Bay Area compilation which we all know is hard to come by these days.

For a solid new compilation you need to cop Known Associates from my people over at Apt. 3/DNA Entertainment in association with Crosshair Records. 9 out of 10 compilations in recent years (actually since damn near '97) have been garbage with weak and/or recycled tracks, but Apt. 3/DNA doesn't play with that shit. If you heard their last compilation, Theme Music To Drug Dealin' & Killin', you know that they believe in giving the listener nothing but quality and Known Associates is no different.

I even provided them with two of the tracks on this compilation. I had been working on my own compilation and decided to abandon it so I had some completed tracks and nothing to put them on. It just so happened that my friend Gabe at Apt. 3/DNA needed a couple of songs to round out the Known Associates compilation so I provided him with two of the tracks I had completed - "Everytime" (by Rhythmx, Kaveo of The Mossie and San Quinn) and "Time Keeps Tickin'" (by Baldhead Rick of UNLV).

Along with those artists, the Known Associates roster of talent reads like a who's who of Bay Area street rap with a heavy representation of heavy hitters from the Bay's golden era. Check it out:

Ad Kapone of Totally Insane / Young Dru / Young D Boyz / Malice / Cold World Hustlers / 11/5 / Baby Menace / Neva Legal / C-Fresh of IMP / UDI / 2-11 / Dubee / The Gamblaz / D-Moe / Dush Tray / RJ of Black Madness / Kaoz The Assassin / ADR of Triple 6 / and a few more...

Solid all the way through.

For snippets of the entire compilation click here.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Classic Interview-JT The Bigga Figga

Interview by T-C.A.S.H....

This interview originally appeared in issue 1 of Strivin' magazine.

You been out of the limelight for a minute. What you fittin' to do to put your foot back in the door?
I been in the cuts, in the lab dwellin'. My last album, Dwellin' In Tha Labb, was just like a sample you could kinda call it because basically I just put it out, but I didnt' really push it on that level. I kinda got caught up in some other things. I had a lot of things I was doin' at one time. Definitely though the product was very important to me, but at the time I had other situations I had to deal with. Immediately after I released my project I been workin' on the San Quinn project since last year and now it's May 5th. The new GLP album and the new San Quinn album is two projects that I feel is gonna put us back in the game how we supposed to be because it's quality product. Me as an individual, I'm focusing mostly on my production because that's where the key is at and then management of the company and basically gettin' situated and preparin' and gearin' up to come back in this game and be fully prepared. Got all the necessary marketing strategies, all my street teams in place, my plan. When I put my album out I didn't have no plan, I just put it out. I feel that project was like sealin' up the old. That project and the GLP, What We Known Fo' was two projects that sealed up the old. Right now we in a transition so that's why we ain't been in the light like we was before and that's kinda good 'cause we didn't get burnt out. We have longevity in the game. Right now we gotta come back with a hit.

The transition for the old to the new... Specifically, what's gonna make it sound different?
Number one, the production is enhanced. I feel the production is increasin' to another level because it's more complete. The concepts of the production and the concepts of the songs is maturing as we do song to song. You just look at all the old product, we had a variety of different thangs we talked about. It was different people in the crew that added certain chemistry... Certain elements to what we was tryin' to do wasn't necessarily clickin' together. So we had to deal with that. It was so much that if we weren't blessed with the determination and the desire and the will to keep going', this wouldn't have been no more.

The People's Station (106.1.KMEL)... It's a lot of word on the street about the station, the transition from hip hop to dance and techno. Not to dis KMEL, but do you have any personal feelings about that 'cause you are one of the artists whose records have been cut from the rotation?
I feel like this. They own they station, they gonna do what they want with they station. They can't make me, they can't break me. If they mess with us it's one love to 'em. If they don't it's still one love to those individuals who work there. But the company itself, if they ain't showin' no love to those artists that's in they backyard, then fuck 'em. To those individuals like Chuy Gomez, Franzen, Trace Dog, Davey D, Rosary, Renel, Alex... I could still say one love to Alex because he just makin' a decision that he gotta run with. If our type of music don't fit into the loophole I can't knock him. I still got love for Alex as an individual just for him being him. But now when he put on that title and he workin' up in KMEL I can't speak on it. I can't knock KMEL 'cause KMEL helped me get to where I am so if they shut the door now it don't matter. That's like a little baby bird in the nest. Eventually you gotta get out and fly on your own.

You got San Quinn, D-Moe and yourself...
D-Moe and Seff, they venturing they own thing right now. We still mess with D-Moe. Seff Tha Gaffla, it's like we ain't seein' eye to eye. So therefore I can't knock what he doin', he can't knock what I'm doin'. As I was sayin' about the little bird, they gotta fly so that where we at now. Me and San Quinn.

Anybody else?
This cat named PAG that's gonna be another cat that's gonna be stemmin' off. He mess with the Paper Chase. Paper Chase Music, that's a subsidiary of Get Low Records. Playa P. I'm not gonna be responsible for 'em. They gonna be on other labels, but those are associated artists. We got J-Mack. He from Sacramento. That's C-Bo's cousin. We doin' some distribution for him and Terrible Tight Records.

Any last words you wanna say?
We got that new San Quinn, The Hustle Continues, and that shit be out real shortly. The new GLP album which is titled properly. It's called The Unexpected 'cause it's the last thing you'd expect comin' from us. Now there's a lot of individuals that know somethin' about to take place in this Get Low organization, but then you got the doubters and the disbelievers... Y'all just watch and see.

Right On

Thanks to Get Stoopid for being the first to add me to their link list.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Classic Interview-Tayda Tay of 11/5

Interview by Billy Jam...

This interview originally appeared in Issue 1 of Strivin' magazine.

11/5 started out, what, two years ago?
Yeah. Well, this is '96. No, we started out in '93.

The first album, Fiendin' 4 Tha Funk, did incredibly well and featured the same lineup which is Tayda Tay, Maine-O and Hennessy and now we're up to the new album which is the long awaited A-1 Yola. That kinda continues the same theme as before like Fiendin' 4 Tha Funk and 11/5 being sorta drug terms. A-1 Yola is also drug related, right?
Yeah, that's cocaine. That's pure dope.

But it's a metaphor for cocaine in this case, right?
Yeah, we're sayin' that our group is pure dope.

So do you feel that you, as a group, have grown?
I feel we've grown a lot. We found out little things that we had to do that we didn't do on the first album and we applied 'em.

Such as?
Well, we started learnin' the studio better.

So you produced this more...
We had a lot of input on the album.

It was three of you producing along with TC...
And Reg and Race at Premiere Studios. Also we have Mr. Laid from UDI.

So the new album... "I've got women / I've got bitches to buy me clothes..." Whichever way you look at it, that song is one of my favorites. The official title is "I Got Bitches." How did that come about?
Well, that came about because my group, we full of playas and that's what we go through.

It's kinda like "Brousin'" in a way?
It's sorta like "Brousin'", but a little more descriptive.

The last album had a great weed song and this one does too, right?
Yeah, called "The Nade." That's the new weed. It's Canadian weed that's been out through everywhere.

Can you get me some?
Of course!

So is it pretty good?
It's really potent weed.

It's even stronger than the Cali weed?
Yeah, it'll have you on shutdown.

For people who may not have yet heard 11/5, how would you distinguish the different voices and vocal deliveries?
Maine-O, he raps real intent. He never break off at all. Then we got Hennessy, he got that little grave digger sound. People like his voice a lot 'cause it's real deep. And me, I'm just that everyday hustler-player-gangster.

So when you guys come up with these songs how does it come about?
We work on the music together and after comin' up with the music, whatever we feelin' at the time that's what we come with. We choose our concepts and then we go home and write. We don't do no writing together.

Do you think that's a better approach?
Yeah, I think that's a great approach 'cause if we write together we may sound the same. But since we go home and do it everyone has their own different flavor.

What's your favorite song on the album?
It's got to be "Hate To See Me Have Shit." It's goin' out to all the playa haters out there.

The success of the first album... People got jealous, right?
Basically it's a lot of jealousy goin' on. A lot of bitterness goin' on 'cause everybody's not doin' as well.

There was even rumors started. It was (about) you were sniffling on the first album?
On the beginning of "11/5 On The Inside" I snorted my nose. I had a cold. People get from that that I'm on hop, I snort hop! It's a lot of rumors that come with it, but I'm pretty used to that now.

Now (the term) Kill-A-Hoe... Who came with that originally?
It was my boy Kevin Johnson, OG Kevvy Kev. We was at a rap symposium at San Mateo State and we was havin' a argument with one of the girls at the front desk 'cause we was tellin' her we was gonna perform. She was like "Your name's not on the list." so we wrote these little stickers and she said "What's the name of your group?" and we put Kill-A-Hoe.

Now that song offended a lot of people. You either loved it or you hated it. There was not in between. What was your response when people said it's a disgusting, demeaning, sexist piece of music?
My response is if you're not a bitch and you're not a hoe it doesn't apply to you.

So what else is on the new album that people should expect?
My boy Maine-O is doin' a lot more singin'. We do a lot of background singin. They even got me in there singin' now.

So what's "Slangin' Dope" about? Is that a metaphor for slangin' tapes?
That's how we went about it. It's still talkin' about dope, but we talkin' about ourselves as the dope.

What do you think of the Bay Area rap scene today versus just two or three years ago when you guys first came out?
There's a lot more rappers. I think a lot of rappers are corrupted.

In what way?
Say you goin' to school to learn a trade. That's what some people are doin' with rap. They're not really rappers, they just go to the drawing board and try to be like somebody else. I'm startin' to hear my groups sound in a lot of places. It doesn't take much to be original, everybody has it in 'em.

So what's your advice to people comin' up today?
Basically keep it real. We like to drop our own game and if our game that we droppin' can help somebody else better his then so be it, but keep it on the real.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Letter From Mac Dre (RIP)

This is a letter I received from Mac Dre in May of 1995, just over a year before he was released from Lompoc Federal Penitentiary. Once I have a chance I'll scan the actual letter so people can see it.


What's hatnin' folks? I'm gettin' at you to return some of that Bay love you've showed a young playa caught up in the Feds. I'm sorry it took so long to respond but I was tryin' to return to the town unannounced and I didn't want to spoil thangz. Ya know? But after receiving your constant correspondance and newsletters I recognized your realness.

I'm glad to see another real mutha-fucka represent that Bay thang wholeheartidly!! Me and my folks from the Romper Room Crew are representin' to the fullest, lettin' fools in this Federal system know that the Bay Area ain't no joke!! It's mutha-fuckas from Mare Island to the Virgin Islands in the Feds and they know that the Bay consist of pimps, playas, gangstas and big bank$ta$!!! I'm up here lacin' these fools with that shit that you've been missin'. That uncut, super sucka free Romper Room game that only Mac Dre can serve! You think mutha-fuckas is out there poppin' now, huh, wait till they get a load of me!! I'm nothin' correctable and ain't to be fucked with and you can best believe I'm comin' home to reclaim my throne folks (and you can print that)! I'm about to sign with... Well, let's just say the mutha-fucka with the biggest bank!! I gots to come home to somethin' extremely phat so I can clown those smirks who did the wrong thang durin' my bid. I'm finna make niggaz bow the fuck down and give a real mutha-fucka his proper respect!! I gots to take this rap shit to a whole 'nother page.

But peep this folks, I just wanted to get at you and show you some recognition. Tell Billy I send much love and respect to a OG in this Bay Area thang and tell all my Bay Area rap potnas that the Bay boys in the Feds (707/415/510) said keep servin' that shit!! And to you Doxx, I say it's on like a vacation in Rome when I come home!!

Till next time, big Bay love from Mac mutha-fuckin' Dre.

Romper Room Crew Fa Life!!

Classic RIP Dedication-Mr. Cee (RBL Posse)

Dedication by Billy Jam...

This dedication originally appeard in the January 1996 issue of No Joke newsletter.

1996 got off to a very tragic and sad start for Bay Area rap fans when one of its premier stars, Kyle Church (aka Mr. Cee) of Hunters Point, San Francisco rap duo RBL Posse, was shot and killed on New Years Day. The twenty two year old rapper was shot eight times in the chest by an unknown suspect on Harbor Road in the Bayview/Hunters Point district around 6:00 PM on Monday, January 1st. "It was another case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time," said manager and friend Tony Jackson.

Along with partner Chris Matthews (aka Black C), RBL Posse had built a remarkably solid fan base both locally and nationally since 1991 for their unique Frisco styled, no holds barred street rap. From their popular debut single, "Don't Give Me No Bammer" to "Bounce To This" and the current single, "Bluebird," RBL Posse's music struck a chord with rap fans everywhere. Their second and most recent album, Ruthless By Law on In-A-Minute Records, impressively sold over two hundred thousand units and found them on the Billboard R&B Albums chart for six months! In recent months the two had been busy working in the studio on a new RBL Posse album which was set for a major label release. "This album will be released. We're just not sure as yet of all the details" said Tony Jackson of the partially completed recording.

The day after the tragedy, KMEL DJ Sway (who is featured interviewing Mr. Cee and Black C in the video for "Bounce To This") dedicated his 10 O'clock Bomb radio show to the late great Bay Area rap talent. On the special show where Sway was joined by Hunters Point street activist Herm Lewis, the phone lines went crazy with callers all agreeing that Mr. Cee's death should act as a reminder to all of us of the stupid senselessness of guns and violence and how in 1996 we really need to stop the violence! May be rest in peace.

Classic Review: Bay Area Playaz Compilation

Review by Billy Jam...

This review originally appeared in the November 1995 issue of No Joke newsletter.

Bay Area Playaz, the much anticipated compilation about to drop from Anonymous Records, is the ultimate Bay Area rap compilation containing as it does, the best rappers and producers from the greater Bay Area all delivering their very best (all original) tracks! This impressive playlist, which tops all the previously released Bay Area compilations, reads like a who's who of Bay Area rap. It includes triple-dope tracks from the likes of RBL Posse, Knumskull of the Luniz, JT The Bigga Figga, Master P and TRU, The Delinquents, Totally Insane, Guce, Sean T, GLP, Young Cellski, Hitman, The Link Crew, Mr. El, Sh'killa and talented newcomers, Street Thugs, whose song "Deep In The Game" could well be an underground smash.

From start to finish, Bay Area Playaz is one of those records that grabs your attention and never lets go. "It's the sort of tape that you never want to hit fast forward on," enthused project producer T. Cee. One of the reasons for this is the variety of sounds found on Bay Area Playaz courtesy of the various producers such as K-Lou, DJ Fuze, Cellski, Sean T, The Enhancer and JT.

With preview demo copies of Bay Area Playaz already a hot item on the rap underground circuit, pundits are picking their favorite tracks. Most seem to agree that RBL Posse, the popular Hunters Point duo comprised of Black C and Mr. Cee, have delivered one of their best tracks with "Miz Me" while the fun and cleverly scripted "Captain Wreck-A-Hoe" from Knumskull has already become other's clear favorite on the compilation. Another crowd pleaser is the instantly engaging JT The Bigga Figga's "X-Filez" which is also a tribute to KMEL, the station that helped launch the Fillmore rapper and his crew (the GLP) to national fame and fortune.

Another Priority Records artist, Richmond's Master P and his posse TRU, also deliver some of their best work with the track, "I'm A Gee." Other standout tracks include East Oakland power duo The Delinquents killer track "Can't Be Stopped," The Link Crew's "The World In My Eyes" which is the album's first single, East Palo Alto rapper Sean T's "M Dash One" and Hitman's "Everyday." Bay Area Playaz is definitely the ultimate Bay Area rap compilation.

Classic Profile-Hitman (RIP)

Profile by Billy Jam...

This profile originally appeared in the October 1995 issue of No Joke newsletter.

RBL Posse's Hitman has dropped one of the year's best rap albums with his fourteen track, Solo Creep, on Right Way Productions. With excellent production from RBL Posse's Black C on cuts such as "Would You Know," "Mr. Player Hater" and "All The Niggas," this is one tight debut from Hitman who, like his fellow RBL partners, hails from San Francisco's Hunters Point district.

Hitman started rapping when he was just a little kid. "I was about eleven or twelve," said the seventeen year old who added that RBL Posse's Black C and Mr. Cee have had a "very positive influence" on him. Black C likewise speaks very highly of Hitman recalling how, "He was really a fan at first. He always admired us and used to come up by our house where we had our little demo studio at and he'd freestyle 'cause he was tight. And I told him that one day I'd put him out."

First Hitman appeared on "Listen To My Creep," "Pass The ZigZags" and "M.N.O.H.P.," all found on RBL's top selling Ruthless By Law album. Black C and Mr. Cee also guest on his album, appearing on "You Betta Come Strapped" and "Would You Know" respectively. "The idea for 'You Betta Come Strapped' came about when me and Chris (Black C) was just sitting in the car. First we came up with the chorus and then the rest of the song we pieced together in the studio," related Hitman. On the hit bound, "The Funk," Hitman flexes his uniquely clever flow with lines like, "...cut out your brains / Put is on your body and call it mind over matter..." On "All The Niggas" Hitman incorporates local street dialect with the word "jiggies" which he says "is a Harbor Road term for hoes." "I Bet You Bite A Chip" is directed at all the playa haters who put down rappers. "Mr. Playa Hater" featuring the super talented NOH deals with the same topic while "Deeper And Deeper" "is for all the youngsters on the block." Other great tracks include "A Glock Here, A Glock There" featuring Iyesha Matthews and the great weed track, "Mr. Sandman."