[ BayUndaground.com ] : For the ones who are unaware of you yet: who is Da We Mobb? Where are you guys from?
[ Zipp ] : Da We Mobb is a family organization of go gettas, hustlaz, mobb niggaz & pimps. [ Young Truth ] : Based outta da East Bay but niggaz is everywhere with it! [ Zipp ] : We from da Town [Oakland, Ca] and spots in da group vary, nowhatimean, from da East to da West. We got cats from da Bay to Southern California. [ Big A ] : See me, A, I'm from da East Bay all over, so yeah, so I pretty much rep all over for everybody, u know what I mean. I'm a real cat & real recognize real, so u already know what da deal is... this is ya boy A.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : How did you 3 hook up? And how did you end up with Smokey being almost exclusively your producer?
[ Big A ] : Smokey is my brother in law, we've known each other since
around '96. I met Zipp 1st in da Stack [Hayward] when I was like 12, but see it didn't start sweet, it was sour at 1st, because me & my other bruh Mook wasn't too sure of him, knowhatimean, we played basketball & we was playin' prison rules or whatever & I recognized he was a cool cat. [ Zipp ] : That's how I played basketball anyway, so I wasn't trippin lol. [ Big A ] : We was testin his gangsta pretty much pretty much, seein just where his heads was at & he passed da test. [ Zipp ] : Us & a couple of niggaz from da hood got together called Da Ghost Mobb & not too long we decided to branch off & do our own thang - that's where Da We Mobb came from. [ Young Truth ] : I came into the picture around 2002 when I moved in with Zipp and his older brother. I was already interested in rap, and when I saw that Zipp was rappin I felt right at home and latched on. I started writing raps and buggin him about goin to da studio, that I heard about after hearing their homemade tapes. Zipp & A had already been in there with Smokey. [ Zipp ] : My big brother told me & Truth to write a rap to see where are heads was at in order to let Truth go to da studio. So we wrote that thang & brought it back to my brother & he said we could go. And da next thing I had to do was talk to Smokey to see if he could come thru to da studio. [ Young Truth ] : Smokey was nice enough to actually take some interest. He said "Ok we gon see what we can do", because he could have been like "man what da fuck am i gonna do with a 10 yr old man", like "get this nigga outta here" lol. [ Smokey ] : Real talk; even at da time I knew he was very talented. His delivery and raps were incredible and he was sayin shit that 10 year olds weren't even supposed to be thinkin about. I was impressed. [ Zipp ] : So by da time we all linked up me and A was already goin to da studio, really just bullshittin, not really caring, uknowhatimean. Smokey said "man put your head into this, mayne, start writing, start wrting", u feel me. Because before it was just bullshittin, we would come in & ruin a few beats, u feel me. It was nothin "Smokin till da Sun Comes Up"*, ya digg, West Oakland! *referring 2 one of Da We Mobb's 1st songs". [ Young Truth ] : We figured out that da shit that we was doin, just havin fun, was real creative and real hot & we decided 2 build upon it.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Before your self titled debut came out, were there any underground releases / mixtapes prior to it? How did you develop your skills?
[ Smokey ] : For Cinco De Mayo Weekend 2009 we came out with a Da We Mobb Limited Edition Mixtape Sampler and we pressed up and passed out like 500 copies in San Jose. Even though it wasn't mixed or mastered it was still our 1st mixtape release & we got a lot positive feedback on it. That was da 1st time Yay Area Entertainment hit da streets with actual product. [ Zipp ] : It was underground... WAY underground! lol [ Big A ] : As far as developing skills we used to record freestyles in da booth witta lil tape player back in the day. [ Zipp ] : Yeah... We developed da love 4 this shit, uknowhatimsayin? We developed da love for Hip Hop growing up listening to some of our influences like N.W.A., Keak, Agerman, Too Short nawhatimean... [ Big A ] : Mac Dre, E-40, Tech N9ne, Brotha Lynch just 2 mention a couple of them. [ Zipp ] : Mac Mall, Spice 1, Yuk. [ Smokey ] : Pac, Scarface, Eazy E, DJ Quik, Daz & Kurupt, Crooked I, Andre Nickatina etc. [ Young Truth ] : I've been freestyling since I was like 2 or 3, so that actually gave me a lil background. After i got older those days came in handy. And of course I got to soak up some of the greatest music throughout my life, and all of it plays a part in what I do in the studio. [ Zipp ] : Actually we got our big influence from Smokey, because if it wasn't for him basically we wouldn't be in da studio therefore we wouldn't even be rappin. [ Big A ] : Real talk, because this wasn't my destination. [ Young Truth ] : I most likely would still, but not at this level this quick. [ Zipp ] : What did my nigga Spice 1 say manye? [starts singin] "if it wasnt 4 this rappin" straight up so public nawhatimean all everybody in da world mayne thank Smokey because it could have been your kids gettin robbed next... but I'm rappin though. [ Smokey ] : Shout out 2 your kids lol... [ Zipp ] : Yeah buy da album! [laughin]
[ BayUndaground.com ] : How would you describe your music? Who is it mainly directed to? Is it for the local audience or more universal?
[ Smokey ] : Well as far as Da We Mobb's album & their sound, it's well rounded. I tried to create an album that when u put it on, u can just let it ride. I think that it covers a lot of different moods and situations from a Bay Area perspective. In a way I would say it's mainly directed towards da streets, because it's a street album, but we tried to include songs so that there is somethin for everybody & I think that in the end we accomplished that with songs like "She's Independent", "Da Town Behind Me", "Out Here Hustlin", "Bad Day" & "Da We Mobb" that showed our versatility. There's somethin on this album for everybody, yet it's still true to the West Coast sound that we love out here with songs like "Who's Da Dopest", "Da Show", " Get Money", "Addicted 2 Da Game", "U Can't Say Dat & "Call It What Uu Want" etc. [ Zipp ] : Everybody got their own different aspect of thinkin on da album. I'm just tryin to touch everybody man. I'm not even tryin to touch them, I just want them to listen, because basically what I pictured this album is as a rookie album and for it catch on to people's ears and catch on to da Da We Mobb sound, then that's when we really hit their ass! I felt like this album is more local, but I would like to touch people on the East Coast & other places too. [ Big A ] : That's what we got songs like "Da Show" for, so u can realize & relate what it's like out here & what goes on if u ain't from here. [ Young Truth ] : "Da Show" was motivated by sideshows out here & da whole culture. [ Smokey ] : Yeah, I don't want that song bein confused with bein labeled simply as a "hyphy song" only because the essence of that song is somethin that represents us, where we're from and how we been gettin down out here for many moons, ya digg. I wanted the listener to experience a sideshow if they ain't never been to East Oakland on da strip at 2:00am on a Friday or Saturday night. Custom made potent slap for ya trunk mayne, have ya fosgate's cookin... [ Zipp ] : "Da Town Behind Me" was focused mainly on how we get down on our daily routines & niggaz on da block, u feel me? [ Smokey ] : Shout out to my comrad Safi Da One aka "Da Sydeshow King" for flatlining that track mayne! What it do pimp! [ Zipp ] : Now "Who's Da Dopest" that was motivation right there, uknowhatimean, that's motivation to ourselves. Some people can find comfort in that song. [ Young Truth ] : We just gettin off on rappers man, takin niggaz heads off with that one. Not playin with em, lettin em know. [ Big A ] : It was an eye opener to da nonbelievers. [ Young Truth ] : [starts rappin Zipp's part] "I got game like EA Sports/ And if a nigga try me, u gon see they corpse" [ Zipp ] : Uhhhh! [ Smokey ] : The hook of "End Of Da Nite" got a story behind it. [laughs] [ Young Truth ] : Man, we was goin hard in the studio one day finishing up the LP, and I stepped up so close to the mic and ended up breaking the mic stand. Me & my bro Snoopy and Zipp ended up just comin up wit an acapella that turned into [the hook], Smokey caught wind of us walkin around singin the hook and got an idea that transformed everything to "End Of Da Nite". [ Zipp ] : "Da We Mobb" was more chill uknowhatimsayin... What u feel when u hit four mil, u feel me? U get that good feelin in ur body like "yeeeaaahhh" unawmean?! [ Smokey ] : Shout out to Booyah for blessing da track with da funk. Chuuurchh!! [ Young Truth ] : "Da We Mobb" was kinda spontaneous. Got some cash in yo pocket while u on da freeway, ain't no police behind u lol. [ Smokey ] : Speakin of "Bad Day"? [ Zipp ] : "Bad Day" I feel like it was more on people like "fuck" ufeelme? Goin thru their lil bad day, but just to let em know it's just a day. [ Young Truth ] : Reflectin on when times wasn't da greatest and just wantin to turn that into a track & have that whole mood. We need that mood too, because that happens too. Niggaz just ain't always partying, it be bullshit goin on. We know niggaz everywhere is havin they bad day too. [ Zipp ] : Like it's just that day bruh... Let that shit go ufeelme... But u gotta be able to really bounce back from that & see yourself & look at it like fuck. We have an album people can relate to from different times and struggles. Now when it comes to a song like "U Can't Say Dat" that's... that's a song that we had to get a legend for that too, man. "U Can't Say Dat" was like nigga! Aye for real for real like?? Niggaz talk shit.... [ Young Truth ] : We just had to really show em somethin like u can't say that we ain't nothin! [ Zipp ] : And u can't say dat, we don't be in da hood or we ain't came from da hood, ufeelme? We ain't did none of that uknowhatimsayin? If anything that's da album anthem right there, ufeelme?! You can't say we don't be in da streets, u can't say a nigga don't smoke, u can't say a nigga ain't from da block. U can't even justify that even with thought dogg, for real. [ Smokey ] : I wanted to include some skits on da album, because hip hop & comedy go together hand in hand, I know u remember "In Living Color" right? That was da shit! I felt it complemented da album, gave it some character & gave da listeners some more insight on who we are & our personalities as opposed of just havin songs only. Real talk with all of da drama, situations & problems goin on everywhere everyday people need somethin to laugh at every once in a while, ya digg. R.I.P. Bernie Mac! [ Young Truth ] : We got somethin that gon hit home everywhere whether it's, even if it's custom made, some of da songs we do have, yeah they custom made for da Bay or da West Coast but everybody can feel it anywhere! It's a lot of outta state niggaz that's feelin da Bay, period. [ Smokey ] : We have had cats from Kansas City, Colorado, Atlanta, Houston, New York, Louisiana etc hittin us up sayin that they are feelin our music. [ Young Truth ] : All over da place I gotta cousin from St. Louis who feelin da album. It's so much that we try to do & so many areas that we touch it's up to da people 2 decide. [ Zipp ] : It's a variety. We even got "She's Independent" which is our our radio single for da ladies! I just touched on a lotta stuff that I needed to touch in my heart, u feel me, it was heart baseded off da chest straight to yall!
[ BayUndaground.com ] : You are from Oakland where pretty many young artists emerged from recently. What makes Da We Mobb different from dozens of other up-and-coming rappers and crews?
[ Zipp ] : Da We Mobb is different, because we come from 3 different parts of da town. It's different. My grimy is a different grimy than East Oakland & East Oakland is a different grimy than North Oakland, so what makes us different is we got diversity- our shit is just unique man.... It's like u know a lotta people talk about killin, killin, killin, killin, selling drugs... we talk about all dat! [everybody's laughing] [ Young Truth ] : But for real, we just aim to touch every area as far as rap, not on no extra'd out I killed 1,000 people shit, like these rap guys [laughs] [ Zipp ] : : I think we're different, because we try to touch different places in each hood. Ain't no hood diifferent, it's just they get down & how they do their shit that's different, but ain't no hood nigga different. [ Young Truth ] : That's why niggaz recognize that. We not tryin too hard & not tryin to follow nobody else's sound or trend. [ Zipp ] : U gotta lotta mothafuckas out here swag jackin! [ Young Truth ] : We got that We Mobb sound, that's not somebody else!
[ BayUndaground.com ] : So, let's get back to your debut self titled project. Smokey once told me it took you about 4 years to record it. Why does it take so long? Some people manage to do it in a couple of months, or even weeks.
[ Young Truth ] : Some songs were made at different times. We had songs that we were recording that weren't planned for any album and by the time we had the idea to do the album we was like okay BAM BAM we want these songs, because they were still good songs. [ Zipp ] : I moved & I was doin my thang somewhere else, not really trippin about it, ufeelme, I lost da love. But I had to find it again, unawmean? Smokey found me in Feb 2009 & I came back, because we decided that we wanted to finish Da We Mobb album & shoot some videos. But the same time we wanted to take our time with because we didn't want to just rush no album or rush no mixtapes. [ Young Truth ] : Da whole light bulb came & popped up for da album like a year & a half ago, so da actual recording of da album was about a 7 months total as far as preparing it to be released & it bein somethin that people can anticipate. [ Smokey ] : We made tracks for the fuck of it back in da day and we had a few tracks that sparked da whole album some of which we kept. We finally clicked back up in April of 2009 and locked down in da studio, finished the album & got all da tracks done including skits mixed & mastered by late December 09. Our goal was to finish what we started, make a good album, launch this company & we accomplished that.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Was it acclaimed well? Are you generally happy with the outcome and feedback?
[ Young Truth ] : Yeah. [ Zipp ] : For da people we gave the cd to - they loved it. It plays in their shit like any Jay-Z or Keak Da Sneak, uknowhatimean? [ Young Truth ] : Yeah, u got people who look up to us like... [ Zipp ] : Little kids mayne, I be in da West, lil kids be like "there goes Zipp"! [ Young Truth ] : We bigger than the biggest rappers to a lot of people, to a considerable amount of people. [ Zipp ] : And once we get to everybody's ears, we gon be da shit, but yes, we are generally happy with da feedback. [ Big A ] : Yeah, I agree. [ Smokey ] : Yeah, we are real happy with all of da feedback we got so far. We got a lot of positive feedback from da streets out here & I was amazed to see people slappin da album all over da world. I've seen it online in Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, India, France, Germany, Iceland etc. What's good Poland! Besides the entire Bay Area I spent some time promoting in Denver Colorado & have had a lot of good feedback from out there as well. We're tryin to get out a lot more to touch as many more areas as we can.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Yeah, I handed out the promo copies as well and heard good feedback. The project came out under Yay Area Entertainment. Who else is on the roster? Tell us something more about the label itself.
[ Smokey ] : Yay Area Ent. is myself, Da We Mobb (Young Truth, Zipp, Big A), Safi Da One, D Stunna, B. Frazier, Dj Ham Da Hogg & a new artist we are workin with named A.P.B. who we will introduce to da world on our next project - the "Yay Area Entertainment EP" which will be available later this Summer. Yay Area Ent. is the definition of independent hustle. Growing up out here in da Bay we watched Too Short, E-40 & Sic Wid It, Mac Dre & Thizz, JT & Get Low, even Master P & N.W.A. and so many others go from pushin their product outta trunk to havin long lasting careers in this game. The music is the most important thing, we want to build a strong catalog. The founding members of Y.A.E. first started makin music around 1999. We waited until 2010 to finally release our 1st project, because we felt da game was oversaturated, we wanted to bring quality to the marketplace not quantity, but more importantly we were perfecting our craft over the years & laying down the foundation for the company. We pride ourselves in creating a new dynasty for California & the entire West Coast that can consistently make classic albums & contribute to our culture out here. [ Young Truth ] : Y.A.E. has been there from da start for Da We Mobb. It's always been us in conjunction with that. It's never been... it wasn't a pickup thing. This is how we started, this is us. We are Yay Area Entertainment. Smokey showed us how to give it everything we got just like he does, and we came out with this. [ Big A ] : Put it like this: Yay Area Entertainment... it's everything. Without that there wouldn't be no We Mobb, there wouldn't be no tracks comin out from me, Zipp or Young Truth. [ Zipp ] : Hell naw, u wouldn't hear some from shit from me! I'll be on everybody's shit talkin about [starts singin] "hallelujah, good evening I want ya"!
[ BayUndaground.com ] : You released your project in a very professional digipak, instead of a normal jewel case, let alone slim case. Is it sort of a counterbalance for "digital onlies" being popular lately?
[ Smokey ] : Yeah, I felt like we had to play our part by coming with quality product from the West Coast and have somethin extra for the consumer & da streets, especially at a time when da focus has been going strictly digital and record stores are goin out of business. I feel like in a time when radio isn't really supporting their local artists in their own markets, that the presentation has to be on point. As long as we can we will continue to press up physical cds, we will, because the artwork is integral to the project and concept of the album, but most importantly u get the music at it's highest quality. When music gets downgraded to mp3 it loses some sound quality. U lose some essence, feeling, even bass. The average consumer won't care, but there are still people out there who care about things like that. That's why Dre can sell 350.00 headphones in a recession, ya digg lol... [ Zipp ] : We think about how people wanna be treated. Shit that cd... I'll go get that mothafucka! [everybody's laughing] [ Young Truth ] : We wanted to be upfront 3D in people's faces. We don't want to be listened to on a bunch of damn computer speakers or just plain cd-r's, we want somebody to see our face & our name & our likeness & be able to to feel it in their hands, somethin that they can take with em, not in a damn iPod that can get dropped & get erased. [ Zipp ] : But at da same people can still put it up into iTunes, nawmean, but the cd was a unique cd, u get da logo & it was limited edition too!
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Do you feel that there's a threat for music to become strictly digital, with no units being pressed? Do you think it would be beneficial for both listeners and artists?
[ Young Truth ] : Yeah, I think that soon, digital will be the only medium for music and cds will be old news. I don't agree with the whole thing, because discs carry another type of value. [ Zipp ] : I think it would be a danger for them to stop makin cds, well not a danger, u gonna miss a lot of da cd, because once u start goin to your iPod u can look at da shit, but real hip hop fans who want da cd is gonna buy da cd, so I say print the cds - IT'S GONNA SELL MUTHAFUCKA HAHA!!! [everybody's laughing] [ Young Truth ] : Gotta be able to play da shit in da car. I say hell no, it takes away from the integrity of things sort of it's like... [ Smokey ] : I think there's a value when u got a good package & it's got that artwork that ties in with the concept of the album. U get a complete package & - like I said before - with da sound quality bein on point & the ability 2 put it in your cpu/ipod/cell phones whenever u feel like it. U can't forget about da streets though. I think it's important for artists to keep hittin da pavement in different cities to promote, put posters up & give away free samples, cds, inserts or whatever. We showed love & passed out free product to cities all over da Bay like Vallejo, Oakland, San Francisco, San Leandro, East Palo Alto, San Jose, Hayward, Fremont, Newark, Richmond, Berkeley, Concord, Pittsburg, Sacramento and many many more, That combined with an online presence allows your music to give the listeners the full experience, but the music still gotta have that quality. With that said I need to say it's important for whatever retail stores that are left these days to support their local artists, because what I'm seein a lot of out here in da Bay Area is some "not all", but some of the remaining stores have been making it more and more difficult for local artists to promote their albums & real talk I'm seein more and more employees who maintain and work in the rap sections who "don't even like rap music", sabotaging artists' albums' exposure by throwing out da free posters and promo products we leave, that was intended for the people & simply "forgetting" to restock artists' albums. They won't even let u put a poster up at most of the stores out here these days, it's fucked up. I worked at a music store specifically to learn da retail game. I learned a lot & I know when I see some foul shit goin on. It's bad enough radio support for breaking local artists is slim to none out here, but now u got people playing with our money & careers at a time when we are trying to give the people somethin free in the recession, ya digg. In a sense some cats out here is lettin the coast down. After Pac died the media & the industry shook us and instead of uniting together to fight them back, some of us fought ourselves and others got into da game for the wrong reasons and made a lot of shitty music... maybe not intentionally [laughs] and it affected us. Radio & retail is in disarray out here. The retail record store is slowly but surely dying. It's sad that they ain't doin their job - workin and helpin their local artists out. The culture suffers from it... People come out here to California from all over da world & when they hit a record store out here all they see is Lil Wayne & Lady Gaga posters & shit. Not to take nothin away from those artists, but u get my point. But this is where digital can be beneficial, because then u can bypass some of the retail politics & reach people in a much broader way. We are trying to be part of da solution.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Smokey, tell us something more about you as a producer. What kind of equipment do you use? What were your beginnings?
[ Smokey ] : Like a lot of other producers/artists before myself, I was inspired by Hip Hop real tough while growing up. Productionwise I was influenced by producers like Dr. Dre, DJ Quik, Daz, DJ Khalil, Quincy Jones, Roger & Zapp, Parliament Funkadelic, Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Johnny J, Fred Wreck, Soopafly, Rick Rock, Mike Mosely, Ant Banks, Khayree, Focus, Cold 187um, Bud'da, RZA, Tone Capone, One Drop Scott, Battlecat, The Hitmen, Premo, Mike Dean and that whole Rap-A-Lot sound. I think the defining moment was the day I was in 5th grade & I asked my grandmother (R.I.P.) to take me to the warehouse music store, so I could go cop Dr. Dre's Chronic album. I remember listening to it on my discman, amazed at what I was hearing. That album had a profound effect on me & made me realize what I wanted to do with my life, which was make music. Growing up out here in the East Bay was da shit. It was always somethin poppin out here somewhere... some good, some bad, u could feel it in da air. I felt like I wanted to make a soundtrack for our lifestyle someway, somehow & at da time we were all inspired by what OG's like Snoop, 2Pac, Deathrow, Ice Cube,40, Short, C-Bo, Luniz, Mac Dre, 3xKrazy were doin musically for our state/region. Da game is real potent in da Bay & to a youngsta livin with his grandparents I was real influenced by what da OG's was doin & what was goin on in da streets out here & started hustlin which got me kicked outta school.
I got sent to Bohannon Continuation School in 10th grade where me & Safi got cool around that time. He stayed right up da street so we was always gettin lit, goin to sideshows, playin Nintendo 64, kickin it at da G.H.T. with our patnas. I knew he was good at rappin, 'cause he would battle cats at da G.H.T. and at school & he was holdin his own 4 real. Around 1996 we had a patna named Chris & he was the 1st person who introduced me to studio equipment. He had a mic, a 4-track & a lil cheap ass keyboard. Safi & I would go over there & freestyle on the mic, just fuckin around & I was trippin on how everything worked. I needed some equipment & so I made some moves, ya digg. In da Summer of '99 I came up on some paper and bought 8-track and a mic. I started making beats in late 1999. I started out in a group called Da 4-Jahz which stood for "4 souljahz". It was myself and my patnas Safi, Dee Dojah & Cuzzo Ron. I produced for everybody in our camp back in da day. We were workin on starting a record label called 510 Records to rep where in da Bay we were from, kinda like 213 did for da L.B.C. back in da day. When we 1st started, we were using a Fostex 8-Track that recorded onto a zip drive & a cheap ass Casio keyboard using my Aiwa stereo to monitor & record to cassette tape. When we 1st started we didn't have a sequencer and back then I didn't know any better, so I would just record each track one at a time for 3-4 mins each, but shit it worked lol. Not too long after that we came up on a Akai 2000XL & it was a wrap! Back then we were always in da studio, constantly perfecting our skills & learning. U can say that we were students of da game. Our philosophy was always quality over quantity, because by working in a local Rasputins store in Newark, Ca for a few months I learned how saturated da game really was & I seen a lot of people put a lot of money & time into something that went unnoticed & bein that I knew that is what I wanted to do with my life, I wanted a different outcome, so I was takin notice & figuring out what da game was missing & needed. I went to protools school for a hot second all awhile steady producing/writing/conceptualizing new material. By this time my group had temporarily went their separate ways due to life situations etc.
I met my homie D-Boy while we were both workin at the L.P.C. Cannabis Club in Hayward a few years back. I got my first placement which was early '09 on a song called "Rydin" on his debut album "Natural Born Hustlah". In April '09 I reunited with Da We Mobb & we continued workin on their debut LP. Eventually around Summer of 2009 I had OG Joe Cool - who is Snoop's cousin - design our logo & bring our vision to life. Once I got better situated with da company, I started networking a lot more & decided to complete & release Da We Mobb's album, because by this time I knew they were ready. After a while I started to do show mixes & produce for established artists like Agerman from 3xKrazy. I did a track on his new album Mr. Curtis called "I'm Dat One", that's that vintage Agerman, O.G. still beastin on em! Over the years I have used a lot of different equipment. For this particular album is used an Akai 2000XL, 3000LE & a 2500 for drums & sequencing. As far as synths go, I have used everything from a Triton Studio/Extreme, Motif ES/XS, Roland Fantom/JP8000, a touch of turntables & some other anonymous secret ingredients - let's just say I love da sound of analog synths & there are some dope ass soft synths out there too. A lot of shit comes and it goes, but real talk I'll use anything if it got dope sounds, it don't matter to me. I really don't use samples that much, even though it is the essence of Hip Hop, I try to discipline myself on not relying on sampling too much. I'd rather make somethin original that sounds sampled. I like to implement live instrumentation if I can sometimes. Everything gets recorded into Protools... Protools is da shit!
[ BayUndaground.com ] : You left one verse on Da We Mobb's project. Are you planning to get more into rapping itself or rather stick to beats?
[ Smokey ] : Yeah, I write, rap, record, but production is my main focus. However they are all equally important. I wrote da hook on "U Can't Say Dat" and performed it with Agerman. "Tonite We Gonna Smoke" was.... I think was the oldest song on da project. I did that verse a few years ago, kinda just to motivate them in da beginning of recording da project. It wasn't gonna even make da album, but it got a good reaction, when we performed it & as of today it's still the number one song on Da We Mobb's MySpace page, so we we said fuck it, put it on da album. I would compare myself to a Dr. Dre "type" of artist/producer as far as my style in "making albums" goes. Meaning for the most part I normally give most of my tracks to all of my artists on the label, but sometimes I make a track that I gravitate to, sometimes I write to it, while I'm making the track and I might hang on to those. As a producer it's my job to create da landscape & decide who complements da track the best. I like to create complete albums that have a concept. I don't have any interest in just making albums full of songs, they have to be cohesive in a sense. I grew up in a time where people used to anticipate albums and appreciate music more. Albums like "Chronic 2001", "Doggystyle", "Makaveli", "The Predator", "Life After Death", "Thriller", "Dogg Food", "Stackin Chips", "Reasonable Doubt", "Bow Down", "Season Of Da Siccness", "The Diary", "Death Certificate", "Ready To Die", "All Eyez On Me", "In A Major Way", "Get In Where U Fit In", all Dre's & DJ Quik's shit were all classics in my mind, because they were cohesive... We got to find a way to get the world's attention again with this. That's my main goal - to create classic albums, period.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : You once told me that one track (probably "End Of Da Nite") lost its feel during mastering phase. How's that possible?
[ Smokey ] : When u mix & master an album, sometimes there are compromises depending on the situation. For instance if the mixing engineer ain't using da same plugins (eq's etc.) during mixing that I used while recording, the character of da track or vocals is gonna change a little. Those issues will be more evident after u get the final master. While mastering u have to make compromises, for example using compression that might tighten up or improve the majority of the track, but at da same time it might affect or mask other elements. But it is what it is, we're learning more everyday. Sound quality is very important to me, I'm confident that I'll get it down in time.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : What's the future looking like for Da We Mobb? What are your next moves?
[ Smokey ] : We are planning to re-release Da We Mobb "Deluxe Edition" later on this year. It will have a few remixes, improvements & additions as well as bein remastered. [ Young Truth ] : We got da "Yay Area Entertainment EP" that we are churning out rite now. After that... [ Zipp ] : We got "The Prophecy" too... [ Young Truth ] : Yeah, we gonna be in there workin on gettin "The Prophecy" out. That's gonna be da shit... dat's gonna be da shit, that, man... ya'll better stop playin right now before... man. [ Zipp ] : And we are also workin on da 2nd We Mobb album called "Da Mobb Bosses" [ Young Truth ] : Shhhhhhhhhh!
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Have you considered going solo or is it more of a group thing for now?
[ Zipp ] : Fuck these niggaz mayne... lol. Naw, I like da group thang. [ Young Truth ] : I say I'ma do my thang, but it's a group thang forever, because this is where I started with, uknowhatimean. This is man.... it's us, it's us, we ain't never gonna stop bein Da We Mobb. It ain't never gonna be no... [ Zipp ] : U just hearin me on da whole cd, u feel me? Nawmean? [ Young Truth ] : Exactly, exactly. It's gonna be like they right there. [ Zipp ] : Basically. [ Young Truth ] : U see, a Young Truth album, u gonna see these niggaz in every damn video, gettin on your nerves and u gonna be wantin us to be mad at each other for there to be some bullshit lol. [ Zipp ] : I think we gonna contrast on both of em. [ Young Truth ] : Exactly, 'cause it's still a family.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : And before we leave what else are you working on? What are the upcoming releases we should look forward to from Yay Area Entertainment?
[ Smokey ] : As of right now I'm workin on completing the "Yay Area Entertainment EP" which will be available later on this Summer for FREE in da streets and it will also be available on-line as a FREE DOWNLOAD on our MySpace page as well as yayareaentertainment.com. The next full-length release from the label will be my 1st album entitled "The Prophecy" which should be available 2nd quarter of 2011. Also I am in the beginning stages of workin on Da We Mobb's sophomore album entitled "Da Mobb Bosses" as well as the debut solo from Young Truth and also a solo album for our newest artist/We Mobb affiliate A.P.B. with those release dates T.B.A. I am also workin hard on updating the websites, they should be updated in time for the release of the EP this Summer. Look out for the "Get Money" video & additional videos from Da We Mobb's debut album this Summer as well. Our merchandise is currently available for sale in different colors and sizes on yayareaentertainment.com. We also hope to start a weekly music video show as well as an on-line radio show which I will reveal more about in the future. That's pretty much what we got goin on for right now. Support West Coast music!!!
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Before we end the interview do you guys have any shout outs?
[ Zipp ] : Shout out to da Laalups, ufeelme! Was happenin! Good lookin for da "Town Behind Me", ufeelme, that was a dope ass track, we had go & collaborate do our thang dogg! I'd like to give a shout out to my mama, what's up Valerie Staples! What it do! I'd like to give a shout out to Sherry, Brotha Steve, u feel me? Enzo Lorenzo! Dame - Dangerous Dame what's happenin!! My lil brother Pizzy, Toby, Lil Josh. To my money makers. We out here mayne! [ Young Truth ] : I'd like to give a shout out to everybody that's been pushin with us & everybody involved with da album, whether it was behind da scenes or in front of a mothafucka face. Shout outs to everybody I got that's gone, I'm talkin about in da walls & in da ground. [ Zipp ] : Shout outs 2 Jason for doin da videos- good look look look! [ Smokey ] : Yeah good lookin out Jase - it wasn't low budget, it was no budget! [ Young Truth ] : Shout out to Zipp for pourin me some water in da booth, so I can be hydrated well, uknowhatimsayin. Thanks to A for smokin another blunt, so I could smoke anotha blunt, so I could hit it & get a lil bit of motivation in my body, knowhatimean? [ Big A ] : Say "No" to drugs! [ Young Truth ] : Big shout out to Smokey for really motivating me while I was spittin my raps, uknowwhatimsayin. Shou tout 2 Safi Da One, D Stunna! [ Zipp ] : Shout outs to N.W.A, ufeelme. Shoutout to da 4-Jahz. Shout out to Poland! [ Young Truth ] : Shout outs to Dame man, for writing my raps haha... Snoopy, A.P.B. Shoutout to all of dat track money Zipp tryin to make - get his. [ Zipp ] : Yeah mayne, shout out to Dangerous Dame, mayne! Shout out to my shoes & these bubble gum hoes for puttin it down with their cuteleg bootleg money, uknowhatimsayin? [ Big A ] : Thank god for my mama & all my family for their support! And I thank my producer for lettin me in. [ Smokey ] : Thanks to the Lord for our blessings. And shout outs to BayUndaground.com for our 1st interview, my son Damien, Safi Da One, D Stunna, the entire Yay Area Entertainment family, E-40 for the advice & motivation, O.G. Joe Cool, Agerman, D-Boy, Jenoah, Tellie, Jason, 4-Jahz, Joker, Treetopp, Ham, Fuckin Moe, Frank Hererra, Balance, Q, Booyah, all the DJ's, magazines, websites & stores who support upcoming artists, everybody before us who laid da foundation, everybody who supports our music, the entire West Coast and all real muthafuckaz worldwide!!! Y.A.E.
All of you who are interested can buy a copy of the self titled debut at CD Baby for $9.99 and visit the group's MySpace page.
Big props to Smokey for organizing the whole interview!