05 July 2010
[ BayUndaground.com ] : What's good Loco, please introduce yourself.
[ Mr. Loco ] : What's poppin' dogg? Yeah this right here is ya boy Mr. Loco aka Loc Da Smoke reppin' the 415, North Bay Area and I also gotta give a shout out to my folks out in Malmo, Sweden!
[ BayUndaground.com ] : I read on the Internet that when you were 10 years old you left Bay Area for Sweden. Tell us more about it.
[ Mr. Loco ] : Well it's a long story, but to make it simple, my family that I grew up with in Cali was heavily involved in the dope business. My step father that my mom was married to at the time got locked up in '88 and got sentenced to 15 to life and my mom passed away in '91 and it was all because of the lifestyle they were living. After my mom passed away my real father who I had only met a few times in the past, flew over to California to take me to Sweden and that's the reason I left.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : How long did you stay in Europe?
[ Mr. Loco ] : 15 years.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : How would you compare lifestyles in both locations?
[ Mr. Loco ] : Well, Sweden is a western country just like America, there's a lot of similar things and there's also a lot of different things in the culture. They have a better system too with better health care, but what's not that good is finding jobs unless you got a good education and if you don't get a good job, you get stuck in the projects just like in the US. The projects over there are probably just as bad as the projects in the US, they're overrun by drugs, weapons and money. You have the small time street hustlers selling grams and you got the mobs who run the drugs, prostitution, guns and all that. In the neighborhood I lived, we had the Yugo-Mafia runnin' shit and they were not to be fucked around with. These things you would never find out unless you live in Sweden, because they don't want the real truth coming out, but it started too slowly. They even had a story on Fox News and CBN News about Malmo, Sweden that you can look up on youtube. Although they are not completely correct in what they talk about, because they are saying the whole thing is because of Muslims which is a lie created by the media. It's not just the Muslims doing shit out there, it's the different organizations like the biker gangs Hells Angels and Bandidos or the eastern European mafias like the Yugos or the Russians and even Swedes are involved in the shit too. When I lived out there I lost a whole bunch of friends to drugs, suicides and murders. The murders over there mostly happen for a bigger reason than in the US. Here we got trigger happy youngsters who just wanna earn stripes and will shoot somebody for nothing and yes that happens there too, but on a smaller scale. You can do your research though and you'll find out about all the shit I'm talking about. It's been going on for years, the Hells Angels showed up there in the 90's and that's when the war between them and the Bandidos started which has been going on ever since off and on and now Sweden's in a recession too, so you already know it's getting worse.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : So, how did your rap experience really begin? How did you hook up with Mike Mosley and Steady Mobbin?
[ Mr. Loco ] : My first rap experience was when I was a kid honestly, my step brother got me listening to Beastie Boys and the Fat Boys when I was 4 years old and then when I was 8 my mom came home with Ice-T's album "Power" and she used to tell me to listen to the track "High Rollers" because that's what she was and since then I was hooked! Now to jump in to the future to answer the next part of the question, in 2005 I heard about Mike Mosley was looking for new artists on West Coast Rydaz, I think it was and I went to his website and I sent an e-mail with a song attached to it. About 30 minutes later, to my surprise I had got a reply, saying that he liked my work and for me to contact DJ Pimp which is Mike Mosley's manager, so I did and after that everything started moving forward.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : So what happened next?
[ Mr. Loco ] : They both schooled me in the game and showed me a lot of support. Everything was digital though at that time, because I was working on proving myself in the game as a serious artist and I did shows all around Europe. I focused my grind on the world, not just local and I succeeded very well, but at the same time, my name was less known in the Bay except for many of the known rappers, they knew who I was, just not the local listeners. Assassin who was mentoring me is also one of the late Tupac Shakur's old friends and member of the Thug Life movement and through him I got a bunch of connections and was able to do tracks with Mopreme Shakur, Big Syke, San Quinn and JT The Bigga Figga, actually the homies OE and Jesse James of West Turf made the JT collabo really happen, but I still wanna involve Assassin's name in it, because if it wasn't for him, I don't think it would've happened anyway. Assassin also helped me get some Ice-T vocals to remix and since he was working with Ice-T on a new project he put in a good word for me with him as well and so did DJ Pimp. See I've put in a whole lot of hard work, gave away around 20-30 FREE mixtapes, worked with legends, made part of the legendary movement Steady Mobbin and I'm really close with Thug Life and the Outlawz as well and it's all been because of the net, so I love the Internet, it's just a great tool and a great way to get your music out there.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Which countries you visited on your tours?
[ Mr. Loco ] : I've been to Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Mallorca, Crete and I also performed on the cruise from Sweden to Poland.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : How would you compare the US audience / rap listeners to the one in Europe?
[ Mr. Loco ] : The US rap audience is bigger then Sweden's of course, but to the rest of Europe, I don't really know how I would describe it. I haven't been to all of Europe, but Germany for example had a real big hip-hop scene. When I was on the Spanish island of Mallorca we got a whole bunch of love too! Everywhere we went we were showed love, so I guess that could answer your question. Oh yeah and one more thing, over there the clubs pay you, they don't make the artists buy tickets to sell first with up and coming artists like they do here. Shit even though I've been around the world and I've done songs with all the legends that I've worked with, the clubs over here for some reason still don't know about who I am, so they ask me to pay them, I'm like fuck that, I don't go to work and pay, I go to work and get paid, that is my principle.
Anyway back to the audience part. I can also say that the hip-hop audience in Europe care more about the culture and the 4 elements (DJ'ing, Emcee'ing, Graffiti and Break Dancing) of hip-hop then they do here. It's rare over here, because I'm sorry to say it, but the main thing everybody cares about is getting paid and you can hear it in the watered down mainstream, it's sad. It's like Nas said, hip-hop is dead, but I gotta disagree because it still lives in the underground.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : You say you released over 20-30 mixtapes. That's an enormous amount, so we'll probably not get into details about each and every one. However please elaborate on the milestones.
[ Mr. Loco ] : My biggest accomplishments on the mixtapes I can say are these 4 mixtapes:
"Global Hustlin' Vol. 2: Back in The Bay", mainly because it was my first mixtape when I got back to the Bay and it was very successful online with a lot of known features and producers.
"4 Tha Thugz & Guttar Folk", because this was hosted by DJ King Assassin, 2pac's OG producer and member of the Thug Life movement and not only was he on it, me and DLEMMA also got most of the Outlawz (not just the group, but the movement) and Thug Life members down on it too! It was a major accomplishment! This project featured Mopreme Shakur, Big Syke, Assassin, Young Noble, Hussein Fatal, Mr. Muszamil and it also had a couple of Pac remixes on there too.
"4 Tha Thugz & Gutta Folk Vol. 2", because it was a follow-up to the first one and had the same concept, except this time we did it ourselves without it being hosted by the homie Assassin and we also dedicated the mixtape to Rated R from Thug Life who is locked up right now!
"Tha Disciple Of An Assassin" is my favorite "solo" mixtape I've ever made! It's not really 100% a solo, because there's actually only 2 solo songs on there and all the rest are features and it features people like JT The Bigga Figga, Ice-T, Big Fase 100, Greedy Da 554 Boy, Assassin and many more. This mixtape was also made in dedication to the big homie Assassin who has been there for me through thick and thin and he has taught me so much about the game, I just got a lot of love for the homie, he is my OG who I learn shit from, real talk!
[ BayUndaground.com ] : I understand that it is needful nowadays to drop a couple of free, Internet mixtapes to make a little buzz. However why did you decide to continue doing it? You felt your name still didn't ring bells?
[ Mr. Loco ] : No that's not why, the reason why I put out so much free shit is because I love hip hop, I'm not in it for the money all the way and all my free shit, I also sold physical copies of it in the streets.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : You were once surprised that BayUndaground.com doesn't review digital music. What would you say to person who claims that "it is not a full-fledged cd unless it's pressed"?
[ Mr. Loco ] : Because artists put in a lot of work in their music rather it be in digital or physical format, it doesn't matter. 1 song can take hours to make sometimes, there's a lot of work behind it and today we are in the "cyber-era", so it just doesn't make since why somebody would disregard an album, just because it only exists in digital format. Sometimes that's where you find the best hip-hop these days. If you're just gonna buy CD's means you ain't never gonna find the real underground hip-hop where people still keep it real and are about message rather then money. That's the reason I am surprised that you guys disregard all the real shit in mp3 format.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : But still, don't you think that pressing gives an artist a better recognition?
[ Mr. Loco ] : Actually no, I don't, because just because you press something, it doesn't mean you can get it out all over the world and it doesn't mean everybody's gonna buy it either. Of course I like a pressed CD better than mp3s too, but in this day and age, there are very few real CD's I go buy, because hip-hop is not what it use to be. Hip-hop is in a state of emergency right now, the mainstream is really killin it'.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : How is it killin' it?
[ Mr. Loco ] : Mainstream is all about a product they're selling, there's not much heart in mainstream these days. Back in the 80's and 90's we had real rappers talking about real life issues and now we have people who come up with new dances, talk about how much money they got, how many cars they drive, how much bling they got and so on and in my opinion that is not hip hop! That is commercialized shit, it's all product with good looks on the outside, but once you open the wrapper and check out what's on the inside, it's empty with no real meaning to it. I can't say all rappers in the mainstream are bad, I like The Game, 50 Cent, Eminem, Nas, Ice Cube and a few others, but that's because they ain't sellin' out, they are stickin' to the basics with a few exceptional club tracks that they gotta make for the album anyway. Even Pac did club shit, but he also did real deep music and that deepness is what the industry's missing these days.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Now this Summer brought your new official solo album - tell us more about it.
[ Mr. Loco ] : It's called "OG Status" and features some of the dopest artists in the game like Big Fase 100, Assassin, San Quinn, Mopreme Shakur, JT and many more! It's available in digital and physical format and has 2 versions of the album, both have 2 tracks that are on one, but not on the next and vice versa.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : And why did you decide to press this one? Where can people buy it?
[ Mr. Loco ] : Because I got a distribution deal through Who?Mag which is the home of KRS One, Just Ice, Assassin and many others. The album is available at CD Baby, eBay, itunes, Amazon and many other outlets too!
[ BayUndaground.com ] : You also released a mixtape tribute to 2Pac. Please elaborate on this project. What do you think of Pac's legacy and its impact on contemporary rap?
[ Mr. Loco ] : Pac was the greatest of all time, there will never be another! His music meant so much to me growing up, he really made an impact on my life. His legacy lives on through his homies from Thug Life and the Outlawz and they pass down the knowledge to us who are down with the family. I'm not part of any of the movements, so don't get me wrong, but I am affiliated with Thug Life and Assassin and Mopreme have both made major impacts on my life through music, teachings and much more.
[ BayUndaground.com ] : What are the upcoming plans for you as an artist?
[ Mr. Loco ] : Right now I'm working with a new group called Badd Blood with the homie Pen St8 (formerly known as Kilo of Kinsmoke / The Federation) and the homie gas! We're working on a real dope album right now that will be all about us, no features at all and it's produced by A2K of Wize Guyz Global and DJ Pimp of Steady Mobbin, so you know this shit is gonna slap!
[ BayUndaground.com ] : Thanks for the interview Loco.
[ Mr. Loco ] : I wanna give some shout outs to my family, my wife and kids, to all my fallen loved ones RIP, to Assassin, Mike Mosley, DJ Pimp, all of my Wize Guyz Global souljaz around the world holdin' it down, to my homies from Bompton and Brazil Street doing they thang, Thug Life and the Outlawz movement, to y'all at BayUndaground and to everybody else who's down with me, you know who you are and FREE RATED R AND FREE THE HOMIE GREEDY DA 554 BOY!
You can purchase the new "OG Status" at CD Baby.
Also be sure to visit Loco's MySpace page and listen to / download all his projects at DatPiff.com.