Since 1990 West Coast legend CPO Boss Hogg has been captivating fans of west coast hip-hop once he stepped on the scene with his crew, the Capital Punishment Organization.
Discovered and introduced by MC Ren, CPO Boss Hogg, aka Lil’ Nation, made his extraordinary debut when the video to “Ballad Of A Menace” was released, and featured all the members of N.W.A. — Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, and MC Ren.
On the heels of C.P.O.’s To Hell And Black debut album, Boss Hogg landed a guest appearance as “Mr. Big Draws” on N.W.A.’s “Findum, Fuck’em, and Flee” off the Efil4zaggin album.
From there, CPO Boss Hogg would continue to make appearances on a host of classic west coast albums in the 90’s including the Above The Rim (“Just So Ya No”) and Murder Was The Case (“The Eulogy”) soundtracks, as well popping up to steal the show on 2Pac’s 9-times platinum I (“Picture Me Rollin”). In the early 2000’s Boss Hogg continued to link up with some of the west’s finest when he showed up alongside Tha Eastsidaz, Xzibit and Kurupt for “The Big Bang Theory”, he popped in for 2 cuts for Warren G’s Return Of The Regulator (“They Lovin’ Me Now”, “It Ain’t Nothing Wrong With You”), and put one down for Snoop Dogg’s Bones soundtrack with “This Is My Life”.
Having remained a topic of conversation over the years, many fans wondered what became of him; until news surfaced in 2010 that CPO Boss Hogg had suffered an apparent heart attack. After 3 years of little to no news of the tragic event, CPO Boss Hogg fell into relative obscurity, until now.
Dubcnn recently caught up with the seldom seen CPO Boss Hogg for an exclusive, in-depth interview. In part 1 of our conversation with the Boss Hogg, we discussed what happened during that scare in 2010 and what he’s been doing since, get the details on his upcoming album “I Boss”, talk about his early career and being discovered by MC Ren, and more!
In Part 2 we wrap up our conversation with CPO Boss Hogg by reminiscing on working with and being associated with N.W.A., getting the details on his work with Death Row Records, getting the story on his classic appearance on 2Pac’s “Picture Me Rollin” song, and much more!
Interview was done in May 2013.
Questions Asked By: Chad Kiser
CPO Boss Hogg Top 5 Records – As Chosen By Himself! (Audio)
Dubcnn.com: How was it being associated with N.W.A.? Were you a little star struck?
I knew who Dre was, I knew who Eazy was, who Ren was, but to be there with N.W.A. after they had just blown up big off of “Fuck The Police”, it was totally different. I was walking into this world of stardom, and it was overwhelming. I just watched what was going on. I watched Dr. Dre at the boards, I watched Ren writing, and it’s all done professionally by the cats at the top of their game. I’m sitting there like I’m being spoon-fed on how this is supposed to be done, just absorbing it all. To be associated with them, and have them in my first video was just, “are fucking kidding me, I got NWA in my first video?” It was huge! It really didn’t dawn on me until later that they were at worldwide acclaim when they were.
We had actually got stooped one day in Beverly Hills by the police, Ren was driving his BMW and I was tailing him in my Thunderbird. They thought Ren had stolen the BMW and that I was the tail car. It was a felony stop, so they pulled Ren out of the car, pulled me out of the car, and the way we got out of it was Ren pulled out a magazine with NWA on the cover it, and I pulled out The Source magazine with me and all the homies in it and that’s how we got out of that shit. The cop asked Ren, “You guys did that song ‘Fuck The Police’?” Ren said, “Yep”, and they let us go [laughs]. And this was a felony stop, so there were a whole lot of cops there. When he asked Ren that I thought my boy was going to get Rodney King-ed. But they let us go. Well one guy that was with us, who we didn’t know had done a B&E, got arrested, but they let us go [laughs].
Dubcnn.com: So why didn’t you do any other appearances with NWA on their projects?
I never opened my mouth about it, but don’t think it wasn’t in my head the whole time. This is some ‘coach put me in type of shit’: I was sitting at Audio Achievements one day, and there’s nobody in the room but me and Dr. Dre. I’m sitting there watching him, and he turns around to me and tells me to go in the booth and say something. I’m like, ‘go in there and say something, for the album?’ I’m like hell yea, so I run in there and Eazy comes in there telling me to say this, and say that. They had me being Mr. Big Draws on there. So I went in there and did that shit. When the album came out, me and some of my boys were sitting in front of the Palladium one night, and I had my CPO jacket on. A car full of chicks rolls by and they were like, “Mr. Big Draws!” I was like, “you motherfuckin’ right!” [laughs]. For there to be just a smidgeon of me on that album, “Peter, Peter the pussy eater” and all that shit, and having dialogue on that album, it really did not get any better than that.
Dubcnn.com: During the mid-90’s you showed up on the Death Ro Records soundtracks to Murder Was The Case with “The Eulogy”, and Above The Rim with “Just So Ya No”. How did you get involved with Death Row Records?
Dr. Dre. When shit started going sour at Capitol, there was a record that was going to be done called “Niggaz Is Like Dat”, with Chocolate, 3-2 and Big Mike of The Convicts, me, and Snoop. I went up to, what was then called, Def Row, and it was me, Dre, Snoop, and a gang of others. Everybody started pitching the idea to me about coming over to Def Row. My thing was, I was so loyal to Ren that I didn’t think it would be a cool thing to do, to just undercut my boy who put me on, then I go over here with Dre; even though you could see that Def Row was going to be the shit, you could see that. So Dre sits me down and tells me it’s like leaving one job for another. This is before The Chronic, so basically if I had left then, I likely would have been on The Chronic. Needless to say, I did not go, The Chronic came out, blew the fuck up, and I was just pissed off at myself [laughs].
Once I saw what Death Row was doing, my manager, Michelle Williams, and I decided we wanted to be out of our current situation, which was Ghetto Life Records. We went on the search for Dr. Dre, and after a couple calls, we’re driving down the freeway and she spots Suge. We pulled up to him and basically told him I’m not signed to anyone anymore, so what’s up? He tells me to go to the studio the next day. I think I’m working on a demo, or a couple songs for them, but he tells me to work on my album. He and Dr. Dre made a home for me over there.
Dubcnn.com: So you actually recorded an album over at Death Row?
No, I only recorded about 5 or 6 songs, but I never wanted to record an album over there. My whole purpose in going to Death Row was to go there and jump on a couple of things because everything Dre did went platinum, and then bounce. That’s exactly what I did; I jumped on Above the Rim, Murder Was The Case, and the All Eyez On Me. They had this way of working over there where they would, to control you, not pay you. You would go and wait for hours for your check, and the guy would keep telling you that they’d be here with the check in a minute. The whole fucking day would go by and your check would never show up. That got old real fast, so I went and got real job, and stopped rapping.
Dubcnn.com: One of your standout cuts at Death Row, for me, was the appearance on 2Pac’s “Picture Me Rollin”. What’s the story on how you guys linked up for that song?
I had gone and worked for Martin Luther King hospital. What ended up happening was that MLK Hospital ended up laying my ass off, and I was super depressed because they were laying me off like the very next day. So I’m sitting at the corner of Western and Redondo Beach, and two 2Pac songs came on back-to-back, and I’m thinking how I’d love to record with 2Pac someday. The next day after I got laid off, I called up to the studio because I was feeling worthless and just wanted to be a part of something. I thought maybe Kurupt or Daz was up there so I could go up and just hang out and talk. When I called up there, they said ‘Pac was in the studio. I thought he was in jail, but they say that he’s been up there all weekend, and that Suge went and got him out, but nobody knows. I’m thinking this is bullshit because just the day before I had heard those two 2Pac songs and was wishing I could do a song with 2Pac one day. ‘Pac gets on the phone, and I tell him I had a vision of doing a song with him. He tells me he’ll do one with me, if I do one with him. I was like cool, we gotta do that one day. He says, “nigga, I’m up here now’. So I roll down there to the studio, Johnny J pulls up the “Picture Me Rollin” track, and the rest is history.
When I left the studio my boys were like, ‘do you realize you just did a song with 2Pac? I told them that he wasn’t going to use that song, the session was cool, but I just knew he wasn’t going to use it. An artist records about 200 songs, and then they choose from those songs. What I didn’t know at the time was that every song he was making, he was using. My manager plays the song for me, and I tell her that’s the song, but he has Dr. Dre, Snoop, and everybody else, so nobody’s ever going to hear that song [laughs].
Dubcnn.com: “Picture Me Rollin” is one of my Top 5 songs off the All Eyez On Me album. Your verse on there was a highlight to me off that whole album. Tell me about making that song with 2Pac.
When Johnny J first pulled up the track, I can tell you under no uncertain terms that I didn’t like it. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the track itself because 2Pac and Big Syke sounded great on it, but when I heard it I didn’t think it was me. After a couple of gin and juices and a couple of puffs of the wonderful, I fell into it [laughs]. If you thought I was nervous to be in the studio the first time with MC Ren and NWA, being in there with ‘Pac was just over the top shit! This was definition of surreal. 2Pac was super down to earth, and smoking like a train. I had never seen anyone smoke cigarettes that often. He was a workaholic; he put down his pen and paper and got it done.
I was sitting there going through my verse, but I was struggling to write to this particular track. I get so much of it done, and I pull ‘Pac to the side and said, “listen, this is what I got, but I don’t have anything right here, so here’s what I want you do. I’m going to say this, then you come in and say something for a couple of bars, and after you say that I’m going to end it.” That’s why my verse has him in it because I was so high and so drunk, and so overwhelmed at being where I was that that’s how it came out [laughs].
Dubcnn.com: Being around NWA and Ruthless Records and Death Row Records, did you have any songs recorded with Dr. Dre?
Here’s the running joke between me and Dr. fucking Dre: every time he sees me he yells out, “Grimace!” That was his name for me, and every time he would see me he would say that [laughs]. Me and my manager Michelle were at Gladstone’s restaurant, which is my favorite place and I didn’t know was Dre’s favorite place too; I’m standing inside the door to where you can’t see me, but you can see her. She kind of looked to her left and she saw Dre sitting with D.O.C. at the table. My manager tells me not to say anything, but just lean my head back and see who’s at this table. I lean back and look over, and Dre saw me, “Grimace!” [laughs]. So I go over there and sit with Dre and tell him I’m not signed to anybody, and I don’t want to be at Death Row, but I deserve to be at Death Row. He tells me they’re almost done working on this soundtrack for a movie, and that he wants to produce me something, but he may not have time to. He tells me to go to Larrabee’s West tomorrow where they’re working on the soundtrack to make sure I get on it. And that’s how I got on it.
But, every time Dre sees me he always asks me when I am going to let him do something for me. I say back to him, “what am I going to say, no?” And the shit never comes back. It never happens. It’s not on purpose, it just happens that way. If you slide me a Dre track, I’m going to kill it. There’s certain people who have a sound that’s me. One of them is Dre, one is Battlecat, one is my brother Bokie, one is Tha Chill, and then the other is Barney Rubble. The only two I haven’t tracks with is Battlecat and Dr. Dre. I would damn near do a track with Dre for free…damn near [laughs].
Dubcnn.com: Speaking of particular producers, you have a lot of unreleased material recorded with E-A-Ski like “The Format”, “11th Hour”, “Make Your Spot Hot”. The stuff you guys collaborated was dope. What’s the history there with the work you did with him?
I met E-A-Ski through my brother, when they were both at Sony. Ski, myself, and the guy who was with him at the time CMT were going to start a group called IMG, which is now Infrared Music Group, but I had it stand for Imagine a Million Guns, and that was going to be the name of the group. We ended up doing a lot of songs that were going to make up this IMG album, but it never came to pass. One of the songs that Ski did for the I Boss album, “Bank It”, was really for him because I wrote the song for him. When I write songs for people, I lay it for them first to let them know how the flow goes. When everybody heard the song, they said I should keep the song for myself, but I don’t work like that. I wrote it for Ski, so that’s whose song it is. My boys were so adamant about it, so I asked Ski and he said it was cool and he gave it to me.
Dubcnn.com: Out of your catalog, what are your Top 5 CPO Boss Hogg songs? [Listen to the Top 5 CPO Tracks]
“Picture Me Rollin” off the top, but also with that would be “The Big Bang Theory” with Tha Eastsidaz. Doing “It Ain’t Nothing Wrong with You” with Warren G for the Return Of the Regulator album was cool, I love doing stuff with Warren. “The Eulogy” because I got a chance to do a song with Kurupt, and I really wanted to do something with Tha Dogg Pound, as well as Slip Capone – super bomb! I got a song with him on this album called “Super Gangsta” and that’s one of my favorite songs simply because it’s Slip Capone. The last one I’d have to say is “Findum, Fuck’em and Flee” with NWA on the Niggaz4Life album, just being associated with that album.
Dubcnn.com: Boss Hogg, we appreciate you taking time out to do this interview with us. We’ll definitely keep a look out for I Boss, and hope you’ll come back to speak with us again soon!
Thanks, I really appreciate talking to you, and you guys doing this!
Missed Part 1? Read it now!