ANT DIDDLEY DOG (PART 2)
(April 2008) | Interview By: Chad Kiser |
Anthony Nelson, once known as Ant Diddley Dog, grew up in Oakland, California, and got into hip-hop as a teenager. His budding career took off when he hooked up with Too Short's group, the Dangerous Crew. Along with partner-in-rhyme Rappiní Ron, he was a part of a talented duo known as Bad-N-Fluenz. The promising West Coast prodigies were part of the mid-to-late 90ís Oakland gangsta rap scene, which was a thriving underground hotbed with the likes of Too Short, Bad-N-Fluenz, the Luniz, and 3xKrazy highlighting Oakland's hardcore rap landscape. Ant Diddley Dog was part of this pioneering group which put the Bay Area on the map long before the Hyphy Movement.
Ant Diddley Dog worked frequently with multi-platinum producer Ant Banks, appearing on projects featuring Too Short, Ice Cube, Spice 1, 2Pac, E-40, Ginuwine, and MC Breed among others. However, the tragic death of his partner and friend, Rappin' Ron, changed everything for Anthony. This tragic event initiated a journey which led him in search of a higher purpose for his life, and ultimately steered him to use his incredible talent as a rapper for the cause of Jesus Christ.
Dubcnn recently sat down with Ant Diddley Dog for an exclsuive 2-part interview. During part 2 we pick up where we left off, as Ant Diddley Dog
discusses the unreleased follow-up album, shares his feelings on the loss of
Rappiní Ron, and gives us insight on Rappiní Ron as a person. Concluding the
interview, Diddley ties up a few loose ends with us concerning Dangerous Music
and the Dangerous Crew, along with a few more surprises that Diddley blessed
Interview was done by phone in February 2008
Questions Asked By:
Read Part 1 of this Exclusive Interview:
Dubcnn: On the Cell Block II compilation, there was an advertisement for
another Bad N-Fluenz album titled, ďHe Was Slippiní Into DarknessĒ. What
happened with that album?
Well, we actually, was on maybe like our 7th song when Ron died. On that
project we had songs like, ďNuthiní But The TownĒ, ďIím Not Confused, Iím
ConvincedĒ, and ďHow Iím LiviníĒ, which was one of my solos. And then we was
going to record ďRondevousĒ, ďHead RushĒ and some others that I canít remember
Ďcause that was like 10 years ago, man but I think Banks gotíem on adat. So,
we was actually working on that album and then Ron passed, and that was just a
big blow for me. Stuff just didnít flow right after that. You canít replace
Rappiní Ron. It donít even matter how hard you try. So after that, everything
just took a hiatus.
Dubcnn: Those 7 songs youíre talking about, they were actually recorded?
Dubcnn: Do you know what happened to those songs?
I think they are on a 2-inch reel somewhere, Ďcause we used to record on
those, so they might be on a reel somewhere or Banks might have them on DAT,
but thatís that. Thatís done with.
Dubcnn: How did Ronís passing affect you personally, emotionally and
Well, you know, growing up in Oakland itís not uncommon for you to have lost
friends at a young age. I had lost several people I knew already by the time
Ron passed, but it was still unexpected because I had just got finished
talking to him, we right in the middle of a project, weíd been through so
much, we put out a album, and I had never put out an album with none of my
other friends, and Iíve never had that type of experience before, and Iíve
never had that type of collaboration with anybody on that level. It was just a
different kind of bonding that we had right there. This bonding that we had,
had generated a career for us. A career was happening for us where we was
making money, and about to make a whole lot more.
So when he passed, it was just unbelievable. Like Iím talking to you right
now, I was talking to him, and then the next day I would never be able to talk
to him again. Never be able to brainstorm out rhymes anymore. Never be able to
record. Now I was looking at this lifeless body that used to put out all that
amazing street poetry through those lungs that no longer work no more? Through
those vocal chords that weíll no longer be able to hear in person, face to
face. I was just kind of devestated to the point that I didnít know what was
going on or what I was going to do. It just all didnít seem real. It just took
a piece out of me that I will never get back. He died December 14th, 1996, it
wasnít until 1997 that I started to see a change. I could tell that my
thinking was different.
Dubcnn: How so?
After he passed, I started reading the Word. I didnít really know too much
about it, but even subconsciously, in the back of my mind I knew I wasnít
invincible. And that I would die one day, too, even though sometimes we think
that things are going to go on as normal forever. Iím thinking there is no
possible way that he was going to die, or that I was going to die right now.
Even though we had a whole lot of brushes with death in different situations,
we was still here living and breathing. We wasnít thinking about what would
happen if we died. So, it just really, really caught me off guard, man. I saw
that after that happened, my thinking changed, I started reading the Word, and
started thinking that I could go too, and about the condition of my soul.
I didnít know too much about the Word, but like a lot of black families God is
mentioned to you at an early age. Itís just a part of our culture. I knew
folks talked about God, and Jesus Christ and all of that, but I was working
for Beelzebub, the Devil, in the stuff that I was advocating, talking about
doing and influencing other people to do. So, I just kind of started reading
and I found that when I tried to start to write, I couldnít write the same
way. I just couldnít do it. I donít even know why. I tried, and I couldnít
even do it.
Dubcnn: So you started writing more in the spiritual way?
I wrote a lot of raps that I never put out that was kind of moving in the
direction of, I donít know if it was more spiritual, but it was a lot less
profane, a lot less degrading to women, a lot less promoting violence, a lot
less advocating promiscuity and drug use and a lot more self awareness. So,
when you hear ďTime is TickinĒ, which is a song me and Ill did on Ant Bank's
compilation ďBig ThangsĒ, you can hear the change in that. Especially when you
hear the song I did with B-Legit, on the Cellblock II compilation, ďFace OffĒ,
you can hear the change in that too. It affected me in a way that was going to
change my character and the way I thought, and start to sculpt me into a man.
Dubcnn: Is that why you decided not to continue on with, say, Mr. ILL?
I could have still come out with an album at that time but it wouldnít have
been 100% God. It would have been songs like ďTime Is TickiníĒor ďFace OffĒ
and things like that, but if it didnít happen then in that span of time where
I was making that transition, then it wasnít ever going to happen. It wasnít
like I didnít want to; it was just that more of my responsibilities were being
highlighted in front of my face. I had to start paying more attention to my
responsibilities. When you neglect your responsibilities, then you have time
to do whatever you want to do, and none of your responsibilities really
matter. But when you start realizing that when you are a child you think like
a child but when you are a man you think like a man you get tired of
neglecting your responsibilities then you donít wanna spend a whole lot of
time doing stuff that donít matter.
So what I was doing was making a transition, as I was telling you, to becoming
a man, and ultimately a man of God. And then, I start looking at life and
thinking that I need to start being a real father to, my then son. But back
when we was writing, thatís all we did. We werenít caring about no
responsibilities! Címon, man! Parties everyday, kickiní it, all night on the
prowl, dude, to just have fun, smoke weed, drink and do a whole lot of
fornicating. Thatís what our life was. We didnít sit down and talk about
parenting, maturity and spirituality. Thatís not what we talked about, Ďcause
that was a whole other lifestyle and a mature way of thinking. I was immature.
So as this new lifestyle was becoming more vivid, my rapping turned less and
less. Itís not like I couldnít have done it, or I didnít want to, the chips
just didnít fall like that.
Dubcnn: Obviously, many of the fans didnít get to know Rappiní Ron very
well. Can you tell us about him and the type of person he was, and what you
remember most about him?
To me, he was a genius! He was loyal to rap and a loyal friend. He always
wanted to help out. He was well-known and well-liked; really, really popular
in the hood. But just to converse a little bit more about his rapping ability,
to me the way he rapped and put words together and all of that, I think they
can be broken down by an English major or folks who construct paragraphs and
sentences, or people who study poems and poetic writings, to me it was
ridiculous and I had never heard anything like it. It had an influence on me
and helped me to get better at rapping.
When I first met Ron, I wasnít rapping like what was released publicly. He
actually enhanced my ability by giving me some pointers here and there on how
I could change up. So, he wasnít selfish, to where he was like, ďI know
something that can make you better, but I ainít going to tell you.Ē He and I
competitioned once I got up to speed, and some people would say Ant you came a
little tighter on this; or Ron you came a little tighter on that, and thatís
how we got each other better. As far as rapping was concerned, that was his
number one priority, period. He was true to rap. He was a straight rap
Dubcnn: Do you keep up with the transitions going on in the music scene out
there, as far as the "Hyphy" movement is concerned?
I mean, I know whatís going on, but as far as buying albums and all that, I
donít listen to that stuff. But I know whatís going on. I see where itís
changing and what the youngsters are embracing nowadays. I mean, hey, thatís
the culture right now as far as the hip-hop rap scene. They're doing their
thing. Maybe when we were doing our thing and had our movement, older people
my age was saying, ďhey, if thatís what they like, thatís what they like, but
Iím not following it like that.Ē Thatís how I am. Iím not on the bandwagon
Dubcnn: How do you think Ron would have been able to adjust to the hyphy
sound or culture?
Oh, it would have been no problem! They wouldíve had to adjust to him. As the
rap game progressed, I think Ron transcended that progression each time. One
of the things that we tried not to be was on the bandwagon. We were true to
our own, authentic style. Since our style was just personal to us in a lot of
ways, I mean of course we wouldnít have been rapping if it wasnít for the old
school pioneer rappers, but we did have our own personality of rap. And we
evolved in our own personal ways. We didnít evolve in a way that reflected the
global change. As far as thatís concerned, I think they wouldíve been trying
to keep up with Ron, because his rapping skill was ahead of its time anyway.
And if I was still rapping with him, then I wouldíve been able to also reap
some of the benefit.
Dubcnn concludes our series on Bad N-Fluenz member Ant Diddley Dog, as he
ties up a few loose ends with us concerning Dangerous Music and the Dangerous
Crew, along with a few more surprises that Diddley blessed us with. Enjoy!
Dubcnn: You guys truly had an authentic style. When I first heard Get In
Where You Fit In, I kept rewinding that track cause there was nobody coming
like that then, or now even.
Yep. That style is what did it for us, as far as our fan-base. We canít say
our style is like anybody elseís per that style, and that caused them to say,
ďhey, I want to follow them guys in their career.Ē
Dubcnn: Talking about Get In Where You Fit In, $hort came out with a Get In
Where You Fit In part II. Why were you and Ron not involved?
We basically was just doing our thang. We werenít actually signed. After we
went and started messing with Cell Block, thatís who we was dealing with. And
Father Dom was signed to Jive or whatever the record label was at the time,
and I guess thatís why he got put on it.
Dubcnn: Why werenít you ever signed to Dangerous Music, initially?
Because our album didnít come out through them. When $hort was trying to get
us to do an album and stuff, we basically wasnít taking it as seriously as we
should have. And like I was telling you earlier as far as us not showing up
sometimes on time, you know it was just a lot of other little stuff, so we
ended up kind of going our own way in a sense, but still keeping in contact. $hort
didnít have time to just be chasing us around cuz he had work to do, but we
kind of hung out more with Davy D, outside of the studio, which made it easier
for us to work together.
Dubcnn: Speaking of keeping in contact, do you keep in contact with anybody
from that era, like Banks, or $hort, Goldy, ILL or any of them cats?
Well, at first I was still talking to all of them every now and then, but as
everybody start doing their thing and taking care of their families and
responsibilities and all that, we just kind of stop talking as much. I kept
contact with those I spent more time with, and that was Mr. ILL, and I just
talked to him the other day. So thatís basically the one I kept in contact
with the most out of everybody.
Dubcnn: Heís one Iíve been trying to track down as well to get an interview
Yeah, Iíll give him a call and let him know whatís happening.
Dubcnn: Ok, cool. Well, I know you had mentioned before that you may be
working on a gospel project.
Yeah, and if I get an opportunity, I may need to let you hear one of the songs
that Iím doing. Itís my Jesus awareness song to let them know that if you
ainít connected to Him, man, you ainít connected to eternal life. I got a few
songs recorded, and I know a brother in Christ who wanted me to post them on
his website, so I might just do that. If I do, and I havenít made a decision
yet, then you can direct your readers to that website.
Dubcnn: Ok, that sounds good. I would love to hear that track, or any other
tracks youíve been working on recently. And I know thereís people around the
world who would like to hear that as well.
You know, I would love to talk to $hort again, and Ant Banks, Father Dom,
Goldy and whoever else. I know I talked to Sean G and Shorty B, and thatís
how, I guess, we got in contact. But I would love to talk to them and see what
they been up to.
Dubcnn: Well, you know anything I can do, just let me know.
Dubcnn: Well, Ant, Iíve really just been in awe talking to you, and I
really appreciate the time you gave to do this interview. I know you answered
a lot of the questions that all the fans had, and gave us a great insight into
who Rappiní Ron & Ant Diddley Dog were.
Yeah, man, I appreciate you being loyal, man and keeping up with us. Maybe we
can do something later on when Iím trying to drop this gospel album.
Dubcnn: Definitely! When thatís ready, man, just give me a holla and weíll
put it out there.
Yeah, sounds good to me, man!
Dubcnn: Cool, man. Well, take care and letís keep in touch.
Alright, Chad, man be blessed!
Dubcnn: You too, man, thanks!
Dedicted To Rappiní Ron:
My soul is famished, but wit a hunger not of this planet,
I wish it would vanish, but I guess without God I am at a big disadvantage
But how could I manage the damage sin has done to my mind and my spirit no you
canít see the tears but can you hear the crying in my lyrics
Dying Iím near it, I wake up wit a certain emptiness inside my mind I tried to
rhyme but never thought Rappin Ron would be leaving this side of time
My private cries was in need of attention my eyes was blind all hope was lost
but thatís when Jesus was mentioned
And some said he was John the Baptist, Elias or Jeremiah but when I heard of
his works I knew that he was The Messiah
Who is the image of The Merciful Father and in His blood is a special type of
He bought me back from he who hurts and devours my sin was that deep to much
dirt for the shower
Now Iím a member of His anatomy because the Commander in Chief enlisted me and
no longer am I a cavity creep in the raggedy teeth of iniquityÖ..
doulos aka Ant Diddley 2008
Read Part 1 of this Exclusive Interview: