CONCRETE CRIMINALS (January 2009) | Interview By: Chad Kiser &
Dubcnn got the opportunity to sit down with RBX & Bigg Rocc, the Concrete
Criminals, for a little sparring session. In this exclusive interview, which
took place just days before the historical Presidential Election, we talk
with Rocc & RBX about a few things political, their relationship with the
legendary west coast pioneer MC Ren, what it was like coming up during the
NWA era, how Bigg Rocc & The Narrator formed the Concrete Criminals, and
Many of you know RBX as an original Death Row Records artist who, along with
Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg & D.O.C, helped create one of the most successful
black-owned music labels of all-time by writing on and appearing on Dr.
Dreís The Chronic and Snoop Doggy Doggís Doggystyle records, each of which
sold multi-platinum. RBX has gone on to have successful solo career with the
releases of the RBX Files, No Mercy, No Remorse, Ripp The Game Bloody, and
The Shining. Heís also made several appearances on records like Dr. Dreís
Chronic 2001, Eminemís The Marshall Mathers LP, Warren Gís I Want It All,
Tha Eastsidaz Deuces ĎN Trayz: The Old Fashioned Way, X-Clanís Return From
Mecca, MC Renís Ruthless For Life, and many more.
Bigg Rocc has been working with MC Ren for several years and collaborated
with him on songs like Gotsta Chill, You A Traitor, Mind Blown and countless
others. Now, by reaching out to two of the hardest MCís the west coast has
to offer to help form the Concrete Criminals, Bigg Rocc is set to reach
all-new heights. From Roccís early affiliation with NWA and through the
turmoil that surrounded Ruthless Records, Death Row Records and the whole
west coast over the years, Rocc has kept a watchful eye on the ever-changing
landscape of this industry.
Bigg Rocc & RBX: It doesnít get any harder than this!
As ever, you can read this exclusive interview below and we urge you to leave
feedback on our forums or email them to
Interview was done in November 2008
By: Chad Kiser &
Dubcnn Exclusive Ė Concrete Criminals
By Chad Kiser & Jonathan Hay
Dubcnn: Weíre sitting here with RBX & Bigg Rocc of the Concrete
Criminals! Whatís going on fellas?
Rocc: whatís cracking with you?
RBX: Whatís going on, man?
Dubcnn: So, letís just start from the beginning. How did you two hook up to
form Concrete Criminals?
RBX: We had been working with the homie Daddy V on mixtapes, you know
keeping hope alive, keeping everybody active and keeping their blades sharp.
We had been going to the studio just recording various songs for various
projects and Rocc was just like Ďyo, letís just start working and keep
workingí and we had a little stockpile of joints, you know? Then all of a
sudden it hit me that we needed to come up with a name because we are almost
done and we need to present this correctly. So, we came up with the name
Concrete Criminals. We thought it represented us because both of us are
concrete! The concrete part of it stands for we got to be hard on the
street; this rap industry will break you down if youíre soft. You have to
stand firm with what you believe in and what youíre trying to do. Keep that
G west coast sound without trying to follow trends and what everybody else
is doing. We feel like weíre the foundation on the legacy of Eazy-E, Dr.
Dre, Snoop, and the Death Row era. We wanted that sound because thatís what
the people in the street were asking for and nobody was providing it, so we
Dubcnn: Do you have a release date yet?
RBX: Nah, not yet. We are really close, but we havenít come decided yet;
itís probably going to be after January, and the reason itís going be after
January is we are paying full homage to Dr. Dre. We think he is about to
come out with Detox sometime in December and he is going be out there doing
his thing; so we are going back off and pay him the respect that he deserves
and let him have the limelight, and then come out ourselves after itís his
time. You know, the west has to be brought back in the correct manner and
thatís how we are trying to bring it back. Itís a stepping stone to how we
are trying to take it back over. We got to play chess for real, itís going
be two or three years in the game. Regardless of what people say or do, me
being affiliated with the Aftermath clique, all my family members, we just
have to fall back for a minute and let Dre do his thing then we going come
hard and itís all good.
We have some business decisions to make as well, and we as a unit need to
decide if we want to put this out independently, or if any labels step to us
correctly to make this thing happen. The reason we havenít been talking to
them is because we donít want whatever company sending an A&R to our label
telling us how to do our music. Weíre going to finish the record, then weíll
sit down and play it for them and the company that says, ďthatís hot, is it
done?Ē; weíll say yes itís mixed and mastered and done you, so if you want
it itís ready. We donít want somebody coming in saying, ďoh, thatís hot, but
can you do it this way or can you do a dance one?Ē Weíre not going that
route. If you want it, itís already done, you dig? That new booty rap is
alright, but thatís not where we came from. Iím not disrespecting any
youngsters who are out there doing it because they arenít getting killed up
doing other things they in the game itís all good.
Dubcnn: That kind of reminds me of that Ice-T/Souljah Boy beef that was out
RBX: I was with Ice T when he came out but I said Ice donít bash the
youngsters too hard man you canít hurt them too bad you know. the youngster
is doing something positive and that needs to be commended. but he donít
want to start matching witís with Ice T but he wasnít around when Ice laid
the foundation. I just didnít understand the beef he wasnít even born when
ice was around. just like the KRS-One and Nelly beef Iím like who are you
talking to bro? Right now though we ainít got no beef with anybody, but who
knows when the Concrete Criminals comes everybody might take shots or they
might give us the respect.
Dubcnn: Ok is there a title or is it going be self-titled?
RBX: after we completely finish recording we will go through all the
material and then decide. Right now we have had a few titles so we arenít
set on one just yet. We are 95% done. But once we go back and put the icing
on some things and everybody is in agreement with how some things sound then
we will go back and name it. But it will probably name itself at that point.
So right now itís Concrete Criminals until we come up with that super title.
Dubcnn: So whatís up with the label situation?
RBX: itís us right now we are doing it on our own. If somebody wants to step
up to the plate and come at us in the proper manner then we can talk, but
until then itís over. But at this point we havenít really been focusing on
that aspect of the game right now. We are going finish recording, if not
then they can dictate well this sounds like this and we want this and
whatnot but we going take it to them and say itís done thatís it. Itís mixed
itís mastered itís done. And thatís it. Then if they want to at that point
say ok we with that letís move then we can move. What we donít want is
someone from the label trying to tell us right in the middle of what we are
working on that itís not what the streets want when we know that it is. We
arenít going let someone come in and water our music down.
Dubcnn: So letís get into the album and what exactly youíre working on.
What kind of features should we expect and who's producing?
RBX: I think we have tracks from MC Ren, Goldie Loc, Chris Gunn, and
Niggarachi. Weíre done with it and we could actually wrap it up right now,
but weíre keeping that window open in case we have to climb back through it
and go back in and fix some things.
Dubcnn: You got Niggarachi on there, Ren and a few others, but whatís the
sound on this album. Youíve spoken back to Death Row and NWA, do you want to
have that kind of sound?
RBX: Yea, we wanted to do not exactly what they did, but the foundation of
what they did. Speaking of not in the same titles and not the same things,
you know that was 20 years ago and not the same things are happening now.
But some of the things have changed and some of them havenít and we just
going follow their lead and speak the truth about whatís going down in the
streets. You canít just talk about the same things like, ďoh, theyíre just
talking about Dope Man or theyíre just talking about Gangsta Gangsta.Ē You
have to find that new angle to tell the people whatís going on in the
streets, yet not be just saying the same old shit. Itís hard to say our
style because itís just hard. We still on the streets even though I've had
some success Iíve never changed Iíve been on the block period. You know and
Concrete Criminals is just a reflection of that. Some people might start out
hard but as they continue in the game and they get a little success they
might lose their edges but Iíve stayed in the streets you know. So we never
lost our edge. And to be honest with you, itís really street because you
might see me in the street out there in Compton, Long Beach, Watts, South
Central, South Gate selling CD's out the truck. Thatís real street just
hustling and people going see me and think damn these Concrete Criminals is
really street. itís a tribute to all the cats thatís still out there
grinding trying to get their paper. and the album is full of flavors too. we
hit every angle from the streets, partying, rights, wrongs; itís an all
around album. You arenít going to just hear one thing, itís multi-faceted.
Dubcnn: With it being multi-faceted and not just the same sounds as twenty
years ago, are you all going to get political on this album, is it more
street, or what?.
RBX: Itís an all around album. It isnít super political or going to cause
some controversy. itís like every person has their own problems and Rocc and
I have different problems, and the album just deals with the different
problems people have and how both of us deal with things differently. For
instance, the black and brown problems weíre having now, I wasnít raised
like that. When I was growing up we always kicked it with the Mexicans and
it was cool, but now theyíre having difficulties and I ain't cool with that.
so my angle comes from a unified letís get this thing right. Itís like on
one of the songs I talk about how I canít go see my Mexican home girl
because she stays in a hood where they donít like blacks. itís just reality;
itís not over the top super-preachy; itís just what cats in L.A. feel on a
day to day basis.
Dubcnn: The reason I asked you about the political aspect was I didnít know
if you two were going talk about Barack Obama, John McCain, and the election
or the economy or anything like that.
RBX: Weíre going talk about Obama for sure! Thatís Rocc's nickname, Rocc
Obama! We know whatís going on and weíre going talk a little bit about that,
but we arenít going to get all into it and turn it into something else. We
know itís not our business and we canít control that, but we will touch on
it somewhat. I'm not into nothing I canít control too much, but we are Obama
Dubcnn: How does it make you feel to know that within the next couple of
months we could have a black president?
RBX: Thatís a wonderful feeling man! You get that gut feeling that Obama
really has a chance to do it. He really deserves to be there and he is an
actual candidate, not like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson; this is a
legitimate brother with a chance to be president. My kids look up to that
and say, ďmaybe I can be president one dayĒ. Thatís what that means. Weíre
Dubcnn: Have you been following the campaign with all the Sara Palin stuff?
RBX: I guess she got hot one week and was cold the next. I think that she
was just a political ploy. That was done because they were looking for
someone to come in and galvanize the Republican Party. More than that, they
were looking for a female to come in and take over momentum from Hilary
Clinton. I donít think that Mrs. Palin can hold a candle to Mrs. Clinton. I
think it was a political thing that happened and I think that it backfired
because she isnít qualified and the American public isnít stupid. She took
shots where she shouldnít have taken shots and that just showed how
unprofessional she was. If you want to take shots, you do that behind closed
doors. But in the debates thatís where your supposed to stick to the issues.
That was arrogance from a candidate that no one knows. We are trying to find
out who you are and what you are, and youíre just trying to take shots at
the other candidates.
Dubcnn: Yea, her foreign policy is that she can see Russia from her house!
RBX: Right, but how does that help the people in Florida? What does that do
for them? Russia is just one piece of the puzzle. Thereís Afghanistan, the
Iraq issue, North Korea, South Korea, I mean itís cracking everywhere. Japan
got issues, China has problems. Her looking at Russia doesnít amount to
Hilary. Sheís playing with something she really doesnít want to be playing
with. They tried to play off all of the female voters being upset over Obama
and him not selecting Hilary for his VP, so they tried to reach out to all
the soccer moms and whatnot to win the election. She talked about the soccer
and hockey moms, but what about the football and basketball moms.
Realistically, I donít know too many little kids in the hood that play
soccer. She is really well rehearsed, but reading something doesnít mean you
know it. She needs to just stay in Alaska.
Dubcnn: OK, switching gears, Rocc I got a question for you. Weíve
heard you on the songs like Mind Blown, Shot caller, You A Traitor, and
Gotsta Chill, with Ren. Tell me about your relationship with Ren.
Rocc: Man, that relationship is more like a brother relationship. Iíve been
knowing Ren for 25 years. I grew up seeing him come up and he just snatched
me up when I was like 14. I was the big kid in the NWA videos. I was young,
but I was big so people didnít know how young I was. So I was in all the
videos going around with them and having fun. I got to be behind the boards
with them when Dre was young and fresh and Yella was fresh, Arabian Prince,
Eazy, you know all of them. I was around for the foundation, the making of
all that. I was like, ďWow, I canít even believe Iím here!Ē I grew up crazy
in the music.
Dubcnn: Yea, I interviewed Arabian Prince and we just did an interview with
MC Ren last week and we were talking about those old days with NWA. What
kind of memories do you have about those days and seeing how things were
done and whatnot, or the famous Eazy-E pool parties?
Rocc: Whoo, man it was like a birthday everyday for like 5 years! I was like
14 and I had Eazy coming to scoop me from school in a Ď64 with Cube, Ren and
Yella everyday and we was having a party! itís unexplainable really, but
Iíll never forget it. I got a piece of my music from each one of them. Iíve
never told anyone that, but from Dre I got the patience. He takes his time
and he is a professional on that board making sure his beats are tight;
making sure your lyrics is right, and making sure you pronounce every word
right. Iíve seen every one of them get worked in there like it was Phil
Jackson working somebody on the court. Dre was like that in the studio. From
Yella, I got the records and the spinning and helping Dre put everything
together. As a lyricist, I got alot from Ren and Cube. Eazy was just the
boss, he put everything together. He was the man that made everything happen
and made everybodyís life happy. But with all the drama, I had to side with
Ren because he was the one that brought me in, I was loyal. people would ask
me later, "man why you not go mess wit Dre?" or this and that, but Iím loyal
like that. But all through that I had the best time of my life with them.
Dubcnn: One thing that Iím not sure alot of people know, and Iím a little
fuzzy on this myself, is I know that Snoop was around alot in the NWA days
with Above The Law and Big Hutch before joining Death Row. X, when did you
come into the picture with them?
Rocc: With Snoop, Iím triple O.G. before Snoop came around. The NWA camp was
so big, they had people everywhere! I was around Snoop at that time, but I
didnít see Snoop until Deep Cover. I knew Warren and he was hanging around
Snoop, but I didnít really know Snoop back then, but thatís X's people.
RBX: Snoop was running around the street doing his thing. I had a small
record deal and Warren was telling Dre about Snoop while the NWA thing was
going on, but Dre didnít have time to focus on it at that time. Well, we
were at a bachelor party or something and Dre was doing the party, but
Warren walked up and popped Snoop in and Dre looked at him like who is that?
Warren had been telling Dre about Snoop for like 2 years and Dre was like,
Ďeverybody has a homie thatís hotí. Dre was just treating Warren how big
brothers treat little brothers, you know, like I know your homie is tight
and whatnot, but I donít have the time. But Warren was persistent and then
Dre heard him and was like I see heís trying to do his thing so send him to
come see me.
Snoop started dealing with Dre, and how I came into the picture was Snoop
needed a ride to see Dre because Dre stayed out in the valley and none of
the homies was going past Compton, so they werenít going take him there. I
knew where his passion was and I knew what he was going through because I
had a record deal, too. I told him when I get off work Iíd scoop him up and
take him; I didnít want nothing for it, but for him to pay for the gas. I
was telling Snoop that when Dre gets him in that light, boy you come out and
do this and that; and Dre walked in and I didnít know it, but he heard me
coaching Snoop and he was like, Ďwho are you?í I started to tell him I was
Snoopís cousin, but he stopped me and was like, Ďman, you got a great voice,
dog! You rap?í At first I said no, Iím done with rap. Snoop was like, Ďquit
playing and spit something!í So, I spit an old verse and he was like, ďoh
no, here is our team! It was me, Dre and Snoop Dogg, and it started from
there. Thatís how Snoop came into the group. It has been official and I
wanted to clear up the history. Snoop has been around since the NWA days, he
was just on the back burner since he was a younginí.
Dubcnn: That was a nice little history lesson, I didnít know all of that.
X, let me ask you about being affiliated with the Aftermath click. Have you
worked with Dr. Dre recently, maybe for the Concrete Criminals project or
maybe that Detox album?
RBX: I donít think Dre is going be on the Concrete Criminals project because
itís already almost wrapped up. as far as Detox, Iím going have to plead the
fifth once again. Yes, if Dre calls me Iím going to be there. I have
recorded a few joints, but whether or not they are going make the cut Iím
not sure and Iím not one to assume. So, to say that Iím definitely 100%
going be on there then youíll have to ask Dre about that. Iím sure he is
going be very picky about whatís on the album and whatís not, so for me to
speak on that wouldnít be cool.
Dubcnn: I think that does it for us on this go Ďround, do you guys have any
last words or comments for our readers out there?
RBX: You know who I got to give a shout out to? A man who taught me alot in
this game, Big Tray Deee, man thatís my man for real. Big shout out to Big
Tray Deee! He helped me a lot, and on that note his unfortunate situation
taught me that once our shit pops off and people talk, man you got to let
them talk because when you react they going be the first ones in court. they
talk and it drips off me like I got Rain X on or something; it just repels
off me. Iím supposed to take the shots so take them. Iím an iconic figure so
they want to take me on so they can, but what they donít know is that I
canít be defeated. Big shout out to Big Tray Deee, much love forever.
Rocc: On the real I want to tell Dubcnn this: if you can find two artists
that can get at me and X on this album on the real like a two-headed
monster. he comes with his ridiculous style and the world already knows and
now he has his little big homie now. Iíve went from Ren to RBX, so imagine
how Iíve had to step my game up; Iíve been with two legends. Nothing happens
overnight, but some cats make a joint and get there little 30 grand and go
on with 5 grand in their pocket. Theyíre running around disrespecting your
elders, but Iím not into the jewelry thing so they see me without it and
they want to talk like I fell off and whatnot and it ainít like that little
homie. we are about to serve it up vicious; weíre going show them that what
they were talking about is null and void, they have no concept or clue of
what is really going on.