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interview CONCRETE CRIMINALS (January 2009) | Interview By: Chad Kiser & Jonathan Hay

   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 much more!

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 chad@dubcnn.com.

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Interview was done in November 2008

Questions Asked By: Chad Kiser & Jonathan Hay

 
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Dubcnn Exclusive Ė Concrete Criminals
By Chad Kiser & Jonathan Hay
 www.myspace.com/chadmkiser


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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 had to.


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 there.

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 supporters 500%.


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 Obama supporters!


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.








 

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