(July 2003) | Interview By:
Dubcnn.com got the chance to chat
with IV Life Records artist Crisstyle. Huge thanks to Crisstyle for taking
time out to answer our questions. (Interview was conducted by phone early July
(dubcnn.com) Can you break down in 1
one question your life as an artist, into eras for us? For example, Where are
you from? How long have you been in the game? How you started? Inspirations?
When did you hook up with IV Life?
I grew up in Florida and moved to Milwaukee when I was around 14. I've been
doin music collectively for about 10 years now. I started when I met this cat
from Chicago that was a rapper and started hangin with him and he showed me
the ropes and how to structure songs and I got the equipment, built a studio
and started studying production and Midi.
My biggest inspiration is Russell Simmons. He came from the bottom to the top
of the game. He started as a promoter and now he's the head of a multi-million
dollar company . He's the head of Rush Artist Management, which produces
top-selling rap acts like Run-DMC, Public Enemy, L. L. Cool J, and Oran
"Juice" Jones, and he's the Co-owner and founder of the rap label Def Jam
Records. He's also the owner of Phat Farm clothing which speaks for itself.
All of the things he accomplished are what my long term goals are.
I hooked up with IV Life back in 2000 when one of my CD's made its way to the
label. They invited me down to have a meeting with them and we've been working
together ever since.
(dubcnn.com) What motivates you to do music?
I love hip hop. The culture is unique and its excepted worldwide. It
represents the struggle and overcoming adversity and that's how I feel when I
do music, like I'm overcoming everything that has ever held me back. Its my
chance to let off some steam instead of being in the street letting off some
(dubcnn.com) How does it feel to walk down the street and be recognized?
I'm still not used to that it's crazy to me, but we really been pushin hard
with the website, the mix tapes and promotion so I knew it was comin.
(dubcnn.com) What projects are you working on at the moment?
We just finished the Vol 1.4 mix tape for the fans due to the hold up of Vol.
2 and everybody is downloadin and bumpin that right now.
(dubcnn.com) What can we expect from the new IV Life Family VOL 2 'Tha New
Breed' LP? Any guests? When can we expect it to drop?
We finished Volume 2 already, were just waitin on the right distribution to
release it. We've got a lot of surprise guests on the album and the album is
all bangers. I mean almost all of the songs, if not all of the songs are
potential singles. Our focus and goal of this album is to change the game
forever. There haven't been any really strong west coast acts in a long time
but IV Life is gonna change that!
(dubcnn.com) What do you feel about the buzz around Yourself and IV Life
Records right now? Are you surprised IV Life is being compared to the major
players in the rap game?
Its beautiful. We've been pushin for years with the promotion and its all
catchin up now. I'm not really surprised who were being compared to and the
artists were being compared to are starting to feel the pressure a lot more
with the web promotion and the mix tape being released.
(dubcnn.com) Do you think you'll be able to blow up and reach the mainstream?
I know absolutely positively that we will blow up. My whole team is strong
from the management to the production to the music were layin and every one of
us is motivated, so I know with the strength we have we will succeed.
(dubcnn.com) Your 'Fatty Girl' remix from the IV Life Mixtape is off the hook.
I know radio stations in Europe and
Australia are spinning that joint. Will you be touring in the future?
Thanks. Yeah a lot of radio stations are playing that right now. Most
definitely! I cant wait to go around the world. The fans in Europe, Australia,
and other parts of the world go crazy with this hip hop shit. We have people
from all over the world hittin our forums at 4liferecords.com. People from
Belgium, England, Germany, Australia...from everywhere.
(dubcnn.com) What's up with your debut Solo Album? Is it planned to be
released after the IV Life Family Compilations?
Me and Too Cool are going to release solo albums and Bucc and J-Dog are
releasing a group album. We don't know the order yet because we still have to
see how everything unfolds, but it will be announced when we know for sure.
(dubcnn.com) I heard you own your own company?
Yeah, I own Cristal Entertainment, Inc. I have a couple things going on
outside of music to keep the dough rollin.
(dubcnn.com) Are you doing anything with clothing or are you going to leave
I have a clothing line in the works, but I want to have my name out there
worldwide before I release anything. Once I get my name out there then it will
be easier to promote gear.
(dubcnn.com) If you look at all of your qualities. What do you think it is
that makes you so successful, in terms of your style, ambitions or
My determination and style. You cant tell me no. I over do everything and
never let anyone convince me I cant. If I had a dollar for every time somebody
told me that I wouldn't make it in rap. I wouldn't be doin this interview
right now! I'd been on an island some where with a bad foreign bitch feedin me
(dubcnn.com) What was your first love, Rapping or Producing?
My first love was producing and I still make tracks at my house or in the
studio, but I'm focusing on writing right now.
(dubcnn.com) Will you be producing on IV Life's new Vol.2 album?
I produced a song called 'Shut The Club Down' which was one of my solo joints
I put on the album.
(dubcnn.com) Are you going to be producing for other artists in the future?
Yeah, I plan on working with a lot of people.
(dubcnn.com) Do deejays really have more fun than blondes?
Ha ha ha. I don't know about that. You'll have to ask Slip that question!
(dubcnn.com) What's it like doing shows with the IV Life Family and Tha
Eastsidaz? Fun and experience huh?
It's a lot of fun. We've been all over doing shows. People lose there mind
when we hit the stage. Its like pandemonium or something. Then when we do
shows with the Eastsidaz is like a riot or some shit. Its always a learning
experience for us. We find different ways to do things and learn what the
crowd responds to and implement that into our future shows.
(dubcnn.com) How is it working with and kickin it with pioneers like Snoop,
Tray Dee and DJ Slip?
I'm just tryin to soak everything up when you work with vets like that it
helps you to advance because you see there work ethic and how they move.
(dubcnn.com) Can you tell us what the IV Dimension is? A IV Life production
The IVth Dimension is IV Life Records production team. Its DJ Slip, J-Dog and
(dubcnn.com) So how important is family, in respect to Hip Hop Labels/Groups?
You have to be a strong Family unit to succeed. Everyone has to be on the same
accord, have goals set, and be able to work together and put there egos and
attitudes to the side. When you don't have a Team effort then you cant succeed
at anything you do.
(dubcnn.com) How do you feel about Radio and Media? Do you think they support
the west coast as they should? Do you remember when YO! MTV RAPS was being
hosted by the likes of NWA, Dogg Pound, E-40? Man that was the good old days….
I don't believe that they support the west coast artists like the East Coast
radio stations do. I think it's a good source for exposure, but there are so
many politics involved with West Coast radio and media that you have to be
plugged in to the right people or come out of pocket to even stand a chance.
Yeah, I'm remember when Yo! MTV Raps first came out, I was lovin it. I
remember all the different artists that were out hosting the show and they
played what ever was bangin at the time. That was before people started
realizing how much money could be made with it and how big influential rap
music would be.
(dubcnn.com) I feel as though IV Life are bringing back some of that Old
School flavour with a 2003 mentality. Would you agree with that?
Yes. You have DJ Slip, who is a veteran west coast G, doing a lot of the
production. On top of that, you have young cats like J-Dog and myself who are
from a separate era working with one of the originators of hip hop, so you
have a combination of young and old talent together which is unique to our
(dubcnn.com) Where do you see Crisstyle in the future?
Workin, bringin music to my fans and trying to make a difference in everything
(dubcnn.com) That's it for the questions, thanks for taking the time man, is
there anything else you'd like to tell the people out there or up and coming
It's a lot of people trying to get into the rap game. You just have to stay
focused and push as hard as you can. I moved across the country to do this
shit. So do whatever it takes and whatever works for you.