DAMANI & BAD LUCC
(January 2007) | Interview By:
Dubcnn has been following the
career of Inglewood's own Damani for many years now and have been waiting to
speak to him to get the facts about his time in the industry so far. We took
time to discuss his move from fan to artist, talk about his early material all
the way through to his recent radio hits and the union with Snoop Dogg and
Doggystyle Records. We also find out the origins of one of the most
anticipated and hottest groups; Westurn Union - we find out how he met Bad
Lucc, how Soopafly got involved and what we can expect from the trio. In true
dubcnn style we even got some time to ask Bad Lucc questions about his solo
album, WU and much more in this exclusive interview.
As always we have both the transcript and the audio for you to
check and please feel free to send any feedback regarding the interview to:
Interview was done by phone in January 2007
Questions Asked By : Nima
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Full Interview In Audio :
Dubcnn: What's going on Damani?
Damani: Ain't shit! I'm in Watts right now, at Bad Lucc's house, chopping
Dubcnn: You hooked up with Dubcnn so we can get the scoop on what's going
on with you.
Damani: I mean it's only right! How else they gone know? You know what I mean?
Dubcnn: I wanna start right at the beginning, where did you grow up?
Damani: I grew up born and raised, Inglewood California. Grew up in the
bottoms, then moved to Inglewood Ave, so that's my whole area.
Dubcnn: How deeply did the street life influence your path when were young?
Damani: I mean shit, I didn't even know it the street life until you hear it
on records or hear it on the news talking about it. It was just regular
living, I thought it was regular. So it influenced it or whatever, I got a lot
to talk about now in my raps, just based on that alone, so it got a lot to do
with it. It got everything to do with it.
Dubcnn: What was the first song that really got you hooked on Hip-Hop?
Damani: It was a couple joints... I remember hearing La Di Da Di, and when I
got on it, that shit just made me wanna rap! It seemed easy, but it was dope,
cause the niggas ain't have no music, it was just beatbox, it was raw raw
Hip-Hop. Beatbox and a nigga rappin', and it was a hit song, classic. I knew
right then and there that's what I want to fuck with. The niggas was just
clowning, rapping, it seemed fun, I wanted to fuck with it! Then you know, the
LL shit came, then I got on the Big Daddy Kane shit. But the La Di Da Di was
the first record that made me wanna fuck with rap.
Dubcnn: When did you start writing?
Damani: When I was a little kid, around 10, I used to write raps, but I wasn't
like confident enough to tell people I rapped, so I just kept that a secret
till right after I graduated high school. After that I started really trying
to get to the point where I could record something. I recorded my first song
in like 1999, I was in Boston... I'm jumpin' a lot of years up, but yeah...
Dubcnn: You released a street album in 2002, tell us about that.
Damani: I had the shit called the "Street Album", I had like 21 songs on
there, and in the span of the last 2-3 years I had like 50 records, just
little mixtape type records, and shit like that. I just threw all them shits
together, threw some skits on it, pressed it up myself. I think I pressed up
about like three thousand of them, and then I just threw them shits out in the
streets. That's when I began to get my buzz in L.A.
Dubcnn: You also created a buzz with your song "Inglewood", I believe you
remixed it with Mack 10. Tell us about the song.
Damani: Inglewood! That shit was crazy! My nigga DJ Reflex had found this
sample to this real grimy beat, and he rushed up to the studio like "Man I got
something for you!" He took a piece of Dre going "Inglewood! Inglewood!" I was
like "Aw man, it's a wrap!" Soon as I heard that, it took me about twenty
minutes, I wrote the song real quick, spit it, it was a wrap, it was done. But
I didn't know that it was gonna be a song that everybody would love, cause
people that ain't even from Inglewood love the song.
That's what tripped me out, I didn't even expect it to be big in the streets
like it was, that's a joint that a lot of people like and it kind of took me
off guard. I wasn't trying to make no hit, I wasn't trying to make no street
classic song, I wasn't even thinking like that. I just said "I wanna do
something for my hood." That shit went from my hood to out of my hood, to
everybody liking that shit!
Dubcnn: You just answered my next question... I was about to ask you if you
were surprised by the positive feedback!
Damani: I mean I wasn't surprised that muthafuckas liked the raps itself, I
was surprised that... everything is territorial, and I didn't that people that
ain't from Inglewood were gonna fuck with it, that's what I was surprised
Dubcnn: How did the remix happen?
Damani: You know Mack 10 is a reputable rapper from Inglewood, he did a lot of
shit in his career, and I felt that it was only right to throw the nigga on
there. It wasnít that easy, I had to get in touch with him, find somebody,
cause I didnít know him personally, just threw a gang of other people or
whatever. So, I got on the phone with him. First of all, he heard the record
on Power 106, he liked the shit, which me happy, since he is a reputable
rapper from Inglewood. I gave the nigga the beat, he gave me his verse, threw
that shit on there, and the rest is history!
Dubcnn: Tell us about your mixtape "Congratulations, Playa", which
solidified your position as one of the top up and coming artists on the West
Damani: Okay, so it was about a two-three year span in-between me putting out
another mixtape on the streets or whatever, so I felt like it was time to just
let niggas know that I am one of the top niggas in West Coast music. Even if I
donít have an album out, Iím one of the top up and coming dudes. I know Iím
one of the top three, whoever the other two might be, I know Iím one of the
top three. So in order to solidify that statement, I knew that I had to throw
out some music. So I said ďOkay Iíma throw some records togetherĒ. Threw in
about three or four singles, and I didnít have a deal yet, so I was like fuck
it, Iíma have to just go hard, I ainít gonna hold on to these songs, Iím throw
them out there. Thatís it, thatís what I did, and that was what I felt that I
needed to do to solidify my position.
Dubcnn: You landed a deal with Sony Records. Tell us about that.
Damani: Well Sony came into the picture when I had a record called ďGotta Stay
PaidĒ, which was on the ďCongratulations, PlayaĒ mixtape. It hit radio, did
real good on radio, and I was performing it at all the different clubs in
L.A., and kept pushing that. Sony heard that there was somebody out here
making noise. They came out here, fucked with me, by the time they came to
fuck with me I had ďInglewoodĒ on the radio. So now, they was like ďFuck it,
we gotta do the deal.Ē So we did the deal in a rush, and itís all on the up
and up right now.
Dubcnn: How did you first hook up with Bad Lucc?
Damani: Bad Lucc, my partner-n-crime, my partner-n-rhyme, all that. I met Bad
Lucc at a studio on Creenshaw. I went up there to fuck with a producer friend
of mine Rick Rude and when I was up there, Bad Lucc was up there with a couple
of other niggas. I always had this idea, this group idea, called the Western
Union. But I just knew that I had to find the right dudes to fit the puzzle,
you know what Iím saying? So we was all just freestyling, fuckiní around, and
I was spittiní to another nigga, and I heard the shit and it was hard! I was
like ďI need to fuck with him. He needs to fuck with me.Ē
So I pulled the nigga to the side, I explained my idea to him about how the
Western Union would work, who it would be, what kind of nigga I needed etc. He
was already familiar with my music through the radio in the past, I had this
song on my street album mixtape called ďMoveĒ which featured The Clipse on it.
So people was kind of familiar with me already on the streets, low key, so the
nigga was just with it! He already knew who I was, and then I came at him with
the Western Union floss, and he was just with it! I just went from there, and
started recording songs with him, thatís how I first met him, and weíve been
fuckiní with each other ever since!
Dubcnn: How did Soopafly get into the picture?
Damani: First of all me and Soopafly been homies for a long time.
Dubcnn: Yeah, you appeared with Soopafly on the Kurupt album ďSpace BoogeyĒ.
Damani: The Kurupt album, ďHate On MeĒ, track number 3!
Dubcnn: That was the first time I heard you.
Damani: Yeah. Soopafly, you know, heís a player. When I first met him, I was
freestyling at a video shoot, actually Dr. Dreís ďNext EpisodeĒ video shoot. I
was battling 5-6 niggas or whatever, and he heard me, we exchanged numbers, he
invited me up to the studio one day, I spit something, the shit ended up going
on Kuruptís album, and weíve been friends ever since. And heís with Snoop all
the time, so we just crossed paths whenever, cause you know them niggas be
super busy, so we just kept in touch over the years or whatever.
Snoop was interested in the Western Union group, and Snoop got at me like ďYo,
you know what would be dope?Ē and I was like ďWhat?Ē ďSoopafly!Ē You know how
sometimes somethingís right up under your nose, and you might miss it? Thatís
how it was, and Snoop brought it to my attention, and I was like ďThatís the
right move.Ē But I wanted Soopafly in the group personally, because he just
adds a whole other flavor to it, and it completes the puzzle of the different
hoods. Thatís the whole concept of the Western Union, to break down the
That was my vision, you got Long Beach, you got Watts and you got Inglewood,
that covers a lot of ground. So you canít say ďOh I donít fuck with the
Inglewood niggasĒ or ďOh I donít fuck with them Watts niggasĒ or ďI donít fuck
with the Long Beach or the Compton niggasĒ, we got all the elements right
there for you! So, he just completely rounded out the movement. It started off
with me and Bad Lucc, and adding Soopafly just rounded up the whole movement
and made us even tighter.
Dubcnn: The first track that was released was "I Don't Think So", which we
premiered on dubcnn. Tell us about the recording process of the song.
Damani: We was at Snoopís studio, Snoop had this beat in the computer that we
all thought was dope, and all he had was a hook on it. So we was like ďWe
wanna fuck with that beat.Ē Of course, Snoop is a player, he was like ďFuck
with it! Iím about to go make a run, and when I come back, yaíll gotta be
finished, cause I got something else going on.Ē So was like ďAight.Ē We
recorded that song in like an hour, back and forth, back and forth. When you
listen to the song, itís three different voices, back and forth.
Dubcnn: That hadnít been done in a while, just spitting bars back and
Damani: Thatís exactly why we did it, we thought it was a lost art. Some real
conceptual rap shit. We thought that shit was hot, and people thought it was
Dubcnn: The Western Union was featured on Snoop's latest album "Tha Blue
Carpet Treatment", how has the feedback been?
Damani: Oh itís nothing but love! Itís a real playerific record, a little two
step, with a little bit of energy behind it. Thatís one of the records that we
had for our Western Union album, and Snoop was just not let that one not get
on his album, cause the shit was so hot. So of course, we had to make it
Dubcnn: Tell us about the compilation Snoop Dogg Presents The Bigg Squeeze,
which was recently completed.
Damani: We did that muthafucka in three days! Three days! Whatís so cold is,
we didnít even know it was a compilation. We had just went up there to record
some joints, he was like ďIíma be at the studio this week.Ē We just started
going to the studio, did one song, next couple hours did another song, and
another song, came back the next day, everybody kept doing songs! It was round
the clock. On the third day, it was a camera crew there, we taking pictures!
Iím like ďWhat the fuck? So be it!Ē By the end of the night, I seen the cover,
to the Bigg Squeeze, songs done, completed, mixed! We was like ďFuck it, the
Bigg Squeeze it is!Ē JT The Bigga Figga, whoís probably one of the coldest
hustlers I done seenÖ
Dubcnn: Pascal (Military Minded Productions) from Germany did the cover,
Damani: Yeah, he cold, he cold with that computer work, with them graphics and
shit! JT The Bigga Figga from the Bay, we had the german connection in there,
we had the Western Union, the Warzone, KuruptÖ Everybody is on the album! Itís
crazy. Doing it made me feel like this is the beginning of that unity shit
that weíve been preaching for a while now, trying to get this shit back on
track with the West Coast moving as a unit, everybody cool, doing records. So
we throwing out a gang of music. Snoopís album came, Gameís album is out, we
got the mixtape shit cracking, we bout to flood the streets with that, Iím
signed with Sony about to put a release out. Itís a problem.
Dubcnn: Whatís the overall sound of the album?
Damani: Wessí! Wessí with no T! Wessí with two sí at the end! Thatís the
overall sound of the album! Shit itís ignorant too, we going hard on the
bitches, we going hard on the street shit. The overall shit is just hard.
Dubcnn: Can you talk about a couple of songs on there that you remember
Damani: The Western Union got a song on there called ďHat 2 The BackĒ, itís
banging, heavy bass, Lucc kills the first verse, I got the second, Soopafly
kills the third verse. The Warzone got a song on there called ďShackled UpĒ,
itís just some hood ass being locked in a county jail type shit. Itís hard
than a muthafucka. I got a solo record on there called ďItís All About DamaniĒ,
featuring the big boss Snoop Dogg himself, we just going hard on the bitches
on this song, it ainít for the women, itís for the bitch! *laughs* We going
hard on the bitch! You feel me pimp?
Dubcnn: I feel you. I seen Bad Azz is on there too?
Damani: Oh yeah shoutout to Bad Azz, Long Beach nigga! Let me see who else is
on thereÖ Kurupt on there he going hard, he spitting on that muthafucka too.
We got JT.. Who else.. Hold on, Lucc is telling something! Oh yeah, them 1500
Or Nothiní niggas they playiní keys. You know Snoop made all them muthafuckiní
beats! Thatís the shocker, Snoop made all the fuckiní beats. This shit is
about to be crazy. This shitís a problem dogg, I ainít Don Kinginí this shit
cause Iím on it, but the muthafucka is hard.
Dubcnn: You wanna pass the phone to Lucc so we can get a few words from him
Damani: Oh yeah, let me pass the phone to Lucc, hold on.
Bad Lucc: Hello?
Dubcnn: Whatup Lucc?
Bad Lucc: Whatup pimp, whatís good with you?
Dubcnn: Chilliní man, you on dubcnn right now!
Bad Lucc: Well there it is! What it is folks? *laughs* Whatís going on with
Dubcnn: Just talkiní to Damani about the Bigg Squeeze compilation..
Bad Lucc: Oh okay, yeah yeah, thatís a good look! Very big project coming out
man, all West niggas doing their thing, making this good music, cause you know
itís about to be big push this year. We ainít doing nothing but represent with
all good music. Thatís about it!
Dubcnn: You working on a solo album?
Bad Lucc: Yeah man, me and Damani got a situation we working out, and Iím
working with on my solo album now, got a couple of songs, a lot of production
by Soopafly, my man THX, itís a good look man. Iím going hard, but Iím really
focusing on the Western Union project right now, getting the songs done man.
We got some bangers, I donít know if the streets are ready, low key between me
and you, I donít know if the streets are ready! We got some SHIT! We got some
Dubcnn: When is the Bigg Squeeze compilation dropping?
Bad Lucc: I wanna say March, itís gonna hit the streets man, itís gonna be a
lot going on dogg. I wanna say March, I donít have an exact date, but weíre
looking at March.
Dubcnn: What label is it dropping on?
Bad Lucc: I know itís Doggystyle! I know that much. Niggarachi, Snoop on the
beats, he finna shock the world. He donít just rap, he doing them beats! Itís
a good look man.
Dubcnn: Whatís your take on all this New West/Old West talk?
Bad Lucc: Ohh! Let me say this man, this is what I will say about it. I donít
really like to speak on it man, but Iím an old school nigga. I might be a
young dude but I got an old soul, and my whole thing is respect the Gís,
right? So, even if I get in a situation where I feel like some of the big
homies may have said some slick talk or whatever, Iíll call them and holla at
them and see what thatís about. Iím not gonna go off the radar and get to
banging on niggas, because they are the reason that I rap! Whether itís WC,
Dogg, Quik, Cube. These are the reasons why I rap!
So you can disrespect the OGís, you are so out of line for that! Me, Iím a new
nigga coming from the West, but I donít necessarily rep it like a crew, Iím
just a new nigga coming out! Itís all West! Iím just a new nigga coming out! I
donít get into all that disrespectful shit, I donít disrespect none of these
niggas. I fuck with them and they all fuck with me, them the big homies! I
fucks with them, theyíve showed nothing but love to Lucc, so I roll with the
good niggas first, fuck all that other shit.
Dubcnn: Who are your personal favorites, as far as up and coming artists
from the West Coast?
Bad Lucc: I gotta say my dudes man, the people I fucks with, Damani, Halla,
S-Mac, these are the dudes coming killing. Outside of my crew, I gotta say
Mykestro, I fuck with ĎStro. ĎStroís a cold muthafucka man, I done heard some
shit heís been doing, itís incredible! I fucks with ĎStro. Thereís a couple of
other cats doing it, my favorite though is Mykestro. I must say that.
Dubcnn: What about producers?
Bad Lucc: Producers? Aw man, THX! THX! Young dude, just turned 21, young
nigga, he donít do nothing but bangers. Nigga is retarded. THX is retarded,
you gonna hear a lot from him this year, he did that number 19 ďDonít StopĒ on
Doggís CD, Blue Carpet. THX he doing his thang thatís my favorite up and
coming. Nigga is incredible, dogg, straight up.
Dubcnn: Is there anything else that youíd like to let everybody know?
Bad Lucc: Man just look out for the Western Union man, lookout for the Warzone,
JT The Bigga Figga, Kurupt, lookout for that ďBigg SqueezeĒ album, Snoop Dogg
is really taking care of niggas man. All this shit talking, I read the threads
and I read that shit, these niggas is shit talking cause they donít know what
theyíre talking about, ďDogg ainít taking care of peopleĒ Fuck all that shit
man, this nigga been rolliní with me.
I do wanna say this though, I wanna touch on this cause itís been bothering me
for real. Itís a lot of cats on the West talking shit like ďDogg donít take
care of niggas, look at all them artists he had!Ē I look at it like this: If
Snoop put me on Number 14 ďLike ThisĒ on Blue Carpet Treatment, Iím on 600,000
albums all across the nation. If he say right now, ďfuck it Bad Lucc, I donít
fuck with you no more.Ē, if I canít blow up from being on the album, then
thatís MY fault, not Snoopís fault. Iím rocking with a superstar right now, if
I canít bubble from that on my own, then I ainít hustliní right. So all the
niggas complaining, they just shut up, kick back and roll with the Dogg, he
been representing man, all this Western Conference, niggas asking for that,
heís the one who put it together.
Just sit down, and respect your Gís man, and roll with this good music. Itís
West homie! Thatís all I gotta say about it, keep this shit West, stay
supporting Western Union, Warzone, JT The Bigga Figga, Kurupt man, weíre
putting it down. Lookout for us this year, weíre going hard! Straight up, Bad
Dubcnn: Aight man.
Bad Lucc: There is it is man! You wanna holla back at Damani?
Bad Lucc: Aight hold up one second.
Damani: So we all good?
Damani: We just knocked two birds with one stone, one line, you know?
Dubcnn: I wanna talk to you about your solo album. Have you been working on
Damani: Hell yeah! A lot of people donít know, but Snoop is gonna co-executive
my album, in addition to Warren Campbell, so thatís gonna give me a whole new
dynamics, whole new sound, whole new everything. So Iím excited about that. I
got a whole bunch of songs right now, but itís just now started to round out,
and be what itís supposed to be.
Dubcnn: When do you think we can expect the album to drop?
Damani: Iím trying to do the Western Union first, which should be happening in
maybe about four more months, and Iím trying come right after that. I got a
single that Iím about to drop in the next month or so, depending on how that
single does, in my eyes, if the demand is big like that, then Iíma go ahead
and drop the album right after that. Sony are in full support of however it
goes. But Iíma drop the single first and see what it do, and keep building
with my clique the Western Union. Iím not gonna force nothing, everything has
to happen real organically, Iím not gonna just throw a date out there. The day
I come out is the day Iím anticipated like that, thatís when Iíma drop.
Dubcnn: What do you want your album to contribute to Hip-Hop?
Damani: I want it to be one of them albums that people live by. I want them to
be repeating everything about it, I wanna change some minds on how you do
music on the West Coast or in the world period. I want people to be like
ďDamn, you can be honest and just be you in a record and not have to fake, or
gangbang your way on.Ē I want muthafuckas to see that you can be yourself,
have fun in the music, and still be hood! A lot of these muthafuckas be
pushing these niggas to be something theyíre not, and they get in the streets
and then they got problems! Cause now, some other nigga got a problem with you
cause of some shit you saying or some shit you portraying.
So, I want people to hear my record and go ďDamn, I know that nigga and he
really is being hisself! Itís okay to be yourself on a record!Ē I want people
to get that from my record. To say that I want it to be classic is too clichť,
cause thatís up to the people. I canít really say that. But honesty is what I
want people to ultimately get from my record, and I think thatís gonna provoke
sales. I ainít got no schemes or nothing, Iím giving you me, and if you like
me, the shitís gonna go double triple quadruple! Thatís it!
Dubcnn: Which producers are you gonna be working with on the album?
Damani: Since Snoop has been on, the production game is gonna be wide open for
me, but Iím definitely gonna stick with my camp, which is Warren Campbell,
Soopafly, Snoop, and just anybody West. Iím not opposed to anybody from any
place else, but Iím definitely fuckiní with everybody from here, the obvious,
the usual suspects and a couple of people who are on the radar right now.
Dubcnn: What's your take on all this "New West/Old West" talk?
Damani: That shit means nothing to me! It means nothing! I donít have no take
on it! It donít mean nothing to me. If itís time for some new faces, which it
is, then itís always in with the new. But at the same time, I always preach
that the minute you have a song, or the minute that youíre relevant to the
streets, is the minute that shit crack for you! I ainít never had no problems
with nobody who did it before me, because if it wasnít for them niggas I
wouldnít be in the situation Iím in right now! We wouldnít be talking about
West or throwing up any kind of West Coast signs!
So I love the old West, if thatís what you wanna call it. I love everything
that came before me! Thatís not a political answer, thatís really how I feel.
So I ainít really got no take on it, itís really just what it is. Iím not with
dividing this part of the West with this part of the West, Iím not with that.
Iím just not with it. Iím with muthafuckas putting out some hit records or
just some hard ass songs on the streets, doing shows, and we getting money!
Thatís what Iím with!
Dubcnn: Alright man, I think weíve got pretty much everything. Is there
anything else that you'd like to let everybody know?
Damani: Lookout for the Western Union, lookout for Damani. Damani. *laughs*
Damani Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That
Bad Lucc Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That
Full Interview In Audio :