interview DAMANI & BAD LUCC (January 2007) | Interview By: Nima

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: nima@dubcnn.com

Interview was done by phone in January 2007

Questions Asked By : Nima

Damani Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That Here

Bad Lucc Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That Here

Full Interview In Audio : Here

Dubcnn: What's going on Damani?

Damani: Ain't shit! I'm in Watts right now, at Bad Lucc's house, chopping it up.

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 about.

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 Coast.

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 territorial shit.

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 forth.

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 hot too!

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 happen.

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, right?

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 right now?

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 on here?

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 you?

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 SHIIT!

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 Lucc said.

Dubcnn: Aight man.

Bad Lucc: There is it is man! You wanna holla back at Damani?

Dubcnn: Yup.

Bad Lucc: Aight hold up one second.


Damani: So we all good?

Dubcnn: Yup!

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 that?

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. Yeah.




Damani Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That Here

Bad Lucc Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That Here

Full Interview In Audio : Here


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