2007)| Interview By:
Dubcnn recently sat down with the
multi-talented Damizza for an in-depth interview. In addition to discussing his
new project, “Damizza Presents Unreleased Volume 1,” Damizza tells us all about
Butch Cassidy’s upcoming “Playa Life” album and Taje’s “Hot Box 2” street album.
After this, Mizza shares many fascinating stories with us. Read on to find out
about his experiences working with Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mariah Carey, Jay-Z, and
many more of your favorite artists. We’re just getting warmed up, so be on the
lookout for Part 2 of this extensive interview next Wednesday..
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
was done in September 2007.
Questions Asked By :
Damizza Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That Here
Full Interview In Audio : Here
Part Two; Damizza
Interview Part 2 (September 2007)
What’s up, we’re here with Damizza right now. How are you doing today man?
What’s up Eddie? How you doing man?
Dubcnn: Good! Let’s
start with this. The “Back B4 You’re Lonely” album dropped a few months ago. Are
you happy with the way it turned out and the responses you’ve been getting?
I absolutely love it! I’m checking out the forums, and hearing people
call it “album of the year.” Seeing the review, and seeing the artwork everywhere,
it’s amazing! We’ve had some issues with the record company because it’s a new
thing being involved with Universal/Fontana. Some of the mom and pops didn’t get
it because it was out priced for some of the areas, and we had some problems with
the Best Buy chains and stuff like that. But it’s all getting worked it. It set
up Butch’s project, it set up the “Unreleased” [project,] and it’s great!
Dubcnn: I know everyone’s got their personal favorite from the album.
What was your favorite track from the album?
“Back B4 You’re Lonely.”
The eerie-ass keyboards, I mean that’s Damizza classic shit! I like “Party On,”
I like “Cruzin.” Los did his thing producing that record. [He is a] new dude out
of the 805 who’s an incredible producer. He just did something with Omar Cruz,
[he’s] working with De from Tangled Thoughts, Down, [and] MC Magic. I mean, he’s
That was the cool thing about “Back B4 You’re Lonely,” is [that]
there were a lot of artists [on it] that people hadn’t heard in a while or [that
just] got put on. Titus was great to hear. It was great to hear Roccett [and]
Bishop on the track with Vanessa. It’s cool man – it was a mixture of all kinds
of cool shit. That’s what I love - I love sticking a bunch of crazy people together.
Dubcnn: You guys were over in Japan promoting the album, and we saw
some footage of that. Tell us about your experience over there…
was crazy! Dope is a concert promoter out there. Playground Entertainment and
DJ Couz, who’s my DJ, said, “Hey, Dope is having this ten year anniversary car
show!” I’m like, “Hell yeah, we’ve gotta go!” The last time I went to Japan, I
left my luggage in LA. Dope, who owns a store there, brought me a bunch of clothes,
and they were all West Coast-based clothes, like Gotti Gear and Joker brand. So
when that happened, I was like, “Hell yeah, anything for Dope.” He had my back
and [was] looking out for me when I left my luggage in LA.
So we went
out there and did it, and the crazy thing about it is the back of the stage opened
up, and Mt. Fuji was behind us. I mean dude, you turn around and you see Mt. Fuji
and you’re like, “What the hell is that?”...Let’s talk about Butch Cassidy’s album!
Dubcnn: All right, yeah!
Man, I got the whole album
this morning, the mixes from the studio, and dude, this album is crazy! I’ve been
hearing “Swagger” on the radio too. Butch is on everything hot right now. I mean
the WC record [“Dodgeball”] he’s got is fire, the Mack 10 record [“Street Shit,”
and] the two 2Pac records [“Picture Me Rollin (Remix)” & “Pain (Remix)”.]
was produced by Jedi Jared Moore, who is a new guy out of Santa Barbara. He also
has a solo single coming soon called “Girlfriend.” That’s off the hook. But, Power
106 and Q104.7 have been supporting the daylights out of [“Swagger.”] I saw everything
on Dubcnn - Nima, Rud, Jay, everybody there on the forums. I love going on Dubcnn.
I’m addicted to it like Myspace! I get to see that stuff, it’s crazy!
Dubcnn: So you’re probably going to have a heavy hand in this Butch Cassidy
album. What can we expect to see on this record?
It’s called “Playa
Life,” it’s coming out December 11th. It’s coming through Baby Ree / Fontana /
KCP / Universal. It’s got Mel-Man on it, he’s a legend in his own right. You’ve
got Jedi Jared Moore, who’s the new dude on there. He just does amazing stuff.
You’re going to see some crazy stuff come out of that guy! You’ve got Prime on
there, you’ve got Taje on there. You’ve got Dae One, who is an incredible producer
out of the West Coast. I mean he just keeps turning them out, working with Taje,
Bishop, Roccett, and all of those guys. So, it’s just gonna be fire man! Butch
is just undeniable. He really just makes incredible records. I love working with
Dubcnn: He’s really killing it right now…
Do you want to talk about Taje too?
His mixtape dropped today! DJ Warrior [is] a freakin’ marketing genius. “Hot
Box 2” is just blowing up. Taje and Warrior [are] getting radio spins on a
mixtape, which is unheard of! The mixtape sounds like an album. He’s had two radio
singles off a mixtape, “Houseshoes” and “Butterfly
Effect.” Mike Ant is crazy, that hook on “Butterfly Effect” is nuts. Taje
did a show out here at Nicholby’s [in Ventura, CA] last night after doing a radio
interview at Q104.7. He was doing the interview and they said, “Why don’t you
come by and do a show at Nicholby’s,” so he showed up at Nicholby’s. He’s a hard
That’s what I love about a lot of the New West – Bishop,
Taje, Indef, Mike Ant, Prime, all of those guys – they work hard. Any time you
give them any kind of task, whether it be a beat or whether it be radio or whatever
it is, I mean not only [do they] take it on full-steam ahead - they knock it out
of the park every time.
That mixtape, even the artwork - Caps, Takeoff
Productions or any of those people involved in it, the shit is just first-class!
The mixtape sounds like an album, the artwork looks like an album. Dae One is
ridiculous, Indef is ridiculous…I can’t say enough nice shit about it, I love
Dubcnn: We’re getting a full album for free. I don’t know
what more we could ask for...
Well that’s what Bishop did with his
last mixtape. That’s what’s cool about it, you’re dealing with...see a generation
back, people were not fucking with each other. My generation [is] the fatherless
generation, not having mentors. But now you have the [whole] New West movement
all working together. [They] put all personal shit aside, no matter what it is,
and just work together. So you have all these guys working together, trying to
make the best records possible, and really realizing, “Yo dude, the West Coast
has been sleeping. Let’s stop our own bullshit, and put out some hot records.”
And that’s why you have all of this shit.
I mean, Bishop’s doing what
he’s doing. You’ve got to respect the church-ifying effect that dude has. He’s
the good will ambassador. He runs around, makes sure everybody gets along and
gets a hot record out. We’re doing letmehearitmusic.com, where we get a lot of
demos and stuff like that, we get to hear them and [then] give you feedback from
real people that do it. Did you hear that Focus track? (Bishop’s single “Feel
Dubcnn: Yeah, that song is crazy!
got to shout out Syphe and D-Lux. They played it four times back-to-back. Big
Boy, E-Man, all those guys, they really did their thing with that record. Q104.7
was playing that last night, and Bishop called in. I still don’t know what that
person is saying the background, but it’s dope as hell!
We just saw a video of him premiering the song over there, and it looked like
a lot of fun!
It always is when Patron is in the room! *Laughs*
I’m trying to find Roccett, I’ve been looking for Roccett. I have a couple
crazy songs with him, and hopefully it will be part of the “Unreleased.” Roccett
has got the sickest pen! He is incredible dude! That guy is going to be a crazy
ass star. I mean, he’s already in every magazine, doing the Warrior mixtape thing
[“Colors,”] and all that other stuff. He’s got a lot going on. He’s an incredible
performer and artist [as well.]
Dubcnn: I heard he’s crazy in
the studio, just walking around to come up with lyrics…
The guy doesn’t
use a pen! We’ve probably done about five songs together. We started working the
past couple of years, and from the first time I met him, he writes everything
in his head! The way that he talks it out, and the metaphors that he uses, it’s
crazy! The guy’s nuts! We did a song called “Fly Bitches,” we did a song called
“Can’t Be Stopped,” [and] we did a song with Krondon & Chace Infinite called
“Watch Out.” It’s just sick as hell. Chace and Krondon, Bigga B rest in peace,
I’ve known them for a good 10-15 years. Since way back in the day, we all came
up around the same time at Power 106, where they were doing “Friday Night Flavors.”
Chace was one of the first people I met at Power 106.
Damizza Presents “Unreleased Volume 1” is coming out soon. What made you decide
to put this project together in the first place?
I’ve got 500 songs
in the vault, just sitting there. It’s crazy because a lot of people will come
by the studio, they listen to the music and I always pull something out. They’ll
go, “Have you ever worked with so-and so,” and I’ll just go digging in my crate
ad go, “Yeah, here’s a song with so-and-so!”
It’s weird because everybody
has come through the studio. Tobey Maguire (Spiderman,) Stephen Dorff, all those
kinds of people, all the way to Jennifer Love Hewitt and Pamela Anderson. Don’t
think I didn’t get them on a track; I’ve got them all on a track. All of that
kind of stuff all the way down to Mariah Carey, Krazyie Bone, [and] Da Brat. I
love making music, I love artists, and I love people that want to perform. I look
at it as I’m there to capture the moment. People don’t know that Pamela Anderson
did backgrounds on a track that Mariah was on, or that Pamela Anderson or Jennifer
Love Hewitt can really sing! But you get them in there and you get the craziness
going, and then you add something crazy like putting Jayo Felony on the track!
It’s like “What?” I mean, who would have thought that Mariah Carey and Westside
Connection would have worked together.
Dubcnn: Yeah, until you
brought them together…
Exactly, and [Mariah] with Snoop Dogg [on
“Cry Baby.”] That’s my whole thing - I like putting crazy artists together. [For
example,] introducing Mariah Carey to Jay-Z for “Heartbreaker,” when Jay-Z was
a street artist. What it did for Jay-Z was it gave him his first international
number one record and took him across the pond. Being a part of that kind of stuff,
that really pushes the brand of hip-hop and pushes the brand of artistry. All
that type of stuff on top of it is the shit I love.
In 1997 when I came
to Power 106 and took all the techno off the radio station, and switched it to
[2Pac’s] “All About You” and “Ain’t No Fun,” they wanted to fire me for that shit!
I went to my boss and I was like, “Look.
This techno stuff [when you’re] playing it with Boyz II Men is not gonna happen.
You need to make rap the focus, and you need to go out and find Snoop and Dre,
you need to go out and find DJ Quik, we need to go out and find all those people
and associate to that brand because that’s what’s hot in LA and that’s what people
relate to.” They’re like, “Dude, you’re crazy. Research says…” I said, “You’re
asking the wrong questions in your research!” They [said,] “Bullshit!” I said,
“Let’s play ‘Ain’t No Fun’ on the radio and watch what happens.” They said, “No,
we can’t play ‘Ain’t No Fun’ on the radio, it’s too dirty, there’s no way to edit
it.” I said, “If I can prove it in research, can I play it?” They said, “Look,
if you can prove it in research…yeah right. You can do it.” So I put on “All About
You, “Ain’t No Fun,” a bunch of Nate Dogg records, [and] all these kinds of things.
I put them in there, [and] you know what happened? All those records popped up
at the top, because they were passionate records for the listener.
really how I got my start at Power 106 was [by] proving that, [but] not just that.
Like the story behind Eminem…Dr. Dre calls me up. “Yo, I’ve got this kid, you’ve
got to hear this, come to the house!” I walked up – [Dre says] “Yo, what do I
do?” [I said,] “What do you mean?” He goes, “How do I break the white boy?” He
points to Eminem, who was standing in the booth at his house, doing Dr. Dre’s
parts to “My Name Is.”
I look over at Dre and I said, “I’ll tell you
what…you tell me the story of N.W.A., beginning to end, [and] don’t skip nothing.
I want to know about Eazy-E, I want to know about the 8-track recorder…and then
I’ll tell you how to break him. That night we put Eminem on Friday Night Flavor’s
ten year anniversary [concert.] E-Man and I walked into Michelle Mercer’s office,
who was our boss at the time and said, “Hey, Dr. Dre has got a new artist!” She
says, “I don’t want to hear it.” I go, “What do you mean?” and she says, “Dr.
Dre is over.”
I said, “Are you crazy?”
I mean, people tell me that all the time. When I started working with Mariah and
“Glitter,” and started cleaning up that mess, what do you think everybody said?
“Mariah is over.” Everybody looked at me like I was crazy.
And look at “Emancipation of Mimi,” that was one of the biggest selling records
Exactly. That’s what’s crazy about artists. No one is ever
over. Michael Jackson is not over, Whitney Houston is not over, Cher is not over,
any of these people are not “over.” [They’re] one song away from doing it all.
When I met Dr. Dre, he was doing “Zoom,” and he just had The Firm fiasco. But,
you know, he was making “2001.” I hear all this shit, and then I hear all the
Eminem stuff and I’m like “OK, he’s coming back!” It creates synergy with the
artist for the radio station and the artists...in turn creating a platform for
So he said, “Let’s break the white boy.” E-Man and I go into
Michelle’s office and say, “Gangstarr is performing at the ten year anniversary.
We’re gonna put the white boy on!” [She says,] “If you do, you’re fired!” And
I said, “What?” E-Man and I look at each other and say, “Hey, we won’t have a
job tomorrow, but at least it’ll be a good show!” We did it anyway. It went off
without a hitch. Em had a huge ass response. The next thing you know, she got
fired, [and] we were still there.
When we did the Dre and Snoop reunion,
they said no because they though LA would implode. The Baka Boyz had the idea
to do it in Hawaii, and we were like, “Let’s just do it in Hawaii.” Programming
didn’t want to do it because they thought it would be a problem in Los Angeles
with gangs and all of that. But the entire time I was at Power 106, we never had
one incident. The reason why is because everybody got along, and we got along
with everybody in the community. People knew Power was neutral ground.
The Dre and Snoop shit is what’s really crazy. I mean, I just wanted to see the
show! I always had faith in the music, and I always had faith in the people involved
in it, so I didn’t care what they said. I’m definitely gonna find a way to make
this happen, because I think like the listener. I’m a fan of the music.
We had hired Snoop to do weekends at Power. God bless Snoop, I thank him so much.
I saw the interview, he was talking about “Cruzin,” and to have a legend like
that give you props…I really respect that. The first time I met Snoop [was at]
the first show that I [ever] booked [with] WC, Mack 10, E-40, K-Ci from K-Ci &
JoJo, Shaquille O-Neal, and all those guys. Snoop walks up, and I’m like, “Holy
shit, you’re Snoop!” He goes, “Yeah, I just got off of Death Row, I’m not doing
too good…” I was like, “Hey dogg, do you want a job? 50 bucks an hour, Power 106,
weekends! What do you think? You can play whatever you want.” He was like, “Hell
yeah, I’ll do that shit!” [He] came to Power 106 and started doing weekends.
Next thing you know, I met Dr. Dre at the “Zoom” video shoot. I walk up to
him. “Dre, what’s going on. Big fan!” [He says,] “You’re the new music director
at Power? Thanks for playing ‘Phone Tap.’ Most people wouldn’t give us a shot
with that, because I tried something different. But you guys always supported
me, so whatever you guys need…” I said, “Well shit, maybe you should come and
do Snoop’s show!” I explained it to him, “It’s on the weekend, he plays what he
wants, I know you’re a DJ at heart, so come on man. Come and spin and do all of
this shit.” He’s like, “Here’s my number.” I’m like, “Whose number is this? What
system is this?” He’s like, “No man, that’s my headphone, it rings next to my
head, so don’t call me too early in the morning.”
So a couple of days
go by, I pick up the phone, I call him up, and he answers the phone! I’m like,
“Yo, what’s going on,” and we just started talking every once and a while. He
was like, “Come by the studio, I want to play you some stuff. I want to get your
I walk in, [and in] the first session they were making the
beat for “Still D.R.E.” Scott Storch, Mike Elizondo, and all of those guys [were
there,] who are just cool motherfuckers. It was amazing to watch. I was in the
room for a lot of the “2001” sessions, and not just that, but he was working on
it in [the same studio that] I was working on Nate Dogg’s [record in,] next door.
We were working side-by-side, so he would come in and be like, “Yo dude, here,
try this. Do this.” Or I would walk in and be like, “What’s that compressor?”
and he would be like, “Do you think this will work at radio?” and, “What do I
do with Eminem? How do I break this?” It’s a great relationship of sharing information.
That’s how I got into the whole production thing. [It was first] through
Mariah and Krazyie Bone and all of that, then starting to work with Nate and Butch,
and then having Dr. Dre right next door! When Dr. Dre left, Quik came in!
Dubcnn: So you just fell into it by watching everyone else work?
Yeah, it was a fan’s dream! See, I came from radio. I started radio when
I was 12 years old. Michael Newman was an amazing radio programmer, and [so was]
Steve Smith. So when I got into radio, I started off in Santa Barbara doing pop
radio, [and] even oldies radio, being a program director. I’ve never had a non-successful
radio station, as far as a program director. I’ve always been number one in what
I’ve done in radio. We sat there, we’re doing all of this stuff, but my love was
in hip-hop. Early on, there was a group called Garbage that Butch Vig produced.
He also produced “Never Mind” by Nirvana. I noticed that producers are a common
thread. If producers have success with one thing, they’ll probably have success
with another. It’s an eye for talent.
So I saw Butch Vig did that, and
I started investing early in playing Garbage. So when they went platinum, and
started blowing up, they said, “We owe you a favor because you were the first
person to ever play this shit.” Well, me being a crazy motherfucker, I said, “I
want you guys to do a 500 seat club in Santa Barbara.” They’re like, “Dogg, we’re
platinum!” I’m like, “You owe me one!” So what happened is the entire industry
went to it, and Bruce St. James, who is another great programmer, came to the
show and was like, “How the fuck did you pull this off? They did the Weenie Roast
yesterday with KROQ, they’re going out with the Smashing Pumpkins tomorrow, and
they have ‘Stupid Girl’ on the radio!” I said, “I just invested in the act early.”
He’s like, “What do you want to do?,” and I’m like, “I want to go to
Power 106.” [He’s] like, “We don’t have anything open.” I’m like, “Come on dogg,
I’ll wash vans, I’ll do whatever.” See, I believe in no ego, [and] starting at
the bottom and working your way to the top. So they said, “Look, we’ve got a board
op position.” [It’s] the guy on the other side [of the studio] who presses the
buttons. So that’s what my job was at Power 106.
But here’s the key to
the game. When I walked in, the first person I’m working for is Kurtis Blow! So
I walk in and I’m like, “Yo, you’re Kurtis Blow!” He’s like, “Look dude, if you
don’t fuck up, I’ll give you a story in hip-hop every night at the end of the
[show.] I’m like, “Done deal!”
So I started learning about the art that
I love. I wanted to hear about the dorm room where Def Jam started. I want to
hear about early Russell Simmons and Lyor Cohen and all that kind of shit. So
then right after that, he leaves, and the next person to come in is Ice-T! So
then I’m learning hip-hop from Ice-T and Kurtis Blow. From there, going through
the ranks and working hard, I became the music director. So then it was like,
OK, before I get fired for changing all this music and turning it in to a “gangsta
rap” station, I want to meet DJ Quik, Dr. Dre, and all of [them.]
back to the Dr. Dre shit, when he was doing all of that and we started forming
a relationship, Snoop was doing weekends at Power. So I was like, “Hey Snoop,
I was talking to Dr. Dre. He said he wants to work with you again!” And he’s like,
“What?” I’m like, “Yeah, he said he wants to work with you.” He goes, “Really?”
and I said, “Yeah!” Then I ran over to Dre. “Hey Dre, I was talking to Snoop the
other day. He says he wants to work with you again!” I basically just told him
the same shit, and it immediately bypassed all the egos.
So they started
talking, and the next thing you know we’re all in Hawaii, which was basically
the template for “2001.” Then, I introduced Snoop to Jay-Z and coordinated that…
and even “The Watcher 2!” Dre gave me “The Watcher 2” and just said, “You can’t
play it on the radio.” I was like “No problem.” I just loved the song. There’s
been many times where Dre’s played me shit in the studio, and I’ve been like,
“Uhh, give me a copy of that!” He’s like, “Look, you can have it for yourself,
but don’t play it on the radio.”
I was in New York, and I love sharing
music, so I’m sitting there with Jay-Z at Baseline Studios with all those guys.
I said, “Hey, wanna hear what Dre’s doing with Rakim?” And he’s like, “Uhh…yeah!”
I popped that shit in and hit play, and he was like, “Dude, you’ve got to put
me in touch with Dre. I need that song. If he’s not gonna put it out, I need that
song!” And that’s how “The Watcher 2” got on Jay-Z’s album!
And even “Heartbreaker.” It’s funny because Jay-Z being
the street artist and Mariah Carey being the pop artist, I love being the conduit
for that kind of shit. So, I’ll call Jay-Z and be like, “I’ll be in New York on
this day at this time at Mr. Chows. Let’s have dinner. This was back in the day,
so I said, bring Dame, bring Kevin Lyles, let’s all have dinner at Chows. [Then]
I call up Mariah. “Yo, I’m gonna be at Mr. Chows at this time, we’re all gonna
hang out and have dinner.” Then everybody shows up at the same time.
I’m like, “Yo Mariah, have you met Jay? Jay, have you met Mariah? By the way,
DJ Clue produced a new song for her album ‘Rainbow.’ He’s on your label, [so]
it would be stupid not to get on it, right?” So that night we went out to a club
- Nas, Puffy, everybody, we’re all getting crazy, and Jay goes to the studio and
knocks it out!
The most [enjoyable] part of my job is putting people
together. I love seeing the difference in people. Like Titus…I met Titus in the
studio with Warren G [when he was] passing out CDs, but he wasn’t putting his
number on it. I’m like, “Dogg, don’t you want to put your number on this?” He
put his number on it, and the next morning I listened to the stuff, and I was
like, “Dude, this is great! I’m gonna take it up to Power and play it.” So I’m
sitting there talking to Mariah, and I was like, “Yo, listen to this shit.” I
played it for her over the phone, and she was like, “Did you tell him to copyright
this stuff?” I’m like, “No, I forgot.” She’s like “Call him!” So we call Titus,
and Mariah’s giving him advice!
Dubcnn: Wow, that’s an unusual
It’s not, because artistry is like that. There is no
level to artistry. Yes, there’s a level to peoples’ perceptions of it, but music
is music. If you do it for the music, then all the other bullshit can go away.
Its’ when you’re not doing it for the music – it’s when you’re doing it for yourself
or you’re doing it for an ego is [when] you run into problems. That’s when your
music suffers, because you limit [the] talent [you can] work with.
Dubcnn: That’s some good advice! Everyone reading this, pay attention!
Oh, we’re doing an interview? I need to shorten my answers then! *Laughs*
But see, that’s what my life has been man. I’ve been the luckiest motherfucker
in the world because I’m just a hip-hop fan from a small town in California, that
just got really lucky and had the opportunity to not only meet all of these people,
but to get to work with them! Oh! I’ve got to let you in on some classified information
by the way...
just getting warmed up! Check back next week for part two of this exclusive interview.
Damizza Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That Here
Full Interview In Audio : Here
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