interview DAMIZZA (September 2007)| Interview By: Eddie Gurrola

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: eddie@dubcnn.com


Interview was done in September 2007.

Questions Asked By :
Eddie Gurrola

Damizza Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That Here

Full Interview In Audio : Here


Part Two; Damizza Interview Part 2 (September 2007)

Dubcnn: 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 crazy!

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…

That 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)”.]

Swagger” 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 that guy.

Dubcnn: He’s really killing it right now…

Do you want to talk about Taje too?

Dubcnn: Yeah!

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 working artist.

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 it!

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 On It”)

Dubcnn: Yeah, that song is crazy!

I’ve 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!

Dubcnn: 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.

Dubcnn: 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!

Dubcnn: Really?

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.

That’s 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.”

Dubcnn: What?

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.

Dubcnn: And look at “Emancipation of Mimi,” that was one of the biggest selling records of 2005…

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 hip-hop.

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 opinion.”

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.]

Going 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!

Dubcnn: That’s crazy!

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 combination!

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...

We’re 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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