ERVIN "EP" POPE (February
2009) | Interview By: Justin
Dubcnn recently got the chance to sit down once again with a man who normally lets the music
do the talking, producer Ervin "EP" Pope is from Watts, California and
has firmly established himself in the industry. We sat down for our second exclusive video interview
[watch & read the
first] to discuss his most recent work, including Co-Executive producing
The Game's LAX record, the Life After Math DVD project and a new project
entitled "Bastards of the Party," a documentary that Ervin has completed the
Ervin talks to us about his Furnace Production company that has just signed
Dresta as well as a whole host of young and talented writers and producers. We
get the lowdown on a mixtape he has dropping with DJ Skee, find out about
his work with Mack 10, getting involved in the production crew "The Joint Chiefs" and lots more in this incredible feature.
As ever you can
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Dubcnn: We're here with Ervin "EP" Pope, this is our second interview. Why
don't you let the fans know what's going on with you?
What's going on with me is the same thing. I'm still
making good music. I'm still looking to bring a change to the west through
music by live instrumentation, by giving opportunities to those who deserve
it, those who are hungry, those who are willing to share and help other
Dubcnn: So you're just fresh off the success of the "L.A.X." album
with Game. Why don't you talk about your experiences with that. I know you
were co-executive producer for that album.
That experience was an experience in itself. To sum it up, we started in
December of 2007 and ran all the way to August 2008. Consecutive days, hard
work, lots of grinding, lots of different producers, lot of competition,
friendly competition. You had to definitely bring your A- game if you wanted
to stick. I'm just grateful for the opportunity and the chance to just mold
that project into what it is today. Of course the numbers nowadays in the
urban sales, or sales period in the industry are down. I'm just glad that
it's successful, I'm blessed that it is successful and that I had a chance
to be a part of that.
Dubcnn: Why don't you talk about some of the tracks that you produced
on the album, your experiences with that..
Some of the tracks that I produced on that album... I produced at least ten
tracks for the album, actually about 3 of them stuck. I also did the intro,
outro, and the skits. I played on a lot of the other artist's and producer's
song as well to make them bigger. I played on Toomp's songs, I played on
1500's joint, I produced "Never Can Say Goodbye", the Biggie, 2pac, Eazy-E
joint. Crazy joint. I co-produced "Game's Pain". I produced the remix of
"Game's Pain" you probably heard with Bun B, Fat Joe, and a lot of other
artists. "Spanglish", I co-produced that with Young Tre Beatz from Black
Wall Street. "Nice", I produced. The actual song "Nice" which Irv Gotti gave
the original track, and something happened with the files so I had to
reproduce the whole track. Good looking to Irv Gotti for that, definitely
the joint was a smash. Those are some of the songs on that project.
A lot of other songs didn't make the album. Game recorded over 200 songs for
the album, so of course all of them were not going to make it, but we're
still working it. There's alway soundtracks, there is always other things we
can place that music. Those are some of the joints that I worked on for that
Dubcnn: You also did the "Life After Math" DVD with game, what was
that like? I know you took charge for most of the project actually
For that project, it's funny because I got a call to come and actually do a
speaking interview about Game's life or about our relationship. After the
interview, I was talkjng to couple of the producers of the film, and just
asked. So I just asked, "Who is doing the score to this? Who is composing
this?" They didn't actually have anyone at the time. "Well let me do it,
give me a shot at it.", and they was like,"Nah, nah, we can't afford you." I
was like, "Man just give me a shot." I made the numbers real reasonable
because I'm trying to make an imprint in this game, not just as a producer,
but as a composer, as a songwriter, as somebody for any project that can
make it happen. We ended up making it stick. I actually was blessed enough
to do 100% of the music in that movie, so it was a pretty good thing.
Dubcnn: Speaking about documentaries, you also did "Bastards of the
Party", the whole soundtrack for that. Why don't you share some details
about the project, and what you got going with that.
Well the "Bastards of the Party" project, it's an important project. It's a
project that is needed. There is a lot of senseless killing out here on the
west coast, it's a lot of cats who need to hear a positive message in music
because music is probably a lot of those guys, the only way they are going
to get a message. A lot of those guys are not involved in any church or any
organization where people even care about them. I take this project very,
very seriously. I had a homie, Marcus, shouts out to Marcus Hall, who
actually is good friends with Bone, and put us two together. Bone was
looking for someone to do it, I was glad to be a part of it. I saw the film,
a phenomenal film. It's a must see. Every black man, every middle class to
lower class, every man needs to see it. It documents us as black men, our
struggle in Los Angeles, how the gangs started, how the riots started, how
the Black Panthers formed, how they were disbanded, and everything. It's a
very positive message.
I was able to just call upon some of my friends and some of Bone's friends
to actually make it happen. On that project we got Snoop, we got Glasses
Malone, we got K-Dot, we got Jay Rock, we got my artist Varnardo, we got
Dresta, we got Mack 10, we got Game, we got WC. We got the whole west coast.
Everybody feels the same way I feel about this film. They were able to just
lend a hand and make it happen. Look out for it. It's definitely going to be
a groundbreaking project
Dubcnn: When can the fans expect that to be released?
Top of the year 2009, we're still working a couple particulars out . We're
looking about February 2009
Dubcnn: Following up on our first interview, you had a situation
going on, your Furnace production company. Please share about that, you got
some new writers and producers on deck.
The Furnace, like you said is a production company, soon to be a label. I
just signed Dresta the Gangsta, phenomenal rapper. I think Dresta needs a
chance to paint a different picture, to take what he's doing, not to take
away from what he's already doing, but for me to put my head together with
Dresta and make it bigger. I got Varnardo who is phenomenal, who is all over
the "Bastards of the Party" soundrack. Singer, writer, ridiculous. I got
Cali, young dude out of Watts who is fire. I got Jae Double who is currently
on tour in Africa with Game, and we're working that situation out. Man, I
got writers, I got a producer KC Knight, ridiculous , humble, talented dude.
You're going to hear from the Furnace a lot in 2009
Dubcnn: And you mentioned that you had a mixtape with Skee coming
Yeah I got a mixtape with Skee coming out, top of the year. We just going
through, making good music. It's actually hard to pick the music for the
street album/mixtape becase I want everything to be quality. As you know,
when everything is quality, its hard to just give stuff away, but I'm going
to give it out to you all, the fans, I'm going to give it up.
Dubcnn: You' re also working with Mack 10, on his new album. You did
his new single "Big Baller" with Glasses Malone and Red Cafe. You mentioned
you were going to be overseeing his new project and the second single as
Mack is the homie, we got together. Mack called me about maybe six or seven
months ago, and just asked that I shoot him some mp3s of some music. "Big
Baller" was born and I was feeling it 100%. He also called me right back
with another joint that I gave him, and put Anthony Hamilton on it. It's
bananas too, and that's slated to be his second single. We recently sat down
a week ago, and discussed me forming and shaping his project "Soft White",
and making it into a bigger and better situation. Of course as you know,
when everything lines up and has a theme and has a purpose, it makes great
Dubcnn: You recently had a studio session with Dae One, Damizza, and
all of them, the Joints Chiefs. Why don't you share your experiences with
That was a unique situation. I got a call from Dae One, shout outs to Dae
One. Me and Dae One are like that. Whatever he needs, I'm going to do,
Whatever I need from him, he's going to do. He just called me and it was a
unique conversation. Word is that there is no cohesiveness or unity among
producers and artists, and just the west coast period. I'm trying to put an
end to that. I was glad to get the phone call. I didnt know what it was
about, he just said "West coast stand up. Let's get together, lets meet
everybody. Everybody don't know who did this, who did that." So I was there,
I showed up. They put a beat on, another cat was getting down on it, soon as
he finished Damizza said, "Hey EP, why don't you jump on this?" i jumped on
it and it's a classic.
The next time they call I'm going to go back, the next time they call I'm
going to go back, and the next time. I just invite the west coast to stand
up like that. It's not about money, money wasn't even discussed. I dont know
what the song was going on. I just know that we need to unite and make some
good music, and lets just get out of this killing each other. There's 25
other subjects we can touch upon. Lets do that, lets bring it back. and
change our priorities.
Dubcnn: You also mentioned that you had a jazz band called Route 101.
you guys recently played on "The Tonight Show" with Game for the song "My
Life", thats also kind of like breaking out of the west coast mold and what
not. Talk about that music and what you got lined up for that
Also in L.A., we have a lot of talented musicians. Everybody needs a chance.
I put a band together over ten years ago for my sister's wedding, just some
friends I know. My homeboy Shannon plays drum at my church. I grew up with
Shannon since I was like five or six years old. My homie Glenn, he plays
guitar, he worked in my old job long time ago. I just called out from
Keenote to Kenny. There's just a lot of cats out here that are talented, so
I made the phone call, we put it all together, and we been playing, long
story short, for over ten years.
Game called and wanted to put a band together, and I knew the perfect pieces
for the puzzle. So I called them up, we did a day of rehearsing, and the
rest was magic, Like I said I'm always promoting live instrumentation, and I
got the guns. Those are my guns that I call when its time for that type of
job. Thats how it happened. The show was magical, one take. We're actually
putting a tour together, probably top of the year, to go out with Game on a
domestic tour, and bring a different element that Game hasn't really brought
out before. For this "L.A.X." album, we're trying to make it live, and bring
the fans something different.
Dubcnn: Last time we spoke in the studio you also mentioned that you
were working with Michael Jackson. What was that like to lay your
contributions to that project?
It was different. I did a lot of work for Kanye West. Kanye called me, to
come into the studio to actually redo the 25th anniversary CD of Michael
Jackson. He had the "Billy Jean" joint, and just to add anything to that
situation was definitely an honor to me. As you know there's a million
musicians in the world, for me to get the call to come and do that, I felt
Dubcnn: Talk about about any other upcoming projects you got coming
up. I know you got some stuff with Roccett, some scripts coming up, share
with the fans what you got lined up
I did as you mentioned before, "The Life After Math", which is the
documentary on Game's life. From that, the company who produced that film,
shot me a couple scripts, and gave me first right to those, if i wanted to
compose those. Of course I'm looking over those scripts.
I got Roccett top of the year, CTE, shout out to Roccett. Supposed to go in
and just make some magic on his project. I have several different
opportunities. as long as scheduling lines up, and budget and everything is
right, you're going to hear a lot from me in 2009
Dubcnn: Any last words for the fans?
Just keep it locked on my
MySpace. Get at me. I'm approachable. I'm reachable. Let's make
it happen. Let's change the west.