interview JAKE ONE (January 2009) | Interview By: Jonathan Hay

   Seattleís very own super-producer Jake One delivered a stunning album in the last quarter of 2008 -- creatively titled White Van Music Ė which featured Bishop Lamont, Young Buck, Little Brother, Freeway and many more.

It's almost a year since we first caught up with him [see February 2008 interview] so with little need for a long introduction, weíll let the man behind the music speak for himself in this new interview, exclusively for Dubcnn.

As ever, you can read this exclusive interview below and we urge you to leave feedback on our forums or email them to haywire@dubcnn.com.

Interview was done in December 2008
Questions Asked By: Jonathan Hay

Jake One Gave Dubcnn A Shoutout: Listen Here
Dubcnn Exclusive Ė Jake One
A Dubcnn Exclusive
By Jonathan Hay


Dubcnn: What is going in the world of Jake One?

I am still excited about my album, White Van Music that was just released a few months back [October 2008], as it is my first full project that I was able to produce. I reached out and got a lot of different artists that I have been working with, or that I have wanted to work with. I got Bishop Lamont, Young Buck, Little Brother, Freeway and so many more on the album. Iíd really like to see 2009 have more projects for me like White Van Music, where itís me producing the whole album and overseeing the entire thing to completion.

Dubcnn: It has been a critically acclaimed album tooÖ

There has been a really good response to it and it has definitely been cool as far as that goesÖ It is an honor and I have appreciated all the positive feedback.

Dubcnn: How long were you working on White Van Music?

I started it in 2006, but it wasnít like I worked on it everyday or anything like that. I would get songs done here and there and just build it. A few months before I turned the album in, I really went in and changed the arrangements around, and I did a lot of the extra stuff. Some of the songs I had, Iíd been sitting on for a little bit, but I knew what I wanted to do with them and I was just waiting until the end to make the final decisions on what I was going to do. There are definitely songs on this album that werenít really finished songs until I went in and made them songs - - they were more like just verses. I really like how the album came out and I will always continue to freelance, but White Van Music has really shown people the depth of what I can do and putting something together from start to finish.

Dubcnn: What is different about this album, from the other Producer based albums?

Obviously, in hip-hop, the role-model for a producer doing a whole album is the Dr. Dre series, but this is different because I donít rap soÖ I was really looking at the molds of albums like Pete Rockís Soul Survivor Ė and Producer albums more along those lines. This album isnít the standard protocol for hip-hop albums.

Dubcnn: So why did you decide to call the album, White Van Music?

That title came from the first song that I produced for anybody -- and that was for a friend from high-school. The song was called, In My White Van and when it was time to pick a name for my publishing company, I ran with it and Iíve been going so long with it, I thought it was only right to bring it back to where it began. That was even my approach on making some of the music too. That is the symbolism behind White Van Music.

Dubcnn: Itís a great nameÖ and it really jumped out because it is so differentÖ

Itís funny, I get a lot of people who think it is white man music *aughing* - - but itís not, itís very clear on the album, white van music Ė it even has a picture of a van *laughing*.

Dubcnn: Itís funny to me because I have a good friend back home in Florida and he is a Funeral Director, so he goes and picks up all these bodies in his white vansÖ and my first thought was, I wonder if Jake One is thinking about bodying all these other artists and producers in the gameÖ *Laughing*

Every different place I go, there always seems to be a different meaning to what the name means and that is really cool to me.

Dubcnn: So where are you from?

Born and raised in Seattle.

Dubcnn: What is the Seattle hip-hop scene like now?

The Seattle Scene is definitely growing right nowÖ. Itís been going on for a long time now and there are a few groups who are really making noise. Right now, local rap artists have more pride in the city then what theyíve had in the past and there are more people coming out to local shows in general. Itís at the point where someone really has to break through nationally, I mean really break throughÖ and that is much easier said than done.

Dubcnn: Everybody is always referring to your G-Unit affiliation, but itís not every clear. So for the record, are you officially a G-Unit Producer?

People have really misconstrued that, as there arenít many people who are actually signed to just G-Unit as producers. Iíve done a ton of work with them, and Iíve had seven or eight songs come out with them on their albums, and Iíve had countless other songs come out on mixtapes and things like that, but itís not like I get a paycheck from G-Unit every month. Theyíve definitely been a great platform for me to my music getting out there and heard by everyone across the world. Iíll always be grateful for that and Iím sure Iíll keep working with those guys in the future. I work with some guys who have beef with G-Unit and they think I should too, but that has nothing to do with me. People always try to give me music to get them signed to G-Unit, but itís not like thatÖ

Dubcnn: Thanks for that clarificationÖ

The way that the business works, itís really only about what you are doing at that moment, it doesnít matter what youíve done in the past or what your name is. I just want artists to keep identifying with my music and G-Unit has really identified with it.

Dubcnn: A lot of people are really feeling your work with Bishop Lamont.

His demo actually had a lot of my beats on it and I didnít even know him. He got my beats through somebody, so really I was already on the ground floor with him. We ended up meeting and it was a different situation because I wasnít fighting to get his attention, he already knew who I was... Bishop is a great artist.

Dubcnn: Do you worry about your tracks already being out there, especially when you are shopping tracks to high-profile artistsÖ

I donít worry about that. . I just try to keep good relationships and focus on staying consistent. A lot of times, Iím really surprised by the beats that the artists choose and then also what they pass on. My manager, Sha [Money] has done a great job with submitting my music and placing my work. To me, it is really nobodyís beat until they pay for it.

Dubcnn: Have you submitted any tracks to Dreís Detox project?

Yes, I am definitely in the mix on that stuffÖ That is one of those records that I would not know if I am on it, or who is even on it until it comes out. I mean, until it comes out who really knows? I would not say with confidence that I will be on it, but I have worked with him before and I imagine that we will work together again too. I hope that itís one of those things thatíll happen this year.

Dubcnn: So you have worked with Dr. Dre in the studio?

I havenít worked with him in the studio, but itís funny because actually the first major label beats I sold were to them for an artist named Brooklyn that they signed in like, 2003. I sold them three beats for that project. I get beats to them that they like, but until Detox comes out, itís hard to say what will really happen. Iíd also like to get on Eminemís new album, but he is mostly handling the production himself, or Dre.

Dubcnn: Speaking of Eminem, youíve done some extensive work with his artist Ca$his?

Iíve done a ton of work with Ca$his and I hope they put that out so we can see those records drop. Iíd love to see that record out there, Riki [Rikanatti] is my boy and the project is really sounding good. Itís all about timing and especially with the way the industry is now, itís all just different as things are a lot harder than they were five years ago. Five years ago with a situation and music like Ca$his has, he would have already been out. Itís just a very different game nowÖ

Dubcnn: What is the recording gear and instrumentation that you currently use?

My main thing is the Ensoniq ASR-10, which actually isnít made any more. Thatís pretty much what Iíve been working on and what I will always work on. I work with a lot of live musicians as well, so I have live music in the beats, but even with that, I still sequence everything in the ASR-10 and program everything on it. I have like three or four of them.

Dubcnn: Where do you mainly record?

I work out of two studios; I have a home-studio and a studio downtown [Seattle] that I share with Vitamin D. I really like working at home more than anything and I really just go to other studios to get really get peoples opinion on stuff, or if Iím working with vocals or things like that.

Dubcnn: Iíll let you get back to work, thanks so much for your time.

Thank you man, I actually go to Dubcnn a lot and I love the old-school interviews you all do. Letís talk again real soon.


 Jake One Gave Dubcnn A Shoutout: Listen Here

Enter Your Email Address > To Receive Our
Free Newsletter!