JAKE ONE (January 2009) | Interview By:
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
Interview was done in December 2008
Questions Asked By: Jonathan Hay
Jake One Gave Dubcnn A Shoutout:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Dubcnn: Speaking of Eminem, youíve done some extensive work with his artist
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
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
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: