OMAR CRUZ (August 2007) | Interview By:
Dubcnn sat down with Omar Cruz
for a new exclusive interview before any other media outlet could get ahold of
him. This extensive feature covers many different topics. First, we talk about
his new street single “Hang With My Doggz,” which is about to blow up all over
the radio. We’re giving you the world premiere of the finished track as well,
so you can listen to it after reading about the creation of the song! We also
go into detail about Omar’s new album, “The Sign Of The Cruz.” Cruz explains
his situation over at Geffen/Interscope, which is allowing him to have the
album sound exactly the way he wants it to.
We also speak about the concept behind the album, and the surprises he has
lined up for it. In addition to this, we cover his perspective on West Coast
unity, and he recalls his experience in the studio recording the “Powerhouse”
anthem with WC and The Game.
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:
Interview was done in July 2007.
Questions Asked By :
Omar Cruz Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That
Full Interview In Audio For Download :
Dubcnn: We’re here with Omar Cruz. How’s it going today man?
Good man! Just right here, relaxing in this beautiful L.A. weather.
Dubcnn: Let’s start by talking about your mixtapes. You’re known for
constantly grinding out your mixtapes, and they’re very well received by
everybody. Do you feel that your mixtapes were the key to grabbing the
attention of the record labels at first?
Definitely. I think [that] not having much of a mixtape scene here in L.A.,
[there was] a surge in the past five years of a lot of mixtapes out here, and
only the cream of the crop [got] heard. Whatever bubbles to the top [are the]
people [that] are really gonna get a shot. So, for me, it’s always been a
street scene from the beginning. If you ain’t got the streets, you ain’t going
to win. For me, it’s always been a grassroots movement, to make sure [we
started] from the very bottom. [We] just handed [the mixtapes] out, we never
really sold them, although they do get sold. But, we try to get them to
people. We want to get it out to them.
Like I said, there’s not really a mixtape scene out here; it’s more of a New
York thing. So, for someone to come out here and be like “Yo, come listen to
my shit,” I’m like, “Cool, let me get it.” I might be able to help. For me,
it’s always been a perfect vehicle to get my music and my movement out there.
Me being an MC, I’ve gotta let cats know that it’s not a game – it’s not a
joke to me.
I feel blessed to be recognized for this shit man. “The Cruzifixion” got
nominated for a Mixtape Award. I was out there in Harlem and New York, and to
see the love that they’ve got out there was fuckin’… that shit was crazy to
me. It was definitely a blessing. I feel very blessed that people are being
accepting to it. With my album coming out, “The Sign Of The Cruz,” it’s going
to be a continuation of what I’ve been doing – just on a bigger scale.
Dubcnn: That’s definitely good to hear, and it was actually one of the
questions I was going to ask you. So, this album, “The Sign Of The Cruz,” is
going to have the same type of sound that you were doing with your mixtapes.
That’s the plan?
Definitely. A lot of our mixtapes, like The “Cruzifixion,” were all original
tracks. That was mostly production by my man Rome, Javie Lopez, [and] Juliette
Bennetta. These are the same cats that are involved with my album “The Sign Of
The Cruz.” So, you’re gonna get that raw shit: that real shit, that hip-hop
shit, that street shit. Shit that you don’t hear. It’s definitely going to be
a breath of fresh air, and the response now is crazy. The label’s really happy
with it. The Interscope cats are building it. We’ve got the biggest production
in that building right now, that everyone is pumped up about. That, for me, is
also a blessing. I didn’t do what I do to just keep [it to myself]…I’m trying
to bring the West Coast back.
Dubcnn: That’s good to hear! You’re on a major label, you’re doing what you
want to do with your music, and everyone’s happy. That’s going to be pretty
exciting to hear a project coming out on a major label that’s exactly what the
Well, that’s the thing…the way our deal was structured, [it] was a 50/50 joint
venture with B.Y.I. (Beyond Your Imagination) with my man Lulu. So, we don’t
deal with A&Rs, we deal with the V.P. of Geffen. He was instrumental in
allowing us to have our creative control. Who knows our culture better than
So, you mix the hip-hop culture with the Latino culture and it’s right. We’ve
got Mr. Cartoon handling the art direction. [We’re] strong, so that allows me
to do what I do best, which is [to] really destroy motherfuckers.
Dubcnn: You’re about to drop your street single, “Hang With My Doggz.” Tell
us about that song.
“Hang With My Doggz” is produced by Javie Lopez, who is the cat of the future.
[He’s an] up-and-coming cat who’s been grinding out in the streets for a long
time. The song is just crazy man! It utilizes a sample from another West Coast
legend, Volume 10. It’s one of those songs that, as soon as you hear it, it’s
like nothing else. There’s nothing else like it.
We all know what’s playing on the radio right now. When you hear [the single,]
it just socks you in the fuckin’ mouth! It forces you to pay attention. It’s
just one of those tracks. When [DJ] Skee first heard it, he went crazy. He was
like, “This is it! This is the one!” So, it’s definitely a street banger, and
that’s what we’re doing. We’re taking it back to the streets.
We’re going to [do] a promo tour in August, [and] we’re gonna hit every little
spot here on the West Coast. I don’t care how little your station is, or how
big your station is, we’re gonna come to you if you want us to come! Hit me up
on my Myspace (www.myspace.com/omarcruz,)
[or] hit up Dubcnn and let them know (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you want me to come out to your station, I don’t care if you’re in the back
of your closet, [if you’re an] internet station, [or a] college station. It
don’t matter. We want everyone to know that we’re here – the West Coast is
here! We’re back man, and I’m active in making sure that it’s here to stay.
Dubcnn: That sounds like a great plan! So, you recently recorded the
“Powerhouse” anthem with WC and The Game. Tell us about how that collaboration
took place. What made you guys come together to do that?
That was crazy! Right before the summer, we had linked up with The Game, and
he had done a song for my “Sign Of The Cruz” record. [He is,] to me, one of
the leading West Coast cats period right now. [He’s] one of the cats
responsible for keeping this West shit alive out here. [So] it made sense for
me [to collaborate with him.] It made sense for the project.
So, we did that song, [and] he had mentioned that he wanted me to rock
Powerhouse with him. I was like, “cool, let’s make it pop,” and [then] he
wanted to do a track. So, a couple weeks later, we made that pop, he hooked it
up, [went] down to record with WC and showed love. We made history man! It was
a song, not just for Powerhouse, but it was a song just showing a lot of West
Coast unity. You have a legend on there: WC. He is the West Coast, you know
what I mean? Then you have The Game, who brought the West back, and then me,
who’s following right in line to make sure it’s here to stay, and representing
for all my Latinos out there.
So, we got together, and literally from the minute that we finished recording
it, within hours, it was already on the radio! That shit was blowing up out
here. It was crazy man. Then, two weeks later, we go heat it up at Powerhouse,
and it got a great response. 27,000 people at the Honda Center in Anaheim –
that shit was incredible! We rocked that shit.
Dubcnn: That must have been a really crazy experience…
It was! [Seeing] everyone there showing love, and The Game really shut it
down. I’ve gotta take my hat off to [the] dude. He brought out the whole West
Coast. He brought out Snoop, he brought out Tha Dogg Pound – Kurupt and Daz.
He brought out WC, he brought me, [then] he even brought Kanye out. It was
almost like the “Up In Smoke Tour” days, where Dre was bringing everyone out,
and the West was strong. It had that kind of vibe to it. So, it was definitely
an experience, and I was glad to be a part of it. B.Y.I. was definitely in the
building, so we shut it down.
Dubcnn: Are you going to be working with The Game on anything else?
Yeah, he definitely [is on] a track on my album. We stay in touch. He’s on
tour in Europe right now. We’ve talked about a few things, so you’ve got to
keep your ear to the street.
Dubcnn: Now let’s go into your album, “The Sign Of The Cruz.” Do you have a
concept behind the album?
“The Sign Of The Cruz” means “the sign of the cross” in Spanish. You see
people do the sign of the cross before they do something big. It could be
something dangerous, or if you’re a boxer, you [do it before you] step into
the ring. [For] anything big or significant in your life, you do the sign of
the cross. For me, I’m using that analogy, [because] this is going to be
something big - not just for me, or for Latinos, but for hip-hop.
This album represents the struggle. It represents blood, sweat, and tears –
not just from me, [but] from my people, my peers. We’ve just been overlooked
in this game for so long that I feel that I’ve got to step up to the plate,
and that’s what I’m doin’. Like I said, this album is covering a lot of
subject matter you probably don’t hear on other albums today. There ain’t no
steppin’ or snappin’ on this album. It’s some raw shit – street shit. I like
to call it “reality rap,” because what you hear right now on the radio and in
the clubs: it’s fantasy. [Other rappers] are putting a lifestyle out there
that they can’t be living.
I know a lot of people think like me, [and] they’re tired of that shit, so I’m
taking it back to the streets. Like I said, it’s not just for Latinos – it’s
for hip-hop, period. I’m an MC – I happen to be Latino, and I’m proud of it.
But I’m proud to be a respected MC [that is] respected by my peers, and I’m
trying to be a force. We’re not even calling it an album. We’re calling it an
event! So, it’s gonna be big man.
Dubcnn: We’re definitely looking forward to it. So, are you almost finished
recording the album?
I’m always recording – I’m a recording artist, [so] that’s what I do. But, the
album is 95% done. We still have a minute before we turn it in. We’ve recorded
at least 80 songs for this record, so we only pick the best of the best.
People always ask me what my favorite song is that I’ve recorded, [and] I
always say, “the one I haven’t recorded yet.” I try to outdo myself [on] every
song, [but] I don’t really pay attention to [what] anyone else is doing. I
just try to do me and outdo myself.
I might be hitting Miami in a week, and if I do that they might have a track
over there that I might pop off. That might make the album, [or] it might not,
you never know. We’ve still got a little bit of breathing room. If you’ve got
that heat, get at me!
Dubcnn: We know you’ve got the producers from your mixtapes like Rome on
the album, and we also heard you did some stuff with Cool & Dre. Who else is
handling the production of the album?
We have Cool & Dre, shouts out to Cool, Dre, Calvin, [and] everyone in Miami
showin’ love. They really fit my style, [and] the chemistry of their music, it
definitely [works.] For me, it’s not about a beat. It’s about the chemistry -
if you fit my sound. If you fit my style, then we can work. I’m not gonna work
with you [just] because you’re a big time producer that everyone wants to fuck
with, and [is] charging X amount of dollars for a beat.
I don’t give a fuck what your name is – if your shit is hot and it fits my
style, then we can work. But, I want to keep some surprises. What you heard
already is what you heard, but I’m gonna keep some surprises. You’ll
definitely hear some surprises on the record. Not just on production, but on
features. I don’t have a lot of features, but the features I do have are
groundbreaking. So, like I said, it’s gonna be an event man!
Dubcnn: Alright, we’ll leave it at that then. I know a lot of people let
their stuff out early, and then people aren’t hyped any more for the album
when it actually comes out…
Right. It’ll pop off when it pops off. But for me, it’s a well thought out,
well-produced album. It’s an album. It’s not a bunch of songs trying to push a
single, like other cats are doing nowadays. We sat down, [and] we’ve been
working on this album for over a year now. We’re confident [in] our music.
It’s going to be a well-crafted album.
[It reminds me] of the golden years, or the 90s, when motherfuckers were
really putting albums together. Dr. Dre was a master at that. Gangstarr was
doing that, [and] Cube was putting out classic after classic, back to back.
That’s what you can expect from this. Like I said, my squad is crazy. I really
want to thank my whole B.Y.I. team, you know who you are, [and] the Street
Team, you know who you are. Everyone who’s been involved in the whole project:
the labels, like I said, Interscope, everyone who’s had their hands in this
shit, even cats at radio that are showing me love. I show love to who’s
showing me love. Like I said, “Hang With My Doggz” is definitely the jump off
– it’s already bumpin’ here in L.A. If you want me to come out to your
station, get at me. I’m here!
Dubcnn: The album was supposed to come out this summer. Do you guys have a
new release date for it?
Actually, we’re going to push it [back] a little, because there’s a few people
that are dropping that we’re trying to coordinate around at our label. So,
we’re probably going to push it back a few more months. [If you go] to
let you know as soon as we know.
Dubcnn: What do you feel needs to be done to give West Coast artists more
exposure? It seems hard for a lot of artists to get recognized out here…
That’s a good question. I think it’s a combination of a few things. First and
foremost, you’ve got to look at what it is you’re putting out. A lot of times,
people [are] just stuck in a sound that isn’t relevant anymore. A lot of
times, people either want to copy or try to reproduce shit that was poppin’
back when the West Coast was poppin’, in the mid-to-late 90’s. There’s certain
sounds that people aren’t checkin’ for anymore. I mean, I’m West Coast, but
just because I’m West Coast doesn’t mean that I’m gonna have the trademark
synthesizer going in and out. [Every song] doesn’t have to be about lowriders.
You know what I’m sayin’? [Other than that,] step your game up, from the
production end to your lyrical end. The quality can’t be sub-par, and you
can’t be mad at the West for not showing love because your shit’s fucking
garbage. That’s first.
Second of all, there’s a lot of cats out here, and I’m lucky enough to be
friends with a lot [of them.] It’s a mutual respect. For that, it’s a matter
of just sticking to it and doing your part, because that’s what we’re all
doing. I think a lot of the West Coast is so spread out, and you’ve got the
whole gangbang shit out here where a lot of motherfuckers don’t get along, and
that definitely hurts us sometimes. But, then again, there are cats that put
that shit to the side. At the Powerhouse, I saw bloods, crips, homies –
everyone of them onstage, out there for the love of the West Coast.
Motherfuckers [have] got to show more mutual love.
If you go to the Bay, or Atlanta, [or] Miami, everyone’s fuckin’ with each
other. I’m here! I fuck with whoever I’ve got respect for that fucks with me.
It’s all love for me. I’ve got a movement behind me, so I bring [that] whole
movement to the table with me. I don’t see why we can’t win. I know how to
win, and that’s all I can do. So, that’s what we’re doing: me, Lulu, Chuck,
Javie, Knuckles, everybody that’s involved in what we’re doing. I think Beanie
Siegel said it best: “Get down or lay down!” I think by this time next year,
you’re going to see where the West is shifting to, and it’s gonna be a big “W”
man, a big ass “W!”
Dubcnn: Is there anything else you want to say to everyone at Dubcnn?
Keep your ear to the street. [Go to]
www.myspace.com/omarcruz. If you want to join the movement, the B.Y.I.
Street Team, always check in with the Myspace, all the info is on there. I’d
like to give a shout out to everyone who’s been supporting me from day one. I
want to thank Dubcnn for showing me mad love, shouts out to everyone, the
whole Dubcnn staff, I love y’all! This is it man, we’re gonna take this shit
over! The West is fuckin’ back man, and it’s gonna stay there. So stay posted
– I’m on the block.
Omar Cruz Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That
Full Interview In Audio For Download :