RAS KASS (January
2005) | Interview By:
Dubcnn.com had the amazing
opportunity to be the very first media outlet to conduct an interview with Ras
Kass after he touched down from jail. In this in-depth interview, Rassy talks
about his time in jail, his current mindstate, his new recordings, the
Priority situation, his upcoming mixtape & solo album, the Hip Hop game in
general, the West Coast, his relationship with Xzibit, the 4 Horsemen project,
and much much much much much more. We have the audio and the transcript
available. Feel free to leave feedback:
Huge thanks to Ras Kass for taking time out to answer the questions fans
wanted to know, and huge thanks to Naomi Watts (launch.media.group) for
coordinating the interview.! (Interview was done by phone in January of 2005)
Questions Asked By : Nima
Ras Kass Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That
Full Interview In Audio :
dubcnn.com: What's happening Ras, I
really appreciate you taking the time to sit down and talk to us. Let's start
with the most obvious question... How are you feeling? How is it to be home?
Oh it's good man! It's definitely good, really happy to be home, happy to
touch down, you know? That shit ain't no place for no human. I'm appreciative,
cause there's some cats that ain't never coming out!
dubcnn.com: I don't really want to talk about your bid that much, but can you
tell us if you, as a person, have changed while doing time?
Fundamentally no. It's still me. But it just gives you a different perception
of using the opportunity you got. Because you know, it's people in there that
ain't never coming out. Literally. Some dudes is going in and leaving in body
bags. Some dudes is going in, and technically, they just gotta die and come
back again before they can fulfill they obligation to the state. So you know,
if nothin else man, you got a fighting chance when you on the street. And in
there, you're just pretty much stuck. You can't do nothing. And that, that
changed. My perception about what oppportunity I have, or what I have to do
with it. And it just gave me time to really reflect, and sometimes shit is
moving so fast on the streets you don't take the time to smell the roses. So I
feel like sitting up in there, I got to look at and analyze the shit that I
needed to do. And what I really realized is that I had all the resources I
needed between the people, between my friends and my family. I got everything
I need. I needed to take a time out to analyze it. And from there on, make the
right decisions to get what I want out of it.
dubcnn.com: I was asking that, cause you know, alot of people become very
religious after a prison term...
You know, I don't knock nobody, but that was one of my things. I didn't wanna
go in there and turn into something I wasn't, because of fear or some other
shit, you know? I didn't want to get scared into being a muslim, or... you
know? And really, it's what cats in there always say, that all of a sudden,
now you a muslim, all of a sudden you religious... You wasn't doing that shit
on the streets! So, you know, I'm spiritual and I have my relationship with
God, but, I don't think that that situation impacted it or changed it, but I'm
definitely thankful to the Creator for pulling me through that situation, but
nah, I'm just me, dogg.
dubcnn.com: So... drunk driving... Is it gonna happen again?
Uhhh.. that's not even a question to ask.. *laughs* I can't afford it, dogg!
dubcnn.com: You said you wrote tons and tons of songs in jail, have you
started recording yet?
Nah, I haven't. I'm just glad to have alot of known and unknown sending me
beats, and believing in me, so the process right now is just... getting the
beats. I got alot of songs, and the next step is matching the production to
the lyrics. And if not, writing new lyrics!
dubcnn.com: Did you recieve alot of fan mail? There was so much talk about you
on the internet.
Oh yeah, yeah, it was a blessing, it was real cool, dogg.
dubcnn.com: Alot of rappers showed you support while you were in jail, how did
you feel about that?
Well you know, I'm a good dude. You can ask me, or ask my momma, I'm a good
dude. So it was good. You know with the fans, it was defintely positive. And
then to compound it by the industry cats, and rappers, or people that I've
come across, wether they were A&R's, or whatever, street team dudes that took
the time out to write me. Because alot of times, that love ain't real. It's
only when you doing something that alot of people fuck wit you. But it was
alot of good people that really really showed me some love, and support. And
it really showed me that they really did care about me or the person besides
me as a rap dude.
dubcnn.com: Alot of industry people AND fans consider you the best MC out
there... However you never had that mainstream breakthrough. Are you still
trying to get there?
Yeah, of course. I think that's part of the natural evolution. From everybody,
from 2Pac, to Mos Def, or Kweli, or whoever, you got new cats that's coming
into the game... Everybody wants, you know, you wanna be rewarded from the
support of the HipHop heads, but you also, you know, at the end of the day you
gotta pay your bills. You wanna get that, you wanna get that recognition for
what you've been doing.
dubcnn.com: So let's jump right into the big question.... What's the Priority
I still can't really speak on it, cause it's still in legitations, but
everything is looking too. So I'm just optimistic. I'll see, maybe, me doing a
new deal, and coming out with something in the summer. That's my prediction.
dubcnn.com: Yeah that's what I was gonna ask, how long you think it will take
for us to see a real Ras Kass solo in stores?
Yeah, it'll be like 6 months, I'll give it 6 months. I done waited damn near 2
years, so it's alright to wait another 6 months!
dubcnn.com: In the meantime you're getting ready to drop mixtapes... Tell us
Oh yeah, I haven't even titled it, I don't know what I'ma call it. I just
wanna touch the streets, you know, let out some of the shit I wrote. I just
got alot of shit to get off my chest, and personally, no disrespect to anybody
else, but it don't seem like alot of muthafuckas got anything to say. I've
just been listening to shit, and I figured I want to put my 2 cents in it like
I always did so far. I got alot to say, I'm trying to heat the streets up,
give these cats a bar of what I'm dealing with.
dubcnn.com: What's your mindstate right now? What is Ras Kass gonna be rapping
Shit, life! I always did... Writing about my shit, shit I observe... You know,
how shit isn't fair... *laughs* That pretty much sums it up... How shit isn't
dubcnn.com: What beats are you going to be rapping over on your mixtapes?
You know, it's gonna be a mix, basically. I've always tried to reflect... I've
got critisized for it but I don't give a fuck. But now I think that people can
understand that you can do a real underground HipHop record, and you can do a
club record, you can do a Down South record.. whatever! The plan is to always
rap to beats that I like. I'm just trying to push the envelope and do
something, especially from a West Coast artist, people wouldn't think I'd do.
Cause West Coast aritsts are pretty much put in a box as far as what we can
do. I wanna step outside that box. It's all evolution... You can strip any of
my music down, from any time zone, and it's all the same shit. It's a growth,
but the foundation of me is the same. So it's Sex & Violence, Vocabulary &
Science, and an Uneasy Alliance, that's it!
dubcnn.com: In a song you said your goal is to put Scipio and 40 [Glocc] on.
Is that still on?
Yes sir! Definitely. That's my family, I'm definitely pushing Re-Up
dubcnn.com: Yeah I just got off the phone with 40 Glocc and finished his
interview before I called you!
Yup, fo sho, I'm about to link up with him in a little bit!
dubcnn.com: Scipio has been making a bit of a buzz lately, are you happy with
the way his stuff has been going?
Yeah man! I mean I always want more, because I see there is a potential for
more. But you know, just trying to set the foundation is important, and one
thing I told him was that, if you got a foundation, and people respect your
talent, then you know, you gonna have your hard times, but it's gonna all pay
off, because you're not just a one hit wonder. I've always motivated him to
get a foundation, people respect him as a lyricist, and from there it's gonna
happen, it's inevitable.
dubcnn.com: 40 Glocc is with the Riflemen. Are you working with them too?
It's all family, everything is family. I hate to use this example but.. it's
like Wu-Tang. It's true!
dubcnn.com: Which producers are you going to hook up with for your new stuff?
It's really up in the air. Shit from Rick Rock, to fuckin' Heatmakers, to
unknown cats, I got this cat Embrio, he's hot. Lotta different dudes. And alot
of peopel that reached out to me and wanna be a part of what I do, and support
me. So whatever catches my attention, whatever I hear that's dope, I'm trying
to use it! I'm trying to do some retro shit, rhyme some classic shit. For the
mixtapes I'ma re-do some classics, and take some new joints too that's in the
streets and that people are feeling! Get the Ras Kass version of it!
dubcnn.com: Are you going to be working with Dr. Dre again?
Yeah! Yeah! All that's taking place, that's all good. I don't if it's gonna be
for a mixtape, but...
dubcnn.com: Yeah I'm just saying in future!
dubcnn.com: Has Alchemist reached out to you lately?
Yeah! He actually, when I was locked down... I don't even think he knew! I
know he didn't know. I happened to be in Folsum and he was on the radio
station in Sacramento, and he shouted me out! It was positive, you know. I
don't have nothing against Alchemist, at all. It was cool that through this
strange coincidence, my name came up in that conversation and I happened to be
listening to the radio.
dubcnn.com: You've had alot of bad luck with labels... Are you gonna stay
independent or give another major a chance?
Well I haven't necessarily had alot of bad luck with record labels..
dubcnn.com: Yeah it was just one of them..
I really only had one label. So I think I'm alright. I just didn't know. And
at the time, I didn't have anybody to tell me. And I don't think nobody
could've called it! But we didn't know that this wasn't the right label. They
didn't know how to work me! I just wasn't fitting to the image of Gangster
Rapper as a West Coast artist, so they didn't know how to market me, they
didn't understand my music. And only reason why they fucked with me is cause I
had a buzz! And I was trying to make the best decision at the time, and to
this day, I can't regret it! It wasn't like I didn't think about it... I
really thought it through, and I tried to pick the best situation. And
obviously, or apparently, I didn't. But it's all relative man. It's funny
cause Twista was pretty much stranded on Atlantic for... 8-10 years! And
that's my friend and I watched him go through his struggles. And at the end,
it took a long time, but they resolved it, and now he got succesful career! I
guess they revamped the whole Atlantic thing, and it's just circumstances and
what you do with them. I'm a firm believer that now, it's gonna work out. We
don't really have problems, we just gotta figure out what to do. And this
situation with me, I think it's best that I move on. I don't think this label
is still competent enough to get me. But I'm sure there's other labels that
get what I'm about and can do something with it!
dubcnn.com: What's up with the Horsemen project? have you been speaking to
Canibus or Killah Priest?
I haven't talked to Priest yet, I talked to 'Bis on a regular basis when I was
down. So I gotta reach out to him actually. And I just talked to Kurupt like a
couple days ago. It's dope that Priest put that lil rough shit that we was
doin', I'm glad that he kinda put it out there and kinda let the universe get
a bar of it. But it's definitely gonna happen.
dubcnn.com: So it's still on.
Oh yeah, I mean... I think when we get together it's a sight to see... it's a
sight to hear...
dubcnn.com: Yeah I heard the songs that leaked, and ya'll definitely gotta do
something big with that... It's just too hot...
*laughs* Good lookin'. We definitely crazy, when we get in there, it's really
a lot of pressure. But it's good pressure. It's like I know I'm around top
notch lyricists. And we don't play that you can fix your verse shit. You just
write it on the spot, and you lay it. And if you get 8, you get 8. So you
gotta be on your P's & Q's when you get in that booth. And that's what I love
about it. It's like being in a circle! *laughs* It's really like hoppin' up in
a cypher and battlin'. Like one shot, and you fucking with some ruthless MC's!
So I love that man, I'm looking forward to doing that!
dubcnn.com: What about the Golden State project?
Well the Golden State is always gonna exist, because first and foremost,
Xzibit is one of my best friends. So I don't know, if it's gonna be the Golden
State, or it may evolve into something.. some other title.. from my
understanding I don't think Saafir is gonna be on it, so... I respect him
though and I wish him the best.
dubcnn.com: Saafir is not gonna be a part of it?
Well he doesn't rhyme, period.
dubcnn.com: Oh yeah, I heard about that... Ya'll should get him back, just for
Well you know, it's always a potential. We just gotta check with him. I'm
definitely not saying that he can't be convinced to come back and do it. But
you know, if you hear Xzibit, you gonna hear Ras Kass, and if you hear Ras
Kass, you gonna hear Xzibit.
dubcnn.com: Have you hooked up with Xzibit since you've been out?
Yeah, that's family man. That's a given.
dubcnn.com: Although X has been in the spotlight, his record sales were very
low... What do you think caused that?
Well I think once again man, if a label doesn't know what to do with you, or
how to market you, those things happen! And they don't necessarily reflect if
you're a good or bad rapper or whatever!
dubcnn.com: I know, but he was everywhere... A nr.1 TV show, he hosted the MTV
awards.. all that!
Yeah, me, like I said, I was down. I wasn't around to really look at it, but
from what I see to be perfectly honest, it's the machine. Because I didn't
hear the record playing, neither one of the singles I didn't hear them playing
where I was at. So that goes to back to your company. And it really has
nothing to do with average joe, it has nothing to do with wether you got a hot
record or not. This is a business. I hate to take the magic away from the
average person, but, it's not about who got the best movie, or who got the
best fuckin' song. It's about who got the best relationship to make sure this
song or this record is being played. Or, who's gonna spend the money to
promote this record, or this movie. It's all about basically fuckin'
hypnotizing and making them say "hey I wanna see this movie or buy this
record". And if you don't have the promotion, it's not gonna take off.
dubcnn.com: It's sad, but it's true...
Yeah, so I don't even look at it like that... And the best thing about it,
talking to him, he's not really trippin' off that! He did the best job that he
could, and maybe his company is not capable or competent to promote or work
his project. And he's gonna go from there, focus on his shit.
dubcnn.com: He's probably paid off of Pimp My Ride anyway...
Oh yeah he's fine man, defintely. I mean the man is gonna be in fuckin' xXx 3,
and all kinds of other movies, and I wish him the best. We gonna get the music
shit together, it's just a process.
dubcnn.com: Are you going to be working with Strong Arm Steady?
You know, strong Arm Steady is all my homeboys, so of course. I'm not a part
of the group... but I'm a part of the group! *laughs* That's my homies! It's
all family, like I always say. It's all family. It's all relative doggy. It's
really about you and the people you struggled with, and if you get the
opportuniy, you try to put in that position, and vice versa. So the fact that
he put together Strong Arm Steady, cause that's different homeboys, not
necessarily that they knew and kick it with each other initially. He had a
opportunity and he kinda pulled it all together. Like with Mitchy, being from
San Diego. Phil & Krondon now they homies. They was homies before me and
Xzibit met them! And that's like 8-10 years ago! It's a beautiful thing, all
dubcnn.com: In a interview, Daz said he wanted to put out a record on you
independently... What happened to that?
Uhh I don't know! I mean I hear so many different things from Daz... I done
heard some other shit where supposely he was talking shit about me. I don't
know. My whole thing is, if it's business, if you wanna make something happen,
holla at me, and it can possibly happen! But I never heard anything where
somebody was trying to sit down and negociate anything.
dubcnn.com: You have a large following on the internet, do you check up on
Yeah! Yeah! When I'm out! *laughs* I try to check in every now and again and
shit. So I definitely plan on doign that now that I'm out, I wanna sit down
and do a little... a little pow wow or something.. you know! I just wanna
thank all of the homies! I don't really feel like they fans, they just homies!
They took the time to write a cat, and it was a blessing!
dubcnn.com: What's your current mindstate? How is Ras feeling about the world
In what sense?
dubcnn.com: Shit, outside the music world... Politics...
I.. I don't know! Litterally. I feel like some strange shit been happening to
me, cause as soon as I touched down, it started raining in Califonia! Now I
didn't know if that's a fucking sign or something.. *laughs* I don't know! I'm
just feeling like the world is a oister man, and I got some obligations and
shit I gotta deal with, being on parole. But it's gonna be good! I lived with
killers for the past 2 years! And I did that! This ain't no ego shit, but that
shit, no pussy, no nothing, shackles on your ankle, *laughs*, fucking no
cigarettes! I did that! Hang with the killers, riot, the whole 9. I made it
through that shit, and I'm alright. By the grace of god, and he gave me a
character to be able to deal with whatever the fuck is in front of me. So this
shit, I feel like it's nothing. I'm not impressed, I'm really not impressed!
*laughs* I'm focused, dogg, and I don't really think nothing else could
surprise me, I done pretty much seen it all at this point! *laughs*
dubcnn.com: A few words about the elections if you can... George Bush
Ah... well one thing I still don't understand is... I don't understand the
voting process. The whole electoral shit and all that. I don't understand how
it works. Because I know we turned up in record numbers, and yet and still,
this man got re-elected! So I don't really understand how it works. But,
atleast, he didn't steal it like last time... Atleast!
dubcnn.com: But I think this is even scarier! Cause he got elected
legitimately. I think this is even scarier man... Over half of the population
of the states voted for this man! That shit is scary to me!
Yeah, that's what I was gonna say! What's weird to me is what the average
person is thinking. Like they really have faith in him! And I can't really
blame him, I gotta blame us! That these muthafuckas... this is really how they
think! And that's a scary thought. That's really the scariest part. First time
it was like "okay he stole it". All this information comes out, you don't have
just the inner city complaining about it, you have people in corporate
America, and alot of these people think it's wrong. You had the conspiracy
theoris, you had that Fahrenheit 911 and all this other shit, and all these
people exposing all this shit. And yet and still, the average American really
felt like he's good for this country! So, they will suffer the consequences of
their decisions! But I guess this is democracy... for better or for worse!
dubcnn.com: How were the reactions to the re-election in prison?
Muthafuckas was sick! Of course! Even with Schwarzenegger, he's defintely
right winged too. There was alot of things... There was this proposition to
reform the 3 Strikes thing. It was about to pass, because alot of middle class
people, well middle California, wanted the shit revamped! It's just unfair!
People going to jail for the rest of they life for stealing a pizza!
Literally! That happened! So, you know, it was about to pass! And then at the
last minute, Schwarzenegger makes these commercials, everybody looked at him,
and all of a sudden, they voted against it! And it was really disheartening!
It's disheartening for one that people won't do the right thing, even when
they see that this is the right thing to do! *laughs* Because they'd rather
identify with whoever is in power or some shit!
dubcnn.com: It's crazy... Anyway let's get back to music. Alot of people would
love for you to hook with Crooked I (again) or Sly Boogy... Is that gonna
Oh Crooked I is the homie man. I think Crooked I is one of the dopest MC's on
the West. We actually did songs before.
dubcnn.com: Yeah, that Wake Up Show shit..
Yeah but I mean outside of that, we did some songs. So you know, everything is
in the process, and I'm sure we gonna work again! Cause like I said, he's the
homie! I haven't met Sly Boogy, but he's signed to Sway & Tech, and aside from
them being my homies, I think he's dope. So I'm sure it'll defintely happen.
dubcnn.com: When are we gonna hear some new Ras Kass & Bad Azz shit?
Nah I don't like that dude. I hate Bad Azz. *laughs* Nah I'm just kidding!
Nah, Bad is the homie, it's all good, he only a phone call away! If he need me
all he gotta do is throw up the signal and I'm there!
dubcnn.com: That should be sick. He's currently working on his new record.
Well if he needs me, I'm call him, I'ma have to remind him, I'm out!! Have me
hop on something!
dubcnn.com: You and Michelob... You fuck wit him?
Yup! Yeah, it's the homie! Fo Sho!
dubcnn.com: Who are feeling right now in the game?
It's alot of cats that I've heard about, that's supposed to be good and I
wanna definitely hear them. I don't know... I'm still stuck on 2Pac, fuckin'
Mos Def and shit like that. Redman, Ludacris... *laughs* I'm stuck on
everybody that's already out now, established stars and shit... Out of new
dudes, I feel Young Buck! Out of all the newer cats, I just like his whole
dubcnn.com: Looks like he's gonna be gone for a while though..
With that case? I doubt it...
dubcnn.com: We'll see I guess.
At the end of the day I think dude is gonna make it out of that with fucking
probation. He'll be alright.
dubcnn.com: What do you think about Game?
I think Game is great for the West. He really in the position to be the Golden
Boy for the West man. He has, like I said, the machine behind him with the
promotion and marketing and the whole 9. And of course, being directly signed
to Dr. Dre, that can't hurt. So I'm looking for big things from his really,
looking to see what the album sounds like. I'm sure it's gone do well, it's
good to see some talent coming out the West. Cause for a while, we hadn't been
able to get nobody out. It's just been Westside Connection, or Snoop Dogg, and
every blue moon maybe Xzibit drop something, maybe Ras Kass drop something,
maybe Bad Azz. Very few artists, you can pretty much count them on your hands!
It's time for us. It's not like we don't have shit to offer, it's just that we
haven't had to opportuity to be heard.
dubcnn.com: What about Guerilla Black?
Oh, I don't have nothing against him. I haven't heard him, but shit, I mean
it's crazy how much he sounds like Biggie. But I just want to hear what he's
saying, I can't really make a judgement on nobody until I hear them. Whatever
they got to offer, I'm trying to hear it, and then I'm support it from that
point, on that level. And I'm sure I'ma like some of it, and some of it I
ain't gone like.
dubcnn.com: Did you hear Eminem's new record?
Nah I didn't hear the whole thing. I always felt like Eminem... he's Eminem!
He's a lyricist... Fuck it, I'll be honest! I didn't really love the single,
but I'm sure on Eminems album I'm bout to hear a whole bunch of shit I like,
because I know he's gonna say some things that strike a chord with my
perception, and then aside from that he's probably gonna say ridicolously
funny shit that's lyrical as fuck, so I'm really lookin' forward to hearing
dubcnn.com: Where would you like see yourself next year at this time?
Off parole! *laughs* And, doing my thing man, working, promoting, dropping a
album, recording an album, shooting videos... And live happily ever after!
dubcnn.com: Did you connect with any artists while you were in jail? Like Tray
Deee, C-Bo, E-White, X-Raided...
X-Raided was in the same jail as me, but he's doing life, so I wasn't even
housed where he was housed at. I didn't even know E-White was in jail. The
homie saw Tray Deee but he was in the county, at the time. The county is the
state shit, like County of Los Angeles, more like city jail type shit, and I
was in the pen already, I had already left the county, and went to the state
penitentiary. So niggaz said they saw Tray Deee, I just wanna tell him to hold
his head, I got love for him, we definitely waiting on him to come home.
E-White too man, hold your head. But nah, I didn't really run into nobody. I
just ran into a lot of people like "yeah I did time with so and so" and shit,
but I didn't get to run into nobody.
dubcnn.com: As a last question... how long did it take you to write Nature Of
To do the research and just gather all the stuff? It was a process... I had
been planning on writing the song for like... forever. So I read all the books
in like college and shit like that. Ever after High School, I was starting. I
realized I wanted to write this song. So I would say it took me about 3-4
years just getting everything, I would just outline whatever book I had, put
them to the side, but once I had decided, like the day I was like "I'm gonna
write the song now", it was quick, dogg. It litterally took me about... it
felt like 20 mins!
dubcnn.com: Damn! How many takes?
To lay it? Uhh... let's see. I knew most of it! It didn't take long, I
probably did it in like 5 takes.
dubcnn.com: Okay, well that's a legendary song.
Good lookin' man, that shit just kinda wrote itself really! It's crazy when I
look back at it, but it was kinda easy! That wasn't one of the hardest records
that I've written.
dubcnn.com: Looking back right now, at how you were in '95, how do you feel?
I mean I learned some shit, so I woulda tried to call Pete Rock at the time,
and Large P, and got some better beats! But it probably wasn't even the beats.
All we had was a SP at the time. So writing wise, I don't think that would
changed. Maybe delivery wise, when I look back at myself I'm always like
"damn, I said shit like that!". But not really, same thing... I probably
woulda used the same samples, but had better production of them. A billion
people could have the same sample, but for some reason one persons is gonna
sound better. They put better drums on it, or whatever. Whatever the fuck
makes it hot. So my execution would be just been better because I know alot
more now. But other than that, the direction, I think dark. I can't help it.
So my shit tends to come out kinda dark. It's like watch Seven! My albums
alotta times is like watchin' that movie Seven!
dubcnn.com: Well that's pretty much it for the questions, is there anything
else you'd like to let everybody know? Any shoutouts?
I just wanna shout everybody out man, all my family and friends that took the
time to write me and shit. I definitely wanna touch back down in Germany!
dubcnn.com: Yeah hopefully we can get that cracking in 2005!
Yeah fo sho I'm with that, keep me posted, keep me in mind. Good looking man I
dubcnn.com: Yeah me too, stay up!
Alright man, peace.
Ras Kass Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That
Full Interview In Audio :