2007) | Interview By: Chad Kiser|
The East Bay Gangsta and Bay Area legend Spice 1 talks exclusively to Dubcnn for our Dangerous Crew Feature, which spotlights the artists and producers responsible for the group's undeniable role in west coast hip-hop history.
Known for several gold & platinum albums which include his debut Spice 1, the classic 187 He Wrote, and the infamous Amerikkkaís Nightmare, as well as his many guest appearances with the likes of Too $hort, Ant Banks, The Luniz, E-40 and 2Pac, Spice 1 has never been one to change his image or his style. Remaining consistent throughout his years on Jive Records as one of the best to ever do it, while also becoming the epitome of independent hustle & grind during his most recent years.
Many fans will remember Spice-1ís biggest hit, the E-A Ski produced "Trigga Gots No Heart" from the multi-platinum Menace II Society soundtrack, which was also the first single from the gold-selling 187 He Wrote album.
Dubcnn recently got the opportunity
to catch up with Spice 1 and get this exclusive interview as part of our continuing Dangerous
Crew Feature series. In this Part 1 exclusive, we talk with Spice about the
early years of the Dangerous Crew from Too Short, Shorty B and ,DJ Pizo as well
as Bad N-Fluenz and his memories of working with Ant Banks and much more.
Interview was done by phone in July, 2007
Questions Asked By:
Spice 1 Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That
Dubcnn: Spice-1! Whatís
Dubcnn: Well, letís get into this. Kind of give everybody out there a
little overview oh you came up in the rap gameÖ
Shit, I pretty much got into this off of pure talent. I never had nobody
putting a gang of cheese behind me from the beginning or nothing. It was in
the days when niggaz just walked around spitting freestyles or whatever. I got
on stage a few times. I opened for NWA and it just kind of started from there.
Dubcnn: How did you and Too $hort hook up back in the day?
Well, Pizo was DJing for $hort. And the 2 girls from the Dangerous Crew, you
know that first album? Well, both of them had went to my school, and Pizo was
already Too $hortís DJ. So after school, we would go to $hortís studio. He
would come pick us up from school and weíd go to the studio to lay down
tracks, spit, freestyle or whatever. Just out there kicking it.
When I did the shows and Iíd open up for NWA, Rodney O & Joe Cooley and shit,
$hort was there. Thereís be rappers walking around trying to rap to him, but
he didnít want to hear that shit, so heíd say ďSpice, sickíem!Ē And then Iíd
just eatíem up! Back then, you had to let it be known that you was the hardest
artist out there. You couldnít just have a little money and get in the rap
game cuz you had a little money. Nowadays, they just spend a little money, and
now theyíre stars. But back then, you had to earn your place! You had to
battle as many MCís, rappers, or whatever you call them as you could to get to
where you needed to be as somebody that they would buy your records.
Dubcnn: What went down in those early recording sessions with $hort as far
as putting together that first incarnation of the Dangerous Crew?
I was about 16, 17 years old. And 4-Tay was from where I had moved from, so I
knew 4-Tay already. He came out to the studio in Richmond and I had met him.
Then I met the other cats like JJ Hard. $hort used to drive me around. Weíd
all be in the studio and vibe and shit. Richie Rich would come through there
back in the day. Weíd just vibe and kick it, and just write songs or whatever,
freestyle. All that left a cool vibe for us, you know, with $hort there. It
was just like a whole different atmosphere when he was up in the studio cuz we
all respected him cuz he was already out doing his thing.
Dubcnn: When did you hook up with Ant Banks and start doing the stuff with
Well, he was with MC Ant (RIP). He used to hang with MC Ant pretty tough. And
Ant Banks was doing beats with $hort. Pizo had took me to Shorty B and I had
met him. And then Banks took me to Shorty B and we kicked it or whatever, he
had played the guitar on a few songs that we did. I really started messing
with Banks when I did that first record 187 Proof & In My Neighborhood and all
of that. Thatís when I first started messing with him real tough and when we
started recording whole albums. I had met him when I was on Triad Records.
Dubcnn: Tell us a little bit about your relationship with Banks?
That was my homeboy! That was my dude right there. I used to always kick it
with Banks. Even if we wasnít working we was out doing something. Having some
drinks or whatever. Just kicking it. I was living in Hayward, and plus I was
still so young that I donít think I could even by alcohol yet. I was like 19,
or maybe 20 turning 21 when that first album dropped. Me and 2Pac used to kick
it together and Banks would get us some alcohol and liquor or whatever. He was
kind of like an older cat to me. I looked up to him. And through him, I
started meeting a lot of people, and it had started cracking out there.
Dubcnn: The last time we really saw you two work together was on your Black
Bossilini album and his TWDY Derty Werk album. Why has been so long since
weíve seen you two work together?
I think that after a while, we had got separated because he had moved to
Atlanta, and I was still out here on the west in the Bay area. So I didnít see
him as much as I would usually.
Dubcnn: Has there been any talk about linking back up and doing something
in the future?
Yeah, we was at Pizoís studio and he came through there one day and we was
talking about doing some songs. I got his phone number when I gave him mine,
so Iím pretty sure weíll end up doing a few songs. We work hella good together
and always drop heat.
Dubcnn: What was your status with the 2nd incarnation of the Dangerous Crew
as far as a group member?
We all always kicked it and hung out and everything. Everybody was a pimp in
the game, you know, kickiní pimp music, with those pimp styles. But me, I was
kickiní gangsta shit, so they required me for a few songs like when we had to
ride and shit. So while they were doing that pimp shit on those songs, I
didnít get down on those songs cuz I didnít want to talk about something I
didnít know about.
I was still young in the game and thereís shit I didnít know. All I knew was
walk up to a muthufucka and jack him for his shit. At that point in time, it
was just G with me. They was still all my folks, and we kicked it all the
time. There was no animosity bewtween nobody. Sometimes I wasnít around a lot
becuz I was going on tour and trying to create a wave of fans out there.
Dubcnn: What kind of relationship did you have with Bad N-Fluenz?
I knew them cats! They was hella cool. We used to be at $hortís studio out in
west Oakland and weíd hang out and kick it, and do some freestyliní. Thatís
around when I had that ďTrigga Gots No HeartĒ on the Menace II Society
soundtrack. Thatís when I used to hang out with them cats real tough. I had
knew them when they was youngstas, but I had never seen them get down like
that until I heard theyíre album and all of that.
Dubcnn: Did you ever get the chance to record with them?
I think I did, cuz in the midst of everything itís all kind of like a blur
because back then it was kind of wild. I was just doing songs everywhere. Iíd
do songs with Rap-A-Lot. Iíd do songs with the Dangerous Crew. And Iíd be
doing songs with everybody, but my loyalty had remained to the Dangerous Crew
because thatís where I came from. I always give my props to $hort because he
used to always come through my high school and pick me up in a Benz. What kind
of nigga is 17 years old, getting picked up by Too $hort from high school, in
a Benz everyday?
So I was feeling a vibe back then, like I gotta make things happen cuz this
nigga ainít just coming to get me for nothing! He sees something in me that
rest of these muthafuckaz donít have. So the Dangerous Crew, we go back far.
Iím 37 years old right now. I was in the Dangerous Crew at 16 years old.
Dubcnn: What was it like working with Shorty B, Pee-Wee, Sean G and doing
the live instrumentation? And would you ever consider working with them cats
Definitely! I ainít seen Shorty B, but I talk to him. It ainít like we outta
touch. We got a big circle of homies and we all over the United States. I need
to get out to Atlanta and do some verses with Shorty B cuz I know he got some
heat for me. The last time I talked to him was like maybe 3 or 4 weeks ago. So
we do stay in touch and thatís the cool part about this shit. Pee-Wee too!
Thatís the homie too! Iíll holla at him too!
Dubcnn: Pizo kind of touched on this in his interview, but what was the
animosity between you and Pooh-man, and has that been squashed between you
I really didnít have none at first. I wasnít really trippiní becuz first of
all I didnít grow up in East Oakland. I grew up in the Haystacks, in Hayward.
They always looked at us like their little cousin or brother, or whatever.
They basically thought cats from Hayward wasnít hard and that we was little
punks. Like we was suckas or something. So I already had like a complex about
that. Me and Pizo always say to each other, ďnot bad for two Hayward niggaz!Ē
I had confronted him about all of this shit when he first did his song about
me. He said he wasnít trippiní. He was just mad and whatnot. I said whatever.
So after that, he had went to jail. He got out and got in contact with me and
apologized. So we squashed what we had. Cuz we OGís now, and we donít really
have time for all that shit. We got kids to take care of, and make our money.
But at the same time, donít back us into a corner. Like Pac said, ďI ainít a
killer, but donít push me.Ē In the 2000ís itís a whole different ball game.
You gotta know this industry.
Stay tuned to
Dubcnn for an exclusive Part 2
Spice 1 Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That