TAJE (September 2007) | Interview By:
In celebration of the recent release of “Hot Box 2” on Dubcnn, we sat down with Taje for an exclusive video interview. In the first part of our feature, we discuss the creation of “Hot Box 2,” the role DJ Warrior played on the mixtape, and Taje’s excitement over his ever-growing worldwide fan base. We also speak about his relationship with Bishop Lamont, Busta Rhymes, and the rest of the Aftermath camp, and upcoming projects you will hear him on, such as the new Butch Cassidy album and his own full-length debut.
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Interview was done in September 2007.
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Dubcnn: What’s up, we’re here with Taje. How are you doing today man?
I’m doing very well now! I’ve got my accessories here, you’ve got me ready for this interview with Dubcnn. We’re talking about hot boxing, which we’re doing now as you can see. Yessir. Get It Gang, that’s my shit. Remember that!
Dubcnn: So, the “Hot Box 2” mixtape is just as good as an album. Why did you decide to give it away for free?
Well, because I’ve got an album coming that I’m trying to make out of this world. I’m just a grinder - my work ethic is stupid. I want to give the people something so [that] they can get to know me, so my album doesn’t fall on deaf ears. Between this “Hot Box” and the last “Hot Box,” I’ve dropped 42 songs. The last “Hot Box” just came out a year ago, so in a year’s time I’ve dropped 40-something songs! Some of them got radio airplay, which is a blessing [and] it helped me out a lot. I’m just trying to show these labels, the rappers, [and] the fans that we can move music on our own. But you know it’s my street tape. Yeah, it’s like an album, but at the end of the day, to me, it’s my street tape. I feel the fans deserve that, because there’s a lack of good music out there right now.
It’s just a grind. You’re not gonna get rich off your first mixtape. You’ve got some of these people out there selling their garbage for ten dollars, pissing the fans off. Then when you do come out with something, they’re like “Fuck that nigga! I paid ten dollars for your garbage-ass CD, and all it did was get airtime out the window.” So, I just want to let the fans know that I’m serious about this music. It’s not like I’m giving away some bullshit. You can look at my [CD] covers and know that they’re quality covers. I’ve got the thick jewel cases coming, the retail versions – so yeah, we’re not just giving away bullshit. Thanks to the fans that do buy the hard copies, the retail ones that I’m doing, because I do have a lot of those people. Thank you very much – y’all helped me a lot last year. So shouts out to you, and get this one too because it’s much, much better.
Dubcnn: Where can we go buy the hard copy when it comes out?
You can hit me on Myspace (www.myspace.com/taje1.) It [is] available for download on Dubcnn, so you can get it that way too! You’ll be able to find hard copies at Hiphopwest.com as well, and a lot of your local mom and pop shops, depending on where you’re at.
Dubcnn: You were out in Miami at the Ozone Awards recently. Tell us about your experience there…
That’s actually where I released the tape. I released the tape in Miami and Japan on the same day. That trip was dope! Shouts out to all the DJs, Ozone Magazine, DJ Backside, what’s up to D-Raid at Ozone, she caught a lot of our trip on film. It was good man! I got to meet a lot of the people down south. It was good to connect with them, and show them what we’re doing here on the West Coast. Shouts out to my nigga Roccett, we went out there and tore the city up! We had a show and they were very receptive to it. Me and DJ Warrior was out there as well, doing the damn thing. We was out there grinding the CD. It was just a good trip. I got to connect with all the fans out there, see what they was listening to and see what type of music they was putting out. You hear the South on the radio, but you don’t get to hear what the blocks are hearing – the streets, those next niggas.
I was actually surprised that a lot of those people knew who I was already. They knew about the tape, or they knew about the first tape. So it was just a really good trip man, really productive. Lovely females too!
Dubcnn: Speaking about being surprised about how big your fan base is, we saw some footage of people in Japan with your mixtapes. Was that surprising to you?
Yeah it was! It was [also] surprising that I found a Myspace that I had in Japan that I didn’t do. It was all in Japanese, and I was like, “Wow!” Shouts out to Japan. You can catch my CD at Mt. Fuji right now motherfucka! Go look at the footage, you’ll see Mt. Fuji right behind my lovely fan that has the tape. I’m West Side to the heart, but it’s way more than the West Side. The niggas out there – they dress just how we dress. [They’ve] got the same tattoos and everything. It was just crazy to see somebody out there holding my CD like, “Yo, this is the shit!” They don’t even know what I’m saying, they don’t speak English, but they know about Taje, they know about “Hot Box,” they know about Bishop, [and] they know about the whole movement. Shouts out to Japan! Smoke one with your boy next time I see you.
Dubcnn: What do you hope the fans will get out of the “Hot Box 2” mixtape when they listen to it?
The response I’ve been getting is that it shows a lot of growth. I want people to see the growth, and what I’ve learned from “Hot Box 1” to “Hot Box 2.” There’s a song on there for everybody. I just want people to be able to relate to it in a sense, and be able to be like, “OK, yeah, I feel what he’s talking about!” I go into some deep issues. I kind of touched on some issues in the first one, but this CD really introduces you to me, and how I get down. So I hope that’s what they get from it.
I also want them to realize, “Wow, this is a street album. This is the album he’s giving away!” Any hip-hop head that looks up the credits of my producers, they’ll be like, “Yo, this dude is putting in work.” These producers are fucking with me for a reason. All you people can hate…all you rappers – because it’s only rappers who hate. Most of the time, the fans are going to give you that love if it’s something they can relate to. A lot of the bullshit comes from punk-ass rappers, but you can’t stop shit. You’re just gonna get choked up in all my smoke. I’m making it hard for you to breathe, but God bless you.
That’s what I want people to get out of it, just being able to see, “Damn, you put a lot of work into that.” Everything down to the CD. I just want the fans to know that I’m giving them what I feel they deserve. If you’re gonna pay for my CD, and pay for my album, this is what you’re gonna get. It’s not like it’s gonna be some one-single type shit. I just want to do what I can to make y’all happy! It’s your world, feel me?
Dubcnn: We saw some footage of you, Bishop Lamont, Busta Rhymes, and the whole Aftermath camp in the studio. Is that something you all do on a regular basis? Is everyone always in the studio working together?
Yeah, that’s my family man. A lot of times we won’t even work, we’ll just chill on some “fuck music” shit. That’s how we get down. We’re really cool. It’s not just, “OK, I finna go do a song with this nigga.” You might catch Bishop at my house working out or something. You might catch me and Busta Rhymes at the sand dunes, smoking and drinking – [having] nothing to do with music. Focus – that’s like my brother man.
We do a lot of work because we grind. Obviously, we have a job to do – we just don’t fuck around all day. But the nature of our relationship is to which we can kick it. But that’s how it is man. That video was not like, “Yo, turn the cameras on! I want you to do this…Busta I want you to just shout out my tape!” It’s not like that! We just turn on the cameras and let it roll. Half the motherfuckers [are] so high they don’t even know the camera’s on! That tape ain’t lying – that ain’t no show, that ain’t no acting. That’s us in our workplace, that’s how we do. Warren G - that’s like my brother. Mopreme – that’s the godfather of my son. Thug Life to the fullest, all day! I still rep that. That’s where I came from. So, those are my peoples man. We do music, smoke weed, smash on punk-ass haters, [and] do all that together.
Dubcnn: We’re going to catch you on Butch Cassidy’s upcoming album too. Tell us about the track you did with him for that project…
It’s just some real seductive stuff for the ladies. It’s something that’s going to take them to those pearly white gates. It’s for them. The homies can get down too, but just know that when you listen to that song, you’ve got to have some ladies around! It’s gonna get them all nice and in the mood. We’ve got Butch seducing them with the vocals. We’ve got me and my homeboy Prime laying that mack down, telling them the real. Ladies, this is for you.
Get that Butch Cassidy album, it’s coming out [December 11th.] He’s got songs on there with Snoop Dogg. He’s got production from my peoples, my company - Dae One for LNS Entertainment. It’s a stupid, stupid record! Shouts out to Butch. He’s gonna be on my album too, by the way!
Dubcnn: Tell us a little bit about your album that’s coming up after this…
My album is still in production. I think I bought myself some time with “Hot Box 2.” I think that’s something that the fans can hear for a while, and I’m just using that time to make this album the best [it can be.] You only get that one first album, and I want it to hit right. So, it’s coming. It’s called “Waiting At The Bus Stop,” but everything’s always subject to change because I’m a creative person. So, you never know, I might change the whole concept of the album for some of you biters out there who like biting shit. So, it’s always subject to change, but it’s going to be something different, and something to elevate the game a little bit.
Just like “Hot Box,” you’re going to be like, “How the hell is this independent artist getting these beats?” That’s my secret. That’s for me to know, but you can still wonder it! But yeah, I’ve got a lot of people showing me love for my love that I show them beyond music. So it’s good shit man. The album is going to be something nice! I’ll definitely keep Dubcnn updated as to the dates and all of that. It’s just something to smoke out the game a little bit more.
Dubcnn: Can you tell us about some of the producers on it now, or are you keeping it under wraps?
I’m gonna wait until the album is actually completed and done, then you’ll see. But we’ve got some surprises on there, and we’ve got some stuff that’s not [a] surprise. Obviously, there’s certain producers that you know are going to be on my CD, regardless. I roll with the underdogs though. Like I’ve said many times, any producers that want to get your beats out – if it’s hot, I’ll fuck with it, or pass it to somebody that will fuck with it. Producers send me your beats – email@example.com
Dubcnn: So you’ve got DJ Warrior hosting this “Hot Box 2” street album. What type of role did he play in the creation of the project?
Warrior played a real intricate part [in the creation of the project.] Warrior always has good ideas. Last night, this motherfucker called me at like four in the morning, [and] it had nothing to do with music. He was like, “Yo man, I want to open up this business,” [and] he was talking about good location spots. I was like, “I feel you! I’m up too, I’m a hustler.” He’ll do the same thing with music. He’ll call me at two, three, four, five in the morning. So, it’s good having someone like that on the team, because he’s constantly thinking of ways to expand. He definitely [played] a big part in [coming up with how to] get it to people, and [with developing] certain creative ideas as far as how to mix certain songs.
He’s very honest. If he doesn’t like the music, he’ll tell you. So the fact that he was digging the music was big to me, because from what I’ve seen, if he doesn’t feel something, he’ll say it. So it’s good having somebody like that on the team. He’s definitely a big push [for everyone.] And, he’s hosting the tape! He did a very good job – shouts out, what’s up boy! I know you’re probably gonna call me tonight again at like three or four in the morning and talk about some entrepreneur shit, but that’s what we do man!
Dubcnn: Tell us a little bit about your movement with Bishop Lamont…
Shit, I ain’t got to tell it! Go on the internet, listen to the radio. You can see it – look at the footage, you’ll see all of us, whether it’s something on Bishop, whether it’s something on me, whether it’s something on anybody in the camp, you’re going to see us there, and the movement is so cold. This is the calm before the storm, and I ain’t got to say who we’ve got behind us, but you should know! *Laughs* And if you know that, then you know it’s happening man! So stop with the bullshit, stop frontin’, because at the end of the day, we’re out here grinding in the street and doing what we do.
If you industry motherfuckers want to get on some industry shit, go check the background and see who we’ve got behind us. We’re pretty good in the game, I think we’re the top of the food chain when it comes to that! But it’s beautiful, and the music’s coming out so good. We’ve got “Caltroit” coming, which is monstrous. We’ve got Black Milk and a lot of other homies from Detroit featured on it, and a lot of homies from California on it. That’s gonna be a monster, we’ve got a lot of big names on there.
Dubcnn: Are you going to appear on “Caltroit?”
Yeah, I’m going to be on “Caltroit.” We all had a lot to do with “Caltroit” though, as far as coming up with song ideas and things like that. So even if you don’t hear somebody on songs and tracks, they’re still involved, and that’s how we move. But that’s coming. Of course Bishop’s album is coming, “The Reformation.” Me and Mopreme are doing a tape. I’m doing a Get It Gang tape - shouts out to the Get It Gang. That’s what we do, we get it, no matter what it is. If you want to get rich, go get it! If you want to be a doctor, go get it! If you want to be an athlete – be anything, go get it! If you want to get it out here in the street, then get it that way. Just don’t snitch when the consequences come.
So yeah man, there’s a lot of work going on, and we’re just recording songs. We were in the studio with Glasses Malone last night, doing some heat. Warren G [and] Xzibit came through, [as well as] Ras Kass. Yeah, it’s going down! We’ve got producers from Lord Finesse, to Focus, to Dre, to RZA. The movement’s moving! It’s moving man. “The Reformation…” “Detox…” “Hot Box…” you feel me? Y’all ain’t ready. You think you are, but you’re not.
Dubcnn: Is there anything else you want to say to everyone on Dubcnn?
Oh yeah, all the fans, everyone on Dubcnn – good lookin’ on the love. [You are] a very intricate part of this movement, so shouts out. Shouts out to all my fam-bam that fuck with me, everybody! There’s too many of y’all to name, so I’m not even going to go that route. To everybody that’s got love for me, I’ve got love for you. You know that because I show love. To all you motherfuckers I don’t fuck with, you know that because I don’t fuck with you. I love you if I love you; if I ain’t fuckin’ with you, I ain’t fuckin’ with you. God bless you. I might not fuck with you, but like Bishop said, Jesus will. So go find a friend in him - you might need him because we’re coming with a stupid, stupid movement right now. Enjoy this right now. This is called “the calm before the storm.” [To all of you] thinking you’re running away with the game, enjoy it. You’ll never know when you’ll get it again, because the wave is going to be real stupid. And [to] all you haters, I enjoy your comments. Keep sending them! It just makes it worse. But I love my haters, they motivate me, so keep the hate coming, please! I love it. That just shows me what we’re doing. Just don’t try to give me a pound. I might pound you in your face, and I think that’s fair.
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