interview TERRACE MARTIN  (June 2008) | Interview By: Nima Etminan

Dubcnn recently sat down with the multi-talented Terrace Martin to discuss his upcoming "Locke High" project amongst other things. The producer/rapper talks to us about his "Bounce, Rock, Skate" single with Snoop Dogg, Kurut & DJ Quik as well as other highlights off his new street album. He talks about focusing on positivity instead of dwelling on negativity, the art of music being lost and music needing a band-aid. We then touch on the difference between beat makers and producers, working with legends that he looks up to such as Quincy Jones or Teddy Riley, going to Locke High, the plague of Myspace Rappers and much more.

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: nima@dubcnn.com

Interview was done in June 2008.

Questions Asked By :
Nima Etminan

Terrace Martin Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That Here

Full Interview In Audio : Here

Related Media:

Terrace Martin - Bounce, Rock, Skate (ft. Snoop Dogg, Kurupt & DJ Quik)
Terrace Martin - Signal Flow Mixtape (Untagged Version)
Terrace Martin - End Of My Jam (Video)
Dubcnn: We're right here with Terrace Martin, what's going on with you man?

Hello Nima, hello dubcnn!

Dubcnn: How you doing?

I'm blessed, moving in the right direction with the music.

Dubcnn: Since the first time I met you, you've come a long way. How would you rate the way your career has evolved in the last few years?

First of all, I first met you at around midnight in Canada, huh?

Dubcnn: Something like that...

Outside of a hotel... In Montreal, Roc The Mic Tour! (2003)

Dubcnn: That's it.

Interesting. Can you ask the question again? *laughs*

Dubcnn: I was saying, how would you rate the way your career has evolved since then?

Man, it's definitely went up. I've learned a whole lot, I've worked everybody I wanted to work with, and I'm still working with them. I'm blessed, I'm definitely in a good space right now in life.

Dubcnn: You dropped your street album "Signal Flow" last year and I believe you're getting ready to put out the second one "Locke High" with DJ Drama?

Yeah, I am. The "Signal Flow" did very well, that was with Snoop Dogg and DJ Skee. That was the first time I experimented, we didn't print up any copies, we did a straight digital freebie, I didn't charge anybody anything. I had a ton of music, great music, on it, the majority of it was exclusive and it did very well. That was last year. The second one I'm getting Big Snoop Dogg & DJ Drama for it, and it's called "Locke High".

Dubcnn: What made you go down South and get DJ Drama for this one?

Honestly, I didn't even look at it as me going down South getting him, I looked at it as somebody that's pushing and moving in a positive light of music and just trying to get your music everywhere. I really didn't just want to focus on the West Coast, I wanted to focus on everything. I don't really believe in West Coast or East Coast music or Down South music, I believe in good or bad music. Drama always pushed a line of great and excellent music, he's very high quality and he's pushing that line, which is the same that I'm pushing - good music.

Dubcnn: You leaked the first song off the album "Bounce Rock Skate" with Snoop Dogg, Kurupt and DJ Quik. Tell us how that got put together?

I told everybody that I was doing another street album. "Signal Flow" was such a great success on the West Coast, so everybody heard that and people are still are just starting to get the whole thing of "Signal Flow", some people are just now starting to download it. But for "Signal Flow", I didn't really have everybody all in the same room, I used songs that I had, took songs that other people gave me, mixed them to different beats and made it a well produced situation. The only thing that was really done catered for "Signal Flow" was the intro.

So with this one, Snoop pulled me to the side and wanted to get more involved on that level, as far as the street album goes, cause I was pushing the free downloads, the mixtapes. I just feel like people aren't putting out quality street albums, so I wanted to put out a quality album to put a band-aid on music. If I give away music of this caliber, then maybe somebody will hear it that's in a powerful place and be like "You know what? It's good music out here, let's put some more money back into the music industry." Especially on a independent level. I don't make no money off these tapes and nobody else on these tapes get paid off them. It's just musical community service. That's how it came about.

Pretty much everybody that I work with, they want to put a band-aid on music, cause right now music is a open wound. So we're trying to heal and push forward with the positivity. I love "Signal Flow", it's a classic in my ears, which is all that matters to me. But "Locke High" is much more of a well rounded record, it's more of a record with skits, interludes. It's mixed, everything was spreaded out on the J9000 board between Record Plant and Encore and I mixed everything. I put the same amount of time and pressure into this mixtape as I would do a Snoop Dogg record or as I would do a Quincy Jones record.

Dubcnn: Tell us about the "Bounce, Rock, Skate" track with Snoop Dogg, Kurupt and DJ Quik, how was the recording session to that?

The recording went like this. First all I had was the drums, just "boom, clap, boom, clap", you know? I kind of wanted to do a type of record that when you closed your eyes you could picture going to a dope dope club in New York City late at night, where it's real small, and all you hear is claps with phases on it and big bass drums going off. I had that picture in my head and I wanted you to see that through the sound. That's all I had on my drum machine for like a month, "boom, clap, boom, clap".

Then, I got heavily influenced by that Kanye West album man. Listening to that and how he experimented with vintage keyboards. I've always played vintage keyboards on everything I do, but they used a lot of different keyboards on the album, like they used the JP or the Jupiter. So I went and bought those keyboards, cause it gave that "Flashing Lights" kind of vibe, you know what I mean? Futuristic music but still sounding like 1981-82, feel good music! So after I laid the keyboards, everybody came to my house and did their vocals, except for Kurupt. On the last day when we were doing that record, me and Kurupt had to go to Atlanta, so we went out there to work with Snoop and DJ Drama.

So Kurupt's is the only verse that wasn't done at my house, we actually did that in Atlanta, but I was still in the room producing the record. That's just a well produced, very fun record and everybody gave it their all. Did you hear that DJ Quik verse on there? Oh my god! I mean I see the blogs where everybody talks, some people love it and some people say "Oh he sounds gay!" You know what though? Hands down, I think that is an excellent verse and Quik served it!

Dubcnn: Is it true he was dissing AMG on that?

Nah, he was not dissing AMG - at all. But people are gonna read into it however they want to read into it. But my thing is, Quik is not a buster, he's not a weenie, if he wants to diss somebody, I've been around him long enough to know that he'll same the name. So if anybody knows Quik, he'll know that he says what he wants to say when he wants to say it and how he wants to say it. He's not dissing nobody, he actually loves AMG. I'm glad I cleared that up cause I've been reading that too, like "Who's he dissing?" Instead of thinking who somebody is dissing, can't you just dance? Can you smile and have a good time? Is that possible? Thank you. *laughs*

Dubcnn: I feel you man. That was actually one of my questions, cause I feel like with your music, you're more focused on just having fun, which is rare on the West Coast. Is that something that's important to you?

Having fun is important, cause... I mean how many alleys are we gonna shoot videos in? How many people are we gonna talk about killing on a record, how many banks you gonna rob, how many Crips and Bloods are we really gonna know, how many Ese's are we gonna have cool times with? Everything's been talked about on such a negative theme that we forgot that California also has a fun side! Yeah a lot of California's music got known through NWA, but we also have a fun side! When Death Row and them dropped "Nuthin' But A G Thang", everything was about fun! And DJ Quik stayed about fun!

So that's where I'm going with my music. I'm not focusing on gangsta stories and I don't know anybody doing music that's a real gangster anyway! I'm talking about being a real gangster and being good at it. To be a real gangster, doing crazy stuff everyday, man you gotta give that time! A lot of these cats that's real dope on the mic, I don't see it, but then again who knows? I'm about having fun and I love everybody on the West Coast. That's my opinion and I'm entitled to it.

Dubcnn: Now you've been a lot of veterans and legends lately in the game, working with them, like Snoop, Quik and Teddy Riley. What kind of experience has that been, to have these people around you in the studio?

It's been a dream come true..

Dubcnn: I forgot Battlecat.

Oh yeah, Battlecat definitely, Soopafly, Quincy Jones, it goes on and on. But it's been a blessing. Everybody that I grew up on and wanted to be like, I've worked with them in the past 5-6 years of my life. I'm thankful for that and I don't take it for granted at all. I'm still very much a fan of Battlecat as I was when I was in elementary school and "Ghetto Jam" came out. I'm still a fan. I'm still a huge fan of Kurupt as I was when I first heard "New York, New York". I'm still a huge fan of Snoop from when we first heard "Deep Cover". And I'm still a huge fan of Teddy Riley and the running man dance *laughs* So I'm a huge fan of our people, it's been a dream come true and I'm amazed! I'm in a bubble, Nima, I'm in a positive bubble and it's a beautiful thing.

Dubcnn: Can you describe a typical studio session with Snoop Dogg?

8:30 in the morning, I'm in my bed probably looking at the internet, checking out MySpace or whatever. I usually get a page every other day at 8:30am from Snoop Dogg, "Where you at?" I see him at about 10 o'clock in the morning, we do about three or four records, I'm done by 8 o'clock at night, I got home and we're laying vocals all the rest of the night. That day goes by, the next day I got back over, mix the record, come back and do another shipment of records. *laughs*

Dubcnn: Let's get back to the "Locke High" street album. Why that title?

I went to Locke High! I grew up on the Westside of L.A., between Inglewood, the Crenshaw & Slauson area, I stayed in Clover City for a minute, so I grew up all on the Westside of L.A.. I went to Locke High after I spent about a year and a half at Santa Monica High, because the music coming out of Locke High was really dope. Reggie Andrews, who is one of my mentors, pulled me out of Santa Monica High and I went to Locke High. That was a big shock for me, cause me being from the Westside, it considered South Central, it was considered the hood. But on the map, where I'm from is not really considered South Central, Los Angeles. Later on, the police started making up what was South Central and what wasn't.

Locke High is really considered that whole world over there, so by me growing up with a mother and a father in the house, I didn't grow up gangbanging. I went to Locke High and it was a shocking experience, cause I thought where I was from was the turf, but now I'm around people that are really from the turf. They weren't playing over there in the Nickerson's and the Jordan Down Projects. Watts is not playing, but they're very warm people and there is such a negative image portrayed about Watts. So I wanted to do a mixtape about it. Cause I didn't go through nothing negative while I was over there, I don't know what everybody was talking about. Yeah it's a few things going on here and there, but I didn't go through those things.

What going to Locke High taught me was being humble and value the things that I do have, cause a lot of the kids over there didn't have much of anything. So my whole thing was trying to paint a positive picture of Los Angeles, definitely paint a great picture for any African American kid or any other kid that's not painted as such. So I'm always into uplifting music and trying to change the image of people saying nothing good ever came out of [Locke High]. But how can nothing but bad things come out of it when that's the high school that birthed Patrice Rushen, who is an excellent jazz pianist who wrote a ton of great records. How can you say it's a horrible high school when without it it wouldn't be a Tyrese? How can you say it's a horrible high school when I definitely graduated decent grade point average and I ended up at USC and now I'm producing records for everybody that I want to be like!

So how can you that high school anything but a positive thing? School and life is what you make it. So I wanted to do a tribute to Locke High, cause I hear so many negative things about it. I also wanted to show the kids over there that you can come out of a high school like that and be successful. Being successful is a state of mind and a matter of opinion. Being successful to me is having a nice house, 4-5 bedroom house and 2 cars, a Honda Accord and a Tahoe. Have a couple kids running around and just make sure I can wake up in the morning, eat my egg and my bacon, drink a ton of water and go walk for a mile everyday!

Dubcnn: *laughs* I hear that. So besides "Bounce, Rock, Skate", what are some of your personal highlights on "Locke High"?

A personal highlight would definitely be the Intro. We also have a song that we're going to shoot a video for that's called "Haters" which is me, T-Lee and Uncle Chucc. The song is talking about exactly what the title is, haters. "Haters" is definitely one of my favorites. Another one is "I'm Good" which is with T-Lee and Problem. The first song, "Just Now Getting Paid", which is again me, Uncle Chucc and T-Lee again with the Mary J sample. Then the "I'm Toe Up Remix" of course. "Just To Say Hello" is another one, it has Tone, J. Black, DJ Quik and Kurupt on it. Can I be honest? I love every song on this. But definitely the songs that stand out are the ones with T-Lee on it, those are the ones hat stand out.

Dubcnn: So who's T-Lee?

T-Lee is my new artist that I just signed to [Jakai Music], he's actually my older cousin. He used to be from a group called L.A. Zoo, but he's brand new! He just reinvented himself. I think that's important, all the great musicians and artists are maters of reinventing themselves. Dr. Dre is the master of that, but even before Dr. Dre, Miles Davis was the master of reinventing himself! If you know how to reinvent yourself, you are really one of the greats. To be able to reinvent yourself, you have to have some level of... brains! *laughs* And you have to be humble and always surround yourself with younger kids. Kids don't lie about music, adults do.

That's very true.

I got some friends that think everything I do is hot! Even stuff that I don't think is hot, they're like "That's hot! You're gonna sell a million records!" Man, shut up!

Dubcnn: I know what you're saying. So, when do you think we can expect "Locke High" to come out?

I gotta ask Drama! I'm done with it. A few people actually have a few copies already. I snuck out a few copies of the untagged version on the streets of L.A. last week. I think Drama has a thing where he wants to release it at the end of June, right before I got on the 311 tour with Snoop. I'm promoting it on that tour, I'm gonna be giving away and selling CD's on that tour, I got a whole campaign while we're going away for 6-7 weeks with Snoop on the Rock tour with 311. So Drama wants to do it then, but if anybody sees me in traffic they can definitely ask me, I have the car full of them I'll give you one.

Dubcnn: Is it gonna be sold or for free?


Dubcnn: Is it gonna be on dubcnn?

Do you want it on dubcnn?

Dubcnn: Of course!

Then guess what, you're gonna have it on dubcnn! But before we do that, I gotta give you the "Signal Flow" untagged version! So I'm putting that back out there with two new songs. [Editor's Note: Untagged version is now available: click here]

Dubcnn: How did the idea for the "Myspace Rappers" song and video come about?

I was actually doing a Quincy Jones session, me and Problem were at Record Plant. I was waiting for a Quincy Jones file to get spreaded out on the console, which is something that you have to do when you mix a record and you're not in Pro Tools like most of these guys are. Every record I do I mix it either on the SSL G4000 or the SSL J9000. So it takes a little time to spread the record out on the console so I can mix it. While they were spreading it, I just came with a beat and then I started scratching on it. Problem came with his verse and I said "I'ma write a verse to it and let's transfer that into something truthful but positive!" That ended up being the "MySpace Rappers" song. Cause we're always talking about these cats that you never hear about, we never hear about these people!

Me and Glasses always talk about that, we don't know who a lot of these guys are that we see on websites. I'm not God, I don't know everybody, but I don't see a lot of these guys that say they're from L.A. and went to a school that I went to, I don't see any of them! The Internet has made it easy to become a superstar, cause all you have to do is get your hits up, get your MySpace hits up, and then you're popular based on that. Before, you couldn't be popular if people didn't see you! Now you don't even have to be good as long as you have a million hits. A label will be calling you telling you that they want to deal with you, no matter how you sound! This is why we now need a band-aid on music, cause it's not good no more.

Dubcnn: That's real talk!

So we did the song for that. Hopsin, which is a artist on Ruthless Records, wrote the script with me and Problem and a week later we just filmed it at a few locations. The first location was at my house, downstairs in my studio, the second location was my mothers house in the kitchen, the third location was in an alley behind my mothers house on the railroad tracks, and the fourth location was at a good friend of mine's by the name of Marleak, who is an excellent artist, in Compton. Marleak plays the MySpace rapper in the video, lifting weights with a rag around his face. That's how that whole situation came about, we put it on YouTube and everybody is loving it. We're not tripping off money, we just want to put a band-aid on music and hopefully one day the next generation will have it a little bit better, to where you have to be good, in order to be successful again.

Dubcnn: I know what you mean man. A similar thing is happening with the producers as well. I know you're real vocal about the difference between beat makers and producers. What do you have to say about that?

That's a serious thing, cause I haven't heard of any real producers lately, in the last 4-5 years, except the ones that we all know about. Beat makers are cool, but I could go online and download a beat. There's no heart into that! But now you can be a beat maker and be winning too. But this is why songs don't have a good topic no more, this is why we don't have any more songs period. We got beats with somebody saying words to rhythm now. There aren't any more good songs. What happened to the art of the pen and pad? What happened to that? It's only a few people who truly still have that and I could name them, the ones I know about. I don't believe that somebody can email you a beat and you could rap over it and it would just be a truthful, old fashioned, timeless song. I'm not gonna believe that. You know?

Dubcnn: I totally agree with you.

I don't come from that. I come from the era where the producer is in the same room with the artist, coaching him through. The producer should do his job, which is to produce. If you don't want to be produced, then don't get a producer, get a beat maker, keep on rocking on and putting out these wack albums and keep putting out your wack mixtapes! I go on these websites now, Problem got me going on the internet real tough these days, and even these cats with these free downloads. If you want to know why your free download is not even getting downloaded, it's cause you're wack! But my thing is, Nima, you can get good. It takes practice and being humble. But if you do music for the money, for the cars, for the girls, for the house on the hills and for the fame around L.A. or whever you're from, then so long. I wish all them guys that do music like that could all get into a pot, boil, and die!

Dubcnn: *laughs*

Really! If you're doing music strictly for negativity and to talk about people on every song, I wish these people would get tied up, thrown into a ditch in my backyard and get burried with hot lava until they just melt to death!

Dubcnn: *laughs*

But if you're doing music, understanding that kids listen to this music, and you wanna have a good time, chill, where nobody is getting beat up or smacked up, and you just want to have a ball, like a Marvin Gaye record, a Run DMC record, a Beastie Boys record, then I'm with you! But if you're doing music to push any line besides positivity, I'm not with you. It's enough negativity going on in the world with this geek running the country right now, it's more negativity going on right now with the police treating our young black men out here like that, it's enough bad things with black on black, brown on brown and all that kind of stuff! It's so much negativity going on, do you think we really wanna be reminded of that in a song when we're driving home? No.

That's why you guys don't make any money and you probably have to have a day job to survive, cause your music is wack! Nobody wants to hear the mad rapper! If you don't have a deal, so what? Go make your own deal! Work it out! It's there for you to do it, it's so simple now. You can do iTunes deals, you just have to stop being lazy and do it. People want to hear a song now, nobody cares about the spitter and this and that. If you wanna spit, that's dope, I'm with you, but understand it's about the song. You can do good music and spit, but let's not forget about the well produced song. Positive records with positive energy, that's what it's all about.

If anybody has anything bad to say about what I say, then so what? You can always catch me, I'm in the Slauson swap meet every other Saturday from 10am to 11:45am. If you can't catch me there, you can catch me after the Slauson swap meet at the V.I.P. stores on Crenshaw and Slauson from 12 to 1pm. For those of you that don't find any of these places recognizable or don't know these names, these are Los Angeles places cause I really am from Los Angeles. I don't live outside and say I'm from L.A. like a lot of people do on these sites.

Dubcnn: I feel you man. I don't really know what else to add to that, you just hit it on the head with that. What else is there to say?

I have one more thing to say. T-Lee is the future, Uncle Chucc is the future, Problem is the future. Period. People are about to hear a lot of them right now. It's gonna be a real positive thing. The Dogg Pound is still doing their thing.

Dubcnn: Alright, I think we covered pretty much everything, anything you want to add?

No, I just want to say "peace" and keep it positive. Dubcnn is the best and we're gonna keep it pushing like that! Look out for "Locke High". If you catch anybody with a copy of it, there's a limited edition going around that's untagged.

Dubcnn: That's probably gonna end up on the internet soon then, right?

Nah, cause the persons I'm giving it to don't know nothing about the internet! *laughs* They gotta find me! Also, if anybody wants an untagged copy of the "Locke High" mixtape, it's a stack of them at V.I.P. Music on Crenshaw and Slauson. Go holla at a girl named Michelle over there, it's a stack of "Locke High" untagged there. Or you can go to Locke High, all the kids got it at Locke High.



Terrace Martin Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That Here

Full Interview In Audio : Here


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