interview CROOKED I  (May 2005) | Interview By: Westcoast2K

Westcoast2K reached out to one of the most talented MC's in Hip Hop for an exclusive interview. He calls himself Young Boss and that for a reason. He breaks it down and talks about the good and bad times on Death Row, to moving on and bossin' up with his own Dynasty Records. We discussed the whole movement and the upcoming "Boss Music" album and what to expect on there. He expresses his feelings on the West Coast conference, his personal plans for the future, and much more.


Westcoast2k.Net - What you been up to recently?

Crooked I - Aww man, I just been workin on this album, trying to put this album in effect. And try to get my legal standing the right way so I can legally put it out there. So everything is going pretty good with me. I been just in the lab man, and promotin', doing interviews like this one. And just trying to spread the word, getting everything done.

Westcoast2k.Net - And are you still takin shits on Beverly Hills?

Crooked I - Ahhahaha... ay you know what, yeah man. I'm trying to really take one on they ass now. But ever since I left Death Row though, it's been a minute since I could do something like that. But I'm gonna have even more advertisements. But they took us to court man, the city of Beverly Hills took us to court because of that. They wanted that sign down immediately. And we wouldn't take it down and they said it was bad for the kids and all that other type of shit. But all the kids, everytime they walked by the sign, I would be in the office and see them, they just point up there and just start dying laughin. The kids man... but Beverly Hills they don't like that type of shit. (laughs)

Westcoast2k.Net - So let's talk about this Dynasty. What's the direction that you're taking with it?

Crooked I - Where I'm taking this Dynasty shit to man, it's really like a movement of artists and people in the industry that's trying to step they executive game up. We're trying to inspire artists, and we're trying to inspire companys to threat artists better, and we're trying to inspire artists to get their fair share when they do these deals with these majors and these independents. No matter what, get yours. Cause at the end of the day the artist is putting in a lot of work man, and sometimes we get the least amount of money.

So that's what our movement is right now, our movement is really on some takin care of business type of shit, and getting that money, and trying to influence these big corporations to start putting more money behind West Coast projects. I say West Coast because right now everybody else is doing just fine. The East obviously, they control the Hip Hop media, and the South they having a good run right now. But the West, a lot of these major labels they not spending enough money on a West Coast artist, therefore we're not being put in the public like we should be. So Dynasty, that's our movement man. Our movement is trying to get the artists their boss up, and trying to make sure the companys do what they gotta do with us.

Westcoast2k.Net - Yeah it's definitely creating a nice buzz. And you just released a song to the radio the other week...

Crooked I - Yeah, man that was crazy. Cause what happened was, I was in Miami working on some stuff with Scott Storch. And they told me that they needed a mixtape song for Felli Fel, for Felli's new mixtape. And I was like 'Aww cool, Felli wants a song'. So I told them to send that "Boom Boom Clap", because I was thinking of doing an uncut video, so I was thinking of it. So we sent the lil song over to Felli, and Felli put it right on the air, and people started requesting it! So I was out of town like 'Wait a minute, he put it on the air, and people calling requesting it?'. And people calling me from all over 'Yo Felli playing that shit, he puttin' sirens on it and playing it 3 times in a row!', so I'm like 'Aww for real? Now I GOTTA do a uncut video to it!'. But it was a very good look, and I'm thankful that Felli did that, cause he just took it in his own hands, and played that shit. And this thing going up on the internet, and people been calling me left and right about that cut.

Westcoast2k.Net - So you're gonna shoot a video for it?

Crooked I - Yeah I'ma shoot a uncut video for it. I see a lot of uncut videos, and it seems to me the South and the Mid-West is holding the uncut video championship down, you feel me? They always got the most women, they always got the thickest women down to do the most craziest shit. It's like on the West man, when you're dealing with strippers and dancers, they don't want their moms to know that they dance, so they don't wanna be on TV like that. Or they got day jobs or they goin' to school.

So we finna find some bout it bout it females out here! Go represent and shake that shit for the West Coast! Cause it don't look even, it's uneven, they killin us! Tip drill, and all that shit is killin' us! So we need some of these West Coast dime pieces out there doing what they do. So I'm bout to shoot one of them in a few days. It's gonna be for BET Uncut, and Ima probably run it on my website, and other websites, whoever wanna run it I'll have it available for them as well.

Westcoast2k.Net - So the promotion for the album is already rollin?

Crooked I - Yeah, cause we trying to put this album out in late summer. It's called "Boss Music", cause basically I went through hell trying to get off that label over there I used to be on. I did all that just to become my own boss, so I'm like man, I'ma name my album "Boss Music". Plus I wanna inspire the artists, like I was saying, to step their boss game up out there, even new artists. Cause sometimes even artists that have proven themselves in the market can't boss up. But I'm saying fuck that, if you got a vision, let's walk in these companys, and boss up from the gate. On your first album make sure you're gettin' something better than the standard deal. So that's the thing, we on this boss movement shit.

And my team is the C.O.B., the Circle of Bosses. And the reason why we the Circle of Bosses is because we all bosses. We sit at the round table and we chop up ideas with eachother, and we try to figure out plans and strategize shit with eachother. So "Boss Music", this summer.

Westcoast2k.Net - The album was supposed to drop July 12, wasn't it?

Crooked I - Yeah, but I have to push it back to September cause there's just a few things more that I need to do. As far as some of these magazines, like half the people walked outta The Source, so that kinda messed up some ads and stuff that I was trying to make sure was in place on time. So I'm thinkin' I might just have to. But it's coming late summer!

Westcoast2k.Net - First the album got shelved on Death Row, and now pushed back again....

Crooked I - I know, but with that Death Row situation with the album getting pushed back, I didn't have nothing to do with that, I couldn't control it. I couldn't make no decisions, now I can make the decisions when to let it go, when to push it back. So it's coming for certain. A lot of people like 'Damn man, is it coming out this time?'. But nah, it's coming for real. I just didn't have no control, that wasn't my label, that's Suge's label, he do what he wanna do.

Westcoast2k.Net - How does it feel to finally get your first solo album out?

Crooked I - Oh man, it feels good! On some real, it's been a long time for me. People that have kept up with me on the West Coast, they know wassup with me. It's been a loooong time coming, and it feels good to be able to drop this album for the people. But you know what really feels good? Is that people still wanna hear a album from me, that right there feels good. When I'm walkin somewhere in the restaurant or in the mall, anything, and people come up to me like 'Yo when the album coming dog?, and all that, that make me feel cool. Because a lot of people might have just forgot about me, but they still got me right there, so I ain't got nothing but love for everybody supportin' me, that's for real.

Westcoast2k.Net - Yeah that I noticed, some artists get shelved and whatnot, and their listeners kinda move on to the next shit. But with you, its like they always stick with you and support you no matter what.

Crooked I - Maaaan, ain't that something? I be like damn, that shit is wild as fuck! But that's cool man, thats why I work so hard dogg. I never stop. A lot of dudes that would have went through things that I been through in the industry, they be somewhere driving a bus right now like fuck it! But I ain't gonna never stop, just for the simple fact that people don't want me to stop. A lot of people like 'Man we gotta hear some more shit, you can't stop man, fuck that shit!'. So I'm like fuck it, I'ma keep going, stay focused, stay dedicated. Cause like you said, the fans still supporting, they wanna hear this album, so I gotta give it to them, I don't have a choice!

Westcoast2k.Net - You know, a lot of people feel like you wasted a lot of your time on Death Row. How do you see that?

Crooked I - You know, the thing about it on Death Row, a lot of people thought that I was gonna be the one that could ressurrect the West, you know? And the thing is, I always thought that it would take more than one artist. I always thought it would take about two to three good camps to get the West Coast back in full swing. Cause even when Pac was out here, he was the number one dude, Snoop Dogg still had a strong presence in the game, Ice Cube had the movie thing going, E-40 had a good thing going in the Bay Area, Dr. Dre was getting the Aftermath off the ground. So it was like a lot of people at once, and that's how I think it's gotta be right now. To bring it back at full swing, I think it's gonna have to be more than just one artist. I think it's gonna have to be two or three different artists from different camps making that shit just hit again like it was in the 90's.

Westcoast2k.Net - Is it hard to stay loyal for 4 years?

Crooked I - Aww man, you know what, when I look back I wonder how I did it. But at that time I stayed down because I believed that we was a family. It's hard to stay loyal to anything for 4 years. People drop outta college because they don't feel like doing 4 years in college. People leave they woman because they don't wanna be down with them. So, to stay loyal to anything for 4 years is tough. But Death Row Records, that's even tougher, because the thing is, Death Row is not like these other labels man. There's people on the streets who gangbang, if they see you and you're from Death Row, its on onsite. They threat Death Row like a gang more than a record label. So, I could be out on the streets, I been followed in malls, I been in confrontations, I've gone to other levels just being a part of Death Row. I've gone to being in some violent situations that the average rapper don't have to be in because of his label. He might be in them situations because of his street life, but not cause of his label. So that right there is a tough thing because now you're loyal to a label that you keep on getting into bullshit because you down with this label. You stay ridin for the label, stay ridin. And the industry don't wanna see you make it cause you down with this label.

A lot of people don't like Suge in the industry and they don't wanna see him make it big no more. They don't want him to get back on his feet because they feel like he gonna be in there and tell them what to do, and check them and all that. They don't like him, so they tryin' they best to keep him out of the industry. So I gotta do concerts and I gotta do shows, and they would tell me 'Nah you can't do it cause you're on Death Row Crooked. We got love for you Crooked, but we can't fuck with you cause you're on Death Row. We don't want no problems.' So when I gotta do a Summer Jam, or when Ashanti calls me to do this show with her, as soon as I get there, since I'm from Death Row they tell me I can't do it.

So all these doors is closed, I'm gettin into all this beef on the streets, and I'm just making this music. My thing is, at least put the albums out, or do something. If you're not gonna put the album out, do something. To stay loyal to Death Row was a tough thing based on all that shit. It's not like just being loyal to any other label, it's a whoooole different world on Death Row.

"I stayed down because I believed that we was a family. It's hard to stay loyal to anything for 4 years. [...] But Death Row Records, that's even tougher, because the thing is, Death Row is not like these other labels man. There's people on the streets who gangbang, if they see you and you're from Death Row, its on onsite. They threat Death Row like a gang more than a record label."
— Crooked I

Westcoast2k.Net - Yeah, you been blackballed in a major way...

Crooked I - Blackballed in a major way! Man, I'd be out of town with program directors at radio stations and they would tell me all the time 'Nah, we can't play that shit'. But when they were in front of Suge, some of them would smile, 'Oh yeah, we will do that Suge'. And as soon as he leaves the room 'We're not fuckin with him!'. So they don't wanna see him successful. And plus, the police wanna put him in jail everytime he turns around. So everytime he went to jail the whole label went to jail cause we can't do shit without him.

So it was a tough job staying down like that man. So that's the reason why I'm so disappointed that he tried to take me to court, from me to be able to move on with my career. That's what disappointed me the most, because I stayed down with the beef, I stayed down with the industry closing they doors on us, I stayed down when Suge got put to jail. So when it's time for me to go and get my own, he's supposed to give me his blessings.

Westcoast2k.Net - So are there any bad feelings towards Suge?

Crooked I - I'm just disappointed, that's the only thing cause I thought we was better than that. You know how you got a homeboy and you think that it's all that and it aint, so you're disappointed. That's all it is, I'm just disappointed. It was a good experience though, I got some game outta there. I shook alotta hands, I met alotta people. So I just take the positive shit out of it and use it to help me and my label right now. So I ain't even trippin man.

At one point I did when I found out first that I had to go to court. I was upset because I was like 'Man I know this nigga enough for me not to have to go to court to get off this label'. But you know what, he's a business man so it's his choice. If he wanna say he don't want me to leave his label, he got that choice. If I wanna say I wanna leave, I got that choice. It's all business, so I can't get upset because it's business.

Westcoast2k.Net - But did Suge respect your decision of leaving?

Crooked I - I mean that's what he told me once upon a time, that's what he told me dogg! He told me out his own mouth, that if I ever left Death Row, he would never try to stand in my way because he believe people should be happy, and he believe that people should move on with their careers however they wanna move on. That's what he told me personally! As soon as I left, he sent some paperwork over. But he told me that personally.

My whole thing is, if he feels like he invested money in me..I told him 'Ey, the album I recorded, put it out! Keep all the money if you want to. I just don't feel like going to court'. I just wasn't raised to go to court, that ain't how I was raised man. We stay away from court, we don't like being in court about nothing! So I was just disappointed, that's all.

"He told me out his own mouth, that if I ever left Death Row, he would never try to stand in my way because he believe people should be happy, and he believe that people should move on with their careers however they wanna move on. That's what he told me personally! As soon as I left, he sent some paperwork over." — Crooked I

Westcoast2k.Net - But thats crazy, seeing how he invested all that money in your project but never put it out?

Crooked I - Yeah that's the thing, because he could have put the project out if he wanted to. But I understand certain reasons why he didn't. One reason was Koch. That was his distribution company. Death Row is too big for Koch, they need a major distribution company. They don't need no independent distributor trying to get their projects everywhere. Death Row needs major distribution. That was one reason why he didn't put my shit out because he knew that if he dropped my shit, it wasn't gonna do the numbers it should have done, we wasn't gonna move the units we should have moved. And that was gonna make him look bad, but it was gonna make me look bad too. So we both would have been lookin bad.

That right there I do understand. But my whole thing is... if I'm Suge, I say 'Well hey Crooked, just start your own shit. Here, I'ma give you a couple million dollars. Go get some major distribution, I'ma play the background and we gonna pull a twist on the game, and then I come back out later on and let them know that I had something to do with it the whole time.' I mean let's do some shit like that! So that's what I would have done. But like I said, he makes his own decisions, I can't think for him. All I can do is think for myself, and that's why I went and started my own label.

Westcoast2k.Net - I remember hearing you on Hot 97 when they premiered "So Damn Hood", and all these TV appearances, magazine interviews and whatnot. Shit seemed serious.

Crooked I - Oh yeah man, "So Damn Hood" dropped on the radio like you said, these magazines is coming, everything is looking good. I'm on videos with Ashanti on "106 & Park", I'm thinking 'OK cool, we finna drop my single right after this' cause we had the buzz going. Hot 97 was feelin this, New York was feelin' this man! I did magazines, we did all kind of shit. They was ready for the project man! It's just that, once he dropped that "Dysfunktional Family" thing, I think that's when he found out that Koch wasn't big enough. Cause I don't even recall how many units that pushed, I think that shit only sold about 80.000 units. Suge's not used to sellin just 80.000 units, he used to sell millions of records man. And then you know, he in competition with Dr. Dre. Dre is moving units like hotcakes at Aftermath, so he don't wanna drop no albums that ain't gonna compete, you feel me?

I mean if he would have dropped me, and I didn't do the kinda units that I should have done, they would have probably said that he was over and done. Because the industry already gave me a stamp, they would have more blamed him than they blamed me. When we was on Hot 97 in New York we took our project to Lyor Cohen's office, we went in there and banged the project when he was still at Def Jam, he loved the project. We went to L.A. Reid and he loved the project. We were just gettin' some feelings and lettin' people hear what we had. And everybody was loving it to the point where, if he would have dropped it and it would have went wood or something, they would have really blamed it on him, because the industry had already heard the project and they felt like it was a good project.

Westcoast2k.Net - At that time it seemed that you would have done everything for that company. Songs like "Still Tha Row" proved that a 100 percent. What was the motivation behind that song?

Crooked I - The motivation behind that song... See dogg, I'ma tell you, I was one of those cool dudes over there at Tha Row. I could have make songs about anything man. I could have make club songs. I did make the club songs, but I decided to make "Still Tha Row" because I got tired of the police coming up in the building all the fuckin time. I got tired of people always talkin about the bad shit that Death Row do, and never talkin about the good shit. That's why in the song I was talking how we're givin sick kids toys on Christmas and everything. I just tired of them always lookin at us like we ain't doing nothing in our community. But we were giving back to the community! Basically I was saying fuck the police on that song too. How y'all can come up in here and raid our office and y'all can mark all our cars and take us to jail just cause we're from Death Row. Well fuck y'all, we still gonna do this! And I was making a statement for everybody on the label with that song. And that was my motivation, that's the kinda dude I am. When I'm rollin with something, I'm rollin with it, a 100 percent!

And they wanted me to put a club song out right there. Even Kurupt came up to me like 'Man, you might wanna put a club song out right now on this first single', but I was like 'Nah fuck that! They cuttin' our doors open and shit, bustin' up in the office while we try to work, they laying down people in the studio and cuffin' engineers. We gotta talk about this shit!'. So that's why I dropped that shit on they ass to let them know we still here.

And I really think I could have helped rebuild that shit to a dynasty. And we could have done that shit on some fuckin' Chicago Bulls shit, and went for 6 rings! I think I could have did it, but sometimes if everybody don't see your vision then you gotta move on, and that's what it was. I had a certain vision and I guess Suge had a different vision and people around him had a different vision. So I kept it moving.

Westcoast2k.Net - What were your expectations and the vibe like at the time you signed back in '99?

Crooked I - In '99 I thought it was on and crackin' man. Me and my homeboy Big C-Style talked to Dr. Dre, and Dr. Dre was saying that he would work with us as well, but he just had to do a lot of stuff. He had so much stuff to do that we would probably have to wait 6 or 7 months before he could get around to fuckin' with us. So I was like fuck it, we got this Suge thing on the table right now, let's just do it man. 2Pac was one of the greatest ever, let's go over there to his old home and bring this shit back, you know? So I was with it.

1999, on and crackin. I didn't give a fuck man. I lived in Long Beach and it was a big ass war between Death Row and Long Beach, because Long Beach is Snoop Dogg capital. So it was a big ass feud, but I didn't give a fuck. I'm out there everyday, Death Row chain on, jumpin' out my Benz on the Eastside not even caring, parkin my shit at VIP on a hot summer day. Everybody out, everybody see me, people don't like me cause I'm out there from Death Row and I'm in Long Beach. People affiliated with Snoop didn't like me, so they would see me and I would get in altercations with different people and all that, but I didn't give a fuck. I'm like 'It's on and crackin! This is what I represent, and I'm from Long Beach, y'all aint gonna make me get outta here. Y'all aint gon' run me out my city. This is what it is!' So I thought it was on! I was making music, we was traveling, the album was coming out tight. I thought it was on and crackin to be honest with you.

Westcoast2k.Net - Back to the "Boss Music" album. Whats the vibe on the album? You got a lot of different producers on it, or is it mostly consistent production?

Crooked I - Yeah, I got a lot of different producers but it's all going in one veine. This "Boss Music" shit is a movement on the whole album. We're saying 'Boss up! These niggas is holdin us down, these record companys don't wanna spend what they're supposed to spend, these different people in the media don't want the West Coast to shine like we need to shine. So fuck everybody, we finna boss up on em.' That's what it is.

I got Rick Rock on there, me and him worked real close. He's so underrated it's ridiculous. He's one of the best West Coast producers we got. And a lot of people don't even know him like they should. So me and him work closely. I was just with him the other night, he gave me 50 brand new beats. Then I got my own production company called D.I.G., Dynasty Instrumental Group. It's headed by my godbrother Jim Gettum. So me and him we banging out tracks together. Then I was in Miami with Scott Storch, he gave me 3 beats. He's on fire right now.

Westcoast2k.Net - Yeah how was recording with Scott Storch?

Crooked I - Aww man that was the shit! Cause I'ma tell you something...that fool got so much going on right now. It don't even make sense, it's unfair! He got 3 rooms going at once. He doing a Beyoncé song in this room, he doing a Mya song in this room, a Tony Braxton song in that room, a Styles P song in that room. He just got so much going on it's ridiculous. And I work fast too, so everything was good. He work fast, I work fast. I run in there, he put the beat on, I write the song in 30 minutes, droppin it in 30 minutes. So 1 hour later we be sittin' rockin our heads.

Westcoast2k.Net - And you're picking a single from one of those joints you did with him?

Crooked I - Yeah man, it probably will end up being one of them joints we did as the single. But at the same time I'm trying to get the good doctor [Dre] on this project! I mean, I'ma just put it out there, I ain't really told nobody, but I have talked to him and I'm trying to get him. Hopefully he goes to Westcoast2k.net too! (laughs). We got some cool chances, but I don't know. First of all, he's a genius, he's the best producer in history of Hip Hop, and he's got a full roster of artists on his own right now. But he did tell me that he would work with me. See, he should have never said that shit, cause now I'ma be all over trying to get something done! (laughs). It might not happen on this project to be honest with you. But if it can happen, I'm gonna try to make it happen.

Westcoast2k.Net - What specific things are we going to hear on the album?

Crooked I - Aww man, you gonna hear some real shit on this album. I'm gonna be listening to this shit, and I don't even listen to my own shit that much. But to this one I'm gonna be listening to. It's gonna start off like a movie, we gonna put old school skits on there like the N.W.A. and the Ice Cube "Death Certificate" days. Cause a lot of people been getting away from them skits. We gonna put a lot of people on blast man, a lot of these politicians, these police officers using too much physical abuse, we gonna put a lot of these governeurs and mayors on blast, and all these laws that they trying to pass to keep urban people in incarcerated. We gonna do the old school West Coast thing on this album.

It ain't just all about poppin' ice and poppin' bottles. We go pop bottles and we do rock ice, but we gonna get down and dirty though. Cause nobody talks about these things anymore. Since Pac died, that was it. So we gonna make sure we bring this back alive. Like the young girl Delisha Roberts who was killed recently by some straight bullets. We gotta rest in peace them on the project, we gotta talk about Inglewood police officers beating up a 16 year old and getting away with it. We gotta holla at them, we gotta get at them through the music. We gotta spread the word, so it's definitely gonna have that type of a atmosphere on there. Cause a boss don't really care, he gonna let you know what it is, and that's it. But then we gonna just have life music on there, where it's just good times, bad times, broke times, ballin' times. You know, the whole thing.

But the main focus on the album is when it's over for somebody to say 'Yeah, I can't wait to hear his next one'. And to inspire people to get to boss up no matter what you do. I don't care what you do, boss up!

Westcoast2k.Net - How is the transition for you from making mixtape tracks to album songs? There's a lot of talented rappers, but when it comes to making albums they kinda fail. They got hella skills but cant come up with dope albums.

Crooked I - Oh yeah, that's a lot of peoples problems. Like you said, they good at making mixtape stuff but they can't make a album. But you know me, that's one good thing about all these years with me having record deals. If there ain't nothing else I know how to do then it's an album, cause I done made albums for about 3 or 4 different labels, you know what I'm saying? (laughs) So that ain't really nothing. Plus I'm writing from the heart, I mean on mixtapes you usually just talking a whole bunch of garbage. You boastin' and probably beefin' with somebody. But on the album it's about expressing yourself. It's about writing songs that other people can relate to, so I think I have something on there for everybody. When it's over I wanna be in the Top 5 who ever did it. So with that in mind, I gotta work hard and make sure that the product is right and the people feel it.

Westcoast2k.Net - How important is picking a quality beat for you? You know how sometimes a good beat can steal the MC's show if it outshines him on a track.

Crooked I - Yeah that happens a lot. Some dudes get saved by the track, if it wasn't for that track the whole thing would have been wack. But it's important to get with producers that you can work with, and you can feel producers that you got chemistry with. So that's the whole key. But you're right about that, you gotta pick the music. You know, I sit back when I write a song, I let the music tell me what to write about. If I listen to the music and close my eyes, it's gonna tell me what I need to write about, cause I'ma feel the emotion coming through the music. And that's how I do it. So you're absolutely right, the beats is very important, the quality of the hooks, the concept and the picture that you're trying to paint. Cause that's what we really do, we painting pictures with words.

Westcoast2k.Net - And when people see the picture, you think they define you by your lyricism or your personality?

Crooked I - I think right now it's by my lyrics, cause they don't know me as well as they are going to once they hear this album. A lot of people don't know certain things about me, but they gonna find out on this album about my life, about how I was raised, because they never got a chance to because they never heard a full length album from me. So I think right now, people basically judge me on my lyrics. But in the long run it's gonna be on who I am.

Westcoast2k.Net - How do the people behind the scenes at Treacherous compare to the people at Death Row, as far as quality control?

Crooked I - Well the people at Treacherous they brand new with this. They have some consultans who got 30 years of music business expierence. But the CEO's and the COO's, they relatively new to this. So they eager, they hungry, they wanna make something happend bad so they willing to work long hours. And same with Dynasty, the people that work for me at Dynasty, they eager and hungry. I can't afford to pay them like a major label pays them, so you already know they got their love and their heart into it just to spend all this time, cause they puttin' in more time than major labels. But it's a whole different atmosphere, because at Death Row Records Suge was running everything. And he already was a multi-millionaire with 6 mansions, 70 cars. So he got a different attitude than somebody who's just now trying to make it.

Westcoast2k.Net - What has changed for you since you left Death Row and started Dynasty, from a personal point of view and from a business point of view?

Crooked I - Well the thing that changed from me it's just that it's a lot more pressure now. Because when I make a decision and it don't go right its all on me, it's my fault. And then my phone rings about 50.000 more times a day than it used to. Because not only am I worried about making the music now, I'm also involved with the artwork, I'm also involved with the business decisions, I'm also involved with the distribution decisions, the timing, the release dates. It's so much stuff that I'm involved now. I just think that I'm five times more busy than I used to be when I just had to worry about going to the studio and making a hot song.

Westcoast2k.Net - Did you attend the West Coast conference?

Crooked I - Yeah I was at the West Coast conference that Snoop threw. My feelings is that we need to do another one cause it wasn't enough stuff addressed, it wasn't enough issues addressed. It was supposed to be to unify the West, and for people who got beef with eachother to squash it. But none of that stuff got addressed really. The people that attended it, when they left they still had beef with eachother cause nobody really addressed it. The most things that was addressed was the fact that Daz & Kurupt got back together, and that Snoop and Game was doing concerts together. That's the biggest part of the conference. As far as people having problems, I mean Snoop got up there and said that he squashed his beefs with everybody whoever he had beef with in the past, that's beautiful and I'm glad he did that. But at the same time there was a lot of people in the crowd that had beef with people on that stage that needed to be talked about so we can move further and keep going. But that didn't get addressed. So I'ma call Minister Tony Mohamed and I'ma reach out to Steve Harvey as well, and I'ma try to do another one strictly based on squashing the beefs so people can work and move on with their careers out here, cause that wasn't addressed enough dogg. It wasn't, not at all.

Because my whole thing is, if I'm out here and I got a problem with Daz or Jayo Felony or everybody, that's what I came here to talk about. I thought Suge was gonna be there, he was supposed to be there, so I showed up for that as well, cause I would like to talk to him outside of going to court, and talk to him in a place like that where we could try to holla about possibly squashing whatever it is. I don't have no problems with him, but he obviously got a problem with me, cause he got me going to court left and right. So, my expectations was on that level.

Westcoast2k.Net - But the summit was defnitely a step in the right direction...

Crooked I - Yeah it was definitely a step in the right direction. That's why I said I applaud them for doing it, I'm not downing it at all. I'm just keepin' it real, more issues need to be addressed. Because when I was leaving, cats they still had problems with eachother.

Westcoast2k.Net - What is your take on the DPG reunion?

Crooked I - I been knowing them for a long time, and my advice to both of them is get your money this time, because there's people in this industry that drive around in Ferrari's and got big mansions in the States and got way more money than them dudes, and them dudes put in a whole lot of work. So if they are back together, my advice would be pay close attention to the paperwork and get your money this time. Cause I don't like that dogg, when I see all these artists that just came out 2 or 3 years ago, I'm glad they got their money, but then I look at people Daz & Kurupt and different homeboys I got, that been doing this for a long time, I wish that everybody would get their money.

Westcoast2k.Net - Do you have any personal plans as far as West Coast Hip Hop goes?

Crooked I - My personal plans is influencing these cats in the offices up in these big corporations and big labels. Cause first of all, not enough money is getting spent on West Coast artists, and that's the reason why we laggin' in the industry. Because if you take 3 million dollars and put it behind a bum, he gonna be star. But if you only put 200.000 behind a West Coast artist, and you put 3 million behind a East Coast artist, of course the East Coast artist is gonna do better.

So a lot of these companys over here, that's gonna be my thing, I'm trying to work from inside the system. When you walk through these record labels out here on the West, a lot of the executives are not from the West Coast. So they don't even know that they got a great project on their hands that they need to put a lot of money behind, because they don't even really appreciate West Coast music because they wasn't raised on West Coast music. So all that kinda stuff gotta change man. We gotta get more West Coast record executives out here, we gotta get more financial committed to the West Coast projects, and we gotta get more people with power to unify with eachother for real. That's what I mean on that conference. You know, we can force they hand. Game sold a lot of records, Snoop is a star. If Game and Snoop get together and do a song and a video with Damani, then Damani is a made man now, Damani is gonna be a bigger star. That's the type of things I wanted to address at the conference. Let's talk about making this West Coast big like it was back in the day.

Look at Lil' Jon, he was getting a lot of money in the independent world, but he started getting way more when he did the song with Usher and Ludacris. That made him a superproducer cause that's how you play the game. So we gotta play the game the exact same way, help eachother out. The most poweful ones in the family supposed to help the weaker ones, till we all poweful.

Westcoast2k.Net - There were talks of you hookin back up with the LBC Crew. Did anything come out of that?

Crooked I - Well it's funny you said that because C-Style calling me on my other line right now. But I talk to him every single day, that's my big homeboy, we been in this game together for at least 10 or 11 years since I was 16, so that's forever. I talked to Bad Azz at the West Coast conference, me and him supposed to work on some stuff together. But I'd rather see Bad Azz do a song with Game and Snoop, than do one with me right now. Cause they on top of the West right now, and that's the type of stuff that's gonna put everybody out there.

Westcoast2k.Net - What else can we expect? You also got the DVD coming out soon...

Crooked I - Yep, got the DVD coming. I'ma drop the DVD during back to school. I'ma drop the album first, there's gonna be a advertisement and a trailer inside the album, and then I'ma drop the DVD back to school. It's gonna be called "Life After Death Row". It's a documentary about my journeys after Death Row. But at the same time I got Master P on there, he giving up game about independent company hustle. I got Russell Simmons on there. I got Loon talking about how he left Bad Boy. I got so many people on there. And then I have a segment dedicated to Left Eye, cause she was on Death Row right before she passed away. It's not gonna be the regular stuff, it's gonna be real interviews, people giving their real opinions. I got never before seen footage of Snoop, never before seen footage of different people from the Death Row era.

Westcoast2k.Net - Anything else that we can expect from you in the future?

Crooked I - Just the "Back 2 Basics" album that I did with Sway & King Tech. They got Chino XL on there, Common Sense is on there, Sly Boogy.

Westcoast2k.Net - Yeah, I saw that footage on the site the other day, with Sway & Tech that had you and everybody spittin. I remember that one line you spit that stood out 'It's Dynasty I'm about to cross Tha Row out'.

Crooked I - Hahaha yeah that was.... Ay, I can't really talk like that. My lawyer told me if I say anything bad about Death Row, I'ma have a problem. So I can't even say nothing yet!

Westcoast2k.Net - Are you looking to do any shows in the near future?

Crooked I - Yeah, matter of fact I'ma do a show at The Vault in Long Beach. It's gonna be called "Summertime in the LBC" with all the Long Beach artists. And as far as overseas go, I just talked to J-Ro from Tha Liks, he's living in Sweden and that's gonna be my appointment when I go down there. He's doing shows in Germany, he's doing shows all over the place. Cause people come to my website all the time and ask me to come down there, but I just don't know nobody down there. But now that he down there he's gonna help me coordinate some shows.

Westcoast2k.Net - Alright, any last words or comments?

Crooked I - Yeah man, the last words is go buy "Boss Music". When y'all see that album pick it up! Support West Coast music, and much love to everybody who been supporting me from day one.




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