interview ANT DIDDLEY DOG  (March 2008) | Interview By: Chad Kiser

Anthony Nelson, once known as Ant Diddley Dog, grew up in Oakland, California, and got into hip-hop as a teenager. His budding career took off when he hooked up with Too Short's group, the Dangerous Crew. Along with partner-in-rhyme Rappin’ Ron, he was a part of a talented duo known as Bad-N-Fluenz. The promising West Coast prodigies were part of the mid-to-late 90’s Oakland gangsta rap scene, which was a thriving underground hotbed with the likes of Too Short, Bad-N-Fluenz, the Luniz, and 3xKrazy highlighting Oakland's hardcore rap landscape. Ant Diddley Dog was part of this pioneering group which put the Bay Area on the map long before the Hyphy Movement.

Ant Diddley Dog worked frequently with multi-platinum producer Ant Banks, appearing on projects featuring Too Short, Ice Cube, Spice 1, 2Pac, E-40, Ginuwine, and MC Breed among others. However, the tragic death of his partner and friend, Rappin' Ron, changed everything for Anthony. This tragic event initiated a journey which led him in search of a higher purpose for his life, and ultimately steered him to use his incredible talent as a rapper for the cause of Jesus Christ.

Dubcnn recently sat down with Ant Diddley Dog for an exclsuive 2-part interview. In part 1 of this world exclusive interview, Diddley gets us up-to-date on what he’s been doing over the years, how he got into rapping and gives us a little history on how he and Rappin' Ron became the group we knew as Bad N-Fluenz.



Interview was done by phone in February 2008

Questions Asked By: Chad Kiser
Read Part 2 of this Exclusive Interview: Here

Dubcnn: Diddley, what’s up?

Ant: What’s going on, bruh?

Dubcnn: How you doing, man?

Oh, I’m doing pretty good. Keeping it moving.

Dubcnn: So, you ready to get this interview going?

Yeah, man, go ahead. Let’s do it!

Dubcnn: A'ight. I guess I’ll start with the most obvious question, and that is, where has Ant Diddley Dog been and what have you been up to?

Just working, taking care of the family and preaching basically, man.

Dubcnn: Where are you preaching?

In Richmond, California.

Dubcnn: Is it a church that you started?

Nah, actually it’s the church that Christ died for and established in Jerusalem some 2000 years ago. I’m just a thankful member of it. I’ve been fellowshipping with this congregation for the past 7 years. Just over the past few years I’ve gotten more involved. At first it was kind of strange being a Christian and trying to find my way in a lifestyle and environment that was completely different from what I was used to. Since then my faith has increased and gives me enough confidence to preach the word.

Dubcnn: If we can, let’s touch a little bit on your history and get your story about the Dangerous Crew era that you were a part of.

Yeah, it’s all good.

Dubcnn: Ok, well back in the day, what led you to want to get into rapping?

As a youngster, that was the kind of music we grew up on. When I was a youngster, I was listening to my mom’s music. All of that R&B stuff like Frankie Beverly, Heat Wave, One Way, Temptations and all of that. I remember that stuff, but when I started hearing rap, I liked the sound, and the way they rhymed put words together to a beat and all that. So, I just latched on to that with no hesitation and was hooked ever since. Based off of listening to it so much and so often, I just thought, “What’s stopping me from doing the same thing they doing?” I can think just like they think; I can talk just like they can talk; I like music just like they like music! I can put some words together and make it happen.

Dubcnn: Who were some inspirations?

Basically, I just kind of took a combination of a lot of people. You know, back in the day, man, there weren’t many people coming out of the Bay that you could have said, “I want to pattern myself after this person.” All the music that we were getting was east coast stuff like KRS-1, Run-DMC, LL Cool J, Grand Master Flash and some stuff from the South like the Geto Boys. All of that was filtered in through the Bay. That was basically my first taste of rap. I’m pretty sure there was some underground cats in Oakland rapping, but I didn’t really hear a whole bunch of that until Too $hort made his way to my ears when I was a youngster. After that I started hearing Dangerous Dame, Richie Rich, M.C. Ant, AMW, Black Dynasty and all kind of other rappers.

Dubcnn: When did you first meet Ron?

I had first seen Ron when he and I went to Castlemont. I was in the 9th or 10th grade, and had seen him around the school, but we hadn’t really hooked up or nothing. I didn’t even know he was rapping, and he didn’t know I was kind of doing a little rapping too. I used to make my own tapes before I met him, and did some rapping with a couple of other people that I knew, you know, just sitting in front of the stereo with my partner Rasawn or Reg playing some of them old 12” records and instrumentals that my pops had. I used to use those instrumentals, like Grand Master Flash’s “The Message”. I used to use a lot of that stuff, man. Marvin Gaye had one that I used. So, when I had met Ron, I had already been rapping just on a lower scale.

Dubcnn: How did the connection happen between you two, as far as rapping together?

For whatever reason, my cousin Jermaine called me and said, “Man, I want you to hear this dude rap! Man, he’s tight! His name’s Rappin’ Ron!” Actually, I don’t think he even told me his name over the phone. So, he and my other cousin Eddie brought him over to my house, when I stayed over off Seminary with my dad. They played this one song of this tape he had made called “8-9”. It was like, “8, 9, that 8-8-8-8-8, 9..” and it was all about where he stayed, in the hood on 89th and Plymouth; about all the folks over there in the hood, where he just kind of named them all in this rap. I was listening and was thinking, “this is the dude you said was tight? It sounded kind of regular.” It wasn’t that impressive to me, you know? The voice was deep, I couldn’t hardly hear it, you know, it was a cassette tape. It was kind of slow and it was repetitive as far as the connectors in the middle of it per name, or rhyme, or whatever. I was thinking it was cool, but it wasn’t all that! It didn’t showcase the skill and talent that I would soon have the privilege to hear and learn from. And what kind of name is Rappin’ Ron anyway? I thought it was kind of corny,

Dubcnn: What’s the story behind the names, anyways?

Well, one of the things I didn’t realize is that he had a lot of notoriety in the hood from rapping. All he did was rap all the time! So, actually, he didn’t give himself that name. But just by virtue of him rapping all the time, the hood basically gave him that name. His name is Ron, and he’s always rapping. So naturally in the hood he just became known as Rappin’ Ron. Just like we had this dude in the hood that was always drinking alcohol, and his name was Wayne. The alcohol he drank was a cheap wine called Night Train so, you know what we called him: Night Train Wayne! That’s how they do it in the hood, man. Whatever you’re known for, then that’s what they’ll call you in certain situations.

Dubcnn: So where did the name Ant Diddley Dog come from?

When I was going to Castlemont, man, everybody used to put “Dog” on the end of their name, anyway. E-Dog, J-Dog, and I wasn’t any exception: Ant Dog! That’s what it was at first. Diddley just came this fella that I knew at Castlemont and I thought that that sounded kind of sick or whatever, so I just used it. It kind of sounded like a pimp name. I don’t even know where Diddley came from, but I knew that I wanted to be different, so I just threw that in the middle.

Dubcnn: Ok. So, go ahead and finish telling us about getting together with Ron..

After I had heard him rap we kinda kicked it, he was cool and then we just clicked. I don’t know why we did. I probably heard him freestyle because he was the tightest freestyler I’ve ever heard in my life to this day. Then we just hooked up. We hadn’t yet formed a duo or nothing yet, but we was kicking it.

Dubcnn: And this is when Bad N-Fluenz came to be? Or how did you two get to that point?

We wasn’t really a group or nothing at first, but we just sort of agreed to go ahead and become a rap group together, just a duo or whatever. We was at his house smoking some blurple one day just trying to think up of a name. We tried to think of any name that advocated negativity, or defined the essence of “rebellion” and came up with all kinds of stuff like Disturbing The Peace, Bad Behavior just anything. Then we came up with the name Bad N-Fluenz, and we thought, “yeah, that sums it up!” Then from that point we considered ourselves a group.

Dubcnn: How did your first recording sessions go?

Ron had already knew this fella named Go-Go and he was making beats, so we wanted to start laying some stuff and just get into experimenting together 'cause we had never rapped together or recorded anything in the studio together. We was just kind of trading raps in the streets, in the hood having little rap sessions, in circles beating on garbage cans, beat-boxing and all that. So we went over to Go-Go’s house and that’s when we made our first rap, and started selling it. It had “The Turfs” on there where Ron freestyled a rap about all the hoods in the town, from westside, eastside and northside. He just started mentioning everybody’s turf. We put that on there, and we put our first song together on there called, “Somethin’ About Oakland.” And then another song called, “Lyrical Catastrophe.” We put that all on tape, and it started circulating. During the time that it was circulating, you know, different people was hearing it.

Dubcnn: Is that how you guys hooked up with Too $hort and the Dangerous Crew?

Well, Ron knew these fellas named Twin 1 and Twin 2, and they had a tape of our raps and they had brought it up to Dangerous Music up on 14th & Myrtle Street in West Oakland. And by this time, the name Rappin’ Ron had already been ringing in the hood before I even started rapping with him. I think Twin-1 is the one that brought us to the studio one night. Goldy was up there, Pee-Wee was up there, Ant Banks was up there, and $hort was up there, and a bunch of other people, and we was just straight rapping. We was up there going back and forth with somebody, and I can’t remember who it was, but we was just saying raps, and raps, and raps. $hort was listening in, and everybody else was listening in and they was just like, “man, they tight! We need to get them in the studio.” And that’s when we did the title song on Get In Where You Fit In.

Dubcnn: So that was actually the first song you did with Too $hort?

Right, that was the first song we did with Dangerous Music. We had been taken up to the studio, and we was just up there rapping coming back-to-back-to-back with them! All night! That’s the first song we did along with "How The Gangsters Do It" and "Clownin’ Wit’ The Crew".

Dubcnn: Can you give us a little insight about the infamous freestyle between Bad N-Fluenz & The Luniz?

People don’t really know that Ron was up at the studio that night before I had got there. I came in late. It was just a proposed battle because Yukmouth was up there at Dangerous Music, and they said, “We’ll come up here and freestyle.” and I don’t remember what they said the winner got, I think they just bought pizza for everybody. Ron had got there about 15 minutes before I did, and when I got there it was over. He had already smashed! So, I didn’t even have to do nothing. Even if I would have got there on time Ron was the freestyle king, so he still would have handled the bulk of the work.

I was just enjoying the fact that I was the other half of Bad N-Fluenz. So he had already done what he was going do 15 minutes before I got there. It was done! It was done, because usually freestyle battles go according to crowd response, so I guess it was ended on the crowd response when he said something like “Imma hit you wit a head shot leave you in a dead spot and when yo head drop I'ma snatch out every dreadlock.” or something like that. After that was over, it was done! I’m not even sure if Numskull was even up there at the time, but I know Yukmouth was. I guess they went back and forth, and then when I got there Ron had already put his smash down. I miss that.

Dubcnn: Tell us a little bit about making the Bad N-Fluenz album…

When we started that album, we actually hooked up with somebody who was a part of Too $hort’s crew already, and his name is Davy D. I don’t know what happened, like if we wasn’t coordinating properly or what 'cause we was running in the streets, but he actually took over the project, and we just went ahead and did it through him. I mean, when it was time to record, we wouldn’t even show up sometimes. So, $hort would be like, “Man, I been trying to get them dudes in here but they just be doing too much!” You know, we’d come late, and be high or drunk or something ‘cause we was just some youngsters trying to have fun and we wasn’t really tripping on being on time and discipline and all that. Our heads wasn’t even together like it should have been.

So, we hooked up with Davy D, who wasn’t at that studio as much ‘cause he was out in the streets with us as well, so we had more time with him. He wanted to be involved with the project, along with this other fella named B-Bumble. B-Bumble was introduced to me by this fella named Paka-P. So when Paka-P introduced me to B-Bumble, B-Bumble’s dad, Dan, also wanted to be a part of it too. At First, Davy D and Dan was coordinating something together to try to get the Bad N-Fluenz project off the ground. After that, I’m not sure what happened with Dan. I don’t know if he backed out a little bit or what, but Davy D said he’d put up the money for it. B-Bumble said he’d make tracks, Go-Go said he’d make tracks so we brought him in and a few other people like Mike D & Sonny, who also made tracks for us, and of course Ant Banks. So we put it together with Davy D through Cell Block Records.

Dubcnn: What happened to Cell Block Records?

Cell Block Records picked up Mr. ILL, and already had FM Blue, and had done a couple of projects with him like “Oakland Styles”, before we even got there. Then we did our album, and then ILL did his album. Then, we did a couple compilations, and then after that we did a road tour for about a month after the Bad N-Fluenz album came out; then we did another one after the Cell Block compilation came out but after Ron had passed, it just kind of fizzled away. I’m not sure what happened to FM Blue and his projects, but I think he did a little time. Everything just started fizzling out, man.

Dubcnn: Do you still keep in touch with Davy D?

I kept in touch with him for a little while after Ron passed, but I haven’t talked to him on a regular basis in a few years I talk to his brother more than I talk to him. He’s kind of hard to catch up with at times. I don’t really know where he is but I heard he’s doing okay.

Dubcnn: What were yours and Ron’s status as members of the Dangerous Crew?

As far as royalties is concerned, we was getting royalties through Jive/Zomba Recordings. As far that’s concerned, all the songs that we did when we were officially a part of the Dangerous Crew was Get In Where You Fit In, we did "Clownin’ With The Crew", "Pimp Style Gangstas", and we did "Never That" on Goldy’s album.

Dubcnn: What about that Dangerous Crew compilation?

I’m not even sure, man. That might have been the time where we was working on our album. We didn’t record anything at Dangerous Music studios while we were working on our album. We only recorded there when we worked on Dangerous Crew projects.

Dubcnn: You and Ron on an Ant Banks track was just dope. Tell me about working with Ant Banks.

Aww, man! I was a fan of his beats long before I met him. When he was doing music back in the day with M.C. Ant and Pooh-Man and all of that stuff, I was a fan of his music. So when I got to work with him, I was like, man, this is huge! It’s like with $hort, who knew I would be rapping with Too $hort, who I used to listen to as a fan and now rapping with him like a colleague? It was the same thing with Ant Banks, it was huge to be able to work with him because I think he had the tightest beats in the Bay. When I was able to work with him, I was like, “Man, I’m about to straight rap on an Ant Banks track!” You couldn’t tell me nothing! I always liked his beats, so I didn’t have no complaints at all. I was just excited and honored to be able to rap on one of his tracks. He was real quick with his beats. I mean he could make one up right in front of you and it would be a straight rumbler!

Dubcnn: You and Ron had helped Banks write songs on his “Do or Die” album, and Ron featured on it. Why no Ant Diddley on that album?

Well, that day I guess I wasn’t around. Sometimes I would be doing my own thing, and Ron would be doing his own thing, so sometimes songs would get recorded without one of us there like “Ruff Like Pavement”. We did that in certain situations where I’d be on a song and he wouldn’t be on the song. That could be why he was on the album, and I wasn’t I have no idea what happened, ‘cause every now and then you could catch me in county jail or something too. So who knows what happened with that.

Dubcnn: "Keep’em Guessin’" was advertised as featuring you and Ron, but I was a little disappointed to not hear your vocal presence on that song. So you guys just wrote that for him?

Right, we just wrote it, but Banks rapped it.

Dubcnn: On the Bad N-Fluenz album, why weren’t more of the Dangerous Crew, like Goldy or FM Blue featured on there?

I’m thinking that Goldy or maybe Father Dom, if I’m not mistaking was supposed to be on a couple of songs. One of them actually recorded a verse on “Smoke Season”.

Dubcnn: Yeah, on the remix..

Who was it?

Dubcnn: It was Goldy.

Oh ok, yeah! I don’t even…man, you know more than me! *laughs* You remember more than me!

Dubcnn: I got that 12” vinyl and the cassette single from that.

Oh, ok! But yeah, so he was on that and for whatever reason we didn’t put it on the album. I don’t know why. Was the verse tight?

Dubcnn: Yeah, I thought it was really tight!

Yeah, so I don’t know why we didn’t have it on there. All we had on there was $hort and Ant Banks from the Dangerous Crew. We just wanted to do most of the rapping, I guess *laughs*.

Dubcnn: Yeah, you had Banks on there with the song, “The Bomb”.

Yeah, And we had Street Thugs, Mr. ILL, and then a couple people like Seagram on there too. And that was that.

Dubcnn: Why was there a re-release of that album?

Yeah, and it had “Private Cries” on there. You got that too, I guess, huh?

Dubcnn: Yep!

Man, you got all that stuff, boy!

Dubcnn: Yeah, ‘cause I was going ask you why that song wasn’t on the initial release?

I don’t know what happened with that. I think we left it off on purpose, but then wanted to release the album again for an extra boost in sales, so we put it on the second release, like a bonus song.

Dubcnn: On the Cell Block II compilation, there was an advertisement for another Bad N-Fluenz album...


Get answers to this and much more in Part 2. Coming soon!


Read Part 2 of this Exclusive Interview: Here


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