interview DEVIN THE DUDE (February 2007) | Interview By: Nima

Dubcnn recently got the second opportunity to interview an icon of Southern Hip-Hop, Devin The Dude. With his fourth solo album "Waiting To Inhale" about to hit the shelves we break down his youth, find out what led him to Hip-Hop, get some insight on his debut and subsequent projects as well as finding out what his average day consists of. We also get the facts on how he appeared on Dr. Dre's 2001, his relationship with Scarface and even get an answer about another Odd Squad project. Devin leads us through the details of "Waiting To Inhale" and how it came together as well as providing readers with a real insight to the man behind some of the smoothest music in Hip-Hop .
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 by phone in February 2007

Questions Asked By : Nima

Devin The Dude Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That Here

Full Interview In Audio : Here

Dubcnn: Dubcnn has hooked up with Devin The Dude to get the low-down on the new
record "Waiting To Inhale", and to chop it up about the latest happenings. How you doing Devin?

*sings* Ooooh yea yea! I'm cooling man, feeling good! Everything's cool!

Dubcnn: You know, you're one of the few artists in Hip-Hop who never seems mad, you're just a laid back kind of dude. What's your formula?

Uh no particular formula, just waking up everyday man is cool man! It takes a little less muscles to smile than it does to frown man so I just take that into perspective.

Dubcnn: People love you for your laid back style, have you ever recorded with a different style, out of fun?

Um...yea actually man, yea man *laughs* just to be tripping we had a pretty rough thug type rap up in the ride just tobe trippin, just for fun!

Dubcnn: I wanna go back in time with you for a minute, tell us about your youth and how you came up.

Oh man, I was raised out in St Petersburg, Florida and I moved to Texas man when I was in the fourth grade, little place called Douglasville, and then moved back to Houston and I always listened to music man and enjoyed playing records and I was amazed with EQ and when EQ first came in, treble bass and mid-range knob and when the EQ came in and really man, every song had the EQ and every song had the big sounds, tight as possible and I used to listen to Bootsie and OJ's and Bill Withers and I started Break Dancing in the early 80's and had two or three crews until like '87 when I started to get serious in the rap part of it, the struggle.

Did talent shows, not really talent shows at that time at the high school but we'd go to the park and set up music and freestyle and battle crews, always fun, just tripping! I got serious with it in like 90-91, moved back to Houston and befriended Rob [Quest] from the Odd Squad and Jugg [Mugg] and started just banging our music as a hobby!

Dubcnn: On your first album "The Dude", you had features from Spice 1 and Scarface to name a few. Can you tell us about the recording process of your first record?

Oh yea man, it was wonderful man, I was kinda care free with it, I had a lot of help as far as production wise, [Scar]'Face was helping me out a lot, K.B. was on the record too man, I used to listen to him a lot to man and man, Scarface was really influential as far as getting the production together and the work ethic in the studio and all that.

Spice 1 was down he just happened to be in town, he had family out here in Houston, he came by the studio and I was like "What's up with the song" and he was like "Man, what's happening with it?" - he got on it, wrote his verse in like 20 minutes, went in and laid it, it was real cool man, real carefree, sipped a lot of Coughee and it was all cool.

Dubcnn: You worked with Domo on a lot of tracks on that record right?

Uh huh!

Dubcnn: It was your first record, so what kind of approach did you have on the album, did you have an idea how you wanted it to sound or did it all come together?

Actually it come together man, when they asked me for a solo, Scarface and Lil Jada was asking how do I feel about doing a solo record, I was always about the group at that time and when I finally agreed to do it I had the support from the Odd Squad members so they helped me a lot with that but I didnt have a set path to go through with the album but I just figured they asked me to do this for something and people listen for something so I have to find out what that reason was, I guess it was like the weed, wine and women approach, the humour and the serious situations so I just kept on going and had the most fun as possible on it, I felt like I really expressed myself on that one.

Dubcnn: A year later, you were featured on Dr. Dre's 2001 album. I know you've probably told this story thousands of time before, but how did that song get together?

I was chillin' at the crib man! I got a phone call from a road manager man who was at the office and he called me and said [Dr.] Dre is working on this Chronic, second Chronic album and he wants you to be on a part of it and I was like - "Yea...get outta here man!" and he was like "No shit man, be at the crib he's gonna call you in about an hour" - I waited around, one hour, no call, two hours no call, I was like "man I know you tripping" and I forgot all about it and next thing the phone rings and unexpectedly answered "Hello" and it was like "Yo can I speak to Devin?" I was like "Yea What's happening?" he was like "Do what the fuck you wanna doooo" and I was like "YO DRE! KICK IN THE BASS!" *laughs*.

I was just so surprised to hear from him and he told me all about the project and a couple weeks after that and I went out there and they made me feel at home and it was real cool - Warren G,
Snoop, Nate, everybody was just real cool and I got in the booth and he had 100 and something numbers on this sheet of paper to put in the DAT Player and he was like "if you can find one of these tracks you like man you can see what's happening with it!" and I was like "no shit, 100 and something Dre tracks!"

We got to like track 12 and Mel Man, who was in there at the time helping produce, noticed me jamming to number 12 and we kept going 13, 14, 15, 16 whatever and he was like "go back to number 12, I think he's feeling that" - so we went back and that was it! *Sings tune to "Fuck You"* I was like, I had to think about something fresh and new but all I could think of was this old hook I had that was much slower, like a sad song, sad Hip-Hop love song, kinda raw though,
real slow!

*Sings "Fuck You"* - so it was real slow and I just fitted it in my mind and tried to match it up and he came back through and was like "You got something for it?" I was like "Uh....yea!!" and I went in and tried it and it came out pretty cool and he speeded it up a little bit and slightly pitched the tone of it and it came out pretty cool and he was like "That's it" so we just stacked it with a few octaves and that was pretty much it, I thought I was just there to do the hook I believe and so I just chilled and they was playing the music to get the lyrics down so I had nothing to do and I just started to write a verse and he noticed me writing and he asked had I got a verse and I said I had one I could try and I did and it worked out and he said "Snoop is gonna be here in a minute and he's gonna knock his verse right out and this gonna be a nice song" and yea, I appreciate it!

Dubcnn: How much of a push did that one appearance give your career?

Oh man, it gave me a WHIPLASH push! *laughs* A lot of people heard some of my music and to be able to match a face to it, especially after the tour, it meant a lot, it helped me a whole bunch

Dubcnn: Have you spoken to Dre at all lately? Any chance to see you on Detox?

Well actually man, I talked to one of the guys with him, working on the Detox album and asked me if I wanted to be a part of it and to hit them with the details and I was like "Yeaaaa!"

Dubcnn: You've also been regularly producing on your albums, tell us about that.

Oh man, I try to do a song or two on each album, I did "See What I Can Pull" and "Like A Sweet" on the first album and a couple on "Just Tying To Live" and "To The Xtreme" and I did two tracks for the new album "Waiting To Inhale" - one didn't make it through sample clearance but the radio single "Little Girl Gone" I produced that one with Lil Wayne and Bun B, along with Tony Meg and my homeboy Mexx and it came together like that!

Dubcnn: Tell us about working with Mike Dean, I heard he's had a hand in the new album as well!

Oh for sure man, we had to get a few music, instrumentations re-arranged but year Mike Dean has been around since whoa...the early 90's since we came to rappin...

Dubcnn: Yea, a Houston legend

Yea he's been working on tracks and he knows the studios from top to bottom, all the instruments, all modules and Pro Tools and  the speakers...I mean he builds studios, so you know he helped me out a lot as he always do when it comes down to it, mixing the album down at the end and getting that good ear in and the EQ and the plug-ins correct so yea he helped out a lot!

Dubcnn: I heard he got his hair cut off?

Yea man!!! *laughs* Yea he did! I think he's gonna grow it back but i'm not for sure, might have to take a double take when you look at him; "Dean!?" *laughs*

Dubcnn: How do you feel about your third album "To The X-Treme", looking back at it?

Well man, I was pretty satisfied with it cause I was pretty hands on, putting it together, getting the production, the team, going to different studios, dragging my hard drive around, getting favours from my fellow co-workers as far as coming in and banging out beats for me and people sending me beats and it was cool cause I was real free with it but it was kinda stressful too at the same time but it all worked out, it all worked out!

Dubcnn: I thought it was a shame it was so slept on cause the title track to me is still one of the greatest tracks to chill to, that shit is crazy, I don't know a better song to blaze to than "To The X-Treme" the title track.

I appreciate that man, that's my homie Oonoe Blass *laughs*

Dubcnn: Yea its got a crazy bass to it, that shit blows out your speakers!

Yea man, I really appreciate that, a good look on Oonoe Blass' part too, he came through with the track and did the talkbox over it...and speaking of the talkbox man that thing takes like 2 or 3 people just to carry it man, one of those Roger type..

Dubcnn: Yea man, the vocoder!

Well man yea, he'll get offended if you call it a Vocoder *laughs*

Dubcnn: *laughs* yea man, I've had that conversation before!


Dubcnn: One thing I always notice about Devin The Dude albums is that they have a distinct sound throughout the whole record. You don't have a hundred different styles and sounds on the album, the listeners gets a chance to really relax for an hour non stop. What makes you do that?

I try to keep the same realm, I don't mind going out of the box as far as concepts for certain songs but the groove and the beat and the bass has to be there and then after I get the songs together, I may have to do 30-35 songs and then pick out of those and then pick the ones that have a good chance and then I get those songs and put them into an order that makes sense like a book you know? Tempo wise, the concept and what the song is about and I place them like that and that may have a little something to do with how it rides!

Dubcnn: Let's get to the new album man! Let's start with the title, "Waiting To Inhale". Why did you choose to go with that?

I was trying to come up with so many different names, album was about finished but I didnt have a name, so we was kicking around the studio with the Coughee Brothers and everybody and said "I'm working on the album title, what ya'll think?" so people started coming with different titled and then DJ Domino said "What about Waiting To Inhale?" I was like yea that's  kinda cool, but I was like you can inhale a whole bunch of stuff but he was like people who know you will know what your talking
about so it shouldn't be too much of a problem. So I gave it some thought and some of the tracks are dealing with relationships too so it kind of worked out!

Dubcnn: How long have you been recording album?

Actually man, I've been recording, here and there, since the last album. A lot of the songs have not quite made it but all in all about a couple of years, year and a half that I've been trying to get the album together at the same time as working on The Coughee Brothers projects and stuff too, so I had my hands full.

Dubcnn: So how would you say this album is different or similar to your past work?

Umm...similar, there's still some humour, the seriousness is not quite there as on previous album, I been trying to go back to the fun part, just chilling and having fun while doing the music and let that show through the songs. So far though I've been told it sounds pretty much like the other ones, I didn't venture too much and everything kinda coincides with the other three albums.

Dubcnn: I heard the song "Little Girl Gone" on your MySpace page which features Lil Wayne and Bun B, tell us how that song came together.

I've had that song now for about a year almost, I just sampled an old Eugene Wild record I used to dig back in the day and I put down the hook on it and I had it open for some reason the verses wasn't quite finished and I wanted features on that song and by the time we was finishing up the album a couple of months ago...Lil Wayne was presented with the song and he got back with us with
the verse on it I was like Whoa, that's real cool and Bun B was in the studio when I was mixing the album and he heard the song and was excited about it and he did a verse and it was wonderful and it really came together!

Dubcnn: Is that the official single?

Yea its, I guess, the radio single, we haven't really come out with anything for the club yet...we have thoughts of videos right now but I wouldn't mind getting some ears on it to let me know where to go, which songs stand out and use for video purposes only!

Dubcnn: How has the response been so far, based on the early reviews, the album was sent out for listening for a few hours to online spots yea?

Actually yea man, pretty good reviews man, yea, I didnt know if the radio single would be real real cool cause its a message song and people who usually listen to me might think I've gone a different way but yea good reviews from people in the studio, offices and DJ's!

Dubcnn: So when can fans go pick up the album in stores?

March 13th, "Waiting To Inhale" will be in your local record store!

Dubcnn: Are you planning a tour after the album drops?

Well we doing a promotional tour before it drops, radio and retail and then after it drops maybe an album release party in a couple of cities and from then on start travelling and doing shows with it!

Dubcnn: Who else have you been collaborating with lately?

Actually man, I have a dude called Sen Dog from Amsterdam who put down a couple of nice tracks for me, it was cool. A guy called Rich from Picnic Time Productions from Dallas, David Cohn from Pacifica, California he helped me out a lot, Rob Quess on production on this one, DJ Domination, yea we just been banging them out!

Dubcnn: Is there any chance that we might see you working with DJ Premier again?

Yea I talked to him a couple of days ago, it was good to hear from him, he got some projects out there and he want to slide me a CD of beats but he'd prefer to have it done in the studio and make one but year whatever, it'd be a blessing to get another track from him!

Dubcnn: You had a dope ass song with Chamillionaire called "Back Up Plan", tell us about that.

Yea man, we did that about a year ago, Chamillionaire is a real cool cat, he asked me to be a part of this project and I went over there and DJ Madd Hatter and went to the studio and drunk some beers and some Coughee and knocked it out in a couple of hours it was real cool!

Dubcnn: Who have you been listening to personally lately?

Actually man, I don't really get too much time, I get in my car straight to the studio, I mean I jam some old school music but I try to concentrate on the projects, I save my listening for when it's finished cause it can get intertwined!

Dubcnn: What do you think of the recent dominance of the South in Hip-Hop?

Its all gravy man, just to have Hip-Hop alive anywhere is all gravy but especially to have it here in the south, having a signature sound and people know about H-Town and people curious and come down and really hear Hip-Hop out here, its kind of worked out for people in the South, opening doors!

Dubcnn: Is there any chance of seeing another Odd Squad album?

*Sings* Oooooh Yea yea! We had like four or five songs in the bag going towards a new album and we actually used one on the new album "Waiting To Inhale" called "She Want That Money" - we were gonna hold it for the album but we decided to drop it now cause its hot right now - but you will definitely hear something!

Dubcnn: What's up with Coughee Brothers?

Yea Yea Yea!! We have an album coming out called "Waiting Our Turn" we had that album title before "Waiting To Inhale" if you were wondering about that too, everybody gonna be like what you waiting for man?! But yea we got Tony Mack whose on my album coming up, we got Case, Daraja Odd Squad - its really a big promotional album, everybody that's in the Coughee Brothers have they own identity and the doors open if they want to sign to a label, that's cool.

Dubcnn: You and Scarface always used to be a tight combination, what's the current status on your relationship?

Its cool, yea real cool, but we both busy and I haven't seen it in a minute, but i'm sure he's working something but if we get the chance to work on another song then that would be real cool! He's actually on the Coughee Brothers album, he came by the studio and heard the beats and grabbed a pen and started writing!

Dubcnn: Smoking has always been a big part of your music, when did you hit the blunt for the first time?

Well man, first time was like 7th Grade, 6th/7th Grade, going to skating rink and just chilling and my mom caught me with a joint on top of my head one time, with a hat on, and I tried to play it off with my hair but it was right there and she snatched it off and threw it away! *laughs* It was then yea, but I wasn't incorporating it into music til High School.

Dubcnn: How has weed and getting high influenced you and the person you are/your music?

Well it kinda opens your mind, sometimes you can think a little too hard but a couple sips of Coughee can kinda open your thoughts and be a little bit more care free and don't work yourself that hard.

Dubcnn: What does the average Devin day look like?

Man, whoa...get up in the morning, me and the wife have breakfast, kids go to school and I go to the studio, i'm in the studio and i'm the studio! Then I get home, hopefully time to eat dinner, see the kids and get ready for the next day and do a lot of family stuff too!

Dubcnn: After all these years in the game, do you have any special memories in the studio that you'd like to tell our viewers?

Well man, there's a lot of special moments over 13 years a lot of memories, but yea I guess how I got the name Devin The Dude is a cool memory. When I was in the studio with Scarface working on my first album we didnt have a title and he was like "Come on man, what did you used to listen to when you was small, dig deep in your past for the music" and told him I used to dig Quincy Jones and I ran to another room in the studio where we had albums back there and Quincy Jones' album was there and it put on my favourite track "The Dude" and he was like "Whoa that's jamming!"

So we hooked it up, revised it and man it worked out, wrote a rap to it, he helped me out with the flow patterns and letting me know and when it was finished he was like man, that should be the name of the album, that's banging! I was like I dunno but he was like yea man, you The Dude! So ever since then, before then I just wanted to be Devin, but when the album came out "Devin The Dude" - I would go places and they'd be like "You Devin?" and I'd be like "Yea" and they be like "The Dude?" *laughs* and it just kinda stuck and it was cool memory right there man.

Dubcnn: How do you view the internet and platforms such as MySpace for artists such as yourself?

Man, a miracle! Its one of the best promotional tools of today with Hip-Hop or whatever, its a way for the independent artist, company or whatever to get their foot in the door, get people to see and hear their music and their face, its a cool, cool outlet for Hip-Hop definitely.

Dubcnn: What do you have planned for the future after this album?

That's a good question man, I wouldn't mind venturing off man and doing a little producing and independent record label, I got the Coughee Brother label about to jump off with the Coughee Brothers coming and the Odd Squad and we just getting I together but if there's any other doors that open, like acting or whatever I would love to do that too but i'm concentrating on the music right now til something else jump off!

Dubcnn: I think we have everything covered, do you have any last words for the fans?

Man I appreciate each and every one of them and I'll keep going on as long as they let me know its cool! Appreciation of fans is what I strive for and that's what keeps me going in Hip-Hop. Much love to everyone who has ever listened to one of my records and enjoyed it and want me to do something else I sure do appreciate it.



Devin The Dude Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Check That Here

Full Interview In Audio : Here


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