interview KNOC-TURN'AL  (January 2008) | Interview By: Nima

Dubcnn had the opportunity to hook back up with Knoc-Turn'Al after he took a four year hiatus from the game. Knoc, who went from being Dr. Dre's artist and the most anticipated West Coast rapper coming out to being massively bootlegged, pushed back, and with Elektra Records folding into Atlantic Records, it seemed like everything was going wrong.

In this interview, we go into detail on the past, Knoc's alcohol problem, what he's been up to, his new album "The Book Of Knoc", his crew MathMadix and Equity Records, his relationship with Dr. Dre, and much much more.

As ever, you can read this exclusive interview below and we urge you to leave feedback on our forums or email them to nima@dubcnn.com.

Interview was done in January 2008.

Questions Asked By: Nima

Knoc-Turn'Al Gave Dubcnn A Shoutout! Check That Here

Full Audio Interview Here

Dubcnn: We're right here with Knoc-Turn'Al! It's been a few years since we've heard from you Knoc, so to start it off, how you doing man?

I'm pretty good, how are you?

Dubcnn: I'm good, thanks! At one point, you were considered the most anticipated West Coast artist coming out, and then little by little it seemed like everything was going wrong. How do you feel looking back at the early 2000's?

I feel like I was drinking and smoking too much, wasn't worried about business, you know? I was too busy having fun instead of just worrying about solidifying my family. That's a mistake you make sometimes when you're young, I'm older now and I believe I can bounce back. I made good music before, and I'm on my way to trying to be legendary, so I'm not gonna give up.

Dubcnn: What exactly happened over at Elektra Records, what was going on over there?

Elektra Records was owned by an organisation called WEA, it was Warner Brothers, Atlantic and Elektra, WEA. Time Warner owned that company, and sold Elektra to Lyor Cohen, that was formerly from Def Jam. They fired 400 people in the rap department, and the people that they fired was Sylvia Rhone, she's one of the chairwomen for Universal now, and she's also the CEO of Motown.

Jay Brown, he's over there at Def Jam Records now, him and Sylvia had signed my deal back when I was with L.A. Confidential and dealing with Dre. It seems that I'm always caught up in somebody's politics, but I just keep pushing forward.

Dubcnn: Who made the decision to drop that Knoc's Landing EP at that time instead of the LP and why?

Well, it was a situation where I kind of got bootlegged more than cable in the hood, this was back in 2001 or 2002. The thing was, we needed to regroup and try to get a budget with some songs that weren't being bootlegged, and do the EP, so that we could come back with a LP, which is "The Way I Am". It took a while, it took a little bit of planning, but I believe it came out ok.

"The Way I Am" sold out in L.A. within 4 hours in Tower Records on Sunset, I had a poster up there and everything, and it sold out. But being that Lyor [Cohen] fired everybody, it kind of downplayed my album because people were calling to get more issues and there was nobody to order them for!

Like I said he fired 400 people in the rap department, so it was like "Who are you gonna call to get more orders from?" I don't know anybody over there after that, that he hired. I'm not saying he didn't come in and clean the house and did what's best for the company, all I'm saying is that my album came out in the middle of someone else's politics. You see what I'm saying?

Dubcnn: Yeah I feel you. I mean you had a crazy record, the bootlegs that got leaked to the internet, it was some crazy records on there. Do you know how or why it got leaked?

I don't know how it got leaked, but you gotta take the good with the bad. You can't just say "Oh that's a bad thing." Because if they didn't like your music, then they wouldn't bootleg you, of course. So you gotta the good with the bad. I know that if I go by a bootleg for a movie or something, and I feel like that movie is worth buying, when it comes out on DVD for $9,99, I'll go buy it, cause it's a movie worth having. Then I'll get the Director's Cut and everything else!

Dubcnn: You were apart of one of Hip-Hop greatest albums of all time, 2001, can you tell us some of your memories from the recording of that album?

My biggest memories man... It was a big family ordeal. I'm glad that Nate Dogg is alright but that's somebody I had the chance to work with, Warren G, Snoop Dogg. They're all great people, Nate Dogg is a great person, he recently had a stroke, I wish him a speedy recovery. I am a person that tries to live as stress free as I can, and I know that I have disappointed my fans because I haven't been out in four years. April 23rd 2008 it will be four years that I haven't released an album to the public.

I just feel like I need to get back with the fans, but you know what, I did it all for my family and trying to keep things together. Because one thing that I learned from Dr. Dre for sure is that you gotta take care of family. You gotta take care of your home or else you're not going to have a future. It was times that I wasn't at home for maybe 10 months out the year! I'm paying for something that I never see, my family, I don't even get to enjoy that! It's kind of like a preacher being a preacher but then not having his home together!

You can't be a narrator to the streets for the West Coast and then not have your own self together! So I had to get myself together, and that's why I'm able to take this interview. I had a real bad and sick alcohol problem. Of course everybody knows that. I don't have to hide that. But it's ok! I battled that.

Dubcnn: So after the record got bootlegged and kept getting pushed back, what did you do after that?

After that I did a song with Too Short, I did "The Wash" soundtrack, I released five songs on an EP to where I felt like we could at least rebudgetize so we could go back and at least break even with the budget so I could make another album that the fans could actually enjoy.

Dubcnn: Then you kind of disappeared for a while, and then that "Return Of The Hustler" album surfaced... What was up with that cover man?

That was some bootleg shit, I had nothing to do with that. I'm glad that you touched on that, because I would like to let my public and my fans know that I would never make some music of that quality. It was someone else's project, I can't be mad about it, I can't glorify it or anything, it was just somebody who saw an opportunity to fuck me over because I do have a name for myself.

That was an album that really didn't have anything to do with, he tried to act like it's my album but if you listen to it, I'm only on a few songs. What happened was, I came to Texas, I moved out here, I was trying to do something with somebody, and they fraudulently released this music.

Dubcnn: That was crazy, cause you had that picture, in the horrible quality, with the Nascar background, it was just like "Wow."

What I'm saying is, if you look at my reputation in the music business, and at what I've come out with, you'll see that I've only came out with a EP and an LP. I've come out on "The Wash", on "Chronic 2001", I was on "Lights Out" that brought the Westside Connection back, I've done some stuff with Quik, some stuff with Missy Elliott, I mean if you look at the type of person I am, you should know that that is not an album that I would release.

Dubcnn: That's why it had people tripping out!

It's ok. I can't really dwell on it, I'm in a process where I'm just trying to be corporate, and take a corporate approach instead of a street approach, only because I've blown up a little bit. One thing for sure is that they sold the music in Japan and all that stuff, they had a good fraudulent thing going on, but I'll own their company soon. That's not a joke.

Dubcnn: After that, you appeared on J. Wells "Digital Smoke" album on the song "Got Me Going", tell us about that song.

Indeed, that was a song that me and J. Wells did a while back, he's a good individual. The blessing was, I was found by Dre, Dr. Dre fell specifically in my lap, to where I just had to go up there and say that I rapped and I kinda had it handed to me a little bit. So anytime I get around other people like J. Wells or there is this artist out here called Big Tyme with Equity records, my whole thing is, as many people as I can bring to the table, why shouldn't I want to help them get it? I know to you it might sound like I'm talking in circles, but I got a million things on my mind.

Dubcnn: It's all good, we're going to get to everything.

Yeah, the million things, I got a lot of stuff to do, I'm not done yet. Just so I can become a legend. Everybody knows that I got on through Dr. Dre, okay, now it's my time to prove myself, you know? But ain't nothing soft about me, that's all I'm saying. It's gonna be alright. Okay people fucked me over, this and that, what you want me to do, go to jail and lay everybody down? Or be here for my family and be a real man!

Dubcnn: What happened to L.A. Confidential, does that group still exist?

Honestly, I have no quarrels with them. Big D he helped me go to Dr. Dre and meet Dr. Dre, he got me from Mark Sparks, and that was a whole little political thing, he actually bought me from Mark Sparks, I ain't gonna lie about it. The thing is, I went to Dre, Big D wanted to start L.A. Confidential, it was a big vision, but I just felt like it was time to move on, especially if I can't receive everything that I want, or everything that I need, when I'm the one that's holding the foundation together.

Sometimes you grow faster than other people expect you to, and that's the only situation with that. It's not a bad situation, it's not like I have to have a problem with him, if he called me today and asked me to do a song I still would do it. He just didn't expect me to grow as fast as I did. It's only because I'm in the studio right now, I'm a good person, and I try to treat everybody fairly in regards to my situation, that I still come out like this.

Dubcnn: Do you still keep in touch with Time Bomb, Slip Capone and them?

I wish that they would call me. I really do. Cause I wouldn't have a problem to do a song with them.

Dubcnn: You said you moved to Texas, did you get a chance to hook back up with Six-Two and D.O.C.'s people down there?

Briefly, but they're not the type of people that want to come out all the time. When I came to Texas it mainly for a privilege of trying to build a whole other situation as far as Equity Records is concerned. It wasn't for prior connections, I'm not mad about trying to connect with somebody, but I have to have my business together before I even try to bring somebody else into it. You can't just say "Come on let's go do this" when you don't know where this is going to lead them or me. I needed to make sure everything is right and solidified.

Dubcnn: As you mentioned before, there was a lot of talk about your alcohol problems and that you were in rehab and all that, do you want to clear that up so the people hear the real deal from your mouth?

The real deal is: Yeah I have an alcohol problem, I've always had it. When I said "drinking, smoking, straight West Coastin'", I meant that, and that's what people loved me for. And I said it was "Super Ugly", I never said it was nice. My point beyond that is, to clear it up, sometimes people get older and they try to rectify situations in their past, what they don't like about themselves.

Of course, I might still drink on a weekend, yeah if you buy me a drink I'll drink with you, but I'm not just gonna sit there and keep drinking day in day out, or smoking day in day out. It's not what business is about. The only way I could rectify that was being able to say "Nah, not right now." If people take me like I'm a punk because of that, then I would have to deal with them, but it doesn't mean any disrespect to anyone.

Dubcnn: You gotta do what's best for yourself...

I mean if you wanna buy me a drink get me some water or something, and I'll drink with you while you're drinking your tonic and gin or something! It's cool! I'm battling something that's a disease, big dog. You pray for heatlth, and you gotta look at the ancestors that came before you, they were battling for health. Me being the age that I am right now, knowing that I am at least a decase less than they are, what I have to do is tell myself that my children are worth having me alive, so they don't have to go through the pain of not having me, you know?

Dubcnn: I feel that. So Knoc is back and you're working on your new album right now called "Book Of Knoc" is that correct?

Yeah, it's the "Book Of Knoc". You gotta understand that my name is Royal Harbor, that's me. Knoc-Turn'Al is a character that I created for myself so that I could be a street narrator and to tell you what's going on in the California streets. I dedicated myself to just being a narrator to what's going on in California and different issues that we touch on with people that come from out of town and different things.

Basically, if you ever noticed, people might diss or whatever, but I never do diss songs on anyone. I've been here for 8 going on 9 years professionally, 4 or 5 years before that, and I don't get caught up in dissing people, I just want to make good music. That's really important to me, so that I never have somebody come and vandalize my house or nothing like that, cause instead of me dissing you, I'd rather ring your doorbell. *ding dong* Send this shit on this 45 volume microphone, please! You know? Cause I didn't understand what you was saying on that song on the radio! It don't make sense! I'm not finna run around acting crazy with people. Let's try to make music! Some people like it, some people don't.

But then I still go back to the drawing board and still try to make everything relevant to what's going on. With "The Book Of Knoc" it's going to be great. Then after that, I have my crew MathMadix,I got Big Tyme, Knawledg and Ripacut, they're all solo artists that got their stuff coming out. It's gonna be a good movement, instead of me just coming out and saying "Hey here I am again!", it's gonna be like "This is why I was away, I needed to go and get some people that could actually deal with musical me, that got their own personality and that are worthy of being solo artists." I'm gonna come back with a camp and hopefully the world will love it!

Dubcnn: What's your label situation right now are you signed to Treacherous Records?

Treacherous Records, I was signed to them for so long and they've done a lot of things, and I'm not saying anything bad about them, but I was with them for 3 or 4 years, and they never put my album out. The situation was supposed to be that I just give them my album, this was maybe three and a half years ago, and they'd just release it!

Three and a half years later, I've built a camp with Equity Records, and Treacherous Records, like I said, I have nothing bad to say about them, Tico is a great dude, everybody, I don't want a bad situation to ever happen. I'm not a bad person. But what I want to happen is that I want people to do what they say they are going to do. I got Equity Records, and they're like "Come on, let's do this!" You do the math, if you see here and think to yourself: you got somebody that you've been signed to for a long time, and you turn around and you got somebody saying "come on come on come on!"

Of course sometimes it might be confusing, but the reality of it is exactly what it is, I have to do this thing with Equity Records, that's happening. Treacherous Records has never done anything to me to where I feel violated, except for not putting my album out! I'm pretty sure the fans can understand that. Treacherous Records is not a bad record label to me. It's other people that was there before me, and they're just keeping it true, but that's not my concern, and I know that my fans want me to give them what I can give them.

With Equity Records right now, I have the freedom to do what I need to do. I got like I said the MathMadix, Big Tyme's album, that's done we're just mastering it, we're working on it in the DFW area, and it's going to be ok! But that doesn't mean that I'm trying to be a dumbass or play both sides of the fence, it's just that I'm not gonna continue to sit here and do nothing with this situation, when I could very well be a legend and have a star in Hollywood. What is the point of being here if somebody wants to keep me on the shelf? Am I a shelf artist, do I belong on the shelf?

Dubcnn: I don't think so.

So don't you think that I'm better of to dust my shoulders off and go and stop being on the self?

Dubcnn: I think that you gotta do whatever you gotta do to get a record out.

Well, I think the fans would like me for it. I mean, I know that Equity Records can be a certified company. I know that Treacherous Records can do whatever they want to do, but the whole point being is, "The Book Of Knoc" is inevitable. It's gonna come out regardless. I know the people that are behind me, I got Big Tyme, I got Knawledg, I got Ripacut, I got some people behind me saying "Do what you do Knoc!" Then I got some other people that have their own agendas, and that's no disrespect to anybody!

Dubcnn: Equity Records is an independent company, are you going to look for major distribution or something like that?

Of course, we've had deals that we've actually turned down from a couple different people, I don't want to name names, only because we weren't ready. But I feel like we're ready now, and 2008 is going to be a great year.

Dubcnn: What can the fans expect from "Book Of Knoc"? How would you say your music has changed since we last heard from you?

I would say I gave everybody my heart, my soul and my talent the last time, I made better songs for a lot of your West Coast artists that I didn't even make for myself, and now this time I got back to recreating myself, like when I did "Night & Day" *sings* That was some genuine Knoc-Turn'Al stuff. I got back to the art of who I really am. I'm a street narrator.

Dubcnn: Which features can we expect on the album?

Of course we got Big Tyme from Equity Records, we got the MathMadix on there. Of course I've done a couple of things with Dr. Dre. I got a song called "Pentagon" that I'm working on getting Dr. Dre on, and like I said, shouts go out to Nate Dogg cause I was trying to get him on this one song, and he had a mishaps, but I got a lot of love for him so I'll wait for him to do what he gotta do, and he's still going to be on the album.

It's just a situation where it's a good, fun vibe with this album, that's why I called it "The Book Of Knoc". This is not just another West Coast album, this is a fun vibe, it's the recreation of Knoc-Tur'Al, and I know the people appreciate it, because you hear a lot of your favorite rappers that rap stuff that I wrote for them! So I know that I can make the music that you want, just give me a chance, it will be ok.

Dubcnn: So you said you got Dr. Dre on there, are these records that you did with him recently or leftover records?

It's recent music. Like I told you, I had to recreate myself.

Dubcnn: So what's the relationship between you and Dr. Dre right now?

Everything is the same between me and Dr. Dre, the only thing is, he takes very seriously the fact that he's trying to do a "Detox" album, he doesn't want alcohol, drinking and smoking around him, he wants to do music and business. So that was a issue with me and him for a little bit, but I respect him and love him enough to not bring it around him, you know?

Dubcnn: So you got him on the album on the beats or rapping?

On the beats.

Dubcnn: What other producers you got on there?

DJ Quik, I got Komplex, I got J-Beam, a guy called Dez and I got some of my own production.

Dubcnn: Sounds like a hot lineup, that song you had with Quik was hot..

"Love Slave" yeah! *sings melody* Quik always does his job, you can never ask for more, you go in there with Quik, and it's understood that you're in for a treat.

Dubcnn: I also think that Battlecat gave you some of the best production you've had, have you hooked back up with 'Cat?

I've seen 'Cat when Snoop did a show in Anaheim at the House Of Blues, and he was talking to me about some of the songs I've done with him and whether I was going to use them, and he said he had no problem with giving me the releases, so that's also in the making. But those are older songs, I don't know if I want to give the public that, I think I'd rather put them on a mixtape or something, no disrespect to Battlecat. I just want to great one vibe for the album.

Dubcnn: Definitely, I don't think it would be right to put songs from 3-4 years ago on the new album.

That would be wrong to the public. It's no disrespect to anyone! I'm answering your questions as honestly as I can, I don't want to sugar-coat nothing or making anything seem like something it's not. I know that the camp that I got going on right now, they don't feel like the Knoc-Turn'Al music is going to fail. I believe that at the end of the day I will have a star in Hollywood, so I'ma keep pushing!

Dubcnn: You had a good relationship with Warren G, do you still keep in touch with him?

Yeah, Warren is a good dude. He's like Dr. Dre, when people say "Hey how much did he charge you?" Warren G ain't never charged me for a beat, neither has Dr. Dre, neither have a couple of other people. All I do is go in, do what I do, and they don't have to do this for me, but as long as I go in there and do what I need to do, then they don't care about charging me for a beat, they'll give me a beat. It's out of love. People don't understand that, they go in there and try to be all cocky and shit, and they end up being out of a couple million dollars and they ain't even put no music out! This is not what the game is about.

Dubcnn: What about Damizza, do you still keep in touch with him?

I haven't talked to him for a while, but it's no harm done, no harm felt. If he calls me after we get off the phone, I wouldn't be mad! Like I said, we was friends before we were anything else, we hung out. This is how you do business with people, you gotta be their friend first.

Dubcnn: That sounds like a good album man, when do you think we can expect it to drop?

I don't have a specific date yet, it's still some things in the works, but I'm trying to get it out by the summer, so that people have something to ride to.

Dubcnn: How would you say the game has evolved and changed in the last few years?

Well, in four years I haven't had an album, so the kids who were in 9th grade have graduated now, it's a whole different ball game for me to try to recreate myself. It's a different rhythm that they bounce to, it's not the same thing than when I was coming up in the game. So what I did have to do is try to get on a different beat, different tone, but i didn't go corny with it. I didn't change my style to where it sounds like I'm trying to be like the youngsters, I just wanted to be myself and still give them something that they wouldn't mind listening to.

Dubcnn: Are you surprised that "Detox" still hasn't been released?

I could say yeah, but I'm surprised that I didn't put another album out either, so I can't be mad at either or. It takes a long time for perfection. The art of this game is, you keep the fans that you have and you learn how to build more. So you don't want to disappoint your fans over trying something new, what you wanna do is elevate yourself. Unless you can do that, you definitely don't want to embarrass yourself.

You got all these artists coming out with songs back to back to back, and how many times, after a year or two, you get tired of them and don't even want to hear them no more! You talking to me right noe and I ain't even released no music in four years! Only because the time that I had music out, it was good music! Okay, well here I come again, with good music! At least I took my time, right? Didn't give you no bullshit! Here I come again, don't worry about it, I got you! *laughs*

Dubcnn: What's your personal favorite track that you've been on in your career and why?

I would say Missy Elliott & Dr. Dre, the song called "The Knoc".

Dubcnn: Yeah I remember the video where you were playing all the different characters.

It challenged me some much. That was fun. I got a slight case of ADHD so me having to do all that stuff within a two day window frame was kind of fun, and I had to play all those different people, the waiter, the busboy, everybody in the bar, that was fun!

Dubcnn: Before we get out of here, is there anything else you'd like to let everybody know?

Just that I appreciate their patience, and I'll be back with "The Book Of Knoc", and it will be alright! Continue being Knoc-Turn'Al fans and understand that I won't give you no bullshit.


Knoc-Turn'Al Gave Dubcnn A Shoutout! Check That Here

Full Audio Interview Here


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