interview KURUPT & PROBLEM (June 2008) | Interview By: Nima Etminan

Dubcnn linked up with West Coast veteran Kurupt Young Gotti and rising star Problem from Compton for an exclusive interview. The dynamic duo talks to us about how the hooked up through Terrace Martin and their current projects. Problem talks about signing to Universal Republic, his "I'm Toe Up" remix and his new mixtape. Kurupt tells us about his numerous solo and group projects, with Pete Rock, DJ Premiere, Fredwreck, Daz and DJ Quik to name a few and talks about the influence the fans feedback has on his music. These are just a few of the topics we touch on, check out the interview for all the info!
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 June 2008

Questions Asked By : Nima Etminan

Kurupt & Problem Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Click Here

Full Interview In Audio : Here

Related Media:

Problem - I'm Toe Up Remix (ft. Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, DJ Quik & Terrace Martin)
Terrace Martin - Bounce, Rock, Skate (ft. Snoop Dogg, Kurupt  & DJ Quik)
Kurupt - Yessir (Prod. by Pete Rock)
Dubcnn: We're right here with Kurupt & Problem. What's going on with ya'll right now?

Problem: What's the word with it, folks?

Dubcnn: For those that don't know, why don't you give us a quick rundown of how you two originally got to know each other?

Problem: Would you like to do the honors Kurupt?

Kurupt: *laughs* Basically T-Mack [Terrace Martin] put it all together, we just started working together with Terrace and just made records together. It was natural.

Problem: We formed a real bond, he's really mentored me through the game for the last year, basically.

Dubcnn: So last year you put out a track called "All Night" that was supposed to be the first track from your group project with you two and Terrace Martin. Is that something that's still in the works?

Kurupt: It's gotta be!

Problem: It has to be, man! That's what folks wanna hear, I think.

Kurupt: Our whole thing right now is, we got so many different big things cracking right now, Problem's just got his solo situation so in motion right now, Terrace as well with all the productions and his mixtapes he's putting out there. Me, myself, I got this new Dogg Pound album and all the films that I've been knocking out. So we decided that the main thing before we concentrate on the group is to get these certain things that we got inside us right now and that we need to get out.

Problem needs to get his solo situation out right now, so we're always supportive of that. Terrace got something to get out, something he wants people to hear from him personally. And me you know I'm pushing this Dogg Pound line right now with Daz. So rather than just concentrating on one little thing we've got together, we figured that it would be best for us to just support each other in these ventures we're doing. Then we're going to come back together and put together that classical record.

Problem: Plus, it would make a lot more sense if me and Terrace can get our way half way up to where Kurupt's is, it would just make more sense. It would make a lot more sense. But I mean we're always cutting records!

Dubcnn: Now Problem, you recently signed a deal with Universal Republic. Tell us how that deal came about.

Problem: It came about through my record "I'm Toe Up" which is spinning. I got on the grind, started pushing the record, and DJ Sour Milk from Power 106 hit me up and said that Universal Republic had hit him and asked "Who is that kid?" I was at Warren G's studio at that time, DJ Sour Milk got my number to them and within ten minutes I was on the phone with Lisa Applegate who works radio at the company. She forwarded my number to Wendy Goldstein who's a West Coast rep for the company. This was all a ten minute thing. I got a New York number calling me, my A&R called me, a week later I was in New York with my partner Big Dee and the deal was done!

Dubcnn: So what's the next step for you?

Problem: Right now, this "I'm Toe Up" thing is what's cracking. I got the regular version and I got the "I'm Toe Up" remix with all the big homies on it, Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, DJ Quik, Felli Fel and my main guy Terrace Martin. Disko provided the original, so we're all here man. It's our crew and that's what I'm pushing right now. I'm really pushing the line on that, getting it added to different stations everyday and I don't even have my major national release date yet, so it's popping! Mixtape is coming, "Streets Is Mine" mixtape out now, "Deal Or No Deal 2" mixtape, the "Ego Trippin" mixtape, DJ Drama Terrace Martin "Locke High" mixtape, Snoop Dogg's mixtape with DJ Drama, we got a lot things going on. It's finna be a problem for a long time!

Kurupt: Chuuuch!

Dubcnn: For somebody who hasn't heard your music, how would you describe your sound?

Problem: I'm everything. I'm everything that the music game needs right now, because you can't put me in one genre. If you wanna go to the streets, I done done that, I done walked in those shoes. You wanna go to the party? I do that. You don't wanna talk about these hoes! I was fuckin' bitches broke, so I got that on line. I don't wanna be put in a box, the big homie told me "Don't put yourself in a box", so I'm not gonna put myself in a box. I wanna talk about everything.

Dubcnn: So what's the next project that we're going to hear from you?

Problem: Right now we just put out that "Streets Is Mine" mixtape with DJ Nik Bean. The next one will probably be the "Deal Or No Deal 2" tape with Dow Jones. I don't know if you remember the first one, but that was a big tape for me!

Dubcnn: Yeah you had that song with Krys Ivory on there.

Problem: Yeah, the "My Life" record. So that "Deal Or No Deal 2" is next. If you don't know where I'm at lyrically after that, I'm not even gonna worry about niggas no more.

Dubcnn: Tell us about the "I'm Toe Up" Remix with DJ Quik, Terrace, Snoop and Kurupt. How was the recording session for that?

Problem: Oh man, we've been around each other for the last 6-7 months because of the "Ego Trippin" album. I got blessed, Snoop Dogg let me come in there, he gave me the opportunity of a lifetime to be involved in a project of that latitude. So you know, we all just got close and we were talking about [the remix] during that time, before my deal! They were like "We're gonna do this for you little homie, we're gonna get it right!" Once it made sense, I made the calls and everybody came through. I'm excited right now, if you can't tell.

Dubcnn: Now Kurupt, I know you hear new artists everyday and you've been in the game for a minute. What made you wanna get behind Problem when you heard him?

Kurupt: It wasn't even about artistry.

Dubcnn: What was it about?

Kurupt: He's the homie! He just happens to be one of the best. It wasn't even about skills or anything, it was about this being our family. We got the most complete family, that's what's gonna separate us from the rest of these geeks and idiots out there. We're beyond music and it's not about "Oh he's tight!" and "Oh he's good!" Nobody gives a fuck about that shit over here in this squad man! What we care about is seeing somebody longevity wise making it. The good thing about it is that everybody do have a talent and a skill of their own.

Like Problem's talent is totally different than Terrace's, which is totally different than mine. You see a lot of camps and everybody just sounds the same, everybody is the same! The one thing about our little squad is that everybody brings their own thing to the table. So when I first heard Problem I was already rolling with him for the fact that he was family. But it sure worked out that he had his own skill and his own thang to bring to the table.

Dubcnn: Problem, as far as your major album goes, do you have a title for it yet?

Problem: I'm going through a couple titles right now. I was gonna call it "P.O.P.", cause I'm in the position of power. I've been waiting to say something to the people for so long and I'm finally in a position of power to really say something and really bring me to the world. That's big to me. You only get one shot: your first record. So I'm really taking my time with. I was flirting with the "P.O.P." name, and it would be saying fuck everybody else who'd be all like "Oh what is he gonna do? Pop music?" You know how muthafuckas get to talking.

Dubcnn: How was the experience of working on Snoop Dogg's "Ego Trippin" album?

Problem: Shh... I can't even... That was unexplainable man, honestly. You just gotta imagine that there are pictures of you sitting in a room with everybody that you admire, and they're telling you that you're cool enough to hang. Like, that shit is crazy! Everyday, I was there before everybody. Everyday. *laughs* Problem was already up there, you ain't even gotta call him! I felt like this was my shot, my shot to be known. To have greats give you any type of respect, that's a big deal with me.

Dude sold millions of records, been all around the world. I'm from Compton man, just barely started going to New York! So that was huge. It was so crazy how all the other projects happened and all the guest people that came by and were just listening what we were doing like "Damn, ya'll muthafuckas over here working!" It was crazy man.

Dubcnn: You recently released a video with Terrace Martin called "MySpace Rappers". How did that idea to that song come to your mind?

Problem: Me and him were just hanging in the studio and he had to mix a record. But we don't kill time in the studio, so he thought he'd make a beat! He made a beat, we started flying and that's what came out! Terrace likes to press play when people are in the room, and the reaction made us take it a step further and make a video for it. So we got my boy Hopsin who just recently signed to Ruthless Records, he recorded the video. We shot it on a few different locations, we just kinda go with the flow over here.

Dubcnn: How serious would you say is this problem, that everybody wants to be a rapper nowadays?

Problem: I mean, it's not really serious. To each his own, I'm not worried about anybody that gets behind a mic. I got a problem with people getting behind the mic and saying "this is just a hobby", like it's just something for the bitches or he just puts it on in the car when he's with his girl. Or if you just do it to be able to tell your girl when she calls "Yeah I'm at the studio". Nah man, this is my job! I dedicated my life to this shit, this is how I feed my kids. I don't like nobody playing with it. If you do it, go ahead, full fledge!

Dubcnn: Now Kurupt, I know you've got a lot on your plate this year, from solos to group albums. But I believe the first thing that will drop is the DPG Gangsta Grillz mixtape with DJ Drama right?

Kurupt: Right, Dogg Pound Gangsta Grillz. It's real big man.

Dubcnn: Is that all other people's beats or also original production?

Kurupt: New productions and other people's beats that we like. I really flipped off on that Kanye West beat, a nigga really poured his heart and soul into that record right there.

Dubcnn: That was my next question actually. On the "Half A Mil" freestyle over Kanye's "Big Brother" beat, you talk about your career from back in the day till now. How important is the feedback from the fans to the way you record your music?

Kurupt: You know what, I'll tell you the real. I've seen fans turn into the harshest critics. My thing nowadays is that I try not to not really tune in - it's no disrespect to the fans but sometimes I think that they feel they're being honest and voicing their honest opinions on things, but they don't realize how much it affects the artists, to hear people who claim to be their fans and say the things they say. I guess it's all truthful and all, but I really stay away from it and I think that will finally get the best out of my music.

I spent over 4 to 5 years strictly listening to what people think, trying to fit the mold that they want, trying to make lyrics that I think they'll like instead of concentrating on myself. Me personally, I gave all the fans everything possible that I can give them, but I feel that by not paying attention to what they're saying on these forums and in the internet world, that suits me to give them the best music that I can. I haven't been paying attention to what people are saying right now. My focus is to just keep working, me and DJ Quik have been in the studio going bonkers right now!

I can't spend my time thinking what a person might be thinking about any of the music that I'm making nowadays. I can't do it as an artist, I'd feel like I was short-changing the true fans that a nigga has, by concentrating more on that. It's hard as an artist to not listen to what people are saying about your stuff and to not let it affect you. It's very hard, cause you always want to hear a positive thing, you know?

Dubcnn: I feel that. You just mentioned a collaboration album with DJ Quik, tell us about that!

Kurupt: Oh you know me and Quik is going off the border right now. It's about nothing but good music, Quik is making grown folk good music, we're touching a lot of bases here, musically and lyrically. We're just hitting them on the grown folk page, me and Quik with the records we're making. The first two records we made for the album are off the muthafuckin' meatrack. We got one with Problem that's stupid!

Dubcnn: You also announced a DPG/Pete Rock group album, we got a first taste of that with the song "Yessir", how did that song get created?

Kurupt: I got together with Pete Rock and DJ Premier when I went to New York, they gave me some bomb new beats to fuck around with, I took them to the house and laid them out! After I did "Yessir", I had Tek Nizzle touch it up a little, it was sitting in my computer drive, Tek grabbed it up, threw his touches on it to make it trump tight, put it all together, and it was so remarkable! I sent it to Pete, he was like "Cool, we're gonna touch up a couple things" and we put it out there to let them know what me and Pete Rock are coming with. It's stupid!

Dubcnn: So you just mentioned a project with Pete Rock and DJ Premier. In the last interview you said the Dogg Pound were doing an album with Pete Rock. Are those different projects?

Kurupt: The Dogg Pound project with Pete Rock is gonna be all produced by Daz and Pete Rock, the whole album. Then I got a Kurupt album that I'ma do with Pete Rock and DJ Premier. Then I got a Kurupt solo album that I'm doing with Bink, and I got another album solo wise with Fredwreck doing the production. That's my new thing, getting with producers to do the entire project that they oversee. I have four of them in the works, one with Bink ("Girls All Pause, "Trilogy"), one with Fredwreck, one with Pete Roc/Premier, and I got one that Snoopy is doing "Niggarachi presents Kurupt The Kingpin" and that album is gonna be overseen by Snoop, Teddy Riley and DJ Quik.

Dubcnn: Now let me recap real quick. You said one album with Fredwreck, I think that one is called "History Of Violence"?

Kurupt: History Of Violence, oh boy!!

Dubcnn: Then, one was called "G-Boy Status", which one is that?

Kurupt: G-Boy Status is the one Bink is doing.

Dubcnn: Then you got one with DJ Quik...

Kurupt: Yeah the album me and DJ Quik are dropping.

Dubcnn: Then you got the Niggarachi presents Kurupt The Kingpin, overseen by QDT?

Kurupt: Exactly!

Dubcnn: And, the Pete Rock/Dogg Pound, and then another one with Pete Rock & DJ Premier doing a Kurupt solo?

Kurupt: Exactly.

Dubcnn: *laughs* Okay, that's a lot of projects!

Kurupt: Why not? Every other day I'm making one for one of them! *laughs* I got about 8 of them for me and Fredwreck's project, I got 12 of them with Snoopy and QDT right now, we got 3 of them for me and DJ Quik's record right now, it's not impossible! I'm not signed to a muthafucka, I can do what I want! *laughs*

Dubcnn: So you're gonna be dropping all these independently?

Kurupt: Not all of them, we're gonna look for some major situations with the particular projects. The main thing is to have albums. We're trying to have the albums done before doing any business with anybody. We're giving producers entire albums that they're dedicating to work with me without breaking into their pockets or none of that other funny shit. It's really not about a rush because rap don't really pay me at all, I do movies.

Dubcnn: Let's talk about your movies real quick, what you got going on there?

Kurupt: I got three of them that's finna slap them in they face, one with Micheal Madison and Darryle Hanna called "Vice", then I got another one, "Days Of Wrath" with Rick Ross in it, David Banner, my homegirl Claudia, Ricardo from Desperate Housewives. I got another one coming out as well called "Loaded". Hip-Hop is like back to being a hobby to me, back to having fun with this shit, not being in a rush. It's not the way I pay my bills so I'm back to having fun with it. In the meantime I keep slapping these films up the top of they head, I love the film game.

Dubcnn: Now as far as the music projects go, which ones are the ones that you think we'll be hearing this year?

Kurupt: The first thing is going to be the mixtape me and Daz is doing with DJ Drama. After that the first one to drop is probably going to be the Dogg Pound album "100 Wayz".

Dubcnn: Okay. Now Problem, one thing that I've noticed about you and Terrace, is that you seem less stuck on negative and seem more about having fun. Would you agree with that?

Problem: Yessir! I am that guy. *laughs* Yeah man! That's probably why the West has been held back for so long, it's like they don't want us to have fun! When we talk about having fun it's a problem! But if you're from Cali, shit it's so much fun out here! Hollywood is here baby, Sunset is here, Melrose is here, Beverly Hills is here! The typical stories that are told a trillion times, let's break away from those! But it's still gonna be some of that in my music because that's where I'm from and that's what I've seen, but it's not what I'm promoting.

We're not promoting the "killing folks" thing, I'm not into that. I fight, anyway! We ain't gotta shoot, let's take it back to the old days. I'm not with that funny shit, I feel like we need to come together, let's have some fun, let's party! Let's stop mean mugging, let's go to the party to actually party! So yeah, me and T are big on that. But don't get that misconstrued at all, we're still men!

Dubcnn: Can you describe a typical studio session with you, Kurupt and Terrace Martin?

Problem: It depends on what room you're in! If Terrace is in the studio, it's probably just him in there, some candles, the lights are low, him and the engineer. Me and Kurupt somewhere smoking a lot of dope, talking shit. *laughs* Talking a lot of shit about the game or whatever else is not right in our minds at the time. Then Terrace will be like "Come on, ya'll come in!" Now it's just fly time, let's go! Sometimes we'll do songs without a pen or a paper, Terrace will just tell us "Go in there and say four bars", "Now you say three", "Now you say six bars", "Alright let's do it again!" Just depending on the record or the vibe.

Dubcnn: Something that Terrace has always been very vocal about is that he's not a beat maker, he's a producer. That's something that a lot of people mix up.

Problem: Yeah man, he puts together records. Sonically, nobody - no disrespect to anybody - but nobody from the new school has the ear that he has. He's been raised in this game, he's been under the umbrella for a long time, so he knows the ins and outs of music, I'm talking the technical side of it. A lot of people don't know that. We have to put him on another pedestal.

He's not where other producers or beat makers or at. He doesn't even have to make the beat but he'll still be producing the track, cause he'll tell you what needs to go where. What chord needs to come in, what kick needs to drop out, what we can do to give everybody's verse that "Umph!" to where it makes it stand out. That's where he's the man at!

Dubcnn: Sounds good man. I think we covered pretty much everything, is there anything else you wanna let everybody know?

Problem: I'm toe up man, shit! Keep getting toe up with me all summer, I got something coming man! Bounce, Rock, Skate with it all summer man!

Kurupt: Get ready for these new albums coming out, Problems new album, the Dogg Pound Gangsta Grillz mixtape with DJ Drama, shouts out to DJ Drama and DJ Skee. Look out for the Dogg Pound album that we're doing and all these different Kurupt collabos with these producers that are supporting and taking the time out to make me a bomb ass album. I'm gonna have three or four of these things just in the woodworks waiting, it's all a part of Kurupt's catalogue. I'm just loading up the ammunition. Just keep your eyes open for these things and get ready for Roscoe's West Coast Customs album that he's gonna be dropping through Fontana.

Dubcnn: See now I forgot to ask you about Roscoe! What's up with him?

Kurupt: He's chilling! He's working on his solo album right now. I keep him in the lab, keep him pulsating with fresh things. I got this channel with Fontana that I'm doing, they're distributing Roscoes album, they'll be distributing some Kurupt records through there. Through my Fontana deal you can expect that Kurupt independent album that I'll be dropping and more Dogg Pound independent records.

The way me and Daz look at it is, we'll be dropping some under the radar records, straight independent albums that we'll be releasing through Fontana, inGrooves, iTunes and the Internet. Then you're gonna have our major releases as well like "100 Wayz" is gonna be major release that will be released to the major market. One of the solo albums I will dedicate to the under the radar system through Fontana, we'll definitely be doing both games.

Problem: Oh and I will be dropping a lot of music, like every week. So know that, Nima! You'll be hearing a lot of new music from me! I got some surprises, I just played a record for Kurupt with me and Damani, and I got one with me and Roscoe I'll probably shoot over to you in a little bit.

Dubcnn: Can people expect to hear those on dubcnn?

Problem: Yessir!


Kurupt & Problem Gave Dubcnn.com A Shoutout! Click Here

Full Interview In Audio : Here



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