Legendary West Coast duo Tha Dogg Pound has been marking their territory in the rap game for the past fifteen years. During the past decade Daz Dillinger and Kurupt Young Gotti have released over ten albums together, and over ten albums as solo artists, keeping them relevant in the changing times of Hip Hop. Tha Dogg Pound has been through numerous ups and downs with record labels and even internal personal issues. But Daz and Kurupt still manage to stay loyal to their craft and partnership, and they don’t plan to change their gangsta ways anytime soon. Raw and untamed is the only way to be in this pack. Tha Dogg Pound has been out for over fifteen years, and you two continue to put out music and represent for the West Coast. What are you guys currently working on? Daz: Kurupt just dropped Street Life, his solo album. Kurupt: We also dropped the 100 Wayz Dogg Pound album with me Daz, Snoop, and Soopafly. You just put out Keep It Ridin’ not too long ago. How was that album different from your other albums? Daz: It was just mixtape songs. Instead of us doing a mixtape we put a CD out. Kurupt: It’s not even an album, it was just something to warm them up until we dropped 100 Wayz. Daz: Just something to get their stomachs filled. We dropped That Was Then This Is Now, then we dropped Keep It Ridin’ just to keep their bellies full until 100 Wayz. That’s the big one. Kurupt: We’ve been working on this album for about a year and a half now, so instead of dropping a mixtape and having a DJ’s [drops] all over it... Daz: ...we just put it out to let all the DJs get a piece of it. I recently saw the video for “Dogg Pound Gangstaz” and it reminded me of the old N.W.A days. It was real raw. What made you decide to go that route? Most videos aren’t like that anymore. Kurupt: Well I guess it’s against the grain to today’s music, but we don’t make today’s music. Me and Daz make gangsta shit. We can’t change because the music changes; we’re going stay the same. If the people like it, they like it. If they don’t, they don’t. This is the norm for us. Daz: It was just real creative putting it together. That’s how we feel right now, like the old N.W.A. Kurupt: That’s the roots we came from, so we had these talks before about what we’re going to do with the next Dogg Pound album. Are we gonna go to the clubs? Are we gonna make a lot of records with the 808 on there? Are we gonna hit the strip clubs? We decided to just stick to what we normally do. Let’s just hit them with some gangsta shit. Let’s do the same shit we’re known for instead of trying to change with the times. That’s not our type of music, that’s everybody else’s type of music. It’s good that Hip Hop has grown and gone to another level; that’s a great thing. But you have to remain who you are. That’s how we grew up. No matter how much times change, you have to stay who you are. You can’t be what you’re not. We just decided to stick with our formula and the type of music we like to make. Daz: We’ve got another video coming out called “Another Clip” featuring Soopafly, and we got a remix with M.O.P on it. Kurupt: You thought you saw guns in that video? Wait til you see this one. (laughs) Hip Hop has changed dramatically since you first came out with gangsta rap, and now there’s a lot of sub-genres like “backpack rappers,” and “conscious rappers.” Do you feel like it’s all Hip Hop? Kurupt: The majority of those types of rappers are our homeboys. They’re our folks. Daz: It’s all about being compatible. They like our music we like their music and we all try to get along together. It’s kind of like taking it back to old school Hip Hop were you have to go find the music and just give the artist a chance to really build their company or their brand in order to put their music out. It all goes back to the independent route, because now you own your own record and put it together. Kurupt: You’re the record label now. You both own your own record labels and were once thinking about signing with Cash Money. What’s DPG’s current label situation? Daz: We’re independent. We own our own labels. Kurupt has Pentagon Records. I’ve got a distribution company called Fella Entertainment and a record label called Dogg Pound Records. I’ve got another company called Gangsta Advisory, and another one called DPG Records.
You’ve branched off to do solo projects, but always seem to come back together despite your differences. What makes you two keep coming back together? Kurupt: Me and Daz are like family, so there isn’t too much separation you’re ever going to see from us. All families have disagreements and go through their ups and downs, and sometimes you’ve got to be by yourself. But this thing me and Daz have is forever. It’s not just music. We watched our kids grow, we raised our kids together, we give each other advice on life and things we’ve been going through with our family. Daz: We been doing this for about twenty years. Kurupt: We’ve had time apart and had our ups and downs, but it helped us become the men that we are today. When you first came out, the internet and viral media wasn’t as strong as it is now. How would you say it has helped or not helped you? Daz: I love it because it gets the music out quick to the people. You can post stuff now and it’s online. You don’t even need the TV anymore where you have to pay for video play and stuff. Now other people can grab it and put it on their site if it’s interesting . Kurupt: That’s one of the main reasons why today you can be your own company. Without the internet it would be a lot harder to be your own entity and to have your own record label. You have to deal with the record label, but the internet made it possible to be your own Interscope and be your own Def Jam. Daz: Everybody is getting there own digital deal nowadays. Who are some of the artists you have signed to your labels? Kurupt: I have a couple of artists that I’ve been grooming for the past five to six years; from YA to my little brother Roscoe that’s over there right now with Dr. Dre to Desperado to the G-Hood Fellas. I got a couple of artists I’m working with that I’m trying to get in the game and all of them have their own companies. Daz: Me, I’m just distributing right now. I’m taking everybody’s project and just distributing it cause that makes a lot more money than the record labels. I’m getting into the white collar part of the game. At one point the West Coast dominated the Hip Hop scene. What do you think it’s going to take to get that dominance back? Kurupt: First thing we have to do is to stop beating up all these guys, but it’s hard to do it when they act so funny. (laughs) I’m just playing. Daz: It’s a bunch of bullshit going on, and back in the 90s we scared a lot of executives off. Kurupt: Yeah, cause we wasn’t going for that bullshit. Nowadays people don’t really want to be around all that and I don’t blame them for that. We just come from a different cloth. We take things a lot more seriously than these other dudes do or claim they do. Daz: When we were gangbanging back in the day they wouldn’t even want that on TV, but now everybody is doing it. Kurupt: It’s just going take a lot of good music. It’s going take Dr. Dre’s album, it’s going take Snoop’s project, it’s going take Q’s, it’s going to take Dogg Pound’s, it’s going take Nipsey, Jay Rock, and these new artists that are coming. Plus, it’s going to take a lot of unity from all of us. I saw the track list for the 100 Wayz album and I saw that Lady Of Rage is featured on the album. Are you working on her project? Kurupt: We’re working on Rage’s album right now. She’s ready to get into the gam. Everybody is putting their best foot forward to work on Rage’s album. DJ Premier is helping with Rage’s album. We’re just getting her together and getting her ready to drop another album. Daz, what else are you working on right now as far as production? Daz: Right now I just finished up the 100 Wayz project and I’ve got a solo album that I’m finishing up. I’ve got an artist name Pilot who is about 13 years old, and I’m working on a movie right now with me and Kurupt called Ain’t No Fun. Rght now we’re just really getting into the movie, “Ain’t No Fun If The Homies Can’t Have None,” you know the song. It’s going be real funny and real comical. I’m getting into the business of owning your own music, movies, and pressing them up to distribute them. Any last words? Daz: 100 Wayz is out now. We got the commercial for 100 Wayz. If you want the exclusive cover with the guns and all that you can go to amazon.com, but for the regular version you can get at all the stores like Best Buy. We’ve got a clothing line coming too. //
OZONE WEST // 15
Ozone West #85