Words: nando Published:
December 11, 2009 The head of the Dragon Gang, Yukmouth, shares what it feels like to have career freedom, what it means for Smoke A Lot, the Regime and more. Other ventures such as his radio show and new films are discussed as Yukmouth shows you that success comes only to those who rise & grind. Baycentrik.com:
So you're one project into this new deal in the post Rap-A-Lot era, it's through RBC right? Yukmouth:
Yeah RBC/E1, that's Koch Records. We just now dropped this West Coast Don, that's the first project. Baycentrik.com:
Has the ride been smooth so far? Yukmouth:
Everything is cool, RBC is a team, they hold me down, all the business down, we push it through E1 which is Koch, I make the music and we all part of it. It's a joint venture deal not a distribution. 50/50 split, they get 50 I get 50. It's executive shit, not no more artist shit. When I was at Rap-A-Lot I was an artist and I was an executive producer because they also gave me a distribution deal for Smoke A Lot Records. That's when I put out the United Ghettos series out and all that stuff, I been an executive. This ain't nothing new to me, I'm signed to myself and in control of my own shit right now, that's the only difference. Baycentrik.com:
Now you can actually put out projects when you want to, you've got all that control. Yukmouth:
Like you said, you get to put out projects when you want to. When you're signed to a label you can't do certain shit. You're only limited to mothafuckas having your access, your only limit is the amount, what a label will allow. Me being signed to Rap-A-Lot, I had a lot of opportunities shut down. Because I was signed to Rap-A-Lot, they didn't want me on everything and fuckin off they money. It was a lot of deals that came to the table for The Regime, for artists I had that I couldn't do because Rap-A-Lot didn't answer, didn't let me do it, didn't let me participate. Luniz deals with me and Num, hella shit. Now that I'm free I can do all the shit I wanna do, so I'm about to do hella projects. Even the Thug Lordz, there was a problem to where we had to put it through Rap-A-Lot. It was a lot of bullshit, when you signed to a mothafucka it's hard, to be free and rock how you wanna rock. So now that I'm signed to myself I can do what the fuck I wanna do, moral of the story. It's more cheddar and it's way better! Baycentrik.com:
I remember that whole mess with the Thug Lordz albums, it was taken off shelves and it took a month or two to come out again officially. Yukmouth:
With Koch was the Thug Lordz, they paid for the album, all types of shit. I ain't gonna go into particulars, but Rap-A-Lot ended up getting the album because I'm on the album and they were like fuck that we ain't letting nobody use it. Only if we put the shit out, so Rap-A-Lot ended up buying the album from Koch and put it out! That's what happened. All that shit, come on man! At the end of the day you got niggas like Method Man who still a part of the Wu Tang and still able to go through a solo deal, you got other niggas that's part of groups and they still able to go do they solo deals. That shit was just fuckin me up. I had to get solo so I could be more active and spread my wings a bit more and get this cheddar, ya dig? Baycentrik.com:
Then from there came your album, The West Coast Don the first off of Rap-Alot. Were you pleased with the way everything turned out with that album? Yukmouth:
Um…not really. Because I was waiting for a fuckin Ray-J clearance which took 5 or 6 months. The album was supposed to drop in January. It got pushed back to July cause of Ray-J. I'm just gonna tell mothafuckas the truth, I ain't gonna lie or sugar coat it. It got pushed back to July for the Ray-J clearance because of the fuckin "I'm A Gangsta" song. Everybody signed off, but just when the nigga in the middle of filming his reality show, he's going on interviews, he's doing the promotion for his shit. So it's hard to catch up with this nigga so it was a bad time to be dropping at the same time he had his reality show going down and me not being able to get in contact with this nigga. Till he slowed down, the whole reality season is over, now the nigga could sign off. By that time the album is dated to me! The songs is dated, it still came out and did what it did, but it was supposed to come out in January and by that summer I was supposed to have something else coming out, but it's cool. It is what it is, you learn from your mistakes. I'll never again get a fuckin artist on my shit where I have to sign off on and go do all that bullshit. It holds up your album, it makes your album dated, the music gets dated, and it fucks the fans up. You got a release date in magazines, on websites and shit, the release date comes and your not out! Now you fuckin with the fans intelligence! They like fuck it, I don't know when it's coming out now. You done fucked off that one date when they was expecting it to come out. So that fucks off your sales too, now your fans don't know when it's coming out for sure, even if you say it's coming out next time, how they gonna know it's for sure cause the first time the shit didn't come out when you said it was coming out. Even though you promoted it, ads, everything. So it just fucks up everything in the long run. It's cool I learned from my mistakes, I know what to do next time, definitely. Baycentrik.com:
Me personally as a fan, after so many push backs of an album, you just lose interest, you're like fuck it I don't even care anymore! Yukmouth:
Yeah! You don't give a fuck. After all these pushbacks you on to the next. (Jay-Z voice) you on to the mothafuckin next. So that kinda fucked off the project, kinda made it dated and make mothafuckas lose interest like you say, so many fuckin dates, it's like I don't know when this shit comin out. So that kinda fucked it up, we know what to do next time, make sure we got all the clearances and everything before we even start promotin. Baycentrik.com:
You had a mixtape scheduled to come out before The West Coast Don, titled Free At Last. Talk about that project and what it's become? Yukmouth:
This mothafucka became an album! Literally, cause Free At Last I wanted to do all original material. It's a lot of up and coming producers emailed me and submitted a lot of shit that I'm placing on Free At Last, but the songs is not mixtape songs. You got songs that's like man he busted an ill freestyle over the beat and talk over the hook, that's a mixtape song. These are real fuckin songs, like my album. So we like fuck it, we gonna make this an album. Shout out to my nigga DJ Nik Bean, that's who I'm doin this shit with. We were gonna do the mixtape, but it turned intoan album. It is what it is. This shit is hot as fuck, I got everybody on it, I got niggas from LA, I got Roccett, 211, Ya Boy the Rockstar, my nigga Jay Rock, Messy Marv, Choppa City from Da Band, Beeda Weeda, all the people on Da Town Remix, everybody know that. I got The Regime on it of course, just hella features, this album is like a feature album. On my next album JJ I'm doing it all to the head solo with nobody on it but The Regime. So right now I'm getting all my features out the way. This album has a lot of fuckin features on it, it's gonna be hot though, Free At Last. It should be in stores like in February, I'm gonna turn it in right after next week. Baycentrik.com:
So its kind of a United Ghettos of America type album? Yukmouth:
Nah it ain't even UGA It's a lot of my songs I just got features on em. A lot of artists I wanted to work with who I couldn't work with being on Rap-A-Lot. Baycentrik.com:
Are you working with some of the same producers from The West Coast Don? Yukmouth:
Yeah, I got hella producers from the West Coast Don on the album, of course. A couple producers from my regular Yukmouth shit. But I got a lot of up and coming producers that are making they name in the bay area or wherever they from, Denver, Colorado, hella shit. It's poppin though, I'm doing placements right now, blowing these new producers up. So mothafuckas come knocking on they door wanting beats, 'okay you did shit for Yuk, you did shit for this nigga, that nigga, I wanna buy beats now, I want that sound.' Just helping these new producers come up. Shout out to Rob-E, he did a couple of tracks on there. That's the dude who did "Hit Me on Twitter" for FAB, he's an up and coming new producer. I got people like that on the album, who got established hits, but they still up and coming. Baycentrik.com:
You mentioned The Regime, what's the status with that? Now that your free to do whatever you want.. Yukmouth:
That's what we working on right now as we speak. We doing this Regime Dragon Gang album, that's dropping after Free At Last, finally. We been pushing this shit since '97! Right after the Luniz shit I was signed to Rap-A-Lot so that shows you what type of bullshit I was going through there to even do the album. I couldn't even do the fuckin album. 'They could do the album, but you can't
"You'll see a bitch with a label tattoo..we got niggas..thugged out killas and goons, getting the dragon tattoo saluting our shit!"
be on it.' How the fuck we gonna do a Regime album without Yukmouth on it? That don't even make sense, I'm the nucleus of this shit. So it was a lot of stipulations on it, that's why we never came out with the album. I put niggas on every album, i do the Regime song just to keep shit lit and let niggas know we here. Now that I'm off Rap-A-Lot we finally putting out the album. So for the fans that's been waiting that's what's been taking so mothafuckin long! Me being on Rap-A-Lot that was the hold up. Now I'm off Rap-A-Lot, we dropping the album. Look for it like, Spring, early Summer. Dragon Gang featuring everybody--Tech N9ne, me, Tha Realest, Lee Majors, Dru Down, Chop Black, Kuzzo Fly, Monsta Ganjah, Dorasel, Lil Hyfe, Rahmean, T-Lew, Ampichino, Freeze, Chino Nino, the list goes on. Shit gonna be lit period, njggas finally gonna get a dose of that real shit. We right in an era when a lot of big clicks done fell off. Niggas ain't fuckin with each other no more cause of money problems or whatever it may be, so this is the perfect time for us to come out and fill that gap. Dipset is a wrap right now, there ain't no more Hot Boyz, a lot of mothafuckas thanighs the nigs, ain't rocking no more! So there's a void in the clicks, right now you got Young Money but theres a void in clicks. We about to do our thing. G-Unit ain't barely together, when from being 6 or 7 niggas back to 3 niggas again. It's just making room for us to do our thing, so be on the lookout for that Regime Dragon Gcommonlbum comin. Baycentrik.com:
The Regime has been going on 10 years deep now! Yukmouth:
We been out doing our thing for a minute, we been pressing this line for hella long. We got a fanbase all over the world. This shit ain't just in the states, it aint just LA, Oakland, the Bay Area, or Ohio, Kansas City, Houston, DC, the places where we got Regime niggas at. This shit is worldwide. You'll go to Germany, Amsterdam, and get greeted by a gang of mothafuckas with tattoos, banging our shit. You'll go to Germany, New Zealand, Frankfurt or whatever it may be, mothafuckas will run up on you with dragon tattoos, screaming Regime Life. Go to Australia, mothafuckas gonna come to you it the Dragon tattoo. Go to New Zealand, where all the Samoans is at. Mothafuckas gonna show you some dragon tattoos. You know Monsta Ganjah who is Samoan, is a part of the Regime, that's our Samoan fanbase, so they fuck with us heavy too. Our movement is big, I never went so many places and seen so many people with tattoos doing a movement. You'll see a bitch with a label tattoo, like a No Limit tank or Snoop Dogg paw, a bitch though. You won't see no niggas rocking that! We got niggas! Thugged out killas and goons, getting the dragon tattoo saluting our shit! So it's about time that we put the music, the soundtrack to that movement. Cause nigga is riding, tattoos is for life. They mobbin with us for life. So we gonna give them the soundtrack to what they been mobbin to, straight up. Baycentrik.com:
This is a question you get in every interview, but I'm gonna ask it anyway. What's up between you and Numskull at the moment? Yukmouth:
Shout out to Num man. My nigga locked up right now basically. If nobody ain't heard, he got the little case he going through, he fighting right now, so he facing some crucial years. I ain't got nothing but love for that nigga. Now as far as what he has done toward me and otherwise, I can't help what he do. I can't speak on what he do. As far as me, I ain't got nothing but love for Num. I'll break this shit down from what it started from. From the roota to the toota!
When I met Num, he was the rappin nigga, this was in the 8th grade when we started rappin together. He was the rappin nigga, I was the nigga that knew how to draw. I was the cartoonist for the group. I wasn't as raw as him, he was the rawest nigga, there were a couple others, Kevin Choice, shout out to him, he on tour with India Arie playing intrsuments. Anyway, me, Kevin Choice, Numskull, a couple others we were brothers with potential. I'm the hustler of the group, these niggas live in Lake Merrit, I'm from the Ville. So I'm coming up to the schoolhouse with crack in my pocket, fresh to death, Gucci sweatsuits, suede Ballys, this was in the 7th and 8th grade! Everything you could imagine, I had it! I'm hustling, all that shit. So I turn this nigga on to hustling, 'how you getting all this money?', I turned them on. I bring them to my turf, my uncle turf downtown, where we started hustling. I go to jail for hustling a couple times, juvenile, if keep on going to jail you end up having to do more time. So I went to jail so many times I ended up having to do a year.
That year in jail, I got nothing but time on my hands so I start focusing on the rap shit. I did my GED, I passed school, I had nothing but time on the bunk. While niggas is going to school I'm on my bunk so I start dabbling with the rap shit. When I get out, me and Num gonna be rappers. I come up with the whole plot, our name is gonna be the Luni Tunez. I draw the logo, remember I'm the cartoonist. I draw the condom man, the logo. Boom, this is in juvenile hall. Boom, I make the first rap, the Ice Cream Man. I write all this shit in jail. Niggas that was in jail rapping with me, they was the first Luni Tunez. It was two other niggas in jail rapping with me. They had hella more time so they didn't get out with me. I got out and was like fuck them, I made this group, I came up with the whole concept. I call the nigga who I been fuckin with since junior high school, Numskull! 'Wassup nigga, lets do this group, i got the concept, whoop whoop. I'm Yukmouth, you gonna be Numskull.' Numskull wasn't Numskull he was the Skinny One. I gave him that name. So I do all this shit, get out of jail, give him the name, I got us signed!
CNH, my sister hooked us up with him. I bust Ice Cream Man to CNH, that's the song that got us signed. When I said Ice Cream Man to CNH, he said fuck that I'm signing yall. I had CNH introduce us to Too Short! Him and Baby Jesus he was down with the Dangerous Crew, so boom, I'm like CNH hook us up with Short, we rap. So I bust Ice Cream Man, he was so amazed by the fuckin song, he said fuck Short, I'mma sign yall! My lil nigga Dru Down is in the studio right now, we got eight songs, we finishing up his album right now. Yall hop on that, lets do this, whoop whoop whoop. So I get us our deal, you taking notes now! I put him on to hustling, that's note number one, now it's the rap shit, I gave him his name, I came up with the whole concept for the group, and I got us our deal. That's number 2! Boom, number three, I Got 5 On It. Okay my sister always numbed the Club Nouveau shit, 'Why You Treat Me So Bad', when I was growing up, so I always wanted to use that beat. So when it was time, Dru Down dropped his album, when it was time for the Luniz to work on our album I said the first song I wanna work on is the Why You Treat Me So
"I'm always willing to do another Luniz project for the fans and for [Numskull] to get back on."
Bad, we gotta loop it we gotta remake it. Me and Num went and purchased the album, took it to Tone Capone, he did what he had to do and looped it and made the beat. Tone Capone didn't just have the 5 On It beat on the computer and we picked it. We went and got the album and said loop this, we want this beat. So it was very hands on with the 5 On It shit. So here comes the chorus, okay boom! I write the chorus, I come up with the whole chorus. We had Mike Marshall sing it, the nigga from Timex Social Club, the niggas that used to know Club Nouveau and all that shit. So he sing it and the rest is history. So that's number three, not only did I get us our deal, I come up with the chorus for our hit single.
Now let's fast forward to right now, I get a solo deal, I go on Rap-A-Lot, I keep shit lit and I'm still doing Luniz projects and all that. Then you got the nerve to be mad at me, go up at the BARS Awards and say fuck Yuk, yada yada yada, we can fight and whoop whoop, go behind my back and say fuck this nigga whoop whoop whoop. Do an interview and say 'fuck that nigga he ain't this, he ain't real, he aint that.' Why would you do all that shit and I put you in the game from every level? When I met you, you was a square nigga from Lake Merrit. I met you at fuckin Westlake, you stealin scooters at Lake Merrit. I brought you to a drug dealing environment that got you paid! I turned you onto the hustle and the streets, with my cousins. You hustling for my cousins and my uncle, getting you paid. Then it comes to this rap shit. I put us in this rap shit with the whole concept, your name, everything! And then, our hit single, I come up with the chorus and everything. So my moral of the story is, how can you be mad at anybody who did all that shit for you? That's what I'm saying. So him being mad at me, so be it. I don't give a shit. But if you was a real nigga hearing all the shit I done for him, you would be like, what's his fuckin problem? I know I am, like what's your problem? I did all this for you, you wouldn't be Numskull if it wasn't for me. I could've came out of jail with my niggas i was rapping with before I was the Luniz, before I even made you a Luni. But them niggas was locked up and I was impatient so I'mma call my other nigga I know who rap, Skinny One! Numskull. Skinny One! You ain't him no more, I'm Yukmouth, and you're Numskull! I'm the mouth you're the head, we're Luni. You get it? The whole concept. So everything from the artwork to the name to choruses, and then you be mad at me? That don't even make sense to me. That ain't a real nigga, a real nigga appreciate his blessings, appreciate those who open doors for him, appreciate nigga who looked out for him. A fake nigga gonna always think a nigga owe him something. 'Oh nigga you owe me!!' Nigga I don't owe you shit! I could've did this with anyone! You feel me? So a lot of niggas, when they ain't real or don't come from the same cloth as you, I come from where you have respect for the OG or you have respect for niggas you hustle with. It's codes to the streets, I come from that and I respect it. When you don't come from no codes, you have no respect, you have no morals and all you have is disrespect. 'Fuck this, fuck that, I hate this, I hate that.' But when you come from real shit, you know!
Even though I'm not fuckin with CNH no more or C-Note Records, I never diss him! I never say fuck CNH or whatever. Eat a dick I hate him! Nah CNH, I love you, you put us on! Without you we wouldn't be rapping right now, period! Same with J Prince, even though I'm off Rap-A-Lot, I can't say nothing bad about you but thank you, you was the first nigga that believed in me being a solo aritst, period! I don't burn my bridges. But other niggas would say fuck that, I been the nigga! I'm this I'm that. It's like come on quit feeling yourself and come back to reality, and appreciate niggas who in your corner. That's all I was, a nigga that was in his corner that had his best interest. For you to get mad at someone in your best interest, not just saying it, showing it! Actions speak louder than words. We done been all over the world together, got platinum albums and sold millions of records together. From my concept that I came up with in jail! We still get royalty checks and ringtone checks to this day. Off the shit that I blueprinted in jail, and you mad at me? His ringtone checks he getting right now, that's my deal, I got it. I decided okay boom, this Num shit, give him his cut. He's in jail still give him his cut. Wherever his check need to go, his parents or whatever, send his check there. He's getting his money still in jail! I hooked that up. His people didn't hook up no ringtone deal!
So at the end of the day it's basically I got love for him, he ain't got no love for me. Even through all the shit he talked in his interviews, he like a little brother to me, or brother. Big brother, he's older than me. We grew up together. So brothers fight. Niggas get in fights and still wake up and be brothers, so I take this shit as we just got a little verbal fight and we still brothers. So whenever he ready to be my brother again, my arms is always out to this nigga, period. My doors is always open and I'm always willing to do another Luniz project for the fans and for that nigga to get back on. I'm a good nigga, I'm good with this shit, I don't know about him. If I was in jail, I don't know if he would have the same love for me and be saying everybody pray for Yukmouth and hope that he beat his case, I don't think he would be doing the same shit. Or albums saying Free Yukmouth, on West Coast Don I do a whole shit, Free Numskull. I don't think I would get that love. It is what it is. Just to show you the type of caliber of the nigga you dealing with. I'm a real nigga and I don't know what other niggas do. I can't be how other niggas be. Like I said I got love for him and he ain't got no love for me. It is what it is. Baycentrik.com:
Let's get into some of the other stuff your involved in. You got the new radio show, Smoke A Lot Radio. Yukmouth:
Yeah, Smoke A Lot radio, every Monday night, 9PM, for all you mothafuckas who don't know, blogtalkradio.com/vmtr
. Log in online and check me out. I interview all the hottest artists, all the hottest socialites, actress, comedians, play new music from the streets that don't get played on the radio. We just keeping it lit and keep it real on there, it's hella funny, callers call in and do they thing, we fuck with the callers, elaborate on they ideas and what they got to bring to the table, what they going through. Smoke A Lot radio, its off the hook, every Monday night, 9 o'clock. Fuck wit it.
Shout out to my nigga Branded, that's who hooked me up with it. He my nigga from Oakland who been doing it real big. The whole reason we came up with the radio show is cause we got tired of mothafuckas talkin about we gotta pay! Even niggas that's getting played in the bay area, they pay us the payola for these DJ's to play our shit. You'll get a couple love spins every now and then, but the niggas that's getting played every day on the money, these niggas is paying money! Everything is about payola right now. We just a radio station where you don't gotta pay us to play your shit. We do real shit. if it's hot we gonna rock. From the street shit to the club shit, to the radio R&B shit or whatever, crossover. We ain't no station that gotta have the Top 100, or Top this or that like Clear Channel and all that extra shit, we don't give a fuck about they playlists. We play real shit, so always feel free to request what you want, call in and say what you want played cause we'll play that shit right on the spot for that ass. That's having the freedom to play what you want, real underground music that don't get no play on the radio station. That's the real outlet for Smoke-A-Lot radio, for fans to get that real underground street shit that they don't need to go and buy a CD or go to a nigga MySpace and hear or Youtube. Nah you gonna hear that shit on our radio station, so that's what Smoke-A-Lot radio is about. Being the voice of the underground, straight up. Baycentrik.com:
You also have a role in a new movie? Yukmouth:
Shout out to my nigga D out in Detroit. We did this movie, Five 1 K out there in Detroit, shout out to Forty The Great, he the star of the movie, he actually had caught a case, this is a true story. He was in the middle of fighting his case, federal case, and it's a lot of snitches on the case. So he's like fuck that I'm gonna do a movie, a fictional movie but similar to what I'm going through. He got Clifton
Powell from Friday, Dead Presidents, Kevin Jackson Jr. from The Wire, AJ Johnson the comedian, he got me up in there and a lot of street niggas and rappers in it doing they thing. It's basically about Forty, some mothafuckas start snitching on him and he pays some goons to whack them off. In the end he still end up going to jail and it becomes a street war, and they find out he getting mothafuckas whacked off. It's on some Paid in Full, Menace to Society, drug dealing kingpin, murderer shit. I'm a hitman in the thing, so I'm in there Talibanin shit, runnin up on niggas givin them the whole clip, hoppin out of backseats on niggas, bitches, given bitches dome shots, running up on niggas in from of the pizza spot, snatching jewels. I was in that mothafucka real active, really doing my O-Dog thing, smacking shit. My little signature was my crazy ass laugh, everyrtime somebody get whacked you just hear my crazy ass laugh, while you hear burnin rubber you just hear my laugh. That should be coming out January, February. The trailer is on youtube so go see it. Baycentrik.com:
Anything else you would like to let the Baycentrik readers know? Yukmouth:
Thug Lordz! We can't forget about that. Me and C-Bo in the studio right now working on that. Thug Lordz, Thug Money. That's our second album, the first one was In Thugz We Trust. This one is gonna be bananas! We taking it back to that real shit. It never was fake, the first one was a classic, so it's gonna be the same shit but on steroids. So look out for that coming out after The Regime album. It probably drop the same day on some real hip hop mob shit. We'll figure this shit out, but be on the lookout for that. Stay logged in and tuned in to what I'm doing, go to SmokeAlotRecords.com
. That will keep you updated on what the kid doing.