Last Friday night, the Ice Cube tour came to BB Kings in Times Square. Openers Clipse rocked a short set we’d seen them absolutely murdalize before, Funkmaster Flex (clad in a red Dipset tee and aided by some kind of record roadie who kept handing him wax through the night) played a gang of throwback raps, and Cube ran through his catalog for an hour or so, dropping new tracks, NWA hits, and Westside Connection sorta hits—pretty much everything except the Lench Mob and Death Certificate joints we were not-so-secretly hoping to hear instead. But the surprise highlight was none other than the motherfucking Dogg Pound! A re-energized Daz and Kurupt stole the show with Chronic classics—even doing Snoop’s verse from “Ain’t No Fun” accapella with the crowd in the Doggfather’s absence—and new bangers like the Battlecat-produced “Cali Iz Active” and fresh Daz solo material from his forthcoming So So Gangsta LP. Earlier that morning, we talked to Daz about that record and more, and you can check our conversation after the jump.
How did you link up with JD and So So Def?
We been knowin JD for years. When we came out with The Chronic, dude used to be friends with Kris Kross. That’s how we met each other. We did Welcome To The Church Volume 1. And when [DPG] finally broke off, did our own thing or whatever, there was this freestyle out there that got his attention. We hooked up proper about three years ago.
You were down with Kris Kross before Jermaine?
They liked our music. And you know the dark skinned one, Chris, he liked to smoke weed. Man, he smoked me out. So we’d be up in his hotel room, smoking weed.
More than a decade later, do you ever think about how a lot of kids just getting into music now don’t even know about The Chronic?
Some of them do, some of them don’t, it just depend on who it is, you know. We know what we’re doing, we know how to get their attention. But as far as like the people that are 23 or so, they look at you like—I see a lot of players where I go, at places you wouldn’t think that I’d go, and they look at you like, “Dag” and they think to themselves “I know you from somewhere.” And I tell them Nah man, my name Jason. And they look like they just fucking with themselves.
What’s going on with the Dogg Pound DVD and the My Summer Vacation movie?
We ain’t put it out yet. Still shootin, we in post production [on the movie]. Getting all the locations. You know after I do this album right here I’ll have time to do it, now obviously I don’t have the time, but I’m putting it in motion as we speak. Just getting everything ready for when our dudes come out and say “I’m ready.” Lights, camera, action.
Hahah, gotta get that plug in there!
Yup, that’s my homey Young Capone.
Have you done any videos for So So Gangsta?
Its really interesting, the first video with me and Kurupt, we just shot an X-rated video.
The EPMD remix [“Daz Thang”].
See, that’s what I’m talking about with the different eras, everyone I’ve heard say something about the song called it the Jay and Foxy “Ain’t No Nigga” beat.
Now they going to be like “This the DPG beat!” We the west coast EPMD. You take that, and my official first single is me and Rick Ross. “Some Real Shit.” I knew him from the Miami scene, and JD hooked it up for the record. The man of many hook ups. But I been knowin Rick Ross and it was a pleasure working with him.
What other collaborations are on this record?
I got one by me and Kurupt produced by Scott Storch. And I got one with me and Snoop, two with Snoop. I got Jagged Edge on there, Rick Ross. Not that many though.
Is there a lot of your own production on So So Gangsta?
Me and JD did half and half. We had it sound-wise, but then I go to the left, JD go to the right and we have to do it all over again. I had like a gang of songs we did, but we did all new songs and made new albums.
Who did the beat for “All That I Need”?
I heard that non-stop on the radio driving through LA last month. Is it weird having to push the So So Gangsta songs to radio at the same time as “Cali Iz Active” and the other songs from the Dogg Pound album coming out on Koch? Do you feel like you’re competing with yourself?
I love it man, its cool. I just try to mingle and keep my hustle wise. It’s like two different sounds. We working “Cali Iz Active” almost exclusively in the West. But we working Florida with the Rick Ross, and in the east and the south. So I’ll work in Cali that way—plus, California is gonna give me love anyway. So I’m just really concentrating on this part [with So So Gangsta] cause I live in Miami too. I got a house in the south. I live a lot of places. Its all about networking.
Do you have a mobile set-up for production on the road?
No. Ha ha. Just hanging out. I wait till I get back to do all that.
What do you write music on?
Sidekick! Nah, for the beats I do Reason. Mainly Reason. I got beats in my hard drive that I made from MPC3000. Just whippin it up and sellin beats.
Who have you produced for outside DPG?
I gave one to Big Gee and Boyz N The Hood. J-Bo from Youngbloodz. Whoever want it. It’s hard to really get a beat from me, cause I can make more off of my beats than they can. We got Koch and now we got EMI. And I got a label deal over at Universal for Dogg Pound Gangsta. It’s the Dogg Pound Label. Some young guys, Kurupt, Sooperfly. There’s a project me and Snoop got coming.
What about RBX?
He’s still around, he’s working on his next album. He’ll bring it around. Everybody stays with it cause we family. Me, RBX and Snoop is cousins. We first cousins. So we always been stayin there in the hood, our family in the hood, it’s all around the area in California. Compton, Long Beach, South Central, and every single day its about how you goin to get it.
When was the last chance you guys got to all hang out together?
4/20. You know, 4/20 we smoked our brains out at the Ice Cube concert, we performed. We going to do it again, on June 3, when we end the concert at the House of Blues.
After this tour are you going back out for So So Gangsta?
Yeah, [the album is out] August 1st. But check for that “Daz Thang” video. We shot the video in Atlanta—well, some in Cali some in Atlanta. Ass shakin, body lickin, right! Booty and jiggling. We got unedited clips on the website of what the video look like. This might be on the CD, you know what they call “packaged for the album” and put it on BET up late, if you can put it on there. Lot of ass jiggling.
Did you do a video for the Rick Ross single yet?
He gonna be in my hood with the donk, I’m gonna be in his hood with the ’64, and you know it’s just like that, having fun man. That’s what the album going to be like, a gang of videos.
Do you have any favorites on the album?
I like “Dangerous,” “That’s That Nigga.” I like the whole record, I like “Weekend”, too. It’s just a different feel.
It was cool for me to hear more samples on this record, I was so used to hearing real synth-y, G Funk keyboard stuff from you. Was that a conscious decision?
That was just makin it different than the Dogg Pound Record, JD did that—hey, he got the money to do it, so go and spend some cheese. When you independent you try and make it happen with less samples, more money spent elsewhere.
Is that why you replayed Royal Cash [“Radioactive”] on “Cali Iz Active” for Koch?
They still had to pay him! They still had to pay the dude, he took 70% of the song. We only took 10%. Like ten ten. Just like on “NY, NY”, they took 100%! Sylvia Robinson…haha!
Are you mostly listening to oldies?
Yeah, I listen to some old school music, Rick James, shit like that, Frankie Beverly, Al Green. All that kinda stuff. I just get on YouTube and look up old videos. I just put their name in and it pops right up. Richard Pryor…put your name in there, something might come up. That’s what I do, I discovered YouTube and that’s my television.