Interview: Droop-E

November 18, 2010

FADER’s Droop-E fandom is well documented. Dude is born for stardom, in a way: though a fresh faced 22 years old, Droop-E's been producing certified slammers for nearly a decade and rapping even longer. His latest mixtape, BLVCK Diamond Life, deftly reworks ‘90s Sade samples into a post-hyphy mellow masterpiece (download it here). Maybe being good is in Droop-E's blood: his father is the unshakeable Bay-rap icon E-40. We caught up with Droop-E to talk about how his life is nothing like ours. Read the interview after the jump.

Most of Sade’s songs you sample on BLVCK Diamond Life come from the early ’90s. Does that era mean something special to you?
When I first heard Sade I was four. ’92 or ’93, “No Ordinary Love,” “Cherish The Day,” those are the songs I heard as a kid. As I got older and I started digging for music I rediscovered her for myself like, Whoa this is who I’ve been looking for! It’s definitely a nostalgia thing, I saw myself looking at my childhood. In a way I’m putting a piece of my history, a part of me. When I was producing BLVCK Diamond Life I’d just be listening to those records. I flooded myself in her music at that time, I have her live DVDs and I kept myself in that zone when I was working on it. I didn’t listen to nothing else. Sade is my favorite band/artist, period.

Have you exhausted Sade samples now?
I flipped a lot of songs working on this project. I kept it to eight because I wanted to keep it short and sweet, kind of like how her albums would be. The first Diamond Life album was nine songs. I’ve been flipping Sade since I started making beats. I started producing to make beats for myself. I’ve been rapping since I was five, I was on my pops’ album In A Major Way and I’ve been writing ever since then. I put an album out in 2006 with my cousin B-Slimm, it was a Bay Area slight classic in some people’s eyes. I’m still working with him, I talk to him every day. It’s true family. That’s another reason I connect with Sade, they always kept it true with the same band. That’s how we get down, you know, in real life. Loyalty.

What was it like growing up with E-40 as a dad?
It was pretty cool to be completely honest, seeing the things I’ve seen and experiencing the things I’ve experienced and learning from him and being raised by him. It was a blessing. But he’s always telling me to go the opposite way and do my own thing, not necessarily the opposite way of him but just to do me in general. We’re two different people and I have a style different than him, I think that automatically puts me in my own lane. We’re still partners, we work together every day. On a professional level, on a friendship level, it’s all a special thing.

There was a national hyphy moment a couple years ago that seems to have passed. What do you think about the current state of Bay Area rap music?
I feel like it’s at a good place right now. Sometimes you gotta destroy and rebuild. During the whole hyphy thing was some of the most creative music of the last ten years coming out of the Bay. It became a trend and then it got destroyed. It’s still going on to this day, like some of the songs we did on Revenue Retrievin still have those elements. It’s uptempo music and it still gets the same reaction, people still go crazy like you see in the videos because that’s really the culture. People get excited that way, they let their hair down. That still goes down, it’s just not so much of a trendy thing anymore.

Is there a connection between the music you make and fashion, the clothing lines that are supporting you?
From when the BLVCK Diamond Life idea came to me to how it came together perfectly, basically this is like my dream. I seen it, I saw the vision and it came together. I think the whole thing was a blessing, it was just a natural situation. BLVCK Scale and Diamond Supply both originate in the Bay, they’re both fans of my music and I’m a fan of their brands and we’re all fans of Sade. So it all made sense.

Interview: Droop-E