A friend had a cousin who was dating Leon Sylvers III of the Sylvers, then on the Solar Records imprint, and he took a liking to the music I was making in my bedroom. He saw the raw talent and took me under his wing. I worked with him after he left Solar in the early Nineties. I started hooking up with the Westside Connection and MC Eiht. It was after the big Biz Markie sampling debacle, when all those rappers had to get away from sampling without paying. All these West Coast rappers did live instrumentation using cats who could play and that’s how I was involved.
That was your day job?
Nah. My day job was working at the Red Cross graveyard shift. I worked at OfficeMax, Fuddruckers, you name it. You got to finance your dream in a certain way, and my parents give me some good training and taught me how to get a job and not take handouts. We wanted to take girls out and buy clothes, so me and my friends had jobs. It was never about the job — whether it was at Sears or JCPenney — we just wanted to pad our pockets with money and take girls out to clubs.
“I worked at OfficeMax, Fuddruckers, you name it. You got to finance your dream in a certain way.”
Were you a fan of G-funk when it first dropped?
I loved it when G-funk came. We were heavily influenced by East Coast rap. See that was the difference: West Coast rap embraced East Coast rap while the East Coast didn’t. That’s what caused some of the rifts and ridiculous beefs that happened. We weren’t being embraced. Our radio stations played Run-DMC, Rakim and KRS-One, but they wouldn’t play anything like Ice-T or Egyptian Lover. G-funk was a welcome situation because the music was us. We saw people like Snoop and knew people like Snoop around in our neighborhoods. We identified with the hairstyles, the dress code and lingo. Cats like Warren G, MC Eiht and especially DJ Quik, it was a great welcome to us; we could relate to them and interpret hip-hop through that prism in a way West Coasters like me were comfortable with.
What was your favorite session work at that time?
Westside Connection’s “Let It Reign” off the Thicker Than Water soundtrack, a regional late G-funk classic, and some MC Eiht records from back in the day. I got my credit and got respect.
Then what led you to get out of hip-hop then and go for yourself?
One day I was at Can Am studios in the Valley. It was the studio that a lot of the Death Row cats recorded at. I was there doing a session with Westside Connection. It was with Mack 10 and his producers, and lots of testosterone was in the room. Snoop came through with tha Dogg Pound and it was a lot of testosterone, with all these guns out on the engineering board.