Dogg Pound’s Roscoe: Under Tha Influence [Interview]
Vancouver, BC – Roscoe came up on the heels of some of the biggest legends in West Coast rap history. Philly raised him and under the influence of his older brother Kurupt and The Dogg Pound, Roscoe made waves in the early 2000’s with his ode to California on the widely popular “I Love Cali (In The Summertime).”
As of today, he has a handful of albums and mixtapes under his belt, has worked with the upper echelon of producers and rappers and has earned himself prestige in the West Coast rap game.
We sat down with Scoe in mid-December to get the goods on a few topics during the Vancouver stop of the Moon Rock Tour with Kurupt. He spoke on his recent album Tha Influence, what it’s like working with Dr. Dre and why he’s the one and only Roscoe. Peep that below.
“To me, it’s not about being a star or celebrity, being a rich man or about money…it’s about being free. Being free from all of the shackles of holding your feelings inside.” – Roscoe
Interview conducted by KassKills for HipHopCanada
HipHopCanada: How do you like it here in Vancouver?
Roscoe: I love it. Yea. It’s better than Whist…I won’t say that out loud.
HipHopCanada: You didn’t like Whistler?
Roscoe: Weather wise…I like it here. I like Canada period. This is my first time in Canada, so I’m enjoying it and the whole thing.
HipHopCanada: You’re on tour with your big bro Kurupt…how’s the Moon Rock Tour been so far?
Roscoe: Rocky…and moony. Definitely cloudy. Good cloudy thing.
HipHopCanada: How has the smoke been in Vancouver since you’ve been here?
Roscoe: Let me see…[Pulls out bags of weed] I got one bag…one empty one, another bag and the homies took a bag. We about to go to the dispensary to pick up some more bags so, you know? This ain’t even our shit, this ain’t even what we here for. This is just love and hospitality. We got some Death Bubba [Laughs] but we smoke so much Moon Rock, it’s ridiculous.
HipHopCanada: Let talk about your album Tha Influence…
Roscoe: See the the thing with Tha Influence is like a four disc theme thing. I didn’t know it was gonna be more than a trilogy. There’s Tha Influence – the mixtape and I feel like people love to hear good rapping over good beats so, for the mixtape I had the biggest name producers and some no name producers with the best beats ever come together and give me some hell-fire shit. I rapped on it and I rapped my ass off like I was back in Philly, East coast style. The difference between Tha Influence Album and the mixtape is that Tha Influence mixtape is star-studded production and Tha Influence Album is star-studded features. I had a lot of my in-house producers create the music the way that I wanted it to be. I actually recreated about four records from the mixtape for the album but just with different beats and a different vibe for the album versions. Too Short, Clyde Carson, Kurupt of course, Kobe, K-Young, Xzibit… all these cats came to the table to jump on my shit.
It’s funny, I remember WC was like, “Damn… yo nigga, I just wanna apologize.” And I was like “What?” He’s like “I just wanna apologize for not being apart of that mixtape”. To me that was the highest honour to see the mixtape actually get the reaction of my peers and some of my predecessors and my mentors coming to me and telling me how much they liked what I was doing. Even Snoop was like “You know, I woulda done the same thing”. The way I did it, you know? Dr. Dre made it all possible.
HipHopCanada: You’ve been known to pay tribute to Dre on a record, what’s your relationship like with him?
Roscoe: Ya, uh huh. He’s the Doctor. I’m definitely very careful what I say to Dr. Dre – he’s hip-hop royalty. To me, not just hip-hop royalty but black royalty, you know? He worked his way from the bottom up and he earned his kingdom and his empire. So when I talk to him I try to listen more than talk. You know, there’s not too much I could tell him that he don’t already know. There’s a lot more that I could learn from him than I could tell him. If I’m quiet, it’s because I’m listening and watching.
There’s actually times when I’ve been quiet…one time me, Stat Quo, Game, some other people, we was all in the studio together – I can’t say who all was there but – we were making a record and I got quiet and I realized, I don’t think I like this song. So I’m sitting in the corner like, I don’t wanna be held responsible when Dr. Dre wake up in the morning and play this record back and listen to it and be like “this shit is wack” or “who’s writing this shit?” ’cause we in there just creating from scratch. So I figured if I don’t agree with the concept then I will fall back. And Dre turned around and asked me “Roscoe, what you think?” asking everybody’s opinions and I’m like…”oh no, I don’t wanna tell Dr. Dre that I don’t like the record.” But that’s fake, you know? Punk shit. You gotta be honest. So I be like “you know, it’s just ok to me” and he’s like “oh, for real?” He’s someone who deserves to have a lot of pride in himself and integrity and dignity and he’s a bigger man than you would believe because he didn’t get offended by that, he was like “man, turn that one off. Pull up another one”. And I was like “wow”. I was getting phone calls the next day like, “everybody’s saying that you told Dr. Dre that you didn’t like the record”. Well, yeah. He didn’t care, he wanted honesty, straight up. And that’s what it’s like working with Dre. See you gotta be honest with yourself in order to be honest with Dre because he can tell that you’re lying. He can read your body language, he can tell if you sweatin’ in ya armpits, you know? It’s levels, that’s he final level. Working with Dre, there’s nothing like it. Nothing else like it. I can’t say any other producer in the world can produce like Dr. Dre. Not since from like back in the day…Quincy and Barry White. He’s at that level, a modern day messiah of hip-hop….I believe, in my eyes. He gave life to so many…Tupac, Snoop, even Eazy. Dre is apart of music, not just apart of hip-hop…he’s apart of history. He’s apart of culture. Dr. Dre is a household name.
HipHopCanada: I think now more than ever he’s a household name…
Roscoe: I don’t believe so, I think always. He’s always been the one. I think people have doubted him but some people are just not that good at predicting the future. There’s people who could actually see the future. You could see Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen as little girls and know they were gonna be some gorgeous young ladies when they grow up, as long as they take care of themselves. And look at them today, one of them is gorgeous.
HipHopCanada: Which one?
Roscoe: I’m not gonna say…I don’t want that one to get mad at me.
HipHopCanada: So you came up in the West coast by way of Philly…
Roscoe: I ain’t from Philly…who said that? [Laughs]
HipHopCanada: Come on, man….
Roscoe: I’m just playin’…you didn’t know? You thought you was interviewing that Roscoe? [Laughs] Roscoe Something-or-other. There’s only one Roscoe. Like there’s only one Brandy. There’s Brandy Tisedale, there’s Brandy whatever-this-and-that but there’s only one Brandy, know what I’m saying? There’s only one Roscoe. In the entire universe. See, as far as putting out music, I own it. Paid for it. Perpetually throughout the universe. You know how hard it is to own something, throughout the universe? You can’t go to Mars and put out a record and say your name is Roscoe, you gotta add something to it. That’s why there’s Roscoe Dash, Roscoe Umali, Roscoe P Coldchain. Even though I changed my name to Scoe, I still own the name Roscoe. You can’t do nothing with it, it’s just gonna sit on the shelf until I’m ready to put it back on, like a hat. Real talk.
HipHopCanada: Did you always know you wanted to rap?
Roscoe: Since I was about 9-10.
HipHopCanada: You grew up surrounded by rappers, you must have been influenced by…
Roscoe: Tupac…Tupac. My brother was always my mentor but my actual idol was Tupac.
HipHopCanada: What were some of your earliest music memories?
Roscoe: Elvis Presley – “Jailhouse Rock”, “That’s All Right”…Elvis Presley was probably the first superstar to me…other than Sesame Street. I was that young when I was into Elvis, I was about 3. I was into Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson. They have influence as far as how high I set my sights as far as how big I wanna be. I don’t know if that’s how big I want to be as a rapper, I don’t even know how far I want to go with rapping. I know that I am a rapper, no matter what. I’ve done it, I’ve been there…I could switch and do something else now. I could start doing books, movies. I’m more into producing now and I think that’s probably what I get the most from being that type of fan. Growing up being that type of fan. I was a fan of people who had creative control, I was a fan of people who I felt like were free. To me, it’s not about being a star or celebrity, being a rich man or about money…it’s about being free. Being free from all of the shackles of holding your feelings inside. I think the ultimate reason why people do music or any other form of art is to express themselves creatively. So to be able to do that and get paid, that’s a blessing. For people to be able to relate to it, even more so. That means that you are expressing yourself because either they relate to it or even if they can’t to they can sorta understand you. To me that’s what I do it for. I do it for the love and the freedom, mental freedom, financial freedom. I have a lot of responsibilities but I have no commitments. Anything I’ve ever done I can undo…good or bad. I’ve done a lot of great things in my life but I could undo that by robbing a liquor store. I coulda been a robber my whole life but I could undo that that buy running in a burning building and saving a baby…and become a hero. I dunno.
HipHopCanada: Sounds like you understand your potential.
Roscoe: I realize everyone’s potential. I realize that everything is energy…everything is energy and attitude. Positive and negative energy has nothing to do with that they’re opposite energies, it has everything to do with positive energy feeds negative energy and that’s why they clash. As much as I know, I don’t know.
HipHopCanada: What can we expect from your set?
Roscoe: Energy. I be trying to drip sweat on my hand, from my face and when we leave sweat on the stage I know we did a good job. That James Brown.
Interview conducted by KassKills for HipHopCanada
“That’s what we do, man, we’re like storytellers. We tell you stories from the streets. Whether we did it before when we was young or we heard it from one of the homies telling us a tale of what he been through. It’s all in having fun and creating a movie like vibe to tell a tale from the streets.” – Kurupt
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