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Westside
08-02-2007, 10:40 AM
Crooked I
So Amazing
Interview: Conan Milne


When Bun B says youíre ďone of the best MCsĒ in hip-hop, and Just Blaze gushes over your skills in his MySpace blog, you must be doing something right. For Crooked I, though, all this praise has unfortunately been overshadowed by never-ending album setbacks and industry politics. Itís hard to believe it has been 12 years since the Long Beach native signed his first deal with Virgin Records in 1995. Although he was touted as the next great West Coast lyricist, the pop label was unsure of how to market Crooked and put him on the shelf until his contract expired four years later. The Young Boss wouldnít be a free agent for long, though, as Death Row Records founder, Marion ďSugeĒ Knight, signed him in 2000 after hearing a freestyle on Sway and King Techís L.A. radio program, The Wake Up Show. Due to Sugeís various legal issues and perpetual incarceration, Crookedís debut, Say Hi To The Bad Guy, was never released. After another four years in limbo and a sparse few guest appearances (DPGís ďGangsta RapĒ and Ja Ruleís ďConnectedĒ), the frustrated MC started his own imprint, Dynasty Entertainment, in 2004. Since then, heís been on a mission to get heard. Last year, after building his buzz on a grassroots level through his Young Boss mixtape series, Crooked landed a Senior Vice President title at Treacherous Records, where he will release his long awaited debut, B.O.S.S. (Beginning of Something Serious). In preparation for the fall release, the business savvy lyricist concocted an ingenious marketing plan that included dropping a new freestyle every week on his MySpace page as part of his Hip-Hop Weekly series. Grabbing the attention of industry insiders with his lyrical skills, Crooked I is set to take his spot alongside the best in the West. XXLMag.com talks with Cali kingpin about his resurgent career, debut album and earning respect from hip-hop legends.

Youíve been rapping for over a decade without ever releasing an album. How have you been able to maintain a fan base?
I donít know, man. Sometimes people like to root for the underdog. But Iíve been pretty consistent over the years. Thatís hard to do because youíve got a lot of dudes who put out records and after the first two they start falling off. Also, Iím everywhere, man. Iím very visible. I donít hide from the people. A lot of artists come to town, stay in a Beverly Hills hotel, go to a little restaurant on the strip and sneak back in their hotel room. I donít do that. I see whatís going on. I think fans appreciate it when you fuck with them like that. Why should a fan really support you if they donít even see you and you never extend your hand?

There are rumors your Death Row album, Say Hi To The Bad Guy, is going to be leaked soon. Is that true?
Somebody called me yesterday and gave me the number of the guy whoís supposedly leaking it. Iím gonna call him and hopefully have a good conversation. If not, thereís gonna be a problem. I just think itís real disrespectful if you put out a record when somebodyís put in a lot of hard work and you donít include them on the profit. I worked hard on Say Hi To The Bad Guy. There were nights when I did four or five songs in a row. I had just gone to sleep and Suge would call me at three in the morning saying, ďYo, can you come back up here? Thereís a hot beat.Ē So I got to go from Long Beach to Hollywood to record. There was a lot of passion going into that record. I would love to see some profit off it.

How beneficial has the Hip-Hop Weekly freestyle series been for your career?
Ah, man! Itís been very beneficial. I get people from all over the world telling me theyíre loving it [and] it helps them get through the week. Weíve got fans that are disappointed with the state of hip-hop right now and the quality of the music. This is a reason to listen to lyrics again. Itís been a big thing for the buzz. Iím out here doing shows, writing for other artists and finishing up my own album. But Iíve been consistent with them Weeklyís. I havenít put a pen to a piece of paper for none of those Weeklyís. This is Jigga [style] every time.

Are you doing a lot of ghostwriting?
I get a lot of offers, but I donít do a whole lot of it. Keeping my buzz is a full time job. Right now, Iím too busy. There is a dude I would like to ghostwrite for and thatís Snoop. I could give him that í07 Long Beach shit. íCause itís a whole new day [in Long Beach]. Itís not 64 Impalas on Daytonís. That shit is on the rack collecting dust right now. My niggas got Harleyís now. Itís not all khaki suits and Chuck Taylorís. We wear Dickies shorts. We donít always walk around looking mean all the time. Weíre out here having fun instead of being stuck on that same shit that came out in í94.

Itís funny you mention Snoop, because last year in an interview with Dubcnn.com, he downplayed your talent, suggesting you werenít on the level of Kurupt or Bad Azz. Did you ever talk to Snoop personally about that?
When he was saying that kinda stuff he didnít know [that] I wrote for Kurupt before. I reached out to [Snoop] through a couple of mutual people, though. I donít know what happened, man. Sometimes when you got a person of his caliber, you got people around him that may not want to see Crooked I and Snoop Dogg do anything together. They may feel threatened by that. That whole controversial interviewóthat was cold. I still feel like he should have called me if he had any of those types of thoughts about me. Now, at the same time, Iíma pure businessman. I donít have to like you to do business with you. Heís in the limelight. Heís a big celebrity. Iíve got lyrics and thatís something he needs right now. If he reached out on that tip it would be beneficial for the both of us. I do want to sit down with him regarding that interview because I never forgot that.

Youíve caught the ear of a lot of people with the Hip-Hop Weekly freestyles, including Bun B who recently praised you in an interview as ďone of the best MCs out there, period.Ē Howíd it feel to hear that?
Oh, man! Iíve got nothing but love and respect for Bun B. Heís a Southern legend. When someone like that gives you a compliment, it gives me direction and motivation for me to keep doing what Iím doing. Even the comment from Just Blaze in the [MySpace] blog he put togetheróthatís incredible, man. Just Blaze is one of the top producers in hip-hop right now. For him to say, ďYo, this dude is dopeĒóI never thought it would be like that. I never thought it would get that big. I just wanted to show the online community that Iíve got rhymes and [show] people that the West Coast isnít all about low-riders, khakis and Chuck Taylorís. We on some other shit and I think people need to know about it.

Have you spoken to Just Blaze?
Weíre communicating through emails. I need to get with him because itís over if I get on one of his beats. I donít know what the fuck Iíll do with it. It would beÖ wow! Youíve got Just Blaze, now what are you gonna do? You have to make sure that itís hot. I would love to collaborate with Just. I heard heís got a situation on Atlantic [Records] right now. It might be big to see Treacherous/Atlantic, man.

When can we expect your debut, B.O.S.S., to finally drop?
We coming, man. Iíll be out there in late September, early October. I have a deal that I could put my signature on right now to get it started. I also have channels to put the record out without even finding a deal. I have other channels since Treacherous already has a relationship with Universal. The channels are there, dawg. Early October that shit will be on the streets. Thatís my word.


Link to the interview: http://www.xxlmag.com/online/?p=12571

kayitosway954
08-02-2007, 01:45 PM
Crooked I is bout 2 run tha West

thaincfan
08-02-2007, 02:26 PM
Dayum! he sounds dope.
These peeps stopping real hip hoppers from shining
thats why the whole hiphop industry died on the peeps

LOC
08-02-2007, 09:22 PM
i wana know wat he wrote for rupt

MB Rule
08-05-2007, 01:32 AM
hope this drops Im still waiting to hear his Death Row release dude is one of my fav MCs

Lexx_Luciano
08-05-2007, 04:06 AM
He's been looooong overdue & I really give mad propz to Crooked I becuz he really does keep it conistent. All the songs I've heard dat came out even since his death row dayz are still on point & fresh. I believe dat Game just paved Crooked I's way to put the west back on the map! Crooks the westcoast version of Nas in my opinion.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=DO8EluWUDwM
Fucc Kustapo???

LOC
08-05-2007, 06:53 PM
That wasnt a freestyle, seen and heard it before...but still sick rhymes forFuck kustapo? possibly talkin about th German Regime or Kurupt/Pentagon/Kustapo...maybe.

Duno wat he so mad at kurupt for, snoop sed dat shit not kurupt...and kurupt been on a positive buzz for a minute...

Wonder wats up with that...hope crook doze it big tho mayne

Westside
08-06-2007, 10:46 AM
That wasnt a freestyle, seen and heard it before...but still sick rhymes forFuck kustapo? possibly talkin about th German Regime or Kurupt/Pentagon/Kustapo...maybe.

Duno wat he so mad at kurupt for, snoop sed dat shit not kurupt...and kurupt been on a positive buzz for a minute...

Wonder wats up with that...hope crook doze it big tho mayne

I dont think he got problems with Kurupt i think he tried to reach out to Snoop tru Kurupt.

Montana
08-06-2007, 04:08 PM
Evolution Of A B.O.S.S Wuz Sick, Defo Gon Cop B.O.S.S Crooked Iz Dope.