SoManyShrimp: Boldy James Interview

Conducted January 4, 2012.

Boldy James’ 2011 release Trapper’s Alley: Pros and Con’s was my favorite full-length from last year. Thanks to a gift for evocative writing, and a subtle, low-key poetic sensibility, Boldy released one of the year’s most powerful records. I’ve spoken about it in detail on Pitchfork, but if you missed it last year, you may want to #GetInTune.

Tell me a little bit about your background, when you were born, and where specifically you grew up.

I’m one of them ’82 boys, you know, I was born in 1982, in Atlanta, Georgia. Both of my parents were born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. My father, he used to work down south in Atlanta, and he got shot on duty, working this job, and we ended up moving back home when I was like one. So I’ve been here all my life, all my people from here. He just went down there to seek work. I grew up Detroit, Michigan raised. Through my wonder years. As a kid, I grew up on the East side, Belvedere, between Forest and Graves. Off of East Warren. When stuff started mattering, like my pre-teenage years, all my teenage years, chasing money and girls, you know, all that hanging out stuff, I was on the West side of Detroit Michigan, 6 Mile, 7 Mile, Evergreen, Southfield. We call that the drug zone. That’s my neighborhood. Curtis Curb served.

What kind of music were you into as a kid, before you were thinking about doing music yourself?

I’ve always been a big fan of the music, but as a kid — I always wanted to rap — but I was kind of shy as a kid. What I used to do is, I used to listen to Heavy D and the Boys, MC Hammer was popping back then. N.W.A. and all them were the only ones on some gangster shit so I used to listen to all that. My father, he let me listen to pretty much whatever I wanted to, as long as I was respectful and didn’t let the shit reflect on my actions, and I wasn’t running around the house acting like an asshole. He used to let me have some freedom with the shit. So I used to loop the beats. Back in the day, when I was like 5 years old, my man Brian and Fiddy from the East Side, I used to be their DJ. I used to take the beats and loop them on my cassette player. If somebody had a song and any of the beat played without any vocals on it – even if it was only three seconds or four seconds of it – I’d just loop it up and cut it and take it down the street and let them rap on it. It used to have spaces in it, and it wasn’t on-time, it was off-beat, but it’s all we had back in the day. And classwork, my spelling words, reading comprehension and all that…that’s how I started writing raps. I used to write raps off of my spelling words, so I could learn the meaning of them and how to spell them. Because if you use in a word in a sentence, and don’t know the meaning, you can use the words around it to get the definition of the word you were looking for.

On those beat tapes, what were a couple examples of the tracks you were using?

DJ Quik, “Born and Raised in Compton.” Old EPMD beats. I’ve always been a big hip-hop fan, music is what always kept me grounded, no matter what I’m going through temporarily. The music will get me out of that little spell that I’m in, whether I’m in a bad mood or what not. The music always cheer me up, give me a state of peacefulness. I’ll be serene when I listen to the music, know what I mean?

How were you coming across tracks like Quik and EPMD, was it through the radio?

I had a big cousin, a cousin named Huey, we was best friends. He used to get drug money, he was part of one of the biggest Detroit criminal enterprises. They were some gangsters, and my cousin used to get money selling cocaine and shit. So he would have all the tapes, nice cars, always giving me money, buying me shit. I’d just go in his tape box and go through his stuff and be looping the beats off of the tapes he was buying with drug money.

Back on when you were talking about spelling words, and starting to rap – how old were you when you first started thinking, like, I want to be a rapper, that’s what I want to do?

I was in the sixth grade. I had a homeboy named Michael Officer. He was from Six Mile too, but he was from the other side of Evergreen, he was from Stout and 6 Mile. We went to the same middle school. We had a talent show, and his name was … [pauses to remember] Glory. The Glorious One. And I was the Golden Child back in the day. Me and him, we did a talent show, and we won the talent show. Everybody was digging what we was on. I was about 11 or 12, Jay-Z had an instrumental, the “Dead Presidents” instrumental. And that’s what we rocked the show to. The crowd just went nuts. Ever since then, everybody always told me I had an ill voice and I should keep rapping, I should pursue it, because I was actually good at it. I used to play ball, to play basketball, that’s what I thought I was going to do growing up, I thought I was going to go to the league. Like anybody else from the ghetto who got skills. Big fan of Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas. Of course you going to think you going to the league, if can’t nobody in the neighborhood beat you at nothing you do when you get on the hoop court. I’m always putting dudes off the court and making them sit down and get next. I thought I was going to [the NBA], I didn’t know I was going to grow up and be in the streets selling drugs, getting caught up catching cases and going through all the bullshit that the streets will present to you. To making the transition and trying to do the music.

To this day, I don’t have both my feet out the street yet. I’m trying to really get on my music, so this will be what took me out the street and fed my kids, but right now, it’s a tight fight, and it’s a thin line between me being a rapper and me getting caught up and being made an example of, like the rest of the people that you hear about, all the tragedy and the bullshit. I guess my family is my biggest blessing right now. Because they keep me grounded, they keep me out of trouble and they keep me out of harms way. Because I’m so worried about disappointing them. I don’t want to let them down. I’m just trying to be the best father I can be. Because that’s more important than any money to me. That’s more important than any cameras flashing, bright lights and red carpet and all that shit. I don’t give a fuck about that shit over my family. I gotta do what I gotta do for them first and foremost, before this rap shit, my family is more important. I’m a god-fearing man, and there’s my family, and then the family — the family is my friends who never turned their back on me, and always been in my corner. I consider them as family, because at a certain point in every man’s life you learn about foes and friends, and most of your friends become your foes in the long run. You only get a couple few that’s real friends so you might as well treat em and cherish em like family.

A lot of what you’re saying comes through in your music. Which reminds me, I wanted to know who has the verse at the end of “Make It Work”?

That’s my ten-year old daughter. Her name is Gabrielle.

I thought that was one of the best child-rap verses I’ve heard on a rap album.

My daughter, she really wants to do that. She admires what I do so much, and she’s so gorgeous. She looks at the kids on TV and that’s what she talks about, she wants to be on TV and she really wants to rap. She’s not even talking about modeling and girly stuff, she just wants to be rapping. I guess she likes what I do, like it interests her, really grabs her interest. She’s all-in. That’s why I got to be careful what I do around her, know what I mean.

When you first started rapping, where there any rappers that you saw yourself identifying with, or that you saw yourself following in their footsteps?

There’s the three greats, Biggie, Jay-Z and Nas. Because that’s my era, I’m from that golden era, Nas’s, the Jay-Z’s, the Tupac’s, the Big L’s, the Big Pun’s, The Snoop Dogg’s, the C-Bo’s, the Mack 10’s, the Scarface’s. Those kind of cats is who I grew up listening to. I’m not going to say they had a whole lot of influence on my lifestyle, but they definitely had a lot of influence on the music that I make, for sure. Because I’ve always been a person that knows the truth. It’s not hard for me to decipher the truth and reality and fiction. So another man’s life, that’s what he’s going through. A lot of the times, they don’t even be keeping it real in their raps, they just make good music. But I know there’s a couple real niggas that really live that shit that they’re writing about, so I gravitate more towards that because that’s the shit that I be out here on. Words can never pinpoint real life 110% exactly. But when you really live the type of lifestyle I do, it’s not hard to write a rap about what you go through. Like Jay said, I’m just trying to write my way out the hood. I’m really in the ghetto, I really see all the bullshit going on every day. I’ve really gotta pray for these little kids growing up nowadays, because they don’t have a clue. They’re flying off the handle, loose cannon boys. They’re not going to think twice, all the crack babies growing up, and they’re dopes now. They’re doing stronger drugs, they kind of out their mind, insane and blind to the facts of life in general, so I just try to stay out their way.

Somebody try to box me in and put me in a jam, shiiit, that’s gonna be their ass, because I’ve got to make it home. I’m not naturally the aggressor, I’m just always the addressor. I address the matter. People bring shit my way, and I just deal with it accordingly. I’m really a fun, silly, type of guy man. I’m all about having a good time for the most part. But everybody’s not, and a lot of people can’t stomach when you’re living your life and they can’t do what you’re doing, or they’re jealous or envious of shit that you got going on because you work twice as hard to get what you got. Because like my pops told me, you can’t ever expect something for nothing, and that’s what everybody out here on. They’re trying to get something for nothing. I really put work in out here, so before I let someone take something off my plate or remove me from the situation that I got going on, that I’m needed in – being a parent to my kids – I’d do life a hundred times or die another hundred times, because I’m a real nigga man, I can’t leave my kids empty handed, leave them stranded, I can’t be not around to give them the guidance and shit they need so they can grow up and have a million excuses to why they’re not doing something they should be doing. Why they’re doing something they have no business doing. My kids are not about to be talking about my daddy dead, or my daddy did a hundred years. I can’t avoid the way I live a lot of the time, but I try my hardest, and I stay prayed up, that’s my armor, that’s my shield out here. I really believe in God, man, that’s the only reason I’m here. I’ve been in a lot of life-threatening situations, and I’ve been through a lot of the bullshit that comes along with being out here in these streets. I don’t glorify none of that shit, I don’t try to make it cool to the youth. I try to scare the kids straight when I rap. You don’t want to go through this. This is not something that you want to do with your life. You should be trying to do something so that you’re not going through no shit like I go through. I had a fair shot too. Nobody told me not to not fuck up in school, not drop out, ain’t nobody tell me that I had to just be out here like this. But fact of the matter is, I’m out here right now and I’m dealing with it, bottom line. I’m a man about mine. Whatever decision I make is mine and I’m going to live with it.

This seems like something that comes across in your music. I was wondering if you could tell me what the process of recording that album last year was like. It’s a long record.

I was 28 when I dropped that CD. 28 grams is an ounce. Trapper’s Alley, everybody talks about trapping. I guess that’s country slang for hustling, grinding, selling drugs, just being in the trap, the game in general is a trap. So that’s why they say they’re trapping. Trapper’s alley is somewhere where, if you’re a Detroiter, downtown. By Greektown Casino, Trapper’s Alley. Everyone used to go down there and hang out with their families, do all type of little festivities. Those are the festival grounds down town. [Chuck] Inglish gave me the title, and I took it and ran with it because I really be trapping in the alley! I was one of them alley boys growing up. We used to flip on pissy mattresses and throw glass bottles at each other for fun, and shit. And now those same alleys I used to have fun in as a kid, that shit ain’t fun no more. ‘Cause they’re’s bodies dropping in those alleys and we’re serving junkies in those alleys. That’s how I feed my kids. When I’m in the booth, it’s like relief. It’s like my therapy. I’m freeing my evil demons, or something. I’ve got to get that shit off my mind, get it off my chest, before it builds up and all I’m thinking about is some negative-ass shit. I just try to get it off in my music. The process of recording the album was me and my man Brains. Brains, he did a lot of the tracks on Trapper’s Alley. He did a lot of the recording and the mixing on the project for me. That’s my dude. That’s my ace boon coon, that’s my ace in the hole. He’s originally from Jersey but he stays in Chicago. Me and him, we just make crazy music. We sit in the studio for weeks at a time, smoking weed, just vibing out to the music in the studio.

One thing I noticed about your rap style is its very uncluttered, your style is very straightforward. It seems like you imply a lot more than you say outright.

Yeah, I mean, I gotta shave points on it because I ain’t trying to go to jail. I gotta draw back on it. I can’t give it to you how I really want to give it to you sometimes, because I put myself in harms way.

Whats your writing process like? Do you just write in the studio?

Most of the songs that you hear, I write them on the spot in the studio when I hear the beat. Because when I’m not in the studio, I’m a full-time parent. I’ve got six kids and I’m married. I’m a married man with six kids. That’s what I’m doing, a majority of my day. Like right now, my big-head little son is trying to give me a hard time while I’m doing this interview, with his fat ass! Did you see the J. Dilla rebirth of Detroit video with me and Chuck?

Yeah, I did.

Did you see the little baby Chuck was holding?

Yeah, that’s him?

Yeah, that’s my son, that Bo J. That’s little Boldy James right there.

So how did you start recording with Chuck? You guys are related, right?

Yeah, Chuck is my cousin. Chuck is my real cousin. Me and Chuck, we had dreams of this since we’ve been little. I got deterred a little bit, by being the one to really be in the streets. Because Chuck did a good job staying out of the way—my Auntie and my Uncle did a hell of a job raising that young man. And what I mean by that is, they’re from Detroit and they know how Detroit can swallow you whole, and take you under. But they didn’t let Chuckie go under, they kept him busy. They never lied to him, let him know what it was. And Chuck decided on his own that he didn’t want to be out on the streets and shit. But he always had me. To be the one to lead that example and let him know, this ain’t what’s up. “I’m only out here because I only need a couple dollars, I’m not trying to be out here my whole life though– but I end up stuck out here, cuz,” I’m a prisoner of circumstance, you know what I’m saying. And Chuck, he always made beats. He would give me all of his beats. He’d go to school or when he was living out in Mount Clemens he’d get to me in the CD, “I got a new beat CD for you cuz, check this out!” All my dudes used to be on some hating shit, like, “man that shit alright, that shit ain’t dope like that,” and I’m thinking, “man, that shit dope as hell, and that’s my little cousin.”

So I ain’t pay that shit no attention. Everybody was always hating on Chuck, hating on Chuck. And I’d be sitting there defending him, like y’all are not going to keep talking about my cousin, you know, fuck the music, this still my little cousin at the end of the day. And then he end up blowing, and everybody start sucking his dick out the blue, because he had came up! I’m like, I been knew the shit was gonna happen! I was supposed to be right there with him, but he and Mikey Rocks, they put together the dynamic duo and they did their thing and burnt this motherfucker down. So my job is easier than what people think it really is, because I got Mike and Chuck in my back pocket. They’ve been on damn near three world tours already, and they only put out one album. And they just put it out this summer. If I wouldn’t have been out here like this, I probably would have been had shit done. But who knows, everything happens for a reason, you feel me. I’m just glad that I’m getting the recognition that I deserve, because I’ve been doing this shit forever man. I’ve been writing rhymes and recording for so long, I’ve got like over four hundred songs recorded, solid. That’s why I put out so many songs on my first mixtape. Because 28 songs ain’t nothing to do. Chuck will tell you. I recorded a twenty song EP in three days.

How long have you been recording stuff for?

Shit, since I’ve been fifteen years old, so maybe the past 14 years.

Why didn’t you release anything before that? You just didn’t have access?

Nah I always had access to putting material out, I didn’t want to put nothing out and not feel like it was a solid enough project. I’m picky with the music, I’m not just going to put out anything. And the reason it took me so long is because I really just got serious. I used to go to the studio, I’m telling you, just for the sole purpose of peace of mind. Just to get out the neighborhood for a minute. Because I don’t go out, I don’t club. The only time I go to clubs is when I’m actually performing. I used to go out when I was a kid, and bullshit used to happen all the time. Motherfuckers getting shot and pistol-whipped and everybody always want to fight and get to pulling out knives and shit. I’m not a big fan of that shit, like I say. This hood shit, it look cute and fun to everybody that don’t really go through this shit. If you really going through this shit, real talk, you don’t want nothing but out of this shit. When you’ve gone through this like I do.

How do you think about what kind of beats you choose?

It’s just got to feel right. You would know a record that’s right up your alley, that’s suitable to you, because you feel it in your bones. It complements your style. When you hear it in your head, you’re like oh, that’s me. By the time you get into the song pretty good, you’ll be able to tell whether or not it’s the one, or it’s just some bullshit you need to ball up and shoot in the trash. You can feel it in your bones, you can feel it in your soul. That’s why I don’t particularly try to chase hits and write shit that’s friendly to everybody else’s ears. If you don’t fuck with the shit that I be on, then that’s your motherfuckin’ problem. I gotta be happy with this shit first and foremost before I put the material out. So at the end of the day, fuck you! You don’t like it, fuck you. Know what I’m saying?

Do you have a favorite track off of Trapper’s Alley, or one that had a personal importance to you?

Of course “I Sold Dope All My Life” is one of my favorite joints off of Trapper’s Alley. It’s the song that really stands out the most on the CD. And then of course I like “Concrete Connie” because there’s a real message in that song, it’s the truth, I go through all kinds of shit with my wife because I be in the streets and gone so much trying to get money. She don’t understand that shit, they don’t work, we don’t eat, shit, you feel me? I gotta do what I gotta do, with or without her. You’re my wife for a reason, I ain’t trying to go nowhere, I ain’t trying to leave you. But if you can’t deal with what’s going on, just let me know. Because the streets, she always open arms to me. Every time I walk out this door she welcomes me. You, you’re the one giving me the hard time. And this bitch don’t love nobody, she’s the coldest bitch you’ll ever meet in your life, so at the end of the day I got two bitches. If you can’t deal with me having two bitches, you can get the fuck on and I’ll just deal with my main bitch, which is the streets, which is the concrete, that’s why I called her Connie. Because it’s concreatures, know what I’m saying?

It seems like work ethic is a a big theme in your record, that’s really important to you. Was that something from your family…

My father gave me there rules. One was never lie to me. Two, always look a man in his eyes when you talking to him. And three, you always got to work twice as hard. For real. My father busted his ass to at least make sure I was in the right state of mind for worldly shit. He let me know what really goes on in the world and what’s important. He let me know all those gym shoes and all that jewelry, all that shit really don’t matter. It don’t matter to somebody that knows the truth and is a family oriented guy, that’s all that matters. As long as your kids eat every day, got clothes on their back, a roof on their head, water they can clean themselves up in and have morals and values, all that other shit don’t matter. It just come with the territory.

Is there anything else you wanted to talk about?

Trapper’s Alley was a solid project. I can bet the house that more people felt that than didn’t. There’s more people that was rocking with Trapper’s Alley than was knocking Trapper’s Alley. And this – see it was Trapper’s Alley, Pro’s and Cons, the Quikcrete Ready Mixtape. This one is Consignment: Favor for a Favor, the Redi-Rock Mixtape. I’m ready to get more personal on this one, and let people know more of who I am, and have a little bit more fun with the music. Because Trapper’s Alley was really for me. That really wasn’t for y’all. It had to hit a certain spot with me. That shit came from my heart, bro. From the intro to “Long Run” to “Dice Game” to “Ground Beneath My Feet” to the crazy skits from The Wire that was on there – because you know, Bodie was on The Wire and I was Boldy before the Wire came out, I got my name from my homie who got killed on my block, his name was Boldy James. His name was James Osley III and my name is James Jones III. And he was the first one to ever throw me some work and fuck with me on the coke, but he didn’t rap, and I rapped, and I used to hustle. So I took his name and ran with it. He ended up getting killed, so now the name’s got sentimental meaning and value to it. Because he really was one of my favorite big homies from the neighborhood that was getting money. He was getting money, living life and showing up and proving. He wasn’t just talking me to death, he was standing behind his word. When he told me something, he meant it. To make a long story short, I know these cats was jealous of him and they set him up and killed him, and god bless his soul, he live through me now. Now I’m Boldy James and I took it from where he left off, and I’m trying to do big things from it and make him proud of me.

When is your next project coming out?

Sometime in February. It’s pretty much done, I have to call one or two people for a couple more features, to lay their verses, and we all be busy so it’s hard to catch up with these boys. It’s pretty much done. We’re going through the mixing process right now. Hopefully when you get that Consignment you’ll be fucking with it as much as you did Trapper’s Alley.

Before you go, I wanted to ask you about “There Goes the Neighborhood.” 

Yeah, see, because “There Goes The Neighborhood,” that was really for me. Y’all can really give a fuck about all those names and those people, but those people really exist. All those names from “Lifetime” and “There Goes the Neighborhood,” those are real people. They’re real people. They’re not names I made up because it rhymed, I’ve just always been good at putting shit together, wording things. I’m a real intricate type of guy, I’m real detail-[oriented]. I guess I made that song good, but that’s some real shit. That hurt when I hear that song. Because a lot of them boys are never coming home. When I say “There goes the neighborhood,” that’s what I meant. It used to be twenty of us, thirty of us standing out on the block. Now I’m lucky if even six of us can get together to stand out on no block because it’s so many of them dead and locked up. All the people I knew growing up, ain’t none of them around right now, bro. I’m talking about whole high school, middle school classes of people that are dead or incarcerated. Detroit went from being the richest city in America to the bottom of the rankings.

Now we’re like two states from being the poorest in America. Because Detroit damn near bottomed out. The crack and the crime took over the city of Detroit, so that’s what Detroit runs on. If you see somebody around here doing their thing and living pretty good and it’s looking like they’re doing good for themselves, it’s because they’re involved in this underworld. It’s not no jobs in the city. And if you’re not educated enough to get a job on the outskirts or in the suburbs, nine times out of ten you sell crack like the rest of us. And you’re out here grinding trying to get it how you live, because there’s not no opportunity around here.

SoManyShrimp La Chat Interview : “They owe me millions.”

Shortly before her first ever show  in Brooklyn this past Saturday, I had the chance to sit down and chop it up with the Queen of Memphis La Chat about female visibility in southern rap, her favorite Memphis albums, and her 9 dogs.

To start, could you just briefly introduce yourself for anyone who isn’t familiar with you?

For those that don’t know me, “Chickenhead” – that was me. I was originally part of Three Six Mafia’s Hypotized Minds crew. “Baby Mama,” that was me. “2 Way Freak” that was me.  I also starred in the movie Choices. I did a solo album named Murder She Spoke in 2001, and I’ve done other albums since then.

I read that you first got involved with Three Six when Juicy J saw you at a school talent show, is that true?

Yeah, I think I was in the 9th grade. This started back when they were still underground, and I was doing talent shows and stuff like that. Really, this other rapper I knew told them about me, and that’s what made him [Juicy J] come out and see me. After that he called me one day and he was like “I want to hear you rap!” And I was like “You want to hear me rap? Uh… can you call back, my mom is in the room.” [laughs] So, he was like – Juicy, he’s got two characters. He’s “Juicy” and then he’s Jordan.  So he was like “aw man, you can’t rap?” and he hung up. So then I was like damn, I missed my chance. But he ended up calling back and this time he was Jordan, he was like “Hi, how are you doing? I want to hear you rap and see if you can buss a little rhyme.” So this time I went outside and said a little rap for him, after that  we went on dropping mixtapes and stuff like that, but I went out of town before they signed their major label deal. When I went out of town, they signed to Relativity Records, and that’s when they came out with the Three Six Mafia thing, “Turn The Club Up” and stuff like that. So by the time I got back in town, Juicy heard I was back in town because I was still doing street stuff and keeping my name out there, they came back and snatched me when they were doing Hypnotized Minds.

Do you remember the moment when you realized that rapping was more than a hobby for you, that it was something you could make a career out of?

I was in the 3rd grade when I wrote my first rap. It really was a poem, we were during black history and I had written a poem about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and everybody thought it was a rap. So after that I said it as a rap. From that point on I thought I could rap. When I was in the 7th grade I wrote a rap called “Peace In the Middle East,” and the rap was so good that my junior high school’s Principal had read it – he didn’t know to rap it – he read it over the intercom. I was pressing them up and passing them out and letting people read  them, giving them to teachers and lots of different people. So, from that point on I thought I was a rapper.

Who were the people that you looked to when you were coming up?

I loved MC Lyte, she was one of my biggest influences. She was my favorite. I portrayed her in talent shows – we had a show called Putting On The Hits in school one time, and I did MC Lyte. I imitated her.

What’s your favorite MC Lyte song?

“Cha Cha Cha.”  And “Kick This One For Brooklyn”

One of the things that stands out about you is the fact that you could be on a song with Yo Gotti, or Project Pat or Three Six Mafia and you come just as hard as they do. Is it a competitive thing for you?

No, it’s not! I hear that all of the time, people say I get on songs and I own them, they think that they’re actually my songs, and I think that it just goes along with my talent, showing that I’m a good artist. The road has been kind of rocky and rough, I’m pretty sure you’ll get to those questions – that’s why I haven’t got into what happened  with me and Three Six yet, because I’m sure we’ll get into that – but yeah, I get on those albums and I own them. I don’t know what their rap is going to sound like. They come in, we go in the studio, I drop my verse and that’s that. Then when I hear the song, people be like  “aw man you did this, you did that” so…

Did you ever record with someone where you heard what they came up with and you were like “Oh man, I’ve gotta go back and rewrite my verse”?

Never, but people do me like that all of the time! I’m like, why do people do that, because one thing about it is if you wrote it, you love it. I wouldn’t care if you go whatever, I’m not in competition when I do rap. When I spit that’s what I meant to say, that’s what I want to say, and it doesn’t matter what you said. But I’m not gonna lie, a lot of people go back and re-write! [laughs]

Another thing that stands out about you, in terms of your own albums, is how versatile you are. A lot of female rappers only rap about their sexuality, for example, but you can have a song like “Slob On My Cat” and then come with something hard or introspective.. Is that something that you put your mind towards?

You see, me – I’m a street rapper.  There’s a difference between a gangsta rapper and a street rapper, a street rapper is a person who talks about real life things that go on in the streets. That’s why I don’t get caught up in materialistic stuff – of course, materialistic is what I could be on if that’s what I’m on, but I like to represent for the struggle, I like to represent for people in the streets, I like to represent for real stuff. I like to rap and have someone feel like “Man, that’s me. That’s what I’m going through.” It’s easy to get on a track and  rap about I got this, I got that, but what about the ones that don’t  have it. Who’s going to represent them?  So that’s my title, I’m the hood homegirl.

Is that why you think you have such a strong following?

Yeah I really do, I really do. And I’ve never changed. I’ve been doing this professionally since 1998, and I’ve always been  me. And I see I’m doing good at it because I’m here in Brooklyn [laughs]!

It seems like during the late 90s/early 00s there were a lot more female rappers from the south – there was you, Mia X, Gangsta Boo, Jackie O, Khia, etc. Once southern rap blew up, though, it seemed like all of the female voices were pushed out – for a while the only people holding it down for the females were Trina, and maybe Diamond & Princess from Crime Mob.  Do you agree with that, and if so why do you think that is?

Yeah, I feel like there was a period when they tried to make rap a male dominated game, but really it comes from us having problems with our labels, having problems with the people who were running the labels,  and then it’s like  – I don’t know how the industry is, but it’s like if you’re dealing with somebody that’s a higher authority than you, I think they can pretty much put their foot on your neck. We can grind underground so hard, but it’ll be so hard for us to get that mainstream again – we don’t know if it’s because everybody that’s big in the industry and connected works together. Of course, I got in the industry – I already knew people that were in the industry, and I’ve already been a lot of places. I don’t know if once that happens, they know people and we have to still be grinding but it’s a grind and I ain’t messed up about it. I’d rather grind it out than to go through what I’ve went through because  they owe me millions.

Do you think it’s harder for females?

Yeah, very much so. I think it’s much harder. It’s really harder for females. I don’t know why, but it is.

So, we’ve hinted at it a little, but can you go into more detail about what happened between you and Three Six Mafia?

Yeah. I worked with them a good six years, and we were like family – it was more fun than business.  What happened was my album Murder She Spoke dropped and I sold over 250,000 copies and just never saw any royalties from it. I never saw a royalty check, period.  Never saw a royalty check from them. We did the movie Choices, never saw a royalty check. “Chicken Head” went platinum, yet I never saw any royalties. I was calling and trying to talk to them and be more friendly and family about it, given our relationship, but it was like they really weren’t hearing me. So I had to get my attorneys involved and the situation was going on so long  that I just asked to be released. I never saw a royalty check from Hypnotized Minds, after putting in all that work that y’all have heard me do. But, I thank them. They’re the ones that gave me the big break to get in the industry, so  from that point on I’ve just been doing what I do. I’ve worked with Yo Gotti, I’ve worked with Nikia Shine, and after that I got my own label.

So, do you ever talk to DJ Paul or Juicy J or any of that crew?

No, I don’t talk to them at all.

Alright, so I want to ask you about Gangsta Boo. You guys seem like such great friends, do you remember the first time you met her?

The first time I met her it was back back back back back in the day. We didn’t really have too much to say to each other, but you know I’m a Gangsta Boo fan. I’ve always been one, because she’s a good artist. We really weren’t saying too much to each other, even when we were on the label together, we didn’t do too much talking. I don’t know, I think it was controversy in between people going back here saying this and saying that. Once she left the label and I left the label we ended up being best of friends. We ended up seeing that we were different, but so much the same.

Yeah, I was going to ask how you two have remained friends, since the industry tends to pit female rappers against each other all of the time.

Yeah, that’s what they were trying to do at first! But, you know, we just got grown about it. We became friends, and we’re still friends. We’ve been friends for a long time now, as a matter of fact she was so excited about me coming  up here to Brooklyn, because she’s already been, she passed my number to a couple of people and everything. She has my back, and I have her back. We do Queens of Memphis  shows together all of the time.

You perform a lot in Memphis.

Yeah, I perform in Memphis all of the time. I’ve actually got a club in Memphis too, so I be having the club night on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. So even when I’m not performing on stage, I’m performing somehow.

Memphis has such a rich musical history. On the rap side you have people like Three Six, Gangsta Pat, Project Pat, 8Ball, you, Gangsta Boo. And, going back, you’ve got Al Green, Stax Records, etc. What do you think it is about Memphis that produces such great music?

I think Memphis is just full of talented people. You all would be amazed at how much underground talent we’ve got. I’m talking about some really talented artists. I think it’s in the water, it’s in the river [laughs].

Who are some artists from Memphis on the come-up that you think we should know about? 

We’ve got a cat named YoYo Munie coming up. A cat named Mac Gudda coming up. We’ve got to throw my nephew in there, Young Sizzle [laughs]. We’ve got a lot of talent.

If you had to pick your five favorite Memphis albums – from any era – what would they be?

8Ball & MJG – Coming Out Hard

Yo Gotti – Back 2 Da Basics

Project Pat – Layin’ DA Smack Down

La Chat – Murder She Spoke

La Chat – Dramatize

So, let’s speak  about the recording of Murder She Spoke, because that’s a classic album. What the recording process like for that album?

I was hungry, and I’m still hungry. Paul and Juicy put a beat on and I’d sit back and just be rockin it, then I’d go in a room and just write. I was me, and I was real. Like I said, one thing about it is when I came in the game I put my foot in it.  Here it is 2012, and people still love Murder She Spoke.

Has anything changed in the way you approach making music from that time to now?

I’ve got to keep it real, no. [laughs] Some people might be like “well, she’s ain’t changed.” No, I’m not going to change!

What’s your favorite song that you’ve written?

My favorite song that I’ve written is on the album Dramatize, it’s called “Where Was U.” The song is so real, I’m saying “I don’t know whether to slap you or dap you/Hug you or mug you/Rush you or bust you/ I was there for you, but when I needed you where was u?” And on there I’m just talking realistically, they’re all true stories. I start off talking about my situation with Three Six. Then on my second verse I’m talking about a best friend that I had, and on my third verse I’m talking about my baby daddy [laughs]. It was just like how I was so down with ‘em, but when it came time for me to need them  where were they? That was a good song.

Do all of your songs come from real experiences that you’ve had?

Yeah, for sure. I could go to the club, don’t you look at me don’t you say nothing to me, I’m gonna go back and write about you. [laughs] Might give me inspiration for a song.

So, you released a mixtape last year called Krumbz To Brickz, and you worked with a lot of people on it – Waka Flocka, Gucci Mane, Lex Luger produced some stuff…

Yeah 8 Ball is on there too. It’s actually not Lex Luger, it’s Lex Luthor he’s an upcoming producer from Memphis. He did the track with Waka that blew up real big, and that’s how they got it confused with Luger because he produces a lot of stuff for Waka. Waka actually reached out to me. Gucci Mane reached out to me, 8Ball reached out to me.. I was honored.

Considering what you’ve accomplished in the game do you think you get the proper amount of respect?

I don’t think I get the amount of respect that I deserve, but I can say  it’s fair. You’re always going to feel like you deserve more than what you’re getting anyway,  and really  you’ve got to look at it like you get out of it what you put into it. What I’m putting in it is all me, by myself. So, due to the fact that I’m grinding and I’m staying afloat and still taking care of my business, and still touching people I’m satisfied with the respect that I’ve got.

So what are you working on now? Do you have an album coming up?

Yeah.  First, I’ve got an artist coming up by the name of Miss Angel.  And I’m working on another album called Gangsta Girl, I’ve already got the single – it’s called “Gangsta.” So yeah, I’m working. I’ve got my own studio in Memphis, I’ve got my own label called Dime A Dozen –  I came up with that because it’s a dime a dozen, anything that you lost or think you lost you can get it back, don’t worry about it.

Outside of rap, what’s a day in the life of La Chat like?

Hmm, a day in the life. Basically, dealing with my animals. I’ve got 9 dogs, 1 cat. I’ve got a 15 year old, and the animals are worse than him. So that’s what a day in the life is like, I have to tend to them, I have to feed them, I have to make sure they’re alright. Sometimes they want to fight one another so I have to go out there and break them up. That’s really a day in the life of La Chat [laughs]. It gets real crazy, because I’m dealing with 3 male pitbulls and 2 girls, and 2 female chihuahua and 2 boys. So yeah it gets crazy.

Is there anything else else you wanted to add?

You can follow me on twitter  @dareallachat. My facebook is Lachat Daniels. Got too many  friends, but if somebody sends me a personal message I’ll delete somebody for them [laughs]. I’ve got my own website, www.dimeadozenent.com,  and just stay tuned because whether I’m underground or overground I’m still going to be out here. And I want to shout out Helen Harris for bringing me to New York. Oh, and I have a DVD I’m putting out titled Da Chat Bitch [laughs].  If you don’t have a copy you can order it on my website. I’m basically just being me. And I’m also working on a reality show.  It’s called the Baby Mama.

Haha awesome, are your dogs going to be on there?

Yes! Oh lord, y’all are going to love Smokey. He’s my chihuahua, he’s 13 years old, and he thinks he’s the biggest Pit  [laughs]. One thing about him is, he’s the eldest, and he’s been through so many different dogs, he’s seen them come and go, so he’s telling them like “Y’all niggas ain’t even going to be here, I’m gon’ still be here when y’all niggas are gone.” [laughs]. Y’all will love him. So yeah, I’m going to put them all in it.  The Baby Mama is going to be based on how I balance my career along with being a mother, being my mother’s caretaker, etc. I’ve just got a lot of stuff going on in my real life, outside of rap, and I think  people want to see that because they love me on tv.  And I’ve got new videos too, so y’all can go to youtube and check out the new videos, they are on the Da Chat Bitch DVD.

Awesome, thank you for a great interview!

Thank you!

 

Shady Nate / DJ Fresh interview

Earlier this year, prior to the release of Still Based on a True Story — the sequel to the classic career-highlight Based on a True Story — I spoke in a conference call with rapper Shady Nate and producer DJ Fresh. Fresh — an occasional Nas tour DJ — is an exceptionally talented producer with an ear for a broad range of music and a skilled sound engineer. Particularly when compared with other producers working at street level, his work always sounds lush and pristine, and his samples suggest great knowledge of music history. Shady Nate has an extroverted personality; his voice kept peaking out my recording equipment during the interview, and his enthusiasm was infectious.

First off, your name, and how old you are?

Shady Nate: Yeah mane my name is Shady Nate mane, I’m from West Oakland and I’m 24 years old out here!

DJ Fresh: DJ Fresh, 29 years old.

I was wondering what the first cassette tape or CD you ever bought was, the first time you paid for music with your own money, and how old you were at the time.

Nate: Shit, man, I’ma go first every time, aite Fresh? Actually, the first CD I bought with my own money was Snoop Dogg, the – what album was that first album?

Fresh: Doggystyle

Nate: The first album I ever bought was Doggystyle, but the first album I ever listened to was when I was five years old, my momma had moved us from Oakland to Portland, Oregon, and she gave me a Too $hort CD when I was five years old, and she was like, he from Oakland, like you! You feel me? And that’s when I started bumpin– I was bumpin Too $hort and Whodini and that type of shit. But that’s the first CD I ever really tapped into, when I was five years old.

Fresh: First record I ever had was Run DMC “Peter Piper.” My daddy was a DJ and I had two brother that were older DJs so I was turned on to records hella early. The first tape that I ever bought was EPMD. I forget the name of the album, but it was one of their first albums. I was young, nine years old or something.

What drew you to EPMD early on, what was it that drew you to it – production, rapping, whole package?

Fresh: I was on that song “You Gotsta to Chill,” that was my shit. “You got to Chill”!

Nate: “You got to Chill!”

Nate, I was wondering the first time you started noticing how someone’s rapping—the kind of thing you’d want to imitate, memorize their lines.

Nate: Tupac. That’s when I was about eleven. I never was gonna be a rapper when Tupac was alive, but when he died, and other people started [phone drops out], I felt like I could do it too, if they could do it, I could do it. And I ended up doing it better, I never thought I could do it better, but I did end up doing it better. I started off just having fun with it, and it was a hobby, you feel me? And then it became a job and now it’s a business.

When did you make the decision to make it a career?

Nate: Me and my partners started going to the studio when the block got hot, you feel me? Once everybody started—a couple people died, a couple people started going to jail, know what I’m saying, and I kept doing it and I kept getting more fans…that’s when I started making it a business. When I really made it a business—I used to sell dope, I’ma keep it P.I. with you, I keep it P.I. everywhere I go, that’s keeping it real—I started selling more CDs than I was selling dope. I took the obvious route, you feel me? I was just on the block. This is before we were in stores, I was out on the block with a bundle of CDs and a bundle of coke, and my CDs would sell out faster than my coke. So I chose the music.

How did you decide that was the way you were gonna make music, did you ever think about doing live shows, how did you get involved in doing recording in the first place?

Nate: I had the opportunity, to really–with my brother J Stalin, you feel me, to fuck with him, to be on the same level with him as an artist. He already knew a lot of industry people. He already was fucking with Richie Rich and all kinds of other types of people before we even started getting into stores. So we were coming off the streets, he would just take me around, and once everybody heard me, that’s when I got accepted. Nobody ever told me to stop, nobody ever told me I came weak on nothing. You feel me. So I kept going.

When you started rapping, taking it more seriously, were you thinking about making youself sound different from everybody else, or…?

Nate: I never really thought like that. I always just kept doing me, you feel me. I feel like the more I come with something that nobody’s ever heard before, that’s a mark of being myself, you feel me. So I never try to imitate anybody, namean. Tupac is my favorite rapper, and if you ask anybody, I don’t rap anything like Pac. I rap more like E-40 than I rap like Pac, you feel me. So I always kept my own style, my own swag, and it bled off, you feel me.

What was it about Pac’s rapping, about his style that you represent?

Nate: He’s real, you feel me. Anything that makes you feel a certain type of way, either it makes you mad or makes you happy or makes you sad, that’s a good song. And that’s the type of music Pac played, you feel me. So that’s the type of music I try to make. But I don’t try to be like Pac, I try to come from my perspective. My perspective is, I really was doing–I was really out here on the streets, I really could have been doing twenty years right now. Instead of out here rapping. That’s my perspective.

How did you and Fresh meet? through J. Stalin?

Fresh: We met through Stalin. My nigga Mr. Tower was the one that introduced me to Stalin. Then me and Stalin and Tower, we had a session one day and Shady was there. We didn’t do no music yet, but he was there. Somehow we got to talking and clicked immediately—just talking, though. We wasn’t even talking about no music yet. We all exchanged numbers, and me and Stalin started working on a project called The Real World, and Shady was all on that. He was all over it. I was like, you know, let’s do something too, me and Shady. We came up with the first Based on a True Story. We was in the lab, putting in hella hours, working. I remember he went to go sit down for a brief intermission. The day he got out, I took the whole lab, I took my mic, my laptop, everything. My mind was like, I’m not finna let this nigga get back into no bullshit. I’m finna go get this nigga in the lab and we’re gonna record. Shit, I believed in the nigga. I believed in the movement, and the chemistry we had and everything. We just kept it lit, just kept working. Our whole attitude was let’s work, let’s work, let’s work. And that’s how we met.

When was it that you started making beats? When you were working towards making money, and you knew it was a career you wanted to follow.

Fresh: I started doing beats in 2003. I was fresh off tour with Nas. Everybody was doing the mixtape thing or whatever, and I ain’t even want to do the mixtape thing. I wanted to do my own beats or whatever. I did my first project with Mistah F.A.B. I fell in love with doing beats, having something that was my own. Sampling all the songs that I grew up on and my momma used to play and my daddy used to play, and just playing my own stuff too. It just inspired the hell out of me. I decided it was gonna be my career right when I did my first project. I never really paid attention to the money aspect, always felt like if you do what you love then the money will come. That’s what I stuck to, that’s what I stick to, and here I am today.

What was the first beat that you felt was a success, that really resonated with a lot of people?

Fresh: It was a song called “We Go Dumb Out Here in the Bay” that Fab had did. At the time, no one really believed that it could be on the radio. Not even Fab at the time. He had just gotten signed to Atlantic, and he was working his Atlantic thing. We kind of did it just for fun, but they started playing it on 94.9. That was the first thing I had on the radio.

One of my favorite tracks you guys did together was “Bottom of the Bottle.” Can you tell me a little about your process with making a beat like that. It sounds very pristine. What’s the process like for you?


Shady Nate & DJ Fresh – Bottom of my Bottle

Fresh: I made “Bottom of my Bottle,” I was on the Rock the Bells tour at the time. I was with a group called Living Legends. I was with Nas too. It was a tour bus we were on. I was just trying to make like ten beats a day. I was in super grind mode, because I knew what I’d come home to wasn’t really a good situation at the time. Every beat was like, I’m fighting for my life to try to get out the situation I was in at the time, because I was struggling like a motherfucker. I remember that sample and everything. I was in South Dakota. I went into a gas station out there, we was pumping gas. I bought a CD—you know they had those CDs you could buy—who was it..it was Sting! It was a Sting CD. It had that little sample on there. I wasn’t even thinking it was gonna be called “Bottom of my Bottle” when I gave it to Shady. I just kind of hear a sample, and I just make it, I just go into it. It’s like abra cadabra, it just comes together. And I’ll shoot it to Shady and he’ll take it to the next step. Then I’ll go back and add to it. It’s all chemistry, just working together. Me and Shady got a relationship where if I give him a disc of ten beats, he’ll choose at least nine—or all ten of em.

Nate: Yeah not all of em! Just nine of em! [He and Fresh laugh].

When you did your part of the song—its a very strong vocal—what’s the background on that track, what’s the story behind that?

Nate: Man, I was getting drunk! And I actually felt like I seen the devil at the bottom of the bottle. I ain’t even think about what I was writing until after the song was done. I didn’t even think about how deep it was until after the song was done.

What’s your writing process like? Do you write a lot in advance, or do a lot in your head?

Nate: I switch it up, you know? When I actually did that song, Fresh was gone and he sent it to me. When I was in the studio, I knocked it out right then. When I knock shit out, as long as I got the beat, that’s something I’m going through right then and there, you feel me. Half of the time, I’ll already be ready when I come to the studio, I’ll already have a song written or a concept in my mind that I want to put it on. But that “Bottom of the Bottle,” that came as soon as I heard the beat.

Another one I wanted to ask you about was that “Gimmie Da Loot,” which I think I found on YouTube at the end of 2009 or early 2010, and it only existed on YouTube for a long time. Now it’s on this new record. I was wondering about the process for that one.

Shady Nate & DJ Fresh – Gimmie Da Loot

Fresh: “Gimmie Da Loot”–we got this other partner named Khalid. He’s a dope producer too. He had the sample first, and it was cool. But I felt like, damn, I wish I had that sample. Because I had a whole idea of how I wanted it too, so he gave it to me. And I was like, I want to give this to somebody who will really complement it. I didn’t even hear it for a long, long time.

Nate: You know why you didn’t hear it for a long, long time? Is because I wrote three different songs to that beat. Man, when I first heard the beat it was intimidating. You probably won’t hear no other rapper admit that. But when I first heard the beat it was intimidating, I couldn’t just put anything on it, you feel me? So I wrote one song, didn’t like it. I wrote another song, I didn’t like it. Wrote the third song, and I dropped it. It just came out the way it was supposed to come out. I’m a perfectionist, man, you feel me? There’s a method behind the madness to my music. I don’t just put anything out. I don’t freestyle, none of that. Everything is premeditated.

What do you like so much about Fresh’s beats, what works so well with those?

Nate: It’s the music. I’m young, but at the same time, I’m an old soul. My moms would play this stuff, the oldies but goodies—I’m out here at the park right now, we having a barbecue right now, these O.G.’s playing oldies but goodies. And DJ Fresh seemed like the only one that was one of my peers that, understood, that could go there with me with the oldies but goodies songs. That’s why I love DJ Fresh beats. That’s why we got so many songs together.

Fresh, what is it that drew you to Nate’s rapping?

Fresh: The style that he had was like, it’s smooth but it’s sharp. His words are on point. There’s a lot of artists that say a lot of words, but they’re really not saying nothing. I didn’t feel like he was like that at all. His words is on point, his lyrics, everything that he’s saying needed to be said to paint the pictures that he’s trying to paint. When I make some of my best stuff, I’ll feel good about giving it to him, because I know he’ll always put 120% into it, not 110, 120! And it’s going to be fresh. Aside the rap, me and Shady can sit down and have a conversation. For a whole hour, hour and a half, whatever. We’ve got a strong chemistry, just in life, period. Where we’re trying to go, what we ain’t trying to be. It all ties in together, you know.

What would you say is the main difference between this project and the original Based on a True Story.

Fresh: I know for me personally—the first one is a classic. Usually the first project, if it’s a good artist and a good producer, it’s a classic. But for me on this one, the second one has been a long time coming. I think it shows the maturity of the first one until now. The production, the lyrics, the artwork, the sonics of the whole thing. From a boy to a man type of thing. We were young when we did that. We’re still young, but we’re much more mature. Our business is a little bit sharper. For me, it’s really a great accomplishment. A lot of people know how to start something, but don’t know how to finish something. This is a great finish, as far as I’m concerned, and that’s what I think on this. And it really is based on a true story, everything.

Nate: With me, I think the difference between part one and part two is, what Fresh said, we matured a whooole lot. It was funny to me, how I look at the 2007 Based on a True Story to the 2011 Based on a True Story, because I’m more in pocket, if you listen to the music, listen to the lyrics, I was in pocket back then. But now I’ve really got control over my style. I didn’t really have control back then, I was just going, you feel me. But now it’s over, you’re gonna laugh once you peep what I’m peeping, you feel me! It’s lovely.

Do you have a favorite song on the new one?

Nate: At one point all of them was my favorite. But right now, “Real Nigga Recipe” is my favorite. The beat go crazy. When I recorded that song—we probably recorded that about three or four in the morning, I didn’t even remember the song until my little brother—one of my labelmates, Jay Jonah got on the last verse and he brought it to me, like, “yo remember this? You was goin’ on this, listen!” Ever since then it’s been my favorite song, I’ve been performing it from Kansas City to Utah to Oklahoma back to Oakland, back to the Bay Area.

Shady Nate feat. Jay Jonah – Real Nigga Recipe

How much touring do you guys do? Constantly, one time a year? Is that where most of your musical income comes from now?

Fresh: I know myself, I stay going somewhere. Or flying somewhere, getting on a bus to go somewhere. A lot of my progress comes from touring places. It all counts. I know Shady stays going somewhere too. We’re always going somewhere. I may be going where he’s leaving from and vice versa.

Do you like touring, do you enjoy it? Do you like the life of being on the road?

Fresh: For me, I’ve been doing the tour thing for so long, when a tour opportunity comes, that’s how I look at it: an opportunity to make some money and feed my family. For me, it’s not so much ‘I wanna go on tour and I’m finna go fuck with some broads and get drunk’ and shit, for me it’s a blessing, another opportunity that I’m gonna say “Amen” to. And I’m gonna go get it and come back and keep it going. For me, know what I mean.

Nate: For me, touring, I love touring! I love traveling, love driving, I do this, I’m a hustler so I’m already on the streets, you feel me. Me going to another city anywhere is always lovely, you feel me. I look at it how Fresh look at it though. Now I’m starting to get paper. When we first started off, I wasn’t even getting paid. I was just going to get my name out there. Now, touring is lovely, because they know me now and they respecting it, they know what it’s about. I ain’t even got to say too much. All I gotta do is get on stage and rap and do my thing, pass my CDs out. So it’s lovely.

Fresh, obviously you know a lot of music. I was wondering if there was any old stuff you’ve been listening to lately. Early 90s, mid-80s, 70s records, any old school you’ve been listening to lately. That you put on when you’re not making music?

Fresh: I’ve been listening to a lot of 90s shit. Early SWV. Bell Biv Devoe, a lot of stuff like that. Tony Toni Tone. I kind of burnt the ’80s out. I still love it. I listen to jazz too. I listen to a lot of different things. I’m influenced by damn near every type of music, even if I may not like it, I get something from it. I’m very musically inclined and I’m able to grab inspiration from anything I hear.

Nate, anything you’ve been listening to lately?

Nate: Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Lil Blood! I don’t listen to– I listen to everything, I check everything out, the Rick Ross’s, the Young Jeezy’s, but I keep it close to home. I keep my ear to the streets, I listen to the young cats that’s coming up, and that want to get on, you feel me. That’s what I do. That’s where the real lyrics is. It might not be the real beats or the real money behind it, but that’s where the real music is. The lifestyle that I come from, that’s what I listen to.

Anything else you guys want to say?

Fresh: I love everybody who supports this DJ Fresh movement, Shady Nate, Livewire, it all counts, and every drop of good energy towards it. It’s from the heart. Blood sweat and tears.

Nate: Blood, sweat and tears, man. Period.

This interview was conducted by Telephone June 30, 2011.