Last year, Long Beach rapper Crooked I hooked up with AllHipHop.com for a special two-part interview where he gave us his thorough story from his beginnings to his time with Death Row Records, to where he is now. Although we are still waiting for the debut album, Crooked I has made some big moves since then by aligning himself with Royce Da 5’9”, Joell Ortiz and Joe Budden to become the group known as Slaughterhouse, who released their self-titled debut about this past August to much praise by Hip-Hop fans worldwide. Crooked I himself will be releasing his very own EP called Mr. Pigface Weapon Waist this upcoming November 10th. The biggest surprise on the EP is a song that came out of nowhere called “Guess Who’s Back” which features long-time enemy and rival, Snoop Dogg. How did this surprising reconciliation of Long Beach rappers come about? Crooked I answers that question and more in this new exclusive interview that he gave us while on the K.O.D. Tour with Tech 9ine, Glasses Malone and others.
AllHipHop.com: Last year you did an interview with us in which you state that in order for you to reconcile with Snoop Dogg, he would have to come to you and apologize. I see that you two are now working with each other. What’s the story?
Crooked I:I had a meeting with some of my homeboys in Long Beach and we were talking about getting the city together. That same day that I was having that meeting with the O.G.’s, I received a phone call and it was Snoop. He actually texted me first and said, “Yo. I want to holler at you. I’ll be getting at you in 10 minutes.” 10 minutes passed and he hit me up – and we had a long discussion.
AllHipHop.com: Did he say what prompted him to call you after all this time?
Crooked I: I just think it was a timing thing. It was that time to do it. It was becoming unnecessary tension in the air. As I am taking my position in this industry, it’s going to be pretty hard for us to avoid talking to each other. I think he just felt the same way. He called and said some things to me on a man to man level that I respect. When we hung up the phone, whatever tension that was there was dead.
AllHipHop.com:It sounded pretty easy to solve and fix. Shouldn’t this have happened year ago?
Crooked I: My whole thing is any time has a problem with me or any kind of drama, I like to address it with that person man to man and face to face. I’m always willing to reach out. A lot of times it’s about communication. One conversation can squash anything. If people can go over to the Middle East and talk peace amongst different countries then you can also get Crips and Bloods to talk peace, or Blacks and Mexicans – all it takes is a good conversation. I think that is the reason they gave President Obama that Nobel Prize because he’s willing to go in to hostile territory and promote peace – and he understands communication – and that’s something that we can learn in this rap industry. There wouldn’t be so many beefs if people could just talk to each other face to face, man to man, and leave their egos at the door.
AllHipHop.com: Patching things up with Snoop Dogg is so big for the West Coast. What impact do you think this is going to have on the rest of the rappers from the West Coast?
Individually, there are
rappers like Nipsey Hussle, Jay Rock and Glasses Malone that are doing
it but if you unite all of us on the West it will be like a nuclear
Crooked I:I think it will have a big impact because he [Snoop Dogg] has always been the King of the West. In a lot of people’s eyes, Snoop has been the King of the West for a minute. In a lot of the eyes of the underground, I’ve been the King of the Underground. If you bring both of those elements together, that’s a powerful force. I bring a lot to the table and Snoop brings a lot of success and inspiration to rappers that are trying to do this and get paid for it. The first time I went to Snoop’s house when he was still on Death Row Records, I was inspired! I was homeless but they didn’t know that. I was living at my homeboy’s bookstore on Atlantic and Hill in Long Beach. I had to sleep in that mother***er every night. I went to Snoop’s house and was inspired. He had the UCLA basketball court in the back and all of this other stuff. I was young – a teenager. I thought, “He got all of this sh*t from rapping!” He didn’t go to college for 12 years and doesn’t have a PhD and yet he’s living next to lawyers and doctors. So I know what kind of inspiration that he can give to young dudes coming up. I inspire people just because I’m still doing it! I have people tell me that they feel like quitting but then look at the ups and downs that I’ve had and how I keep going. I know that by me and him coming together, we can inspire the Coast. Individually, there are rappers like Nipsey Hussle, Jay Rock and Glasses Malone that are doing it but if you unite all of us on the West it will be like a nuclear explosion.
AllHipHop.com: Snoop Dogg is on your new single, “Guess Who’s Back”, but he only did the hook. Are you two going to do a song with full verses?
Crooked I: We definitely are. We just scratched the surface real quick. It was the tip of the Iceberg. We’ve spoken about some projects and upcoming joints together. I am just happy that its one less piece of tension in the air for me.
AllHipHop.com:And it was a big one at that!
Crooked I: It was a big one! I came in to the industry to get away from bullsh*t. A lot of dudes come in to the industry to be fake a** gangstas and they run towards drama in their lives. That ain’t me – I came in to this business to get away from that type of sh*t. It’s always good to have less tension in the air. Anytime that you can turn a potential enemy in to an ally – that’s the sh*t to me. I’d rather be on the side of unity than to be smashing against people. These rappers don’t understand! They’ve got people and I’ve got people. What are we going to do? Take some petty a** rap sh*t to another level and start getting in fights, and having our homeboys injured or end up in jail? All over some rap sh*t? That’s not the business. Let’s do what we do and take care of the ones that we love.
AllHipHop.com: You have this new EP coming out November 10th called Mr. Pigface Weapon Waist. What the hell does that name mean?
Crooked I:When I started doing shows with Slaughterhouse, I would come out with a black Dickies suit and a Pig mask. A lot of the fans started calling me Pigface. The “weapon waist” comes from a line that I said on a Slaughterhouse song where I say, “I’ll never throw a gun in the trash but they call me weapon waist.” I just took the Pigface and weapon waist and put it together but it was just sh*t said around the Slaughterhouse brothers. When I would come in to the studio they would say, “Pigface Weapon Waist.” It was an inside nickname. I decided to bring it out and make it public. They say that when I drink Hennessey that I turn in to Pigface. That side of me is real rebellious so I decided to put out a project that reflects that side of me. I decided to make some G-sh*t and I don’t give a f**k who doesn’t like it. That’s the lane I was in when I made and I actually intended for it to drop in the summer. There was a sample on there – and I really wanted to give this song to the people – I didn’t want to take it off the record. I kept fighting for it but by doing that it kept f**king up the release date. I had to finally take it off and bow down. The people didn’t want to release it. I didn’t even go real hard on it but you know how it is.
AllHipHop.com: What sample was that?
Crooked I: I’m not going to put them on blast because I got some more samples from that I want to use (laughs). I don’t want to p### them off. It was just that particular sample; they didn’t want to let it go. They have cleared samples for me in the past so I don’t really want to put them on blast. The EP is still rocking though. I am going to do a full length to it and probably drop that in January.
You can’t make money on the West and I can’t make money where you’re at. How smart is that? Why flex that power and focus on the negative and feed in to the beef?-Crooked I
AllHipHop.com: How does this coincide with the debut album that we are all still waiting on?
Crooked I:I’ve got one of the most unique stories in Hip-Hop – that’s not a setback for me. I’ve been rapping my mother***ing a** off for almost a decade. I’ve jumped on songs for people in Australia, Germany, Russia – I get more orders for COB shirts overseas than I do in America. I’ve expressed myself to the fullest and my body of work speaks for itself without putting sh*t on the shelf. The debut is like this: I might do the full length Pigface in January, the second Slaughterhouse album, and then the debut album. I might do it like that – I don’t know. I want to keep my supporters with some fresh sh*t in their rotation. It’s coming. I am going to load the clip for them in a minute. I’m going to load the clip because I ain’t going out of this b*tch without being one of the best ever.
AllHipHop.com: How is the group thing working out for you? I know that being in a group is so different because you have to deal with different egos and plus you guys are all extraordinary MC’s. Is there ever tension between you all?
Crooked I: We respect each other so much as individual artists, that when we come together, the ego doesn’t make a difference. Royce Da 5’9” is a monster, so if he has a suggestion for a song what are we doing to do? Say no? We don’t even come with the egos. We just click like an assembly line.
AllHipHop.com:Is that something that was worked out before hand? You guys agreeing to work as a team without the egos?
Crooked I: We just went in an operated like that. No plan was set – nothing. We liked that first song that we did and it was dope. I went out to New York and Royce was already out there working with DJ Premier and we just recording more sh*t for the internet and we clicked. We didn’t have to sit down and set no ground rules or anything like that.
AllHipHop.com: You mentioned a second Slaughterhouse album. Care to share more info on that?
Crooked I: That’s going to be something dangerous. I want to call it No Muzzle so we can air out all of these suckers. I don’t know if that’s going to go down (laughs).
AllHipHop.com: Over the summer it seemed as if your group was involved with beef after beef. What’s up with that?
Crooked I:Aw you know, when you are going up the ladder there will be people trying to pull you down. The fans of Hip-Hop play in to it too. Some dudes I have respect for and some dudes I don’t. It’s like me sitting back and watching Benzino say, “I respect Crooked but Slaughterhouse is over-rated.” I’m Slaughterhouse. If you disrespect Slaughterhouse then you are disrespecting me. But what am I going to do? I am not going to waste my breath rapping a million bars about somebody. If I did that, I would put it on an album and get paid. I’m not going to air anybody out for free. All of these little beefs pop up and to me they are just silly. To me it’s like, you do something to me when I’m on your Coast and I’ll do something to you when you’re on mine. You can’t make money on the West and I can’t make money where you’re at. How smart is that? I have that power on my Coast to make hell for anybody on that Southern part. Forget about getting on that stage if you’ve got a real issue with me. Why flex that power and focus on the negative and feed in to the beef? Whatever you focus on is going to expand. If I focus on beef it is going to expand. If that person that I’m beefing with has as much power as I have, that sh*t can hit the news. It can be bad for a lot of people and you have to ask yourself, why? How did we get so deep in to this sh*t? Just because somebody said that I’m over-rated? It’s ridiculous but nobody believes that they can rap better than Slaughterhouse – nobody!