It can be said that most rappers only thank God when they get their awards. However, L.A.’s own Deon Holly, perhaps better known as Westside Bugg makes it clear that he is a man of the higher power. With the album, The Roach Motel coming in January on Native Records, Bugg is going to make his leap from background to front street. He makes it known that religion gave him a newfound respect for life and a soft spot for kids. His respect of religion makes him an anomaly in this industry. With a keep-it-as-real-as-possible attitude, he is definitely refreshing in this industry full of boastful rappers. But don’t get it twisted; Bugg is definitely nobody’s fool. He might claim to not be ballin’ like the rest, but his music reflects his life, his struggle and his church influences. We caught up with Westside Bugg to chat it up on being “up and coming” rapper, his longevity in producing, and his “good friend” American Idol’s Corey Clark. Even Simon has nothing to say about Westside Bugg.
AllHipHop.com: How did you get into rapping?
Westside Bugg: I used to write poems back when I was five years old. I used to write poems and went to church. Well I still go to church and whatnot. And then, one day this drunk dude came to church. He just busted in church, drunk and he started saying “The hip, the hop, the hippy” [from Sugar Hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight”] and I’m like, “Aw man, how cool is that?” And ever since then, it kind of started my little rapping career.
AllHipHop.com: So how did you get your name?
Westside Bugg: My name is Westside Bugg because coming from Los Angeles. I am at the west side of Los Angeles, the west side of Louisiana, and the west side of San Bernardino. You know, so the name kind of stuck to me. Plus, my momma named me Bugg.
AllHipHop.com: Being that California has a big influence on the music scene right now, do you think that people will be receptive to you or that you will benefit from pushing into that movement also?
Westside Bugg: I hope that I benefit from that. Because the music that I do is not just West Coast music or Down South music, Midwest, New York [or otherwise]. I do feel-good music. I feel that I do good musical harmonies and hooks that where everybody will be receptive to it.
AllHipHop.com: Okay, so how would you describe your music? You said it’s feel good-music, but do you classify into any type of genre? Or do you just do what you do best?
Westside Bugg: I don’t know. That’s a good question. I am waiting on somebody to give me a genre. [Laughs] it sounds crazy because I really don’t do hardcore gangsta music, and I do singing hooks and I’m a producer myself. I am into all kinds of music. I have produced Country music. I have produced Rap, and Reggae. So I am kind of a mix of everything that I been around my life. I don’t know if I stick to a certain genre. Maybe they will give me one.
AllHipHop.com: But what if they give you one that you don’t really pertain to?
Westside Bugg: Oh, good question. Well I’ll definitely disagree on that. If they try to classify me as a gangsta rapper, I definitely would agree on that. You can call me anything else, as long as they are picking up the record it’s all good. But as far as straight gangsta rapper, probably not. I am street. If they classify me as being street, then I’m definitely street. Because that is who I am right now. You know, I am not in the mansions and I don’t drive a Bentley or none of that. I am in the streets though.
AllHipHop.com: So is it safe to say that your music is from your life, like certain instances. Is it reflecting your life now?
Westside Bugg: It definitely does. Some days, I am feeling like “f**k the world.” Some days, I am feeling like “let’s give the world a hug.
AllHipHop.com: Who have you produced for?
Westside Bugg: Layzie Bone, Bad Azz, Kurupt, Jayo Felony, 40 Glocc, Kokane, Ras Kass, Make It Happen Records, a lot of different people for the last 19 years. I produced for a lot of cats.
AllHipHop.com: So then why start rhyming?
Westside Bugg: It’s my only outlet right now, feel me? But I definitely want to get into producing. I want to be the next Dre. Those are some big shoes to fill but you know, if you’re going to strive to be the best, you got to beat the best, feel me? I want to be Dre. I want to rap because it’s my only outlet. Producing is not easy. You got to give away a lot of free stuff.
AllHipHop.com: So you said you produced for Corey Clark [of American Idol]? How was that considering his scandal?
Westside Bugg: Yeah, I forgot about my boy, Corey Clark. You know when I produced for somebody, when they come into the booth…you know I done dealt with cats like Snoop, Jay-Z. I done been around a lot of cats in this music business. So when they come, the first thing I do is, if they cool with me, we going to do a good song. So Corey Clark to me, is like a friend of mine. So whatever he does on the outside, you know…I dealt with gangstas and gangstas being out there shooting and killing doing their thing, but when they come in the booth, is a mano a mano thing. So his outside distractions didn’t make a difference for me.
AllHipHop.com: So you don’t have any opinions on the scandal?
Westside Bugg: I mean, if he was telling the truth, then hey…I’m not meaning to get all involved, but he was telling the truth. So he did what he did, she did what she did. I don’t think he should have blasted like that, but hey. He wanted to air out his laundry.
AllHipHop.com: so what do you say to the people that say that you can’t hold a CD on your own, due to the features? Do you think it was a smart move on your part?
Westside Bugg: I do have a lot of special appearances but I only give them like eight bars. I’m not giving them the whole song or nothing. My record, like…I started from a group. I started out as a group so I like vibing with other cats. And these cats like Layzie Bone and Kurupt and Kass and 40 Glocc, these are like my folks. I won’t dare do a record without the rest of my folks jump on it. It may be a smart move and it may be a bad move. They just are going to have to pick up that record. I’m sorry. The second record, I am going to do it by myself. But right now, nobody wants to hear Westside Bugg. When I go places, I be like “Hello, I’m Westside Bugg.” They are like “Who?” But then when I’m like, “I got Layzie Bone on there. I got Kurupt on there.” They’re like “Okay, okay.” It definitely has to be a smart move. We probably wouldn’t be having this conversation if I didn’t have all those special appearances. [Laughs]
AllHipHop.com: You have two songs “Blocking” and “Hustling”. And you say that they reflect your life. Can you give an example of when people tried to block you?
Westside Bugg: A lot of people were blocking. And to answer your question, yes it’s definitely about my life right now. Everyday, I get up and I hustle. Trying to figure out how to make one dollar, two dollars, three dollars, four dollars, eight dollars, and whatever else comes after that. Yeah, I hustle everyday. But as far as blocking, I get a lot of blocking. I had been getting blocked for a long time. So I’m happy that I got to chance to c### back and explode, and show everybody what Westside Bugg can do. I don’t know if it’s blocking or if people don’t like it when other people get some shine. And I’m not mad at them, I just keep my distance. If you got to pawn shop over here, yeah, five other pawn shops over here and they got to better stuff, yeah they going to roll through your block.