Since releasing R.A.W. in 1999, Daz has marketed, packaged, and eaten quite well off of controversy. While 50 Cent and Ja Rule have done it on a grander scale, few weeks have gone by without a verse from Daz hitting albums, mixtapes, and websites with disses to Kurupt, Suge Knight, Jayo Felony, Yukmouth, and oodles of others.
But amidst the trend, Daz was at one-time, one of the top producers in the industry. His lone major label solo, Revenge, Retaliation, and Get Back was a classic in many critic’s ears. Before the marketing machine, Daz was much more of a music man.
AllHipHop.com explores some of these themes with tough questions, as Daz incorporates his dirty laundry into the answers. In the end, 2005 promises to be a pleasure to all of Daz’s fans, and Daz intends to please them with different albums. From his new home in Atlanta, Daz tells gives you all the juice, enjoy.
AllHipHop.com: From the gate, there’s been criticism and acclaim for your bulk of softer tracks on the Dogg Pound Gangsta LP. Why the switch?
Daz: Yeah, I’m doing it for the ladies. I got the G’s and all that, but I’m tired of all the [regular material].
AllHipHop.com: Well, one of the biggest solo songs you ever did was, “It Might Sound Crazy”, so this might be a return to better quality music.
Daz: I’m just trying to put a lot of music together. As far as what I put together in those early times, I was living in L.A. It’s just been a lot of drama, and constantly moving. Out here in the South, I got a lot to think about. I keep to myself. I got a lot of time.
AllHipHop.com: You’re living full time in Atlanta now?
Daz: Yeah, I live here full-time now. I be on the West coast though, all over, from Miami to St. Louis to Arkansas.
AllHipHop.com: You’ve always been a bit of a nomad. What was the hardest transition of the permanent move?
Daz: Finding a bud spot.
AllHipHop.com: Are you a Falcons fan now, or what?
Daz: Yeah, I’m going to [The Rams vs. Falcons] game with Ms. Tina [Jermaine Dupri’s mother]. Playoffs baby!
AllHipHop.com: Speaking of Dupri, what is Jermaine’s response to the fact that you’re releasing an independent album shortly before the So So Def album?
Daz: He didn’t really want me to do it, but I did it anyway, you know? He ain’t trippin’, he wanna keep doin’ what we doin’. We got a plan to get money at a time when I need it, man.
AllHipHop.com: Understood. But as albums, how is the musical texture different?
Daz: The [Dogg Pound Gangsta] LP, I made that all by myself. The album I do with Jermaine, I’m making the beats and I’m bringin’ it to him and have him tell me yay and nay.
AllHipHop.com: When was the last time you had a serious A&R or person tell you that doing quality control, was it Dre?
Daz: Dr. Dre or Snoop. Anything that beat in the trunk, I’m with. Right now, I just finished Gangsta Crunk – ten songs, all Crunk music. The album now is strictly for the West. This Crunk album is strictly for the South. Then, I’m bout to go to New York and do an East coast album. I’m gonna drop three independent albums before I drop this major label thing.
AllHipHop.com: So the So So Def project isn’t coming as soon as we thought?
Daz: Nah, it’s waiting on Jermaine to sign his deal today. He signed a deal. I don’t know who he signed with, everything be a secret over there.
AllHipHop.com: You’ve got two allusions on your album to N.W.A. with ‘Boyz N’ Tha Hood’ and ‘Fucc Tha Police’.
Daz: N.W.A. played into as far as me growing up. I looked up to Eazy, Dre, Ice Cube, all of them. Everybody say I sound like Ice Cube. I got respect for ‘em to the fullest.
AllHipHop.com: No disrespect to The Game, but you’re somebody who’s coming on an indie scheme. N.W.A. was about selling out the trunk. Today, thirteen years later, it wouldn’t surprise me to see you doing that.
Daz: I’m still slangin’ my records!
AllHipHop.com: Revenge, Retaliation, and Get Back is largely considered a classic album. As you release these indies at fast pace, do you miss the acclaim of your more artisticly perceived albums?
Daz: Those days are coming back with So So Def. But as far as me just putting records out, they still get out there everywhere.
AllHipHop.com: You were pretty pioneer in being gangsta in your art. How have you taken to the East coast derivative of Cam’ron and The Diplomats applying that same imagery and attitude to their art?
Daz: Hey, I just say, code of the street – they got to handle it. When they walk outside they house, you don’t know if you gonna get your head blown off or whatever. ‘Cause I know when they come to California, it’s different. On the East coast, they bangin’ and everything, and I respect they gangsta. Everybody bangin’. I was just in Dallas, I walked in a house, there was AK’s pointed at the door. It’s an image that they trying to project, that they wasn’t projecting back in the day. I done had Jim Jones in my house getting tattoos and all that stuff. I didn’t hear him say Blood or none of that one time. Jim Jones, he don’t even say nothin’ to me now, trying to take that Blood stuff to the [next level]. If I was really just trippin’, I’d start trippin’- just handle it.
AllHipHop.com: Tell me about this DVD, DPG Eulogy. That’s a rather serious title.
Daz: It drops August 23. For those interested in seein’ what it’s really like, www.dpgrecordz.com or www.westsidecollection.com to pre-order in the meantime. Real serious s**t.
AllHipHop.com: I’m really tired of the Kurupt questions and answers you get. But one quick thing. VH1 made this film, "Play’d: A Hip-Hop Story." The storyline traced the feud between a duo, and Faizon Love did his Suge Knight impersonation. As the root of that, how do you think the media has perceived what’s really gone on with you?
Daz: I had liked that movie, it was real. But the perception of me and Kurupt, there’s been a lot of backstabbing, a lot of homies have been shot, beat up. He runnin with Suge, and Suge is settin’ up n***as and doin’ all that stuff, and Kurupt right there with him. Ain’t coming back and trying to be friends. I couldn’t do no records knowing he probably could switch on me like he did. After people dying, ain’t no coming back from that. We had our great times. It’s over. Petey Pablo’s chain bigger than his! [laughs]
AllHipHop.com: It seems like this past year, you’ve gotten back into production. What prompted this?
Daz: I been producing for Youngbloodz, T.I., just moving! People wasn’t working with me ‘cause the money. When I sell a beat, I get that up-front money, then that back-end money. But that back-end money be slow with these big companies. I really just stopped making beats for everybody else and stayed making ‘em for myself.
AllHipHop.com: Now that you’ve relocated to Atlanta, have you found it’s hard to manage the many other artists you were putting out like Soopafly and Lil’ C Style and their work?
Daz: I stopped doing that. There’s a lot of attitude with people, and they’re not out there promoting the record, so the records don’t sell. I spent a lot of money on putting the record together, posters, doing all that, and they don’t look at the money I put, but want money back. I break ‘em off. But after I break ‘em off with that ten thou’. But as far as puttin’ people out, I’m tired of that. I’m just putting myself out.
AllHipHop.com: There was talk, when you say ‘eulogy’, or you, Soopafly, and Snoop dropping something as the new Dogg Pound. What ever came of that?
Daz: D.P.G.C., yeah that’s still in the works. Soopafly gonna come with his album, then we do that.
AllHipHop.com: We’re quickly approaching ten years since Eazy-E passed away. Before he was diagnosed, it was you who rhymed about him having AIDs. Were you ever able to be cool with Eazy, and if not, what can be said now?
Daz: [silence] It was at that time of the beefin’ and all that. Eazy was at one show in L.A. when I was on Death Row and he was Ruthless, and he said, ‘What’s up Daz?’ I was young then. I [worked with his son], Lil’ Eazy. Now he saying he didn’t have nothing to do with us. I’m the one who brought him out first, and put him in the magazine! Really, I’m just saying f**k Lil’ Eazy, I don’t like his ass for that comment anyway! He doing his thing, I’m doing mine. I tried to help him out, and now he saying he wasn’t affiliated. He was riding around in our vans with my [crew]. Now he signed with Pete Farmer [Virgin Executive] and wackass Guerilla Black.
AllHipHop.com: You’re not a fan of Guerilla Black?
Daz: Hell nah! I did a song with him. They put the song on a mixtape. I’m lookin’ for my money because they shouldn’t have put that song on the mixtape if they didn’t pay for it. Hey man, f**k Guerilla Black, Pete Farmer, and Lil’ Eazy. It’s Crip, point blank. They want to handle it, handle it. Lil’ Eazy snitched on one of my homeboys from Insane [Crips], and now he doin’ life. So put it out there, he a snitch!
Daz is currently going on tour with Snoop Dogg. Dogg Pound Gangsta is out now.