On one hand you can count D.O.C., Snoop Doggy Dogg, and Eminem. On the other, you can list Lady of Rage, Hittman, and Joe Beast. Throughout his decades-long run of music mastery, Dr. Dre has pulled a lot of new artists to work with him. Some have become overnight superstars, while others waited until they faded from sight. Dres latest discovery has been Carson, Californias Bishop Lamont. As critics make comparisons to both sides of the scale, rest assured that Bishop Lamont is nothing like youve ever heard before.
Working with the one producer that only Hip-Hops highest class can touch, Bishop Lamont, the self-proclaimed Platinum Backpacker cant speak enough about the little guys. Whether its early 90s producers like Lord Finesse, Evil Dee, and Pete Rock, or hes championing Dilated Peoples, Madlib, and Self-Scientific, this is what happens when a man of the people gets the deal of his dreams. While some write off Bishop as The Game 2.0, AllHipHop.com shows you why the Bishop isnt in the pulpit in a Church For Thugs. As Reformation gets its finishing touches, get to know the most patient man in Hip-Hop, the music that saved his life, and why Bishop Lamont, the one guy who doesnt have to, might be throwing Nas Hip-Hop a life-preserver big enough for 15 years of Hard to Earn history
AllHipHop.com: Youre the first person with a mainstream profile to mention people like Oh No, Roc C, and others. To what extent would you say youre like them a man of the people, or an underground artist?
Bishop Lamont: Thats what I started with. Its just that since I signed to Dr. Dre, people started treating me like Im someone else; Im the same person. My backpack is just dipped in platinum now. Ive always been a street n***a that was a Hip-Hop n***a. I was at Good Life, at Project Blowed, at the Unity concerts, The Wake-Up Shows, Friday Night Flavors with Mr. Choc. People just dont know how to connect with you. How you gonna know about Dilated Peoples, Slum Village, and Ras Kass? Come on, dude. Thats their perception. I took the backpack moniker as a proud thing, as a badge.
AllHipHop.com: Weve seen that before with people like Xzibit. Being on Interscope, with Dre, do you feel pressure to grow into that platinum, and not enough of that backpack?
Bishop Lamont: No, its no pressure on me. Its not even a thought in my mind. Im gonna put all the motherf**kers I want on my album, but theres just so many people I want to work with from the underground scene that I want to work thats my pressure. Right now, I already got Lord Finesse, [DJ Premier], Pete Rock, J Dilla, Madlib, at the same, I still got my Dre records hes doing five or six for the album I got my Scott Storch records, I still gotta get [DJ] Quik on there, Evil Dee on there, I got Just Blaze blessin me, I got Bink! blessin me, I got Buckwild, Salaam Remi. Thats the only stretch, tryin to put it together; I got a gang of crazy 9th Wonder records. How can I balance it and make sure all these mothaf**kas is represented on the record? If I cant do it on this album, I gotta do it on the second album. Im trying to hit it so hard and put the underground scene back on the map, and bring it above ground. The only thing there is is good and bad music.
AllHipHop.com: As you list those people that you mention, at no point in Hip-Hop have we seen that. The closest thing might be Jay-Zs Black Album or Biggies Ready to Die as far as covering all the bases. Thats groundbreaking.
Bishop Lamont: Production is important. Mothaf**kas expect you to be like, I just want Pharrell to do all my records, and Scott Storch. They forget Scott Storch started with The Roots on the Organix album, they forget that Scott understands Hip-Hop, the Run-DMCs, the Cella Dwellas, the Boogiemonsters, the Stetsasonics its imperative that we bring that back and still be successful; it can be done. People dont expect me to hang out with Slum Village; thats my f**kin family. Elzhi is one of the dopest n***as to me, ever. [Slum Village producer] Black Milk and I are doing an album together called Caltroit, bringing Cali and Detroit together. Talib [Kweli] is one of my favorite MCs, Madlib and Dilla, when they did [Jaylib] together, just dope s**t. All the people that are d**k-riders with trends, theyll wanna go get these [albums].
AllHipHop.com: We saw Glasses Malone appear on Roc Cs album All Questions Answered album. Do you think youre in a situation where you can work with these guys just as easily as they can work with you? Will the paperwork get in the way?
Bishop Lamont: Thats just a handshake. It aint nothin to me. It aint about makin money, its about makin a movement stronger and recognizin dope n***as. I did a mixtape record with Little Brother, as well as doin something with Kardinal Offishall. Its not about paperwork. Look at the n***as who is movin together, that brings up everybodys value simultaneously.
AllHipHop.com: You mentioned Cella Dwellas. Nobody brings that up anymore. How many records or CDs do you own these days?
Bishop Lamont: I got too many. Thats probably why I put such a dent in my advance [budget], cause Im always rebuying old CDs. I got my tapes, but you [play them until the words are inaudible]. I would say over 20,000 CDs just to be safe. I still got these motherf**kin things on vinyl and cassette [too]. I grew up on Cella Dwellas, Lords of the Underground. Das EFX, Keith Murray thats the s**t thats important to me. They kept me out of trouble. I was at home listenin to they records instead of in the street sellin drugs and shootin n***as. Theyre the reason I was in high school tellin teachers, F**k you, Imma be rich. I didnt know how, but [they helped me]. Its my responsibility to recognize a Keith Murray, an Erick Sermon, a Redman from Muddy Waters or What? Thee Album, because I can remember where I was when I first heard that album. That s**t is exciting to me cause thats when it used to be fun to me when I first heard [Ol Dirty Bastards] Brooklyn Zoo or [Wu-Tang Clans] Da Mysteries of Chessboxin or when I first heard Biggie on the Supercat remix, or Buncha N***as on Heavy Ds Blue Funk album. Thats what I have to vocalize about, cause all these kids think old school is 106 & Park playin Toss it Up by 2Pac. No n***a, thats 96! To me, thats not that long ago.
AllHipHop.com: You said Hip-Hop kept you out of the streets. Mitchy Slick pointed out to me this year that no West Coast superstar has ever been able to exist, without ties to the street. That said, how do you feel?
Bishop Lamont: We havin this interview, so obviously, somethings workin right. Dre wanted to sign me. We doing Detox, its there. Its just about n***as being themselves. N***as is so concerned with bein gangstas. Im always [asking], Whos really a man? That s**t is not nothin to me. Its about me spittin this pimpin, and puttin some s**t down for Hip-Hop. Im a gangsta, Im real, f**k with me! I respect the n***as in the streets, be they killas, dope-dealers, Muslims, scholars, squares I have peoples respect. Cant nothin but a man and a real mothaf**ka get that. Thats where I leave it. Dr. Dre is my best friend, Busta Rhymes is my best friend, Dame Dash is my business consultant, I have Jay-Zs respect, what the f**k do I got to say?
AllHipHop.com: People act like youre still unheard. You were all over Warren Gs last album In the Mid-Nite Hour. To what extent, although people focus on Dre, would you say Warren put you on?
Bishop Lamont: Warren G has been instrumental in everything that were talkin about thus far. Remember, if it wasnt for Warren G, there never would have been a Snoop Dogg, a Nate Dogg, a Dogg Pound. He brought that Snoop Dogg demo to Dr. Dre. So indirectly, directly, not only did he create Death Row, but he also saved Def Jam. N***as never give Warren his props! Warren saved me. Warren put me in the game. Its important that thats stressed, but people are only concerned with what Dr. Dres doing and what Im doing with Dr. Dre, when Ive had four or five records on the radio, when Ive been doing s**t with Warren G, when Ive been on video games, when Ive been doing mixtapes. I understand thats the perception of how the industry works. If Dr. Dre says youre hot, or Jay-Z says youre hot, then youre hot. How long has Self Scientific been fresh? How long has DJ Muggs and the Soul Assassins movement been fresh? How long has Dilated Peoples been fresh? Jurassic 5? Slum Village? Little Brother? That s**t frustrates me.
AllHipHop.com: On a typical day for you, how many chumps ask you about Detox?
Bishop Lamont: Oh my God! Imagine being at the f**kin gym, tryin to do pull-ups and motherf**kas is askin you about Dr. Dre, Detox, and Can you listen to my demo? Go to Red Lobster, [same thing]. Its a double-edged sword. I appreciate the blessing, but at the same time, my office hours are from nine-to-five. [Laughs]. Its Burger King. I mop the floors, I fry the fries, I do the drive-thru, but I cant ever take my uniform off. When I get home, motherf**kas is askin me for a milkshake and a Whopper.
AllHipHop.com: But how often do you have to pull back and remember yourself doing that with Dre?
Bishop Lamont: Let me explain something. I was on the set of [The Games] Dreams and Delaney [of Czar Entertainment] passed [my demo] to Dre, cause he asked for one. I never bother artists for s**t like that, cause I know what n***as go through. I try to listen to demos as much as I can. But its also a thing of personal space. People gotta under, just cause Im signed to Dr. Dre dont mean Im rich already. I have to pave my way. I got a crew of people Ive been down with for years Im tryin to help. Its a long-ass line.
AllHipHop.com: You mentioned The Game. After he took some pot-shots at you, have you spoken?
Bishop Lamont: We still havent had a chance to talk. I got love for Game. He just was in a situation where thought, Oh, Ima lash out at Aftermath, and Ima diss Bishop. He never knew me well enough to speak on me. I heard him when he went on radio and apologized to me on KDAY and Power. Still, as men, we have to sit down and talk cause theres a bigger situation to repair, and thats him and his brother Big Fase 100. Its about brothers, family, its not about f**kin rap.
AllHipHop.com: Okay, so whats the timetable for Reformation?
Bishop Lamont: Man, its up to Dre. Im finishing up my record. Hes about to do four, five, or six for it. Were doing Detox. So really, at the end of the day, honestly, its on Dre. Im not in no rush to not have no privacy.
AllHipHop.com: Youre excited though, talking about it I know you wanna move on to the promotion and the next project too
Bishop Lamont: I already see it happenin, just by us havin this conversation, and knowin people wanna talk to my monkey-ass. When its somethin this big, thats been in my heart since I was a kid, Im on Gods schedule. God is gonna interpret Dres schedule for it. Learn to hurry up and wait. Dont force the universe. The universe is gonna align for you.