It used to be the case that
when one thought of Florida, very rarely was it ever synonymous with
Hip-Hop, but the tide has definitely changed. Hailing from one of the
hottest cities in the country, the production duo consisting of Marcello
Cool Valenzano and Andre Dre Lyon, better known as Cool
& Dre, have been slowly bring the heat wave to the masses. In just
seven years, the low key producers have lent their production and songwriting
skills to everyone from Ja Rule to Diddy, and in 2005 received two Grammy
nods for The Games hit single Hate It or Love It.
Now, with the launch of their
record label Epidemic Music, the global marketing of their clothing
line, and their budding relationship with Miamis hottest DJ, Khaled,
Cool and Dre are equipped to take over the music industry, one city
at a time. Read as they catch AllHipHop.com up on their latest business
ventures, from production to fine cuisine, and share their views on
sampling, trends in Hip-Hop music, and being a winner.
AllHipHop.com: You guys
are one of the few production duos. Does having a partner make it easy
to be more efficient?
Dre: Yeah. Me and Cool started
together so this is all we know, but we function separately when it
helps make the job easier, you know? We can actually be in the studio
with someone in one city and mixing another record for another artist
in another city. And just ideas and creatively, two heads are
better than one.
was a time when Hip-Hop was more of a collaborative effort between an
MC and a producer, like Pete Rock and CL Smooth, Gangstarr. Do
you think having that connection is necessary to developing your sound
as a producer?
Dre: Pete Rock and CL Smooth
is a great example and so is Gangstarr. I mean, these days you can prominently
work with one person, and not even be like their whole album. Like,
Pharrell and Jay Z have great chemistry together. Theyre known to
make hit records together. I feel like me and Cool have a great relationship
with like a DJ Khaled, where when we make records with him, the records
always turn out big; or with The Game.
AllHipHop.com: At the same
time, do you think that when you work with one artist that it stifles
Dre: Not if its successful.
If its a successful union it makes it more powerful because its
hard to get at you. Youre not trying to make a record for everybody.
Youre extra exclusive. Its almost like, Yo, its an honor
to even get this guy to produce a record for me because all he works
with is you know? And if you look at someone like Premo
and the other people that he decided to work with outside of Gangstarr,
it was always classic. Like, Dr. Dre is that. To this day, he is not
a guy that you can just call on the phone and get a beat. Dr. Dre is
exclusively with himself, Eminem, Snoop, 50, The Game, and thats
AllHipHop.com: Dre, you had
a few singles out a couple of years ago, Naomi and Chevy Ridin
High. Was the solo project an effort to showcase your lyrical ability
or to get you guys music out there?
Dre: Me and Cool were artists
before we made beats and one of the things we feel we bring to the table
is the whole concept of the record, creatively. We come with the hook,
we give you ideas for your verses, like, we come with the whole package
and that comes from us being artists as well. So a lot of the records
that Cool and I would do, I would lend my vocals on the hook here and
there, and people started hearing it and a couple of big people spoke
with me and were like Yo, you should do an album. So Cool gave
me his blessing and we went in and started making music. I was
dropping singles and I still hadnt even dropped the album yet. I
was really feelin the vibe, and Jive just couldnt connect the
dots. And honestly, I didnt want to come out and do anything to harm
the Cool and Dre brand, and I didnt want anyone to put me in a position
to fail, because we come to win. Like, we dont leave the house to
lose. Like, if you gonna lose, you gonna stay home. I didnt
feel as though I was gonna get that win with Jive at that time so I
kinda fell back and told everybody that I would take a break and just
get back in the studio with Cool and make a s**t load of records. When
I feel like everybodys on the same page, maybe Ill get back in
AllHipHop.com: I hear youre
launching your new clothing line this year, and that youve invested
in a restaurant. Tell me a little about those projects.
Cool: Yep, its called Dirty
Royalty. So basically we them flashy type of guys, like to be fly, you
know what Im sayin? We are creative as well, everyday were
thinkin of some new s**t, so we decided to do some shirts for ourselves,
and everywhere we go people would be like, Yo, whats up with them
shirts? Where yall be buying them shirts at? Then it went
from that to putting them in local, hot boutiques out here. And now,
its like out of hand. Now all these stores are calling us from all
over the place. The website is boomin so now were at a point now
where we have to bring in reinforcements. Were like running after
it right now, with the stores demands and all. Its a beautiful thing. Dre: The restaurant is called
510 Ocean. It was rated one of the top ten restaurants in all of Florida.
The Madison Chicken is great and the Filet Mignon.
AllHipHop.com: Okay, so lets
talk strictly music. Whats the most amazing new production
equipment to come out, in your opinion?
Cool: All the soft synth technology
is the greatest thing ever. Its been around for a minute but
they keep revamping it.
Dre: Yeah, its incredible.
Dont get it twisted, we still on that MPC. The turntables aint
goin nowhere, so all yall used to sampling off the laptops, Cool
and Dre like to hear that cracklin vinyl. AllHipHop.com: What are Your views on sampling?
Cool: I mean, if youre gonna
use a sample you better be prepared to cut a check, cause its
Dre: Thats the problem I
have with sampling. We need to sample. Sampling is Hip-Hop. At the end
of the day, mostly every n**** that makes beats, their drums are sampled
from some f****n record. What we need to do is get every producer
together and say we not gonna sample none of these motherf*****s
shit for a good three years, so they can feel it. They charge you so
much to use their sample, and treat you like youre doing somethin
wrong, but they make so much money off of it. In some instances, it
resurrects n****s careers. My n***a, Im doing you a favor. At
the end of the day, not only am I helping your career, youre also
making a grip if the record is a hit. So you know what, how about you
pay me for sampling your record? Its one thing when we sample a legend,
absolutely, you pay the Isley Brothers. You better pay. But if I sample
some n***a you never heard of that may have sold 100 records back in
1971, and you charging me to sample your s**t? Get the f**k outta here.
AllHipHop.com : Five years into the game,
what is a trend that you have seen develop and gain momentum in the
Dre: Swizz [Beatz] created
something when he started really sampling for hooks. Premier used to
do it all the time, but Swizz did it with recent artists and songs you
just heard seven months ago. I think T-Pain has created something everyone
is running with, the effect that he does with his voice
Another big trend is you have
to be a D-boy. I remember when a rappers story was I had to hustle
on the side to feed the kids and pay the rent. But they werent
drug overlords. Today people feel like they have to be the dope boy
on the block and have developed millions on the street to make it in
rap. I think thats the only bad trend. Like, that may have
been true for a handful of people, but because their life story was
a success doesnt mean you have to fabricate yours. So thats like
the new thing, and its unfortunate. I think weve forgotten the
pain and struggle in slangin.
so talk to me about your upcoming projects
Dre: Misery Loves Company,
with Joe Hound is droppin at the top of next year. Then theres
a kid named C-Rod, we think hes gonna be one of the biggest dudes
in the game. Then we worked on Rick Ross album Trilla. We
did the first single. We did Babys single, featuring Lil
Wayne, Jeezy and Rick Ross. We got Beanie Siegels single; its
called However Do You Want It. I promise its going to scare
people. David Banner, we have his second single. We are working
with Mariah Carey, Usher, Lil Mama. Were going in the studio with
The Game in couple of weeks to work on his retirement album.
AllHipHop.com: Now you guys
talk a lot about DJ Khaled. What exactly is the relationship between
Dre: We go back with him. Khaled
is important. Cool and I used to be DJs in the underground DJ station
in Miami and Khaled had just moved to Miami from Orlando. He was hustling
trying to find a way to get in the game. He came on our station
and wanted to play. So we gave him our whole time slot, because we went
to Atlanta to pursue producing full-time. We got back, and after
nine months he was already running the city. Hes just a winner and
he wins at a very high percentage. He had a relationship with Fat Joe
before we did, and thats how we became close with Hes like a brother
to us. And hes scaring the music industry right now, because people
aint sellin records anymore, and this dude found a way to sell
80, 000 units, independently, and hes a DJ.
AllHipHop.com: Is there anyone
youd give a beat to for free?
Dre: DAngelo. Oh hell
yeah. DAngelo- wed do the whole album for free. He is the blueprint
for a lot of these n****s singing now. Who else Goodie Mob, Outkast,
and of course, Jay Z.
AllHipHop.com: Any advice for
up and coming producers who are shopping their beats for free just to
Dre: To be honest, Cool and
I started giving out beats for free in Miami. You have to create
a demand to get paid for something. If you know you have something
thats goin to f**k the game up, you have to get it out. A producer
should rather have his beat heard on the mix show or in the strip club,
than in his basement or garage because homeboy aint have the bread
to pay for the beat. Just let the motherf****r know you need that shout
out on the record. We had every n***a in Miami rappin over a Cool
and Dre beat, and you knew because them motherf*****s said Cool and
Dre on this one! And if the motherf****r didnt like the rapper,
he damn sure said, Them Cool and Dre n****s can make some beats.
And then one day a n***a came knockin on that back door in the garage,
asking if we were Cool and Dre and how much we charge for beats. Thats
how it works.
Cool: We always tell up and
coming producers, if you out there six or seven months and you shoppin
your CDs with 30 or 40 beats out to all the popular, local rappers and
you dont hear one of your beats on a mixtape, or nobodys calling
you back you gotta check your beats, because somethings wrong with
them. Either youre ahead of your time or youre just not
on time. A producer is like a diamond in the rough. If youre beats
are hot, theyre gonna shine through anything.
AllHipHop.com: Name a beat
right now that knocks. One that you hear and wish you had come up with
Dre: Stay Fly with 36
Mafia. Juicy J and DJ Pauls beats are f****n phenomenal. They could
quit rappin and be the biggest producers in the game.
Cool: Man, it had to be Whoa
[by Black Rob]. Buckwild killed that beat.