William Calhoun, better known as WC, has been puttin’ in work for the West Coast rap scene for well over two decades now, and he’s not out to slow down anytime soon. Starting out as part of the group Low Profile with the legendary DJ Aladdin, Dub (as many refer to him as) has put together an impressive catalog over the years as a solo artist and with his groups Tha Maad Circle and later, The Westside Connection.
Since the break-up of Westside Connection, WC has remained busy touring with his younger brother DJ Crazy Toones and longtime friend and collaborator Ice Cube. The trio remain to this day one of the most enjoyable concert acts just on the strength of their performing abilities, the back and forth chemistry and the long list of classic Ice Cube songs.
As the crew prepares to once again hit the road, WC took the time to chat it up with AllHipHop.com to talk about their concert show, his little brother Crazy Toones, childhood friend Ice Cube, and other things on his mind:
AllHipHop.com: I’ve seen you perform with Ice Cube several times, and there’s an amazing amount of fun, energy and chemistry that you two have together on stage. Do you attribute that to your long time friendship?
WC: It plays a part in it, but mostly it’s because we are both students of the game. We both love Hip-Hop, and we came in when it was pure and when an MC had to have a complete package in order to make it.
Not discrediting rap artists that are getting down now, but at the time we came in to the game, it was more than just having a record out. If you didn’t have a good show, the fans would boo you. Fans weren’t as lenient as they are now. Me, Cube and my brother Crazy Toones have always agreed that we were going to give 150 percent, and we weren’t going to be cats just walking back in forth on stage just rapping. We’re going to give a complete show. As you’ve seen yourself, we go in.
AllHipHop.com: That’s something that you’ve been saying as far back as your “Pay Ya Dues” song with the Low Profile group.
WC: You’ve got to give the crowd what they want. They want to see a real show. That’s why we can still go and get down to this day and give the current artists with number one records a hard time. With the catalog that we have, we can give it to them. Toones goes off on the wheels, and me and Cube go back and forth on the mic, and we get the crowd involved. We can get down at any place in the entire world.
AllHipHop.com: You mentioned your brother Crazy Toones. He’s been with you since The Maad Circle days. What’s it like having your brother work with you?
WC: That’s my little brother, and he’s been with me since day one. It feels good because I know that he’s genuinely got our back. He’s not up there just for a check. We could do a real dope show and then go back to the dressing room, and he’ll tell us how we need to do a certain song or which ones to add to the show.
One time we did a show for about an hour and some change. and by the time we finished the encore, it was two hours. After the show, Toones still got at us about adding this or that song. Cube was like, “God d*mn, man. You’re not running around the stage with us!” [laughter] That’s just the kind of cat that he is. He’s genuine, and he’ll give his input. We listen to him because he’s family, and he’s not back there being yes-man. We all push each other to the limit.
AllHipHop.com: How was it going up with Crazy Toones? We’re you the big brother knuckling his head a little bit?
WC: Yes, I was, but Toones was a special case. He was always a big kid. When he was in Elementary school, he looked like should’ve been in Junior High. He stood above everybody else. There wasn’t too much jumping on him. That’s my little brother, and I love him to death. There wasn’t any punkin’ going on.
AllHipHop.com: You’ve known Ice Cube since high school or beyond that?
WC: I’ve known him since elementary school. We lived right around the corner from each other. That’s how far me and O’Shea go back. We played Pop Warner football and all that sh*t. We just don’t brag about that or tell people about it. We go back to elementary, and that’s why our friendship is so genuine. We can get in an argument and be like, “F*ck you! You’re trippin’.” And then a month later be like, “Where you at?” [laughter] It’s genuine.
AllHipHop.com: Who started rapping first between yourself and Cube?
WC: I don’t know. I think we started around the same time. In our neighborhood, you were either gang-banging full-fledged, playing ball, or doing music. We both had our share of dabbling in all of that, but we were fortunate enough to just to become affiliates of the neighborhood and not cats with crazy jail records. We got a chance to get in to this music right here, and we love the support of our neighborhood because everybody saw our struggle and knows our struggle.
AllHipHop.com: Did you two ever have any friendly rap battles back in the day?
WC: We always did. He always came around to the house and couldn’t close the garage fast enough. We used to go in there and rap for hours. Cube was always good at putting visuals in to his word play. Of course, Dr. Dre knows that, which is why he scooped him up.
AllHipHop.com: You guys have another tour coming up?
WC: We’ve got some shows in Switzerland coming up in March on the 11th or the 12th. Then in April we will be in Australia. While that’s going on, Cube is working on his new album, and we’re trying to have that out soon. I’m working on my album as well. We’ll be dropping my album shortly after his. Then we’ll be back on the road again.
AllHipHop.com: Nice! Another Ice Cube album, and another one from you!
WC: Why the f*ck not? [laughter] Is it because we’re old school, and we have catalogs? I think we need to go and do it for all of the cats that don’t get a chance to hear our records on the radio or see our videos 24/7 anymore. We continue to give them good music. We applaud Hip-Hop for still going on, and we support Hip-Hop.
We see the Lil Wayne’s and everybody like that, and we give them dap because they always show us love and respect. I’m just happy to see everybody out there still doing their thing and not letting Hip-Hop slide away, regardless of what people say that the music is now. I’m loving the fact that it’s still here – we’re still blessed to get down and still have fans. We’re going to continue to put records out.
AllHipHop.com: How long are you going to keep going?
WC: Until the fans say that they don’t want it anymore.
AllHipHop.com: Do you already have a title for the new album?
WC: I have quite a few titles but I’m not going to say anything yet. N*ggas still be biting out here. If I throw it out there, someone might run with that motherf*cker.
AllHipHop.com: Do you still have your Big Swang record label?
WC: Yeah, that’s what it’s coming out under. I don’t know who I’m going to use for distribution yet. It might be E1 again. I’m also putting out my favorite MC – my young candidate, Maylay. He’s got a mixtape and a digital album coming out this summer. The mixtape is called Hog Tied & Duck Taped. Anybody who hasn’t heard of him yet can hear him on Ice Cube’s last album. He was on the “Too West Coast” and “Y’all Know How I Am.” He’s nice with it.
AllHipHop.com: He was the lead character in the GTA: San Andreas video game.
WC: Yeah, that’s CJ!
AllHipHop.com: You mentioned that he was your favorite young rapper. Who else is on that list?
WC: My favorites are Maylay, Bad Lucc, and OMG. I like a lot of cats getting down, but those three are my favorites.
AllHipHop.com: OMG is Cube’s son. Do you ever give him pointers and tips on rapping?
WC: All of the time. Any time they come to me to ask me what I think, I let them know. I would be wrong to not speak my mind. That would be selfish of me. OMG has the whole package. I’m not worried about him. He’s got a new mixtape coming out too.
AllHipHop.com: I was at the KDAY concert where you embraced Mack 10 in the press room. That was a cool thing.
WC: I walked in the room during the middle of his interview, and I wanted everybody to see that there wasn’t any bad blood or anything that people have been speculating about. I wanted people to see that just because we all departed and gone our separate ways that I don’t have a problem with Mack 10. I’m a real n*gga. That wasn’t something that I had to do. It wasn’t planned. It was something that I chose to do and I wanted to do it in front of the whole world. That’s real, man.
AllHipHop.com: Do you have any parting thoughts or something on your mind that you wanted to share?
WC: To all of the upcoming MCs and DJs, don’t let anybody tell you what you can’t do. We’re all stronger together than separate. Even though it might seem like we don’t support each other on the West, it starts with ourselves. When we as artists make up our minds in what we want to do and what we want to say, we don’t worry about who’s going to step in and assist us or not.
I think the main people that we need to look at are our local radio stations – our disc jockeys that and lie by saying that they support us. F*ck telling me to my face that you like my music and all that – show and prove. I’m not saying this for myself because I’ve been blessed. I’ve had my records on the radio stations, and I still get my songs thrown in the mix. But to all of the upcoming MC’s and Producers – don’t get frustrated and tap out of the game because you feel like it’s a no-win situation. Keep going hard and eventually it will break through.
I also want to say that just because you get a verse from Snoop, myself, Cube, or even a beat from Dr. Dre – that doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to get your video or record played. You’ve got to keep working hard. Don’t bite your tongue – we got to start screaming on these b*tch a** DJs who are not supporting what we do.
It’s not about WC, but it’s about all of us. There’s so much talent out here that deserve to be heard. It’s f*cked up because they can’t get played or they don’t fit in to the format of the radio station. I don’t even call them “radio stations” out here because radio stations play music that the public wants to hear. It’s all just all programmed now.