AllHipHop.com: Since the late 90s, a lot of artists have complained about the Souths dominance, but by all accounts you guys are tight with a lot of East Coast artists, including Brand Nubian. How was that experience?
Pimp C: Yeah, theyre friends of ours. As a matter of fact, I was a fan of theirs before I ever met them. We went on a promo tour back in the early 90s. Whenever I used to come to New York, I would always stay at Lord Jamars house. He used to stay in Brooklyn in the same building as Jay-Z before he came up and moved out of Brooklyn. Those are good guys. Lord J has been instrumental in my career as far as giving me game at the right time and other insights. I look at him and Too $hort as guardians or godfather types in terms of helping me with what I need to do at different times in my careerso that answers that.
Okay man, the bottom line is this: at one time everybody in the East was eating, n***as was eating out West, but nobody was eating down here. If anybody shouldve been mad or bitter it shouldve been us. But now that things have evolved and the game has switched some people are bitter about that, and thats cool. Thats their opinion, everyone has one, theyre just like assholes. The bottom line is that the s**t we make aint even Hip-Hop music. It dont even have anything to do with the Hip-Hop culture except that its Rap. We aint got no backpacks, we aint never rode on no trainswe got Cadillacs and Gucci briefcases around this motherf**ker. And Im not bashing nobody, Im just telling you straight up. I cant spraypaint worth a motherf**ker, I dont know a thing about graffiti other than the fact that it looks pretty to me. I dont even know how to catch the subway, but I know how to drive a Cadillac though. The only things I know about Hip-Hop culture is what Ive read in books or seen. So, when Kris [KRS-ONE] was saying, Yall n***as aint real Hip-Hop, it offended us back then, but he was right. Oh how right was he, so very right. I think the misconception is that we wanted to be Hip-Hop. Maybe some of us did, but at a certain stage if someone keeps telling you that youre not a part of this and you cannot be this youll see. If you keep turning somebody down then eventually theyre going to stop trying. What we did was we created our own thing, our own culture and our own artists. Our sound was what we grew up on, both Hip-Hop and the s**t that they labeled Gangsta Rap, [which] to us was just West Coast music.
It may be some people salty that were selling records right now, but heres what we need to do. Lets put all them n***as records on one side of the store and put all the Country Rap s**t on the other side of the store and see who sells the most records. If your records aint selling, maybe youre rapping about the wrong s**t! Its not their fault, its not Mike Jones fault your s**t aint selling. Dont be mad at him cause hes got 14 cars and he just bought the new Ferrari. If youre really mad, say some names then. Dont just shoot your little cap out on your mixtape, say somebodys name if youre really mad then. What you mad over? Yall had your time to shine, and truth be told, the ball aint gonna stay in the South forever. Its going to go back to one of the [other] coasts. But, while its our time to get it respect that and do you. I think a lot of these n****s wasnt selling no records at first. If thats how you feel, then say it and say someones name. Just know that every action has an opposite and equal reaction. So, after saying that whatever, we aint trippin. Just know that were listening, were buying yall records. I know about everything that happened from 1979 on up until today. You can ask me about any artist who has come out and I can tell you that Ive either had the vinyl or Ive heard it. I bought half of that s**t with my own money so I know my Hip-Hop history. Im a fan of Hip-Hop music, but what were making is a hybrid form of it.
AllHipHop.com: Dont you think you guys helped redefine what Hip-Hop is though? There are people outside of Texas with Screw Tapes and Grills.
Pimp C: Yeah but gold fronts didnt originate in Texas. My aunties and s**t from Louisiana have golds in their mouths. People in the South have been wearing gold in their mouths for years. You can gold all the way back to the 20s and 30s and look at the pimps that had gold in their mouths. People had gold fronts in New York way back in the 80s. Its a misconception. Who can take credit for that? Its just that its being revised right now. Paul Wall put it down and a lot of people were feeling that, hes got a good thing going and there are a lot of imitators. Some are better than others, but it aint going anywhere.
Its just like Rolex watches. Remember when everybody wanted to wear Rolex watches? Now its changed and went to something else, but Rolex aint go out of business. Theyre still making watches, but its just not the fad anymore. Them boys from New Orleans been wearing slugs in their mouth. Now that its popular and makes money when you see a grill you relate that to Texas but thats not necessarily the case. Yeah, were doing that but we cant take full credit for that.
AllHipHop.com: Youve said that your sound was influenced by The Chronic, among other things. Do you take any credit when you hear people using the 808s and organs that seem to be influenced by Supertight and Too Hard To Swallow?
Pimp C: No, I was tremendously influenced by the West Coast in my production style. Dr. Dre had a big influence on the way I was trying to organize and put my beats together. If you go back and listen to early N.W.A. records, actually go all the way back to World Class Wreckin Cru, but his formula of letting the bass run live all the way through and putting a guitar in is a lot of what we do. They used that 808 for years on the early Eazy-E records and some of the stuff that was happening out in the West. Rodney-O & Joe Cooley also had a big influence on my sound as a producer. Those were the things that I was listening to then. The Chronic was the blueprint and its still affecting people now: the way it was mixed, the way he arranged the instrumentation, the way he incorporated samples with live instruments. You have to recognize it as a classic, I see a lot of different ratings that say this, that and the third. What record was bigger than The Chronic? Show me that record! Tell me what record, rhyme for rhyme and beat for beat, was doper than that. Show me that record goddamnit cause I wanna hear that motherfu**er.
AllHipHop.com: Speaking on your production style, how do you adapt from that rough, live feel of I Left It Wet For You to todays crisp, high-tech sound with the newer equipment like the MPC-3000 and Pro-Tools?
Pimp C: When everybodys studios are ran off of computers of course it changes what I do. What I used to do was a different way of doing things, so I try to keep it as close to what we were doing as possible. Do I like Pro-Tools? I like some things about it, but I feel real nervous knowing my songs are still in some motherf**kers computer and I cant even get my s**t out of there when I leave. That s**t is some bulls**t designed by people that like to steal records. But, as far as editing, its a dream when it comes to doing things faster. Do I think that all studios having that computer s**t has cheapened the quality of the music? Of course it has, records dont sound like they used to bro. Theres too much technology involved and you can hear it. Go listen to some of those old records that we were doing in the studio with SSL boards and a two-inch tape machine. You can hear the difference between that s**t and what these n****s are making right now. The game is popcorn, its like comparing something that was cooked in a microwave to something from a gas stove. It might be the same ingredients and even the same recipe, but it dont taste quite the same in the end. Its gonna to go back to the real and people are gonna figure it out. Its all about finding a happy medium between the technology and the old way of doing things. Some will perfect that and some wont, some just dont care.
AllHipHop.com: A lot of people from this next generation of Southern artists such as T.I., Mike Jones and Lil Flip credit UGK for influencing them. Are you similarly influenced by seeing them take that sound to another level?
Pimp C: Isnt that the way its supposed to work? Wasnt Run influenced by Grandmaster Caz and them? Werent they influenced by them the same way me and Bun were influenced by KRS-ONE, Ice-T and Schooly D? Things just run in cycles and all were talking about now is timing. UGK came in the game before them and there were people who came in and influenced us too. The things that are jammin at the time when youre growing up are the things that will influence you when you become a man. Theyre just going off of what was jammin in the 90s.
We just happened to be putting out records that they could relate to at the time. I grew up off of a different set of rappers than Mike Jones and them did. To me Big Daddy Kane and them was some bad motherfu**ers cause them was the n***as I grew up listening to. What if UGK came before the Geto Boys? They inspired us, but thats one hell of a What If right? Timing is a motherfu**er. Them motherfu**ers raised me off of those records. So, yeah its nice that people like T.I., Flip, and Killer Mike give it up. Thats what they were listening to in high-school out there running them streets, but its all about timing, man. Back when I was in high-school Big Daddy Kane was the coldest motherfu**er I ever heard in my life, next to Run. N***as couldnt f**k with Runs style man. That n****s whole persona was the s**t. Of course, Im talking about the Run from back then, you know what I mean.
AllHipHop.com: Its ironic that you mention the two different versions of Run, since we all see him doing the family thing now
Pimp C: Everybody grows, and as you get older you change man. Change is a natural thing that comes with time. You cant expect for a man to be doing what he was doing 15-20 years ago in 2005. As you get older you want to change for the better dont you? I would think so. Hes doing what he has to do to feel good about himself and be the best man that he can be. So, yeah I miss the old Run, but when I want to hear it I go back and play that record. If I can remember correctly, I dont think Ive ever met Run. I think I saw Run way back, but he was such an intimidating character to me that I was afraid to approach him. I saw him around, what was that album where it looks like theyre walking in the sky?
AllHipHop.com: Tougher Than Leather?
Pimp C: Yeah, I seen him around the Tougher Than Leather time and I was afraid to approach him. It was just so unreal to me.
AllHipHop.com: Now that we see him doing the family thing on Runs House, I wanted to ask about you, since youre a family man too. How about the family side of Pimp C that we dont see? Are you going to PTA meetings and helping out with science projects?
Pimp C: I pick up cleanings, buy clothes, grocery shop, and pick my kids up here and there. Im not home as much as Id like to be, but I am home on some family s**t. I go to the car wash and do the things that a father and a husband are supposed to do. I think anything else would be quite ludicrous. All of my kids have a really good understanding of who daddy is out there, who daddy is at home and what daddy does. Its not always a healthy thing being in the music industry, but I feel you dont bring your work home and you dont bring your home [life] to work. That way if one is not doing as well it doesnt affect the other.