No matter how many artist bios or magazine articles you read, one thing remains the same: the best way to connect with your favorite MCs is to pay attention to the lyrics. If you listen to Spider Locs First Degree he flatly states, West Coast classic gimmie my space / and for the record I aint never been on Myspace. Dont let his disdain for social networking sites fool you though, like any smart spider, Loc knows how to use the web to his advantage. When hes not cashing in from selling trademarked merchandise on his own site, you might just catch him granting AllHipHop.com another exclusive interview.
Roughly two years after grabbing headlines by securing a spot in G-Unit courtesy of impressing Young Buck and 50 Cent with a freestyle verse, Spider and DJ Felli Fell team up to drop Connected. In addition to lines like the ones found on the aforementioned First Degree, Spider Loc mixes in radio worthy material and battle-ready bars with a little help from West Coast vets Ice Cube, C-Bo and B.G. Knoccout. Its a rather appropriate title, as today finds him back on the block trying to balance the connections with his set and the status that being a member of G-Unit provides.
All those interested in learning the difference between industry types and in the streets types should keep reading. After all, this is the best way to connect with Spider Loc until you can get your own copy of Connected and his upcoming album, The West Kept Secret. Trust us, it will get you much closer than a friend request.
AllHipHop.com: A lot of the artists out West find themselves pushing the line for different agendas. Do you have any feelings about the remarks Snoop Dogg made about you on DubCNN.com?
Spider Loc: I dont know what really motivated him to lash out and speak on my name in the manner that he did. The environment that Im frombeing a street n***a and coming over into this industry, Ive made some mistakes as a young man. I said some terrible, horrible, derogatory things about his mother that in the long run I made an effort to apologize to him for. It was probably a byproduct of who I was associated with at that time [Death Row Records], and Im not even sure if he was aware of what I said, but I still felt like I was out of line by speaking on his mother like I did. At any rate, he forgave me, or I thought that he had forgiven me.
To this day, I still dont know what motivated him. What bothered me was that he said, G-Unit cant save you cuzz. I dont know what he meant. Saving me from what? G-Unit has saved me already from so many things. S.P.I. is a hog out here, I dont need to be savedbe saved from hell thats about it. Im EC G-Unit on my license plate, everywhere out here n****s know. G-Unit cant save me. But its all good; Ive seen Snoop since then.
I dont know where his head is at, but I thought that was very careless of him to represent himself as a leader out here on the West Coast. As someone who is trying to pull everyone together under a blanket of organization, I thought that was very careless of him to go and speak on the Internet in the manner that he did. I felt it was my responsibility to make communication with him rather than respond in the same manner via the Internet.
I hollered at him since then, and its one hundred as far as how we left it. Snoop told me to keep it Crippin so Imma do what he says.
AllHipHop.com: You originally appeared on They Like Dat with Kam, who started out under Ice Cube. Now we find you as a member of 50 Cents G-Unit, which has strong ties to Dr. Dre. In addition to that, your new mixtape features B.G. Knocc Out and Lil Eazy-E, who have connections with the late Eazy-E.
Spider Loc: You know what, I missed that. I couldnt even have told you that Kam was at Death Row for a minute. Thats my n***a and I didnt even know that.
AllHipHop.com: You must have an appreciation for just how deep the roots from the N.W.A. tree go.
Spider Loc: The funny part about being far away from this tree at one point is that as a West Coast artist its always been a fixation in my mind. I cant remember who to give credit to for saying it, but it was once stated that unless you come up under that N.W.A. tree, you really dont have a chance of blowing up in Cali, and I believed that. I never actually made an effort to be a part of the tree, but Ive been under this tree for quite some time now and I understand that.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think it will be difficult to make radio-friendly singles such as Candy Shop or Hands Up?
Spider Loc: Its not actually difficult to make those types of records. It is difficult to meter the tempo of radio, so I realize which one is appropriate at which time. I listen to radio now, and I dont think I ever used to. Recently, since it has become my occupation to be appropriate for radio, its kind of hard to look at my personal image and see where I fit in on radio. I hear whats accepted and people are either doing one thing or the other; at most its a variation of three different things that are successful on radio. None of those personify myself. I dont want to go chase after whats on radio, but I can mimic the style of anything without appearing to be copying it. I can get myself in any mood, any frame of mind and fit into that system. Im kind of struggling with doing that and keeping it real to what naturally comes from me, but I can do it all.
AllHipHop.com: G-Unit has the resources to call in features from just about any A-list artist, that being the case, how come Ice Cube and Young Buck are your only big name features?
Spider Loc: My thing is, I feel a burden to establish myself. By lending their association to me and bringing me in, my counterparts have already done quite a bit. I dont want to ever rely on that too much so that it appears that my success is solely based on that. Im on a mission to prove that I can stand on my own two feet. I appreciate what has been done for me and I want to add to it, not just be lazy with it.
I see how much control an artist has in the mixtape world. I dont respect the fact that everybodys rapping all of a sudden. I come from an era where if you were a street n***a it was corny to rap, but I still rapped. Some people didnt have the courage to say it to your face, but behind your back theyd always make jokes about rappin. I knew certain n***as from other hoods who rapped. Whenever I bumped into their other homies in county jail or wherever Id say, You know your homie so-and-so, and the response would be, Oh you mean that old rappin ass n***a? They didnt respect the spirit of being a rapper and it wasnt taken seriously.
Now, all of a sudden, everybody from every hood is rappin and I dont even respect half of these n***as. I do know a few dudes who as long as Ive been out here grindin and trying to get my thing crackin, they have been grindin just as long. I feel like Ive been blessed with the platform and I have so much control over these mixtapes, and it really doesnt cost me anything. What is it to me to help another n***a that can hold his own to get some shine, especially when I know that he deserves it and hes not taking a half-assed approach to this rap s**t? I respect the n***as with talent who are really true to their stories, believe in it like I do and have had to turn their back on some of their responsibilities like I have.
As far as BG Knoccout, the fact that music has taken a turn to this street s**t, anybody who pays attention to rap since that point in time knows that they owe him a listen. His story is too real, theres no holes in it. Its going to be hard to find holes in that n****s storyI know him from right here, before all this rap s**t. I know him from being watchedwe be where we be. He aint out here on no ignorant s**t; hes not trying to hurt anybody over no bulls**t, he just wants to tell his story.
AllHipHop.com: Yeah, fans of West Coast Rap will remember him and Dresta coming up under Eazy-E.
Spider Loc: Exactly, but the people who werent into West Coast Rap knew about Eazy-E. The fact that BG Knoccout stood on that platform and was in that one video, to say his name and describe that video everyone says, Oh. I think theres no better person to attach myself to.
I f**k with Glasses Malone because hes a n***a I know from the Eastside thats really out here. His momma in the pen, his brother is a riderhe my n***a and we know each other outside of this rap s**t. He aint no buster. A lot of times people get caught up because this game is so political. There are so many associations and people who say, I f**k with him, or I dont f**k with him, that I have to take the gangbang mentality out as Im dealing with these rap n***as. Thats because everybody doesnt know everybody and theyre all not willing to take on all of your crusades. So, the line I push is the line I push, I dont expect anybody to disrespect it or cross it or expect me to compromise it. I dont judge everybody by their affiliation or association.
AllHipHop.com: I dont want to dwell on your affiliation too much, but its a big part of you as an artist. I ran across the following line while listening to Connected and I wanted to know if you could break it down. I just feel Im a Christian that cant find heaven / getting loaded in the Land off that 897 / you a buster in the hood so you must hang out / while I cant shake the set cause Im just banged out.
Spider Loc: Yeah thats me, man. 897 is Kool Aid, Thunderbird and Old English mixed together. Ive been in the hood all my life and thats one of the main things we drink. My big homie usually has some gin and juice or some 897, we put it in a big pot and we all drink out of it on the block.
As for the other part, Im a Christian. I really, really believe with all of the power that I have to believe as a human that God created to do right that hes my father. I just dont know how to, or if Im even qualified to live what is traditionally considered a pure life. I have a lot of understanding with the word, but at the same time I have a lot of confusion with the word. But, bottom line is that in Philippians the Bible says this one thing, He that has started good work in me shall complete it. That takes responsibility off of me. The Bible also says that the same way a leopard cannot change his skin, a man has no power to change his ways. Thats something that also takes the responsibility off of me of changing. I just feel that my responsibility is to be honest with those I come in contact with and God. I feel like the rest is on him.
AllHipHop.com: Along with that opportunity comes heavy sales expectations. It would be generous to say that only five albums will be certified platinum by the end of the year. In the latest issue of VIBE, Eminem and 50 said they might have to rethink their approach to marketing their artists. Does that concern you?
Spider Loc: Naturally, you pay attention when you hear the statistics and you notice whats going on. I felt that I would be in the position that Im in far before I got here, and I dont feel anything but healthy anticipation. I like the challenge. I like the odds to be against me, and thats why I feel that building this acting career is an equalizer. Usually, a rap artist achieves a certain amount of success in music before theyre able to achieve a certain amount of success outside of it. Ive been blessed to be in a position where I can cultivate both of them at the same pace, and I think its going to help and add certain energy to my whole situation when its presented.