Whether you like them or not, there is no denying that The Cali Swag District have got people talking and dancing across the nation led by their break out single, Teach Me How To Dougie. The young four man rap group from Inglewood, CA located within Los Angeles took many by surprise this year as their single picked up radio and club steam and received endorsements from entertainers and sports figures such as Steve Nash, Big Baby Davis, Kim Kardashian and many others. The group has followed up on the success of Dougie with Where You Are, a song which samples the late great Michael Jackson.
With the new album The Kickback coming out this October 12, two members of the Cali Swag District decided to talk to AllHipHop.com and answer some questions about their group and even speak a little to their skeptics. With a difference in music and fashion styles it’s no secret that there is a gap between the older and younger hip-hop generations and maybe with some conversation we can help bridge that gap and understand each other a little better.
AllHipHop.com: Let’s talk about the song that started it all, Teach Me How To Dougie. You guys have stars and athletes videotaping themselves doing the dance because of your song.
Yung: Big Baby from The Boston Celtics did that recently and he knew how to do it too! He had the head movements right and all. He’s just kind of big so it looked funny.
AllHipHop.com: I’m sure I’m not the only older hip-hop fan out there that’s clueless about the Dougie dance, so give us the info on it.
Yung: The dance actually came from Doug E. Fresh’s head movement. The people in Dallas, TX turned it in to the D-Town Boogie. One of our friends went down to Texas on a break and came back and told us that the dance was hot down there but not really here in L.A. He came up with the concept and we did the song. We actually had the lyrics finished before the beat was done. We went in the booth and blazed it and started a dance craze nationwide. The dance is from Dallas, TX. It’s not from us and we did not invent it.
Cali Swag District: “Teach Me How To Dougie”
AllHipHop.com: The Jerk dance craze was hot for a minute and that started with another West Coast group , The New Boyz. This wasn’t a response to that?
Smoove: Not at all. It has no ties to the Jerk movement. We weren’t trying to shut it down or none of that. It was just a song that we decided to do.
Yung: We wanted to do something different because everybody’s Jerk songs sounded the same.
AllHipHop.com: Give me a little insight in to your group. How did you guys come together?
Smoove: Big Wy (of the group The Relativez) put us together. Weve been friends for a long time but we were doing our own thing musically. I was DJing myself and the others had their own solo rap careers. Big Wy wanted to put together a group and thought that we all possessed that talent to be that group. He had the name together already and none of us liked it at first. It grew on us and now it means something to us. We are from California. Our Swag is all different – our characters and dress is different from each other. Our District is our city which is Inglewood.
AllHipHop.com: Why didnt you like the name at first?
Yung: It was kind of corny to us at first. It was California Swag District at first but we shortened it to Cali. We all kind of looked at each other when they first told us the name.
Smoove: It just didnt fit in with the names of what other crews in our area had or people our age. It grew on us though.
AllHipHop.com: So you can understand how some fans might not like the name when they first hear it?
Yung: Like who are these guys and what’s this? Yeah, we admit that but when they take the time to know us, they love it.
AllHipHop.com: The West Coast is known for it’s gangster rap, even your mentor Big Wy with his work with The Relativez. You guys are coming from a totally different field.
Smoove: Times have changed. The things that Snoop, Ice Cube and N.W.A. Used to rap about were things that they were dealing with and the way they came up. Some people know still go through that but that’s not what we are trying to express in our music. Us personally, we don’t face that lifestyle as hard as they did. Gangs are still there but it’s not as serious now to us. Our generation is all about having fun, meeting females and all of that crazy stuff. We don’t care about being hard that’s outdated. We express ourselves through our music in a whole different way. We are just having fun with it.
AllHipHop.com: Do you get any negative feedback about that from people in the West Coast?
Yung: We get love from a lot of the old artists and gangster rappers. Our visionary is Big Wy. If he put us together and said thinks that it’s cool, then everybody else thinks so too. DJ Quik, Snoop Dogg and many of the older artists show us love.
AllHipHop.com: I wanted to ask you about the New West. A lot of them have been working hard for years and you guys show up quick on the scene and bypassed many of them. Do you get a lot of hard feelings from them?
Smoove: Not at all. We are cool with a lot of them especially Nipsey Hussle and YG. We are all doing our thing and there is no hatred involved. We all show each other love.
AllHipHop.com: Teach Me How To Dougie really took off and some out there said that was going to be your only Hit song. What do you have to say to those who base your success off of what they deem as a gimmick?
Yung: To me it’s cool because I take it that they are looking for another hit. We like to prove people wrong. Our second single which features Michael Jackson is called Where You Are. We are going to hit a lot of people over the head with that one. We are going to prove people wrong.
Smoove: We already have because it was premiered on TMZ and played earlier today on L.A.’s Power 106 FM. We’ve already been getting feedback about the record. The new record is big and may be even bigger than Teach Me How To Dougie. Our manager brought the idea of that song to us and we loved it.
AllHipHop.com: I was actually happy to see that you guys sampled a classic. You don’t see many of today’s younger artists taking it back to the classics like the older Hip-Hop generations did.
Smoove: We knew that the idea was going to work. You can’t find someone who isn’t a Michael Jackson fan. Our studio is actually where Michael Jackson’s clothes used to be made his boutique. We randomly found that out one day. It was like he was haunting us or something because not only was our studio his former boutique but our first tour bus was used by The Jackson 5.
Cali Swag District: “Where You Are”
AllHipHop.com: Did you feel any pressure to come up with another hit after Teach Me How To Dougie? It’s common for a new group to have one hit record and then fall out of people’s memories down the line.
Smoove: Not at all. We are confident in what we can do. We sat back and allowed the right record to come to us and it happened. I can honestly say that there was no pressure in trying to top Teach Me How To Dougie.
AllHipHop.com: What do you have to say about Hip-Hop fans that are into rap “skills” who dismiss your music?
Smoove: We have songs that we’ve recorded where we get lyrical. It’s just that the one’s that are out now are not as lyrical. We are real diverse and we have range with our skills. Time will tell if you guys agree. The album is crazy and has lyrics on it.
Yung: Right now our generation likes the band chants and to have fun. Our generation is really not in to lyrics for some reason. You’ve got Drake and everybody likes him but our generation likes to have fun so we’ve got to represent that. Our album is titled The Kickback which is like partying. We are definitely going to try and show our lyrical side on the album and letting people know that we really can rap.