(AllHipHop Features) California Hip Hop is riding high right now off the successful runs of Kendrick Lamar, Nipsey Hussle, Tyler The Creator, Schoolboy Q, YG, Ty Dolla $ign, Vince Staples, and others. South Central’s TeeCee4800 is looking to be the next emcee to grab that LA baton and carry it worldwide.
TeeCee incorporated the traditional sounds of Cali rap with contemporary vibes on his latest project Realness Over Millions 2. That vintage-modern approach presents a 16-song collection that is easily digestible to Los Angelenos as well as listeners beyond the Mojave Desert.
The sequel to his 2016 mixtape features established West Coasters E-40, Ty Dolla, YG, and Staples. East Coast representatives Wiz Khalifa and Ransom show up as well. Of course, the one-time resident of Mid-City also recruited his MVMNT brethren 24hrs and D.Loc for contributions. TeeCee closes out ROM2 with a song featuring his currently incarcerated cousin Big TC.
I spoke with TeeCee4800 about his new project. The interview also includes him discussing his early days with YG and Ty Dolla $ign , starting as a DIY artist, celebrities claiming gang affiliation, and being part of the Priority Records legacy.
AllHipHop: What does this project represent for you?
TeeCee4800: Just letting the world know that I’m still doing this sh-t and also reaching fans that I haven’t reached yet. I’m just trying to get bigger. I’m just trying to get my foot in the door. That’s what this project represents.
AllHipHop: Since you’ve dropped the project, do you feel like you've reached a different audience?
TeeCee4800: I do, actually. I feel like I’ve reached people that I haven’t reached before.
AllHipHop: Why did you decide to come back with a sequel now?
TeeCee4800: When I did the first one, it was already in my head that I was going to do a sequel to it. It was already on the agenda.
AllHipHop: So were these all new tracks?
TeeCee4800: There all new tracks over a period of like ten months to a year.
AllHipHop: You have quite a few features on there. In particular, you do a lot of work with YG. How did you build that relationship?
TeeCee 4800: “Toot It and Boot It” was the first time I met YG. After that, we linked up and never looked back.
AllHipHop: You were on the original version of “Toot It and Boot It”?
TeeCee4800: Correct. It was actually just me and Ty’s song at first. I didn’t know YG. I went to Ty’s house, and we did the song. I wasn’t a rapper at the time. I just went over there to record the song with him. The next day he had YG on [the song]. I was like, “Who is that?” He was like, “YG.” I was like, “Damn, that sh-t’s hard.” Then I met YG when we did the video. I guess Def Jam wanted it for YG’s solo project, so that’s when they took me off and did another verse.
AllHipHop: You said that you weren’t rapping at the time. At what point did you decide you wanted to be a rapper for your career?
TeeCee4800: It was after “Toot It and Boot It” took off. A lot of people in LA were singing it and knew me from being on the original version. I just took advantage of the opportunity that I had in the music business because I did what a lot of people wanted to do and they’d been rapping for years. I did it in a week, so I just took advantage of it. I bought my own music equipment and taught myself how to record myself.
AllHipHop: We’re kind of in this “Do It Yourself” era, particularly in entertainment. But with you being Ty Dolla $ign’s cousin, I’m sure the idea of nepotism comes up, like, “He only got on because he’s connected to Ty.” How has that affected you as you move through the industry?
TeeCee4800: Of course, Ty helped me in a lot of ways. But at the same time, “Toot It and Boot It” was all of our first hit single - me, Ty, and YG. Him and YG blew up. I’m still a West Coast legend, and I’m just trying to get worldwide. So we all did it ourselves. Ty is my cousin and he helped me in a lot of ways, so did YG, but I still did it myself.
AllHipHop: You have a lot of West Coast artists on [*Realness Over Millions 2*]. You have Vince [Staples] on the “Crippin” song. We’ve seen celebrities that didn’t grow up in that culture claim they’re affiliated with certain gangs. How do you feel about people that got famous and then decided they wanted to claim Blood or Crip?**
TeeCee4800: It’s crazy that everybody be claiming, especially a lot of out-of-towners. That’s one of the reasons I did the “Crippin” song. I knew everybody would like it because it’s authentic and from a real person’s perspective. Everybody just wants to do it and they're getting away with it. That’s what makes it really bad.
AllHipHop: You have your other cousin Big TC on “This Ain’t Love.” How difficult was it to get him to record for that song?
TeeCee4800: He actually sent that song to me. So it wasn’t difficult at all? He sent me the song. It was incredible. It was produced by D’Mile. Big TC is incredible. He gets all types of good beats in prison. It’s crazy. He gets better beats than me a lot of the time.
AllHipHop: I’m sure he has to be proud watching you guys and the success you’ve reached.
TeeCee4800: Yeah. He’ll be home soon. He’s gonna be right here, proud with us.
AllHipHop: On “Roaches,” there’s a bar where you’re talking about XXL**. Every year the Freshman list sparks controversy about who was selected and who was snubbed. Is making that cover something you’d like to achieve?**
TeeCee4800: I would love to make the XXL Freshman cover. That bar was, “No XXL. F-ck it. My n-ggas got the mags." It wasn’t nothing towards the [magazine]. But they do gotta start paying attention to these real artists out here. That’s all.
AllHipHop: You’re a lyricist. But we’re living in an era now where lyricism has taken a backseat. It’s more about the beat or the vibe.
TeeCee4800: There’s nothing wrong with that. The Lil Uzi Verts and Lil Pumps are cool. That’s the young guys. I like all that music. I don’t bang all of it, but I bang certain songs. I don’t feel no way about that. But you’re right, the lyrical rappers are not getting as much recognition. But we’re still gonna have our fans. Everybody’s gonna get this money.
AllHipHop: Your album does present different generations. You have a certified legend in E-40, and then you have people like 24hrs. Was it important for you to have that mixture of old school and new school?
TeeCee4800: Yes it was. Especially, the old school that’s still relevant. I feel like 40’s always gonna be in the game. I definitely wanted to get 24hrs on there because we’re part of this movement. He’s another new cat that’s blowing up. So it was definitely good having the old and new schools.
AllHipHop: You’re obviously close to Ty, but also with Wiz. Are you officially affiliated with Taylor Gang?
TeeCee4800: Nah, they're just the homies. Shout out to the Gang.
AllHipHop: Realness Over Millions 2 was released through Priority Records. That company has a long, storied history with West Coast Hip Hop. Do you see yourself as the latest extension of that legacy which includes N.W.A, Ice Cube, Ice-T, Eazy-E, and Snoop Dogg?
TeeCee4800: Of course. I’m about to be up there with all of them.
AllHipHop: So where do you see yourself in five years?
TeeCee4800: Every year, I’m moving up. So in five years, I’ll be moved up five times, five levels. I see myself in movies. I’m trying to do a spinoff of Blame It On The Streets. Yeah, more mixtapes, more content, and more money.