B-Legit: Click of Respect

B-Legit is a hell of a lot more than E-40’s brother. After a decade plus, B has led by quiet example for his community, both as an artist signed to Jive and today, as an independent. His hemp-themed albums sat lovely with red-eyed cruisers everywhere, but in 2005, B-Legit brings it back to the block.

In a conversation with AllHipHop.com, B-Legit waxes Bay politics, beat-downs, touches on South and West ridas, and reveals just how gangsta his buddy Jadakiss is out East. For everybody that ever admired the curves on a ’72 Cutlass or kept it extra Clickalicious, this one’s for y’all!

AllHipHop.com: What is the Block Movement?

B-Legit: The Block Movement is this: When I first got in the game the core audience was the block. That’s who we made this music for. As time moved on, the music changed and took a couple of twists. After the death of Tupac and Biggie, a lot of people were not too hip on listening to gangster music. The radio began to dictate which type of music got played. So, if you had a gangster song, there wasn’t anyway it was going to get on the radio. They tended to play more Ja Rule stuff- tryin’ to keep everybody at peace. That thing kinda took over. I was like “Man, that’s not what this was about. It was about the block.” So, I’m trying to bring the block back. If I did anything else, I’d be outta my zone, trying to imitate something that I don’t really do.

AllHipHop.com: I think proof of this lies in “Knock His Ass Out”. It’s also proof that you are an O.G. All the young cats now are so afraid to squabble and scuffle like we did way back. Today everybody is reaching for the AK to spray. What made you do that song?

B-Legit: Back in the day, me and my cousins, we were pretty big guys. We were raised country style. If you had a problem with a cat, you take it to the field and get ‘em up. You don’t have to kill a n***a [laughs]. Just beat his ass. If you get yo’ ass beat it’s all good. There’s another day. You can come back. That’s what it was really about. Other people forced the other s***t into it. I guess they cowards. So, if they don’t wanna get ‘em up, they bring a gun into it. What’s wrong with a good old fashioned ass whoopin’?

There’s always somebody in the club. They see you in the club tryin’ to be in your own zone. Tryin’ to get your groove on. But they just keep on talkin’ and keep messin’ with ya. Then they spill their drink on you. You ain’t got to kill him. Just knock him out, drag him out and let the party go on.

AllHipHop.com: Do you have a personal favorite knock out story for me?

B-Legit: I got one. But it was way back though. We used to drink a lot of 40’s back in the day. They used to turn us into the Incredible Hulk. Have us thinkin’ we was real strong. We used to do real stupid s**t like walking into bars and stealin’ [giving big punches to the jaw] on people.

We used to do that at this place called the wharf. It’s a military bar. Military people liked to drink to. We’d be outside drinkin’ 40’s. They’d be inside drinking shots or whatever. Somehow, we met out in the parking lot. We tried to shake their hand. They thought they were too good. We just started poundin’ on them [chuckles]. It was stupid. But you live to tell about that- ya know what I mean?

AllHipHop.com: On most of your previous LPs’ you busted over mid to down tempo beats- ‘cause that’s very Bay-ish. But on this one you have a lot of club bangers with strong hooks. Was that a conscious move, or just the evolution of B-Legit?

B-Legit: It was a conscious move. I’m in the club a lot. I wanna hear my joints in the club. Back in the day, they’d play my joint, but they had to break the mix…Like slow it down, start talkin’ then play it. I wanted to make this album mix-friendly. Those beats that they call ‘Southern beats’ - are regular West Coast beats but they appear faster because the symbol is moving faster. So, it has that bounce to it.

AllHipHop.com: A lot of people in the Bay have criticized the Southern Hip-Hop. The Ying Yang Twins specifically, have been in question. What’s your take on all this?

B-Legit: When I first came in the game, we did a compilation called, South West Ryders. We were letting people know that the South and the West are riding together. The East, sometimes, they are not interested in what we have to say. But the South, they supported us from the gate. When I first came out and was not getting played out here, the South was the ones that took us in. They were buyin’ our CD’s at first. They adopted our sound and our language at first, but then they put their own twist on it. They had the fast moving high hats. Now, instead of having to buy a West Coast tape, they can buy their own artists. But they have to understand that our people, migrated from the South to [the West]. But we’re not getting the promotional dollars, and being incorporated into the machine to advertise big. It’s not that they don’t like us. They don’t know about the CD. But we are not getting’ pushed in those markets so it’s not sellin’ out there.

AllHipHop.com: That’s a fair assessment.

B-Legit: If there was a major label pushing Bay Area acts hard out there, it would sell. But cats are independent. So, it’s not reaching out there.

AllHipHop.com: So they can’t support what they don’t know?

B-Legit: Exactly. I also think some people here focus on being locally accepted. Some of them need to broaden their horizons. Do songs for the South. Do songs for back East. You can’t be one-dimensional in life.

AllHipHop.com: You mentioned your songs being in the club. Recently E-40’s club “The Ambassadors Lounge” got shut down by a city council woman [allegedly Cindy Chavez] who was in cahoots with the San Jose Police Department. A lot of people on the avenue said the SJPD was very oppressive in the way they treated the patrons of The Ambassadors Lounge. How do you feel about the way that went down?

B-Legit: San Jose is a city that wants to be known as one of the safest city’s in the Bay. In order for them to do that, they have to keep the “hoodlums, thugs, prostitutes” knowing that, “We’re gonna be on your back”. They want to make it like “I don’t wanna be there [in San Jose] because they sweat me too hard”.

So, by the club being there and by 40 being who he was- it attracted a lot of young Latinos and Blacks. Like any other gathering, sometimes thing happen, people fight, there was a shooting. They did not want that in their city. So they allowed the same club to be open called, The Bee Hive. But they did not want 40’s name on it [the club]. When the major concerts come, they come to San Jose. They don’t go to Oakland or San Francisco. They go to San Jose and Sacramento. This is a city that’s ran by the police. A long time ago they used to have lowriders cruising. They [SJPD] shut that down. They harassed anybody they thought was even trying to have a good time. They did the same thing to the club. But they allowed the club to open back up as long as 40’s name was not on it. But I think they are violating a lot of peoples’ rights.

AllHipHop.com: Moving onto bigger and better, long before Nate Dogg, the Bay had the vocal tones of Levitti over Hip-Hop beats. That brother is featured on this album as well. When are we gonna see an album from Levitti? Enquiring minds wanna know!

B-Legit: I been recently having him in the studio. He’s my personal favorite. I tried to shop a deal for him. But I think he was ahead of his time. He had a gangster twist to him. But now they got Akon and Lyfe [Jennings] out. But Levitti was doing that a long time ago. At the same time, I know Nate Dogg did well with the Dogg Pound and Dr. Dre, but I don’t know how he did as a solo artist. Because it’s a different approach and marketing technique to putting out a rapper than a vocalist over Hip-Hop beats.

AllHipHop.com: Speaking of Tha Dogg Pound, I loved “Playa Potnas” from Daz’s Retaliation, Revenge and Get Back LP. That’s a good jam to work-out to. When y’all gonna team back up and make some more heat for the streets?

B-Legit: I gotta line in on Daz. He be moving around a lot, so it’s hard to get hold of him sometimes. But that was a combo between him and Soopafly. If we can get them back in the studio and hook it up again- wow.

AllHipHop.com: I was surprised to hear the collaboration with Styles P and Jadakiss. I loved it, but I was surprised. How did that happen?

B-Legit: I’m an international type guy. I travel lot. Super Bowls, All Star Games, award shows and stuff. I see Jada everywhere. We have some mutual friends too. I’m tellin’ him “You gotta come out to the Bay more often. You got love, but they don’t see you.” He’s like, “I do need to get out there more. I got some 16’s [16 bar raps] for you whenever you want them.” So I was up in Denver at the All-Star game, and we chopped it up. When I started working on this album, I waited till I got towards the end of it. I called him and told him about it. He was like, “Send it to me.” He took it and did something with it. He got Styles on it. He did that on the love. It worked out. The name of my album is Block Movement, they D-Block. It was the perfect time for something like that.

AllHipHop.com: A lot of people across The Bay, across the West, across the country are fighting to save the life to Stanley “Tookie” Williams. Can you tell me any of your thoughts on that?

B-Legit: I think so many people in Hip-Hop have love for him with the Crip and Blood thing. In the beginning, it showed brotherhood. Now you got Bloods and Crips all over the world. It started out as a brotherhood. Like, “These are my homeboys and we’re looking out for each other”. Over time, of course the wars came. By him being a triple OG he has had time to live, learn and examine what he did. What he’s doing now is trying to give back. To let the people know, by using himself as an example of where he went bad. He’s trying to keep them out of being in the same things so they are not facing what he’s facing. Sometimes, if you a preacher and you try to talk to a thug- the thug ain’t trying to hear what you have to say. Because he feels like you have not been through what he has been through. But lookin’ at Tookie, they gonna listen. He’s the start. He the founder of this. All he’s trying to do now is rebuild from his mistakes and give back. I don’t think they should kill him.

Adisa Banjoko is the controversial author of “Lyrical Swords Vol. 2: Westside Rebellion”. For more info visit www.lyricalswords.com !