By: Shirley Ju (@shirju)
As evidenced in his name, the Los Angeles spitter bleeds his city and everything he saw growing up in Compton. At a very young age, he fell in love with music — sitting in the back seat bopping his head.
With a distinct voice, AV has made a number of bangers in his day. Still working the independent grind, the “Money Dance” rapper recently took some time off to really figure out the rap game and what kind of sound the current generation likes.
Following the release of his new album Kept It 2 Real, AllHipHop caught up with Compton AV to discuss working with O.T. Genasis, Nipsey Hussle friendship, and Kash Doll copying his song.
AllHipHop: Have you been independent this whole time?
Compton AV: Yeah. I got an Empire situation but it's just distribution, not a deal.
AllHipHop: I'm surprised.
Compton AV: I know, everyone says that. I never felt like I needed a major label. I need them to a certain extent on where I’m trying to go towards the end. But to build and capture a city, I did it on my own.
AllHipHop: What are some of the struggles of being independent?
Compton AV: Everything. Politics, not having relationships, people judging you. Everywhere I go, they judge me, they don't expect me to have intelligence. My name is Compton AV, so that makes it way worse.
AllHipHop: Is it way worse?
Compton AV: Way worse. I get some type of “heyyyy,” but then most be like “Compton, he gangbanging. He trippin’.”
AllHipHop: Have you ever thought of changing your name?
Compton AV: No, ‘cause I want that. I'm here to change that. Whoever else after me that wants to put Compton in their name is going to be okay, ‘cause of what AV is going through. So it’s cool.
AllHipHop: You linked with O.T. Genasis on “Let Em Hate.” What were you going through in that moment?
Compton AV: When you come up, a lot of people seen me make it to different chapters and they’re mad they aren't there. They did things I'm not comfortable with, I don't want them around me, and they’re gonna be mad about it. I'm really from where I say I'm from. If they can't be with me — they seen me growing up my whole life and seen me doing this at all the parties. Of course there's hate. That’s human nature. Some people finally wake up like “nah you deserve that bro, it's all good.” Some people hate till the end. Just mad about it. I still wish them luck, God bless them. They’ll find something to do one day. That's why I created “Let Em Hate.” [laughs] For you, that way you don't feel like a hater.
AllHipHop: Talk about linking with Nipsey on your forthcoming single “In The Air.”
Compton AV: We weren't in the studio but he understood I was going to be on the record. Being a part of the record, he was all for it. Outside of that, just real stuff with Nipsey. Every time Nipsey seen me, he said “keep going.” Crazy story, I've never told anybody in an interview. This is when they used to do Secret Sundayz 6 years ago. I was standing up in VIP, they’re playing my song. Nipsey looked at me like “this one you?” I’m like “yeah!” They played another one, he’s like “this you too?” I’m like “yeah!” They played “Run Me My Money,” he’s like “this you?” I’m like “yeah!” He’s like “man the whole time, I didn't know this was you.”
Because I had two names at the time: Compton AV and AV LMKR. He’s like “how’d I not know this was your song?” We stepped outside the club, he’s telling me “you gotta learn brand bro. Bring everything full circle in what you’re doing.” That’s the first conversation we had. We started doing shows... I was always amazed, but he’d be amazed I could hold the crowd next to him.
AllHipHop: When do you plan on releasing it?
Compton AV: We gotta be real strategic. There’s people I gotta talk to. I've already talked to the right ones, we gonna put it together. Plus, I want everything to go to his family. I want everything to go to his kids. If the record does become big, I want this to be one of the records that his whole family would have nothing to worry about. They can have it. I'm not here to gain clout of the name, I’m just happy I got a song with bro. Ya’ll can have everything.
AllHipHop: Talk about going to the Marathon store when he opened it.
Compton AV: He came to give me a hug. We appreciate it, but a lot of people are new Nipsey Hussle fans.
AllHipHop: YG was saying the same thing, that there’s a lot of fake love out here.
Compton AV: There’s a lot of fake love. No funny type style but I went to his store, I was happy to be there supporting him. He was happy I was there supporting him. He gave me a hug, told me in my ear “thank you bro, we need more of this. We gotta do this more often. Anything you throwing, I’ma come. Thank you for coming to mine.” When a person’s that successful and they say that, that shows you real people are still in the industry. Nipsey’s a real one. It’s tragic what happened to bro. We all say “you did it Nip.” I sit back, I've shook his hands a lot of times. I knew him personally. It hurt bad. I’ll never understand it. For the most part, whatever you were searching for bro, whatever you're looking to do, you did it.
AllHipHop: What happened with Kash Doll on “Run Me My Money”?
Compton AV: First of all, shout out to Kash Doll. I'm a creator. Any creative in this world or influences people in general, credit is everything. I don't care. I want people to know this, it wasn't disrespect until she came to Rolling Loud — I've been ducking and dodging when people ask me because I got love for her. Imagine sticking up for a person who gives absolutely nothing about your situation, what you’re going through. I'm not receiving a payment for my record. I’m watching a person blow off my record.
Because out of love and me supporting that person and not wanting to seem like a hater, I’m telling people “nah calm down. It’s all good, she's a good person.” I'm sticking up for her. As soon as she get to Rolling Loud, she gon’ call her funk. Now everyone’s in the crowd singing my version. Everyone’s tagging me being messy. Of course, that turns into people in my ear. “You see?!”
I'm like “she came out to the city and did that, this one of the biggest records in California. It’s disrespect.” It's hard to beef with a woman because I don't beef with women. I said something, we talked about it. She understands. It's the same person in the middle doing all the BS. He's now under the hot seat. They owe me a lot of money, we got lawyers. I'll be good regardless. It's my record, I really wrote it. It’s registered under me. They tried to create “Run Me My Money” records, patent made, all type of shit. A lot of funny business.
AllHipHop: That’s actually my girl, it’s hard to hear anything negative.
Compton AV: That’s why I be respectful, because I know she got God in her. I know her. I’d never trash her because I got respect for her. I just expect the same thing back. Plus, she share the same skin color as me. She walk around with that big ole butt and I know everyone in the industry tryna do something. I understand her more than she thinks I understand her. I'm trying to help you, sweetheart.