Bruce Lee believed in, The art of fighting without fighting. The idea of creating an album with out a concept, in itself, seems almost damn near impossible, but shows true ambition. Wu-Tang affiliate, former MC, and crew A&R, Dreddy Kruger has done just that. He recently stepped up to man the controls of Think Differently.
The recently released project finds core and other Wu affiliates alongside top billing MCs in the underground and independent markets. The prospects of GZA & Ras Kass or MF Doom and RZA have hyped the album, and led to fast sales through digital downloading. As he leaves this project to A&R the Wu-Tangs next group album, AllHipHop.com spoke to Dreddy Kruger on thinking differently with this album, the evolving sound of Wu, and how much RZA charges for a beat. Peep game.
AllHipHop.com: Think Differently is billed to be the first collaborative Wu-Tang effort. In my mind, Iron Flag tried to achieve that, and wasnt so successful.
Dreddy Kruger: This album will change all of that. Its exciting. People are getting excited for a Hip-Hop project for a change. I know this because of heads that have been reaching out on this.
AllHipHop.com: Give me some examples of your A&R outlook
Dreddy Kruger: If you have eight strong bars, and you said everything that you needed to in those eight, then you need to drop that first and then a short hook, another verse and get in and get out. I have a lot of tracks that clock in under three minutes. I want cats to be like, Damn, I wish that I could hear more of this. When the corporations took control of Hip-Hop and record making, thats when the talent went drastically down. It made no difference if you were from the urban or the suburban culture. They made it as a product that they could market and sell. Thats what killing Hip-Hop. They dont care about the integrity of it. They just are about making a quick dollar and move on to the next artist. Thats why everyone thinks that they can do this s**t. Cats are a dime a dozen. Back in the day when I would hear a Rakim album, I never imagined ever being able to do anything like that, let alone be on a track with him. I was in awe. Think Differently, has the real MCs, the real n***as.
AllHipHop.com: Was the project originally to surround Wu-Tang?
Dreddy Kruger: Yeah, that was the whole idea. It was my whole concept. I had all of the beats first. I picked up some old s**t from RZA and a few other cats. An album with Wu-Tang productions and Wu-Tang artists, mixed in with independent artists and producers. I wanted to basically create a Wu sounding album with all of theses guest appearances on it. Im not even talking about a Wu-Tang record. People have been waiting to hear something like this for a long time.
AllHipHop.com: How did you choose the artists? You have MF Doom, Tragedy, and Ras Kass to name a few.
Dreddy Kruger: Ive had some of the beats for over five years. In the end, it took about three months to record the whole thing. I had the beats first. I had the whole album sequenced as to how I wanted to hear it. When I started listening to it over and over, I started A&R-ing the whole thing. I wanted to hear MF Doom on a track, but not with a Doom beat, but instead a RZA beat. I want to bring Doom into our world.
AllHipHop.com: Yeah, Doom just did Danger Doom and had Ghost Face on a track.
Dreddy Kruger: I was the A&R for that record also. I heard that record and I like it, but to me its a fun comical album. Its not on a serious record. I knew that with the Think Differently project that I was doing was something that people wanted to hear. People have been wanting to hear this for about five years or so. They have been wanting to hear Wu-Tang matched up with other artists because it was something that we never really done in the past. The only artists to ever really have songs with us were Busta, Red Man and Nas. Outside of that its real limited. Off the bat I knew that people wanted hear Sean Price, C-Ray Walz and Sunz of Man on an album.
AllHipHop.com: There's the mainstream and underground scenes; Wu crosses into both genres. What do you think that album is going to do as far as uniting Hip-Hop fans?
Dreddy Kruger: I want the people to judge that. Time will tell. I just wanted to put out an album with no label politics. This is what the independent cats are supposed to be doing in the first place. I just wanted to bring back the 93-95 RZA sound. All of these cats grew up listening to Wu-Tang, but Wu doesnt necessarily know who all of these cats are. Thats kind of where I got the whole idea. Doom came to me four years back through a friend and wanted to have RZA on his album. He had like $5-7000 and wanted RZA to do whatever he could to do for that price. He didnt really even know who he was. I had to break it down to him on the KMD Peach Fuzz.
AllHipHop.com: When Doom was was Zev Love X
Dreddy Kruger: Exactly, but RZA didnt really know who he was, and he never really got back to me on it. When RZA doesnt get back to me on a project, then I know that hes not really that interested. Like I said, the money was low and RZA gets like $40-50,000 for s**t. Thats why when I had an opportunity to do this whole project; I wanted to get Doom on a RZA beat. I told him, Dont worry about nothing son, you on a RZA beat Were about to make history.
AllHipHop.com: Youve got so many artists on here. I wanna know, who couldnt you get on?
Dreddy Kruger: I didnt have enough time to reach out to them, but we might be doing some remix s**t. Mos Def is really on a major label. Its Wu-tang reaching the indi. culture. I didnt really want to go outside of that. I could have got cats like Redman, but those kinds of cats on major labels, they get enough exposure. I was gonna put Mos on a song with GZA too.
AllHipHop.com: I could see Mos and Little Brother doing some stuff on the album...
Dreddy Kruger: Yeah, but not on a Little Brother track, but rather a Wu sounding track. I even wanted to hear how Little Brother sounds on some of our stuff. 9th Wonder, his stuff sounds low and distorted. It has kind of a demo sound. Its good, but when your stuff is coming over the air and now you have cats with Ipods, you hear everything through head phones. It all makes the difference.
AllHipHop.com: Was this project a way to get lesser known Wu affiliates familiar to the masses?
Dreddy Kruger: Thats one of the things that has been f**king up Wu projects in the past. All the B-artists, people get tired of that. They want to hear cats that they know. What you have to do is sprinkle them in. I didnt want to put too many Wu or underground cats on it.
AllHipHop.com: Im surprised that no one has attempted to do a project like this before.
Dreddy Kruger: Thats what I told all the independent cats. We bring it all together and we can run some s**t. Look at Big Boi. He has a new compilation and is also signed to Virgin, but the [album] aint what it could be. Do you know the type of power this cat has and what he could do with that kind of major label backing?
AllHipHop.com: Why wasnt Ghost on it?
Dreddy Kruger: I was going to put one of the Ghost/Doom records on it. His label, hes on Def Jam, its not as simple as people think. They dont know the type of business, stress and pressure that I had to put down. Def Jam didnt want anything to come from Ghost until his album came out.
AllHipHop.com: How does it feel to be on the other side of the mic? You worked for Wu, now youre ordering cats around.
Dreddy Kruger: I dont look at it like that. I look at everything as we and not me. Im trying to do everything for the king. I saw a weak link that we had. Im trying to fix that. We dont really have an A&R to put music together through an executive stand point. Everyone wants to be an MC or producer. RZA is the only business minded cat out of all of that cats that roll with us. My first s**t was Masta Killas album, then with Black Market Militia. They gave me the blessing to step further. People loved it. I had every Wu member on Killas album all stapled in throughout it. He was not overshadowed. He definitely still shined.