Dr. Dre introduced the world to Knoc-Turn'Al back in 1999 on his classic LP 2001 and later on with The Wash Soundtrack. Knoc-Turn'Al was able to show off his harmonic style on tracks like Bad Intentions which drew comparisons to Dre's other protege' Snoop Dogg. Despite the close affiliation with Dre, Knoc-Turn'Al ended up signing with Elektra Records and released his first single The Knoc featuring Missy Elliott which was supposed to be on his debut album Knoc's Landing. The single ended up being featured on an EP released by Knoc called L.A. Confidential Presents: Knoc-Turn'AlKnoc's Landing. After landing a Kanye West produced single called Muzik for The Transporter movie Soundtrack in 2002, Knoc-Turn'Al ended up releasing his official debut album in 2004 called The Way I Am which featured a hit single of the same name produced by Scott Storch. Knoc-Turn'Al then disappeared from the spotlight although an album called Return of The Hustler appeard in 2006, however, Knoc-Turn'Al claims that album was a bootleg and that he had nothing to do with it. Now it's 2010 and the Wilmington, CA rapper has reappeared on the scene as he prepares two new releases; a street album called Knoc's Ville and an offical LP called The Book of Knoc. The one-time Dr. Dre protege' discusses all of this with AllHipHop.com in this new exclusive interview.
AllHipHop.com: It's been a good while since the rap world has heard from you. Where have you been hiding for the past few years?
Knoc-Turn'Al: I retreated to my bat-cave. I had to put my family back together because I never used to be at home. I have my wife and two kids and out of a year I would probably only spend two months at home with them. Now that I've put that all back together it's ok for me to come out of the bat-cave and help hold down the West Coast in this rap game. I never stopped making music while I was at home with the family. I backed away from the game, the game didn't back away from me. I only did it because it was something that I needed to do. If you can't keep your family together, what good are you as a man? I came from a broken home and I don't want that for my kids.
AllHipHop.com: Have you figured out that balance between being an artist and having time for your family? Otherwise the same thing might happen again.
Knoc-Turn'Al: Yeah everything is better. We all make mistakes as human beings. Like I said before, I came from a broken home and my father himself told me that he is proud of me for stepping back to keep my family together. When I go on the road, I am going to take them with me at times. I'll get tutors for the kids if I have to. You can't just sit back and not have your wife and kids see the world with you.
AllHipHop.com: I imagine that having the family around will help you in keeping the fast lifestyle in check.
Knoc-Turn'Al: Absolutely. I used to be a big drunk and weed-head. I don't drink in public anymore because I had too many problems with that. I don't smoke in public either. It's just a situation where you have to grow up. I am getting older and I don't want to be rapping forever. I just want to keep the door open as long as I can until I retreat again. When I first came out in the rap game, I was on parole when I met Dr. Dre.
"Bad Intentions" - Knoc-Turn'Al featuring Dr. Dre
AllHipHop.com: Is there anything specific that has brought about your return to the rap game?
Knoc-Turn'Al: I don't like the route that the West Coast is taking. Nobody is stepping up to the plate. I know that there are some people that are doing things but what has brought me out of the cave is that I don't see anybody besides the great one's like Snoop substantially stepping up to the plate. I am going to release my street album Knoc's VilleThe Book of Knoc and everybody needs to ride the wave. I am also bringing a new wave of cats with me like The MathMadix, Noa Jones, my brother Jaguar and a few more.
AllHipHop.com: You used to be with Elektra Records. Are you currently under a record label at this moment?
Knoc-Turn'Al: I am with Treacherous Records and I am affiliated with a company called Equity Records. We are looking to release The Book of Knoc by the summertime. The Knoc's Ville street album should be out by springtime.
AllHipHop.com: You used to be a writer for Dr. Dre and you've recorded a lot of music with him. Have you kept in touch with him?
Knoc-Turn'Al: Everything is good between us. We've recorded all that we've needed to together. I tried to get a beat from him and he told me, I'm not trying to be funny but you don't need me. I asked him what he meant and he said, I can give you a beat CD but honestly you don't need me. He knows that I can stand on my own two feet without his help. He's a good dude. Dr. Dre has never charged me for any beats. People always have bad things to say about him but I've got nothing bad to say about him because he's never charged me for anything. If he really believes in you, he'll do that for you.
AllHipHop.com: Word has it that you kept Dr. Dre in the studio longer than anybody else has. What's the story on that?
Knoc-Turn'Al: We were in the studio for 72 hours straight. It was crazy! We were working on The Wash Soundtrack. We would take turns working and taking naps but we wouldn't leave the studio because we wanted to get that right feel for the Soundtrack's concept. We could've easily just thrown a bunch of songs together but we went in to that studio and grinded it out. We also had a constant party going to help. Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Nate Dogg and all of their camps through. It wasn't boring believe that!
"The Knoc" - Knoc-Turn'Al featuring Dr. Dre and Missy Elliot
AllHipHop.com: Doesn't partying in the studio take away from the creative process? Writing takes concentration.
Knoc-Turn'Al: It wasn't hard for me because I enjoy what I do. Now that I am reintroducing myself the fun part for me is going to be new cats who don't know me, thinking that I am a new artist. I've been gone for almost five years. Its going to be interesting to see how they take it.
AllHipHop.com: Music has changed a lot since your last album. Do you honestly feel that you can be accepted on a wide basis again?
Knoc-Turn'Al: I'm keeping up with the times now. Of course I am not going to make bad music I never have. I go against the grain and it's always worked for me. When you look at the The Knoc song featuring Missy Elliott and Dr. Dre that was against the grain. The Way I Am song produced by Scott Storch was against the grain. I put on Kanye West with The Transporter Soundtrack. Kanye produced my song Muzik and Paul McCartney gave us a sample clearance for it. I won't be doing no auto-tune crap, not that I'm disrespecting anybody who does that. I feel that from the time that I met Dre my music has elevated since then. The Book of Knoc is the best album that I've made. I know how to reinvent myself because my songs don't sound like anybody else's.
"The Way I Am" - Knoc-Turn'Al featuring Snoop Dogg