3 Questions With: "A DJ's Best Friend," Glasses Malone
Watts, California, rapper Glasses Malone was touted as one of the rising West Coast stars as part of the New West Movement established in 2005. First signed to Sony Records for $1.7 million, and then later to a joint deal involving Cash Money Records and Mack 10’s Hoo-Bangin’ Records, Malone was set to fly with his debut project The Beach Cruiser. After several years of delays and musical changes to the project, Malone saw his debut album do disappointing numbers, while other young West Coast artists starting seeing the success that was once predicted for his career. However, instead of giving up and letting his disappointment get the best of him, Glasses took some time off to regroup and learn, and now he’s back with a single that’s taking off. AllHipHop.com caught up with Glasses Malone as he was preparing to release his new project Glasshouse for free download later today (his birthday, by the way):
AllHipHop.com: Your new song, “That Good”, is a different sound for you. It’s like listening to a new Glasses Malone. You’re having fun with your new songs instead of being so serious like before.
Glasses Malone: People are going to get mad at this, but I want to go on record saying that Y.G., DJ Mustard, and Ty$ saved the West Coast. They created a sound that was commercially viable. You could party to it, but yet it was Gangsta. When G-Funk stopped being popular on the West, Hyphy came in, and it was music that you could dance to. After that, Hyphy mutated into Jerk music because all of those kids were listening to the Hyphy sound. Jerk music wasn’t working, though, unless you were in high school, because it was a real young sound. There were no Gangster elements involved in it. Y.G., DJ Mustard, and Ty$ took things to another level by making Ratchet music popular. It gave life to the West Coast. Tyga was able to use that sound and run with it by creating “Rack City". After that, Problem and Skeme hit the clubs with “T.O.” It’s also a sound that has connected Los Angeles and The Bay Area. Clyde Carson’s “Slow Down” mixes right into “That Good.” The song, “Function” with E-40, is mixture of L.A. and Bay Area terms. What we were trying to start with The New West Movement finally came into fruition. It was because of guys like Y.G., DJ Mustard, and Ty$, that I could make a song like “That Good.”
AllHipHop.com: The Beach Cruiser was your baby, and it drastically underperformed. How were you able to deal with that and come back?
Glasses Malone: First off, I was devastated. To sell only 3,000 copies the first week, was devastating and depressing. I was happy that I was finally able to put it out after all of that time, but it was not originally what I intended for people to hear. I took a lot of flak, and a lot of people were talking sh*t. People gave up on me but not my team. My boys DJ Hed, Tommy Gunz, and Fifth were there for me. Looking back, I didn’t deserve a record deal when I first got signed by Sony, and I didn’t deserve the Cash Money one either. I got signed off of the White Lightning project and that was just done off of pure skill, but I still didn’t understand music or the making of it. All I knew of it was that someone was going to give me a check for saying some rhymes over a beat. I didn’t understand the DJ’s roles in breaking and playing music, or tempos and frequencies – things you should learn before you become an artist. I don’t think I was an artist. I was just a street n*gga saying some raps over some beats, who happened to luck up and put together a great first project. I used to sell Sherm, and the only people that made money selling that stuff were the ones that knew how to cook it themselves or knew someone who could. I don’t know why I thought the music business would be any different. That’s why a lot of the biggest producers in rap are DJs or those who once were. I took a year off and just studied music and the making of it. I learned tempos and frequencies. I had to learn what was working with the audience and why it was working. I got some really great advice from some really great people. I wanted to put my own take on the sound instead of just taking it. That’s why “That Good” sounds the way it does. That’s my take on what people are listening to and people are coming around. I’m unplugged off of The Matrix. I’m talking to girls in the songs, and I don’t know why I never did before. I’m kicking myself in the a** for that.
AllHipHop.com: Are you still with Cash Money Records and Mack 10’s Hoo-Bangin’ Records?
Glasses Malone: Legally, yeah. The paperwork is still there, but we just have to figure some of it out. I’m not even sure if they know yet that I’ve figured out this music stuff. They probably think “That Good” is something that I just stumbled upon. When I took that record to the mixer meeting at Power 106, DJ FelliFel told me that he knew that the wheels were finally spinning inside of my head. I haven’t played anything yet for Baby, Wayne, and Mack. They only know what I’ve put out. Glasshouse is dropping on my birthday, and I’ve got bangers on it like “Let It Go” with Kid Ink and E-40. I’m just bonding with DJs now. I try to think like them when I put out a song. I want to make music that they can’t wait to play. I never got the memo on that when I first started. The streets broke my first songs, not the DJs, so I didn’t know. My own DJ enlightened me and put things in to perspective. And I’m not just talking about the radio DJs. I get a lot of tweets and messages from regular DJs that can’t wait to hear what I come out next with. I want to be a DJ’s best friend, and that’s where I am at this point.