Kurupt Interview: The Dogg Pound Returns

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by Alex Shtaerman

Since putting their differences aside and reuniting with Snoop for the 2005 “How The West Was One” tour, Daz and Kurupt – better known to fans worldwide as Tha Dogg Pound – are showing no signs of slowing down. With a highly anticipated new Dogg Pound album now in stores and many new projects on the way, we catch up with Kurupt to talk some Hip-Hop and see what’s really behind the recent West Coast resurgence. Be alert; Cali iz active.

Click here to read the RiotSound.com interview with Daz.

RIOTSOUND.COM: As far as the new Dogg Pound record, obviously this has been something that has been highly anticipated by fans for some time; what were the circumstances under which the new album came together?

KURUPT: We was just like – c’mon let’s roll. So we just started rolling. Snoop said – let’s fly man, it’s time to fly. So we was like, fuck it cuz, we’re gonna take this motherfucka back by storm. We got rid of all our little difference. We put the past to the past and just started pushing.

RIOTSOUND.COM: When Dogg Food dropped in 1995, Hip-Hop was in a very different state than it is today. At that time the West was still fighting for recognition and Tha Dogg Pound was one of the key new groups making a big impact. In 2006 you and Daz are more like elder statesmen in some regard. Does that change the music in any way as far as what you were trying to get across back then as opposed to what you are trying to get across now?

KURUPT: As time goes on you gotta change the music and you gotta change with the times as the music changes and the sound changes. You still keep your original sound but you advance and go with the new millennium formulas. It’s all upgraded. When we did Cali Iz Active, we knew for a fact that we wanted to keep it G’d up like we originally do but we wanted to come with a new millennium type of sound. Some new millennium G shit, that’s what we hittin’ ‘em with. We got classics [on the album] from Jazze Pha, Puffy gave us a classic from his camp, Swizz Beatz gave us a classic, Battlecat; so we doin’ it.

RIOTSOUND.COM: Since both of you have had enduring solo careers; what is the biggest difference in working together now as opposed to your days together on Death Row?

KURUPT: I don’t know, I really don’t see no difference. When we got back together it was just like the last time we was together. The formula is still there. I think we’re a little bit more concentrated on what we want to deliver and more concentrated on the records we make, I think that’s what’s changed.

RIOTSOUND.COM: Obviously many fans have expectations about Cali Iz Active, people might be thinking one way or another as far as what they expect the album to be like; in your opinion what do you think is going to be the most unexpected thing about the record?

KURUPT: Just the way me and Daz is on they heels with the way we be busin’. Our main thing was to just make a classic G record with a new millennium twist to it. It takes time for people to jump on when any artist comes with something new since they’re so used to hearing [that artist] a certain way. So we gave them some new shit and we also gave them that shit that they love from us. I really don’t know how [people] are gonna take to the album but I know for a fact that all our true fans are gonna love it. And for those that ain’t our fans, we gonna gain some new ones from this G shit we got right here man. The whole album is unexpected!

RIOTSOUND.COM: As far as the current state of West Coast Hip-Hop, a lot has been said about the lack of unity among West Coast artists. From your perspective, do you think that has actually been a real problem or is it just something that people like to talk about for the sake of controversy?

KURUPT: I think it’s all of the above, it’s all an opinion and opinions are like assholes, everybody got one. But I think a lot of the artists on the West Coast are more close now, they’re more open to work [with one another]. Snoopy has Doggystyle Records and signed to the label, he has me as a solo artist, he has Kam, he has MC Eiht, he has Lady of Rage. A lot of us are really getting together now. A lot of us were distant before but now you’ll be seeing a lot of West Coast unity. We’re more supportive of the young generation that’s coming up; we’re more in tune with their careers as far as giving them the help they need. So, the West Coast is more unified, definitely.

RIOTSOUND.COM: A lot of artists own their own labels now and they can basically work with whoever they want as opposed to a major label telling them who they can and can’t work with. Do you think that whole entrepreneurial spirit that’s picked up so much steam over the past several years is partly responsible for more artists working together and collaborating in a positive way?

KURUPT: I think it’s a mixture of that and plus it’s a whole new millennium of Hip-Hop for the West Coast. Everything advances. I don’t think we knew how to unify back in the days, everybody was going for self. Over time I think we’ve learned a lot from the East Coast and from Down South on how to unify within ourselves. Snoopy just really put it together with that Western Conference [unity summit] and put the first step towards showing everybody that we can do this – if I put the first step towards it then ya’ll gotta do the rest. So, we here now doing it, ya dig.

RIOTSOUND.COM: Recently there’s been a lot of media coverage of various violent incidents involving rap artists. You actually came up right in the middle of the East Coast / West Coast fued, which was a very turbulent time in Hip-Hop, so you’ve seen how the media portrays things with regard to rap and violence. In your view, what’s the biggest disservice that mainstream media does to Hip-Hop in the way they cover these kind of incidents?

KURUPT: I don’t fool too much with the media. The media is gonna be the media. I really got no opinion towards these guys, they doing their job. They gotta do their job any way they can and with the media game, it’s all about the excitement of they story. So they gotta add things to make it more exciting. But hey, to each his own.

RIOTSOUND.COM: You got the new album, Cali Iz Active, in stores now; what else should the fans be looking out for as far as Tha Dogg Pound goes?

KURUPT: Look out for our solo albums. Daz got a solo album with Jermaine Dupri dropping August 1st. Then you also got my independent solo album, Young Gotti, that’s dropping June 20th. So look out for them projects right there and also look out for Daz and mine’s DVD, Dillinger Gotti 3. We also got a movie we working on; it’s something Snoop and DJ Clue put together called Go Hard. Daz also got a movie that he wrote that Ice Cube is gonna be putting his hand into called My Summer Vacation. We gonna be filming it in St. Louis.

So we got a lot of things in the works; we hittin’ the movie screen, we hittin’ the music game by dropping these albums, we making a move. People should be looking out for us. Tell all our fans we love them for their support.