Devin the Dude Straight from Houston, TX, Devin the Dude has made a major impact on the hip-hop scene. Originally a member of Rap-A-Lot’s “Odd Squad”, Devin has continued into a great solo career including working with Scarface, Dr. Dre, and Snoop. His latest album “Waitin’ To Inhale” is one of those albums you can bump from the first song to the last including the current hit “What A Job” and my favorite, “Almighty Dollar”. Step into the world of Devin the Dude through this exclusive interview.
by William Hernandez
WHO?MAG: Talk to me about the new album? DEVIN THE DUDE: The album is entitled “Waiting to Inhale”. We’ve been working on it for a year or so. We got a few features on it. Bun B and Lil’ Wayne on a song called “Little Girl Gone” with my homeboy Tony Mac on there. I have Snoop and Andre 3000 on a song called “What a Job!” I got my partners The Odd Squad and my Coughee Brothaz. They’re representing on there. I got group called 14K that’s a group from Hobbs, New Mexico making a little noise this year too. Just putting some work and having the most fun possible up in the lab. Sipping some coughee and drinking a little juice.
WHO?MAG: What the theme of the album? DEVIN THE DUDE: Actually that came about at the last minute. We were mixing and mastering the album. I had yet to have a name to it. I always pick a song that have on the album that will sum it up with that name. In this case, I couldn’t find a song that would sum up the whole album. We was bouncing a few names around and my partner, DJ Domo, who did a few tracks on the album, came up with “Waiting to Inhale”. He wrote that down and everybody was tripping. Process of elimination and we came up that one right there.
WHO?MAG: What is the difference between this one and your last one “To The X-treme”? DEVIN THE DUDE: I don’t know man. I guess both are considered laid back. The tempo wise it’ll be a little bit more up-tempo than “To The X-treme”, but not too far from it. I have a lot of fun in here and it kinda shows the work ethic from my homeboys that came around and supported. I have music from Amsterdam, California, Dallas, as well as in house producers. It came across pretty cool.
WHO?MAG: How did you hook up with K-Dee of the Lench Mob (Ice Cube’s group/label) on your first album? DEVIN THE DUDE: I always wanted to work with him. I liked his style back in the days. I got in touch with somebody who got in touch with him. He was incredible. He listened to me, too. He reminded me of my music like I did his. We bonded. He felt like a cousin of mine when we met. The vibe in the studio came across real cool. It was a pleasure working with him.
WHO?MAG: You’ve worked with big artists from Nas to indy artists such as J-Zone. How did you hook with them and how do you transition from one to the other? DEVIN THE DUDE: It’s a pleasure for me to work with people who like my music and want me to be part of their projects too. To be invited to somebody’s studio or to be to welcome to be a part of what they got going on is a blessing. It’s blessed to work with people from all kinds of genres of hip-hop. With Nas, I hooked up 8 years ago I guess. We hooked when he came to Houston. We talked in the club and everything. He told me about his brother, Jungle, who hit him up to my music. They would trip out and listen to it. We bonded real cool. We always talked about working with each other. When I was in LA working on my album “Just Trying To Live”, he was also in LA working on something. We got in touch with each other. He came out to the studio and knocked it out. He blessed me with a verse on a track. Xzibit was around too and I was cool with him at the Up in Smoke Tour. I got in touch with him. The track came wonderfully.
J Zone, we’ve been kicking for a while. Actually I forgot how we met (laughs). We stayed in touch over the years. He let me know about this project he was doing and he’d send me some beats. He’s a real cool cat.
WHO?MAG: Talk to me about the Coughee Brothaz compilation you put out recently? DEVIN THE DUDE: That’s a collector’s edition. It’s some songs we put together from 1999 till now. We just put it out there. We’re going to have another version of it with the graphics and pictures, but that there is just a collectors edition that you can find on www.myspace/devinthedude. It’s just the Odd Squad and all our homeboys have fun and musically inclined.
WHO?MAG: You rhyme about everyday life,trying to pick up girls at the clubs and getting rejected, things of that nature. Why? DEVIN THE DUDE: I guess when I started rapping, everybody should have their own conversation, for the most part their own rap. Try to be themselves as much as possible. The raps that influenced me were the raps that were truthful. You can feel it. I always wanted to be as down as earth as possible and have a lot of humor with it. Having fun with situations no matter what it is.
WHO?MAG: Do you plan to work again with DJ Premier? DEVIN THE DUDE: Actually we talked a couple of weeks ago. He preferred me to come out and craft the beat around at what we want to do at the time, instead of sending me a beat CD. Hopefully we’ll be able to hook up in the studio. That’ll be another blessing there.
WHO?MAG: How do you work when you go to the studio? DEVIN THE DUDE: For the most part I have the beat or the instruments around to music, to give me some leeway, somewhere to go around with it. Sometimes you just take walk and come up with a cool hook or melody.
WHO?MAG: Do you plan to do another Odd Squad album? DEVIN THE DUDE: For sure. We got two Odd Squad songs that we got on the album that we tried to put out there to let the people know that Odd Squad is still in effect and we’re going to have something for them in a few.