Exclusive Kokane Interview
By William Hernandez

WHO?MAG: Talk about the new album you’re working on?
Kokane: The new album is called “Gimme All Mine”. It comes out June 1st under my label which is called Buddy Boy Ent and Rob Racks in conjunction with Buddy Boy/Fontana. This new album is going to be a finger banger. It’s the reunion of Above the Law and Kokane on this album. What this album is it’s touching a nerve that everybody forgot about because everybody is quaking the same way. It touches on social consciousness. I got a song on there called “Have You Made a Difference in Your Hood Today?” It also shows you the vintage Kokane with the singing style from Rick James, George Clinton, and Curtis Mayfield. We came up with a real comfortable album that’s real musical.

WHO?MAG: Who is on the album as far as producers and cameo appearances?
Kokane: What I wanted to do was be part of the innovation. I went out on a limb. My thing is if you’re a visionary and an innovator, you kind of go against the grain. Sometimes it can hurt you. The way you do it is very strategic. I didn’t want a bunch of features on this album. I just wanted myself and Above the Law. I didn’t want to get caught up into the rhetoric that really attorneys and record companies saying that you need a bunch of features and different stuff. Good music is good music. One of the strategic things that I did instead of having a bunch of features on my album, which is no problem getting features on my album, I wanted to step up on my own. I wanted to show the people after 20 years after my extension of success, after being the most featured artist in the world, I created my own lane. When you look at Tech 9, he just has him and his people on there. One of the things that I did was at least do videos and singles to create a viral presence, just as well as in streets and clubs, and put guest features on the singles. Then I came out with this mixtape and put guest features on the mixtape, so it draws them into Kokane’s world. We came out with this mixtape, that is dynamite. It is executed and masterminded by the legendary Crazy Toones, who is Ice Cube’s DJ. It is co-hosted by Ice Cube, WC, and Above the Law. You can download it and we’ll have the hard copies by next week.

That way when I go back into the innovating stage it draws people back into it. When you look at Ice Cube, he’s repping the West [Coast]. I’m the West. He doesn’t need a bunch of features because that’s Ice Cube and the reason why I can go out on a limb like that is because it’s good now-a-days to have an indie situation because you’re not racing against the clock. Now that I’m reintroducing myself, I’m getting back on hot records with big key artists and really gravitate to this project “Gimme All Mine”. Like I told you, I was in the studio with Dr. Dre, Chocolate, and Silk working on a song for the Detox as well. It’s a good response right now and it’s working according to plan. I think we’re going to do good as an independent. My thing is to go ahead and create numbers, because the whole corporate system is ran up on numbers. The days of listen to my demo has been over with. You got to come with stuff and make sure you com with a blueprint and game plan. You got to make sure you come with some type of capitol because you don’t want as an independent label to be hopping to any 360 [deals] type of situation. It’s best to step up on your own shoes. After 21 years, I learned this down to a science and all I’m doing is building up constituents, letting the project increase. We took a calculated risk and started at a low ship, because you don’t want to ship higher than what you last shipped. It’s just going to start increasing. Month to month, you’ll be seeing more visibility of the legendary Kokane besides hopping on key people’s stuff. I was just down in Atlanta mixing it up there with Shawty Lo, Mad Bone who’s on Grand Hustle, and Killer Mike. What I’m doing is pertaining to being one of the most featured artists and being one of originators of G Funk and starting this label and we’re going right back to Krush Groove. It’s a good response because a lot of people want to see this Kokane record happen. It built up some mystic for years. It’s a privilege to be in this position. I humbly say that brother.

WHO?MAG: Can you speak on the work you’re doing with Dr. Dre for the Detox album?
Kokane: Yeah! We’re working over there. He got to finish up some more stuff. I’m about to head up there tonight around 10pm at Encore [studios] and do what I do. The good thing about it is the OG’s are starting to come together. Whenever you have two OG’s come together, it will allow everything else to trickle down and follow in success. If you don’t know the past, you ain’t going to know the future. The best thing about it that the OG’s are coming together without egos.

WHO?MAG: What are your thoughts on Ice Cube’s comments that “It’s not his job to put out new talent”, which was directed at the crop of new emcees coming out of LA? Do you feel as being OG’s in the game that you should let every man try to make it on their own or should you help up and coming emcees? What are your thoughts?
Kokane: It’s not so much that Ice Cube said something wrong as supposed to the new artist respecting the contribution Ice Cube gave to the film industry & music in general, that simply paved the way for the new artist. In all actuality, Ice Cube really did something for new emcees that’s bigger than just putting 1or 2 artist on. Cube made it possible for rappers that come from the ghetto to go through doors that
it was impossible to enter. Cube made that possible. That’s like Kobe Bryant dissing Magic Johnson. Never disrespect the OG’s, especially when you should learn about it & do the same thing successfully. It’s not about sucking balls, it’s about plain old respect. In this new generation, lack of respect is at an all time high demoralized by social ills and economic breakdowns. You have some of the new breed that have less love, respect, and honor for their peers let alone themselves. To many egotistical people running around asking for handouts and ain’t paid half of dues they think they paid. I love some of the new emcees, hella talented, and in my opinion they will continue to carry the flag. But for any body that disrespect any Triple OG in the music industry or the hoods, know better! You don’t do that! That’s a definite no-no!

WHO?MAG: Tell me about your label.
Kokane: I met this guy by the name of Eric Ramos about 3 years ago. I moved up to Seattle after I had to take a little vacation. I don’t want to say what vacation. I moved my lovely wife and my beautiful eight children w/ my wife. Just took time to reflect and have some type of atonement for myself. We all put it together. It took like 2 years to get it all orchestrated. Once I got a third investor, his name is Rob Racks, I’ve been knowing J Wells for a minute and his label situation is through Fontana. He hooked it with Ron Spalding at Fontana. We started conducting business, so we moved up on it. All we’re doing is shaking enough hands to kind of win the presidency. That’s where we’re at. People remember “Stacy Adams” that I did with Snoop. People remember “It’s the End of the World” with Eazy E. People remember LA Niggaz or the Eastsiderz or Above the Law. You put all that together and educating the whole game and getting our allies together. This guy is really from a legacy to put it humble. Everything is through calculated steps. There is no such thing as a record just blowing up. You have to put time into it. You have to be careful not to spend too much money when you’re supposed to spend your money efficiently as possible. What I wanted to do before I started it up was get my internet game up because in 3 to 4 years really everything is going to be on the internet. That’s what I did. I got a good response from the single “Twilight Zone”, which came out on iTunes. Go pick it up. I didn’t want to go a charge people for this mixtape situation outside of me creating my own hard copies. I wanted the public and my fans who heard me on the [Dr.] Dre record and on all these records. You have to give the fans what they want, man. I really appreciate all the fans support me. People from the media perspective to say this man is like Parliament. This man is different. Now the change is finally starting to happen. I had a lot of problems with my name Kokane, but we never used it in the reference of advocating drugs. We used it as the same word any other rapper used as its dope!

When we spit and do this funk, it’s just dope. I had to get on a bunch of records. In order to make this thing happen, I got to learn from the Godfather of this here we called it first reality rap. Then LA Weekly turned around and called it Gangsta rap so the whole world started calling it Gangsta Rap. I had the chance and privilege to learn from Eazy E that you make sure your business and numbers are straight. I took those same lessons that I learned just like Dr. Dre and Ice Cube did, all the people that Eazy E touched. Whoever moved up on it and we’re really successful, it’s a good situation. I have a story to tell. I’ve been up and down the ladder in this music industry. I got a saying man. I’m back from the dead.