RBX RBX is a west coast hip-hop legend. From being a guest emcee on Dr. Dre’s ‘The Chronic’ to working with Snoop Dogg, this legend is still dropping new heat. In this interview with WHO?MAG, RBX talks about his new album, his trials and tribulations through Aftermath and Death Row, reminiscing about The Chronic, working with Dr. Dre and much more.
By William Hernandez
WHO?MAG: Talk to me about the album “Broken Silence”? RBX: It was something I had to do to get on my own two feet, not disrespecting none of my loved ones. This is one hundred percent what I wanted to do. The “Broken Silence” comes in because I hadn’t done anything in a while. I definitely haven’t done anything that was for me. I worked with my cousin Snoop. When you work with Snoop, he cuts it the way he wants it to sound. When I do my thing, I want to cut it the way I want it to sound. That’s why it’s called “Broken Silence” because I’m like a dormant volcano. You give me small cameos and what not, but I actually had Daz on my joint and that’s what I did.
WHO?MAG: How did you hook up with DJ Rhemattic and LMNO? RBX: Those are my dogs from way back. Rhemattic has been in our area of Long Beach for a while. Actually, Rhemattic stays around the corner from my girl’s crib. I was talking with one of my dogs and he said Rhemattic was going to shoot me a CD to see what it do and we went from there. LMNO is part of the Technicali family. It’s only right when I’m there that I have people from my camp come in and do something.
WHO?MAG: Why did it take you so long to put another album since “The Shining”? RBX: I just wanted to learn to do things from another angle. Do things myself. After “The Shining”, some things went wrong and it took some time to correct the errors, until I figured them out. I wasn’t doing anything. After I figured them out, it was time to make my thing happen and to make it pop right now.
WHO?MAG: How did you get involved with Death Row records back in the days? RBX: : I went to school with Suge Knight and we were in the same football team. I already knew that dude. Snoop Dogg and Daz are my cousins. Warren G is my cousin’s friend. I was just lucky to have homeboys who were in the right place. I remember I was telling cats I was working with Dr. Dre on “The Chronic” and they were like “yeah right!”.
WHO?MAG: What do you remember of those days of working on “The Chronic”? RBX: Sitting in the studio and making sure everything is nice and tight. The tracks coming through were hot and smoking! It was like the “Terrordome.” Everybody had mad skills. You had to come to studio with some tight shit. We weren’t messing with any losers. Everybody who came out of that had battles cracking. They tested us for 7 months to make sure we wouldn’t crack or crumble. They said we were the cats who they were going to mess with. Anybody who wanted to be on “The Chronic” had to go through us and nobody could.
WHO?MAG: How did the song “High Powered” that you were featured in “The Chronic” come about? RBX: It was like 5am and he had to finish the song. Everybody’s batteries were drained. I think I was asleep actually and I had just woke up. Dre was like “X, if you can come up with something for this muthaf*cka, the album is a wrap!” He put all the pressure on me. It had seemed like for the last 9 months, the pressure was nothing. I walked off and did my thing and came back. I was actually going into practice so I could get it right. When I came out, he was like “no, no you’re going to leave it just like that!”
WHO?MAG: How was Dr. Dre in the studio working on The Chronic? RBX: It depends on who you were with and what you’re up there for. If you’re up there to do lyrics; he expects you to line in the cassette. If you’re stumbling and fumbling, he’ll pull your ass out of there. If he knows you’re a good artist and he’s working with you. He might give you a couple of passes. If you’re on my level, you don’t get no passes. Don’t go into that mic booth if you’re not ready! That’s what it is. Dre is serious. He’s a professional homie.
WHO?MAG: What do you remember most about being on Death Row? RBX: It was a bunch of bullshit bro. A lot of fights. It was just cracking.
WHO?MAG: Why did you never sign with Death Row? RBX: Because they never had their business right. When he was coming at cats, a lot of them didn’t know business etiquette. I was fresh out of college so I had a little more sense than other cats. I was trying to tell them, but they weren’t trying to listen. You can’t tell someone who ain’t got no money when they got their hands in their pockets and they’re hungry. You can’t tell them, “hey, you don’t sign that paper until you get representation.” Especially when they got no money in their pockets. Somebody comes in and gives them $20k, they’re going to sign and that’s what they did, but I didn’t do it though.
WHO?MAG: How did you hook up with Dr. Dre when he started Aftermath records? And for the song East Coast/West Coast Killas? RBX: Dr. Dre and I never had a problem. I respect Dre because he’s the best producer in the world and he was like “every nigga I’ve ever heard rap, I’ve never heard nobody rap like you.” We had a mutual respect for each other. Actually, I had gone into the studio and I started that joint off too. I walked into the studio and Dre had that track on and Dre was like “hey, I need you to do me a favor” and I was like “what’s that?” He said “I got a track and you’re setting it off!” I did the joint and he said he was in NY. He was in the studio and just put the song on. KRS ONE heard it and he was like “Yo!” Dre was going to ask him to get on it, but he didn’t even have the chance to ask because KRS was like “I want on! Can I get on that song Dre?” It was a wrap then. Then Nas jumped on and he came back home and B Real came and did his thing. About 2 weeks later, we did the video.
WHO?MAG: Why didn’t you ever sign to Aftermath? RBX: I did sign to Aftermath. At the time, Dre didn’t have a direction as to where he was going. There was so much bullsh*t. He was trying to calm down. That was the ‘been there, done that’ era. I was still pretty much ‘bang, bang, bang’. Dre was like no, no, no. Dre was like “X you tripping man. I’m going to have to let you go and do what you’re doing because I ain’t doing it like that no more.” I was like “aight that’s what’s up!”
WHO?MAG: Who were some of your influences as an emcee coming up? RBX: Ice T, Rakim, Run DMC, Rodney O, Ice Cube, and NWA. I’m also a real hip hop dude. I got to give it up to Kool Herc, Cold Crush Brothers, and Kool Moe Dee.