In this interview Rick Rock talks about his new project.
By William Hernandez
WHO?MAG: Tell me about the new project your working on right now. Rick Rock: Yea it’s called “Rocket.” I plan on riding the coattails of E-40. He comes out March 27th. I’m trying to come out a month after that but it’s looking like it’s gonna be 2 months after that. It’s a dope project. I know everybody says that. But mine is.
WHO?MAG: Who can we expect on this project? Rick Rock: As far as featureS, Tech n9ne, E-40, The Federation, Busta Rhymes, Rav Kev, Crooked Eye, Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, you know just all up and down the West Coast and a couple of other people I did records with in the past. I’m working on a Fabulous record as we speak.
WHO?MAG: Let’s give everybody a little history. How did you get into music? Rick Rock: Well my Mom used to drink a lot of coffee so I used to play the coffee cans like drums. You know back in the day they had the metal cans. So I had a small can, a medium sized can and a big can and I would just play them like drums as a child like ten or eleven years old. Then my uncle finally got me a drum set around twelve years old and it was actually his old drum set. I would play old records like Sly and the Family Stone that had big drummers on them and I would just replay those. I just loved music and playing drums like that. Eventually I started to rhyme and then got into the production side of it.
WHO?MAG: How did you get into production? Rick Rock: In Montgomery, Alabama back in the day there was a lot of bass music in the south and I was doing a lot of hip-hop records as far as rapping. So I had to try to get beats and it was hard in Montgomery. Then I met a guy named Dr. Fingers he was a producer for a group from Montgomery called Dirty and he put me on. He said man you got your own ideas you could just do your own beats. He had a SP12 and he showed me how to sample kicks and snares. That got me into loving production and the technical aspect of it, putting a beat together. I fell in love with it from then on.
WHO?MAG: How did you hook up with Tupac for “All Eyes on Me.” Rick Rock: I was out here in California and I came out here in ’95 to try to do music and I was living in the studio. My boy had a studio and he let me live there because I had nowhere to live at the time. So he was taking a trip to L.A. and I ended up going with him and from there we met Tupac at the Le Montrose hotel. Tupac had a caravan and he was just like follow us. So I just happened to be lucky to be with somebody who was in a caravan that went to the studio. He started playing his album “All Eyes on Me” before it was out he was still working on it. There was a bunch of people in the studio and they didn’t have any music there and they wanted to make music but they had a SP12 there. So I happened to have some discs with me that I used to carry with me all the time. Then I said this must be God saying this is it for you. You have all these artists here, an SP1200 sitting right here and SP1200 discs on your shoulder. So I went in and slipped some in and it loaded it up and played it and Pac was like what’s that? And I was like man that’s you. That’s basically how I got on with Pac. He ended up picking like four beats, two went on that album and two went on a couple different albums.
WHO?MAG: What do you remember the most about being with Tupac in the studio? Rick Rock: Aww man the excitement for me cuz you know I came from Montgomery and all I wanted to do was music and be in the middle of the biggest record label of all time and one of the biggest artists we’ll ever see was just a trip in itself. He was just a trip man. There’s just so much to say about that now that he’s gone and you get to look back on it. He was just a straight artist on a mission. I know the funniest times I had with him and some of the crazy things he said and the creativity and how fast he wrote his raps without even thinking about it. He wrote them but it was almost like he was tracing it or something. He would write like he already knew or like he was reading it from somewhere else. It seemed like he was writing like that to me. He wrote so fast. I got a lot of memories I don’t know what specifically you want to know.
WHO?MAG: What was like a fun moment you had with him? Rick Rock: It was dope working with him you know. You have to work fast and you have to learn that you can’t sit and produce a beat all day with him. You gotta give him some stuff to get down on and move out the way because he’s doing however many songs he trying to get done in a day. I learned a lot. I learned to work fast. I learned to be professional and get the job done and get out the way. I learned to just have fun because he was all fun in the studio. I’ve only been with Pac in the studio twice, but it was memorable.
WHO?MAG: How did you hook up with Spice 1 from Immortalized? Rick Rock: We’re both from the Bay and he was being managed by a guy that was managing me and that’s how I believe we connected. Then I just started doing music and he was feeling the music I was doing. You know I was working with RBL. I did some Cosmic Slop work. I did a couple songs with 40 to get my name out as far as in the Bay and he came through to work and we just clicked in. We did a lot of records and I think nine of them ended up on Immortalized. He took a big chance on me. He gave me nine records and he made sure I got paid. So that was much love from Spice for that.
WHO?MAG: How was it working with Spice in the studio? Rick Rock: It was dope. He’s creative. He’s real creative and funny. Most people probably don’t even know how funny he is. He’s real cool.
WHO?MAG: How about E40? How was it working with him in the studio? Rick Rock: That’s science. I don’t know what to call that man. We’ve been doing that for so many years. It’s business but its fun. We get down to business, we know what to do, we know what the people want from us and we try to do something different then what they’re doing. It’s usually a fun time but a little hectic because you’re trying to get something different or something specific. We go back so long it’s just like working with your brother or something. It’s real cool.
WHO?MAG: How did you hook up with Jay-Z for the “Dynasty” album? Rick Rock: I hooked up with Jay-Z when I was in my apartment in the 916 of Sacramento. I’m signed with EMI publishing I’ve been there since 95’ and he came through to the studio talking to this guy named Big John one day. So they happened to call me and I was in my apartment in Sacramento and it was Jay-Z but I didn’t believe it until he put Big John on the phone and he said he liked my stuff. So Jay-Z got back on the phone and he played me a couple of songs that I did and I was like ok. Then he said man this sh*t is crazy. Then they told me to track it all out and maybe a week or two later they flew me out to NY to record. Then when I got there they said that he didn’t want those records anymore and I didn’t know what to do at that point. So I just started working at the studio and we came up with some records then and I ended up doing like four records on that album.
WHO?MAG: How was it working with Jay-Z in the studio? Rick Rock: Dope. It’s hard to describe these things because it’s not just somebody working right it’s more like your life is changing and they’re working. I don’t know if you understand what I mean. But you see how they work and that’s dope, but at the same time, you know this could be a potential change for your life so for me, I equate these moments as life changing moments. He worked like everybody said. He didn’t write. He kind of just walked around and then was like I’m ready and I was like damn. Then he went in there and started recording. So now I’m watching him record and I can’t really believe it that he’s recording on my sh*t and I’m like damn this is crazy. When he came out, he’s all like this sh*t is crazy and he starts calling people on the phone and he starts telling me how they’re gonna do a video for “Parking Lot Pimpin” and sh*t like that. I mean it was just so much. It was a dope ass experience. He was just dope you know. He took my direction. I was like man I think you can probably get that one more time or maybe you can twist this and do this and he was like ok and did it. I see now the people that I work with that have been doing this for so long time. I can kind of see how they’ve been doing it for so long. Their work ethic is strong and their good people.
WHO?MAG: How did you hook up with WC for “Ghetto Heisman?” Rick Rock: He came to my house in Sacramento and you know that’s my folk. He came through and we just knocked out a couple of records. It was all good. I still chop it up with Dub. That’s good peoples right there.
WHO?MAG: How did you hook up with Mariah Carey? Rick Rock: That was through Busta because that was really a Busta Rhymes record. That was called “I Know What You Want.”
WHO?MAG: How was it working with them in the studio? Rick Rock: Well, I didn’t see Mariah. She had to get sleep. They were saying that she needed to get at least ten to twelve hours of sleep before she recorded a session or something. So we really just mixed the song without her vocals and then waited until we got her vocals and mixed those in. But Busta is dope. I didn’t see Mariah, but Busta he’s cool. We did “Make it Clap,” “I Know What You Want” and we did another song with Carl Thomas on that record. But he’s dope. He listens. He took direction. He’s curious, but he knows what he’s doing. He knows what he wants too.
WHO?MAG: What’s next for you after this project? Rick Rock: My project is like my main priority, but I’m working on eight or nine song’s on E40’s new album “The Block Brochure” dropping this month. I’m working on some Lil Wayne and I’m working on some Busta Rhymes, Xhibit and you know just artists here and there. So I’m just trying to work and keep going but I’m really really really trying to focus on “Rocket.” That’s my album its called “Rocket.” I think it’s one of those records that need to be out there. I’m focusing a lot on that but I’m definitely working.
WHO?MAG: Do you have a website, facebook, or twitter where people can check you out? Rick Rock: Yea man they can check me out @rickrockbeats on twitter, they can go to rickrockmusicshop.com that’s my website and Rick Rock Music Shop is my facebook too.