WC Hip-hop legend WC (Dub-C) has been rocking the west coast for years with his unique flow since back to his WC and the MAAD Circle days (with Coolio) to the Westside Connection (with Ice Cube & Mack 10). Now, WC steps out again to give us another solo album, but this time under Ice Cube’s “Lench Mob Records”. Check out this extensive interview with WC and make sure to get “Guilty by Affiliation”!
interview by Will Hernandez
WHO?MAG: Talk to me about the album “Guilty by Affiliation”? WC: The album was put together by myself, Ice Cube, and DJ Crazy Toones. It’s geared towards our fans; towards the hardcore WC fans and to those in general who support the West Coast movement. We didn’t exclude cats outside of the West Coast because it’s Gangsterism at its finest all around. By being an independent album, we wanted to target home and make sure we have a foundation to stand on because this is just the beginning of the platform that’s being built in order for us to bring the raw back; the raw that’s the industry has been lacking for so long.
WHO?MAG: Why did you choose the title “Guilty by Affiliation”? WC: I choose the name because to me it fitted a lot of the cats out here that my music is catered to. There are a lot of cats out here that are ‘guilty by affiliation’ for being a minority. They might be ‘guilty by affiliation’ because they got felonies for whatever reason. For me to call it “Guilty by Affiliation” for the simple fact that me being from the West Coast, it’s been an uphill battle to have my music heard; to let people know what’s going on in this side of town through the eyes of WC.
WHO?MAG: Who can we expect as far as producers and cameo appearances on the album? WC: Cameo appearances I kept it real simple. I grabbed the big three: Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, and The Game. The reason I did that was because they were the top three that people really know about when they thought of the West Coast at the time. I just wanted to put myself right up there inside of the same bracket to everybody outside that’s looking in. As far as producers, I grabbed a lot of producers that were hungry. That wanted to f*ck with WC. We got some new cats that are on the come up named Hallway Productions. They’re off the chain with it. They produced the majority of the record. They’re from up north. I got Mr. Porter from Eminen’s camp out of D12. He gave me a couple of bangers. Also, I got Jellyroll a West Coast legend beating up the drums on there. I also got Rick Rock, another legend from the West Coast, from up north. He gave me banger as well called “Look at Me”. I got quite a few producers on there man. I feel like everybody was in the studio at one time doing big. I’m loving the outcome.
WHO?MAG: Did you work with Sir Jinx on this album as you had in the past? WC: Nah, I don’t have Sir Jinx on this album. Sir Jinx came in and helped us organize the record and put things together.
WHO?MAG: Why not? WC: At the time, what we were looking for, it wasn’t there. Sir Jinx got a lot of beats, but what we were looking for at the time didn’t fit.
Why did you choose to go with Ice Cube’s Lench Mob Records instead of a major or another independent? WC: The situation with [Ice] Cube was the best situation out there for me. I wanted to be with somebody coming off the last album over at Def Jam. I wanted to be in a situation where the person I was working with and for was a person that understood me as an individual. Nobody knew me better in the industry than Ice Cube and shared my vision. We had the same vision; getting out of here and getting our careers in our own hands instead of me going with a major versus me being on Lench Mob Records. It just made more sense for me to go on Lench Mob Records because I own my masters. In a major label, I wouldn’t be able to own my masters, even though in Lench Mob, Ice Cube gave me a situation that I look forward to. That I am truly owner of my masters and I have equity in myself. Why would I want to go to a major if I can make more money selling 100,000 units on an independent compared to artist on a major going gold? Also, my team and myself are more focused on me opposed to being on a major label. A major label just ain’t focused on one artist. They focused on ALL the artists. It only makes sense; a smarter business move. Two years from now, whatever units my album moves, if my album is selling or what not, I still get a check. You don’t get a check on a major label.
Give me a bit of a history lesson. How did Low Profile come together? WC: From this cat I was in high school with by the name of Zero. Originally Low Profile was three members. It was Zero, WC, and DJ Aladdin. Zero introduced me to this guy that was mixing by the name of DJ Aladdin on our senior year of high school. DJ Aladdin and I hit it off. DJ Aladdin had somebody over there that he would do some scratches for by the name of Coolio. Coolio and I started chopping it up. I told Coolio whenever I made it, I was going to put him down. He could roll with me. Zero eventually went to school up north and just left me and DJ Aladdin. DJ Aladdin won all these contests as a DJ. People were approaching him for [record] deals. They just wanted him to do a lot of scratching on records a lot of techno records. Back then, it was all about the DJ, then the emcee. You had Cash Money and Marvelous, Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, Mantronix and T La Rock, it was all about the DJ. DJ Aladdin was like “Nah, I got a rap on this. We got over 50 songs/demos that we did ourselves.” When they heard the music, they went crazy over it. We got a deal with Priority records and put out our first single “Pay Your Dues” which struck a mark in the industry.
WHO?MAG: Why did the group break up and never do a follow up for “We in this Together”? WC: Because we ended up not seeing eye to eye musically. We had a manager that came in and kind of f*cked everything up financially for us. It was best for us to move on. I still love DJ Aladdin to this day.
WHO?MAG: How did The Maad Circle come together? WC: The Maad Circle came together after me and DJ Aladdin went our ways. Coolio was my hype man during Low Profile. He chose to roll with me. My brother DJ Crazy Toones [Ice Cube’s DJ], he stayed down with me. We had the homie Big Geez who was the other set of eyes of the Circle. We just choose to call it The Maad Circle, but have it spelled differently and give it a meaning. Every time I do sh*t I have to try and give it a meaning behind what I do. I don’t to squeeze the trigger just to squeeze the trigger. I like to have some significance behind it and a reason for that. That’s why we called it “Minority Alliance of Anti-Discrimination”. We felt there were a lot of people out there who couldn’t get a fair shot in life because they were guilty by affiliation once again. We had the song “Dress Code” explaining how they like to play our music in the clubs, but they don’t like to let the people that make the music or represent the music the club because they’re not dressed a certain way. We did songs like “Ain’t a Damn Thing Changed” which is modern day slavery at the time. They just switched to the Billy club. That’s when the Rodney King sh*t jumped off. We just went hard.
WHO?MAG: How did you get the deal with Payday Records and how was your experience on the label? WC: Through DJ Premier’s manager who was the owner of Payday. He had deal through London Records. He knew I was trying to get out of Priority records at the time. He had a full staff over there and it just didn’t work for me at Priority records. When I got out of my deal, DJ Premier hooked me up with his manager. He said we got a home for you over here, but it’s an East Coast label. But we’ll market you how ever you want to be marketed. I wanted to make sure my fans over here [west coast] get to the same. He said “no problem let’s get that music”. At first he gave me a single deal. He heard some the music and he backed up and gave me an album deal. That’s when we dropped the first single “West Up”. It was pretty good. For them to be an independent label, it was really good. I wish that had more of an understanding of how sh*t was ran over here on the west coast. Then they could put me in places that I needed to be so my fans know what’s up instead of just spreading it out worldwide. They could’ve of focused more where my hardcore fan base was. We could’ve sold a lot more records. We did pretty decent out there though.
WHO?MAG: What happened with Payday? Did the label go under? WC: Yeah Payday went under. They got bought out too. They got bought out my Warner Brothers.
WHO?MAG: Do you own of the masters of any of the past WC albums? WC: Hell nah! Owning your masters is a f*cking privilege. That sh*t is not common. Don’t let nobody tell you no sh*t like that. Half these niggas is lying. You know what I’m saying? [chuckles] On the major labels, only a handful of niggas own they’re masters. I was on a major label, but I didn’t own my masters. They own the masters.
WHO?MAG: Talk to me about the song you did with Daz, CJ Mac, and Tray Dee on the ‘Gang Related’ soundtrack? WC: We we’re just talking sh*t. We just went in there and went hard.
WHO?MAG: Talk to me about the first ‘Westside Connection’ album and the second album ‘Terrorist Threats’? WC: We just wanted to get in and represent for the [west] coast because we were catching a lot of flack for being from the West Coast. Nobody wanted to recognize the scene was a factor in the game and all that bullsh*t. We just thought it was time to stand up for the people. Terrorist Threats was put out in the time when all the sh*t was going down with 9/11. They wanted to get rid of us young black men, trying to make new laws. We just figured out we’re under attack like Osama Bin Laden. We said f*ck it! Let’s call the album ‘Terrorist Threats’ and shake some sh*t up!
WHO?MAG: Will there be another Westside Connection album? WC: Ain’t no telling. Right now I’m just focused on my solo career.
WHO?MAG: What’s Mack 10 up to? WC: I don’t know. You got to ask him. I haven’t spoken to Mack 10 in a while.
WHO?MAG: How did you get the deal with Def Jam back in 2002? WC: When Warner bought out Payday, the new distributor was coming which was Universal. They wanted me. Def Jam wanted me. Lyor Cohen said they needed somebody from the West Coast. Since he couldn’t get the whole Westside Connection, he went and grabbed me. That’s how that came about.
WHO?MAG: Talk to about the “Ghetto Heisman” album? WC: The “Ghetto Heisman” album was album that came out on Def Jam. I called it “Ghetto Heisman” because I’ve been playing out in the streets for the longest. I felt I was the most valuable player out here still standing in the game doing what I do. It got to the point to go in on a major label that was for putting out big rap records and cater to the streets. Unfortunately it doesn’t happen. When we got in, it was unfortunate that there was people in there that didn’t understand my music or me as an artist. They were monitoring everything that I did. From the beats to the lyrics, if it wasn’t to their approval, it wasn’t going to come out. After a whole lot of compromising on my record, unfortunately it didn’t allow me to be WC. You know we had a big single. We got a chance to do what we wanted to do. We got a chance to put on who we wanted to put on it. We had a great video shot in the coliseum by Chris Robinson at the time. I had Scott Storch on the track before niggas was yelling Scott Storch name out as a producer. It was good man. It was just unfortunate that they didn’t understand me as an artist. They tried to market me as an East Coast artist. It didn’t work. Even more so, what was f*cked up that we didn’t get a fair jump off. There were a lot of records that were pressed up scratched and they had to push my release date back and we lost the momentum. I had the number one single in the region. It was starting to build across the country. We had a real big single. It was just f*cked up that the air was let out of it because of that right there.
WHO?MAG: You couldn’t make Def Jam bring the momentum back? How did you get off Def Jam? WC: Not at all. When you’re on a major label they don’t give a f*ck about that. They just move on to the next song. They’re a big machine. That’s how it is. Everybody is a number and a tax write off. They knew that they f*cked up. I was like, “what do you want to do”? The ball is in your court. I knew right then and there going through that sh*t with Def Jam, it was time for me to do it independent. I had my mind made up back then.
WHO?MAG: What’s up with DJ Crazy Toones and Coolio? WC: He’s working on the next tape. He’s also working on putting out an album as well. I haven’t talked to Coolio in a while.
WHO?MAG: How was it working with Gangstarr and Rakim for the Militia II remix? WC: It was all gravy. I wasn’t in the studio with Rakim when we did that. I was just in the studio with Gangstarr. I’ve know DJ Premier for the longest, since the early 90’s. It wasn’t sh*t for me to go up in there and lay vocals and give it to him because it’s family.
WHO?MAG: How was it working with The Game? WC: It was all good. I knew Game before he got with Dr. Dre. It wasn’t like some unexpected sh*t. Actually, we did song for the “Ghetto Heisman” album that didn’t make the album because of the time. Me, him, and Dr. Dre did a song for my “Ghetto Heisman” album called “Thin Line”. I’ve been f*cking with Game back in the day. It wasn’t nothing to get in the studio and knock that sh*t out. He heard the track and hook and said ‘let’s go’!
WHO?MAG: Do you have a copy of that song to put on “Guilty by Affiliation”? WC: Nah, Dr. Dre got that. He be holding on tight onto the files and all that sh*t.
WHO?MAG: Any last words? WC: Get that album “Guilty by Affiliation” best west coast album of the year hands down! If you’re tired of that watered down bullsh*t, come f*ck with the raw. Lench Mob records! We got it.