As one of the members from the platinum group The Luniz, Yukmouth has remained a permanent fixture in the hip-hop industry. As a collective, the Bay Area’s The Luniz have created staple anthems including the unforgettable I Got 5 On It and The Ice Cream Man. As a solo artist, Yukmouth has release a handful of dynamic albums that sold about 250,000 a piece with out any major airplay of videos. His latest release will prove that he still runs this rap game. Check out this exclusive interview.
Interview by Will Hernandez

WHO?MAG: What have you been up to lately?
Yukmouth: Right now the latest mixtape out is Million Dollar mixtape. That’s my shit. It got songs from my forthcoming album Million Dollar Mouthpiece. It got Kanye West, Young Jeezy, Lil’ Kim, The Regime, C Bo, Lil’ Flip, Z Ro, Screwed Up Click, and Mob Figaz. It’s just to let people know about the album Million Dollar Mouthpiece. The other mixtape I got is All Out War Vol. 1 and 2, which is The Regime joints. That’s going out hard against everybody we got problems in the industry. Shitting on G Unit to everybody else.

WHO?MAG: How did you get with Rap A Lot records?
Yukmouth: That was in 97, really 96. It was Scarface and The Luniz because we were all labelmates on Virgin records. When they would come to LA and record we would get the same studios to record all our projects. J Prince was in their studio and we would be in ours. J Prince would come visit our sessions and he wanted to see Numskull; he would just see me there he put shit together. He came like five times and didn’t see my rap partner and he was like “damn! You doing all this shit by yourself?” I was like “yeah that’s how I always do it.” Numskull is a party dude and I’m the businessman. He was like “man you’re doing this shit yourself. You might as well be solo. You might as well be at Rap A Lot.” And I was like “what you mean?” He said “you’re doing this shit yourself. You don’t need nobody. You might as well run shit”. I’ve been rolling with Rap A Lot ever since. After 1996, 1997 he flew me out to Houston. I signed and the rest is history.

WHO?MAG: What is Numskull up to?
Yukmouth: Numskull is working on a solo album. As soon as he done with that, we’ll get in the studio and work on another Luniz project. One Love to Num[skull].

WHO?MAG: How did you and Numskull come together and form The Luniz?
Yukmouth: We have been rapping with each since junior high school. We had a group called BWP (Brothers With Potential). There were 4 other members. I was the badass of the group. Num was stealing cars and I’m selling drugs and shit. I’m in and out of juvenile hall. The other members of the group split up so me and Num stayed together. I got caught up selling drugs. I had to do a year. During 11th grade I got out. The whole year I’m in jail, I wrote songs like Ice Cream Man, came up with The Luniz logo, and The Luniz name Looney Tunes. When I got out I met up with Num. His name wasn’t even Numskull. I gave him that name. He name was the Skinny One. I was like “I’m going to be Yukmouth and you’re going to Numskull. We’re going to be the Looney Tunes.” We got our deal with CNH a few months later. We ended up getting on Dru Down’s album. We made the video for Ice Cream Man which was a local hit and got us our shine that lead to basically getting us our deal with Virgin records.

WHO?MAG: How did I Got Five on It come about?
Yukmouth: We came to the studio and the producer had the beat playing already. We came to the studio with the Club Nouveau album. We told him we wanted this song right here which was Why You Treat Me So Bad? He heard the shit and replayed it. The rest is history. He came with the hook and brought in Mike Marshall, who was the original member of Timex Social Club, to sing the hook. After that, the rest is history. Everything fell in place. It just so happen he knew the muthafucking dude from Timex Social Club that sang the hook. All that was blessing.

WHO?MAG: Who are you working with as far as producers for your new album?
Yukmouth: The Rap A Lot people: Mike Dean, Mr. Lee. I’m also getting Dame Grease Vacant Lot. He does a lot of shit for NAS, DMX, Ruff Ryders. Of course I’m getting some of that Ric Roc up there in the Bay area and basically some of my in house producer such as Mad Dog and Large Money Ent.

WHO?MAG: Any guest appearances?
Yukmouth: Expect Young Jeezy on the album. Lil’ Flip, Dru Hill, E40, C Bo, Dru Down, Kurupt, Scarface, Devin the Dude. They’re all going to be on the album. Maybe even Tyrese will be on the album. I’m just doing my thing.

WHO?MAG: What’s the situation with the beef you had with Game?
Yukmouth: Me and Game squashed the beef before BEEF III came out; officially. We squashed during the summer. It came about through my boy Eastwood. He’s signed with Game. They’re in a group called The Mob with Eastwood, Technic, Game and a couple of other muthafuckers. Eastwood, being that he is my homie, I’ve been putting him up on projects like Thug Lordz and my mixtapes. He looked out for me like “Yo! That’s my nigga Yuk. If you want to fuck with me squash that shit.” Matter of fact Eastwood called me and put Game on the phone. So we squashed. He promised he wouldn’t talk bad about me at shows and I wouldn’t either. He used to start shows “fuck Yukmouth” “Yukmouth suck my dick”. He started whole shows off of that. Now my name ain’t in that shit no more.

WHO?MAG: Is it possible you might work with Game in the future?
Yukmouth: Hell yeah! At the end of the day, I was just defending myself. Game is a really talented artist and I would love to work with him.

WHO?MAG: Why did the group leave Virgin records?
Yukmouth: It was a big problem. It was their black division Noo Trybe. Once we went platinum they didn’t respect us as artists. We were the same muthafuckas that came with the first album without a gold or platinum single success. They didn’t respect it. The second album flopped. They spent over 300 thousand but it didn’t do as good as the first album. Not because the label didn’t put no more money or push behind. They put more push with the first album than the second one. So we spent more money on the second album than the first; so it don’t make sense. At the end of the day we were just mad at how they did the second album. They choose the wrong singles and all types of shit. So we just decided to leave. They didn’t want to give us our control. It was all about what they wanted to do.

WHO?MAG: You still get paid for I Got Five On It?
Yukmouth: Hell Yeah! To this day, I get fat royalty checks and publishing checks. Our shit was a classic. You still hear it on the radio. A lot of shit that came out you don’t hear it 5 or 10 years later. I bet if you’re driving your car and you turn on the hip hop station, you’ll hear at least once a day I Got Five On It. If you don’t hear mine, you’ll hear a remix that somebody took my shit. Be it Bow Wow, Puff Daddy, or whoever. That all came from us, The Luniz.

WHO?MAG: I’m glad you mentioned that. How did you feel when Diddy did that song with R. Kelly and used the sample?
Yukmouth: We was really upset at first. Then he came back and got us for the remix. He paid us $50,000 to get us on the remix. I felt justice was served. He came us and got us on the joint. It was all good. He handled his business right. A lot of muthafuckas who used it never came back and got us. They never gave us a shout on the song or nothing. I respect Puffy out of everybody that used the shit. He paid us for the sample and he paid us to get on the song.

WHO?MAG: Who didn’t give you your credit?
Yukmouth: Bow Wow used it. Jessica Simpson and a couple of muthafuckas used it and didn’t give credit where credit is due. It’s like this: when I use a sample or something, I at least give the muthafucka a shout out. When we used the Club Nouveau shit, we put the real muthafucka from Timex Social Club on the song. We put the actual muthafucka that was on your group in the song also. You got paid twice not just off the sample, but a performance fee too.