Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Dre's protege Bishop Lamont interview

Published March 2008

Dubcnn: So tell us about what a typical session is like working on “Detox”…

Man, where do I begin? The mysterious thing that people always hear about is how hard dude goes. It’s amazing to watch dude work. [He has] 22 years in the game, and this dude, most of the time, is the last dude that leaves the studio. I’ve finally started to master being the last one to leave the studio with dude. But it’s just hella concentration man. You have Hittman in one room working on a record, me in another room working on a record, and the homeboy Sly in the other room working on a record. There’s a lot of different cats that’s going hard in each studio writing records, and Dre’s producing beats in the front main studio. So it’s just like a sweatshop for rhymes and for beats, and the concepts.

It’s a constant workforce, and we don’t let up. We’re not supposed to let up, because the whole thing is to give y’all the meanest shit, go out with a bang, [and] for this to be his last album. So it’s crazy, and you don’t get much sleep. You shouldn’t want to get much sleep, when you’ve got an opportunity of a lifetime like that.

Dubcnn: Yeah! So did you say Hittman? He’s coming back for “Detox”?

Oh, Hittman’s been back man…Mel-Man, you name it! I mean, there’s a lot of surprises. I’m not at liberty to say too much, but I’ll say what I can so I won’t get beat up. Dre is serious about that, Area 51 with this shit to the utmost! But it’s beautiful to see Hitt, be able to work with Hittman, and vibe with Hittman, vibe with Mel-Man, vibe with Focus, and vibe with Busta. You know, it’s cats you look up to and cats that’s been doing it before you was doing it. They’re the same people that’s making you do what you do.

It’s a lot of fun at the same time. It’s family; there ain’t no hater shit. That’s the most beautiful thing about being able to work in those kinds of environments. It’s just about the music. It’s just it’s an experience man, and what it does is it upgrades what I’m doing with “The Reformation”. I’m glad it happened this way, because I get to be a fly on the wall, and see how this nigga’s moving. Then this nigga be making beats, and is like “Ehh.” That shit will be crazy [though], and I’ll snatch that shit! So I’m putting “The Reformation” on serious-ass steroids right now.

It’s a great thing because I’m allowed to see what he’s doing for his album, and then double or triple up on mine. These are solid efforts that are going to be amazing.

Dubcnn: So do you think that by the time “Detox” drops, you’re going to change up a lot of the tracks that were supposed to be on “The Reformation”, and replace them with new ones?

Man, that’s always been going on. That’s another [reason] why it’s been taking so long, because he’s like, “Dude, this shit’s gotta be so crazy.” I feel the same way, and his perfectionist attitude is starting to rub off on me. So now it’s just a sick, twisted, “Fight Club” level of schizophrenia when it comes to the records, because your best ain’t good enough. I felt that way before, but now it’s even so much more, being in here doing like we’re doing it. So it’s crazy man. It’s been always changing. I cut like two or three records in a day. I think they’re crazy, but something just pulls at me like, “You need to go harder than that, go back in there and re-cut some shit.”

[Dre] is the kind of cat that… a lot of cats don’t understand this, but we were doing this seminar the other day and was explaining to cats about the work ethic. They were like, “How many songs do you think you’ve cut?” I’m like, “Shit, over 500 records!” They’re like, “Wow!” I’m like, “Yeah, nigga! And counting!” Imagine working on the same record for two weeks, having to change words in a hook or do a pre-intro, or tighten this up. Everything is down to a science, and everything has to be perfect.

Then the mixing is a whole other level. Dude gives me so much magic and so much insight as to how to put a record together. Most cats go in two or three takes and they’re good with a record. It can be great, but with dude it’s like, “Naw. Look at it this way. Look at it that way. OK, try this. OK, that feels pretty good, but I don’t know. We’re gonna sleep on it.” Then he’ll call me the same fuckin’ night, like three or four in the morning, and go, “I don’t know. Let’s try something different in the morning.” That kind of steady hand and skill makes you like a physician almost. So you’re gonna see growth that you don’t even know is growth. You know what I mean? You can’t be in there with me, but believe me. What it’s done to my mind, my ear, and approach towards records is phenomenal.

Dubcnn: How close do you think “Detox” is from being released?

I can’t really say anything, but this nigga’s been going hard. The craziest thing is, I’m used to seeing him do beats, but to see him cut vocals? Fuckin’ crazy man! To walk in and see this nigga in the booth before you get there in the morning, and he’s already going hard, sittin’ on a chair bussin’? He’s going hard, going hard like a new artist, and it’s dope to see that after that many years, he still has that hunger and that discipline. So it’s crazy. But we’ve already cut a lot of records and he’s still cutting records. But you know with him. We’ll probably do 115 records before he’s got what he wants for “Detox”. Straight up! I mean, that’s that dude though, and that’s why he’s the dude that he is.

Dubcnn: Does Dre ever check out any of those crazy “Detox” discussions on the internet forums?

He don’t pay attention to none of that shit! This dude’s got his own headphones coming out. You think that a dude that’s got his own headphones coming out has got time to look on the internet? What did he say one day? This is how far this nigga’s on another planet. He said, “I was having a conversation with such and such, and the nigga said ‘Coinstar’. I said, ‘What the fuck is a Coinstar?’ I haven’t been to a market in I don’t know how long.”

He didn’t know what a Coinstar was! That’s how bossy he is. I said, “Nigga, I’ve knowing Coinstar for years. I took all the pennies in there and got gas money!” That’s the level that he’s on man. It’s crazy to see it at that altitude. I’ve become used to it because I’m a part of it, but you still have to take a step back and realize this dude himself is an institution, and this dude is really on another fuckin’ planet!

Dubcnn: Here’s another question from a fan. This one’s from Brewster in Barcelona, Spain.

What up Brewster? Pimp ass nigga!

Dubcnn: “What is the most valuable thing that you’ve learned from being around The Good Doctor so far”?

Patience. Patience is the biggest one. But what I’ve learned from looking at him and being around him is how he’s retained a beautiful spirit. We’re family; that’s my big bro. Dude has done the most in my life on so many levels I can’t even talk about. But, through all the bullshit he’s been through, he’s still a good motherfucker that will give you the shirt off his back. He’s got a billion shirts, but it’s just the point that he will bend over backwards to make sure you’re good. I’ve learned [that] through all the bullshit, and all the success, you can still remain you.

I’ve learned patience and integrity from him. He still has fun with it like a motherfucker, and he’s still a big kid. That’s dope to me. No matter what the success level, how many records sold, or how much money is at stake, he only cares about the music at the end of the day. That’s why he takes however the fuck long he wants. He wants this shit to be right.

There’s so many more things, I’d be long winded! Just having an ear man. I’ve been watching him mix, and I’m starting to learn how to mix. I’ve got a crazy ass ear now. I’ve been real spoiled, having the opportunity to be in there and learn how to put records together. It’s crazy! [I’ve learned the] same with Focus. It’s stupid. I’m spoiled to be in the position I’m in.

Dubcnn: This one is from Chadrick. “Will your album ‘The Reformation’ have more of a commercial appeal to it than your street albums, or will Dre allow you to have the same style that you’ve been doing”?

Dre allows you to be you, as long as your shit is hot. Of course it’s going to be commercial in the sense that it has to be sold. You know what I’m saying? But they [the fans] have to make that transition. I used to talk like that, when I was unsigned and didn’t understand the business. Anything that’s a video is a commercial for a product. Any album that’s packaged and put in stores is a product, so there has to be a commercial to make people want to go out and buy it. So in that aspect, yeah, it’s gonna be commercial. I want that motherfucker to sell like a motherfucker for people to receive it and get the nutrients that’s in it.

But as far as the music material inside, it’s gonna be me all day. I don’t back down on that shit for nothing. That’s why me and Dre’s relationship is what it is, because if I don’t like something or feel something, I’m gonna say I don’t. He’ll want to pimp slap me for it, say I’m hard-headed, but he respects me for it at the end of the day because I’m honest and he knows I’ma shoot from the hip.

Published March 2008

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