Beeda Weeda Interview/ By Black Dog Bone/ photo by Ian Mosier
How did you start working with Stretch and Town Thizzness?
Stretch hollered at me when I first got on. He manages FAB and FAB put the nigga up on me. I was comin up and the nigga started hearing about me, started seein me. Thizz wanted to sign me, so Stretch came down to the hood, we sat down, we chopped it up. I told him I got my own thing with PTB, I’m tryin to get this shit off the ground but I appreciate the love. What the niggaz did, and this is why I love the niggaz and why I fuck with them. They still put me on the “Block Report”, they still put me on with shows. They fucked with me like I was family, and they didn’t have to do that. At the time I wasn’t all the way in and that shit did help put me more in the light. That “Block Report” shit helped me out a lot. That’s where muthafuckas outside of the Bay could see me and understand where I’m comin from. Through that I built a tight relationship with Stretch. I don’t have one manager, I have a lotta people who help me out, and Stretch is like one of my managers. The whole Town Thizzness thing was just they wanted to put out a Oakland Thizz thing. I said I had a bunch of songs left over and Stretch said he wanted me to be the first act to come out on it. So it was good.
One independent artist who’s really successful right now is Tech N9ne. It would be great if Town Thizz artists would tour the way Strange Music is doing it.
Tech N9ne’s doing his goddamn thang! I’ve seen him and I admire what he’s doing. I hear about all them sold out shows and shit. That’s our plan—we’re gonna hit the road. We wanna do it with the LA niggaz too. Hop on the bus and do a fat-ass tour. We’re workin on all that. What we need is for all our fans to call up the radio stations and for the Summer Jams and all that, let ‘em know that they want their people up there. They’re bringing a lotta artists in from outa town, but we the ones they listening to out here. When it comes to the big shows they never holler. They try to see it’s the crowd we attract, but they bring in artists that’ll bring in the same people we would bring. It ain’t no different. That’s some bullshit.
How did PTB come together?
Basically it started from my neighborhood in East Oakland. It was my big brother J-Mo, he had a group called Unda Surveillance. When I was young that’s who I looked up to, who I listened to. One day they heard about me fuckin around with the beats and shit, so they asked me to come through. We started it, it was only niggaz from the neighborhood, from the 20’s. and later we picked up a few niggaz from another spot from Oakland.
I got my own delivery, that’s what I really mastered—like how to deliver words my way. I know how to say something and make it sound good. I might stretch the word out or I might put my own little twist on it. That’s what comes with being an experienced artist. You know how to do things like that, play with your voice. You gotta be able to use your voice as an instrument.
Your brother is still rapping?
My brother, J-Moe. You remember J? He’s the CEO of our company PTB. He still does his Rap thang, but he’s fuckin with behind the scenes now. He’s helped me a lot as far as becomin an artist. We’re basically doin it with Beeda now, so he’s like the manager. He does a lotta shit. We’re family orientated. We all work together. We do whatever we need to do to make shit happen. Regardless who it is or what we’re doing, we’re just tryin to make shit happen. We’re doin it from the ground up. Like niggaz from my neighborhood, everybody’s chippin in, not even niggaz in Rap, just regular niggaz.
What part of East Oakland are you from?
I’m from the 20’s. It’s called the Murder Dubs, used to be called the Rollin 20’s, then it was called The Twamp. Now it’s the Murder Dubs. It’s called the Murder Dubs because we have such a high murder rate in our neighborhood. It’s all the 20 blocks of East Oakland—20th through 29th. They used to say when I was young: if you wanna see somebody get killed go to the Dubs. I had friends when I was a kid, they was scared, wouldn’t even wanna come over to my house. It’s a trip because it’s a lotta talent comes outa there, like producers, singers, rappers. We call it like a city within itself. We used to call it Twamp City. Growin up I could be in Dubs all day and never leave it. Everything I needed I could get right there in the hood.
Most of the people around there are family?
You ain’t gotta be blood to be family. We grew up with each other so we call that family. You got some people who are blood but they ain’t even really like family. That’s our whole thing at the label, we try to bring that family feelin back to Oakland. That’s the reason we fuck with Livewire, the reason we fuck with D-Lo and Sleepy D. We got all these niggaz together cause we tryin to bring that whole feelin back to the Town, get more unified.
What we got goin on is something rare. It happens every so often, like with Cash Money, No Limit. We got a lineup. It’s not just me or just Stalin or just D-Lo or just Sleepy D or Philthy Rich—it’s like a lineup, back to back and it’s crazy! We’re stuck here in the Bay but as soon as somebody outside the Bay get a whiff of how we operate, it’s gonna be over.
Were there other rappers that came from your neighborhood before or are you like the first ones?
That’s my brother J-Moe from Unda Surveillance. They were the first ones from my neighborhood to go the Rap professional. That’s what inspired me to get into the music. Unda Surveillance was the first ones.
It’s exciting to see a new generation of Oakland rappers coming up with a new sound. It’s a whole different sound from the old Bay Mobb sound. The way people are dressing is different too.
What we got goin on is something rare. It happens every so often, like with Cash Money, No Limit. We got a lineup. It’s not just me or just Stalin or just D-Lo or just Sleepy D or Philthy Rich—it’s like a lineup, back to back and it’s crazy! We’re stuck here in the Bay but as soon as somebody outside the Bay get a whiff of how we operate, it’s gonna be over. We didn’t have nothing set up, so we dealt with the minimum and we made the best out of it. We’re a fully operating machine with these record labels. Town Thizzness is just a smaller version of a major label. the only thing we missin is big finance. If we had big finance—nothing stoppin us. That’s what we got that’s special and we’re unifying Oakland. Now niggaz from other hoods who had past histories where niggaz wasn’t cool, niggaz is pushin that shit aside so we can get this money. It’s some monumental shit goin on in the Bay right now. And we fuckin with LA niggaz too. LA niggaz is fuckin with us real tough. They come up here—J-Rock, Glasses Malone, 211—and we go down there and fuck with them niggaz. It started from the Bay, but we gonna move it all together for California. We called the Wild West movement. That’s what we tryin to do, we tryin to bring the ball back over here. Before when the ball was over here niggaz wasn’t unified. LA niggaz and Bay niggaz was cool, but they wasn’t really workin together and runnin with each other. We movin with each other now.
basically it started from my neighborhood in East Oakland. It was my big brother J-Mo, he had a group called Unda Surveillance. When I was young that’s who I looked up to, who I listened to. One day they heard about me fuckin around with the beats and shit, so they asked me to come through. We started it, it was only niggaz from the neighborhood, from the 20’s. and later we picked up a few niggaz from another spot from Oakland.
To this day Dr. Dre has never made a track with E-40 or anyone else from the Bay.
That shit is fucked up and that shit is ridiculous! Not even fuckin Too Short! Why Too Short ain’t never been on a Dr. Dre beat? But all that shit is the old shit, man. It’s a whole new generation and all the niggaz down there now is fuckin with us. I got a song comin up called “West Up”, it’s gonna be a big song. It’s me, J-Stalin, my cousin T-Woods from Frisco, Scoop, 211, Jay Rock. We’re gonna do a video for it too. We’re thinking big—we ready to take it nationwide. We wanna make our stamp nationwide. We know we got just as good quality music as the rest them niggaz, it’s just gotta get out there. We pushin California all together. We tryin to bring it like the Death Row days, but all of California.
That’s the way I see Town Thizzness, like Death Row or No Limit or Sick Wid It. It’s stronger when a lot of people move together as one.
Exactly, and each and every one of us is talented in our own right. Everybody brings something different to the table. Philthy Rich got his sound, I got my sound, Shady Nate, D-Lo—everybody’s got a different sound and can stand on their own. We can’t lose. Next thing is we’re gonna start touring with all of us. And I’m working on something with The Grouch. He does the Backpack Hip Hop shit, but we crossin that over cause I fuck with DJ Fresh. DJ Fresh is my DJ and he’s real big in the Hip Hop industry. We’re merging all our shit and it’s beautiful. Even the fact that Hieroglyphics put out Beeda—that’s unheard of. Everything’s comin together. And we’re workin on movies too. We got a movie comin out called “New Oakland”, it’s for me and FAB and Stalin’s group called New Oakland. We’re gonna do a movie starring FAB and D-Lo and that’s gonna come out around the time we drop the album. We got all kinda things goin on. Even Hieroglyphics gave us some game on how to do the clothes; we’re doin shirts and pants, all types of shit.
It’s good that you’re working with the lyrical Hip Hop crowd, bridging that gap. Even the new sound you’re coming with incorporates more Club and Techno sounds but you’re still keeping it gutta and gangsta.
As an artist I don’t want to be stuck in no box. I want to be featured on any type of music, regardless who it is. That’s another thing we do—we help each other on our music. I might make a beat or write a hook and give it to somebody else like: I got an idea for you, try to rap with this. We’re really a full-functioning machine. We’re workin on speech craft. We have a disc jockey comin in and teaching us how to do interviews and how to speak, shit like that.
You don’t need that. More education will water you down. You want to keep your Oakland roots, your Blackness, your Africanness. They’ll strip you down and you’ll sound like you know who.
Yeah, but for everybody ain’t used to doing interviews and shit. You gotta kinda learn how to do it. We tryin to fine tune everything. When we do hit that nationwide level we’re gonna be so tight that it’s gonna be ridiculous. From the business to the marketing, to every aspect of the game, we’re gonna have it down.
What is a good beat for you? What do you look for in a beat?
It depends on where you’re tryin to go with it. If you’re lookin for a single, you want your beat to sound big, you want to have an industry sound. If you listen to the radio, a lotta DJ’s look for beats that have a similar sound. It might be a certain clap or a certain kick or a certain snare that’s hot this year that a lotta producers are using, and a certain tempo. So that’s what DJ’s pick up. If you’re tryin to go that way. I’ve strategized the shit out. You decide which direction you wanna take it as far as with the beat. It has a lot to do with feelin too. You gotta feel it. Beats talk to me. I can’t write a song without having a beat. The beat gonna tell me what to write, that’s how I know if it’s a good beat or not. Really when I make my music it’s about feeling. I’m not a freestyler, I’m really into the art of it.
Were you writing lyrics from a younger age?
Actually I got started late. When “Turf’s Up” came out I only had been rappin for about a year. I wasn’t even thinking about puttin that shit out like that, I was just doin it for the hood, something for my niggaz. It got picked up. Somebody from the hood took it to Tajay, and he came through to the block lookin for me. My brother came and told me this nigga’s lookin for me. So we sat down and talked, put it together and got on it.
What do you like to write about in your lyrics?
It depends on what my mission is. Like right now I’m tryin to tackle the radio. I like to flood the streets with mixtapes. With my mixtapes I do what I want. I talk about whatever I want to. But when I’m workin on my album, like nationwide shit, I’m thinkin of the masses. When I’m doin a radio song I’m not gonna be as lyrical. The people who listen to the radio and are into commercial shit, they’re not into the deep lyrics where you gotta think about what you sayin. Keep it kinda simple.
A lotta that lyrical shit is real underground, so you’re not gonna get that mass appeal. You wanna do that, that’s cool—cause I’m into the lyrical shit too—but if that’s what you gonna run with don’t be expecting to be all over the radio. Like the nigga Canibus from back in the day—he’s raw as fuck! But he couldn’t make a song. He’d rap his ass off, but he couldn’t put a song together and that’s why he didn’t blow.
When you listen to a lot of Club music and Techno they have a few words and keep repeating. You don’t need a lot of words when you’re dancing and partying.
You gotta remember that the people that buy the music are not rappers. Some of these niggaz be rappin for other rappers. They be makin raps so another rapper will say he tight. I don’t do that, I don’t give a fuck what other Rap niggaz think about my shit. I think about the people who’s buyin it. But on the album I make sure I have at least 2 or 3 real lyrical songs so I can show the critics, the muthafuckas who think I can’t do that. But I’m tryin to appeal to the people who buy music—you have to understand everyday people, people who aren’t rappers. Give ‘em something they can get into and then they’ll really listen to you. You gotta open up their ears a little bit.
A lot of rappers get caught up impressing other rappers, but everybody is not a rapper. People want to hear music to have a good time, to dance to, to chill out to. You have to talk their language.
Exactly. This is what I think. You can do whatever you want, but don’t do that and then cry, “Why I ain’t on the radio?” If that’s your land, then you gotta understand what comes with that land. A lotta that lyrical shit is real underground, so you’re not gonna get that mass appeal. You wanna do that, that’s cool—cause I’m into the lyrical shit too—but if that’s what you gonna run with don’t be expecting to be all over the radio. Like the nigga Canibus from back in the day—he’s raw as fuck! But he couldn’t make a song. He’d rap his ass off, but he couldn’t put a song together and that’s why he didn’t blow.
How many albums do you have out?
Really this album I’ve got comin out next, I consider this my first album. I came into the game not knowin nothing. Y’all actually watched me grow. A lotta people that seen me from the jump, they watched me grow into the artist. I came in like blindfolded. I just made some good songs and got put in. I had to learn a lotta shit.
So I feel like this next album is my real first album. Other projects that I have released of all original material—the first one I released was with the Demolition Men. Second one was “Turfology 101”, all original material. The third one was “Da Thizzness”. That was all old material, something I put out to feed the fans until I put out the real shit. A lotta the shit I put out was already old. So this time around I wanted to be current so muthafuckas would really hear my talent. When you hear this new album you gonna hear a big different from “Da Thizzness”. I’m gonna let muthafuckas know why it is that you keep hearin about Beeda Weeda.
I’ve strategized the shit out. You decide which direction you wanna take it as far as with the beat. It has a lot to do with feelin too. You gotta feel it. Beats talk to me. I can’t write a song without having a beat. The beat gonna tell me what to write, that’s how I know if it’s a good beat or not. Really when I make my music it’s about feeling. I’m not a freestyler, I’m really into the art of it.
Do you feel like with this new album you have finally found your own sound?
I still ain’t there yet, I still ain’t hit my prime yet. But this is my first one. I had a lot to learn and this time I got it down.
I always liked how Keak makes all these sounds on his songs, like growling. Do you do that ever?
I got my own delivery, that’s what I really mastered—like how to deliver words my way. I know how to say something and make it sound good. I might stretch the word out or I might put my own little twist on it. That’s what comes with being an experienced artist. You know how to do things like that, play with your voice. You gotta be able to use your voice as an instrument. I’ve got my own delivery style, that’s what I’ve been workin on. Another thing I’ve been doin is rappin over beats that I usually wouldn’t rap on top of. If it’s hella fast or hella slow, outside of my tempo, I force myself to make it work. That helps me to expand my style, say words different and shit.