Signed to the notorious West Coast powerhouse label Death Row in the nineties has taught Tha Realest some serious lessons when it comes to the music business, ones that some are seldom fortunate in receiving.
Now after almost a decade he has released his debut project which features a star studded supporting cast, all of whom were more than happy to jump on board and join him for the ride.
Speaking to FemaleFirst.co.uk, this Texas born but Oakland raised master of ceremonies gives us his insight to the changes within the music industry since he came onto the scene, how valuable the lessons were over at Death Row and how folks are dead wrong when it comes to the comparison of 2Pac.
You recently released your debut album, why did it take you so long to put it out?
It took so long due to trying to secure the right distribution deal and I wanted to make sure that I owned everything at the end of the day!
How hard was it for you to decide what made the cut?
It wasn't too hard to decide what made the cut. There was a lot of material recorded for this project with a lot of great features but I do believe that we put together a pretty solid project though
You have some great collaborations on there, did these happen organically or were there some you had to work at getting?
Every collabo went smooth as a knife through butter. I know everyone personally that I did a feature with so that helped a lot.
What did being signed to Death Row teach you?
Being signed on Tha Row taught me to treat this business for what it is, BUSINESS. Friendships were not an option, never work with feelings and don't be afraid to let you voice be heard. It was a great place to be on certain days and it was hell for a hustler on others, but that's the same with any label though.
You are often compared to 2Pac, does this get somewhat monotonous for you?
I think that being compared 2Pac is a honour, but you have people out there that get the perception that I'm trying to be him and that's far from the case. I've spoken on this topic plenty of times and my answer remains the same, ‘compare me to one of the best that has ever done this. I write my own music,’ (Laughs).
Being around the music industry for over a decade what would you say have been the biggest changes in your estimation?
I think that the biggest changes in tha industry over the past decade are the way the radio has pushed to play songs that you know shouldn’t even see the light of day. Then you have artists that really have a meaningful projects and they get pushed to the side. So in essence you have artist that usually wouldn’t do all these songs that are not even in their lane such as a song like "Stanky Leg" just to try and get them something in rotation, but they loose in the long run doing this because this is what the fans are going want from you from here on out.
Did appearing on tracks such as F**k Dre affect your relationships with other west coast acts at that time?
I don't believe that the F**k Dre track affected my relationships with any west coast artist at that time because I was moving and shaking with anyone that I wanted too. At that time there was a whole lotta beefing going on with a lot mofos, not just artists and labels; it was just ride or get rode on. Everyone was a target in my opinion when I walked into tha studio.
You are gearing up to shooting a video with Ray J for your track Peep N Game, how important do you think the visual aspect of Hip-Hop is today?
it is very important to have a visual in this business. Everything goes through the net. It's not an option, it's a must, to maintain your following because everyone watches what you do. Hip-Hop has always been about being seen and now the success of such sites like Allhiphop, Thisis50, and Worldstarhiphop you gotta take advantage of the moment..
What else are you working on right now?
Right now I’m working on promoting my current project "WITNESS THA REALEST" and working with my REGIME fam putting that project together. So be on the lookout for me to be in a city near you very soon... JAPAN here I come!!!