There are few rappers working harder today in the Los Angeles area than DUBB. The artist has a reputation of being the “California Mixtape King” and he has recently released his latest effort Perfect Timing in April. His wisdom and powerful outlook on life shines in his lyrics and in his live shows. He has worked with and appeared on tracks with Game and Kendrick Lamar, while remaining extremely humble in his approach to his craft.
DUBB took some time to speak with us recently about his recording process, his newest mixtape and others he would like to work with in the industry:
Me: You released Perfect Timing, your newest mixtape back in April and even have the reputation and nickname as the “California Mixtape King.” How important is it to you to continue the writing process at all times and to keep releasing new material? Is it as equally important for you as an artist to keep things fresh as it to your fans?
DUBB: Well I have a lot of messages in my music. It’s always easy to come out with new material because there is always something going on in the world. I have something to say in my music versus the average rapper glorifying material things and money and females. I talk about the things going on in the world. It’s important for me to touch on those things and I feel like as long as you talk about things that are going on and people can relate to—you always will keep your name fresh.
Me: You’ve worked with some very acclaimed artists in the past including Game and Kendrick Lamar. What was the most important takeaway you had from the experience of working with them? Did working with them increase your appetite for success?
DUBB: When I worked with Game, he was already famous. When I worked with Kendrick Lamar, it was before he got famous. It lets me know it’s possible, you know, we used to be in the same house together and recording music. It inspired me and it made it clear that it is possible. It lets me know and other people that grew up where we come from know that if you put your mind to something and the time in to be serious then it’s possible to reach that success.
Me: It’s much easier to get heard in the music industry these days with all of the different outlets that artists can use to release material but on the other hand it can be easy to get lost in the mix as well. Which avenue do you think is the best for newer artists looking to break out and be heard?
DUBB: I don’t really depend on the Internet. The people that blow up on the Internet, I feel like are people that did one song or video and it went viral. For the people that do they type of music that I do, you have to start in your city. You have to get your city behind you. Once they are behind you then it will spread like wildfire through shows. I’m from L.A. and it’s important to hit all of the areas around my city.
People like me, Kendrick and J. Cole, people that rap about stuff like us—I don’t think you can blow up off the Internet. The people that I’ve seen blow up off the Internet are the “one hit wonder” type of dudes. Things like Spotify and Soundcloud and YouTube, I feel like it’s a gift and a curse. Back in the day there weren’t those type of outlets but right now if I wanted to start rapping today, I could go get some equipment from Guitar Center, sign up for YouTube, have my homie shoot my video, and put my music out there. And like you said, the Internet is over-saturated with music. It makes it so everyone can rap now. There are thousands of new videos and songs, so you feel like you have to be over saturated yourself to blend in and stay relevant because everyone’s putting out new music. I don’t believe in that.
Me: I also noticed you dropped a video today for the song “Middle America” off Perfect Timing. It’s a deep song and very powerful. Can you tell me how the song and video came about?
DUBB: My boy Remix, a producer out of Vegas, sent me the beat. I was in the studio and I needed a hook and I didn’t even know the direction the record was going to go in. And it went in a political direction and that’s what I’m really in. I’m no Mos Def or Talib Kweli, but I speak on those issues a lot. One of my favorite rappers is 2Pac and he has a big influence on my music. I don’t want to be him, but I want to take that effect he had on the world and have that effect in my music.
Me: “My Day” is a favorite of mine from Perfect Timing. That song sounds like it could have been the catalyst to launch the creative process for the new album. Was “My Day” one of the first tracks written for the new album and is there one track that stands out to you as one you are most proud of?
DUBB: You’re right. That was one of the earlier records that I did. When I work on a project, I just start recording and I get in the mode of recording. I pick out my stand out records like the most powerful ones. When I used to do projects I would have a club song, a female song, a song talking about some street shit and it was all over the place—until I learned what type of artist I was. And to learn what type of artist you are, you have to learn what type of person you are.
Me: Who are some other artists in the industry right now that you would like to collaborate with?
DUBB: I’d definitely like to do something with Kendrick again. I’d like to do something with some J. Cole and some singers like Usher. Those are the younger dudes I’d like to work with. The older people are Nas, Eminem, Jada Kiss, people like that.
Me: What type of preparation do you do before a big show and are there any tour dates coming up soon to help promote the new material?
DUBB: I have a show on September 25th at Las Palmas in Hollywood. Ages 18 and over and tickets are $12. Doors open at 10PM. That’s the most recent show I’ve got coming up right now. On the day of the show, I tend to not move around a lot. I just take it easy. In my shows I don’t just rap, I like narrate my set and I tell a story through my music and songs. I like to make it an experience.
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