For the second time in 2008 [February 2008 interview], Dubcnn caught up with Cold 187um AKA Big Hutch for an exclusive interview. In this two part feature, he reveals the truth behind the origin of Dr. Dre's signature sound, which he introduced to Death Row Records and resulted in an aftermath of success for the mega producer.
Also, hear how Snoop Dogg really came up... You'll be surprised to hear 187 open up about his personal business dealings with Eazy-E and Jerry Heller, uncovering a very different perspective on the way business was handled at Ruthless Records.
Cold 187um eventually realized he couldn't live Above The Law forever -- being arrested and sent away -- causing him to reflect on the message he was portraying and accepting accountability for his youthful ignorance, as he fought his way through the gruelling life behind bars.
Having these talents locked up made up for the explosive new album, Fresh Out The Pen…
Read this powerful, compelling, controversial, and moving testimony in the exclusive, heart-felt Dubcnn interview by Jonathan Hay and Chad Kiser.
As always, you can hit me up on www.myspace.com/jonathanhay or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to leave feedback on our forums!
Dubcnn: Do you feel that you get enough credit for all that you have brought to the table and accomplished for the hip-hop culture?
I’m here to let the world know that I'm the one who created it [the original G-Funk sound], you know what I mean? So, basically, I mean [Dr] Dre had a situation to where he had [a chance] to let people know that he was highly influenced by a producer like myself, you know what I mean? That I'm the one that brought G Funk to the table -- but I think people think it's like I'm some kid that came up under Dre that's like a little bit bitter that I didn't get all my props from other things that I've done in the music industry, ya dig? And it's like I'm trying to jump on the bandwagon like everybody else and say ‘Well, Dre ain't this and Dre ain't that...’ and, you know, what I think what's bad is that I was Dr. Dre's understudy for a lot of years at Ruthless [Records], right? And when I created G-Funk, it was a more so situation to where it was more our coined flavor of Above The Law, so he kind of took some theories and ideas that I had and brought it over to Death Row.
Now I didn’t have a problem with that because, as I just explained to you, I was his understudy, no problem, you know what I’m saying, you know, you give some stuff, I give some stuff, we gel together, you know what I mean? What my problem was, when you’re addressed with it and you know ‘how did you find this new sound or whatever’, you didn’t say, ‘well, it’s this kid I worked with -- 187aka Big Hutch -- you know, so on and so on, I got the theory from him’ and he never really coined the fact of where it ever came from.
Snoop in turn came through us... Snoop was actually in development by me, I was developing Snoop as well as Warren G and they ended up turning the corner and ended up being at Death Row when there was a lot of turmoil going on at Ruthless Records. It’s alright, I’m just saying, if I get an idea from somebody, I should give them their props. It’s not like I’m saying he’s wack or anything, so I don’t want anybody [to think] that I have a problem with Dr. Dre, I love Dr. Dre. Dr. Dre, along with Eazy E are the guys who put me in the game; you know what I’m saying. But he broke camp and took a style that I innovated, you know, sorry! I came to Ruthless when Ruthless was built by Dr. Dre, you feel me? It was already built, ya dig? But I can say, I invented that style, that flavor…
Dubcnn: I was just thinking about that when you were talking and it’s crazy… not only can you [go back] and do the research, but when you listen to the albums that came out around the same time that Dre had his hands in [the production], when you listen to Livin’ Like Hustlers, it was so much more musical than anything at the time… and then they took that sound and embellished it and that’s what created the whole [G-Funk sound] – cause Straight Outta Compton it didn’t sound like that, it wasn’t that musical, with all that real instrumentation like you had it laid out…
The thing about it is, at the time, it went from a boom and a bap, to a baseline, to more like chord progression and changes, grooves and singing, you know what I mean?
Dubcnn: Yeah, melodic… Like you were saying earlier…
Yeah, the changes [sings melody], all the melodic tones…the goony sounding shit, all of those elements mixed into hip-hop.
Dubcnn: I was wondering, how much was Eazy E actually involved with the business aspect of Ruthless Records?
Well, you know, one hundred percent. And I think that he just loved music so much, and he was the shot caller when it came to that, so he had a lot to do with it in that aspect. He just said, ‘ok I can sell this’ he just could hear it and say he could sell it, you feel me? That’s how in-tune he was with his business.
Dubcnn: How much involvement did you have with Jerry Heller?
I dealt with Jerry day-to-day just as well as I dealt with Eric [Eazy E], you know. He was the office guy and Eric was the guy in the field. I could easily pick up the phone and talk to Jerry, the game wasn’t set up like that, you know…
Dubcnn: Was Jerry fair with you guys as far as business dealings?
Yeah, you know, the thing that I say is crazy and I never really knew all of the politics of NWA because that was their thing, but I can say that without Jerry, I don’t think that we would’ve achieved a lot [of the things] that we’ve achieved as a label because Jerry loved what we was doing – he’ll tell you he couldn’t understand it at the time, but he loved it. He lived in the music industry for a lot of years [and] I think he loved our passion, our drive, our focus for work and everything. We were all with big companies and we were saying some of the most outlandish shit in the world at the time. Who would stand up for that? Who would’ve gone up to bat for that? Who do you know that would go up to bat for that nowadays? You know what I’m saying? So think about it; he went to bat for us a lot of times. We was ‘Fuck everybody, Fuck the city, Fuck the police, Fuck these people, Fuck that,’ you know what I’m saying? He went in and backed us.
Dubcnn: Tell us about your new album, Straight Out The Pen?
I’m the type of person with media and with the press, I’m real, you know what I mean and when I came out with my album I wanted to put me on the record, and I’m saying whatever I want to say and however I was feeling. I don’t want to have people in the studio like ‘oh, I wouldn’t say that…’ you know, or “I wouldn’t talk about that…’ I didn’t wanna have that. Because that’s the type of industry that we in now, so you know, I’ll take you guys on different kinds of journeys musically on this record…but it’s straight-forward.
Dubcnn: Being both an artist and a musician, and being locked up, how did you deal with not having studios around, or not having instruments, etc?
I composed probably 80 percent of my album in my head and it’s funny, because the last twelve months of being incarcerated, I actually wrote my music out really, because what I did at the last place I was at, it only had like acoustic instruments, it only had like piano – you couldn’t program there, basically. What I had to do with all the music that I had wrote in my head – cause you do write in your head – I went and played all the melodies out on the piano and got all the music laid out before I got home. I wrote what was in my head, all the changes, every instrument that I wanted, I wrote it down on the music chart. I wrote that record all the way out, so when I got home I composed it out the same way. My focus was to do my time and go home and to get back to my career…that’s it.
Dubcnn: I remember when I was reading that Tupac article in Vibe when he was in prison and that he felt his soul was dead and he couldn’t think about any kind of music until he got out, and then he went on and recorded, All Eyes On Me…
I couldn’t do music in the penitentiary. I did my time like a convict, not like a jukebox, I didn’t go around rapping to everybody, I didn’t go around rapping in every circle, I didn’t go around telling mutha-fuckas I had a million songs, you know what I’m saying? It’s funny like how Pac was saying it, ‘cause when you first get locked up that’s how you feel. Like the first [several] months when I was locked up, I didn’t think about doing nothing but doing time, you know, I didn’t think about nothing. And then at one point, I was like well shit I’m here, I gotta think about when I get out. What am I gonna do when I get out? So I had to start thinking about the outside, you know what I mean? I couldn’t ball up like that. I mean the one thing you do – and I agree with Pac – is your reflection on it, because the things that happened to me after I got home was the real blueprint for Straight Out The Pen. You’ll wonder what happened to me when I was in the penitentiary. Because, guess what, all I had to do every day is do my time. And I’m going to agree with Pac on that because, on one note, I’m gonna keep it real with ya’ll, the one thing is that you don’t get no extra privileges, you are a convict in there.
After you understand that you are in the penitentiary and go through that time, it’s about getting out, you know. It’s not about being in there, trying to trip off of being a convict cause you’ll be stuck, man, cause one day you’re gonna get out. That’s like if Pac wouldn’t have got out like he got out, eventually he would’ve had to start planning what he was going to do when he got out of the penitentiary. It just so happened for him, right when it started clicking for him, he end up getting out of that shit, you know? See me, I had to do my time basically, I did my time. I bought my time. Not to say that he didn’t [do] his time, he did time there as well, but a lot of things he talks about like when he say in “Hail Mary” ‘the penitentiary is packed with promise makers never realize the precious time the bitch niggaz is wasting’ – it’s full of that, it’s full of mother-fuckas making promises and dreaming and all that and never realizing and I just refused to sit around and die in there, for real, I mean I refused to let my soul die in there. One thing my mother and my father asked me anytime they talked to me – my father he’s passed away and everything, but my biological mother and foster dad they still living and everything – and they asked me questions, but the most that they wanted to know [while I was in there] was my soul, how was my soul? I said well they ain’t take my soul yet, so, I’m good.
You come out alright, you come out a better man, you know what I mean? So anytime we allow something like that to take our spirit and our soul away, we might as well die in there. If you ain’t willing to push that lie to do that time, don’t speak on it, don’t put yourself in that position because when it come, it’s real. And that’s one of my biggest messages: be responsible for the things you do, you know what I’m saying, because I was. When it got down to the down and dirty, and this may not pertain to anything in your interview but put it down - when it came to muther-fuckas asking me would I cooperate with them, I said no, I’ll do time in the penitentiary. [I would never snitch] because me as a man, I’d done the crime, ya dig? I’m not gonna tell on nobody, when I done the crime that ya’ll got me for. You feel me? I’m not gonna do that, I’m not gonna send nobody to jail – I didn’t go to three months of police academy and a [become a cop], I’m not gonna do that to get outta trouble, you know what I’m saying? I’m gonna do my time so all you people chasing this and chasing that, these youngsters or whatever, I try to give it to them on the real like, hey, I hope you can do the time you know what I’m saying, cause I know young dudes coming in on the block chasing that pack ,got thirty, got life, you know what I’m saying? So I hope you ready for that side of it, because it’s a reality of the shit.
All those things that we sit up and talk about it’s real, homie, I did time in the penitentiary it’s not a dream you guys, it’s not a Hollywood story homie, it’s not a Bobby Brown slap on the wrist story. I was in there eating soup like everybody else. I had a number, I had to stand up everyday at 4:00, I became like a F-cking piece of cattle homie. You know what I’m saying? It’s real, homie. I lost my family, I lost a lot of my friends in this entertainment business homie, because of that, homie, because of me doing shit, some punk ass bull shit, to live a lifestyle that’s not suiting for nobody, homie. I’m real, homie. You know, I’m still a dude that you can’t come in my face and stand toe to toe to me and talk sideways to me and me not take your mother-fuckin head off. But I’ll say something real to you: don’t be out there playing those games, they got a place for you, they got a place for you. You wanna be big paid with the big bling and shine, go get a job, save up your money and shine; don’t be on the block chasing the pack cause dude got something for ya’ll, you know what I’m saying? So, I’m a keep it one hundred with ya’ll. This is me talking – this is 187 talking, the dude that talked more shit than the law has allowed. But when it’s real, it’s real. You better get focused and stop living in a lie…
Dubcnn: That’s deep…. real deep. Earlier [in the interview] you said something like Snoop actually started out at Ruthless?
Yeah, he did, he was brought to us by Warren G – Warren G used to sleep on my floor, he used to always tell me about this kid named Snoop, I said we’ll reach out, man, you know what I’m saying, lets give him a call, so Snoop came, he reached out, he’s incredible, you know and so we started developing some ideas for Snoop. What happened in the situation was the camp broke up. They ended up deciding to go with Dre; we ended up deciding to stay at Ruthless, so there it is.
Dubcnn: I never knew that part of the story…
That’s real talk. He [Snoop] was always around and Dr. Dre came and asked me what I thought about him, he said I’m thinking about fucking with dude, what do you think about him? I was like, he’s incredible, he can pop out freestyles like crazy, you know what I’m saying, I’d fuck with him, he’s like oh, ok. He was already on the wire, I tell you the truth, he was already on the wire. If you notice, if you look at the Deep Cover soundtrack I have music on the Deep Cover soundtrack as well as Snoop. That’s another thing; I was supposed to be on the Deep Cover record. They just imitated my voice. That’s why he say it like that “cause it’s 187 on an undercover cop”. You know, it’s time for the truth to be told, I know it’s gonna hurt a lot of people but it needs to be told.
TO BE CONTINUED…
"COLD 187UM" interview "Dr. Dre" " Eazy E" " Jerry Heller" "Snoop"