When the Ruff Ryders burst on the scene in the ’90s, DMX and the L.O.X. were the obvious alpha males. As they established themselves as the leaders of the pack, the big dogs paved the way for the new breed. In 1999, Eve and Drag-On were set to carry the Double R brand into the new millennium. While the Pitbull in a Skirt faired well with her music career and ventures in Hollywood, the same didn’t exactly hold true for her fiery label mate.
Drag saw some early success with “Down Bottom,” which was featured on the Ruff Ryders’ compilation album, Ryde Or Die, Vol. 1, and had a few supporting roles in films like Exit Wounds and Cradle 2 the Grave, but his solo albums failed to connect with fans the same way. Despite a few hurdles, the Bronx spitter remains hungry as ever. In fact, he’s busy prepping a new album called My Life, My Legacy, My Melody and pushing his own independent label, Hood Environment. Don’t call it a comeback; he’s been here for years.
XXLMag.com: What have you been doing since your 2004 album, Hell and Back?
Drag-On: I really been promoting my label, Hood Environment. I just been kickin’ out a lot of music from there. It might have seen like I left but I didn’t go anywhere. I been on Big Mike mixtapes and other things.
XXLMag.com: How do you plan to adjust to the way the rap game is now, especially with how important Internet presence has become?
Drag-On: I plan on taking advantage of the Internet and all the new outlets that’s out right now. I feel as though the Internet is a blessing. It gives a more up close and personal view of the artist… The Internet has helped me a lot. Just with my Twitter page, a lot of people follow me and get to know what I’m doing. I got my own little Kyte TV show. I connect [that] to my Twitter, so that [people] get to see me in the studio or [see me] chilling in my crib playing with my daughter. You really get to see the personal side of the artist. Also, my label, Hood Environment, [had] been dropping videos on WorldStarHipHop.com and we get a lot of reviews on that.
XXLMag.com: What’s the feel of your upcoming album, My Life, My Legacy, My Melody?
Drag-On: With my album, I’m just [making] sure a lot of the music is real big stadium music because that’s what it is right now. Everybody wants to feel good. I kinda did my album based upon a feeling. That feeling like I’m in a stadium.
XXLMag.com: When is that dropping?
Drag-On: We [are] probably going to drop the album [in] March or April because we just now put out this song [called] “Money.” We just want to make sure that the spins get up there and create the buzz as big as possible. The reason why I named [the album] My Life, My Legacy, My Melody is [because] I’ve been gone for so long and I know a lot of people want to know what’s been going on [with me]. I’m also aware that there’s a whole new audience out there too. Even though I’m not considered an old school artist, it’s still a new day. I want to make sure that people get to understand my legacy. I treat myself like a new artist, but I do have history.
XXLMag.com: Are there any artists on Hood Environment or is it just you?
Drag-On: The artists I got out right now are Terra Da Dude and Eyez B. I got another artist too, but I’m not going to shout out the name yet. We’re still doing the paperwork. We do music that’s universal. We do music for the [whole] world. We just think about the hood all over the world. Everywhere in the world there’s a Hood Environment.
XXLMag.com: Word is Ruff Ryders are set to drop a new album soon. What’s it like being back together and recording with everybody again?
Drag-On: We never really left. We all sat back down at the table and made it make sense as far as my album [goes]. It always feels good be to around the family. They’re still family. In my eyes, we never really left. We just pursued other things. We all are still family. They’re the ones that started Drag. They were my first opportunity. They were the first to believe me. [Working with them] was a blessing. It was all a learning experience as well.
XXLMag.com: Since your upcoming album is your last one with Ruff Ryders, what happens next for you?
Drag-On: Hood Environment, the movement. That’s my plan. —Danny Tejada