As one half of Dogg Pound, Kurupt has etched out his own lane in the as an artist and businessman. While he’s had his ups and downs over the years, the Philly-born MC will always be DPG for life.
Heading up his own Pentagon Records, Kurupt put out his latest opus, Streetlights, this past Tuesday. XXLMag.com caught up with the lyrical beast to about the state of the West Coast, working with Maroon 5 and reuniting with his doggs for a hostile takeover of the game.
XXLMag.com: For those that haven’t heard it yet, what makes Streetlights different than your previous work?
Kurupt: Each one of my albums reflects my state of mind at the time. There’s a difference in the music I put on there. So [the album] is a little more jazzy. A little bit more in-depth with my life… This album is really about what I’m going through in my life. So I got fun records on here and all types of stuff. This is more so a record you can roll to, smoke to, kick it—just telling you my mindset and where I am.
XXLMag.com: Before the album, you dropped Tha 4/20 Mixtape: Prequel to Streetlights, which originally featured a record with Maroon 5. What happened?
Kurupt: The Maroon 5 record? We had to take that off the mixtape and reissued everything. We took it off there because they kinda wanted to do a little something else with that record, so I had to take it off. But they’re down to do a remix, and they were loving it and all.
XXLMag.com: How did that record come about in the first place?
Kurupt: I actually found it on the Internet and it was just so bangin’. I said, “It’s already out there to the people; I got to put it on my thing because it’s a classic session with Maroon 5…” That record there, it’s totally a classic, a lot of people love that record right there.
XXLMag.com: Although you’re originally from Philly, you rep the West Coast. Ice Cube recently ruffled a few feathers with talk of the new artist from the west not being the same caliber. What do you think about that?
Kurupt: Let’s wrap it up all in one; I like the state of West Coast hip-hop right now. I think that their generation is doing an excellent job of taking it. I don’t think anybody needs to pass them the torch. I think they created their own torch. I’m loving their hustle. I’m loving how they stay relevant, regardless of where they’re from.
XXLMag.com: Anybody in particular you’re feeling right now from the new west?
Kurupt: I’m lovin’ Jay Rock. I’m lovin’ Nipsey. I’m lovin’ this youngster named K Dot. I love Glasses and what he’s doing out there with Cash Money. Back in the days nobody really cared about their pen, it was about being real. And nowadays, it’s about being real, but they care about their pen. I think I had a lot to do with that with the entire Death Row era. I’m lovin’ the way it is because a lot of artists are really trying to be MCs in the west, rather than just be rappers.
XXLMag.com: What about Cube’s comments? New cats like Jay Rock seemed to take offense to it.
Kurupt: As far as what Cube said and what Jay Rock said, I really pay neither of it any attention. ’Cause Cube’s an original, and you know I look at Ice Cube as an elder. And one thing you do is you respect your elders, and you respect their opinions. I respect Cube and I respect his opinion. I think a lot of people have been taking shots to irritate Cube, which made Cube respond the way he did. As far as Jay Rock, I feel the same way about Jay Rock; I feel that Jay Rock feels he needs to respond for the young generation and represent for them, and this is what it is. But the one thing I don’t agree with is the west-on-west situation. We got enough trouble in the West Coast. We don’t need the originals and the youngsters getting into it. Though Jay Rock’s a grown man; we call them “youngsters” ’cause he’s new in the game. But he’s grown.
XXLMag.com: What do you think can be done to squash any brewing west-on-west tension?
Kurupt: To tell you the truth, from both angles, we really need to get more close. I think we all know that. On the West Coast, as well as the rest of the game. I think we’ve developed a lot. There’s not as much violence in the West Coast. You can bring a West Coast artist in and he knows how to articulate, and push himself properly as a professional. And I think all of the West Coast’s new artists have stepped up so high. And that stuff between Cube and Jay Rock will pass over.
XXLMag.com: What’s the status of a new Dogg Pound project?
Kurupt: Oh, we’re working right now. We got an album with me, Snoop, Daz and Supa Fly. We’re basically 95-percent done with it. We just got a little bit of mixing and mastering to do to it, but we’ve done all the records. We got about 90-percent of all the records mixed and ready. We got a little bit more fine-tuning. It’ll be coming out after the Streetlights album, and it will be going through Snoop. Wherever he decides to take it, whether it be Doggystyle/Priority, Doggystyle/DPG, or wherever it shall be.
XXLMag.com: Anything else fans should be on the look out for?
Kurupt: We got a Dogg Pound movie that’s being made. Snoop’s putting together a DPG movie that he wants to direct and write himself. We’re staying active right now. But right now it’s all about Snoop’s album, my solo album, and the Dogg Pound album. We’re putting them all together as one and just hitting it back to back to back. And then we going to hit this road. Then, Detox is going to clap in and then we going to hit the road with Dr. Dre. It’s gonna be one of the most phenomenal shows you’ll ever see. We’re staying active right now. Musically, family wise, and businesswise. —Maya Francis