One thing I like about your records is not just the dope, meticulous production, but also the fact that you always have something to say and you don’t care if people take exception to it or not. It’s not fabricated…
Exactly, that’s my whole point of making records. I’ve never been the type of person to hold my tongue, to make records based upon the industry’s standards and the bitch shit that goes on in hip-hop. That’s not hip-hop. Hip-hop has always been about making a record that you felt needed to be said at that time, whether it’s good or bad you said what was on your mind. Those are the best records, the records that are real records. I will never contrive my records, that’s why it’s hard for me to make radio records because they have to be contrived or a motherfucker be on their singing. Not to say that I couldn’t do them, but when I do records they have to find the borderline to really fit my personality, along with still being able to fit that format. It has to fit who I am as person and who I am as a man.
Many people consider you the “Dr. Dre of the Bay”. How do you feel about that?
I don’t really know how to answer that, I mean I take it as a compliment because we all know Dre is the man. We know that he is the master of this game, and he’s set the tone for west coast hip-hop with the production and what he’s done. I look at when people say it… I think they’re looking at more or less the quality of what I do on his level, and how I go about conceptually putting records together. A lot of people haven’t seen that very often in hip-hop. There are only a few that really take the time to study the craft and really take it to that next level like DJ Quik, who’s dope and who’s a homie of mine. There are some out there that do it.
But being considered the “Dr. Dre of the Bay” doesn’t piss me off at all. Like I said, we know Dr. Dre to be that dude, but at the end of the day, E-A Ski is that dude, too. I’ve set the tone for the game and done a lot for hip-hop. I’ve written shit for Dre, I’ve done tracks for Dre, and I’m recognized in my own light as being great as well. I think the difference is, is that Dre has the machinery for people to see the full greatness. People haven’t seen the full greatness of E-A Ski, and that’s why I’m working so hard to do that. But as far as being called the “Dr. Dre of the Bay”, I understand where it comes, my work ethic is somewhat like that. Sonically I make my records sound big and they’re mixed real good; the drums hit hard and the snare pops. You don’t get that from too many people on the west coast; a lot of the stuff is muffled and not mixed well, or mastered well. So when you hear something on the level that Dre is doing, you automatically make those comparisons. It’s a great comparison. Shout out to Dr. Dre; drop that <em>Detox</em>, man!
Speaking of Dre, you had a record with him called, “Dr. Dre & Mr. Ski” that was never officially released. Can you speak on that record, how it was constructed, and why Dre never signed off on it?
With that record, Dre had just left Death Row and he was on a different vibe, which was cool, it made sense coming from all the stuff that was going on over there. He wasn’t really trying to do too much gangsta shit at that time. When I met up with him, I told him I was working on my album and that I had just finished a song with me and Cube, called “Earthquake”, and I thought it would be dope for me and Dre to do something in light of all the comparisons and all of that. I thought it’d be dope for people to see two dope west coast producers/artists get it in like that. He told me where his head was at, and I told him that he didn’t have to be gangsta, let me be that side of you; let me be like Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, where I’m making you do stuff you don’t want to do. Man, when I said that to him he literally screamed over the phone, “Dude, that’s f*cking dope!”
He’s Dr. Dre and they call me Mr. Ski, so it was like Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. It was a dope concept, and I just started writing on it and it came together really incredible. I wish it would have been able to come out, but at the time, for whatever reason, whether it was politics, or some people didn’t want it out, or Jimmy wouldn’t clear it; it’s still a gray area with that, even till this day for me. I don’t get upset about stuff like that, but it was a dope record.
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