Fred Durst Details His Hip-Hop History, “Lil Wayne & I Bonded Over Skateboarding”
Fans were perplexed when news broke last year that Lil Wayne had signed Limp Bizkit to his Cash Money imprint. While Weezy’s made no question about his love for rock music—he did release a rock album Rebirth in 2010—inking the late-90’s rap-rock group to his widely successful label came off as one of the more shocking business decisions of his career, and with good reason. Limp Bizkit was one of the most divisive groups of the rap-rock era, blending heavy metal riffs with raps from DMX and Method Man. But in the subsequent years, the group’s taken a few public beatings, from acerbic break-ups to tabloid drama. Despite all the controversy, Limp Bizkit’s still here, and now they’ve got one of hip-hop’s biggest artists backing them.
Earlier this week, XXL caught up with Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst to discuss the group’s newfound label home at Cash Money. During the interview, Durst detailed his early influences, working with Method Man and DJ Premier, and bonding with Weezy over skating.
I think the biggest news that’s been coming out of your camp lately is Limp Bizkit signing with Cash Money and your new single with Lil Wayne “Ready To Go.” How did that relationship first come about?
I’ve been a fan of Wayne and Birdman and the whole Cash Money Thing for a while. I went in the studio to do a track with Polow Da Don, and we ended up finding one of his beats I loved and we started working on the track and came up with “Ready To Go.” Wes Borland [Limp Bizkit guitarist] came down and played the guitar—it was a hip-hop version at the time with hip-hop drums—and after I was done I had asked Polow, “I would love to get Wayne on the track, you think he’d be into it?” He said, “You want me to send it to him?” So he sent it to him and got a response back that he likes it he’s down with it.
As we were trying to get off of Interscope, I had asked Cash Money if they wanted to put that track out themselves on their label, and just because I knew it’d get out and I knew it’d be something really cool, because I knew Wayne liked rock and skateboarding—all the things I like—and I got a call back saying, “Why don’t you guys just sign with Cash Money? Y’know we’re big fans and we’d love to have Limp Bizkit over here. We’d let you do what you want to do.” That’s how it happened, and bingo! I loved our conversations with Baby and Slim and felt like it was just a good fit.
From an outsider’s look, it makes sense that you guys would sign with someone like Cash Money because not only do you guys have the deep hip-hop influence, but Wayne obviously is a big fan of rock music. So that being said, how does that help you guys build that relationship with Lil Wayne?
Everything feels very organic. He doesn’t push or contrive. Wayne and I bonded after we signed with Cash Money over skateboarding and he’s got a half pipe in the parking lot at the studio down in Miami where we all recorded. I’m a skater and I’ve been skating for a really long time and I’d just go out there and start skating the ramp in the middle of the night, and Wayne would come out and just be skating, and we sort of bonded through our mutual love for skateboarding to be honest. We started talking and just became friends that way. He said that we’re family now and it’s all good and, honestly it was strictly through skateboarding.
Limp Bizkit also has Stampede Of The Disco Elephants coming out later this year. Coming off of Interscope, has this new deal changed your sound at all, or has it changed who you’re working with?
No, basically it just empowered us to relax and be who we are. If anything, it’s brought our sound back—that honesty and sincerity that we’re all about, that explosive just sort of thing that happens when we get together. It’s magical, and without anybody expecting anything or chasing certain types of songs or feelings or sounds, or trying re-create something with a nostalgiac [effect] to it, so this type of record actually feels really pure and back to basics. We didn’t have to think about chasing no radio songs or making any type of cookie cutter [music]; we just got to go rip it.
Obviously, the collabo with Wayne was one thing. We’re not really pushing any collaborations, we just want them to happen organically, and at Cash Money, if you’re just hanging around the studio and working in the studio with them, you see everybody. You just end up working with people you want to work with, and some songs go in the vault,while some of the songs might go on record. It’s just really organic how it happens, and it’s just an incredible family vibe they got going on down there with tons of sick artists coming in and out of the studio every night
Has there been anybody else on the roster that you’ve worked with?
I’ve actually done some songs with Birdman, one with Birdman and Kaskey. The other one with just me and Birdman, I don’t know if those are going to be on the record but we did them. You never know, they might come out anyway on Birdman’s record or on some other thing.
Looking back in your career, “N 2 Gether Now” with Method Man and DJ Premier on Significant Other was one of the first straight hip-hop records Limp Bizkit did. How did that song and that collaborative process between those three elements come about?
I was a big Method Man fan, big Wu-Tang Clan fan, and when the conversation started it was like absolutely “Man, that would be amazing,” [Meth] came down to L.A., came to the studio, and [DJ] Lethal had this beat and me and Meth just sat down together. He smoked a pound of weed and I watched him smoke it, and we just went in and started laying it down. The chemistry was great and after the track was done—I’m a big fan of DJ Premier and we had someone get in touch with him and we gave him the track and he just re-did the beat; he did a Premo beat. It just became that collaboration; right there is a little bit of Lethal’s thing and Premo’s thing, and me and Meth, and it was born. I just kept seeing this vision of, like, the Jamiroquai video with the ground moving meets some Peter Cellar’s Pink Panther shit, meets that old school Batman television show. Me and Meth kind of going at it against each other but it’s a routine. We do it all the time and like in Pink Panther, Peter Sellers would have his butler attack him…I wanted to do the same thing with Meth.