Devin The Dude Details His Ten Best Collaborations
“Sticky Green” feat. Scarface, The Dude (1998)
Scarface is a genius; he likes to get in the studio and go to work. There is no fooling around, it’s just great work. His work ethic is crazy in the studio. When we first signed with Rap-A-Lot, we first signed as the Odd Squad. He kind of listened to some of our music; he finally met us and was like, “y’all are dope.” He just kept encouraging us. Then when him and the Geto Boys hit the road, he asked us to come, and wow, it was just incredible. Our first show we ever did with Rap-A-Lot was in front of 1,000 people. Rob Quest—he’s a producer, he’s blind and he’s a lyrical beast—every once in a while Rob would kind of turn around, facing another way from the crowd, and we would have to go and turn him. But during like three or four turns, I turn and look at Scarface and he’s over there bawling and holding his stomach. He’s humorous, his work ethic is crazy, he’s one of the best rappers that ever rapped and he took us under his wing.
Then one day, out of the blue, he came to me and said, “Devin, you out to do a solo album,” and I was like, “Uh, I don’t know, I kind of like the group thing.” Before I was rapping I was break dancing and played football and basketball and was around a group. I like power in numbers. Then there was this guy next to him. He said, “Devin ain’t ready for no solo album just yet.” I was like, “Hey motha—what are you talking about?” The guy continued and said, “You ain’t ready for no solo, its somebody else’s turn, they need to come out.” Scarface was just opening his new label, Interface Records, at the time, before it [became] Face-To-Face Records. I did go back to the Odd Squad, my group, and asked, “What do y’all think about me doing a solo [album]?” They were all with it. To the point that my solo album sounded like an Odd Squad album.
For “Sticky Green,” ‘Face came over with the music, ‘Face and Tone Capone and a guy named Harm. He remembered a hook that Harm did, [that] he wanted me to re-do. He didn’t really know how the melody went, so he said, “Dev, can you sing ‘Sticky Green and Frosted Leaves’?” So I said, “I can do the first two parts, ‘sticky green and frosted leaves,’ but I have to come up with something else,” ’cause he had said something else corny. So I tried it and it came out cool.
“Like A Sweet” feat. Scarface, Jugg Mugg, Killemall and Ant Live, The Dude (1998)
Me and Domo did that beat. “Like A Sweet” is just what we used to do back in the day. When we rapped, I don’t care how big the circle was, it was a circle full of rappers, so in order for everybody to get a turn, we’d just go two bars. Everybody would go two bars apiece and pass it. So you have to have your two bars ready by the time it’s your go again in one beat. If you don’t have it ready we’d skip over you and do a chant, and the next person [would] go. We’d pass the mike around like a sweet [blunt], take two and pass. That was the meaning for that. ‘Face, like he does all the time, he’ll just come in there and hog the sweet; he wouldn’t take two pulls, he’d want to take the whole. He kind of did that lyrically; he came in and [would] hog the sweet and it was cool. It turned out nice.
“Some of ‘Em” feat. Nas and Xzibit, Just Tryin’ Ta Live (2002)
Both of them cats are just A1, A1. Nas is like a brother from another mother. Xzibit, so much hospitality, whenever you come and wherever he is, and I want to party or whatever, he’ll take care of you. It’s phenomenal, man. It was a beat that I had; I didn’t have any features on it at first, but I was out in L.A. at Enterprise and I was going to write the whole song. I wrote a verse and I felt that I needed somebody else on there; it’s a hard song and a hard topic. I knew I need somebody to help me out with that.
I got in touch with Nas and Xzibit and it just came together. It was just unbelievable that Nas was out there in Cali at the same time I was, and he was ready and willing. It was a song talking about life and people around you and what to be careful about. It’s good that people from different cultures do a song. It was just a song, it had nothing to do with beef, money, colors, it was a song everybody can take. When people dissect a song, saying this verse is killer, you got wrecked on a song—that don’t make no sense to me. Was the song cool? Was the song better? That’s the main question, not who’s better than who on the song. People will divide rappers against each other simply because of that.