XXL: How did the tape come together?
Scoe: It was dope, because I’m not usually stoked on doing albums, I don’t do them for the same reasons others do them. They do it for the fame, fortune and females, and it got to the point where everything was falling together musically—the music was tying together, I was feeling good about it, and I decided to come back out and do something. I was in a good place to record with a lot of good people, and I was in a good creative space mentally. So it was just timing.
How did you link up with guys like Just Blaze and Mike WiLL Made It and Jahlil Beats and Statik Selektah? The list keeps going.
I was over at Aftermath working on Detox with Dre, and I got to sit down and work with a lot of different producers, and on that project I got to hear a lot of things, pick and choose, and a few things that fell off Dr. Dre’s plate, too. If as an artist he didn’t mesh well or fall in love with the beats, I would just pick ‘em up and I would just sit down, write some things for him, he wouldn’t like it, and I would keep it for my project.
” Xzibit, Kurupt, myself, Kendrick, Game, we’re a different type of West Coast MC. We are the real West Coast MCs.”
What’s it like working on Detox? It’s mythical at this point.
It’s like working with a long, assembly line of artists and you’re trying to create this masterpiece on this never-ending canvas, and you never run out of paint, you never run out of canvas and you never run out of resources. Being in the studio with Dre is cool, man, it’s like working with my teacher’s teacher, so I feel like I graduated to a certain extent.
On the influence you only have two features—Kendrick and Xzibit. What made you keep that to a minimum?
Man, at first I was takin’ bids, I was gonna put everybody on there. But I realized times change, people change, everybody’s doing something else, and I just wanted to keep it West Coast. I feel like Kendrick is doing something new for the West, and I feel like Xzibit just represents that lyrical assassin from the West Coast that could go to New York. Xzibit, Kurupt, myself, Kendrick, Game, we’re a different type of West Coast MC. We are the real West Coast MCs. There’s rappers out here, but we are the MCs. We got Crooked I, he’s an MC. We got ScHoolboy Q, he’s an MC. And don’t get me wrong, there was a few MCs who was gangsta rappers too along the way for the West Coast. I just wanted to put people who I felt like I always wanted to work with that I didn’t get to work with too much along the way. I just didn’t want to do something typical.
You grew up your early life in Philly. What was the California influence on you?
It’s been more of a life influence than a music influence. California taught me how to be who I wanted to be, and whatever I wanted to be. I feel like Philadelphia is where I originated and created my creative side—I started writing poetry, and my talents were born in Philly—but they were groomed and raised and transformed into something different, like a cocoon, when I came to California. It turned it into something better.
And you were working with Snoop and Dre back then?
When I came in they were working on the Murder Was The Case Soundtrack. It was a big, Death Row conglomerate back then. I would just sit in the sessions, ten years old, my mind soaking it all up. There was other kids in the studio that was actually more advanced than me—Bow Wow was in the studio then, he was like 7, and he was actually working on the album; I was just getting off the plane. My biggest influence came from Organized Noize. I went to Atlanta when we were working on the Streets Was A Mother album, and I spent a lot of time with Rico Wade, Sleepy Brown, Ray. The whole reason I chose the word influence [for the album title] is because we are influenced by something and we influence something. It’s basically a full circle. It keeps on planting the seed—influence is nothing more than a seed. And I felt like this was the perfect way for me to express myself without saying that I’m trying to be Kurupt, that I’m trying to be Snoop. I’m just being me. That’s just what I came up around, that’s not my fault.
Before the reality shows, my lifestyle was everybody else’s lifestyle, because it was what they looked up to and that was what I was living, what they dreamed about. And then you see these reality shows make it easy for people to just walk up and down the street and turn their life into something as long as they got a camera on them. The cameras [used to be] in the bushes trying to get sneak peeks of what our life was like.