The ground-breaking roots of rapper/producer E-A Ski trace back deep within the concrete history of Bay Area music; you can find the musical fingerprints of E-A Ski with rapper Spice 1 before (and during) his time with Jive Records in the 90s.

E-A Ski produced three tracks off of Spice 1’s self-titled debut album while signed to the record label, and contributed another four beats to the California spitter's sophomore follow-up, <em>187 He Wrote</em>, both of which went Gold.

Continuing to solidify the strength of his production work with Spice 1, the E-A Ski-produced “Trigga Gots No Heart” was also featured in the <em>Menace II Society</em> film, as well being released as a single (with video) for promotion for the now classic Hughes Brothers film.  The <em>Menace II Society</em> soundtrack is a platinum-certified album.

In addition, the famed producer was also heavily instrumental in Master P’s early success with No Limit Records, where as an original one-fifth member of No Limit’s TRU — along with P, King George, Big Ed, and Rally Ral — E-A Ski released <em>1 Step Ahead of Y’all</em> through In-A-Minute/No Limit in 1992.

Looking ahead and fresh off the presentation of the Okanagan 2010 Film Festival Award-winning short film <em>No Problems</em>, which features actor Danny Glover, E-A Ski and his I.M.G.M.I. imprint will be putting out several upcoming projects like his latest solo album titled 5th of Skithoven, which is set to feature original, new music from the storied producer, as well as boasting appearances from Ice Cube, Freeway, Locksmith, Techn9ne and others.   The video to the lead-single “Please,” featuring west coast heavyweight Ice Cube, is currently being played in heavy rotation, garnering over 100,000 views on youtube within the first two weeks of its release. sat down with the iconic Mr. Ski to discuss his current, Ice Cube-assisted video, his thoughts on being considered the “Dr. Dre of the Bay”, why Interscope wouldn’t clear his song “Dr. Dre & Mr. Ski” back in 1996, his upcoming album and more.—Chad Kiser

You recently dropped the video “Please”, featuring Ice Cube, in preparation for the 5th of Skithoven. What kind of response have you been getting since it dropped?

E-A Ski: Man, it’s phenomenal. The response has been incredible!  I’m up to almost 100,000 views within like two weeks since it dropped.  It’s just been off the hook. I got a call from D.O.C. about doing some things; shout to my folks over at Hoopla Media Group/Hoopla Worldwide!  I’m just on the grind, making sure this hip-hop is dope and is back where it’s supposed to be, as far as not holding my tongue and having substance.  It’s been an incredible response so far.

I noticed that since MTV premiered the video, just about every major hip-hop/urban/rap blog, and even several non-rap related blogs picked up the video and put it in their video rotations.  Explain your thoughts when you see so much love being shown your way.

My feeling is that that’s what it’s supposed to be.  It’s supposed to be somebody from the west coast that’s not scared to do west coast music.  It’s like, when did we get to the point that we’re ashamed to be where we’re from?  When did we get to the point that we’re ashamed of doing the music that we do?  Now, don’t get it twisted, we can’t do the same thing we did in the 90’s, but I think that you can still incorporate that into the new generation and make hard music.  I think people are embracing that from me right now. It’s just been incredible.

Of course, along with Ice Cube sounding dope on the track, it just lets people know that music can be done from the west coast as long as the passion and the heart is into it.  I been going a while, and my passion is there and I think people are feeling my passion and the realness of what I’m trying to bring.  I’m not bullshitting, I’m not rapping to be rapping, and I’m rapping with an urgency right now.  I’m rapping about something that means a lot to me, as far as the integrity of hip-hop and what’s going on in hip-hop.  So, it feels great to know that people are embracing it, and hopefully they continue to embrace it because I have some more stuff to say.

You and Cube have worked together on several projects over the years, but how did this most recent collaboration come about?

Basically, I had the track and I just felt like the conversation I was having called “Please”, I had the hook, and I thought that this fit Cube’s personality, as well as mine.  Our attitude is that we’ve done a lot, we’ve been humble, and we’ve done so much for the game, but now a lot of these clowns out here forget where we come from.  They forget that we are capable of taking it back to the street level and being on some gangsta sh*t.  I know especially for myself and my mentality is serious.  That’s basically how it came about.  Cube heard the track and thought it was dope, and was ready to do it.  From there, the song was dope, and he was ready to shoot the video with me.  It’s just been a blessing because Cube is a dope artist and he wants to be around and be involved with dope records.

You and Cube always seem to put something together that both knocks and has a lyrical attitude — something the game seems to be missing.  How are you guys able to bring that quality each time?

We come from an era in hip-hop where you had to say something, you had to have relevance in the game.  You had to say something that would touch people’s nerves, but be real, not contrived.  I think that’s what makes this record so great between me and Cube, and any other records that we’ve done before, is that they’re not contrived, they’re real records that come from the heart.  When you hear them, you know that we’re not fucking around. We’re not joking.  You hear a lot of these records nowadays and they’re just contrived records from artists, whether they’re hardcore artists or pop artists; it’s just about getting the new ring tones with these artists.  With Cube and myself, we’ve always been artists who do what we want to do and how we want to do it, win or lose you take what goes with that.  It’s about going and following your heart and your passion, that’s how we’re able to make the type of records we’re able to make to this day.