Bishop Lamont Interview

– The whole story, I read you started rapping at age 13. How did it start for you? Who did you listen to, what made you decide to become a rapper?
Man, that will be a whole hour of saying that. Run DMC, Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick, LL Cool J, Kool Moe Dee of course if you love LL Cool J, you gotta love Kool Moe Dee. Uhm, Rakim, NWA, Too Short, DJ Quick, of course Snoop, Dogg Pound, The Roots, that’s just some of the inspiration.

– But why did you wanna become a rapper?
I didn’t even wana be a rapper, I just ended up fucking up and that’s what happened hahahaha! Trust me, I was not thinking about being a rapper as a career. I was supposed to be in art school, doing cartoons and Marvel comic book joints. I was an artist first, I was drawing. Everybody who knew me from when I was very young, I always had a sketch pad on me under one arm, comic books under the other arm.

– That’s tight. I wanna see some of that.
I threw it all away, my mom is mad at me up til this day cause I threw it all away. Cause I was done with it. Made the transition into writing short stories, poetry and that turned into music. I have to say the largest inspiration and influences to why I did music, is my brother. Cause my brother would bring home NWA records and Guy records.
My big brother Mike and my Auntie Faye Coleman, she still is an amazing singer, and my auntie Barbara Coleman, both singers, one in jazz and reggae and the other in blues and R&B. Those are my biggest inspirations to start making me wanting to do music.

– Tell me about War Doggz Crew.
Haha, look at you, you think you know something! Well the thing with War Doggz Crew is, people think its something like Wu Tang or something but its really kinda like illuminati cause it’s people all over the place. It’s pretty much right now people all over the country and now we touched down in another country, in London and we spreading the message. What War Doggz is, is We Are Ready to Die in Order to Glory Gods of Zion, so we are soldiers of God. Any kind of walk of life is not just rappers or singers or producers, people who do stunt work or people who are acting, people who are professional athletes, every walk of life is just people that praise God and I’m ready for whenever Armageddon comes and I’m ready to do whatever it takes to glory God’s name into the last days, through the music or through any other kind of message, but it’s all underground.

– How did you link up with The Game?
I met The Game actually through Guerilla Black, through a phone conversation. Guerilla Black is one of my homeboys, and he was telling me left and right about this new rapper coming out the Westcoast from Compton that’s ill too. At that time I was still unsigned and Guerilla Black got us on the phone and we vibed, it was a good dude, we didn’t really get to know eachother then, but that was our first initial meeting. Then, my uncle Delaney who is his co-manager as well as Jimmy Hinchmen, was trying to sign me to a management company, and I met them also through Guerilla Black, that’s how me and Game met. I know his brother, his brother is my best friend, as well as G-Ride, his little sister B-Fly, his mom, it’s all family. But that’s how it initially happened, we seen eachother around, but then my boy Glasses Malone really brought Game around, brought me more around Game, that’s how we started to know eachother. People think we really really know eachother, but we’re aware of eachother, we kick conversation, we know eachother close enough to give eachother love and respect, but have we spent weeks and weeks together? No. The only time I was there that counted, was when he was in Harlem for the peace treaty with 50, I was there in the hotel, giving him those good talks, make sure his spirit is right, making sure he takes his career to the next level, making sure he doesn’t get caught up in the Hollywood bullshit. Making sure that he hears what he needs to hear not what he wants to hear. That was always my position.

– The next name, Dr Dre. I read that you got up with him through the Dreams video shoot. Is that correct?
Nah. My homeboy Floyd, who’s homeboys with Common Sense, had my demo, well not my demo, the mixtape “Who I gotta kill to get a record deal”, he gave it to Common, Common was on the road and started playing it, Kanye heard it and he was interested in potentially signing me. I got word back of that, Kanye was supposed to be in town for the “Dreams” video shoot from The Game. So I went there to the video set. Glasses stole a golf cart, came and got me, me and DJ Rampage ran through security, we hit up the video set, got us all the free food. We waited on Kanye for like 8 hours, Kanye never showed up, I guess he couldn’t get from where he was, he was everywhere making hits and shit, getting his money. Next thing you know, who pops out the trailer? Dr. Dre. So I go to my boy Delaney and I’m like “Lay I never asked you for nothing but can you introduce me to Dr Dre, its like 6 bitches over here and I wanna excite them, if they see me talking to Dre, its on.” Hahahahaa! Really a sad sad story but I was really just trying to get some pussy. And tell all the other ones when I get back home or the next day, “Nigga I met Dr Dre.” So he introduced me to Dr Dre and I had just given Delaney my last demo of new records and he goes “Yo Dre I wanna introduce you to Bishop Lamont, the next big thing out the westcoast.” And I’m like “Aye nigga, I aint wanna say all of that.” Hahaha!
Dre looked me up and down like I was 2 feet tall and was like “You got some hot shit?” And I was like “I think it’s hot, I aint gonna say it’s the hottest shit, but I think its dope.” So he was like “You got a cd?” Im like “Uuuh…” and Delaney went “I got one right here for ya.” Dre took the cd and says “I’m gonna go home right now and pop this in the car and if it’s hot I’ma call you.” And I’m in my head like “Yeah fuckin’ right nigga”. But he did call me.

– So was that the mixtape “Who I gotta kill to get a record deal”?
Nah what he had was just some records I had been working on. Dre never heard “Who I gotta kill..” only Common and Kanye had heard Who I gotta kill.

– So you never killed anybody haha.
I didn’t have to. There were a couple of A&R’s I was going to kill but I didn’t have to kill them cause Dr Dre liked the music and here we are. But I thank those A&R’s cause if they would have signed me, I wouldn’t have gotten signed to Aftermath. So thank you, you wack A&R’s.

– I was going to ask you about other labels, you had an appointment with Kanye, but since he didn’t show up, you accidentally got up with Dre.
Basically, but it wasn’t even an appointment with Kanye. Kanye had heard my music and was reaching out, but wasn’t like “Yo I need this dude right now.” Floyd just let me know like “You need to show up at the game video shoot and try to intercept Kanye and get that conversation with him.” So it wasn’t even like that, I just went and took a risk and come on, Kanye West or Dr. Dre..hmmmm hahahaa! Turned out even better, God is good.

– You did a lot of soundtracks for videogames, how did you get into that?
Well, the big homeboy Jesus called me and got me at the meetings in there and threw holy water on it so I really have to thank Jesus and God, they masterminded that.
Haha nah, I mean it’s true, but in the physical form of it; My homeboy Spencer from Interscope had plugged me with his homegirl which became my big sister, she was the first that did the True Crime videogame with the soundtrack and that’s where it pretty much started. We did the True Crimes and that took off, we did the commercial and then fell into contact with the people from EA games through that and that’s how I got with them. Shout out to EA Games they blessed me with so much. To all my players. Pimps find pimps, you know what I mean. Hahaha.

– Warren G’s In the Midnight Hour. You actually were singing on there too. You know singers get a lot of love too, why not sing? Haha.
I try, but I can’t sing, but I can get away with it hahaha! I can close my eyes and hit some good notes but I don’t try to sing. I leave that to the singers. But I don’t know, we did so many records on “In the midnight hour”, I cant remember it. Warren G was smoking so much weed, I might have gotten contact-high and singing stuff I can’t remember, I can’t even tell ya. But that’s a dope album, if you don’t got it, go get that album.

– You said earlier, that you were looking for pussy at that video set from “Dreams”. What’s up with the video’s you made for the “myspace ladies”, I mean seeing in who’s corner you are, Dre’s, it shouldn’t be too hard for you to get some “love”…so why those videos?
It’s not hard, I just do it cause I want more. I’m greedy. I’m a Scorpio, I got a big appetite. Big stamina. 2 or 3 at the same time. I was gonna be a pornstar too, that was my other career, Westcoast Productions.

– You know Snoop did something like that.
No, he was rapping, hosting through it the whole time. I was gonna be in it. My porn name was Bram Stroker, Smackula, I was wearing a Dracula cape and Timberlands, I am serious, you’re laughing. Hahaha!

– Hahahaa, ok. Uhm, yeah, let’s get back to the music. N*gger Noize with DJ Skee got released earlier this year. You released that on your own label Vatican Records.
Nah it wasn’t even a label thing, we just put it out for free download. We weren’t selling it. We just put it out for the world to get it. Just to put some quality music out in the streets, put a street album with some good groove out there. We put it out there for people to receive and the reception was amazing. I wanna say thank you again to everybody out there that downloaded it.

– So what is up with your label, tell me something about your label.
Well, Dre blessed me with a situation, just like he blessed Em and 50 where we can sign artists as well. I have my own situation, I’m just making sure I get to do everything I need to do first, so I can pay attention to artists and sign and do everything we’re doing. Basically my label situation which is me, and some of my boys, it’s not just rap and R&B but it’s gospel and alternative, jazz, it’s pretty much anything out there that’s fresh. Soca artists, whatever is good music. How can I forget all the Trinidad’s, shout out to Maximus Dan, that dude is hot.

– You had said on Skee TV that N*gger Noize is more a street album, of course anticipating your debut album “The Reformation”. You have been signed since 2005, we all know Dre is busy, working on a lot of projects, his own Detox has had so many release dates before, we starting to think it’s not coming anymore.
Trust me, Detox is coming.

– What were the reasons for you to get pushed back with the album for so long? I figured you got so much material out there already; you could have dropped an album already.
No, it’s not even like that. 50 was signed around the same amount of time I was before he came out, Em was signed around the same amount of time before he came out. It’s all about preparation and making sure you’re album is gonna blow the roof off. In a year and half, the things that I’ve learned and where I am now at this point of my journey, I wouldn’t have wanna come out sooner. It’s not that Dre held me back, he was like “You think you ready?” And I’m like “Nah I got more records and more things I wanna put together.” So watch when the album comes. That was the situation.

– I heard some heavy production credits are going to be on the album, besides Dre of course, Premier, Battlecat, Scott Storch, Pete Rock. What can you tell me about that?
Like it can get any heavier than Dr Dre haha! Everybody you mentioned is family. Like Battlecat been in my corner since the days before there was even an idea of a record deal or really really taking rapping seriously. Primo was just a blessing to work with. Just Blaze is family too, we both weirdo’s, videogame geeks. Of course 9th wonder, that’s my man.

– Is 9th gonna be on the album too?
Man I can’t tell you everything.

– Give me one exclusive, is 9th gonna be on there?
Hmm, I can tell you Lord Finesse is gonna be on there.

– What about RJ?
Gotta have my man RJ, we still working on some stuff. And Black Milk you know…

– Wait, not there yet, we get to that in a minute.
Ok I’m sorry, I’m just letting you know some of the producers of my album. Black Milk is gonna be on there, Diverse, it’s all kind of cats. I hate saying stuff cause then I forget someone and then it’s like ugh, the homeboy Focus, Hi-Tek, DJ Khalil, that’s my man, he is so crazy on the beats.

– You are mentioning so many people, I’m wondering how many songs you gonna have on your album.
Exactly, that’s one thing, when you deal with Dr Dre, it’s about creating and cutting. How can I forget Jake One, another monster, that’s my man. Scott Storch of course,

– And featuring-wise? I heard something about Eminem and 50 cent….
You know what, I’m gonna play it like this, hmmmm. Busta Rhymes is on there. That’s the big homie and Dr Dre is on there. I’m gonna stop just there, it’s gotta be a surprise, can’t just tell everybody that’s on the album.

– It’s supposed to drop this fall?
Nah, first quarter next year. I know it’s a while but trust me, it’s worth it.

– I had hit you up last march after I did an interview with Black Milk, and so it happens I just interviewed Guilty Simpson last weekend when they were both over here. So of course, I am going to ask you the obvious….CalTroit. How did that come about?
It’s Hex’ fault.

– Just blame it all on Hex* huh?
That’s what I’m saying on the first record on CalTroit, on the first single of the album I say Blame Hex. He suggested it. It’s all his fault cause I been a fan of Black Milk’s music ever since I met him and RJ. I went on the video set of Slum’s last album, I forgot what the record was, and they gave me some beats, at that time they were doing the BR Gunna thing, the production thing, and I was just a fan of the Detroit sound since day one. Before nigga’s really jumped on Dilla’s dick or Slum’s dick, wanting to just ride dick hard cause the OG, one of the greatest producers in my opinon, passed. But I was already on it. So it just made perfect sense. Especially when I heard Black Milk’s album “Sounds of the city vol. 1” I thought this nigga is nasty on the rhymes too, we definitely gotta hook up and we just hit it off. And Hex was like “Y’all needa do an album together.” And it just came to me like CalTroit, cause when I came out to Detroit for Proof’s funeral, I hate that, seeing the circumstances, but I just fell in love with Detroit. It felt like home. So we decided to do the CalTroit album. It’s like Jaylib meets Welcome to Detroit. It’s me and Black getting down plus it’s a compilation of featuring all the fly artists like Guilty Simpson, of course Slum with T3, Elzhi, Phat Kat, Frank N Dank, RassKass, Royce da 5’9, and there’s a few undecided, Tha Alkoholiks, Strong Arm Steady gang, Talib, Common, Busta Rhymes.

– It’s a must have album.
It is a must have album, it’s just so much fun. And the “Mouth Music” single is out now. I think we got it out to already for download. We just tryna move the movement and put groovy music out there. Kardinal Offishall reppin’ that T-dot, Rhettmatic is on there. There are so many more surprises on there. That’s what I been working hard on. As well here in London on the album and Black been doing it over there in Detroit. It’s a really dope project to celebrate hiphop. A unity, all the flyest cats.

– You aint even done with your debut album and you’re working on CalTroit and you’re already working on “The Impossible Possible” to release in 2008.
You know I got all my albums in my head already, you have to have a plan. Some people call it a 4 year plan, or a 10 year plan. You tryna see yourself in the next couple of years. “The Reformation” has been in my mind since I was 17. And then at a junction I had an epiphany of what I want my second album to be and that’s “The Impossible Possible”. So I been working on it, you know what I mean. You create records where you just know they belong in the sequel of the first album. You create records that go into a further place into your life and heading than where you are right now. Sometimes you get those from Heaven and God will give you a window into the future. To give you a good feeling or a vibe or creative direction. I already got a couple of records for “The Impossible Possible”.

– When can we expect Bishop Lamont over here performing in Amsterdam?
You never know, I might pop up over there in the next couple of months if Dre allows us, but I can say right now; Thank you to everybody out there in Amsterdam, cause that’s amazing to me, I don’t even know where Amsterdam is on the map hahaha! I just know y’all got mean smoking and y’all freaks out there, there’s a lot of sexy things going on out there. And I love the way hiphop music is being supported out there. I wanna say thank you so much to everybody out there pushing that N*gger Noize and speaking my name up. So hopefully in the next few months I see if it’s possible, but I know that we tryna finish up my album and we get deep into Detox so I might be handcuffed in a cage somewhere slaving away hahahaha! But I’ll definitely be coming out there. That’s definitely on my list of things to do, high up, definitely. I gotta come rock with y’all.

*Hex, manager of Black Milk and Guilty Simpson.