Rap-a-Lot has much more to offer then just Scarface, enter Devin the Dude. As part of the Odd Squad along side Rob Quest and Jugg Mugg they dropped the now Houston classic “Fadanuf fa Erybody!!” and Devin just kept going. Gaining major exposure on Dr. Dre’s “2001″ with the bedroom anthem “F*ck You”, Devin was off and running. On March 20th the saga continued with his third studio album “Waiting to Inhale”. Instead of going with a Lil Jon banger or Just Blaze for a beat, Devin sticks to his formula. With his staple sound and solid production staff, the album is sure to garner as much or more success than its predecessors. I got a chance to chat with Devin about the album among other things. If there is one artist who is truly an individual, Devin is most definitely him.
HHS: Today, we’re sitting down with Devin the Dude probably the most popular rapper you might have never heard of, what’s good man?
Devin: Jamming and cooling. Just cooling man.
You working on anything outside of music now that “Waiting to Inhale” is finished?
Actually there are a couple of projects we are working on independently, but it’s all still music. We are working on another Odd Squad album. We pretty much have our hands full with the music, we are trying to push as much as that as possible before we venture off into other things.
Are you serious? Did you say there will be another Odd Squad album?
:::Singing::: Ooooh Yeah. Be aware man. We pretty much chop it up and get together close to every day. We were homeboys’ way before this music thing anyway, so we thought it might nice since people are still feeling it.
It’s been 3 years since “To the X-Treme” dropped, why so long between albums?
I usually take a year or two between albums. It’s a matter of collecting a lot of music and being able to choose between lots of different songs. Sometimes some songs take longer than others and we have to pick and choose very carefully. I’m out on the road a lot, so when I come back to the studio I do a few songs and then pick and choose out of those. It takes a little time, I didn’t want to be out every year, I thought maybe would get tired of hearing me.
You are a popular artist among men and women, why do you think that is?
I don’t know man honestly. Probably some of the freaky songs, every lady or woman has a little freak side to them and they don’t mind to hear it in a cool form. I like to do silly songs like “Zeldar” that the kids seem to like. It wasn’t initially made for kids, but they jump on them. (Laughs) My boys will tell me their kids love “Zeldar” and I just laugh. I just try to have a good time in the studio and make music for everybody.
Let’s talk about “Waiting to Inhale”, of course this is greenery reference, but is there some other underlying meaning?
We didn’t have a title until we started mixing and mastering songs, so we just started bouncing a few topics and just ended up going with “Waiting to Inhale”. My homeboy DJ Damo came up with the title and everybody started tripping. It reminds you have the movie, but the opposite. Plus, there are a couple of relationship songs that people can relate to that will coincide with the title but you are also waiting to inhale the goodness.
The first single is “Little Girl Gone” a poignant track about bad luck, misfortune and what is becoming the family dynamic in the United States. Is the song based on a personal experience with family or just a fictional story from the mind of Devin?
It’s just a fictional story. I got the sample from a Eugene Wild record and looped it up. The piano’s let me know that it needed a story and I was just kind of wondering what type of story. I came up with the hook and my homeboy Tony Mack had a bridge and then it has been sitting around for like 8 months or so. Finally when we got a chance to sit down and mix and master the album we got in contact with Lil Wayne and he came and blessed us with a verse. Bun B was working in the same studio with us at the time and he came and laced his verse and it eventually came together.
Another leaked track is “What a Job” which features Snoop and the always entertaining Andre 3000. Are you saying it’s hard to be a rapper because of the shadiness of the business?
Not really, I’m giving a shout out to all the independents and all the people that work hard behind the scenes. I’m just letting people know that is a job and it’s something that should be taken seriously. A lot of people think its all fun and playing games and that’s not what it is, it is job. We are trying to have a career and provide for our families.
The album dropped March 20th on Rap-a-Lot records; you have been with them from the beginning. I’m sure you have had other offers, why stay with J Prince and the Rap-a-Lot family?
It’s somewhat like a family. We build a lot of relationships over these last 10 years. At Rap-a-Lot there is the freedom and the uncensored right to be as creative as possible with no censorship. They don’t hinder your creativeness and they let you really be the artist you want to be. That’s really cool to be able to go in with producers and just do you. James has been down for a minute and he is always excited about any project of mine. It’s really worked out well being that I am an artist that is somewhat hard to market. It’s still pretty much still underground but the sound and the music is worldwide.
Other than Snoop, Andre, Bun B and Weezy F. Baby who else makes an appearance on the album?
You know I have the Odd Squad on there, Rob and Jugg representing. I have the Coffee Brothers on the album as well as a group called 14K from Hobbs New Mexico. Make sure you look out for them in the future with there own stuff. I have GT from Dallas Texas on the song “No Longer Needed Here” and that’s pretty much it as far as guest verses.
Who provided the tracks for ‘Waiting to Inhale”?
We’ve got DJ Damo he did quite a few tracks on the album. I did “Lil Girl Gone” and a guy named Sindar from Amsterdam did a couple of tracks along with Mike Dean. Rob Quest from Odd Squad did a couple of tracks. Chuck Heat from LA did “What a Job” and guy named Rich from Dallas also provided some sounds. A guy named Uno Blast helped with the talk box on a track and we have some great bass players, Funky Fingers and Bass Heavy.
Since you are so popular and could get any production you might want, why do you choose go with lesser known or underground producers for your projects?
We have our own sound from what we have been doing over the years from the very first album. It’s just us. We have a distinctive sound that we are going for and those are the guys that are in the studio with me day by day. They get the tracks together and if whoever wants to present a track as a side producer, they are welcome to come in, lay it down and let us hear it. If it coincides with what we are doing it can all work out.
With Houston really making a name for themselves over the last couple years in the clubs, your albums have always had much more soul to them. Does the soul continue on “Waiting to Inhale” or did you go for mainstream appeal with the club joints?
Actually, we had one club joint and we couldn’t find where the sample came from so we could replay it.
It was a slow type joint and it wasn’t meant for the club, but when you hear it you think to yourself “that will work in the strip club” (Laughs)
We didn’t keep that one but maybe down the road we can revamp it or something like that. There are no straight club bouncing songs. That is another thing I really just wanted to do something for the listeners.
You going on tour to support “Waiting to Inhale”, if so when and where?
We are doing spot dates right now. We did Atlanta then heading to Minnesota and out west a little bit. We are really trying to get the buzz going so we can put together a structured tour.
This is your third studio album, are you thinking about hanging up the mic for a while and possibly moving into production or running your own label?
For the most part I try to do a couple of songs on the album as far as production. This time around I only did the one but I’m looking forward to working on production. The Coffee Brothers is my independent thing and we are just trying to get that together
What’s the rest of 2007 hold for Devin?
Only God knows. I just pray for the best and hopefully this album will make a little noise and a lot of people will get a chance to check out and hear it. I really appreciate how it has been thus far. Everyday is a new beginning to try to make something happen and make something snowball.ï»¿
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