Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Conversation with A Dope Boy

What is there to say about 2DopeBoyz? You love it or you hate it. They changed the blog game, the music industry and are delivering a new generation of emcees to the masses free of any overseer. If you've been following Meka since his days talking shit in editorials you probably expect a loud and outspoken asshole. He couldn't be further from his online persona. After he traveled to DC for a show that didn't happen he hoped on a plane and joined us at the HG Lodge to rock an Almost Famous set. Those in attendance heard a set full of great tunes that definitely veered away from his blog rap world. Before he went on I sat down with him for a few minutes on the upstairs deck to learn a little bit more.

You grew up in LA?
Yeah, all over. I was born in Fresno from Carson to Long Beach to Inglewood to Korea Town before moving out to New York last year.

What was your first exposure to hiphop?
My first exposure was actually MC Hammer around the Please Hammer Don’t Hurt Em era. That was my very first tape, as soon as I popped that into the walkmen I fell in love with it. Always listened to it from front to back, when the tape snapped ended up getting my second tape which turned out to be Please Hammer Don’t Hurt Em. My third tape turned out to be Ready to Die and that’s when everything changed though.

So it was the East coast shit that flipped it for you?
Yeah, cause I had never heard anything like that before. First off it was my first dirty album. I wasn’t used to, you know MC Hammer is very clean. Then I got Ready to Die it was cuss word this cuss word that, first I was like I didn’t even know they could do that. To be honest I hated it when I first heard it because it’s too much cussing but after awhile I started enjoy it and it started me to look more into East coast sounds. It’s werid because I was born and raised in Los Angeles but I spent so much time focusing on New York music from like the Illmatic’s, to Only Built 4 Cuban LInx to 36 Chambers and everything in between. I felll in love with New York before I even had a chance to go see New York for the first time. Like I knew as early as my 10th gade year I wanted to live in New York just off the strength of their music scene.

You eating it up being out there now?
It’s not what I thought. I used to always go out there and visit for like a week or so cause I have family and it was basically the tourist thing. But when I moved out there and had to live it was totally different from what I was used to in Los Angeles because Los Angeles is very laid back, slow and has a very chill nature. New York is just hustle and bustle, I wasn’t used to that, public transportation, wasn’t used to the weather, wasn’t used to the people. I wasn’t used to anything out there. Literally for the first six months I hated it and wanted to move back home until I went back to Los Angeles for the holidays and realized oh it’s not as bad as I thought because the same reasons that I left Los Angeles are still there. So now at the moment I can dig it., I don’t like the weather but who does?

When did you first start writing?
I started writing around High School, I just really liked to write. Prior to that I used to draw, it was never very good some people liked my drawing skills back in the day. I always knew there was something different with me from my family cause all of my sibilings, I have four sisters I was the only male in the house. All of my sisters are into law and medicine, became lawyers and doctors and I’m here drawing and writing. I started writing probably around the ninth grade but I didn’t take it professionally until I got out of college and I started freelancing for a local magazine out in Los Angeles and started writing for hiphopDX but because of my job, previously I was a production assistant and an entertainment production company, I didn’t write for two years until I got bored and started picking it up again. I’d say on and off for six or seven years but straight threw for four.

When you and Shake sat down did you ever envision 2DopeBoyz becoming what it is today?
It’s actually funny, we never really sat down. It was because I was writing for hiphopDX that I ended up meeting Shake through that. We ended up meeting for the first time physically at a Rock the Bells in 07. HiphopDX came with the idea of essentially making a Nah Right competitor and put the two of us in there. They were gonna start the whole thing but a couple months passed and nothing happened. In the writers strike a lot of people lost their jobs, I was one of those peoples. After I lost my job I asked Shake when are they gonna start this site, he said we will just start it ourselves and roughly two weeks after I lost my job 2DopeBoyz was born.

Recently On Smash and Splash’s sites got shut down by ICE, what has been your guys reaction to that?
I haven’t really said much because that issue is very touchy and I have to pick and choose my words carefully around it. I was just as shocked and scared as everybody else. We could of been on that list. In my opinion both Splash and On Smash were both wrongfully chosen. Because of it we are just really on our toes now, just being really careful about what content goes on the site. We don’t want to be next on that list. It’s like a witch hunt now. Nobody who is in our field of work knows who is going to be next. We are all just trying to be very careful. We are all hoping this type of shit won’t continue. It’s really a damn shame how it happened cause they got their sites pulled but then the bill to pull it got approved the day after. There is so much wrong, I’m just trying to keep quite. We were pretty much shocked, it was Thanksgiving. Some of those folks, those were their jobs and I feel they are being wrongly profiled and now they don’t have a job because of that. It’s a lot. I’m just trying to stay quite and work.

Out of the artists you guys have broken who are some of your favorites?
I have a couple favorites. Pac Div, TiRon. There is an artist out of Compton named H.O.P.E. - really really dope, of course Kendrick Lamar. It’s funny I started really liking West coast music when I left. In terms of New York there is Tanya Morgan and the Lessondary crew. It’s a lot, I can’t pinpoint just one particular artist.

What is your favorite album of 2010?
There is one thing, it’s not like what everyone’s favorites is. I’ll see TiRon’s MUSTRD is the first thing that comes to mind. Von Pea of Tanya Morgan Pea’s Gotta Have It, Dom Kennedy From The Westside With Love is really dope. Kendrick Lamar’s OD is really dope. Those are the four I can think of right now, I’m freezing cold [laughter breaks out between us].

Ok you are about to go rock Seattle, what’s on your mind?
Thank you. Seriously that’s all I can think of. Thank you to everyone who has shown support in anyway shape or form because if it weren’t for you I wouldn’t be here period. I don’t even think I’d be in New York. I’m just very humbled by everything that has been happening to Shake and I and it’s because of the people. Thank you.

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Thanks to Meka for sitting outside and answering my questions thoughtfully!

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