There’s a lot riding on Bishop Lamont. Not only is he expected to be a main factor in helping to bring the West Coast back to it’s former greatness but he also has the added pressure of being signed to one of the most successful labels in hip-hop.
Under normal circumstances, Bishop would be in the perfect position, but unfortunately, these aren’t normal circumstances. The music business isn’t what it once was. Sales are down dramatically and the business as a whole is at a major crossroads.
Being signed to Aftermath and serving as the legendary Dr. Dre’s right hand man just a few short years ago would all but have guaranteed multi-platinum status, today however, not so much. This leaves Bishop Lamont with the weight of the West on his shoulders.
Truth be told, if anybody can live up to the hype it’s the Carson City MC. Armed with a down to earth and humble personality as well as lyrical abilities normally reserved for artists from the East coast, the odds are in his favor.
While he waits for the perfect time, Bishop Lamont doesn’t have a second to spare, working on Detox and his own debut album. I was able to catch up with Bishop during some very rare downtime to pick the Cali rapper’s brain on exactly how Dre found him, when we could expect his solo a Your browser does not support inline frames or is currently configured not to display inline frames. lbum, and of course I had to get the dirt on Detox. Check it.
So tell us man, how did you officially get down with Dr. Dre and Aftermath?
Man it’s been so long; let me get my story straight here. I had this mixtape; Who I Gotta Kill To Get A Record Deal, which was starting to bubble on the streets and on the underground, was getting into a lot of people hands. My boy gave it to Common and he played it for Kanye and they were interested. At the time, the video for "Dreams", you know The Game was coming up, so my boy from Interscope called me and told me Kanye was gonna be in town so I should go down there and try and hook up with him. He was supposed to be in the video for it.
So me and my boy DJ Rampage went to the set, stole a golf cart to run away from security and hid out on the set. True story, a lot of people don’t know the shit you gotta go through to get to your dreams. So we sit out on the set or whatever and eight hours later we hear that Kanye isn’t even coming. So I see Dre come out of a trailer and there was a lot of bitches at the set and I wanted some kinda fulfillment, something to make it worth while so I told my man, “Yo, I never asked you for nothin’, can you introduce me to Dre?” I wanted the bitches to see me talking to him so I could crack ‘em, you know?
So my man introduces me as the next best thing in the West Coast and I didn’t need all that, just an intro woulda been cool. So Dre was like “Really, you got some hot shit?” I told him I thought it was dope but you know so I gave him my last tape and he told me he would call me if it was hot. So I’m thinkin’ this nigga bullshittin’ and I’m thinkin’ that I talked to him for long enough that I’ll be able to crack one of these bitches over here.
He told me he was gonna listen to it on his way home to wifey but I’m thinkin’ I’m gonna get some air time and he’s gonna toss it out the window. I have my own thing where I take wack ass demos and I speed up to about 80 or 90 and give them some air time and throw them out the window. So anyway, Dre called me a couple weeks later and said he wanted to start working and that’s how it started, long ass story, but that’s how it started.
No doubt, so you’ve been there at Aftermath for a while, what have you been doing?
It’s just been a learning experience with my business as well as my music. When you get to this altitude it’s a whole different set of laws, I wanna say physics of this business. It’s me being an understudy of Dre and learning how everything goes down. It’s like school; it’s been me re-designing how I approach things. When is this shit gonna drop? How we gonna market this? I’m just making sure anything I do comes out as a phenomenal situation. That’s what it’s been, and of course working on Detox and my album. Focus got an album coming out too so I’m pretty much spent at this point, I gotta recharge but that’s what it’s about.
So it’s definitely a case of you putting in work and learning and not a case where you’re sitting on the shelf?
Nah, never that. Anybody that was on the shelf got dropped.
I wanted to clear that up for everybody.
Yeah, please clear that up. If you on the shelf you basically in the trash can and that’s how it goes with Dre. Anybody that’s there now is there for a reason and they’re coming out and if not, they already got their pink slip.
Speaking of people getting dropped and all that, I wanted to address the situation where people were saying there was some friction between you and Joell Ortiz.
I’m glad you asked that. There was never no words between Joell Ortiz and me. That little bitch Miss Info had a little interview where she said, “Bishop Lamont said you got dropped.” I wanted to get a hold of Joell and straighten the whole thing out because people were telling me he was comin’ off a little salty and actin’ like he didn’t even know me like that. I sat in the studio with dude, I fucked with dude and we spoke on more than one occasion. So when it came down to the interview and they asked me I said, “I haven’t heard about that but if it is true it doesn’t fuckin’ matter because we still family, we got records together”. I was like shit; Jimmy’s tried to drop me before too so I wouldn’t be surprised. And I’m Dre’s right hand man.
Is that true, Jimmy Iovine has tried to drop you?
Jimmy tried to drop everybody, God. It's business and you can’t take it personal. It’s not just music; it’s the music business. That’s why I said in that interview, “It don’t matter if Joell Ortiz got dropped, don’t quote me on that, because I ain't heard that but we still rollin’, we family and I like dude.” Joell been blowin’ himself up. He been doin’ this and that, he got the independent album out. Niggas love sensationalism and they wanna create shit, so they started talkin’ all that. You can go on my MySpace page right now and see pictures of us rockin’ in the studio, it’s one family.
If I got a issue with a nigga, I’m not gonna address it on the internet. We gonna do what we gotta do but I like to keep this shit positive. I’m glad you asked that question because it needs to be addressed. I’m too busy to hate on niggas that’s family. I’m workin on Detox, what am I gonna hate about? I got my own debut album comin’ out and all that bullshit is just the power of words. So again, fuck that bitch Miss Info. That bitch was tryna start beef with the Wu-Tang niggas, tryna start beef over there too. Tell that bitch to get a real job. I’ll put some young bitches on her head to slap her around.
So tell us bro, how’s Detox coming?
It’s coming amazing man, but you know how Dre works. You could do the most amazing shit in the world and this nigga won’t even lift a eyebrow. (Laughs) We turnin’ out amazing record but right now Dre is looking for something even more amazing. So far, so good, we got a lot of great records and I can guarantee you it’s coming this year. We probably gotta do another five million records (laughs) before we get to the 15 or 14 or 12, however many he wants to use for the album. I’m amazed by the beats he’s making and it’s incredible. I wasn’t around for the Chronic 2001 so it’s an honor to be here and be working on the Detox shit.
Let’s see how much I can squeeze out of you. Can you tell us who else has been working on the album?
I can’t. Dre got the gag order on us with that. He wants it all to be a surprise, the cameos, guest appearances, and all that. Em is on there, 50 is on there, the usual suspects but the parts that are gonna be exciting are the ones you’re not used to seeing.
You’re over there at Aftermath surrounded by greatness with Dre, Em, 50, Cashis, and all the rest. People say you’re the next best thing coming out of the West, how do you feel about that?
I mean, that’s a blessing man. It’s an honor. I mean, I’m a fan of these dudes even when we’re in the studio together. It’s just a huge honor for people to be able to places me amongst great artists.
Do you think that the West Coast can get to its past level of success?
Time machines don’t exist so we can never go back, you know what I mean? We can get a higher level of success, we can get a higher level of notoriety, and we can get a higher level of respect and be at a higher place in the industry. That’s the way I look at it and I just wanna see hip-hop get to a place of greatness. I never look at the just the West Coast. We do this music for the world and we want to be respected on a world stage. I want the music to touch people everywhere from New York, to the South, to the West, to Spain and overseas, just everywhere. And we want that respect and that love.
The Caltroit mixtape with Black Milk was crazy, how were the fans feelin’ that?
That’s my man, that’s my partner in crime man. Thank you so much man. It was crazy, we was movin’ units like niggas albums. I’m serious dog. We had like 150,000 by the second day and by the middle of the first week another 80,000 downloaded. I had my boy from Ireland call me and tell me they were bumpin’ Caltroit out there. There were people from so many places that were listening to that album; it was dope, Germany, London, Moraco.
It’s beautiful because that’s what the music is made for, to get to the people. Real hip-hop heads and music lovers get to hear their favorite MC’s, that’s what I’m about.
Carson is crazy right now. Besides yourself, there are cats like Roccet with CTE, Clyde Carson, was Carson’s hip-hop scene always this hot?
Bless you. (Laughs) It’s always been a hip-hop scene out there but the light was always on Compton, South Central, Inglewood, Long Beach even though we’re right there. It’s so many people that moved there and vice versa. It’s a musical place; we just didn’t get that notoriety. Ras, Michael Myers, Diverse, Boo-Yah Tribe, they all been there. These cats always been there but people just never really recognized it.
I’m just happy that people are starting to recognize it now because there is so much coming out of this city from rapper, to producers, actors. Forest Whitaker is from Caron dude; I didn’t even know that, it blew my mind. That’s dope. Even Dre grew up there for a period of time and it’s crazy how many cats have come through here. I always wanted to put it down for my city. I always knew I would rep for Carson hard when I started to get into the game so thank you, I appreciate that.
What was the issue with you and The Game?
You know, it was never an issue with The Game and me. The politics and motherfuckers doin’ crazy weirdo shit kinda made it like that and then Game put out a diss record out of nowhere and I was pissed at the shit so me and him had out issues but he’s family at the end of the day. Big Fase is my big brother; his mother is like my mother, his little sister B-Fly. Me and Game, I don’t even wanna talk about this, it’s gonna be so dramatic but I got so much love for dude and you gonna see some things with me and dude. It’s about the West coast moving forward together. There's too much money and success to be had. You definitely gonna see some magical stuff with me and Game.
So have you gotten any pointers on the business from 50 or Eminem?
You know who gave the most amount of game? 50 gave me a nice amount when he was out here working on Curtis and some other stuff. I got to sit in the studio and he blessed with the game on what the fame does and what the money can do. Busta Rhymes has been a huge mentor in that area as well as Warren G and of course Dr. Dre as well when it comes to how to allocate you money and put yourself in situations where you have your primary money and then you have your money that you can do whatever the fuck you want with and you got the other set of money and a huge chunk.But you never touch that huge chunk and you go out and make another one, man he just taught me a lot.
Just how to make bread and more bread and have staying power, 22 years. If I want to be in the game that long, how to be an icon. Him and Focus, I’m a sponge man. I mean me and him never had that many conversations but we got to chill here in the studio thanks to Scott and we were bubblin’ and got to talk on some stuff. That’s about it. These are the dudes that put that battery in my back and put a lot of game in my ear and taught me things I needed to know.
And how is your personal relationship with Dre?
That’s my big brother from another mother man. When he brings somebody new into his life, he goes all out. That dude has gone above and beyond and blessed me on levels that have nothing to do with music and made my mama proud of me. It’s not just money; you know it’s more than that.
What can we expect from Bishop Lamont?
Man, the Detox album, my album The Reformation. More fly artists, I’m all about pullin’ up new talent because I’m never just about myself. I’ve been seeing me for 29 years so I’m pretty bored with me so I’m all about finding new talent and it don’t matter where in the world they comin’ from so long as they are talented.
Rappers, singers, you might see a country singer, so long as they got talent I’m with it. I just want the movement to continue. I don’t really wanna let the cat out the bag, I want cats to be surprised by a lot of the moves I’m making. I just wanna keep elevating hip-hop. Keep expecting to see Bishop staying true to what got him here.
Anything you’d like to say to the fans at Sixshot.com?
Nah, not really. (Laughs) Just know that Detox is really coming. We jumped the gun before but it’s really coming now. Reformation is coming, my debut album, Statlanta, Busta got an album coming that’s crazy, and it’s almost finished. 50 is coming with Before I Self Destruct. I think they’re coming with a new G-Unit album. There’s a lot of dope mixtapes coming out.
Just get ready for more fresh shit. Keep supporting the real music and the underground and the musicians themselves. Fuck what these other niggas is doin’ because it ain’t fresh like that. Do you, do what you wanna do with the music as long as it’s true. God is good. Fuck the haters man and fuck Miss Info! Losers gotta get they jobs too but fuck Miss Info for real.
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