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Between, signing to Shady, starting C.O.B. clothing and dropping The Million Dollar Story ep, the West Coast arm of Slaughterhouse, Crooked I has been one busy hustler. But between sips of Slaughter Water, the Long Beach bomber took some time to share shed some light on his latest moves. Check the technique.

Words by MC

TUD: I know you’ve had to answer this question a million times, but inquiring minds gotta know. How’s it feel to sign to Shady Records as a member of Slaughterhouse?

Crooked I: I’m gonna be real with you, I just got back from Hawaii and as soon as I landed and went to the baggage claim a couple dudes started taking pictures of me! I’m like “Yo, this didn’t happen the last time I came to Hawaii! (Laughs) It’s crazy man, the power of Shady records? I could get used to this!

You and Joell have had the most experience with the Interscope machine. Even though it’s through Shady, did any of the horror stories ever cross your mind when you were signing up?

Actually when I got on Death Row they were just cutting ties with Interscope. But to answer it’s never a bad day walking into Interscope Records! (Laughs)

That almost sounds like the politically correct answer!

Nah man! (Laughs) They are the “machine” and if they believe in a project and push the button it’s going somewhere! It was a testament to my character too. Because when I was on Death Row I was asked to make songs dissin Em and Dre. I always thought, “you don’t even know these n*ggas, you don’t have no real beef with them, why you dissing them?” If I had, I wouldn’t be in this equation! (Laughs)

You mentioned earlier you were in Hawaii, what was cracking out there?

I was out there with my dude G-Dub, we forming a new company called “The Commission” and I got this new clothing line coming. So we was out there discussing that, get away from everything and just strategize … Mecca man the doors are open. I got a shot, I’m taking my shot cause it’s been a long tome coming, so I’m going!

Lets talk on the clothing line…

Circle Of Bosses. It started off family and friends and it spread to different parts of the world. I decided to bring the movement to the clothing culture because I’ve always been fascinated by that. It’s not a rapper trying to have a clothing line, it’s a movement with a clothing line. One of out big t-shirts right now is “Do Not Cock-Block.” I was able to give a special hoody version to Bun B on his birthday at SXSW.

Speaking of SXSW, How’d that go?

We really popped it off. We had EPMD, DJ Quik on stage, DJ Premiere on the turntables. Hip-Hop was in the building. Just to have Erick Sermon saying “Yo, Yall give it up for Slaughterhouse!” I remember being a kid watching “Erick & Parrish Makin Dollars.” So to have acknowledgement from legends is always dope.

Well you’re going the right way for legendary status. The Brisk campaign shows that. What’s the name of this new drink you guys have?

“Slaughter Water” which is the Brisk Ice tea of your choice with some vodka. Brisk brought a big truck to the middle of the street and were giving out free tacos and Brisk. We had that truck popping! (Laughs) But yeah it’s been great working with major corporations on a level like that and still be true to our art form. You know Slaughter is real raw and uncut. That’s why Shady is the perfect fit. NOBODY says crazier shit than Em … so we good. (Laughs) The corporations are just one of the perks and that’s a beautiful thing.

Ok business aside, with Em stamping Slaughterhouse in a time where lyrics are on the upswing, do you feel any pressure to produce results or else lyricist may have to take a backseat again?

I think we have the ability to really inspire the next generation to get back into their lyrics. Niggas done came up to me and said “I been rapping for years but I fell victim and started making booty clap songs because I thought I was never gonna get my career off the ground,” and that’s some bullsh*t to have to go through. We still gone have that middle layer that’s full of successful wack sh*t but lyricism has always been at the top but I think now it’s going to be a little more crowded.

I think you’re starting off right with Million Dollar Story

Yeah man, Million Dollar Story EP that I just dropped is the pre-album to Million Dollar Story the album. Niggas might know me in the “almost famous” atmosphere but now it’s time to go to a whole new stratosphere. I’m putting this product out as an introduction and a re-introduction. I aint trippin on sales, as long as I can get the visibility to show how we doing it in 2011 on the west coast cause it ain’t all about Chuck Taylors and six-fours no more. That’s no disrespect to what the legends put down but it’s time for a new day. N*ggas is stepping they bars up, n*ggas is getting fresh, the Hip-Hop energy feels good right now.

Well speaking of legends, I can’t let you get outta here without a chance to speak on one we just lost, the big homie Nate Dogg.

Word, RIP to Nate, I wish I could have worked more with him. We definitely got joints that we did years back, we got joints that we were planning to do. It’s a big tragedy for Hip-Hop and a humongous loss for the west. He did classic shit that the whole fuckin club will stop and sing along to with him. Nate was just that dude man, because after moving out to the nice neighborhood, he would still come out and be visible. I really respected that because he inspired a lot of people with his presence. And 41 is no time to die. I’m gonna have a shot of Henny for him cause that was his shit and keep his family in my prayers.

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