The Dirtball of Kottonmouth Kings Interview
Yesterday, Rolling Out’s Todd Davis wrote an article about how The Dirtball of Kottonmouth Kings Interview went. Below is the entire interview.
First things first, please introduce the members of Kottonmouth Kings.
We have D-Loc, Daddy X, and The Dirtball on vocals, Lou Dog on the drums, and Mikey Bonez on guitar.
Let’s hop right into this latest studio collection Krown Power — conceptually, what this title represents both to and for you all?
Having been through a tumultuous past few years, and now finally ready to work this record, we couldn’t be more proud! Music is what we do and channeling emotion and message through it is the goal. You definitely hear on Krown Power our best work to date, with bold, “can’t f— with us” type attitude. There is such a variety of bangers on the record, it takes you on a sonic journey no doubt. In short, Krown Power represents us as an undeniable, headstrong unit. We simply pushed hard and created the best material of our lives.
How does Krown Power either differ or compare to previous Kottonmouth Kings’ efforts?
Every Kottonmouth record brings with it a new sound, new attitude and new attempts at reaching goals personally for us all as vocalists. We have a great production team that allows us to really create and shape the vibes of each track. Our main man on the tracks, and everything KMK, is Mike Kumagai. He has produced most every Kottonmouth track from day one, and continues to evolve ahead of the game, delivering us magic to rap on. It’s an honor, and the sound is undeniable. Big monster beats. Krown Power is just what the name says. Powerful beats in a new era of the Kottonmouth Kings.
The set’s recent single is titled “KRONITRON” How did it actually come to fruition?
We wrote this track to take you on a cannabis driven flight through the kingdom of marijuana. Our good friend and animator, Doug Bressler, created a killer cartoon for this video that is a must see. Again, Kumagai put together such a smashing beat for this song, we all brought severe raps to the plate. Take a trip on the Kronitron and you will stay high for days.
How did you all first discover your musical talent?
I think for each individual it comes differently. How we discover and then shape the talent is something that requires determination and dedication. Especially in the music business. D-Loc, Daddy X, and myself were all collegiate athletes at times in our lives, and it’s ironic to see how it comes to play in shaping what we do. I think that is the vehicle that drove our talents to where we are today. It says a lot when you want to win, and know how from experience. Most of all when you apply it in another area of life like music. Each member has a different story, and we are all driven to succeed. Losing is not an option.
Who have been your greatest inspirations musically and why?
Again, hard to answer for each guy, but I would have to say Bob Marley on a cumulative for his freedom fighter-positive vibrations and feel good music that hits the soul … Willie Nelson, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane’s Addiction, Dr. Dre, Guru and others for myself. Daddy X has an intense punk rock and musical background that certainly has many inspirations as deep as you wanna go. N.W.A. for D-Loc for their proper representation of their city so boldly, and the self-confidence they brought with their music. Any of that hard-core punk rock with fast guitars and drums. We love it all and it all impacted us.
How then would you all describe or define the style of music that you all create and perform?
It’s punk-rock/hip-hop. Intense banging beats with punk rock breaks swimming through a clear, fast moving river of bass. Live shows are as intense, if not more than the record. We go in!
What do you all feel you offer the music industry that we don’t already have in other performers?
We represent a suburban lifestyle and focus on the marijuana movement, always have. We offer a sound and a place to twist up the chronic, and really sink in. Kottonmouth Kings bring a message of freedom, choice, and positive vibes. We advocate for the plant, and continue to do so as cannabis becomes legalized in America. It’s an exciting time for us, and we have a lot in store for our fans.
Have you all encountered any problems in getting to this point in your career?
Yes. I’m sure every artist would agree it is a tough sail, even with clear glassy ocean in front of you. Your ship can be sailing just fine, and look perfect above water, but below lurks the scum and underbelly of the industry. Trust is thrown out the window in this realm, unless its your closest friends. Peek below the surface to see big sharks eating at your boat. It’s real. We had our life’s work stolen from us and abused heavily. After realizing, and working through a long maze of hell to get the shells of our work back, we now know what not to do. If you are an upcoming artist, make sure you protect yourself and your music!
What do you all want people to get from your music?
An eargasm. We want the listener to relate! To be able to sit back, fire up a joint, and ride the roller coaster. How you felt when you first listened to a record like Dr. Dre’s Chronic album. One that you can listen to over and over and over. I think that’s what we create. Especially for our die-hard legions of KMK supporters around the world. It’s a movement.
On a more serious note, are you all happy with the current state of hip-hop? And, even more specifically, where exactly do you all “fit in” when it comes to today’s trending soundscape?
Personally, I have a hard time listening to a lot of hip-hop that’s on the radio, unless its dark and street. Dre’s Compton record just took the sound back to a West Coast tone, so I am now satisfied. I think I touched on it above, but when you make music in the hip-hop arena you absolutely have to be up to par on both production and lyrical skills. Kumagai makes tracks for us that transcend the sounds of today. Always pushing the limits and crafting sounds that we’ve never heard. Then you hear them a year later. We rely heavily on this, and at the same time it pushes us to write to the best of our ability. It’s great to have a relationship like this for both business and artistry.
Longevity, what do you all attribute yours to?
Dedication and hard work. We all enjoy life to the fullest!
With that being said, how has not only the industry itself, but even more-so Kottonmouth Kings, either changed and/or evolved since your whole inception into music?
It goes without saying that the industry, and the ways of the music business have drastically changed over the last few decades. Format changes like tape to CD, CD to digital, and whatever else comes next, guide how things change. Once the digital world opened up, much became obsolete, and new ways of thinking, marketing, and releasing music emerged. It’s now a constant to see new, fresh ways artists can make something of themselves in this field. Record labels alike have shifted how they can push their artist, so in all, it’s a brand-new world out there. KMK has always evolved to allow itself to stay fresh and on top of our game. Whether members leaving the band, or new blood coming in, KMK is a lifestyle movement and goes deeper than the music. That is what separates groups like us. We have a family of fans that keep us going.
Do you all have any other outside or additional aspirations, maybe even completely away from music?
Lou Dog is heavily involved in the cannabis fight in L.A. representing NORML. D-Loc is a killer graphic artist, and great father, Daddy X is as well an awesome father, and record mogul that played collegiate basketball, and I love to hunt big game and cut rocks.
What has been your greatest achievement(s) so far?
Well, the group has had so many pinnacle moments over the course of the last 20 years, it would be hard for me to say, but I would have to say on a whole getting to where we are today has been the greatest of all achievements! Daddy X got us away from an evil group of people and got all of our masters back, which is, to me, the greatest achievement one can make. There have been countless “pinch me” moments, and insane tours and crowds, as well. What an awesome ride!
If you all could collaborate with any one artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Bob Marley. He touched the soul root of feel-good music and message. It would be amazing to soak some of that in.
If you all could play any venue in the world, which one would you choose and why?
Madison Square Garden smoked out to the ceiling. Why? Well … because … we would be playing Madison Square Garden, smoked out to the ceiling!
One track of yours that you think defines you all and why?
Man, that’s a tough one. All songs define us, but the punk rock tracks really let the definition fly. “Full Throttle” is a great one. It and others portray and show the “we don’t give a f—” mentality. We do our own thing, and keep it that way. We don’t go half in, we go all in — all the time.
Is there anything I left out, or just plain forgot to mention?
Kottonmouth Kings have been here for years, and will be here for years to come. We love our fans, and love music! A lot has happened throughout the evolution of KMK, and we are excited to continue to bring our sound to the world, especially the sounds of Krown Power. Always swing by kottonmouthkings.com, and unitedfamilymusic.com to see what we have going on. Lots of free music and videos always jumping off so dip through and say whuttup.
Any closing thoughts for our readers?
Love your life, your friends, your craft, and smoke cannabis! We got you!