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THE CLICK, November 16, 1995

Is it because y'all are family that you've stuck together throughout your career? You've all had success with solo projects, so will y'all eventually go your separate ways?

B-Legit: "As The Click, we come together, do an album, and then we've also got our solo projects. You know, each and every last one of us do a solo project a year, as well as this group album. That's the way we founded it, and that's the original recipe. That's what we're going to continue to do."

Is it tough to work with your family? Do you think it's better or do you think it's harder sometimes?

B-Legit: "Well, it has its ups and downs, you know. It's never really hard workin' with your family, cause from day one we're always together. From day one we did things together, from playin' sports to rappin' to goin' to church, whatever. It's to our advantage."

D-Shot: "We just got blessed with all the recipes around us, you know what I'm sayin'? As far as singers, talent, producers, and the whole get down." B-Legit: "It seemed like it was just destined."

Suga T: "As long as everybody's treated fairly."

The Bay Area has been known from Too Short and Ant Banks to have a certain sound. The Click's music, and D-Shot, and E-40's solo projects kind of has an original sound.

B-Legit: "Yeah, an original feel. The East Bay, they've got a sound that they call the dopefiend beat. That's what Too Short was doin'. The type of music that we tried to lay down was what we considered mob music. We also branch out into other things, but the sound that we came in the gate with was a mob music sound. That's what we categorize it as."

Yeah, you can't really label it as gangsta rap or...

B-Legit: "Nah, it has a gangsta rap feel, but we don't talk about a lot of killin' and stuff. It's more partyin', kickin' it--reality stuff that we do on the day-to-day."

Suga T: "All four of us have four different personalities. For each feature, there's somethin' different that relates to everybody in a different category."

B-Legit: "Right. You get four different opinions over the same beat. There's four totally different sounds when you're dealin' with The Click."

Suga T, you sing and rap. Which one do you like doin' better?

Suga T: "You want me to be honest?"

Yeah.

Suga T: "Singin'. At first I was really stuck on rappin', but as I matured and got a little older, I see that I enjoy singin' a little more. I think I can maybe go a little bit further with it, as far as longevity. I enjoy rappin', don't get me wrong. Singin' is somethin' that I didn't think that I would ever be able to get in front of people and feel comfortable and actually being successful with it. That was my little challenge, you know, outside of church."

With the new album, Game Related, "Hurricane" was the first single dropped. How's that doin'?

B-Legit: "'Hurricane' is blowin' up. It's like number one on The Box, as far as the video's concerned, and in all our hot spots it's like number one on the radio, like KMEL and Wild 107 out this way. It's been doin' real good, and it's also been breaking into other markets. One thing about The Click is that you haven't heard from The Click as a whole since like '92. Even then, we was like strictly underground. With this one, we want to take it to the next level in the game."

Do you have an idea on what the next single to be dropped will be?

B-Legit: "Before the album was dropped, we were gonna try to go with 'Scandalous', a track with Roger Troutman. But, we've been listenin' to the feedback and there's another couple of 'em, like 'Wolf Tickets'--another one that people have been talkin' about. We'll bring it to the table and come up with a decision."

With all of the success you've already had, individually and with The Click, and the deal with Jive, do you feel like you're still risin' in the rap game?

B-Legit: "When we started off on the independent side, we had pretty much captured our underground audience. We've got a loyal fan base, so we're guaranteed a certain amount of units no matter who comes out from the camp. When we got with Jive, basically we tried to take it to the next level of the game, to the gold and the platinums, and just try to take it to the furthest extent. That's what we're doin' right now. We're tryin' to break into other markets worldwide. We're already nationwide and we're tryin' to get worldwide. So we're still on the rise. Even though to us it feels like we've been doin' this forever, in some people's eyes it's just this year that they heard of us. Some people have been up on us for like five or six years. It's just now becoming a household name--The Click, E-40, B-Legit, Suga T, D-Shot."

We talked earlier about your original sound. Who were your influences? Comin' up in the Bay Area, you had to have been influenced probably by Too Short.

B-Legit: "Right, Short...one thing about the Bay Area is that there are a lot of underground rappers. We probably have out of any place in the whole world, the most underground labels out here, and people that's doin' things. We've got the most out of anybody that I've ever seen. That's because people out here have been makin' tapes and makin' rhymes for the longest. Short used to do it. We did it. Makin' tapes just for homies in the hood and what not. Then people put money behind it and started independent labels and started pushin' their rap."

Suga T: "Too Short is one of the influences..."

B-Legit: "Short is like the pioneer of the whole thing. Listenin' to him do it..."

Suga T: "My mother, our parents, you know, are big influences on us. We got full support from them. Our children are good supporters. For me, Queen Latifah, as far as a female role model, she's a good one for me. Singers like Anita Baker and Whitney Houston and Gladys Knight, you know, old-school vibe, and Mary J. Blige, new-school vibe."

B-Legit: "But as far as the rap sound and the music, it's just that Bay Area. It's just what we do out this way. All, our lingo and stuff--it's Bay Area. It's what we do."

So can we expect a tour from you guys?

B-Legit: "They're tryin' to put together a tour. We normally do spot dates, but I think it'll get to where we really want to go. We'll do a tour and really be introduced to some of the places that didn't get a chance to see us."

Have you had a chance to do any shows in the past year or two? It seems like every time you look somebody from The Click is dropping a solo album or coming out with your own stuff, is there really any time to do concerts?

B-Legit: "Yeah, we'll do spot dates. What we would do in the past was if they called anybody for a concert, we would all go and just put it down. We had to do the road work in order to get the name built up. Now it's gotten to the point where Suga T might have a concert in Kansas and at the same time I might have a concert in Kentucky and E might be over here where he is. So when we get ready to go, we'll probably go out and people book us as The Click or they might want to book an E-40 show with The Click or a B-Legit show with The Click, you know? It's kind of crazy, but we put it down like that."

What artists do you like to listen to?

Suga T: "We listen to old school music. Influences like the O'Jays and the Temptations. Some of us listen to gospel like Kirk Franklin and the Family."

You guys sung in the church choir growing up, right?

Suga T: "Yes."

B-Legit: "Definitely. A lot of the things that I listen to now is like R&B because being an executive of the company, I have a lot of people always wanting to bring me their tapes and I listen to and I'll just be so rapped out that I have to get away from rap. So it's better to ease my mind so I can get back to what I'm doing. But I do check out other rappers that are coming out because I've got to stay up on top of the game, see what their talking about. I don't listen to them a lot because I don't want to pattern myself around no other rapper. I don't want to sound like somebody else. I'm trying to keep my original thing. You've got to keep up with what's going down."

D-Shot, you came out with that compilation, what gave you the idea for that?

D-Shot: "'Murder Was the Case' was a big influence. I peeped out how that was kind of designed a little something. And I was noticing that all these soundtracks are going gold and platinum and what not, so I said, 'Let me get up in here and do me one of these.' I know a lot of people -- you know, all these people are my partners -- so I just got on the phone one day and it took me about a week to hook it up. I called everybody up and it was like, 'Come on.' I did the distributing, the marketing, the advertising -- the whole get down."

So do you see things going that route in the future -- more compilations and more soundtracks?

D-Shot: "The thing is I think that sometimes singles can take away from the album. I didn't do no singles on that. I just kept it as an album. So if you wanted a certain song, you'd have to buy the whole album. Sometimes I think that the singles can f--- up something, man. That's just somebody else's strategy that the majors pull. The only reason it works for them is because of the repeated cycle of advertising that is the radio. That's something I don't have as far as my record company. If I had that then I'd be tearing their a---- up. Of course, getting artists to gold and platinum I could do myself if I had the radio plugs. But Boss Ballin' did pretty good. It did like 200,000. I felt that I was tapping on something. I kind of watched what they did, you know, with their little commercials and what not and kind of followed that same pattern and made it happen."

You guys were strictly known as underground until probably about a year or so ago. Did you like being in the underground better or do you like getting a little bit more recognition in the mainstream?

D-Shot: "Basically, I like being on the underground. It's cool. It's not a problem. I don't have a problem with it because we plugged up pretty swell. As far as the majors, that's a little more advertising, so I use that to my advantage. See, I don't just have to be a rapper. I can be a businessman also. As far as me being a rapper on Jive and as far as me having my own label, D-Shot Records, which I keep one foot in and one foot out, I can't be stopped. It's sort of like getting into it like Don King. He can't lose because he brings two fighters in and whichever one wins, he still won. So I try to keep it like that."

So do you guys have solo albums coming out?

D-Shot: "Yeah, me and Suga and B have got solos coming out. I think Suga's drops in January."

B-Legit: "Yeah, my single drops in December and it's called 'Recognize' and it's on the album called Paper Chasin', which will be out in January. And I want to add that I'm an executive also. I have a personal management company that I run myself. I'm still learning a lot of stuff, but I opened it up because I was seeing a lot of artists need a lot of different things."

D-Shot: "I'll probably drop about June. I want The Click album to get out there a little something and the people, you know, the new clientele, hear my name."

Let 'em marinate on it for a minute...

D-Shot: "Right. So when I drop mine, my name will be known a little more and that will mean a little more gravy for me."

B-Legit: "I'm looking at February for my release."

So what kind of sound will we hear on the Suga T album?

Suga T: "On the Paper Chasin' album, it's a nice, classy, ghetto vibe. It's just flavorism -- I'm coming from all angles of the game. I'm giving a woman's perspective of a woman hustler, basically."

Is there going to be anything different on your solos?

Suga T: "For my solo album, I have singing on it. I did all the singing on it -- in between the hooks and I also have an R&B type of song on it that I sung throughout the whole song. That's kind of different. "

B-Legit: "The thing about Suga's album is that she's got a lot of variety. A lot of people don't realize that she's done a 100 percent, 360 degree turnaround. She's really improved her rap style and her beats and stuff."

D-Shot: "Yeah, she's gonna have a lot of different producers guiding her. She's gonna have her own flavor. And it came out tight."

Suga T: "And I co=produced my own album. I set up all the studio appointments and I found all the talent for my tape. I kind of half-produced without physically producing the music, but I had a lot of input in the music with the producer."

D-Shot: "That's how you do it. Can't nobody really know what you're thinking. Only you can get it out of your head, and that's what she did. That's what made it so tight this time. She got it out of her head and she was able to tell them what she wanted."

B-Legit: "Everywhere we go as far as doing shows, they really scream for Suga T. They really love her."

Suga T: "And I have an interest in modeling and doing commercials and sitcoms and a little vit of acting. That's what I'm tring to pursue right now."

D-Shot: "I'm into just looking at these majors, man. I'm trying to do what they're doing. I'm just getting game from them and just checking it out. I plan to do my own thing."

B-Legit: "I've got a feeling that Sick Wid It Records, in about five or six years, we'll probably just branch out as far as being one of the majors. Not major major, but it won't be Sick Wid It/Jive, it'll probably be like Sick Wid It and just a BMG or something. That's why we're trying to make sure our portfolio and everybody that's on our team is just the bomb. So every time you see that hog and Sick Wid It Records, pick it up. It's gonna be the bomb."

D-Shot: "You can be expecting some player sh-- coming from D-Shot. My album will drop around June sometime. Basically, just straight telling it how it is. That'll probably be the name of the album, Telling It Like It Is."

You all mentioned being executives at your companies, are there any other things you're interested in outside of rapping? Suga T, you mentioned you wanted to get into acting a little bit...

Suga T: "Yes, but I'm also a mother. I have two children that I take care of. You know, I'm trying to live a normal life like evrybody else does."

What about B-Legit and D-Shot -- are you guys just interested in rapping and producing and running your companies as far as the rap industry, or do you want to get into other things like TV and stuff like that?

B-Legit: "I'm really cool with the TV part of things. If it comes around, I'll try anything. I'm gonna try to take this rap level as far as I can stretch it. I'm just gonna run my company and produce. After I'm through rapping, I'll produce for a while."

D-Shot: "I'm just trying to keep my foot in every angle of this game that I possibly can and do one at a time. Master it like that. Like I said, I'm trying to get my program like Don King. A lot of people don't like him, but that's because his program is tight."

Is there anyone that you haven't worked with that you'd like to work with?

Suga T: "Queen Latifah is one of the ones that I've been trying to pursue because she's really a good influence for women who are trying to come up in this industry. Anita Baker. I'd love to do a song with her. Shirley Murdock is another one that I'd like to do a song with."

B-Legit: "As far as me man, all of the people I meet in the rap game, all the top dogs, we can holla. It's respect. Snoop, 2Pac, you know, we kick it like that. It ain't all 'aw, they don't want to do a song with you' or nothing like that. We're just trying to make it and trying to maintain and hold on to what we've got and take it to another level. I'll work with anybody -- East Coast, West Coast, whatever."

Suga T: "We don't discriminate."

B-Legit: "There's other things besides rap. It don't always have to be business."

Suga T: "We try to give everybody a good vibe. Wherever we're at, we try to make it like it's at home, try to make them feel comfortable and we kick it."

B-Legit: "We try to make everybody a hurricane. We'll make y'all one when we see y'all, too."

What's it like for you when you're back home in the Bay Area?

Suga T: "We deal with a lot of player-haterism. Every now and then we run across it."

B-Legit: "That's everywhere, you know? You can't really just grow up in the town where you know people and they just can't accept that they know you and you're doing well. They're gonna make up a reason. I hear a lot of stories about famous people and they always have to move away from their town or move on the outskirts because they got a lot of people that's jealous of them and don't want to see them successful. That's what we're experiencing."

D-Shot: "It's the people that you grew up with. But it's not really their fault. They just don't know no better. The white man putting us up under that sh-- back in the slavery days, know what I'm saying? Like some slave owners had better slave owners than others. Say if I had a slave owner that gave me more than the rest of the slaves, and when he drives through in his old hand-me-down Benz with his old hand-me-down suit, that was something that was real deep. So when you drove through, the other slaves were like, 'Aw, he ain't nothing but a white boy.' So them kids heard that, and those kids became parents, and they see the same things, and their kids heard that until it got to this generation right here. If you'll notice, it's like the slaves around the city knew each other, and the same thing is happening in our hood when one motherf----- gets something that's tight -- a car, a Benz or something -- you got a problem. Everybody's jealous of them. Everybody don't want to see them have it. But now he goes outside his hood and everybody loves him. We get love."

B-Legit: "We get more love in down South areas and different places where we do shows than we do in our own hometown. Even though the little kids love us. We pay attention. We walk around in the neighborhood and it ain't no big deal. We always take the time out to talk to them and lead them in the right direction. But the ones that are our age, they absolutely have a problem with us."

Suga T: "I've got a song on my album that's called 'The Game's the Same, But the Players Changed.' It puts out how you ain't tripping and you ain't changed, but it's everybody else that's around you that's flipped out on you."

B-Legit: "They're on the outside looking in. They don't know what's really going on."

D-Shot: "It don't really be everybody. It's just a few."

They see you making money...

Suga T: "The thing about it is that you don't really make money when you first start. I mean, you do make money, and you're comfortable..."

D-Shot: "You've got to remember that a rapper in the black community gets more respect than the president. That's why we don't vote, because we don't give a f--- about no president."

What are your favorite tracks on the album?

D-Shot: "My favorite is 'Actin' Bad.'"

B-Legit: "My favorite track is 'Get Chopped,' and I like 'Wolf Tickets,' too."

Suga T: "My favorite one is 'Learn About It.'"

D-Shot: "I like them all though, you know?."

Suga T: "And as far as experience-wise, as y'all know our favorite one is 'Scandalous,' the one we did with Roger [Troutman]. That was like one of the coolest experiences that we ever had. It was motivating from every angle, you know, looking at them being a family business. That was like the best experience, being able to look up to a person like that all your life and then you end up doing something with them. And you find out that he's as cool as you thought he was."

You mentioned the family aspect. When you're all in the studio working together, is it more of a job for you to come up with songs or is it more fun?

B-Legit: "I think of it as a job."

Suga T: "It's fun."

D-Shot: "The after-effect is fun, but doing it is a job."

B-Legit: "Let me tell you what the job is to me. The job is when I'm getting down by myself, but when I come with The Click, and we vibe, it takes a lot of pressure off of me. I get the vibe off of Suga's ideas and Shot's ideas and it comes together so beautiful. I like that. That's fun to me. The job is when I'm by myself. Video shoots are becoming a job, too."

D-Shot: "But you've got to like every angle of the game, so I like it. You feel me? When our video shoots come, I'm gonna be directing my videos. Only I can get what I need to be shown out of my head and bring it to light. I'm the one who made the lyrics, so can't nobody sit there, read my lyrics and think what I'm thinking."

So have you had a lot of influence on the videos you've already put out?

D-Shot: "They try to make you do what they do, but I bully my way in."

Suga T: "We all put in our input. For my 'Recognize' video, I wrote out the concept and the treatment and sent it in and then we kind of vibed back and forth with my same ideas, but just from a wider angle and creativity."

B-Legit: "Whenever we shoot a video, they come out with a basic idea and then they get at you and be like, 'What do you think we should do here?' They let you put your input in You can't work with anybody that don't work with you."

Suga T: "Especially when you're paying them. They're working for us. We're paying them."

D-Shot: "It's kind of different working with us. A lot of artists are not that smart. They just let people do them any kind of way. We refuse to let that go down, especially when money is coming out of our pocket and we're trying to pay you to do our services."

B-Legit: "Another thing about it is there are things we have to speak to in order to get our videos played nowadays, so we kind of let those people keep us between the boundaries and we take the creativity from there."

They let us know how far we can go. Like on "Hurricane," they loved it on The Box, but BET wanted us to take the bottle out."

So do they edit stuff a lot on "Rap City" and other shows?

D-Shot: "Yeah, and I feel that with a lot of that stuff they're contradicting themselves. Because they let a lot of people do a lot of stuff and they let it slide."

Suga T: "It's political. I think that, no matter what, when you're doing what we do, you're still in the ghetto. You still have to deal with that mentality. There's discrimination and all that stuff. You still have to deal with that no matter what."

D-Shot: "You got haters at some other video stations also. They just like certain groups. The way you work around them -- these type of people -- there ain't that many -- is getting the overall influence. Like The Box. Get to No. 1 on The Box. No. 1 on CMC. No. 1 on this. Then they can't help but be like, 'What's going on? Why don't we have these people playing? What's the problem?' Then they ain't got no choice but to do it."

B-Legit: "There's a lot of politics in that, though. Whatever you do, you've got to be faithful."

Suga T: "We're strong believers in God, too. That's another thing. We believe in Him more than anything."

B-Legit: "None of this could happen without Him."

Suga T: "That's where all the praises come from. All the security. Everything."

-- B.J. Maniac and Mason Storm, The 411


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