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RBX, Oct. 24, 1995

Best known for his guest appearances on Dr. Dre's The Chronic and Snoop's Doggystyle, RBX dropped a bomb of his own earlier this year with a debut album titled The RBX Files. However, the Long Beach native is no longer stranded on Death Row, having left the record company for financial reasons a couple of years ago. With his unique delivery and diverse styles, the Narrator displays an originality and creativity that is rarely found in today's hip-hop world of copycat MCs.

So how's the album been received so far?

"Pretty good. I haven't really checked up on it as far as numbers go, but I heard it's goin' pretty good. I don't really want to get caught up in that, you know? The album's gonna do what it's gonna do."

What happened with Death Row?

"Just bad business, you know? A lot of promises were made that didn't hold true. I did a lot of work, and I didn't get what I felt was just, as far as payment goes. As far as my career was goin', when it was time for me to ask 'em when I was gonna do my record, I kept gettin' the runaround. I had things I needed, you know? I have to live. They couldn't give me no answer or nothin'. It was always 'next week.' Next week never came, so I just had to do somethin' on my own so I wouldn't have to worry about nobody else."

Yeah, it seems like things at Death Row are always gettin' delayed...

"Delayed, and all kinds of trouble. Fightin' and all kinds of sh--. So I kinda just wanted to get away from that."

Your lyrical style is intense and unorthodox. Where did that come from? I mean, how did you develop it? Was there an influence or anything?

"The only influence I guess I could say is that I just didn't want to be like anything else you ever heard, you know? I kinda wanted to do something new, yet not so different that it's wack. I thought hip-hop needed a fresh outlook, if you will. You know, everybody was into this gangsta/ b----/ ho/your mama-type sh--, and I thought maybe I could try to touch hip-hop in my own way and make a lasting impression as far as being different. I'm just daring to be different."

Your album has a consciousness about it. It's not just stuff on the surface, it goes deeper. Why do you think there isn't more of that?

"There's a bunch of answers. One, people are out there just tryin' to make a buck. Two, a lot of the conciousness and knowledge that I have, a lot of people don't have, so they can't do something that they don't know. I would probably say the majority, or at least a lot of people are in it for the money. They don't care what impression they make, as long as they get their money. I wanted to do more than that. More than just stereotypical bob your head to a bunch of nonsense type stuff. Cause if you're gonna bob your head, you might as well bob your head and get somethin' out of it."

When did you first start rappin'?

"About 14 or 15 years old. Just as a hobby, you know, with no aspirations as far as obtaining a recording contract. I just did it as a street thing with my cousins and some of the homeboys deejaying just as a hobby, to pass the time away."

How did you first hook up with Dre and them?

"Through my little cousin Snoop. I went to take Snoop to handle some business, and while we were sittin' there just loungin', I was bustin' a rhyme and Dre walked in and overheard it, and he was like, 'I want you to be down.' So it started from there."

So what kind of goals you got? Where do you want to take this from here?

"I'll do the follow-up album, and after that I don't know. I'm kind of undecided right now. I'm still kind of in the midst of this [album] right now. It depends on the outcome. It's still too early to say."

Is there anybody out there you want to work with?

"Sure. I mean, there isn't anyone that I don't want to work with. I don't disrespect no one."

What's your opinion on the whole East Coast/ West Coast thing?

"I don't have no qualms with it. I'm not in that mess, though. I feel that I'm just far too above that, and as far as I'm concerned, I don't care where you're from. When I'm doin' my thing, I'm doin' my thing, and I don't think I can be touched. So in that aspect, it don't matter where you're from. You could be East Coast or West Coast. Myself, I sit back and I just listen to it and enjoy. The heart of hip-hop is battlin', but when they start takin' it seriously and start bitin' each other, I'm not with it. But as far as lyrics are concerned, that's cool. That's what hip-hop was built on. It is gettin' crazy, though. As long as no one mentions me in nothin', then I ain't in it, but as soon somebody say somethin', I don't care where they from. I'm gonna do a full take off. Just like I did Dre. It doesn't matter where you're from or who you are. I'll just take off on you, and it'll be serious. Cause I ain't takin' no business in this rap game, I'm serious about it."

You mention The D.O.C. on "A.W.O.L." Now he's also left Death Row, possibly for some of the same reasons. Any plans to hook up with him later on?

"Sure, if it happens. Right now I'm solely concerned with my project, but if he needs some help and he needs me to do somethin', or I need him to do somethin' or we can collaborate on somethin', sure. I have no problems with that."

Is there anyone at Death Row that you're still in good with?

"My little cousin Snoop, and then Daz, Kurupt, and Rage. They didn't have nothin' to do with it. They should have listened to me and left, too. But that's on them."

What was it like filming the video for "A.W.O.L." at Alcatraz?

"Oh, man, it was tiresome, cold and spooky. Cause we were on the island, and we couldn't leave. We had to spend the night there for three nights, so it was an experience. It was my first video, so I didn't know what to expect. I was kinda newrvous, then I wasn't nervous, and then I kinda got nervous again, because I didn't know. After the first couple of takes or so and I got used to it, I was fine, no problem. But it was hard work."

I've seen some reviews that say you come with a Chronic, p-funk type of sound on your album, but I see a lot of different styles on the album...

"There's no one style on there. It just changes throughout the whole thing, from beginning to end, from one song to the next. And that's what I tried to accomplish -- coherence. I get sick of buying records and the next song sounds the same as the first, and they just changed the title. That's not really creative to me. I pretty much used this album as a challenge to myself. Since I was on The Chronic and people were expecting me to do that type of stuff, I kind of like maybe gave 'em a little taste of what I did on there, but then I put a whole new flip to it, so you know, I was just challengin' myself there."

A few MCs make guest appearances on the album. Are you tryin' to help them come up?

"I tried to do as best as I could. You really can't help nobody, 'cause when you do they just try to take it for granted. And when you ain't there and you're fittin' to handle your business, they want you to stick your neck out for them, and it's not like that. I did what I could do, but now I have to go forward, and they all have opportunities to do the same thing I did. By me being on Dre's album, that catapulted me into a position where I could do some things for myself, and I used that to my best ability. The people that I had on my record, they're not signed to me or nothin', they're free agents, so to speak. I gave them an opportunity to be heard in a major way, so now it's up to them what they're gonna do. I'm not gonna carry nobody."

What are your favorite tracks on the album?

"'Back to Akebulan'...'Rough Is The Texture'. Those are my favorite two. I mean, I like all of them, but those are my two 'sh--s', you know what I mean?"

Is there anything else you wanted to get across to the fans out there?

"You know, I gotta give best wishes for everybody. I hope they do what they set out to do. Civilize the uncivilized."

-- Mason Storm, The 411


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