When I finally got ahold of Watts-bred rapper, Glasses Malone, it was early, something like 9 a.m. on the West Coast, and he was on tour. Glasses’ voice came in extra gruff on the BlackBerry, as he sounded like he was in desperate need of some Tylenol 3s, and a large glass of water. Hell, it was the perfect opportunity to throw the guy a curveball or two… see if I couldn’t catch old Glasses snoozing. At least that’s what I figured at the time. Turns out Glasses is pretty sharp on his feet, in the mornings especially, probably why he’s released a debut album as banging as Beach Cruiser, after so many years of delay. The guy’s a real West Coast soldier.
Read the complete interview after the jump.
You just dropped your debut album, Beach Cruiser. It’s crazy this is your first album…
Man, it’s insane.
How’s the response been thus far?
The response has been really good, better than I anticipated. People really like the album. I’ve been on tour for a couple days now, and it’s amazing to see how the album impacted people off the first listen, when I’m performing. Eastsidin is doing really well. It’s crazy. It’s amazing to see how this is happening.
I like the Chopped & Screwed you got on Eastsidin. Why you think that sound’s becoming so popular again?
Everybody loves that DJ Screw stuff they recorded back in the day. I think it’s the simplicity of it all. It’s kind of complex, but it’s still very easy to deal with. I think that’s the natural attraction to it.
How’s your album differ from your mixtapes?
Really, they’re not different. Maybe the album’s a little longer. When I go in on those street albums, like Nightmare On Seventh Street, and Drive-By Muzik, they’re really like albums. Maybe this one has a little more balance to it than normal, but man, when I make music, I don’t care if it’s my future mixtape coming up called Cold As Ice, they all are projects. They are all complete worlds.
You dropped Certified with Akon back in 2007. Most artists probably would have scrapped an old record like that, but you included it on Beach Cruiser. Why?
One, I feel like everybody didn’t hear it. Two, it represented a time marker for me. It was the first step towards putting Beach Cruiser out. Not everybody knows that some things are worth fighting for, and this album was definitely worth fighting for.
You’re pretty straightforward on records like I Sell Dope. How would you address rumors that Ca$h Money Records is still involved in the dope game?
I think somebody would have to be insane to think that. A legendary label like that, the last thing they need to be involved with is something on the corner. They are by far the number one rap label in the music industry today, with multiple acts selling millions of records. Just with Lil Wayne they’re selling millions, and with Drake. Last thing they need to do is anything I might be doing.
You say you keep out of the headlines, and just make good music. Would you object to a DJ Quik comparison?
I definitely wouldn’t compare myself to him. That dude’s a legend, and he’s ten times more talented than me. Hopefully I do have his longevity, or people appreciate my music as much as they appreciate his. But I definitely would object to that comparison. I’m not nearly as talented as he is. That dude is crazy. He’s brilliant.
Quik recently did a video feature for L.A. Weekly, where he gave a tour of Compton in his car. If you were to do a similar ride, where would some of the stops be?
In Compton or in Watts?
I didn’t watch his so I don’t want to name a couple of his places, but if I actually did my own, I would definitely take people to the Watts Coffee House. I think people would love to be there. It’s like a staple in the city. Definitely to the Watts Towers. I think the Towers represent the city itself. They built these big towers out of scrap and junk and glass. It’s like the whole spirit of building something out of nothing. That’s what it represents, Watts. I would take people to Killer King, Martin Luther King Hospital. A lot of the stories you hear from N.W.A., Ice-T, they always talk about King Hospital, because King Hospital had one of the best trauma units, they had so many trauma cases where people got hurt or shot. They have a legendary trauma unit there that was really dope when I was growing up. But people always used to say, if you stub your toe you might die, because they were so understaffed.
I read your first show was at Normandie Casino on Rosecrans right?
You ever been to Eazy E’s old dry cleaners on Rosecrans?
Yep. I have. Yep. Yep. I’ve been there a few times.
I like the blue and white Jordans you have on in that one press shot. Are you a big sneakerhead?
I am. It’s actually weird, I just absolutely love Jordans. I’m crazy about Jordans, just insanely crazy about Jordans. I’ve got a hundred plus pairs, easily.
What’s your favorite pair?
My favorite pair would probably be the 11’s, the cool grey’s. I love the cool grey’s, and I actually love those blue and grey ones I’m wearing in the picture.
You’ve compared your rap style to the movie Friday, among other movies. Have you seen The Wash?
Yeah, I’ve seen that movie many times.
I thought maybe with the song, Car Wash…
Naw, in California right now, young gangbangers are getting killed. They actually have a car wash and sometimes they cook BBQ dinners and sell them, to raise money to bury a person. So I just took that whole idea of the car wash and really defined it. The car wash represents the end of a gangbanger. In the song I go over three different scenarios of how gangbanging works, and how it ends up being a car wash. In the first verse, I show how the more you gangbang the bigger the chance of there being a car wash for you. The second verse is how the OG’s raise you up into gangbanging, and if you don’t survive one of these missions, you’ll end up becoming a car wash, and the OG’s move on to the next person. And the third verse represents how you can be from a hood where a lot of people have money, and they still end up having a car wash for you. I think the car wash symbolizes gangbanging as a whole, at least in California right now.
You have a couple lines about Suge Knight in different songs. I was under the impression Suge Knight killed Tupac. You’re not afraid of him?
I definitely don’t think he killed Tupac. I definitely don’t think that, but I’m definitely not afraid of him either. I just think the whole Death Row era was so influential to me, you hear it in a lot in my music. I have a lot of respect for the dude and what he did. Death Row really represented a time in West Coast music, when we needed to be heard. But no, I don’t think Suge had anything to do with Tupac getting killed. Definitely think it was some guy in Compton. That’s the cycle of gangbanging, when you get more and more into it, it’s never complex. It’s always simple.
You talk about ‘rich fools’, but you’ve kept it strictly about the music over the years. How’d you manage to stay on track?
It’s not easy. I’ll tell you that much. I don’t know, man. I had Mack 10, I had Birdman, I got a lot of people who stayed with me, my A&R, his name is Tavon Alexander, everyone calls him the superstar A&R, and he was a lot of help, as far as making sure I was making music about the streets. Everybody believes that’s what my gift is.
Interview originally published in Yo! Raps Magazine.
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