Dreddy Kruger Interview

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Dreddy Kruger: Independent Hustle
Wednesday - October 19, 2005
Todd Davis
HHDX: Tell me your whole inception into music – When did you first become interested? How did it all begin for you?

Dreddy Kruger: Oh, it all began for me when I was a young youth in Brooklyn [New York]. My father, God bless the dead rest in peace, he used to own a record store when I was small. Subconsciously, that’s how I got into the music business, and that’s how I got my love for music.

HHDX: Growing up, who did you consider to be some of your strongest musical influences?

DK: My sound…GZA [Genius]. A lot of ‘Ol school cats like [Eric B. &] Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Superlova Cee and Cassanova Rudd. I used to break-dance when I was smaller, too. Actually, that’s how I met GZA. I met GZA at a barbershop in our ‘hood out in Bushwick, Brooklyn, and we met like that. I started dancing for him.

HHDX: At what point did you decide that you wanted to pursue music on a professional basis?

DK: I’ll say that hit me probably like around 1993, ’94. See, that’s a tricky question right there, because I look at myself now at what I’m doing, as far as an executive and the A&R side of things, I look at this more now as on a professional level. This is what I look at as a professional level, ‘cause everybody claim they’re emcees in their rhymes and all of that, (but) I was never really one of those big successful emcees anyway. I did good for myself, don’t get me wrong, I’ve been on good records, did a lot of good things, toured the world and all of that. But, to me, I think now this is my real time with music, in the music business, is starting to take effect.

HHDX: What prompted your decision to play the backfield, opposed to taking center stage?

DK: I decided that maybe about 5 years ago. I was on the road with GZA, we were probably in Europe touring, and it became a situation where, everybody gets this sometimes, you just sit back and analyze your life, what you’ve been doing, what you did up until that point. I wasn’t really happy with a lot of things in my life, as far as being an emcee. I was happy with touring the world, being on the records, and being with the Wu [Tang Clan], but I wasn’t getting the real satisfaction out of being in the music business that I really wanted, that I thought it would be.

HHDX: Is that the whole reason behind you starting your own new venture, Think Differently Music Group?

DK: I started Think Differently Music Group about two years ago. I just did it as like, “I’m gonna start my own little indie boutique label.” The first thing I wanted to do is just create a name, and an outlet to put out a lot of our unreleased songs, and mixtapes and shit like that. That’s how it initially started, with me putting exclusive CDs (on) and Then I had this thought of doing this whole label executive, A&R thing. The first project I (did) A&R (for) was Masta Killa’s [No Said Date] album, and (the) Black Market Militia. Those were my first two projects, and I had these beats I was sittin’ on. I was like, “Yo, I wanna do this project, and I wanna do my boutique label, but I don’t want to do it just like how everybody else is doing their thing.” Everybody claim they got a label too. All I wanted was to do something that was ground-breaking, and cutting edge.

HHDX: How would you describe and/or define the overall sound on this Wu-Tang Meets the Indie Culture compilation?

DK: Basically, it takes you back to a certain time and period in hip-hop, where the music was a certain way, and the song structure was a certain way. (It’s the) Think Differently Music movie soundtrack. The only thing missing, the soundtrack is coming first, so you ain’t gonna get the movie yet. It’s basically RZA sound from like 1993 to like 1996. It’s the overall Wu sound that was coming out around that time. I would definitely say that if you respect real hip-hop, if you know what real hip-hop is, and not just the hip-hop that’s been going on since the corporations took over, (then) it’s a treat to hear. The product is bangin’ – it speaks for itself.

HHDX: How difficult was it in putting together a project of this caliber?

DK: It wasn’t difficult at all, ‘cause basically I had the beats first. I got the beats from the producers [RZA, Bronze Nazareth, Allah Mathematics, Preservation, DJ Noize], that’s the first thing I did. I sequenced the album without even having emcees on it. I put the record together as far as from a production standpoint. Then I started going over it in my mind like, “I want to put this emcee on this beat, and this one on this beat. I want to put this one on this beat with him, and I want to do this song with these two.” I started mixing and matching. The process took maybe like three months.

HHDX: What are your future plans for Think Differently Music Group?

DK: I got a soundtrack that I’m doing. I can’t reveal the movie title (yet), but it’s definitely something big. I can’t even mention who’s in it. If I mention it, they’ll kill me!! It’s something big. People that know my affiliation, all they have to do, put two and two together. That’ll probably not be for another year or so. The second release(s) will be a solo record from Bronze Nazareth, and a solo record from LA the Darkman. And then I’m A&R for a project that’s gonna be ground-breaking. I can’t really speak on it (either), but it is one dude from hip-hop, and one dude from like real rock – it’s gonna be crazy!! It’s not a mash-up record!! This is gonna be like a story record. This is gonna be the first story book hip-hop album, not that mash-up sh*t. It’s gonna be a real story, like each song gonna be a different page.

HHDX: So, I guess it’d be fair to say that you are not happy with the current state of hip-hop music?

DK: Naw, not at all. I’m not happy with it, but at the same time, I’m a hip-hop lover so I find myself still out there searching for something good to listen to. There’s some good hip-hop out there if you really try to dig and look for it, but it’s not much – it’s not enough. The negative definitely outweighs the positive, and all of the other shit.

HHDX: Was the current state of the music industry the main reason in putting together this Wu-Tang Meets the Indie Culture project?

DX: I said, “I’m gonna do this Wu Tang, ‘cause the gods are the ones who brought me into this, so I wanted to keep that element in there.” So, I got the Wu Tang emcees [GZA, RZA, Masta Killa, U-GOD], with the top, and some of the best, underground independent artists that I feel are out. I could’ve gotten some other artists that were on major labels, like Mos Def and Redman, but I wanted to keep it on an independent scale. Every artist on here is basically unsigned in a sense, and I don’t think a lot of people are looking at it like that. This album is made up of some of the best emcees in this business, and all of these guys are independent, so this is like a showcase too. All of these guys basically need to be taken to the next level, which would be on a major label. And for some reason, major labels have been sleeping on guys like Ras Kass, GZA, RZA, and [MF] Doom. Kanye West, perfect example. I was just reading it cost him three million dollars to put his [Late Registration] album together – C’mon!! If I tell you how much it cost me, the budget, to me this is more ground-breaking. To me this is the most important hip-hop release to come out in a long time.

HHDX: Why don’t more record companies take chances by releasing these types of albums in the hopes of bettering the art form?

DK: It all boils down to the capital. People don’t want the risk of putting money into something where they’re not guaranteed to make their money back. My whole objective is I say, “Let the people decide what’s good.” If you feel in your heart that you’re putting out a good project, and you did all you could do to deliver something good for hip-hop, I think the rewards will come to you. You gotta take chances – that’s in any business, in life, you (just) gotta take chances.

HHDX: Looking ahead, say 5, or even 10, years from now, where do you see yourself?

DK: Hopefully, I see myself being one of the top black executives, up in one of these major record labels. I don’t know which one it’ll be yet, but hopefully that’s the ultimate goal. Hopefully, I can get there in less than five years.

HHDX: As for the immediate future, what’s next for you?

DK: (Get the album,) however you can get it. You can download it for free, it doesn’t matter to me – I love the internet world. Get the album, and once you get it then you’ll love it. That’s when I expect people to go out and buy it and support a good hip-hop album. I know everybody’s money is hard to get, so I don’t want people to waste their money on something they don’t believe in. So, hear it however you want to hear it, but after you hear it, and you respect it, and you love it, and you like it, then go out and buy it!!

Dreddy Kruger would love any & all feedback in regards to Wu-Tang Meets the Indie Culture. Feel free to email him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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