Deep Into the Night with Kurupt and DJ Nik Bean: We Go to Hooters, Among Other Places
10:00 PM: Snoop and Kurupt made a pact in the early '90s. They told each other that whoever makes it in the rap world will bring the other along. "Snoop is a man of his word. Sure enough, he made it, and the rest is history."
10:03 PM: The Lakers game is on the bar's TVs. They're neck-and-neck with the Pacers.
10:10 PM: Kurupt knew he wanted to be a rapper since he was eight. When he was growing up, it was unadulterated, real hip-hop. It was all about mic skills, battling and rocking house parties. There is a difference between being a rapper and an MC.
Doing Drugs, Lots of Drugs, With Myka 9
I Hung Out With Ty $ the Other Night. Things Got Out of Hand
10:15 PM: "It saved my life," he says. I ask him what it saved him from. "Everything," he says, looking deep into my eyes. "If I didn't have hip-hop, what else was there to do? Just get in trouble." At 16, Kurupt moved to California and was introduced to gangbanging. He met Snoop at the Roxy after a rap competition in 1990. He said that everyone wanted to be like Snoop. All the rappers wanted to have that cadence and flyness. Snoop and Dr. Dre showed Kurupt how to actually make a record.
10:24 PM: We discuss DJ Quik, whom Kurupt calls his uncle because he was in the game first. "He took a nigga under his wing and showed me so much." They're currently working on their next album together.
10:26 PM: Kurupt discusses how hip-hop translates to other countries. He says that in Japan they don't know a lick of English, but they know "Bitch, where's my money?"
10:30 PM: I talk with Tren for a moment about his mother passing away. He says he was happy he wrote the song about her and got to speak about her from the heart. He said his dad helped him a little bit, and they might release it.
10:31 PM: Tren has made a few other rap songs before this one. "I just want to travel and rap. It's in the blood." He pauses a minute and adjusts his black hoodie. "My mom has been there for me and through all the memories I have. She was a very good person. I'm feeling a little down still," he says.
10:32 PM: Kurupt leaves with Tren.
10:35 PM: "I just asked a girl to marry me today in a text," says DJ Nik. He shows me the text. She is an ex. He's just kidding, although, "Pussy is a powerful device."
10:40 PM: Everyone is pissed that the Lakers lost. DJ Nik tells me that he's opening a healthy chain restaurant called Saladish in Union Station with Laker Metta World Peace.
10:44 PM: We leave the bar. I reconvene with Nik Bean downtown. He mentions that he has had a lot of deaths in his life this year. His grandmother recently passed away, as well as rapper Sandman and video director/manager Pop Gates. Pop committed suicide. This business can kill you, he adds.
11:10 PM: We hop in DJ Nik's Lexus. He enjoys listening to music he's worked on to give him motivation. He's playing Hot Dollar's "Streetz on Lock." Turns out he helped Hot Dollar get a deal at Def Jam. Ironically, Tha Dogg Pound and Hot Dollar had beef with each other.
11:12 PM: We're riding near MacArthur Park on 6th street. "A lot of crazy shit goes down there," he says. He drives a few streets down to Wilshire and Alvarado, where he shows me his old office. He used to break into the building by climbing the exit stairs to the fourth floor. No one was supposed to be there late at night, but he would make his music and then sleep.
11:40 PM: We arrive near the Staples Center and head into Hooters to wait for Kurupt to show up. He's filming a commercial for the Boomphones. We meet Nik's friend Christiana there. They met on Facebook and went on a few dates a year ago. Another Hooters girl named Monica joins in for a photo:
12:20 AM: We end up meeting Kurupt and the videographer in front of the Staples Center. They just finished wrapping the shoot. We missed it because we were chatting with the Hooters girls.
12:35 AM: Kurupt's bodyguard yells, "We need to go! The cops are coming!" We leave. One member of the crew is on probation.
12:38 AM: We congregate behind Hooters. Kurupt's bodyguard is driving the car. Kurupt gets out of the passenger side while talking on the phone to his personal assistant. He starts screaming, "What the fuck is wrong with you? Everyone else is out here working." He paces back and forth. He looks pissed. All I hear is "Shut the fuck up and get in the motherfucking game."
12:50 AM: We decide to end the night early and meet back up on Saturday evening, when Kurupt is playing a show in Anaheim at Mirror Image Studios.
1:21 AM: DJ Nik and I walk through the VIP backstage section to try to find Kurupt. There are two half-naked women with clothes painted on. Everyone is smoking weed.
1:23 AM: We walk through an enormous cloud of smoke.
1:25 AM: We try to walk up to the stage to see if Kurupt is there. There are tons of people everywhere.
1:33 AM: Kurupt shows up with a posse outside the studio. There are four cameras in his face. DJ Nik and I walk up to him. Kurupt gives me a hug. Everyone reeks of weed.