Smoking Wax With Rapper Demrick
[Editor's note: Soon-to-be-award-winning gonzo music journalist Danielle Bacher prowls the late late night scene for West Coast Sound. For this installment, she hit the town with Demrick, aka Young De, a rapper and songwriter who has collaborated with Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill, Kurupt and Xzibit. Also along for some of the ride was rapper B-Real, producer Scoop DeVille and others.]
4:02 p.m.: Demrick lies on a couch in B-Real's studio downtown. B-Real's 4:20 internet TV show is on every night, and De appears Fridays. Right now he's waiting to freestyle.
4:10 p.m.: De starts texting on his cell. On his left forearm is a tattoo of himself playing the guitar. He doesn't actually know how to play guitar, but he wants to learn. He's 31, but looks like he's 21. He's biracial, with large brown eyes, brown stubble under his chin and coal-black hair to match his black attire.
Danielle Bacher Demrick at The Spitting Chicken Cantina
4:12 p.m.: De gets up and disappears for a moment.
4:14 p.m.: I'm sitting on a couch in the lobby next to De's friend, producer Branden Tighe. Branden is quiet. He opens his mouth to say something, but just giggles a few times. It's kind of awkward, but we make small talk.
Danielle Bacher De and Branden Tighe
4:16 p.m.: De returns with a glass bong.
4:17 p.m.: He puts his mouth down to the mouthpiece, lights the weed and inhales. He sucks in the fumes and coughs, blows out a large cloud of white smoke.
4:18 p.m.: We walk into the green room. De introduces me to B-Real, metal/punk guru Doug E. Douche and DJ Shiva. B-Real quickly asks me to write content on the blog he updates in conjunction with the show.
4:26 p.m.: I watch the show from the waiting area. I can't hear it that well, but they are discussing Dwight Howard, something about B-Real being stoned and vaginas. I may be hearing this wrong.
Danielle Bacher Doug. E Douche (Left) De (Middle) and B-Real (Right)
4:28 p.m.: The chrome cylinder walls in this room look three-dimensional. I really want to touch the walls. They look so cool.
4:30 p.m.: De explains how he met B-Real. Cypress Hill rapper Sen Dog's brother Mellow Ace Man used to bring De around to their studio in Chatsworth. It was Fleetwood Mac's old studio, which they renamed "the Temple." De hung out there for a month straight without the group knowing that he rapped.
4:31 p.m.: One day, De started freestyling for B-Real, for about four minutes straight. B-Real sent him to the booth, and they recorded a song, although it was never released. They kept in touch, and soon after, he was featured on B-Real's mixtape The Gunslinger Part III: For a Few Dollars More. In 2008, B-Real produced and rapped on De's mixtape Hustlaz Vol. 1. A year later, De was featured on B-Real's Smoke N Mirrors solo album and Cypress Hill's eighth studio album Rise Up. He's also toured with B-Real and Cypress Hill numerous times over the years.
4:33 p.m.: De met rapper Xzibit when the single "Don't You Dare Laugh" came out. He got a call to meet at Aftermath Studios to work on some potential Dr. Dre material. The engineer introduced the two of them and Xzibit asked, "Aren't you B-Real's protégé? You have my favorite song on XM Radio right now, and we have to do a song together."
4:35 p.m.: It's very cold in the studio. People keep walking in and out. De sprawls out on the couch. His eyes look glassy. He continues to tell me that Xzibit and how he worked on the song "Figure It Out" on DJ Muggs's album Souls Assassins Intermissions. De wrote and rapped on the verses and the hook. The two worked on numerous projects together, toured several times and even created a new group called Serial Killaz, consisting of the two of them and B-Real.
4:36 p.m.: "It's funny because going along with this rap shit, you always think that it's going to come down to the record or the songs that you make, but sometimes it comes down to that face-to-face interaction with somebody," De says. "You believe in yourself a whole bunch, but once more people believe in you, your confidence starts to build up. That's what happened when I was first discovered by Kurupt."
4:38 p.m.: De looks at me, coughs and laughs. "This world is crazy, right?"
4:40 p.m.: De met Kurupt through the latter's brother, rapper Roscoe, in late 2006. The two were working on music in Philly at the time. De rented out a fiberglass building that was converted into a studio in nearby suburb Collingdale. Roscoe came to listen to some beats.
4:41 p.m.: A year later, Roscoe came back to Philly with Kurupt, and they insisted that De and his group Tangled Thoughts move to Los Angeles. Kurupt told De, "Yo, I want to come through. I'm getting back with Snoop. It's time to go kill it. Let me produce you. We gonna put this shit together." De moved to Cali later that year.
4:42 p.m.: De worked with Kurupt on Kurupt Presents Tangled Thoughts: Philly 2 Cali, but the group split up and went their separate ways.
4:45 p.m.: De shows me a YouTube video of him and Xzibit performing to 4,000 fans in Belek, Turkey. "I love crowd surfing," he says. "B-Real told me the first time I started crowd surfing, 'If you go out there, you better not fuck your verse up.'" He starts laughing. "I never have, though."
4:50 p.m.: I can't stop coughing. I can't figure out if it's from all the weed smoke around me, or if I'm about to get sick. I think it's the latter.
5:14 p.m.: It's still freezing in here. We reminisce about Philly, where I'm from.
5:16 p.m.: De hollers at DJ/producer Salem Wreck. He has been a touring DJ for Eminem, DJ Quik, Obie Trice and Tha Dogg Pound, as well as a regular on B-Real's show.
Danielle Bacher Salem Wreck
De shouts, "You suck!"
DJ Wreck blows his nose loudly and screams back, "I may suck, but I don't swallow!"
"I have no reply to that," De says, laughing.
5:19 p.m.: "Want to get liquored up?" De asks me. He calls out to Wreck again, "What you doing tonight?"
"Drugs," he responds.
"You doin' them already. You don't need it to be the nighttime to do that."
"I'm going to the Lakers game. I want to watch Kobe get stomped the fuck out. World Peace will fuck Westbrook up."
He and DJ Wreck start planning what De is going to freestyle to on the show. They settle on Jay-Z's "Lucifer" from 2003's The Black Album.
5:22 p.m.: I hear screaming in the green room. Something about sucking the AIDS out of Magic Johnson. De shakes his head with disapproval.
5:50 p.m.: I'm inside the green room. There are cameras positioned in front of B-Real, De and MC/producer Aspect One. They are sitting in front of a table with a bluish pill bottle filled with weed and a glass Roor bong. B-Real takes a large hit.
Danielle Bacher De (Left) B-Real (Middle) and Aspect One (Right)
5:51 p.m.: B-Real says off-camera, "DJ Muggs told me this a long time ago, and it always stayed with me. He said, 'You gotta be with other dope MC's to really compete. If you around some wack motherfuckers, you always got to keep your ear out for who is spitting what. You got to keep up.'"
6:00 p.m.: DJ Wreck spins Jay-Z's song, and Aspect One starts freestyling. His flow is solid, and his rhymes are quick-witted, boastful, and intelligent.
6:02 p.m.: De starts freestyling and he's much louder. He raps about "bitches and niggas" being dead. He slips up a few times, but he's good. He stops and everyone in the room says, "Damn." De turns to B-Real and says, "Yeah, brother, I'm feeling it today. Let's do some more rapping, man!"
6:07 p.m.: B-Real has his hands folded together. He's bobbing his head with his gray LRS cap covering his eyes. De finishes his freestyle, and B-Real explains why he's nervous to freestyle himself. It's funny that he's so concerned, since he's the veteran.