Smoking Wax With Rapper Demrick
6:09 p.m.: B-Real gets some encouragement and begins rapping about weed. He picks up the weed case and shakes it. His flow is tight and slower than those of the other two. He's deliberate and a little hesitant.
6:14 p.m.: De and he start freestyling together. De mentions in his verse that it's a special event for B-Real to freestyle (apparently he never does this).
6:15 p.m.: B-Real shakes his head and laughs. De continues: "I'm on this mic like I got to pay my rent tonight. I got to make it so I'm here to take it break it."
6:30 p.m.: B-Real steps behind the DJ booth and starts fucking around with some beats. I start chatting with him about the Internet TV show that he's done for three and a half years now. He got the idea from Maseo of De La Soul and their own broadcast "De La Soul's Dugout." He wanted to expand the idea of a live stream and get a bunch of different shows on one site. He's planning on working with De on some more material: a solo album, a mixtape and a new Cypress Hill album.
6:45 p.m.: We head out to an underground hip-hop studio called Truth Studios on N. Stanley Ave.
7:20 p.m.: I find a spot on the street and reverse my car. CRASH. Fuck, I just hit a white Toyota.
7:21 p.m.: De starts laughing his ass off outside my car. It's pretty dark out, but he assesses the damage. He thinks I didn't leave a trace. He tells me that I'm a really bad driver. I agree.
7:24 p.m.: "My niggas came with the Christmas bags!" shouts De as we walk into the studio. Samples of his Bloodbath clothing line are on a plastic table in the foyer.
7:25 p.m.: Owner, manager and recording engineer Nick Breton welcomes me to the studio. He's been in this space for about a year and a half. He was working out of his apartment across the street for a few years before the move. "There was just too much traffic in my bedroom, with sometimes eight people sleeping there," says Nick, laughing. "Everyone was just trying to turn shit up really loud six days a week."
Danielle Bacher Nick Breton (Left) De, Polyester and Patrick Molina(Right)
7:26 p.m.: "But it was really community-based. I just wanted to support musicians in Los Angeles and open my doors to talented people. Everyone was trying to make great music, and, at the end of the day, it's what we are all pursuing in hopes that there's some money that helps pay the bills." Mixing and mastering engineer Glenn Gonda nods from behind the clothing table.
7:29 p.m.: We head upstairs. There's a wall covered with Polaroid photos of hip-hop artists who have recorded in the studio, including Kendrick Lamar, Rick Ross, Too $hort and Earl Sweatshirt. I'm joined by rapper/producer Polyester the Saint. Patrick Molina, the sales and marketing rep for Bloodbath (along with Tighe), is here, too.
7:30 p.m.: Nick plays "Follow My Lead" from De's new album Wings Up, due out March 26. De starts rapping to his own track. It has a hot beat and a great hook. He's got a distinctive, stop-start rhythm to his flow. You'll probably be hearing it on the radio before long.
7:42 p.m.: Nick started recording with former Inglewood hip-hop duo U-N-I in his well-equipped bedroom four years ago. They spread the word around, and more underground artists started hitting him up. De was one of the first artists he met while U-N-I was collaborating with Xzibit. They showed up with a large bag of weed, and Nick kept fucking up left and right. "His apartment was where everyone was going to record their first album. He was always on the cusp of what was coming out next," explains De.
7:48 p.m.: Polyester met Nick at one of the studio sessions two years ago. Polyester was working with U-N-I in North Hollywood with his production team L.A.U.S.D. [Los Angeles Unified Sound District]. "I became a huge fan of his work before I even met him," says Nick. "I heard these beats and songs, and they were great." The three of them started recording music together this past year after De met Polyester. They are in the final stages of mixing the album.
Danielle Bacher The Studio
7:55 p.m.: Nick tells me that he used to rap and produce. De bursts out, "Whoa, whoa whoa! You used to rap? We are putting you on a verse on this album!"
7:57 p.m.: Polyester is sitting on the black leather couch with his arms crossed. He's wearing a green beanie, a white Bloodbath longsleeve shirt and a tan and brown vest. He also has scruff and a stoned look on his face. He went on his first tour this past year with Dom Kennedy.
8:10 p.m.: Polyester says, "The best way to work with De is with some wine or alcoholic beverages, turnin' the speakers up loud and gettin' it crackin'."
8:28 p.m.: We head out of the studio, and I climb back into my car. It's really cold outside, and I'm starting to feel sick. I drive to Mulberry Studios in Sherman Oaks to listen to some new beats from rapper/hip-hop producer Scoop DeVille. The Fugees' "Ready or Not" is blasting loudly in my car.
9:00 p.m.: I arrive at the studio and park on the street. I walk up to the driveway and meet Tighe. This is his crib and studio, which he shares with a bunch of other dudes.
9:02 p.m.: I hear music. The guys who live in the house have built the studio in the back. It's a cool little pad with wooden walls, a hangout space with couches and a studio to record. Scoop is playing some jazzy instrumental beats. He calls it "some Tina Turner shit."
9:03 p.m.: De pours himself some Ciroc and limeade. He can't believe I've never tried Diddy's drink and pours me a glass.
9:05 p.m.: Scoop, Kid Cudi's engineer/producer Current, producer/artist Michael Sterling Eaton and manager John Edgar are all jamming out to Scoop's new shit. Scoop is on the keys rocking the fuck out. He created a new duo called Watercolor Werewolf with Eaton. The music is from a new three-song EP entitled Transmissions From the 5th Dimension.
Danielle Bacher Michael Sterling Eaton (Left) and Scoop DeVille (Right)
9:10 p.m.: These beats are really out there. I feel like this entire studio should be on acid right about now.
9:22 p.m.: We're all mesmerized by these beats. They're sick. De is sitting on the couch, bobbing his head in silence to the rhythm.
Danielle Bacher Michael Sterling Eaton (Left), Scoop DeVille (Right) and Current (Front)
10:05 p.m.: De's hungry, so we're about to roll to his favorite Japanese BBQ place, Gyu-Kaku on Ventura Blvd. with some of the guys who live in the house. De jumps in my car, and we're blasting T.I.'s "What You Know." He's rapping along to the lyrics. He pauses, turns to me and says, "Man, you getting sick. I can hear it. Are you going to be able to keep going? The night is young! I'm gonna try and get you faded. Chug that NyQuil!"
10:07 p.m.: De tells me his girlfriend Bianca is going to meet us there. He also says she's a "dope-ass amazing singer." They met through her best friend, who was featured in the video for the song "What It Is" with Xzibit. Her best friend wanted more girls for the video and told De that Bianca thought he was cute. He knew Bianca wasn't right for the video, but thought she would make a good girlfriend instead. They've been dating for a little over a year.
10:10 p.m.: "By the way, you smoked DMT, how the hell was that?" asks De. "It lasted hours, didn't it? How the hell did you do this wild night on DMT? Damn, girl." He explained I got major street cred after that. We are looking for a parking spot. We find one and hop out of the car. Three other producers/artists, Ian, Benjamin and Alon, tell me that they picked up three girls at a stoplight and that they will be joining us for dinner. I'm weirded out.