Chaps: Introduce yourself, crews, affiliations, and discography.
Joe Dub: Joe Dub / Old, no longer Young, Joseph. Workforce, Dub Brothers, Pain Killers, Love Bomb, San Francisco Street Music, Asita Recordings, La2thebay /Invisible Enemy. “Summer Fling” and “The Walk,” those are the most recent releases, but there’s twenty years worth on top of those.
Do you think that having three names is confusing for people to keep straight?
Yeah I guess for people just becoming hip to what I do it can be confusing, but at the same time there are different sides to me. As dumb as it sounds, each name kind of represents a part of me. I got this song on my new album I did with Omid where I address that, I say “I’m Young Joe when I’m drunk… Old Joe with my love… Joe Dub to my homies… Joe Bell’s all the above,” so I guess “Summer Fling” falls under the name Young Joseph. It’s a very immature album content-wise, a lot of womanizing and teenage shit. “The Walk,” which was under the name Old Joseph, is more grown up, what I’d like to call mature music. I’m not the same person I was four years ago, I’m older, I’ve smoked thousands of cigarettes and they’ve aged me, I’m Old Joseph now. I don’t even feel young anymore; I cough when I breathe… hahaha.
Do you like rapping or producing better? Explain.
Honestly, I used to prefer rapping over producing because I had fools like Alex75, Deeskee, Liferexall, Antimc, and Subtitle making beats for me, which made writing raps easy. It brought out the most in my pen, I had to stay par with the quality that they were bringing. But lately I would rather sit down and make a beat than write a rap. I mean producing, to me, is a challenge. I mean one day I’ll have to work on something for Ellay Khule and really have to tap into his sound and who he is as an emcee, and I mean if you’ve heard his shit, there’s no limit. So it’s a challenge trying to find something you think will not only go hand in hand with whatever style he’s bringing to the table, but also accommodate that style and help to make it shine. And then the next day having to do something for my homegirl, Topic, who’s on a different side of the map, who demands a distinct sound of her own. Producing is really where my heart’s at lately. I spend equal time doing both but I really spend my days fine tuning beats, gettin’ em to fit the person they’re for.
What do you use to make your beats and where do you draw your inspiration from?
At this point in time I’m using an MPC 2000XL, Fender Rhodes, and various percussion instruments. Inspiration, it comes from the music I listen to daily, it comes from the eventful snippets of my life. I sit in one room and listen to records, go to the next room and watch the SF Giants game, go to the next room, read the message board disses toward me, then go into the lab and record what I learned that day.
It seems that you are concerned with people not hearing your music. What are you doing to get your music out there? Are you on the back burner?
Haha man, I’m caught in that twist. I mean, honestly, I don’t make my music for anyone but myself. There are a lot of lines in my shit that my closest friends get, but to the average listener it’s foreign. I’ve always made my shit that way, super personal. I mean I release it, so I kind of want it to be accepted, but at the same time I limit the distribution of my releases. I don’t care if I sell 50 or 500. I mean I hope to sell 500 so I can make my money back, but after the turn over I don’t care. I’m a believer of good music and I feel good music will run its race, find its audience, and settle down and be loved how it should.
What is a day in the life like for Joe Dub?
Wake up… smoke… shit… Lauren… shower… beats… liquor store… eat… beats… liquor store… eat… liquor store… sleep… can’t sleep?… liquor store.
What inspired you to put it down on the rhyme and the beat?
On December 21, 1985 my sister was murdered. On December 26, 1985, I recorded a rap song dedicated to her and from that day on I made it a point to extend her life through my words. I’ve never stopped and I won’t stop until I am stopped!
What is your favorite track you have made and why?
Probably the song I made for my sister five days after she passed, it was the most personal shit I’ve done. It was the first shit I wrote.
Hip hop is full of crazy shit. What is the craziest thing you have experienced?
Well hmm, let’s see… though they might not sound too crazy. Me and Subtitle smoked weed with two white broads on a muni bus in SF. Me and P Minus were left stranded in LA by Linda Tripp and I ran up on him donned in a ski mask and pretty much put him on PC. Um I mean these stories are funnier if you were there, I ain’t really trying to bust out names.
I also role with the top down in the summer and the top up in the winter. Why do you think that hip hop is universal worldwide?
It’s spoken in relative tongue. It’s a fusion of many genres of music with the whole break beat boom, the whole record craze. I think it’s opened a lot of people’s ears to artists as well as styles of music a lot of people would never be exposed to, rap is a gigantic cauldron, a stew. We appreciate all, and our words touch most.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be, and why?
Either in the SFC or in Hawaii. SF for obvious reasons, it’s my hometown, there’s the Giants, the 49ers and an incredible line up of fuckin’ ill ass musical acts coming through on the daily. Hawaii, if you haven’t been here it’s pretty much what you imagine, five minutes from the most beautiful beach you’ll ever see. I mean look at my back yard. We got Banana trees, Avocado trees, Lemon trees. Man I’m too drunk to remember the rest but that’s not all. It’s paradise out here, clean air, peaceful. I’m trying to get someone to join me out here. You wanna move out here?
Are you sinking or swimming?
I’m sinkin’. I can’t swim. When I was like nine or ten I was posted in the middle of Clear Lake on an inner tube, my boy Eric came swimmin’ up underneath me, overturned the inner tube. I sank to the bottom of the lake and well, frankly, I haven’t swam since.
If you could make a super group (a hip hop all star team), as captain who would you select in addition to yourself as the starting lineup and why?
Shit, let me be arrogant for once. It would be Workforce, myself, Radioinactive, Subtitle, Xololanxinxo, Liferexall, Omid, and Premonition. Why myself? I don’t know why… haha. Radio? He’s an under innovator, dude’s inspired a grip of fools unintentionally. Sub? Man Gino’s the most eclectic, put together fool I know. He’s doing some shit I won’t think about until I’m 35. Xinxo? That fool’s one of the purest poets, king of words today. Liferexall? Both one of the most underestimated rappers and producers on the west coast. Me and this fool really share a lot of music together Omid? This is basically the most progressive producer, in my opinion, out west. I mean shit, “Beneath the Surface” was tight but look at Monolith, light years ahead of where he came from. And Premonition? Dude’s gotta be one of the cleverest braggadocio emcees I’ve heard.
You are coming off the very successful ” Painkillers 7. ” What is next?
I got the new album “Pooretry” which features a lot of folks. I decided to make this one a lot like “Noise Pollution,” strong guest appearances and solid producers. The cover art is on some shit, some wood cutting. I’m satisfied with this one more than any other before it.
Why do you think people relate to your music so easily?
Because I talk about everyday shit in an everyday way, no sugar coated reality. Really though, I’ve heard some flattering things. I’ve had one person tell me that while homeless the only possessions they held was a walkman and my tape, and the tape got them through their days. I’ve also had one man tell me that he was hooked hard on drugs and that listening to one of my albums prompted him to go straight. That’s the most humbling shit I’ve ever heard. That’s worth more than a dyed green piece of el-presidente.
How would you describe you music to someone who has never heard it?
Sit in a pub, drink one with me, chop it up for 5 minutes and you’ve heard one song. It’s me, nothing special, but true individual. My raps are my acts, I’m chill.
What is something that you wish you would have known along the way that would have made things easier for you?
Nothing, nothing is easy. If it was easy it was a trick. Learning things the easy way, nah I learned everything the hard way and I’m glad I did. I’m a hard head, I learn the hard way.
Is “Summer Fling” a metaphor for hip hop? Or am I reading too much into that?
Summer Fling was a goodbye, it was a final goodbye to a part of my life. The part that womanized, cruised clubs for girls, bounced from one bed to the next, and I decided to put that part of my life away. That was basically a goodnight kiss to that part of me that I was sick of, thus the change from young to old.
Did you not miss a step by jumping from young Joseph to Old Joseph? What about middle aged Joseph?
Nah, once 25 hit young became old, there’s never a middle. You can’t ride the fence, it’s either high or low, and at this point I’m low, old and grey.
Do you have any stories, shouts or things you want to say?
Buy what you want, don’t bootleg. Appreciate the originators; no one gave Dolphy the credit he deserved for exposing Coltrane to that aggressive sax playing. Rap has the same icons, learn your history, its one thing to know the music it’s another to know where it came from. One love… bunder 5.