Interview: Problem Talks “Diamond Lane America”
Fri, 23 Jan 2015 09:49:51
Get ready because Diamond Lane Music Group is about to take over in 2015. It’s been brewing for a while, but the conquest goes down with the release of Problem’s forthcoming Diamond Lane America. The West Coast savior produced the bulk of the material, and his robust wordplay and vivid storytelling undoubtedly take center stage, once again asserting him as one of the most talented MCs in the game. This is Problem’s year…We called it.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Problem talks Diamond Lane America, “Andale” featuring Lil Jon, his upcoming tour with Salva, and more.
Where are you at on the album, Diamond Lane America, right now?
The new project that’s getting ready to drop is done. Now, we’re just getting everything right and tight. Expect it really, really soon.
What’s your vision for it?
Without taking too much away from the people who are going to buy it and are waiting for it, Diamond Lane America represents the movement that I represent. It’s Diamond Lane. It’s the fashion, the way we think, the way we talk, and the way we move. It’s the actual act of the progression of independency. Musically, it will show the growth of me and Bad Lucc—and us as a whole. I had a chance to really dive in there artistically this time, and I produced almost all of the records. I’m pretty excited about it.
Were those classic West Coast albums on your mind? You represent that tradition, but you take it down a new lane.
First of all, thank you for that! With Diamond Lane, that’s really the goal. We want to bridge the gap between the older sound and the newer sound and really make it a whole. I didn’t go into it like that though. I just wanted to have a good time. I don’t get that deep into it during the creative process. We come with it. That’s strictly up to the fans. We were just in there having a good time and representing Diamond Lane.
Was it important for you to handle most of the production?
I think it’s one of the most important thing especially because since day one I’ve pushed nothing but independency. This the maximum way of doing it. We’re going to do it all in-house and this way and show people that you can. That’s what this represents—showing people you can do it your way and not letting anything stop you. What better way to tell this story than to tell it ourselves.
Was “Andale” [feat. Lil’ Jon] all about capturing that fun and energy?
Shout out to Jahlil first for just being my home boy, and he sent me that crazy joint! I just didn’t know what to do with it. It brought me back to the Ruff Ryders records. I love that. I love the intensity of making some money, having some fun, just getting off of work, or going to work out. It’s like, “Let’s get to it!” [Laughs] Think of the spirit of all that. I wanted to get really energetic on that because that’s where the music took me. For the “Turn Up King” himself Lil’ Jon to bless me with his vocals, it was even more exciting!
Has it been particularly fun for you to collaborate with Destructo? Are you working on any more music?
Oh man, Gary’s a great guy. We’re actually getting into the studio next week. We were just talking about this other day. The vibe was incredible. We didn’t know what to expect. We were just like, “Let’s get in there and turn up!” [Laughs] It turned out how it did. We’ve got a couple of other records too. The thing is you go in there and don’t even think about it. Nobody puts barriers on Diamond Lane. We do what we want to do. Nobody says we can’t. When you’re a hundred and you know what you’re representing is a hundred, it doesn’t matter. I just want to enjoy the music and this lifestyle. I can go anywhere. We could do a country song. It’s all music.
What speaks to you about West Coast hip-hop? Take being from here out of the equation...
That’s impossible to take me out of the equation [Laughs]. I get to understand it in all life forms. I visually watched it in front of me from the O.G.’s. I remember when Snoop Dogg and those guys were nineteen, being the young guns and killing everything to right now and watching everybody do their thing. The culture of the West Coast is here, and it’s never going anywhere. We put our stamp on this game, and we’ve always brought a natural aggressiveness and our own style to it. We’re back out front. It’s about keeping it and doing it in a not better way because what they did is magnificent. Shout out to the big homies! It’s about keeping the culture going...It’s a great feeling.
It’s funny. It seems like 2001 might’ve been the moment the East Coast really recognized the West because it was just so massive when it came out.
2001 is a dope fucking album. That album is crazy. Kurupt was on there destroying everything. That was like everybody’s “coming back together” party. I remember that.
Are you looking forward to the tour with Salva?
When we got together in the studio, we just went in and didn’t give a fuck. We just made jams. I respect what he does. He’s the one who actually got me producing my project. That was one of them things I listened to him about. People might be like, “Look at him trying to do everything,” but who gives a fuck? He told me all the time, “That shit sounds good. Get to it.” We’re about to going on this little run, and we’re bringing it to these cities.
What do you like about jumping on other people’s records?
We talk about getting out there and moving around. Those records represent different times. With Rich Homie Quan, we just happened to be getting together, and “Walk Thru” was made. I don’t know if he knew, but I didn’t know it’d be a hit. That’s not my job. My job is just to have fun with it. Even with the Mike WiLL Made-It situation, I’ve been knowing him for a long time. I just got in there with Young Thug. It’s just been happening. When I get in the studio with these great artists, I just know I want to hold my own and do my thing.
Where is Diamond Lane Music Group headed?
I’m looking forward to taking this thing to a better place than it was last year. That’s what it’s about. It’s not really about trying to race anybody else. It’s about doing better than yesterday, putting out more music and content for the people involved in this movement that we are representing and making people love L.A.—all aspects of it. We feel like we represent all aspects of Los Angeles.
What’s your favorite Problem song?
Get “Andale” on iTunes!
See our last interview with Problem and Bad Lucc here!
See our Top 10 Problem Songs here!
See Problem's Most Impactful West Coast Records here!