Cool & Dre Interview
|Artist:||Cool & Dre|
|Next Project:||Joe Hound's Misery Loves Company|
|Website:||Cool & Dre's Website|
In the current era of Hip-Hop, where the success of a song is predicated by its beat, producers from all around the world are concocting successful anthems. A 16-year old with an illegal copy of Pro Tools can now be the next Dr. Dre and have his music heard by an A&R the morning after it’s produced. Unfortunately, this is both a gift and a curse; more opportunity for newcomers means less opportunity for established veterans.
Despite this current trend, Miami production duo Cool & Dre understand what it takes to still be successful. In addition to the numerous projects they’ve started since the top of the year, their self-made label, Epidemic Music, signed a distribution deal with EMI and Cool created a sleek and stylish clothing line.
During an interview with DJBooth.net’s DJ “Z,” Cool & Dre discuss why the music industry is “garbage,” how producing music is only a piece to their career puzzle and which multi-platinum selling diva will have their production skills on her new album that drops this fall.
Listen to the Interview
Cool & Dre Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on ya’ll? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth are two of Miami’s finest. Crafting hits from nearly everyone in the hip hop and R&B game including The Game, Fat Joe, Juvenile, and Yung Joc, please welcome producers Cool and Dre. Guys, how you doin’?
Cool & Dre: Real good man, real good.
DJ Booth: Since ring tone sales and digital downloads have become the real moneymaker right now, shifting the focus away from full albums, do you guys feel producers get the proper credit they deserve for your craft?
Cool: Definitely you get less credit, but at the end of the day if the record’s bein’ heard, that’s all that really matters. If the record becomes heard and then becomes spread out enough and people buy enough MP3s, eventually they’re gonna find out who did it.
DJ Booth: If people are buying ring tones and people buying digital downloads as singles, they’re buying it because of the beat, not necessarily because of the artist, so shouldn’t producers get more credit than they deserve?
Cool: Yeah, I think there should definitely be some kind of an attachment, along with the download or, the song should say, “Produced by so-and-so.” But that’s not gonna happen overnight, you know what I mean? Like, I’ve downloaded a song here and there, mostly produced by, you know, whether it be the Neptunes or Cool and Dre whatever it says, they should definitely start doing some changing where they start adding the producer on there. ‘Cause even if they don’t know, somebody might be browsing through some songs and just ‘cause it says a certain producer that they like, they might just listen to it, and it might be an artist that they never heard of, you know what I’m sayin’? So I think the producer aspect definitely can add another buying point for the track as well. I see it happening gradually right now, but I think it definitely is happening more often.
DJ Booth: Couldn’t agree more. Do you think it’s time for producers to come together and say, “You know what? We need to demand more money for our hard work.”
Dre: The problem with the game right now is, ain’t nobody makin’ no money, man. Like, the music industry is really in a bad state right now, whether it’s because of poor album sales, and all the downloads that people are doing, and whatnot. But a lot of people blame stuff on producers, like saying that producers overcharge for their beats and whatnot, and it kinda crippled the game. The way that music is right now, and how bad it is, like tryin’ to charge a lot for anything is a bad idea. Right now everybody taking shortcuts, so the only thing that producers should do is really explore the independent market and produce their own artists, and get it poppin’ that way. If you’re tryin’ to make more money in the game, chargin’ more for beats, it ain’t gonna work. Everyone is makin’ beats, and nobody’s sellin’ albums, and the ring tones, the way it goes, that any record become a hit record, you don’t even need to be a big name produce no more. Any kid that makes a hot beat that people like – it’s so much easier to get your music out now, so people who may live somewhere that doesn’t have access to A&Rs and shoppin’ their beats can become overnight success stories because a record is a huge ring tone, so stuff like that doesn’t enable us to charge more money. And actually, you gotta come down!
DJ Booth: Guys, how much have you had to fluctuate the going rate for a Cool and Dre produced song?
Cool: It’s up there.
DJ Booth: When selling beats to prospective label clients, are you guys conscious of who will be using your material, or is it just that a check’s gonna roll in and that’s what matters at the end of the day?
Cool: We like to be there for the beginning of the record, we like to hear the record while it’s being recorded, when it’s recorded. You know, there’s been plenty of times where we’ve told the artist, “Yo, you gotta go back in and tighten that verse up,” or, “Maybe you should try a different approach on the hook.” We’re definitely conscious about every record that we produce. And at the end of the day, we got fans out there, and we got a certain level of quality of music that we like to put out, you know what I’m sayin’?
DJ Booth: Definitely. Have you ever heard a finished product that utilized a Cool and Dre beat that you didn’t directly oversee, and you thought twice about giving it your blessing?
Cool: Not that I can recall, man. I can’t say I can recall it at the time, but I know we’ve heard a record that we weren’t really there, with the whole recording process, then we heard the end product and we were really happy with the turnout. But we haven’t heard a record like, “Damn, why did we give them that beat?”
DJ Booth: Material that you guys have recently wrapped up includes work with Yung Joc, Sean Kingston, C-Ride, and David Banner. With your own project set to eventually be released and your own roster of artists, how do you guys find the time to be a part of so much?
Dre: We built a team. We have a great team around us that handles so much, ‘cause that way me and Cool can focus on just making music. Besides making beats and producing records, we have our own restaurant that we’re involved in, down at the beach. Cool started a clothing line called Dirty Royalty. So, we have a great team of people around us to help manage everything that we’ve got to do – that way all we gotta do is focus on makin’ music. If we make enough music a day, everyone has an opportunity to grab beats and do what we do, but me and Cool, we’ll break it down in different ways – like, Cool will be like, “Yo, listen. I’m in charge of mixing Joe Hound’s album. Dre, you gotta go over to the studio and listen to the mix on that Yung Joc record.” It’s cool for us, though. We kinda multi-task.
Cool: You know, we gotta put on the exec hat today, we gotta put on the producer hat, the engineer hat.
Dre: From nine to five we handlin’, you know, dealing with the record companies with our artists, makin’ sure we’re gettin’ spins on radio with singles. At night, we’re making beats. We hittin’ the you-know-what-I-mean, smokin’ that you-know, and drinking that you-know, and having a blast in the studio making big records!
DJ Booth: You guys said you wear a lot of hats, and that’s interesting ‘cause you also mentioned that you own a restaurant, down in the beach in Miami. So you also wear the chef’s hat. What’s the specialty at the restaurant? So next time I’m down in Miami, what do I order on your menu?
Cool: Well, if you into chicken, there’s a popular dish that everyone always talks about. It’s called the Madison Chicken. There’s a filet mignon dish that’s exceptionally well. You know, there’s a variety man – if you’re into fish, if you’re into chicken, steak, there’s a lot of variety.
DJ Booth: You guys recently signed a distribution deal for your label, Epidemic, to work in conjunction with Imperial Records and Skeleton Key Entertainment. What does a business move like that signify in terms of the achievement of success for Cool and Dre?
Dre: It is the opportunity for us to show that we do have the talent outside of just makin’ music. We can handle executive-type decisions and start something from beginning as far as building an artist from scratch, producing the whole album, properly marketing him, properly promoting him, creatively guiding his career, and becoming a success. What that does is show people that – you know what? These guys are more than just producers; these guys are future record execs. All it is, is just an audition for bigger things, really. At the end of the day, Cool and I want to be able to sit back and wear three-piece suits in the Def Jam building, knowin’ that we run it. Makin’ music right now as producers – that’s just one part of the journey that we’re on. We really want to take it to another level and one day become future Jimmy Iovine’s, future L.A. Reid’s, future Jay-Zs, future Leor Cohen’s. You know, we really want to take it there.
DJ Booth: Let’s play devil’s advocate. You mentioned earlier in our interview how the music industry was on an overall decline, and just now you mentioned how you have these big aspirations within the same music industry that is not doing well financially. So, what do you hope to do when you’re in a different position to change that, so that it doesn’t hold the same fate?
Dre: To be honest with you, people stopped buying albums because albums started sounding terrible. Everybody wants to blame it on downloading, which downloading has a huge, huge negative effect on album sales, but let’s just be honest – people got tired of buying a whole album with trash on it. Artists would go in the studio and make two or three really big hit singles, and then treat the rest of the album like sh*t, and the people run out to the store and buy these albums, and the only good records are the records that’s on the radio – “Well, why the heck am I paying $16.99 for this trash album? I just want the single! Now there’s a way to download the single for free? Oh, this is great! I don’t gotta waste my $16.99 on this bullsh*t-ass artist, who tricked me into buying his wack-ass album. I could just download the motherf*cking singles for free!” That’s where the game hurts, is the content of music, and you always gotta look forward. You always gotta be ahead of the curve. You always gotta see what see where things are going, and don’t fight it – embrace it. When they attacked Napster, that was the worst thing ever – they should’ve embraced Napster. Embrace it! Let’s find a way to be profitable with these new phenomena called Napster. Let’s not try to shut it down, ‘cause now when you shut it down you look wack – now people really don’t wanna buy sh*t. It starts with the quality of the music, man. People make better albums, and, people will go out.
Cool: The artists that do sell records are the ones that are consistent with quality albums. They have a track record with havin’ good albums. Like, if Dr. Dre was to come out, you know he’s going to do great numbers because of the fact that everybody knows that when he puts out an album, it’s an incredible album from beginning to end.
DJ Booth: Maybe not solely, but with the help of others, and with an understanding in mind, do you feel like the two of you can be at the forefront of changing things in this music industry, one artist at a time?
Cool: That’s exactly what me and Dre are tryin’ to do, man. That’s something that we’ve always fulfilled in us, and that’s definitely something that we’re trying for, man, that’s why we got this Joe Hound project comin out, Misery Loves Company, and we got C-Ride project, and those are all albums that me and Dre put together from beginning to end – every song, we were there, making sure that the album has a feel, not just threw a bunch of beats together and made an album.
Dre: Real talk, the minute we get off this interview, I’m playin’ it.
DJ Booth: Guys, go over the play-by-play for me, for the remainder of 2007. We have about five months left till the new year – what is on the slate in terms of Cool and Dre projects?
Dre: We’d like to congratulate Cool and Dre on makin’ Mariah Carey’s album! Mariah Carey! Please look out for Mariah Carey - Cool and Dre be getting into something kinda crazy. Look out for Beanie Sigel, looks like we have a his first single. Look out for Freeway, Rhymefest, Omar Cruz featuring the Game. Look out for the Game featuring Akon and Nas. Look out for everything we got coming – C-Ride, Joe Hound. We got a lot of shit – Sean P., from the YoungBloodZ!
Cool: Lil Momma….
Dre: Birdman featuring Rick Ross, Lil Wayne – we got a lot of sh*t coming. A lot of sh*t comin’, man. We really plan on being on the cover of that Billboard and getting some extra-big checks, and buying big houses, big boats, and big cars, and giving back to the community. Because twenty years from now, when kids aspire to be something, we want them to say, “You tryin’ to be like Cool and Dre,” and they gonna say, “Absolutely. I wanna own a restaurant on South Beach – with a view of the water.” We get to talk to people like you, and do great interviews with people like yourself that ask great questions – you ask some really good questions. People always ask, “What y’all drivin’ now? What’s your new chain?” Like, you ask some very important questions. We always will do interviews with you!
DJ Booth: Well, I appreciate that. Have you guys considered running for political office? That answer you gave right there was textbook, perfect.
Dre: [laughter] Naw, you know –shout-out to Cool, who is on the board of the Grammys-
Dre: A lot of people know us for all the things we do in the hood, but Cool sits on the Grammy board. He’s an important decision-maker when it comes to your record being nominated – talk nice to Cool, ‘cause if you talk nice to Cool he might just put your record on the ballot to be on the Grammys. Look for a lot of Cool and Dre records to be nominated for Grammys.
DJ Booth: That should work out nicely for you guys-
Dre: -and we don’t care if it’s not even a single that’s nominated.
DJ Booth: Guys, go ahead, give a website or Myspace address so that all of my listeners and all of your fans can find out more about these projects.
DJ Booth: Beautiful, listen guys-
Dre: Shout-out to Lil Momma, third single, “Swim,” produced by Cool and Dre.
DJ Booth: [laughter] Guys, is there an artist in this industry you’re not planning on or haven’t already worked with?
Dre: We wanna work with D’Angelo. If D’Angelo’s hearin’ this right now, D’Angelo, if you’re in Virginia right now tuned in, we’re tryin’ to go in the studio with you!
DJ Booth: Guys, I wish you nothing but the best of luck through the rest of 2007 and beyond, and I hope you do big things like you alluded to during the interview.
Dre: All right, thank you, Z.
Cool: Thank you, my brother.