Behind the Beat: Lil Nate Dogg
The legendary Nate Dogg was unequivocally a pioneer of West Coast hip-hop, a member of the pantheon of some of the greatest hip-hop artists in history alongside the likes of Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Dr. Dre and Tupac Shakur (who also happen to all be collaborators). From this legacy and continuing on in his father’s footsteps, is Lil Nate Dogg, an artist who has an unshakable focus on the potential of fusing electronic music and hip-hop as evidenced by his first album, The EDM Project.
While there has always been an inevitable relationship, if not merger between the electronic and hip-hop worlds (this basically describes trap music), Lil Nate Dogg seeks to bring legitimacy and credibility to a genre that is otherwise seen as a simple “party music.” Coming from a storied history of rap royalty, Lil Nate Dogg is actively positioning himself to become a thought provoking lyricist that incorporates the best elements of electronic music. Rather than festival trap, The EDM Project combines heavy beats with heavy thoughts, delivering an album that should not be ignored. Lil Nate Dogg recently discussed his album with Only the Beat during his visit to EDC New York (which was his first visit to both the festival and the city).
Only the Beat: So you’re here for EDC New York. Anything specific you’re looking forward to doing in the city or at the festival?
Lil Nate Dogg: I’m out here in NY for the first time, going to EDC for the first time. I think Times Square, that’s what I’m looking forward to in the city. At the festival, I just want to rock out. I like the sound.
OTB: I know this might be a ridiculous question, but what’s the difference between rap and hip-hop if there is one?
Lil Nate Dogg: Hmm, I don’t know…I guess hip-hop is more mainstream, they do too much. You know, too much talking dirty about ladies. Rap is just like gangsta rap. Hip-hop is more like, nowadays, dancing songs and dancing stuff.
OTB: Well your album, The EDM Project, is ambitious in that its core focus, down to its title, is a fusion of rap and hip-hop.
Lil Nate Dogg: Yes it is.
OTB: What do you think your perspective, as a rapper, will bring to the electronic music world?
Lil Nate Dogg: Rap will bring…instead of DJs just fist pumping, it brings a performance, but with the same kind of intensity and same kind of party vibe that gets everybody up.
The EDM Project – Lil Nate Dogg
OTB: On your album, how did it come to be?
Lil Nate Dogg: Well I rapped on it. I did a lot myself. Me and my partner named Rillah, we wrote all the songs. Everything you hear me saying on the album I wrote myself.
OTB: How long was the album in development?
Lil Nate Dogg: It took me two weeks to finish recording and then they mastered it for another month and a half and then it came out. Three or four months overall.
OTB: So, do you have shows planned to tour the album?
Lil Nate Dogg: Yeah, that’s the plan. I did one at the Avalon with Baby Bash and then I just recently did another one at The Observatory. We actually performed one of my dad’s songs. There’s a lot of stuff in the making and hopefully a tour soon. Until then, we’re doing just shows here and there.
OTB: What’s your next goal? Anyone you look forward to working with?
Lil Nate Dogg: Next goal is to get another project together and release it. I look forward to working with The Game. DJ Quick. I want to work to get back to how it was when my dad was alive, with Lil Nate Dogg.
OTB: What direction do you think it needs to move to get back to the way it was, both with who you’re working with and with rap in general?
Lil Nate Dogg: Rap needs to get back to the basics. Now of days it’s about a lot of BS. With my family, I can hit ’em up anytime. But I want to make my own voice for now.
OTB: Who’s someone that is really helping out the scene?
Lil Nate Dogg: Tech N9ne isn’t really “mainstream” so I’d say Tech N9ne right now.
Be sure to check out The EDM Project and follow Lil Nate Dogg for his upcoming album tour!
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