Locksmith Explains Why He Was Relieved Not To Get A Deal From Dr. Dre (Video)
Locksmith is one of the Bay Area’s most prolific MCs. Since the early 2000s, the Richmond, California rapper has laid forth a slew of mixtapes, albums, and freestyles to bolster his catalog and put his expert lyricism on full display. In 2018, Locksmith kept especially busy, releasing full-length Ali, and a joint effort with Detroit, Michigan-based Apollo Brown, No Question. This month, the fiery MC sat down with AFH TV for an interview in which Lock’ discusses his Bay Area upbringing, his Battle Rap roots, and how a story he told on the Murs-assisted “Stars” about linking with Dr. Dre is true.
Early in the interview (3:00), Locksmith remembers playing basketball with Master P and Silkk The Shocker, long before Lock ever considered picking up the microphone. “I met Master P when he was in Richmond when I was a kid. I seen [his] record store; I went to the record store.” Percy Miller and his younger brother cultivated a business model from JT The Bigga Figga, E-40, and others, before leaving No Limit Records & Tapes storefront in Richmond to launch a movement of the same name back in his hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana.
Locksmith continues, “My memory of Master P was when I was younger, sneaking into UC Berkeley’s gym, because during the offseason, they would have an open gym. But the open gym was like a league almost, because you had Jason Kidd, you had all those guys, Lamond Murray, who were all NBA prospects who would play in the off season in the open gym and Master P would be there. We were just young guys, but we could hoop. We would wait to get our call next, and when it would be our time to be up, people would sometimes try to overlook us. Master P was like, ‘Nah, these young dudes can hoop. Make sure they get their spot.’ So we would get out there and do our thing. That was a good memory I always had of Master P.”
Later in the interview (5:40), Locksmith discusses going from athlete to rapper, and how his rapping older sister jump-started his love for Hip-Hop. Deeper into the interview (18:00), Locksmith revisits his Ali single, “Stars.” In the track’s opening, Locksmith spits, “He told me ‘come to the studio,’ I was on my way / A beach-house that was overlooking the ocean / I should’ve been celebrating, instead had mixed emotions / On the terrace with Xzibit exhibiting what defines me / Deep down inside I’m like, ‘I hope he doesn’t ask to sign me’ / ‘Cause there’s no way I can turn down an idol / But carving my own lane to sustain, I know it’s vital / I would rival with my thoughts, am I sabotaging myself? / I could stay independent or sit on somebody’s shelf.”
Davood Ali Asgari revisits the 2015 meeting for AFH TV. “I was working with Xzibit at the time. He was a great dude.” Through Jarren Benton and Funk Volume, Locksmith was introduced to Mr. X-To-The-Z, who had opportunities to work. The platinum MC-turned-TV host/actor also invited the Bay Area MC to be his guest. “He has a great studio down in L.A. So, I’m down there for a few days recording and he’s just like, ‘Yo, Lock,’ let’s take a ride.’ He’s like, ‘Yo, Dr. Dre wants to meet you.’ I was without words.”
Lock’ continues, “We go to Dre’s house. This was when he was working on the Compton album, or he was just finishing it. We got to his place. Dre played us a lot of the songs he was working on. He asked my opinion on them—I can’t believe Dr. Dre is asking me anything, or asking us all what we think. And we just talked for hours. Literally, Dre talked for hours. I want to say we got there later in the evening and talked til 4 or 5 in the morning. By the time we were going back, the sun was coming up. It was just a dope experience.” Although Lock’s material with Xzibit ultimately did not release, the MC says, “it still was just a great experience for me just to learn and talk with those guys.”
Although Dre did not offer Locksmith a spot on Aftermath Entertainment after one evening, the point in the lyrics is a powerful one. Lock’ has accomplished so much independently. “I love Dr. Dre. I love everything he’s done. He’s the greatest Hip-Hop producer of all-time, to me. So, what I meant by that line was like, if Dr. Dre says, ‘Locksmith, I want to sign you,’ there is no way I’m going to say no to Dr. Dre. So, he never said that. But, a situation was placed in front of me where I just go with the flow of how things go. I’m a little bit older now. I’m a little bit wiser in the game, so I know certain things. So, I always will ask questions. I always will let the situation dive into where it’s supposed to be instead of saying, ‘That’s Dr. Dre,’ or ‘that’s Timbaland,’ or that’s whoever. I’m just going to do it. I don’t care.’ So, it was just different circumstances. We recorded a lot of songs with Xzibit. We recorded a lot of records. Both of those guys are incredible. So who knows what may come in the future. But at that time frame, it just didn’t materialize into a deal or a record or anything. It did end up with me gaining knowledge from it.”
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