Recently GlobalGrind had the chance to talk to Short Dawg, one of the core members of Lil' Wayne's Young Money crew. During our conversation, Short Dawg spoke on how Weezy has changed from his release from prison, whether or not he feels pressure to live up to the success of Drake and Nicki Minaj, and more. Check out what he had to say.
GlobalGrind: How did you meet Lil' Wayne and how did you get down with Young Money?
Short Dawg: I met Wayne around 3 years ago through Mack Maine - Mack and I were cool, we did a couple of songs together, so he introduced me to Wayne and we just hit it off. It was a basic friendship, and after we started kicking it, we did a couple of songs, and while he was building his Young Money brand he asked me to come be a part of it, and the rest is history.
GG: Have you noticed a difference in Wayne from befoe he went to jail to now?
Short Dawg: He just seems more focused. He got an extra boost of energy, I don't know where it comes from, I guess just being locked up, caged in a room. It's like a little puppy when you leave him in his little cage for too long, once you open that gate he just starts running around in circles. It's just all of that energy coming out.
GG: Houston is one of the great towns of rap music - there are so many legends from Z-Ro, UGK, DJ Screw - who influenced you to start rapping when you were coming up?
SD: The funny thing about it was, being from Houston and that whole culture of the screw music, you automatically just take part in that because that's all you hear, every corner you turn you hear everybody banging Screw, UGK, Z-Ro, Fat Ball, Big Moe, etc. The whole thing is they would go to the screw house and freestyle, so everyone in Houston pretty much began as a freestyler. Myself, I didn't take it too serious when I started because I was just doing it as wreckless fun.
GG: How old when you started taking it seriously?
SD: I was around 18 years-old. I got a late start. I was a good freestyler - it's funny, because I did it for entertainment. I wouldn't even take part in any freestyles if there weren't any girls around or a big crowd, I'd probably be the last one to come in and say something and everyone would go crazy, and then I'd leave - that's all I wanted to do, was just shock the crowd and leave.
GG: When you're making music now is it still a freestyle-type process or is it more structured?
SD: Pretty much, I still don't write at the end of the day. My early stuff I would, because I had to learn how to count bars and how to put hooks in, but now I basically just do it off of emotions. Sometimes I might go over 16 bars or under 16 or do a 4 bar hook or 8 bar hook or I might not even do a hook because I finished what I had to say - it's just pure emotion now. I go in when I get there, I don't think of the song until I get to the studio unless it's a song idea, but most of the time I don't make the song until I hear the beat. Everything I do is fresh, brand new. I never go in the studio with a prepared song because I'm one of those people that's inspired by music. If I'm not inspired by the beat I can't do it. Just like when I was freestyling if there wasn't a crowd or some girls I wouldn't do it, I'd hear people beating on the tables and walk straight by. I've always been one of those people that moves off of inspiration.
GG: Could name for us one beat out right now that makes you want to go in?
SD: The beat that made me go in was that "Bill Gates" (off of Lil' Wayne's I Am Not A Human Being). I was there when Wayne recorded it in Miami, and when I heard that beat I was like "Oh my God" - so when I finally got my hands on it, I just chewed on it.
GG: Does Wayne give you tips or suggestions when you're in the studio with him?
SD: Not so much. Wayne is also a fan of what I do, because that's how we got to this point. We were sitting there having a conversation - and the thing is, he hadn't even recognized that I was Short Dawg the rapper when we first hit it off, he'd known me as Short Dawg my little partner that kick it with me - and when he heard the song I did with Bow Wow he was like "yo, I heard this song that sounds like my little dude from Houston - man you a beast," and that's how our whole arrangement got together.
GG: What are you up to now?
SD: Just dropped a mixtape hosted by Don Cannon, getting ready to drop a single from the Fresh album which is dropping at the top of the year. Just trying to stay busy. We're not sure what single we're going to go with first, we're still in the process of picking one, but we're coming with it though. The album I'm putting out, Fresh, is inspired by the film of the same name. Everyone knows that I say "fresh" all of the time, to the point where people started calling me Fresh, and if you ever noticed in the movie, Fresh was a hustler-type cat that had contact with his dad but was raised by the streets. He learned everything from the streets, and that's kind of the way I learned my life. When I saw that movie, it just showed me myself in that, so my whole album is based upon that movie because that little guy Fresh, that's me. So it's all inspired by that movie and the things I went through in my life, but more in depth.
GG: This was a really big year for Young Money, from Drake to Nicki Minaj to Wayne coming back with "6'7" - do you ever feel pressure to perform as well as they have since you all are in the same crew?
SD: Not at all, you feel like you have the opportunity to. It's not pressure, it's like "we can do it as well!" because we all started at the same level at one point in live. Just seeing how your peers are doing and seeing how far they went with their situation just lets me know that one day I can be in that position as well, so it gives me something to look forward to.
GG: What is your goal for next year?
SD: My goal is to get this Fresh album to you guys, and hopefully you'll see another Young Money member - myself - follow the same success pattern that Wayne and Drake paved.