conducted by Hugo Lunny
MVRemix: For those that are now hearing about you for the first time, tell us about yourself. How did your moniker come about? And like other rappers, do you see yourself ever shedding the “Young” portion of your name as you get older?
Young Dre The Truth: My Name is Young Dre. Drizzle, Driz, Dreezy. “Young Dre The Truth” came about from my older cousins and older friends. My whole adolescent life I chased them, my older first cousin was basically my older brother and I followed them everywhere. They beat up on me and picked on me. It made me tougher and smarter simply ‘cause they were more advanced and mature than me, cause they were older. I’m saying all that to say I was always the baby of the crew or circle. So being that I was the youngster, so rightfully, I was called the “Youngsta” for a while. Which became Young, and Dre has been me since birth, my name is Andre’… that’s me. Now, “The Truth” came from peers in the streets, who listened to what I was really saying in my raps and told me, “Dre, you are the truth, you speak the truth!” So I ran with it later than sooner, it stuck with me.
Do I plan on shedding the Young as I get older? Once people know me, I won’t have to. People will be calling me by one of my many nicknames that all somehow connect to Young Dre The Truth. Once people know you, everything changes. People feel you. It’s funny ‘cause Young Dre doesn’t describe me at all, until you know me. Then people fully understand, they say my name with strength and pride. I will forever be Young Drizzle. When I’m an older man, that’s culture, the “Young” takes on a different form. But Dre the Truth is cheabeah!
MVRemix: When referring to where you’re from, do you state South Central or Seattle and why?
Young Dre The Truth: When stating where I’m from, it’s South Central, LA off top. I was born in Seattle, and raised some of my life off and on, as I was a traveling child of the game. Meaning, I came up in a hustle mode household and with the mentality of “getting it.” It was sort of nomadic to be honest, I could claim New Orleans, the Bay, Vegas, Seattle or L.A. all together, ’cause I have spent real time of my life in all those places and they all have influenced who I am. My teen years, as I started to do me and live on my own at a very young age, I was in L.A., the east side of South Central, which took more premise over or in my life. That’s where I learned how to survive like no other place. Which made me stronger, so that became more important to me than any other place I had lived. I have spent over half of my life in Los Angeles. That’s home.
MVRemix: As a songwriter, who has influenced you?
Young Dre The Truth: As a songwriter, I have been influenced by the greats. The Motown writers; Smokey Robinson, the O’Jays, Marvin Gaye, just whoever my moms was playing while we cleaned the house or cooked. Later came Public Enemy, Paris from the Bay, N.W.A. – Ice Cube, Brand Nubian, Rakim, Run DMC and, of course, 2 Pac. Just whoever had something to say that touched me, influenced me by setting the bar of having something to say every time I pick up my pen or touch the mic.
MVRemix: How does living in South Central shape your attitude towards music, art and culture in general?
Young Dre The Truth: Living in South Central L.A. has shaped my attitude towards music in a form of urgency. Having so much I’ve seen and lived or survived through has made me somewhat numb to things such as death at times. Being around that changes you as a person, losing your friends at a young age and before you are able to mourn. Then, bam! You lose another friend. Man, that has shaped my attitude tremendously in the way of knowing how urgent it is for me to be heard, to somehow uplift the mentality of us and our youth right now! As far as art, living here in L.A. has given me a greater appreciation for beautiful things in general. Amongst any negative I strive to see the positive. Culture wise, there is so much culture here, so to be a part of that and soak that up, it makes you understand and enjoy art more. Period.
MVRemix: How did your involvement with Electronic Arts come about?
Young Dre The Truth: My involvement with Electronic Arts came about by being heard by them last year and they wanted to put this record I recorded that was produced by Rob Cavallo and Lil Jon in Madden ’08, which politic-wise, didn’t work out. After I met the music supervisors, they invited me up to the building [E.A.], I played my music and the rest is history. Now I’m signed there.
MVRemix: Are you big into video games?
Young Dre The Truth: I have been playing video games since I was a baby. [laughs] I had an old Atari, I played ColecoVision, then Nintendo, then Sega’s Dreamcast. When XBOX came out, it was really a wrap. Meaning, the graphics and the level of intelligence and storylines were great. So I am big into video games, its become culture, especially when you work a lot in the studio, recording. That is a cool way to chill and take a break.
MVRemix: Which are your favourites?
Young Dre The Truth: My favorite video games are E.A. Sports games off top. Then deep-concept storylines in games such as Godfather, but Madden and NBA Live are two of my top games.
MVRemix: Any you’re looking forward to?
Young Dre The Truth: Well I’m looking forward to Madden ’09, which just came out, since I have a big record in the game. I’m really excited to play. I plan on winning and scoring while my song plays. Feel me? I’m also looking forward to the new NBA Live and Fight Night. And I love Call of Duty (Modern Warfare).
MVRemix: Tell me about Hoodnational, and what are you currently working on album wise?
Young Dre The Truth: Hoodnational is my movement. I am Hoodnational, meaning, I travel and go any and everywhere and wherever I am in this world, I have come to learn there is a community similar to mine. Every where. Basically, wherever there is struggle, I relate, that is hood to me. Not the violence, but the struggle to make it or bubble, or just make it to something better. I’ve come to learn we are very similar, as people who share an understanding of poverty. I have people across the globe worldwide who are cheahbah! and a part of the struggle to succeed. So when I’m in NYC, ATL, LA or Miami, Sweden, France, Spain or Amsterdam, wherever I have been or stayed, I clicked with people who were like me in a way, so I easily related to them and understood them. Also, to now be able to make one call and have people move for me is powerful, to say the least. That’s Hoodnational, to not be confined to one area, to be able to get up and go, travel anywhere and have a crew or fam already there in that country, city or hood in position. That’s me, Mr. Hoodnational himself.
MVRemix: What do you wish to achieve with this album?
Young Dre The Truth: Album-wise I am currently finishing, which has been done a couple times in this industry of negotiating and finding the right home to be released from. The album has grown, as I love what I do and that’s recording regularly, constantly and consistently. I keep doing it again, making great songs time after time, so until the plan is fully blueprinted out, I will continue to work. I do have a strong 18 classic records ready right now. What I want to achieve with this album “BIGGA THAN LIFE” is to touch the masses that are going through this struggle and need motivation daily to continue to persevere and stay focused. I want my records to continue to fuel in a form for those who seek that, as I am told that’s what one of my missions is, to touch those in need or those who just love great music. I want to keep a choice for real people, not sheeple, who want to be moved and energized just from listening to my music, as I was with Pac, Public Enemy, Ice Cube, etc.
MVRemix: Any videos planned?
Young Dre The Truth: Yes, there are a few videos planned. “Workin” featuring Good Charlotte, “Cheahbeah,” and “Save The Music.”
MVRemix: What separates you from other rappers? Why should I opt to listen to your music above others?
Young Dre The Truth: What separates me is speaking the truth to those who are in need of the truth now, those who feel like they are stuck in position and can’t find a way out. I know my integrity as a man is very pure and high. That’s lacking these days. Let the music speak for me, you tell me after you listen… why would you want to listen to me as opposed to the cliché b.s. you are used to. Holla!
MVRemix: Have fun with this one, a la “Fight Club” – “If you could fight any celebrity, who would you fight”?
Young Dre The Truth: Don Imus and Michael Richards (Kramer). [laughs]
MVRemix: Would you win?
Young Dre The Truth: Hell yeah! I would beat the shit out of them old flabby and sick dudes.
MVRemix: In a sentence or less, what do you do to relax?
Young Dre The Truth: I cook at home or just look at the ocean and dream and recharge and enjoy the Cali breeze and just Be.
MVRemix: What’s the last book you read? Why did you choose it? How was it and what did it to for you?
Young Dre The Truth: The last book I read was “Behold a Pale Horse,” written by Michael C. Cooper. I chose that book ‘cause I was searching for some more truth. That book gave me a new perspective on our government and how deep plans can go, as far as how expendable we are in this great country of ours, and how one truth can mask a mountain of lies and how really organized and masterminded things can actually be.
MVRemix: Do you have any non musical aspirations?
Young Dre The Truth: My non musical aspirations are acting, directing and building recreation centers Hoodnational worldwide in those communities like mine, including mine, which needs change the most.
MVRemix: What next do we have to look forward to from you?
Young Dre The Truth: Well, next from me, immediately, is Madden ’09, which features my record with Good Charlotte and is genre bending Hip Hop/Rap that will add and change the game. Stay tuned y’all… a lot is coming from the truth. 100%
MVRemix: Any last words?
Young Dre The Truth: My last words are to be as kind as possible. That goes for me to, I can be very short and have no patience for ignorance in situations. Other than that, stay positive as possible and chase your dreams. Hold tight to your vision, always see it first, then achieve it ‘cause only you can, know that. Watch me. Vision is the ability to see what is presently invisible.