Big Hutch Talks Dr. Dre, Inventing G-Funk, And His Two New Albums

Exclusive: "Dr. Dre's understudy" shares his thoughts on "Kush" and the freedom he feels as "the architect of G-Funk" to take the sound wherever he wants to.

Twenty years after the release of Above The Law’s celebrated debut, Livin’ Like Hustlers, A.T.L. front-man Big Hutch, (a.k.a. Cold 187um), is still going strong with two new solo efforts set to drop: Only God Can Judge Me (due January 18th) and O.G. Since 1967 (due summer 2011).

On Tuesday, (November 30th), the Ruthless, Tommy Boy and Death Row Records alum will be providing a preview of his upcoming offerings via a 3-song digital EP, Ef U Hutch.  

The producer/rapper recently spoke to HipHopDX to talk about the diverse direction of his new recordings, (“eventful” music that he explains was inspired by his mentors Eazy-E and Dr. Dre). Kokane’s cousin, (and nephew of the late Soul singer Willie Hutch), also explained why he thinks Dre’s “Kush” could have done without the “crossbreeding,” why as the subgenre’s inventor no one can tell him what G-Funk is, and lastly Hutch broke down why he feels those who are O.G. since 1987 have yet to match his generation’s contribution to the game.     

HipHopDX: …I gotta ask why I’m still in love with the fly-ass “Untouchable” video 20 years after first seeing it as a little kid?

Big Hutch: [Laughs]…we was the first cats pushing Cigarette boats and driving big-body [Mercedes] Benz’s on a video. That wasn’t even the climate back then, and we kinda took it upon ourselves to introduce that to the game. On a whole ‘nother level, baby.

DX: Plus, your voice was like the flyest shit I had heard at that point. [Laughs]

Big Hutch: Well I appreciate that, man. [Laughs] I kinda [pride] myself on trying to be a fly muthafucka. [Laughs]  

DX: …Who produced that remix of “Untouchable” for the video?

Big Hutch: Me and [Dr.] Dre. I came up with the elements, and then me and him took it in the studio and did it. ‘Cause I did it [initially] at the house on a little four-track [recorder]… Big labels wasn’t really fuckin’ wit’ cats out they mama bedroom, so I always had to channel it through Dre, any idea I had. So basically, it’s conceived by me but it’s actually all put together and developed by me and Dre, on a technical level.      

DX: Was it the same process for “Murder Rap”?

Big Hutch: No, [and] it’s a trip because I produced “Murder Rap” on a 16-track and we just bumped it up to a 24-track. Me and Dre, we just took all the files that I did – all the samples and everything – and re-put ‘em into a bigger board…just sonically so it would sound better.  

DX: And you played those synths yourself?  

Big Hutch: Yeah.      

DX: Those synths proved to be the start of a musical revolution.

Big Hutch: And that’s what I’m talkin’ about. [Laughs]  
DX: Since [you] mentioned Dre, just curious to get your thoughts on “Kush”? I can’t help but feel like Dre’s about to pull an Axl Rose comeback and drop a Chinese Democracy dud with Detox.

Big Hutch: Well, I like his record. My whole thing about it is that when you doing records I don’t really think that we need to add any of the elements that are not from our element if we created the element. Ya dig what I’m saying? A lot of this crossbreeding stuff is…I won’t say it’s a cheap-shot, because I’m Dr. Dre’s understudy so I know he knows what he’s doing. My difference in that is that I don’t really think we need cats from other regions to sell records as west coast artists. I think that we’ve done enough work for people to respect us everywhere based upon what we’re capable of doing on our own. But I like the record… It’s dope. I felt it when I first heard it, and that’s cool. I just think those elements – When I hear him and Snoop [Dogg] doing a record, I know it’s the right shit… But when you add those other elements – No disrespect to Akon. I love Akon, when he does Akon with whoever he does it with. [But] when we start adding those [elements] I think that starts being the political…fake little Hollywood game.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking nobody for what they do. But, no one’s calling us who made a record hot out here to make their record hot.   

But I love [Dr. Dre’s] approach… Dre’s always been a producer that always was like…he’s eventful. Like, when you see what I’m doing, I’m like that because of what Dre and Eazy [E] taught me: how to make your music eventful.       

DX: And what’s gonna be the eventful direction of Only God Can Judge Me?

Big Hutch: I don’t know if nobody know it [yet], but “Lord Have Mercy” is the record that’s that record, that’s fin to knock muthafuckas heads off they shoulders… I think people try to put too much on the event part of it and not really check for the music, and I’m making the music that I’m making an event.   

DX: We put “Electric Lady” up to our audio section and the people who commented on it didn’t judge very…pleasantly.

Big Hutch: That’s cool.

DX: What was the inspiration for that record, or why that direction for that song?

Big Hutch: Well see, one thing you gotta realize is this, there’s not a direction when I make a record. If I wake up in the morning and say I wanna rap to a Rock track, I rap to it. I’m not in a box. You gotta understand this, I’m the architect of G-Funk. You can’t tell me what G-Funk is. If I want G-Funk to be blowing on a whistle and beating on a box, that’s G-Funk, because I invented it. I am the architect.    

DX: I thought Warren Griffin, [Warren G], was the architect?

Big Hutch: I am the architect of that. Warren Griffin used to sleep on my floor. I am the architect of G-Funk. So when people tell me what I should do and what I should not do, I tell ‘em shut up. I go to the studio and I make records based upon how I feel… And one thing that Eazy taught me while I was at Ruthless [Records], he said, “Look at it like this, Hutch: one day you walked in here and you didn’t have one fan. What did you come in here to do it for? Because of what you felt like doing. Keep doing that and you’ll always be good with yourself.” …I’ll keep it real with you, homie. I went in and cut “Electric Lady” from my heart, not to trick nobody, not because people is on my shit, but because I heard the beat - I heard it in my head, wanted to cut it, and did it and put it out there to the world. I feel comfortable with you saying I don’t like it, Hutch, because I did what I wanna do from my heart.      

DX: But am I wrong as a fan for wanting some throwback sounds, some “Black Superman” slinky synths?

Big Hutch: You’re not, because that’s what I give you on “Lord Have Mercy.” But you gotta understand where he’s coming from. You can’t just say, “Oh I just want that,” and not give a artist [creative space]… I agree with you on this level - and this is why I do it like I do it - if you do something different you gotta do the old shit too. You can’t just do something different and stay different.

[That’s] the difference between the Kanye West’s and all these other muthafuckas. That’s what we do wrong [as west coast artists]. We stay one way. We don’t never try to be different. But when they rap over funky shit, and they rap over real shit, they’re cool. But [people are telling me] I should go back to doing [“Black Superman”], and not even giving me a chance to say I got other records y’all, relax, it’s cool…     

DX: How is O.G. Since 1967 gonna be different from Only God Can Judge Me?

Big Hutch: O.G. Since 1967 is like a live album, but it’s more like a…how can I put it to you? …Only God Can Judge Me is more personal, and this is more like…raw sounding [and] soulful. I had written a series of songs that were kinda like Soul records but [still] Rap shit. And that’s what I’m doing on O.G. Since 1967. It’s like a lot of different fusion of soulful music, but with [rappin’] on it… I wouldn’t say it’s like Eazy-E-meets-The Roots or Above The Law-meets this, ‘cause I don’t like to get into [comparisons]. It’s just a different organic experience.      

DX: I just wanna note that I think that’s pretty brave putting your real birth year in the title. You know cats who are O.G. since 1987 might front on it.  

Big Hutch: That’s cool. I’m a music guy, dog. I don’t care about that [other stuff]. I’ma do what God tell me… People can look at it how they wanna look at it… I’m not too old to get up and write a hit song. I don’t see ‘em doing too much anyway. I don’t see the guys from ’87 doing a lot of shit anyway but the same shit that every one of ‘em is doing. It’s a great world of copycats… It’s funny [though], I was having a conversation [recently] about new guys…and believe it or not, I respect what they doing. So [if they] knock me, you put yourself in a bad position. Because hey, when I was your age, I wish somebody understood what I was doing. Because you gotta realize, when we first came out all these people didn’t support what we did… So if we woulda had that kind of support, we don’t know where Rap woulda been. [So]…if you gonna disrespect a person like Big Hutch, Cold 187um from Above The Law, you don’t really have a broad perspective of where you at as an artist anyway if you O.G. since 1987.

Purchase Music by Above The Law

Purchase Music by Big Hutch a/k/a Cold187um


  • NodNek

    Woah Up people. Big Hutch is a master producer, and he can play the keys like no one. Even if it's just batting a single key - he does it right in the pocket. Eazy E knew it - and Hutch produced some crazy stuff for him. He's still doint great stuff and you can listen to his discog time and time again - more than I can say for Warren G and others.

  • Big Mike

    Check out 'Lord Have Mercy'...that's the business!! Can't wait for his 'Only God Can Judge Me' album because I know he is going to come with the business...that original and new G Funk!

  • respect

    g-funk pioneer - hutch. dre is the innovator. quik is the next one, and warren g is good... but credit is due to hutch.

  • Divided Souls

    I'm probably ATL's biggest fans...I put many niggas on Living Like Hustler's back in 89/90 in South Baton Rouge,La.. But being a producer myself, digging in the crates, 187um played himself when he didn't clear up the comment the interviewer asked about the Murder Rap beat: DX: And you played those synths yourself? Big Hutch: Yeah. DX: Those synths proved to be the start of a musical revolution. Big Hutch: And that’s what I’m talkin’ about. [Laughs] See that's a complete whole sample from a Quincy Jones album. No keyboards played by Hutch at all. No need to lie homie...The one's thats reading this interview are thorough old school hiphop gangsta Heads who know what time it is....still CLassic Album though. Another thing, why everyone from Hutch to Daz, and others try to minimize Dre? Funny that when he leaves the scene their shit doesn't bump the same.....Think about that...

  • knile

    Hutch if u make, g-funk songs on both, u get my paper from across the atlantic that's for sure!!!

  • Bump

    Believe it fossie.When he step his game up [again], then he'll get my $.Ain't nuthin' U can type dat will make me feel different.I'ma be 40 & I've watched tha whole shit.He ain't bringin' dat heat, datz dat.

  • Fossie

    Dammn you fools dissing a legend!!Fuck all ya disrespecting haterz !!I couldnt believe it to read this bullshit!!!

  • gee dee folk

    listen real talk err body, cold 187 coined the slang "ballin" and alot of other trends.the music they created back in the day was some sampled beats but they were so ahead of their time see u have to understand what these guys did first and foremost,know the name of the group okay and their names, cold 187 aka willie hutch(yall know who dat is?)d.j. go mack, total kaos, namtalkin bout? u slo.they were a partner w/ e-z and ruthless records its fine to have ur own opinion bout him but this nigga is certified gangsta and will beat yo ass in a heartbeat talkin that pussy shyt txtin applies 2 an asskickin 2. and hell naw he aint salty w/ dr dre! thats his manzinem namean? they have almost the same style when it comes 2 making beats how cud he hate?

  • insanemacbeth

    cannot lie...good read, though.

  • insanemacbeth

    i have seen this a few times, that HUTCH has said, that he's the father of G-FUNK. the way i see it is this: if he was the first to be fukken with the OHIO PLAYERS "FUNKY WORM" sample...then in a way, then he is the father of G-FUNK. however, if you listen to N.W.A.'s "NIGGAZ4LIFE" album, DRE was fukken with live synths, got COLIN WOLFE from PARLIAMENT to play bass, etc. we ALL know that DRE is really the VISIONARY. even in the interview, HUTCH mentions the word 'sonics'. who's the king of sonics/ mixdowns? it's DR. DRE. so at the end of the day, really, it's a lot of things that make you the architect. the sounds you mess with, AND the vision of what you're going to do with the tracks...are what makes you the father. in conclusion, DR. DRE: "THE CHRONIC" is the introduction of G-FUNK, really...which really was just the '90s version, of GEORGE CLINTON's P-FUNK era.

    • insanemacbeth

      you have to love it, when people chat sh*t in hip-hop...especially about AGE. i'm 40 years old. l.o.l. silly clown, GEE DEE FOLK.

    • seven 4

      lets go back to king t and dj unknown,..... YEAH, THATS WAT I THOUGHT, u dont remember,... g funk cuz g funk piont blank gangstaizm w/ sone funk fin.

    • gee dee folk

      hey no diss, but cold 187 is and always be the creator of g funk. see young jedi,.. u need 2 do ur research remember yo mo and markie? OF COURSE NOT! U WERE PROBALLY NOT EVEN CONCIEVED YET. well anywhoo, they made the original version of for the love of money which eazy e gave to bone thugs and harmony. cold 187 has always been low key u no thats what real pimps do namtalkinbout? do ur research b4 u write sum bogus shyt fuk peace, im outta here,... ha ha ha (famous quote from coooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooold 187).

  • Anonymous02

    I don't know about anyone else but Warren G's sound is what I considered G-funk. Back in the mid 90's you could hear a song and immediately know it was a Warren G production just by the groove and the instrumentation. Listen to the Twinz "Conversation" album. Listen to the two songs he produced for Shaq "My Dear" and "Biological didn't bother (g-funk version)", listen to the song "So Many Ways" from the Bad Boys soundtrack, listen to "Smokin Me Out". I could go on and on but you catch my drift. All of these joints are the definition of G-funk in my book.

  • khordkutta

    Livin like... is some classic ish though, but yes, he does sound bitter when he makes the warren g, heck even the dre comments.

  • Bump

    I'ma fan uv Above The Law & I dug Hutch's 1st 2 albums-but this dude needs 2 quit the bullshit.He ain't gotta head back 2 'Black Superman' soundin' shit but he still gotta give the people what they want.Above The Law's last album flopped, & not because of promo-it was unbearable.He gotta step his game up if he wants to last, because right now, I see it as he BEEN fell off. Bottom line about this G-Funk shit-he might've brought a sample or 2, but that doesn't make him the architect.Dre & Warren made it G-Funk & took it 2 the next level-whereas he's tryin' 2 make this claim based off him takin' a few ideas 2 Dre.Get off the high horse Hutch & take ur shit 2 the next level.Real heads don't buy half ass music bro.

  • Moose Ristiniemi

    Fire the guy who though Warren G invented G funk.

  • OG 87

    Why he always talkin like he the inventor... Foolishness..listen to Above The Law...Then Listen to any "Big Hutch" record by himself..except the first one (You could tell they helped him) ... Its evident that the other two dudes in ATL have all the talent, and that signature sound... Elec Lady is straight doodoo...WOW...Fail .... KuSH is bangin! How you gonna compare to that? Where is Above The Law? He don't even bring them up..He always like ME mE Me...everytime I hear about this dude...ME ME ME I did this n that.....Bullshiiiiit

    • Mr. Yessir

      Why deosn't he ever bring up ATL? Good point... Why wouyld he say Warren G slept on the floor.... Low Blow...sounds mad

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