Since leaving Rap-A-Lot Records, emcee veteran Devin The Dude has been a very busy man.The onetime Scarface protege in Facemob has released three solo albums, and a handful of compilations in an effort to brand The Coughee Brothaz. The Houston, Texas collective is an expansion of his early 1990s group Da Odd Squad, who released the Rap-A-Lot catalog gem, 1994's Fadanuf Fa Erybody!!. Earlier this month, Devin explained how his 20-year bandmates decided to build upon the group's formula for making records, with their recent release Fresh Brew.
Additionally, Devin, who is known for his party-lifestyle of "wine, weed and women" spoke about influencing the stars of today, such as Wiz Khalifa, Curren$y and Big K.R.I.T., two of whom Devin has worked with. While Devin's content influenced one side of today's headline-makers, the emcee's singing abilities and premonition to sing in between verses may have created a lane for guys like Drake and Kid Cudi. What's Devin think of it? As usual, the man is all smiles.
Devin The Dude Explains Coughee Brothaz' Evolution From Da Odd Squad
HipHopDX: What are you doing day-to-day to try to get Fresh Brew to the fans, because i know digitally the project came out a couple months ago?
Devin The Dude: It came out digitally about the 18th of April and July 5th is when it came out on hard-copy in the stores. In the meantime, in between-time, we've just been hitting up the clubs, doing walk-throughs, doing in-stores, trying to get the buzz out there and letting them know about the label, [Coughee Brothaz Music]. As far as the label, it's more of a promotional tool-type label. It's not like one that has so many artists signed here and there. It's just a matter of solo artists and group members of different entities within the Coughee Brothaz [family]. So it's just like a helpful outlet to let people hear what's going on and what we got under our umbrella.
DX: I know it's sort of like The Outlawz descending from Thug Life. A lot of the Odd Squad became the Coughee Brothaz, but obviously there's some new guys in it. So for you as the leader, how do you see one in relation to the other?
Devin The Dude: It's like one in the same, actually. It did start really branching out, and when it came to the Odd Squad, it was just that we would have a lot of people come to the house. They would sing and rap, but they weren't really established yet but they would always want some insight. So we would always be like, "Stick around, come over, drink, smoke and chill with [Rob Quest, Jugg Mugg and I]." Eventually, the Coughee Brothaz formed. It was just our friends and that was just the click name of it, but there became so many of us and we showed up as the Odd Squad. At concerts they're were so many of us that everyone would be like, "Hold up, I thought there were only three of them?" So the click [expanded into the] Coughee Brothaz. When I first started doing my solo stuff, I was still dealing with [Rob Quest and Jugg Mugg]. I had Rob doing Rob Productions, and he was there rhyming with me and stuff like that. Now I have added so many new members and have so many new cats coming along. You're not gonna hear my voice on a lot of other Coughee Brothaz stuff, or the Odd Squad on a lot of other Coughee Brothaz stuff because there is just a lot of stuff happening right now. Like with me, I have a group called 3DN that is a real live group out of Houston. Individually, each of them are from the Coughee Brothaz. We have a artist called Rum, who when doing a concert will introduce himself as "Rum from the Coughee Brothaz." I'll probably be on a few songs of his, but a lot of the newer cats will be on the same vibe and same umbrella. Some of the same music coming out of the same studios but their would be a lot more voices other then just mine.
DX: Well for you, you're a 20-year veteran, being signed and putting out music. Your label is not about trying to be Def Jam or any of those things, but it is about creating a outlet for your friends and longtime band-mates. Regionally, the members of the Coughee Brothaz are known individually to the point where your core fans know who's voice is on what tracks. A lot of fans who might just be your solo fans might not know one voice from another, or understand who you all are as individuals. How is that a challenge for you to face?, and how do you attack that challenge?.
Devin The Dude: Yes, it's a huge challenge and within that challenge lies the beauty of it. When I was younger I used to hear Funkadelic. I used to hear of a lot of big names with a lot of individual voices involved and I always used to wonder who was who and what was what. Right now what I'm doing, every tour that I go on and every solo album that I do, I always include Coughee Brothaz members. So when we go on the road people can match the voices with the faces. Now each member of the Coughee Brothaz can create there own fan-base because of that.
Devin The Dude On Influencing Wiz Khalifa, Big K.R.I.T And Curren$y
DX: I remember back in 2003, when I first spoke to you, that was like the 50 Cent-era of Hip Hop. Back then everyone was mean-mugging and talking about guns. You were very much a contrast to that and it was very much appreciated. Now it's funny how things have come full circle. For example, you have someone like Wiz Khalifa who is all about having fun and living the good life - weed, women, and wine as you put it. Other artist such as Curren$y and Big K.R.I.T. have reached out to you as well. Do you see your impact on Hip Hop as truly being a forefather to the movement that's happening now?.
Devin The Dude: I would like to think that. There were a few before me and during the time I was first coming out. I feel good to see what Hip Hop has come to be, in terms of how it sounds now. To see it being made and sounding some what like how my music used to sound back in the day. That feels good, [it's about having] a good time, and speaking what's on your mind on the mic when it comes to making music. It was hard for a lot of people to do that back then because they always had to promote a brand, a image, or a alter-ego of some sort, more-so than artists have to do today. I always felt like being natural and being yourself was what's up because that's what someone else can never be. Plus, you don't have to change as much. I feel real good about the Wiz Khalifa's and the Big K.R.I.T.'s who smoke a lot of weed and make that good, fun music. [Laughing] I like that.
DX: You have been singing on records in the past, and it seems like rappers nowadays like Drake and Kid Cudi are becoming more melodic. Even if the teenagers haven't seen it or just don't know about it, you have been doing it for 20 years. It's good to know that so many rising star artist who are doing it today grew up listening to you, Face Mob, Odd Squad and all the other projects that you have been a part of...
Devin The Dude: Yeah, that's overwhelming to me even if the young kids don't know about it. No matter what age they are, i always have someone coming up to me saying how they just got put on to my music not to long ago. People hear about me and find out about me through the blogs and Internet so I continue to gain fans.