Since the passing of the late great Tupac Shakur,
the phrase “Bringing back west coast Hip Hop” has been thrown around
more than enough times. L.A.’s hottest up and coming Hip Hop collective,
Custom Made [click to view], believes that the statement is simply a figment of the
imagination. “That’s a cliche,” says Scoobs, “I hate cliches, west
coast Hip Hop never went anywhere.
” This is coming from a group who
has released a hodgepodge of mixtapes and two full-length albums all in
the last five years. They should know a little bit about the Hip Hop
scene in the west, although group member Bluff had more than one
opinion during this topic of conversation.

I agree with Scoobs, it never left,
but at the same time, I like it in a sense in where people try to use it
to uplift because that’s what we need a lot of times. It’s just real
divided out here – real separated, so the more people group up, click up
and mesh up to get things poppin’, the better.

Regardless of
the debatable musical stereotypes, the Custom Made crew has a lock on
the underground and are looking to conquer the mainstream with the
release of their second LP on Babygrande Records, Original Dynasty. Sinister Six, Bluff,
Element, Skandalous Scoobs and Aneek are sure to reach more fans with
their real Hip Hop movement and taking the grass-roots approach. From
their image to their lyrics and attitude, they remind some of a certain
west coast powerhouse group from the late ’80s, early ’90s
(We’ll get into that in a bit), but the group is bringing their own
unique style to the game. Hence the name Custom Made.

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Influences: Mobb Deep, Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, AZ [click to read] and Eminem.

Getting Into Music:Going to High School together, you know getting in cyphers
and battles together, seeing each other around school and having a
mutual respect, we decided to do the group thing. We grew up listening
to lots off different music a lot of us are from different places we
have different family backgrounds and cultures. Everybody does all
types of different things, so we meshed well because we kept our eyes
open for everything.
” – Scoobs

The Release Of Original Dynasty:It’s
been a long time in the making, we been working on the project for a
while, but at the same time, I think cats are going to sleep on it just
because of what we represent; it’s just the way that the game is going
right now. Some of the music that we make is probably over people’s
heads a little bit, so it might take them a while to fully understand
what were talking about but it is what it is. The album will definitely
stand the test of time.
” – Scoobs

On The “Sophomore Jinx”: It never comes down to the albums being better;
it’s the individual tracks that we do. We always want the next track to
be better than the last track. We always want to do something different,
try to test each other and try to stretch the limit, but it’s fun
getting into that [second album] process. It’s never any pressure
because we have a super high standard. When we go into the lab, cats
already know if you coming with some wack shit, we going let each other
know. We don’t sugarcoat anything. It’s always a good turnout for real,
dope, quality Hip Hop music, and you can’t go wrong with that.
” – Bluff

Independent Versus Major: Some of the advantages of independent is reaching
different grassroots places you couldn’t really reach on a major label.
One of the disadvantages is getting the word out. A lot of people, if
they don’t hear it on the radio, they’re not gonna mess with it. It’s like
there’s the trendy ear then there’s the underground ear, and sometimes you
can only get one or the other, but it all depends on how it goes. With
independent, it’s more competition out here. You have to really prove
yourself and the cats who grind the hardest is going to come out on
top, that’s how it is in the indy scene. The negative aspect I guess is
the financial standpoint, just that you have to do everything yourself,
but it’s better to be in control of your own career. You want to have
the ball in your hands at all times. If you want to make it happen and
want to accomplish your goals and dreams, you’ve got to take control of
your own career and own destiny, you got to make your own path and
that’s what the independent game allows us to do.
” – Bluff

On Comparisons To N.W.A: That’s a nice comparison. That’s proper, but I
wouldn’t look at it like that because at that time their stamp, they
took it to the highest peak the next level and they changed it. When we
do that then we could start talking, but that’s always nice to hear
though. At the end of the day, any comparison to any legends is a good
look, but we’re Custom Made. That’s the name of the group and we call
ourselves Custom Made for a reason, the music that we make is custom
made, it’s original.
” – Bluff

Scoobs On Bringing Cultural Diversity To The Group:I don’t look at it from a
race factor. Hip Hop is so global now and so many people are doing Hip Hop it’s all over the world, it’s like whoever is still looking at Hip Hop as a race factor, what the fuck are you still thinking?
This is 2008. I don’t feel any pressure about anything, that’s not even
on my mind frame. All I’m thinking about is making good music and keep
pushing with the Custom Made movement and taking it as far as we can
take it. That’s my main thinking; all the other shit is irrelevant. We don’t
discriminate against anybody, we mess with people from all cultures,
all races and all different types of backgrounds. The beautiful thing
about living in L.A. is that its so many different types of people out
here and being able to grow up around that, it gave us a whole
different mind state.
” – Scoob

Hip Hop’s Decline In Sales:Students, and especially the younger people aren’t
going out and copping those CDs because of the Internet factor. But at
the same time, I think it’s going to be good because when it gets bad, it
makes people notice that we need to go back to the real roots of Hip Hop and get away from all the cookie-cutter stuff and everyone
doing the same thing. So you’re going to see more creative artists come
out because of the lack of creativity that’s been going around lately.
its about to be a good turn right now.
” – Bluff

Original Dynasty is in stores and online now.