After releasing a slew of mixtapes stretching all the way back to as far as Welcome to Comptonfornia, 2015 seemed to be a true breakout year for AD (real name Armand Douglas). Blue:89 was a Criptastic gangstafied mixtape filled with trunk rattling G-Funk leading to his first big regional radio hit “Juice.” The track was produced by Milwaukee – Los Angeles transplant Sorry Jaynari who earned his first platinum plaque back in 2010 with the Ray J guest New Boyz single “Tie Me Down” and Problem’s first major hit “Like Whaaat.”
A year later, the two drop their first official joint project together in By the Way which features a star-studded remix to “Juice” featuring everyone from The Game to K-Camp and the YG-assisted “Thug.” This past May, the video was shot in efforts to show unity amongst the storied rivalry between the Bloods and Crips was interrupted by unknown gunfire. Although no one was hurt in the incident, it’s another reminder of how far the area has progressed and what needs to be improved.
When HipHopDX meets up at a recording studio in North Hollywood, AD and Sorry Jaynari are accompanied with his team including Adrian Swish and League Of Starz head Tavon “Pun” Alexander. During our conversation, the rapper and producer team discuss the success of “Juice” and how that led to By the Way.
My dawg O.T. Genasis was one of the reasons why it started cracking off fast and stuff. He had like 200k or so on his Instagram page, took his shirt off, driving on the freeway wildin’ and listening to it. Then, everybody was asking what song it was. TMZ put it up and it started blowing up. — AD
HipHopDX: Though you guys are frequently working together now, many see both AD and Sorry Jaynari starting with the success of “Juice.” Where does that relationship between you two start?
AD: I knew this nigga way back then. He’s been making beats for a long time. I probably met Jaynari around 2009 or something like that. It was this cat named Project (PC) who was an original Pushaz Ink member. He was originally YG’s best friend or something like that. He and Jaynari had a dynamic together. During the Myspace days, he was popular and Jaynari was making the beats. Everybody wanted a Jaynari beat including me. I linked up with Jaynari and started working on a few things. After that, we both linked up with League of Starz and Aceboy Pun. We started rocking from there. On my last mixtape, we had “Juice” and everybody knows that was for the city. Pun wanted to get us back in the studio and make a couple of records. At first, we weren’t thinking about a project, but after three or four records we decided to put this shit together because the shit started sounding crazy.
DX: How far did “Juice” really take you?
AD: That shit opened the door for everything. When the shit first got made, I wasn’t even trying to push it like that. I had a feeling about it and asked everyone around me about it. A lot of people thought it was going to be another record. I thought this had the potential to do something. My dawg O.T. Genasis was one of the reasons why it started cracking off fast and stuff. He had like 200K or so on his Instagram page, took his shirt off, driving on the freeway wildin’ and listening to it. Then, everybody was asking what song it was. TMZ put it up and it started blowing up. We put the full press on it after that. We started getting radio spins. Like we started getting 30 spins a week. That was being independent and the streets were talking and rocking with it. “Juice” is still one of the biggest songs in L.A. right now.
DX: O.T. is on the “They Know” track as well.
AD: That’s my brother. I met O.T. when I was like 15-years-old. We weren’t as close back then as we are now. He was just a “hi-and-bye” homie. We had a mutual friend who passed away. We were at the funeral together. [Me] and my baby momma took him home and we’ve been rocking since then. He’s one of the people that a lot of people hated on and talked bad about him. They were saying he wasn’t going to make a bigger record than what he’s already done. And, that was before “CoCo” and “Cut It.” He was the one that everyone doubted. Me being around him showed me a better way to move when it comes to the streets and making music. Sometimes, he would make hooks that made me ask who thinks of stuff like that. It made me look outside of the box more and how I move in the streets and within the industry. He’s a real dope person. Watching where he came from and when everyone doubted him. He keeps taking off.
Sorry Jaynari: Pretty much after radio play. When the radio plays your record, that’s when you know.
DX: How’d you know the “Juice” beat was for him?
Sorry Jaynari: Actually, it was an older beat. Pun was shopping it around. Pun was the one who put it all together.
Before Linking With YG, AD Was In A Rival Clique
DX: The By the Way features the “Thug” track with YG. When did that collaboration come into play?
AD: For people who don’t know, me and YG got history going way back. At first, we didn’t like each other. It had nothing to do with gang banging stuff or anything like that. Back in the day in high school, we had cliques. YG was in a different clique and I started messing with a clique that didn’t like YG’s clique. We were going back and forth and stuff like that. What he did for West Coast Hip Hop through the years, I support everything he did. He was one of the younger ones at the forefront. Even though he was a Piru, I wanted to show him love. Later on, me and him reconnected and had a long conversation about our past and what I and him did for each other career-wise. He’s one of the reasons why I started pushing harder too. I saw him come from the city. Before the cliques, we were rapping for fun, women and popularity. He got signed and got a big contract. He took it worldwide. It made me want to step it up.
DX: There’s this trend going on as West Coast rappers with gang ties are being open in their fight for unity.
AD: The city needs that, though. For people who don’t know, Compton is a different place now. As far as the gang banging culture, Crips and Pirus don’t necessarily beef anymore. More Pirus beef with Pirus and more Crips beef with Crips. I and YG come from two different areas who originally wouldn’t get along with each other, but we don’t have problems with each other. I got a relationship with a lot of his homies from way back. For “Thug,” once we came up with that, I told him to bring his whole hood to the video shoot. It was dope man. The video will be out soon. You’ll see a lot of blue and red rags next to each other.
DX: The making of the video was supposed to be a positive moment until the gunfire situation.
AD: Yeah and that situation. God bless everybody cause it could have been worse. There were 30 shots and nobody got hit. You could have thrown a rock in the air and it could have hit somebody. I don’t really even know what it was.
DX: So to set the record straight, it had nothing to do with you and YG.
AD: It had nothing to do with us. It’s summertime, though. Summertime in Compton, anybody can drive-by and do something. We were in an open space and had kids out there and all types of people. Thank God nothing serious happened. It was like 300 people out there altogether.
AD: League of Starz been dealing with The Bay in regards to bringing their movement out here. Jaynari put the beat together and Pun co-produced the beat. Pun got Nef in the lab with us and we cut the record and I think two more. The beat is amazing. When I heard it, I did what I did to it. You know Jaynari is a wizard when it comes to production and stuff. Then, Pun sent it to 40 and he hopped on it. Everybody did their stuff.
DX: Did you come into the project knowing the direction you were taking?
AD: Yeah man. One thing that people will tell you is that I don’t like to be here that long. I trust Jaynari’s ear when it comes to music. He’s been doing this shit for years. When I come in and I hear a track I like, then I do it right away. If I don’t like it, I put on something else. I just like to knock my shit out and go party.
DX: It seems like West Coast production is leaning more to that 90s vintage G-Funk sound again. Where do you fit into that Jaynari?
Jaynari: I’ve always been on that feel of music. When I started, I wanted to be like [Dr.] Dre and Battlecat. The way the sound forms, it wasn’t popular to use instruments in music, but the sound evolves. Now, it makes sense. I’ve always been a fan of it, but thought what if I used the same drums that everyone likes and throw shit on top of it to make it sound old yet new at the same time. My specialty is drums and all of that. The biggest part of it was listening to the older records and looking at the formula. Things like Ohio Players’ “Funky Worm” are the main things I learned in terms of leads. I listened to a lot of Battlecat, Snoop and Roger & Zapp. DJ Quik and everyone doing shit around that time.
Both AD & Jaynari Are Working On By The Way Follow-up
AD: I’m one of the artists that have been around for a long time and I had a relationship with certain artists. I was actually recording for Game’s Documentary 2 album. I told him I was going to do a “Juice” remix and he said, “Put the beat on now.” He did that. Pun hit up IamSu. IamSu and Jaynari recorded that part together. O.T. is my brother so that was a no-brainer. Ty$ hit me up after he heard it on the radio.
Jaynari: Ty loved the record.
AD: I sent it to him and got it back that night. K Camp came through thanks to my homie S Dot.
DX: K Camp is the only non-West Coast cat on the record. Why him of all people?
AD: Honestly, we didn’t want to make it a regional remix. Even though we had heavy hitters from the coast, we didn’t want to make it regional. We had other people in mind as well as K Camp. He sent his stuff and it was a wrap. If we would have waited a little bit longer, we would have had six or seven more verses on there as well.
DX: Should we expect y’all to work again for another project?
Sorry Jaynari: We’re already working on By the Way Part 2.
Sorry Jaynari: We already got some crazy records.
DX: How far along are you guys?
AD: We already got a lot of records that we didn’t even put on this. We got other features and videos in the cut. Right now, we’re focusing on this campaign.
AD: You put a boatload of mixtapes out in the past several years. What did Blue:89 do that the previous ones couldn’t?
DX: I feel like, in the past, the other mixtapes were made for what I thought other people would like. With Blue:89, I really took my time. We just wanted a lot of content out in terms of hitting blogs and setting goals. We started putting out two mixtapes a year. When you’re doing that, I’m not going to say that you’re not as creative, but you’re making music to beat the clock vs. taking your time and putting something together. Blue:89, I don’t want to go with the formula that we were used to doing and I wanted to take my time. I put the records together and took my time in seeing how everything syncs together. From that, “Juice” came from that and Kendrick Lamar hit me up about congratulating me about the record. It opened up a lot of doors for me.