Few producers have the resume of Domingo, but the casual fan would have no idea, because dude’s not the type to let you know. Either you know or you don’t, and either’s fine with the man who’s only getting better as a producer, which is kind of scary. From working with Big Pun and Guru to managing Kool G. Rap and a new partnership with up-and-coming talent Nutso, there’s no shortage of dope stories and game. As Domingo readies his third compilation, Same Game, New Rules, dropping later in August, he takes some time to talk about why this compilation will be his last, why he split from Fat Beats, looks back on his previous tracks, lets us know what G. Rap’s up to, where Rugged Intellect went, how he got Bamboo on the new album, what it’s like working with Big Pun’s son Chris Rivers and the comparisons to Pun, why 360 deals are garbage, how he came to give away an MPC, and a whole lot more in this exclusive interview.
Here are some quotes from the feature:
On his relationship with Big Pun’s son Chris Rivers:
I always stayed in contact with his family. At first, he wanted to make beats and I drove to where they live and I gave him software that I had bought. I gave him that software and told him to put it on his computer and he could make beats. Then I didn’t speak to him for about a year, maybe a year and a half. Then his mom hit me up and was like, ‘Hey, I want you to come hear Chris. He’s rapping.’ He was into rock music and he still listens to rock music. He came to the car and spit and I was like, ‘It’s cool, but you gotta get it tighter.’ I didn’t see him for a year and a half again. This is 2014, I would say about 2011, 2012, now he’s spitting that shit, and I was like, ‘Yo, this kid is going to be a beast!’ And yo, sure enough, I knew it. And it’s crazy because I told somebody from a record company back then like, ‘Yo, you need to get with Chris Rivers and you need to let me work with him. Let’s do something with him.’ And they shot me down like I’m crazy. Now they called me recently and asked if I wanted to do something with Chris Rivers. Get out of here. The kid is doing it on his own. He doesn’t need you. But his transition, his growth, his evolution, is amazing, and he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with very soon. Very, very soon.
On finding and working with Bamboo on Same Game, New Rules:
My relationship with Bamboo over the years has always been a brotherly relationship. And I lost contact with him for at least eight years. I heard all kinds of crazy stuff like he got killed. I was like, ‘No way.’ When I finally found him, he was in a rap group. He was living in Florida and he was a Born Again Christian. He wasn’t really into hip-hop the way we listen to it. But when it came to doing this album, I couldn’t get Bamboo to do nothing that I wanted to do and I respect that because he has his views and he’s my man. He will always be like a brother to me, even if we didn’t do music. When I started doing the album, I hit him up, like, ‘I need Bamboo on this album, but I need Bamboo from 13th Floor, that’s the Bamboo I need.’ And he was like, ‘You’re asking a lot, man.’ And I said, “I’m only asking for this one time. After that, you don’t want to do it no more, that’s cool with me.” And he was like, ‘I got you.’ That happened. And it kind of seemed that me and him still got that energy, so we’re working on other things.
On not coming up in the era of 360 deals:
I came up in an era where there were $100,000 budgets and they weren’t taking your merchandise. They weren’t taking your tour money. They weren’t taking your image, your personality, and making money, because 360 deals is what it is. It’s a full circle. You’re signing away a full circle of your life. Back then, you had Kool G. Rap and Big Daddy Kane and all them touring and making their deals. All they were getting were their advances and their deals. There was no 360. Their tour money and their merch money was theirs. These kids now, they’re getting raped. And you see all these articles in The Source Magazine or even The Daily News about these kids getting signed for $3 million. Let’s look at the details of the deal. Yeah, $3 million is a 360 deal. They didn’t get $3 million. The deal is equal to $3 million broken down to five albums. One of the kids got $60,000 for a 360 deal. Now, you only get 20% advance for your pocket when you sign a deal. This is what these artists ain’t saying because they want to brag that they got a million-dollar deal. Okay, your deal’s worth a million, but your first album was $60,000 and you get 20% of that, you got $12,000 to sign your life away. And these record labels make these 360 deals sound like the grandest thing in the world when it’s really the biggest rape in music history.
On hearing “Major Game,” his song with Guru, today:It’s gonna be a track that I always hold dear to me because Guru is a friend. He was one of those people like G. Rap, a friend outside of music. I have framed the DVD of the Pro Tools session and a note that Guru wrote to me how the credits should read. And it’s in his handwriting and I sent the picture of it to Premier and Premier confined it to me that that was Guru’s handwriting. ANd then Premier asked me if he could remix that song. I sent it to Premier and he never remixed but he asked me if he could remix it and of course, I can’t deny Premier that.