Duke Da God: Dipset Runs New York!
Being the A&R for the Diplomats, Duke Da God is definitely a big decision maker in plenty of the projects released from the New York collective. While the big three of business is perceived to be Cam, Jimmy and Freekey; Duke may not be as visible but definitely calls some big shots for his family. Duke has lots to get off his chest. Is Koch really a graveyard, did Cam'ron really body Nas, 50 Cent and Mase? Or how about Dukes opinion on Cams appearance on 60 Minutes? What about his new album? If you thought New York hip-hop was dead, it's not and Dipset currently runs it according to Duke Da God.
HHDX: First off, how you began your position with the Diplomats?
Duke Da God: I grew up with Cam so when he was doing the music thing I was always there. I used to roll with him back in the day and I always stuck with Cam. Eventually, he got his record deal, dropped the album and he put his crew together - the Diplomats. I was right there helping him along the way with all the hard work and the grind.
HHDX: What about Jim (Jones)? How far you go back with him?
Duke Da God: I go back with Jim years ago too. I knew Cam first, but I knew Jim too back when we was young. Jim used to be on the strip in my building so it goes way back and again he was right there with the beginning of the Diplomats.
HHDX: Dipset is doing there thing right now, how you feel about the impact yall made on hip-hop culture?
Duke Da God: Its real good you know just like the fashion, the slang, and just us being us. Our powerful movement definitely feels good to be influential in our community and also the hip-hop community.
HHDX: How long you see the whole movement going?
Duke Da God: I see it at the beginning, because we got so much potential. Its the youth you know? JR Writer is only like 21 years old. Juelz is like 23 years old. Its so young and so much more in store for the movement.
HHDX: Were you responsible for discovering JR Writer, 40 Cal, and Hell Rell?
Duke Da God: I dont really take the credit for that I would say Cam did all that. He put the crew together setting a plan with them and just carried it out.
HHDX: But you handle most of the projects from 40 Cal right?
Duke Da God: Yeah, I put out an album with 40 Cal last year which was Duke Da God Presents 40 Cal "Broken Safety". I put out all the mixtapes with 40 Cal and everything. Multiple mixtapes and a bunch of other stuff will be coming out soon.
HHDX: Whats tough about being A&R for the Diplomats?
Duke Da God: The toughest thing is not (having) enough time in a day. I be wanting to go to sessions with Jim, Cam and Juelz (but) I just be running out of time. Then I got sessions with JR, 40 and Hell Rell, so shit it can be hard some times. Its just not enough time in the day.
HHDX: I been asking a lot of artists about New York hip-hop being dead, how you feel about that?
Duke Da God: Its fucked up right now to keep it 100. Even on the radio, but not to diss the radio or nothing, but its like they play us in every other state and we just dont own hip-hop right now. The radio doesnt even play New York artists. It seems as though people would rather hear someone else and thats whats killing us right now.
HHDX: Would you say Dipset run New York right now?
Duke Da God: Yeah. Dipset...we run New York. You can put that on the headline - "Dipset runs New York".
HHDX: So Duke before you bring somebody to the Diplomats crew what you look for?
Duke Da God: Im looking for confidence. Someone thats powerful, dope and that we can believe in you. In order for us to fuck with it you have to make powerful and dope music.
HHDX: Looking to bring any more females to the crew?
Duke Da God: Definitely, its whatever is hot you know. Whatever is hot, we dont discriminate on females its all good as long as the music is hot.
HHDX: Let me ask you this, so how you feel about the whole situation with Cam and 50?
Duke Da God: I think Cam bodied 50 in the whole thing. I think 50 Cent went against a challenging opponent and it left him shaking. He just fell back and tried to do the same thing Jim Jones did to Jay-Z, but his was a wack tactic if you ask me. I also think it was good for hip-hop though, because it was two bosses going at it. It was good to see them shoot videos for the songs and get thousands of views, that shit was hot.
HHDX: Would you agree that your boy Camron has a hell of a resume when he said he bodied cats like Nas, 50, and Mase?
Duke Da God: Yeah, definitely! He definitely has a point with his resume.
HHDX: He was on 60 Minutes not too long ago, how you feel about the Stop Snitching movement?
Duke Da God: Its hip-hop you know, but it got taken out of line. Prior the all the Don Imus stuff, the Virginia Tech situation, it was like bad timing for everything. It just came out fucked up, but as far as that its a press release out for the apologies.
HHDX: At least thats good promotion on the Diplomats half [laughs]?
Duke Da God: Definitely. Its 60 Minutes you know. It just got took out of text and I dont think Cam really meant what he said. To ask him a question like that on the spot, it was fucked up situation, but like they say in this line of work thats something you dont do.
HHDX: Tell me about the new album.
Duke Da God: I got the new album out Duke Da God Presents: More Than Music Volume 2! Its a dope album with all the Diplomats on there. We worked together like we did since Diplomatic Immunity 1 & 2, so now we back at it again. Get ready, because this one is definitely powerful.
HHDX: Duke, how you feel when people call Koch a graveyard, especially when your album is coming out on that label?
Duke Da God: Nah, its funny because the game is changing so much that everybody that were on major labels try to come to Koch. We was never dead so its definitely not a graveyard for us. Jim Jones was on Koch. His first through his third album and he was never dead. Fuck all that stuff they talking it helps some older artists, but in our case its not a graveyard.
HHDX: Do you think Koch will be the number one label a few years from now?
Duke Da God: Diplomats is gonna be the number one label a few years from now Koch can be number two.
HHDX: [Laughs] Okay I see Duke got confidence with Dipset?
Duke Da God: Yeah definitely, we got something over here.
HHDX: Will the new album be better than the last?
Duke Da God: Yeah, the new album is definitely better than the last one. The last one was Cam'ron Presents Duke Da God The Movement Moves On. This album is better than that last one and More Than Music Part One. We grew a lot, did and seen more things, brought more things, and now its just different. Now we just say those things and it shows we are more than music.
HHDX: Thanks for the love Duke and look forward to the album. You have anything else to say to the readers of HipHopDX?
Duke Da God: Go get the new album! Its Dipset all day and we the strongest movement in the streets. We run New York and take a walk with us through Harlem get the album and you know what it is.