Long Beach rapper RBX made his name on The Chronic, absolutely killing it on tracks like “Stranded on Death Row.” Weekly contributor Jake Paine calls that song the West coast's answer to Marly Marl's “The Symphony” – perhaps the greatest posse cut in rap history – and indeed RBX went on to contribute to other classics including Doggystyle and The Marshall Mathers LP, and his own solo work, including The RBX Files.
We met up with him at V.I.P. Records in Long Beach, which has not shut down as feared, but rather moved to a small annex next door to the original location. The spot is right near where RBX grew up, near his friend Kenneth's soul food spot, and near RBX's Long Beach Polytechnical High School, where his second cousin Snoop Dogg apparently sold Cameron Diaz weed.
At V.I.P RBX talked, in his deep baritone, about projects both new and old. It seems his N'Matez project with Daz, Lady of Rage, and Kurupt is on hold, but after touring with Korn a few years back he's now working on a rock album.
We also wanted to follow-up with him about an anecdote we read in a Village Voice interview with rap journalist Bryan Scheiner of TheBeeShine. Did RBX really get onto The Chronic simply because he gave Snoop a ride to a studio session?
How did it all happen?
[Snoop kept saying] “We're gonna see Dre, and you need to be a part of this. I really didn't take it seriously until one day Snoop showed up at the mall at the job I was working at.”
You were selling shoes.
And he was grabbing shoes for the video.
What was the video?
Wow, the very beginning. So that's when you met Dre.
So Snoop came in the store, he was looking at shoes and what not. I was in the back. He was harassing the attendant in the front. He was like “Why you don't got these in blue?”
So I go to the front and I go, “Hey, what's up with you Snoop?”
And he's like, “Aw man, I need some fresh kicks for this video.”
And I'm like, “Ok, slow down, let's find you the shoes.” I think I go to the back, I find him what he wants, I lace them with him.
He said, “Man, I'm gonna come back when you get off work. I'm gonna need a ride.”
I said, “Where do you need a ride to?”
He said, “I need a ride to Dre's house.”
And I say, “Ok, where does Dre stay?”
He said, “Just, like, on the other side of Hollywood.” Lying through his teeth. Calabasas is not on the other side of Hollywood.
So I go, “All right, I'll give you the ride to Hollywood.” So we drive and we drive and we get past Hollywood, we go over the hill, we come down, and we're all back in the Valley, deep Valley. I'm like, “Where are we going?”
He's like, “We about another 10 minutes…”
I said, “Man, we damn near Oxnard, homie.” So I take him up there, he do his thing. You know, Dre walk in, talking to Snoop.
So then Dre liked your voice and even before he heard that you spit, he thought that you could?
No, he was like, ''Oh, if you could spit with that voice…” But he didn't know I had major spit, because I just left The Good Life. But he didn't know that. He didn't know that I had major spit.
He was just like, “If you could just rap, just get a rhyme off…” But I didn't say nothing. I was just humble, myself. It was not my thing, my gig, you know. At the time he wasn't my homie; I was taking Snoop to his thing. I didn't want to try to overshadow that. I thought that would be like some bitch ass shit. I just humbled it up. As a wise person you don't say nothing 'til you're spoken to. So I didn't say, “Man, I got massive spit,” none of that. I wasn't that guy. I just sat there and I didn't say nothing until he said, “You think you got something for this?”
That was later though?
No, that was that night.
He was already thinking about The Chronic?
He was already thinking about The Chronic. He said, “You can't leave.”
See also: The Making of The Chronic