Capone - Music for the
3/1/05 - LatinRapper.com exclusive interview
Ask any Chicano rap
aficionado to rattle off a list of the top artists in that
sub genre, and Capone's name will come up more often than
not. Capone was born in Cali yet spent much of his
childhood in the Detroit area, later returning to Cali and
making a name for himself on the Lowrider Tour while
opening up for everyone from Ice Cube to the Kumbia Kings.
Now based in Austin, Texas, Capone is doing what he does
best, putting out the music he loves and moving tens of
thousands of units per CD.
Capone took time out to speak to LatinRapper about his music
and addressed his well publicized beef with artist Capone-E in
an exclusive interview.
LatinRapper.com: What are you working on right now?
Right now, working on a distribution deal, I just got an
attorney that's pretty high up there, he's talking to EMI
Latin for me, hoping that pans out. Just finished the Chicano
World 3 album, I was supposed to turn that in but hoping this
EMI deal turns over.
You've sold over 100,000 albums, which is a big figure for
any artist on an independent label. What has been your recipe
I wouldn't so much consider it success, just marketing. We
don't have big huge budget for videos and all that. But just
getting out in the streets, putting up posters, building
relationships with distributors. Letting them know there's a
market for this. Kind of like punk music was, it's still
underground. You put out a good album, word of mouth works
A year after dropping your debut album, Raza Rolls Deep,
you were on the highly esteemed Lowrider Tour. What was it
like to get recognition so fast?
I consider myself lucky. I had made a single for Thump
Records, for the first song I had ever made in rap music. They
bought it, that's how I got on the tour. It just so happens I
got on Thump Records Compilation Vol. 9, and that song got me
on the tour, it was a single. They had the single for a good
year, and the tour came in ‘98, ‘99. Back then, it was Kid
Frost, Lighter Shade of Brown, there wasn't too many Latino
rappers. Proper dos. I got to do shows with Kid Frost, Roger
Troutman, Morris Day. I got fortunate, one lucky break put me
on the stage with all those people.
Some have called you the Hip Hop voice of the Latino
community, do you feel that this title applies to you?
It should have been Latino music voice (laughs), I'm not into
political stuff and all that. But as far as Latino music goes,
I feel I'm the best at one I do. I have a lot of good songs
that relate to the Latino community. I just know that I'm the
best at what I do, know what I'm saying. And if I could hear
someone who could do it better than me, id give them props,
but a lot of people are straying away from that, I don't know
Straying away from what?
From the Latino... in other words, I'm in this for different
reasons. I'm in this to make good albums. And I'll admit when
I first started they weren't good ‘cause I just started, but I
stayed on point. I know what my audience looks like, I do it
for them. Some artists just do it for big money. Some approach
me like, "hey do a song like this", I don't see myself doing
it. Like 2pac, he had his own thing. He made crazy songs, like
Brenda Had a Baby, that happened to someone. I just wanna do
that kind of music, tell stories about things that happened
not everybody wants to hear happy, uptempo music.
You're albums have names like Chicano World 3, but do you
consider the music you put out Chicano Rap?
Well, I don't wanna say its just for Chicanos, know what I'm
saying. Its more geared towards Latinos, but you know, I have
other races that listen to it as well. Not all the songs are
just Mexican songs.
To you personally, what distinguishes Chicano Rap from any
other genre of rap?
Obviously the topics that are discussed in the music. The
lifestyle situations people end up in, there are a lot of
people that are into that lifestyle, lowriding, certain things
in that circle that come out in the music. A lot of people on
the outside looking in , they get the record and get a feel
for what's going on.
Who were some of the artists that influenced you and your
There's groups that I like, you know, I don't think anyone
influenced. I like Kid Frost when he came out. He was like the
first Mexican rapper, so that's an influence, like ‘wow that
can happen'. Cypress Hill, Psycho Realm, Fat Joe of course,
and Big Pun. One of the dopest rappers out there, I think, is
Immortal Technique. I listen to a lot of stuff out there, but
that dude's tight.
We ran an interview with him not that long ago.
And you don't hear him on the radio, you barely see a poster,
but you see: word of mouth. I heard of him through a friend,
and saw him at a conference. That's the kind of music, stuff
that applies, music that applies. Like you listen to Immortal
Tech's songs, he's talking about something, its solid music.
Some of these other groups, I don't know what they're saying.
Drinking wine, Hennessey, popping collars, that don't apply to
Who are some of the artists you've recorded with so far?
I'm not really into all that, you know, I have recorded with a
few people. I just did a track with South Park Mexican, and of
course I made an album with another Chicano rapper, Conejo.
Anybody you look forwarded to working with, or would like
to if given the opportunity?
50 cent or Fat Joe, or Nas.
That's surprising to hear someone in the Southwest mention
three New York artists first.
No, its just that they have lyrics, and when I sit down and
write a song, I'm not trying to say I'm on Fat Joe or Nas'
level, but they take time doing their stuff. And I like what
they talk about, if they did a feature album and needed a
Mexican flipping some Mexican stuff, it would fit. I just like
the way that they write. And its not that I'm hating on the
West coast at all, just that they are more party, more into
pimp sh*t, like Snoop, he don't get real lyrical. They're more
laid back, more cool.
You have one of the must talked about beefs out West,
between you and Capone-E. How did it start in the first place?
I hate to even acknowledge that dude. I take my career
serious, its kind of weird, I left Thump Records and they pick
this dude up. The main beef is that the dude sucks, he's wack.
This is word of mouth, people buying his sh*t on accident
thinking its me. He can't touch me lyrically, there's zero
competition. Basically that's it, just a rap beef, the dude's
name is too close to mine with his genre of music. I cant
stand rappers who think that they're above others. Just ‘cause
you do music, doesn't make you a prince. This is the type of
dude that rushes into the limousine [after a show], I take my
time, shake hands.
For those not familiar with the beef, does it extend
between other artists on his or your labels?
Like I said, I don't know them. I already stepped up and
clowned the dude twice, they haven't even retaliated against
me on the record. This is rap dude, this is how it works. Nas
and Jay-Z had it out, 50 and Ja. I did my part on Chicano
World 3, exposed him.... Funny thing is, he ain't even Latino.
[editor note: emails were sent to Mr. Capone-E and his record
label asking for confirmation or denial of the ethnicity claim
to offer an impartial feature, those emails have not been
But in all fairness, even if he's Middle Eastern, he's
still brown, its still brown on brown violence it can come to.
Is it just that you don't like that he does Chicano rap?
No, its just... The main thing is, dude, I grew up San
Fernando, California. So all the cholo style, big clothes,
Dickies, back in ‘89, ‘88, I lost at least seven homeboys from
our neighborhood, murdered. Nowadays, you got guys like this
dude, dressing like a Mexican dude. He's pimping our culture,
the way I see it. And then people, you know, think he's a real
cholo. I got dudes that were murked for sh*t like that. ‘Hey
what gang are you from', ‘San Fernando?' Boom! Nowadays they
dress like that. As far as violence goes, I'm not gonna go
like an immature rapper. If it goes violent, that will be on
him. I'm not gonna go try to shoot no one.
For the sake of discussion, what would it take for Capone and
Capone-E to be able to squash their beef and put things in the
Who knows, man. That's all I can say. Its rap music, you know,
it's a battle for the title, the way I see it. Eventually
it'll fix itself.
Plenty of artists have clothing lines or promote
automobile-related businesses, do you have any business
interests outside of hip hop?
Yeah, we have our own clothing company that we're starting
called Cartel. And that's pretty much in the design stage
right now. Outside of music, though, that's it. That's all I
do is music, try to get more educated on how the business
works, marketing strategies. Outside of that, chilling with my
family, raising my kids.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Everyone that supports me or has ever bought a record, I
appreciate it. I put my phone number out there in case anyone
hears a rumor or has a question, they can call me at
254-421-0303 or they can drop me an email at
Capone official website:
Capone on Myspace: