11 / 16 / 1998
Devin motherfucking Copeland. 1/3rd Odd Squad. The melody behind Face Mob, and Scarface’s soulful sidekick on jam’s like “Fuck Faces”, “Smartz” and “Southside, Houston Texas”.
The hook on the 5th Ward Boyz “Pussy, Weed & Alcohol”? Yeah that was him too. The Bill Withers - Too Short hybrid from that Dirty South whose hooks have lodged themselves so deep in your skull, you could hum them in your sleep. And whose lyrics have made even the bombest pimps flinch and rewind their tapes on some “this fool crazy” type shit. And you still don’t know exactly who he is.
Pusherman Matt Sonzala kicks it with Devin, “The Dude”.
4080: Tell me a little something about “The Dude”. Devin: Well “The Dude”, it’s basically an old Quincy Jones album, and in that particular song he was like this bad motherfucker that nobody would fuck with, in nicer terms. He was real bad, he took care of his business and everything. And I always wondered who was the dude? Then when I finally got a chance to see the album (cover) and I saw the picture of a little sculptured dude on there and I was like “man I know this can’t be The Dude”. But it was just cool the way the music just led you on. And you know, he had a way with his music. So anyway, Face was working on this beat and it didn’t sound like that Quincy Jones track, but the hook kind of sounded like it. So Face just walked in the room, you know, humming that little tune and was like, “Man you ought to do that man. You’re the Dude man”. I was like “well shit, that was my jam back in the day. Let’s see what I can work with.” So I put it down, put it like a mysterious dude. I wasn’t saying that I was the dude. He had a couple of my characteristics, but I tried to leave it like a mysterious dude, like the way Quincy did it.
4080: Yeah well you’re an old school junkie though.
Devin: Yeah man.
4080: That’s your jams man.
Devin: I put Murray’s Wave Grease on my first Kangol. Now you know that’s old school.
4080: What’s would you say are the old school must haves?
Devin: Ya got ta have your Curtis Mayfield. Ya gots ta have your Marvin Gaye. Your Quincy and your Roger. I even go back to like Bee Gee’s if you want to get wild with it. And James Taylor if you want to just get in the sooth mode. Yeah boy, that’s my boy there.
4080: Is that what your family was listening to when you were coming up.
Devin: Well I was listening to most of that on the radio. The r&b station just played everything. Everything. When it was like Disco era damn near.
4080: Yeah? What year were you born?
Devin: Born in ‘69.
4080: '69? So you’re 29. Right now. You were right there on the cusp of that shit. Right in the middle of it actually.
Devin: Yeah man.
4080: So when you were a little kid, you came up listening to the soul and funk, and that progressed into your love for rap music.
Devin: Yeah, well my love for music period. My uncle used to have me sing these songs for his girlfriends back in the day and I was a little dude and as I went on, I just loved the hip hop era, where the young dudes were saying anything. Saying what they wanted to say, and the world was able to hear it. What was happening in the hood. So it was cool back in the day. We was breakdancing and shit before we even started rapping.
4080: Did it hit you right from the beginning?
Devin: Not really. I used to like just enjoy listening to it and breakdancing to it and stuff. But after we stopped breakin’ we just still loved the music and I was like, shit, we started trippin’, freestylin’ in like '86. Freestyling. Going to school. You know, on the back of the bus, drunk. Talking about each other and talking about the bus driver and it just progressed. We started getting serious. We started writing, you know, try to make a whole story out of something, and just went on and on.
4080: Did you ever try to be a serious singer?
Devin: Naw not really. I don’t think I could sing that good. Not enough to be a successful r&b singer I guess. I just try to hold a note. It’s chill. It’s just the shit I used to listen to. It’s just grown on me.
4080: And that just kind of worked it’s way into your style I guess. Man, going back to the subject of getting drunk on the way to school, one of the things I wanted to ask you was about the song “I Can’t Quit”. Every time I play that in front of my girl, she wants me to turn it off, cuz she says it sounds like me too much. Getting fucked up, trying to work and shit. You’re a bit of a non conformist aren’t you?
Devin: Right, yeah man. I figured if I go ahead and talk about myself man, it’ll leave less room for other people to talk about me.
4080: No shit.
Devin: It’s like, it’s depressing being like that, but I just try and make it in a funny way. Kind of calling out for help damn near.
4080: Well your style, everything about your music kind of goes against the grain. In like politically correct terms and even in current hip hop terms. I think one of the biggest problems with rap music is that it tries to be so against the grain, but a lot of times in itself it’s such a conformist culture man. Everybody doing same thing, sounding the same and as soon as one thing happens, so many jump on that one trend.
Devin: Right man.
4080: But what I’m saying is, there’s really nobody in rap music who you can compare to Devin Copeland.
Devin: Well I appreciate that man cuz that’s all I try to do is stay different. I think rap is just like it is, like a conversation. And everybody’s gonna have a little different conversation you know. Everybody shouldn’t try to follow or ride that trend or whatever, because with no originality… you know, I listen to a lot of people and I have a lot of artists that I admire and I would love to try and sound like them or whatever, but I know that there’s no way that I could do it, so I just take a little piece or something. You know, you can tell who some of my influences are. Somebody told me that they could tell that I used to listen to Curtis Mayfield or something. Or Bill Withers. That just rubbed off on me. I used to just mock their songs all the time. Sing them over and over. But I won’t just come out trying to sound just like somebody. That takes away from the music, from what you’re trying to do.
4080: Well your whole clique is kind of bugged out too though. Run down the Coughee Brothers for me.
Devin: Man I got some crazy ass Coughee Brothers. I got Rob Quest, Jugg Mugg, C-Ray, Crispy Black, Kevin, Ivory, my brother Donny. KB a Coughee Brother but he don’t smoke too often. He’s down though. Shit there’s so many brothers. Tony and Boomer, that’s like one of the original Coughee Brothers.
4080: In a couple of the reviews they’re listing you as “former-Odd Squad”/“former-Face Mob”. Set it straight.
Devin: We was talking about that today man. I’m Odd Squad forever man. And I’m always down with the Face Mob, whenever they need something, I’m down to come through. And the only reason why I wasn’t on a lot of the new Face Mob tracks, which is almost done now, is cuz we was working on my album at the same time. And as far as Odd Squad goes, we’re slowly but surely getting it together now. Trying to make it tight. Make it worth the wait for everybody.
4080: You know I’m one of those people who’s on the edge of his seat waiting for that Odd Squad record.
Devin: Yeah man we trying to get it out there for you and everybody else man.
4080: What about some Odd Squad productions. One of the things everybody commented on with the first album was the originality of the production. The difference between “Fadanuf Fa Erybody” and pretty much every other album that was coming out at that time. How come we don’t hear more production from Rob Quest and DJ Styles?
Devin: They got tracks. It’s going down as we speak, but they just taking they time. Making sure everything flows a little tighter than last time, but you’ll hear something real shortly. Rob and Carlos (DJ Styles) did that “Don’t Wait” on my album. So just expect a lot more from them boys. They coming through.
4080: In the reviews I saw, they also mentioned the word “misogynist” and they kind of hung on the sexual over tones of the record. Aside from all that, well I mean, in addition to all that, why do you think so many people are so hung up on sex, yet don’t flinch quite as bad, or in the same way, from violence?
Devin: I think because sex feels better.
4080: People are afraid to feel good?
Devin: Yeah man, they’re afraid to feel good. But they’ll hear it in another way. If you say some shit about 69 or going downtown or something like that, if it’s all in favor of the women or something like that, then it’s all good. But if you want 'em to suck a lil dick or something sometimes, it gets out of hand.
4080: Yeah but there’s wanna be politically correct men out there who will turn your shit inside out as well.
Devin: Right, right. But shit, to each his own to me. I make this shit because I’m able to say what I want to say I guess. I mean that’s why I started liking the music. I mean you listen to Too Short and you say, “What? Did he say that shit?” It’s funny, but that shit was crazy. We had Two Live Crew back in the day. 'We Want Some Pussy", but you know, it’s not made to offend anybody. I have the utmost respect for all females. It’s all fun really. Everybody feel that way I guess. They just don’t put it like I do.
4080: If you were the president, what would you say to Monica Lewinsky right now.
Devin: HA! Gimme some head, some grill. I’d ask her can I put my link on her grill?
4080: Would you refuse her?
Devin: I probably would now, but I’d probably be in the same shoes as Clinton is if I was in his situation.
4080: What was your wildest groupie experience? Speaking of men in positions of power abusing their manlyhood.
Devin: Well, the wildest one was, I was at the hotel and there was some knocks at the door and it was this girl. Nice looking lil ol’ girl. I opened the door and she was like “Oh! It’s Devin. You’re Devin right?” I was like “Uh Yeah”. And she was like “I just wanted to meet you, I just wanted to say hi.” So I said “come in”. “Oh I can come in? I can come in?”. I was like “Yeah, come on in. Sit down on the bed or something”. “I can sit down on your bed?” “Uhh, yeah you can. You can sit down on the bed,” and she like folded her arms like she was cold and I said, “well shit, you cold, you can just go ahead and get up under the covers or whatever”. And she was like “Really?!? I can get up under your cover?” And I was like “Hell yeah you can”. Then she got up under the covers and I said “well do you mind if I lay down beside you” And she said she didn’t mind at all so I laid down beside her and I got this phone call and it was from my manager, and I hung up the phone and I was trying to get her out because I was like, she was gonna be a pest. So I was like “Well, uh, they said we’re leaving in 30 minutes, so I gotta get ready to get my stuff together to leave.” So if anything would happen it would be quick. So she was like “Oh can I please, can I please leave you something to remember me by?” And she just, bloop, she disappeared… under the covers. So that was pretty wild. I was like, “damn, somebody thinks that much of me? Shit.” But we been so busy now, we be in and out of cities so much and I try to chill from the groupies, try to just stick to the business side.
4080: Well you’re an older man now.
Devin: Yeah man, I’m trying to get my little business together. Get my whole family straight.
4080: How is the family now?
Devin: Aw man they cool, my little kids getting big.
4080: How old?
Devin: Three, Five and Seven.
4080: Damn! 3-5-7. Little MC’s yet? Little vocalists?
Devin: Aw they always sing, they love to sing. All three of 'em. My girls, they love Usher a lot. My little boy, he like Usher, but his favorite rapper is Busta Rhymes. Dante, Danielle and Devontrell.
4080: Are you interested at all in getting involved with the weed movement?
Devin: Man I’m all for it. I don’t like abusing anything, but if you’re using it properly, I’m all for it.
4080: All marijuana use is medicinal.
Devin: Right man. You can do hundred’s of things with marijuana. Legalize, I’m down with it. The prices’ll go up though.
4080: The prices won’t go up. You legalize it and put a plant on your porch. Wait four months and you got a pound. Think about that. That’s one of the reasons it’s not legal. You can’t really regulate that too tough. Grow you a plant and be straight for a few months. Alright my last question. Have you ever heard your voice Screwed?
Devin: Yeah, I heard it Screwed.
4080: How did you feel the first time you heard your voice Screwed?
Devin: I was like man, I’m heard now. I was like, I felt like I was made after that. Like a made man in H-Town. When you get Screwed, you know you’re being noticed and you’re getting appreciated. So I don’t knock that at all. That’s my homeboy Screw. Matter of fact, he was the dj on our first demo tape we gave to Lil J.
4080: Odd Squad demos?
Devin: Yeah, he cut on all the songs for us. That was like in '91.
4080: Did you used to freestyle on his tapes?
Devin: Um, naw, I didn’t get a chance to yet. I’m sure hoping I will get a chance to. We talked about coming through there.
4080: Did it kind of bug you out the first time you heard your voice Screwed.
Devin: Yeah man, it was “Fa Sho Pussy” too. KB, he just heard his voice Screwed for the first time. That song “Ghetto” off MY HOMIEZ. That nigga went crazy man. That nigga went bezerk. He loved it. I give much props to Screw and all the Herschelwood boys who been representin’, they straight.
4080: What’s the next shit coming out of Houston?
Devin: I would say ODD SQUAD! Naw but it’s a lot you got Tela coming up out of here man. His shit is tight. Yukmouth? Aw man, that boy’s off the hook. 5th Ward Boyz gonna be coming out with another one. There’s a lot of projects coming out man. It ain’t gonna stop.