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Episode 9 with Al Harrington

Episode 9 with Al Harrington

On this episode Berner sits down with former NBA star Al Harrington. Since retiring from the NBA, Harrington has become an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry with his brand Viola. Catch our interview about cannabis in the NBA, building a brand, life after the game, and so much more.

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Episode 8 with Nicky Diamonds

Episode 8 with Nicky Diamonds

Diamond Supply Co. was founded in 1998 when Nicholas Tershay (aka Nicky Diamond) created a skateboard hardware line from his one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco. In 2000, Nick moved to Los Angeles and began building Diamond Supply Co. in Mike Carroll and Rick Howard’s legendary Girl Skateboards distribution house – soon growing Diamond Supply Co. to a full range of skateboard hard and soft goods including bolts, bearings, t-shirts, fleece, accessories and more. Having a strong aesthetic and a commitment for creating high quality goods, Diamond Supply Co. was quickly embraced by skate and street fashion communities alike.

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Episode 7 with Freeway Rick Ross

Episode 7 with Freeway Rick Ross

Ricky Donnell “Freeway Rick” Ross is an American author and convicted drug trafficker best known for the drug empire he established in Los Angeles, California, in the early to mid 1980s. He was sentenced to life in prison, though the sentence was shortened on appeal and Ross was released in 2009.

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Episode 6 with P-Rod

Episode 6 with P-Rod

Berner: I’m here today on The Roundtable with a very very special guest and this guest is special to me too because he’s my Mexican brother. Paul Rodriguez on the roundtable. Gotta say salute to you before we even get started. I appreciate it thank you.  I work all day and every day. I like inspiring stories. Just being briefed and learning about you about you, while watching your rise this is pretty pretty impressive man.

Paul: Appreciate it. And likewise man I’m happy to be here. I’m hoping to still give some game myself.

Berner: You know there’s not a lot of Latins out there putting on and representing our culture and holding it down as a positive role model. They don’t allow a lot of us in the game. If you look at T.V, if you look at any media, anytime one of us pops up it’s a big deal man.

Paul: I’m blessed and honored to be a part of it man. I kind of just came as a kind of as a surprise you know I’m just a kid skate my ass off and all this just happened to fall in place with that. So I’m happy to represent the culture man.

P-Rod Gets His Bearings

Berner: Growing up with (your) Pops that’s pretty legendary. Did it help like mold your business sense? Did it help give you creative energy and good vibes, and energy, you know, to follow your dreams?

Paul: Yeah definitely. When I was born, it was like right when his dreams were coming together. Right when he was getting well known and his comedy was taking off. So my whole life all I saw when I was around him was this a guy living his dream. So I think subconsciously from birth it was just natural to me, like oh yeah, you chase your dream. If you love doing something, go for it. I’m very thankful in that sense because from the get go, because I only looked at life as whatever I was doing at the time I was gonna do. As soon as I had a hobby it immediately became my calling. This is what I’m going to do and I’m gonna be the best I can be. (I’ll) find whoever’s at the top, try to emulate them, learn from them and just try and become that. I just got into all these different hobbies. Every few months the hobby would switch and switch until eventually I found skateboarding. My attention never got drawn away from it and it just I knew that was the one.

Berner: How old were you when you started skateboarding?

Paul: Just shy of twelve years old, I was in seventh grade, and I seen some kids skateboarding. I was at a new school, and every morning I’d see them, and I would stop and just watch and be fascinated. (I thought to myself) How do they do that? How do they keep the board on their feet? How do they flip it? How do they land back on it? And I thought, I have to learn how to do this. I need to learn how it’s done. That’s where my love (for skateboarding) began.

Berner: Were you scared of breaking bones?

Paul: Uh yeah! It’s crazy I became a skater because I’m actually a little bit of a “scaredy cat.” Nah we’re scared, at least speaking for myself, which I think was a big blessing because it made me before I would take another step further….it made me really perfect the step that I was at because of my paranoia. Like “OK I’m not ready for that” because my skill level isn’t there yet. Boom boom Bam Bam Okay now I’m ready for that.

It would just make me take the steps at the right time so that it became a calculated risk. Sure there is a chance of me getting fucked up here but I know that I’ve prepared this enough to try it on this specific obstacle. The chances are highly in my favor that I’m gonna succeed at this so I can live with those with those results, you know? But you know still take those take those L’s. You gotta set goals and everything.

Berner: Yeah you gotta take Ls with everything. What was your approach to trying to get noticed?

Paul: I was really lucky growing up because where I lived there was a skate shop called “Valley Skate Service” that’s still there to this day, and it was just behind my house. So, I would hop over my back yard wall, cross the street, and just hang out at this skate shop. I was probably, looking back on it now, annoying because the guys who used to work behind the counter they would always play video videos all day long. I’d be sitting and watching videos all day long asking a million questions. “Who’s the best skater? How much is this?” And I would never buy nothing. I would just be there hanging out and then skating out front. So I ended up just hanging out with these dudes at the skate shop who were older than me and just soaking up everything I could learn. Then they would school me to the next level guy and so on and so forth.

So I kind of just let my passion for it kind of build a small little name in my neighborhood. Then, my uncle who lived with me had a VHS camera and he let my friend and I take the camera out on the weekends and film ourselves. We made our little videos and we would edit them from one VHS to another. And we’d put our little sponsor tape together. We took it to the next skate shop that was known to have the better skaters and gave them our video. They were like “Yeah you guys can roll with us.” Then I met an even better editor with a better camera, and handed to the next guy and just climb up that ladder. This is before internet, so that’s kind of how it was done.

Berner: It’s important for them to buy into you as a person right?

Paul: And it’s even easier when you’re that person and you’re just being yourself because when it’s just you being naturally you people buy into that. You don’t have to cover your tracks or anything.

Berner: “Oh you know I have to put on a front.” There’s so many artists I’ve ran into, just being a rapper, that just keep us keep this image, this persona going at 24/7. They couldn’t actually beat himself up or fuck around and crack a joke. These guys be misfits. It’s sad bro.

Paul: Yeah I mean we’re all humans. We all have the same emotions. We all, you know, sometimes are nervous. Sometimes our confidence, sometimes are happy. We all have these emotions. We’re not all just these fucking superheroes nonstop.

Skateboarder, Businessman

Berner: Where did your business savviness come from?

Paul: I always thought big early on. So when I got into skateboarding, I fell into it just because of the love and passion. But it’s a culture where it’s like you’re not supposed to want to make money, you’re not supposed to want to get big sponsors. It’s all about the love. You know? “Don’t sell out!” So it was weird for me because I was naturally a big dreamer. I just saw all my idols and heros, like Andrew Reynolds, and he left Tony Hawk’s brand and started his own. And seeing that early on made me say “Man one day I want to start my own brand, build my own team, and leave a legacy in the culture.” It was just more like I don’t want to say accidental but just evolve because I wouldn’t say I really have business savvy. I think I just have the desire to want to be, am willing to learn and willing to take risks and kind of figure it out.

Berner: You got vision. Vision is not something that any dollar is gonna buy. It’s not something any school could teach you. You just gotta have it. It’s definitely tough especially like in a culture where people can consider you selling out or just doing too much or how do you provide a business for the family and for yourself while doing something you love.

Paul: I always made moves that I felt good about whether they felt it was a sell out move or not. I always had the plan in my mind. As long as the skills always came through, say whatever you want about me. Use this scenario to then launch my own situations and start my own platforms and build a sustainable business for myself beyond skateboarding because I can only do this for so long anyway and I don’t want to change my lifestyle.

Nike: The Big Break

Berner: So I wanna get some game from you now. How did you get in contact with Nike? How did you get in business with Nike

Paul: So luckily for me early on I was willing to try things that were out of the norm. I was one of the early guys to have a manager. People didn’t have managers in skateboarding and it was just a bro deal. No contract. Luckily I had a manager, and that helped a lot. I had a signature shoe in the works and I was it was getting ready to launch. My best friend that lived with me at the time, he worked at the local skate shop. The Nike rep came in there knowing that we’re good friends and said “Hey Sandy over at Nike wants to talk to Paul about being on Nike.” So he called me. I’m at the house. I get in my, car drive down there and meet up with the rep. He’s like “Yeah. Would you be interested in me with the Sandy boater. Absolutely of course. Next thing I know a few days later I’m on a plane. I’m in Portland. I’m up at the Nike campus in Beaverton. He’s like “And we want to build it with you.” They had already started the program and I was just like I’m trippin. I’m like “I’m 19 years old. I don’t know what to say.” I’m nervous as hell, I’m in this intimidating situation. And they said, “We want you to be our main dude and all” and I said “Cool.”

I left her to do the dirty work of the negotiating and all that. I flew home. She came up a few days later and she was like here’s the deal is what they want to do. My dream as a kid was like have a signature board, a signature shoe. The dream will be complete. And I was like “Whoa, did they mention about a shoe?” She’s like Yeah. They don’t want to do signature shoes with anybody. I was so young and naive enough at the time to not care. And I was like “I can’t do it then.” My dream is to have a shoe and I already have a sample with this other brand. It’s getting ready to launch and I have to do it.” She’s like, “Are you sure?” “I can’t. If my dream is not complete. I can’t.”

She was just like “OK.” And next thing you know she calls him. The she calls me back, you know, a few days later whatever, like “Okay. They’ll do it.” And I was like “Are you kidding me? Let’s do it right now!” So it was just a blessing from God man. Like I was on their radar was making a lot of noise on the scene and they came to me and I was lucky to be young enough and I don’t want to say naive just… ballsy enough.

Berner: Nah! You pushed back like in negotiations you have to choose or you push back on. And sometimes it’s a bold and a long, and you got to go long when you push back right. I usually follow my gut. You followed your gut, and you knew what you wanted.

Paul: Yeah it was just from a place of passion. I’ll always regret it if I don’t complete every piece of my dream to get it won’t be whole.

Berner: For everyone listening right now, let’s, for motivational purposes, list some names of other people with a signature shoe.

Paul: We got Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Kevin Durant, not Kyrie just yet, and myself. All basketball players except for myself I’m pretty sure.

Berner: You’re the only skater, the only Mexican, and you’re from California, for a signature shoe that’s huge.

Paul: I’m blessed from God for this.

Berner: So, to talk more about your brand. Primitive is killing it bro.

Paul: Thank you man. It’s a huge blessing. We’ve had our breakout year this year. You know primitive is now 10 years old this summer will be 11 years old and it’s been a hell of a ride up and down and sideways. Every kind of way but the right way up until this last couple years. And I’m just so glad we stuck in there, fought the battles, and really stuck to our guns and everything’s kind of coming together man. I can’t give enough praise to my partners, they’re the brains behind the machine. We built this thing together, brought it back from damn near being out of business and learned so much.

Berner: I’ve seen it pop again hard. I always wanted to get in the clothing business and a lot of people doubted “Cookies” as a clothing line when it came out. The concept called a weed brand or whatever but we got into the “cut-and-sew” really heavy. It’s a big risk because the margins are very low and people might not buy it and you get stuck with it. It’s more safe to stay with printables. I’ve seen the kind of evolution of primitive. The shit is fly. You have got dope ass shit!

From Skateboards to Streetwear

Berner: Do you find the skating like culture has a lot to do with what street wear is today?

Paul: A million percent. It’s really cool to see and skateboarding getting that kind of shine in this in like it’s transcending just skateboarding, which some skateboarders will probably have a problem with, but I love seeing it spread man because we’ve been so influenced by popular culture over the years. It’s kind of cool to see us now be embraced by it.  Music and skateboarding go hand in hand. I mean we’ve really been influenced so much by especially hip hop but all kinds of genres. That’s what helped us develop our style and our fashion there’s so many things I think we can identify between those cultures just coming out at something from nothing. I mean a lot of guys in skateboarding come from rough backgrounds. You know, it’s something real easy and accessible to get into it doesn’t cost a shit ton of money. You don’t have to have a team to play. You just need a decent piece of concrete, a skateboard that at least rolls, and some decent shoes just to get started and you can have all the fun you want by yourself. Then, you know, you meet other kids of similar interests at the skate park or at the local skate spots and you just build these bonds that last a lifetime. I got friends that we’re still friends because of skateboarding since we’ve been 12 years old. You know it’s crazy how it grows just organically man.

P-Rod’s Advice to New Clothing Brands

Berner: Now it’s a new game. Now there’s the Internet. Now there’s a bunch of clothing brands. What’s the best advice you can give them to start off?

Paul: It all comes down to the skills man. You have to love your craft, like we talked about in the beginning. You fall in love with the craft of skateboarding. If you love that shit? You can’t go to sleep because you’re thinking about trying to learn a trick that you want to do tomorrow and that shit like absorbs your whole mindset in your life? You’re already on the right path. Now these days it’s much easier. Back when I was coming along I said I had to find a camcorder. Now you just got it in your pocket so you can document your progress, have your homies film you, put together a little edits right down in imovie and DM. You got a sponsor you want then show them. So what if they don’t respond or they say it’s not good enough. Okay try again. That’s what you learn from skateboarding, you fall over and over and over and over and over and finally do it. So the process of trying to get recognized is the same thing. Just know that as you progress, as your passion helps you grow every day, it’s gonna happen and just takes that one person to respond and your foot is in the door. Just don’t ever let up off the gas.

Berner: Stay focused. You gotta stay persistent and consistent. You gotta have it. Either you have it or you don’t. If you have it you’ll know what to do. You follow your gut and get crackin. Follow my boy Paul Rodriguez. It’s the only Mexican with a signature shoe right now with Nike as fuck and its humungous. Might be a Cookie/Primitive collab coming soon. I appreciate you for a game I got good energy from this conversation. Thank you brother thank you so much. If you enjoyed this week’s episode with Paul Rodriguez you can watch on YouTube to get crazy visuals for these episodes. Our boys Spielberg is killing it with the visuals. Make sure you check it out on YouTube. Comment. Let us know what you think about the podcast. We’re getting a lot of great feedback on Twitter. Some feedback on Instagram but Twitter people are really expressing the way they feel about the roundtable.

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Episode 5b with Ben Baller, Part 2

Episode 5b with Ben Baller, Part 2

Ben Yang, also well-known as Ben Baller is a musician, actor, and jeweler. He founded Icee Fresh Jewels, which creates extravagant diamond-encrusted jewelry.

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Episode 5 with Ben Baller

Episode 5 with Ben Baller

Berner: This week we got Ben Baller. So much goddamn game in his episode we had to turn it into two. So go ahead. Roll up and get your mind right. Get ready for some knowledge and tune in to the motherfucking roundtable burner featuring Ben Baller. The name says it all. Ben baller, you stepped in a bit and say we’re just chopping it up. He walked in right in the middle of me dealing with some weed beef, some weed war. It’s real, it’s real in the street, it’s crazy man. Yeah you know it’s like the dope game in the rap game all makes him one the weed game has some cutthroat motherfuckers.

Ben: It’s going crazy right now. Everyone and their mama got a cannabis brand now, and they’re trying to get in. You know when the suits, when the Silicon Valley suits come and hit you up and like “Yo man, so we were interested in buying you know purchasing a license or a piece of your company.” And I was like, “Man if you don’t get your monkey ass out of here.”

Berner: Nobody trying to help you build your shit we’re building our own shit. So you got Viva Aspen. (vape pen) And I’m glad we able to link today cause some some clowns try to previously just get in the middle of good vibes and good relationship building. So now that’s out the way you know got the direct line with you, now we’re chopping game.

Ben: One hundred percent. Yeah.

BAY AREA RELATIONSHIPS

Ben: Because it just the people I move with, in the bay- and I lived there (in the bay) for five years I played ball in the bay I went to college there. But the people I move with, you know I got a lot of roots in the Bay. There’s a lot of people in the streets that fucked with me and I’m not talking about just Filthy and Cookie. But the real cats you know beyond that and like I got some real legends out behind my back. You know from all the way from AP you know East Palo Alto. All the way through fucking North and South Richmond and all over you name it. You know I’m saying Oakland, East side, West Side, and North Side and everything.

BEN BALLER’S EARLY INVOLVEMENT IN MUSIC

Berner: I’m glad to hook up with you man. You know you’re legendary status. Bro you’ve seen it all. The name Ben Baller is just so mafia alone. I mean the name says it all but you live up to the name. And I’m here for the story.  The thing about the Berner Round Table is I like to get high, and hear stories from legendary people who have experienced some crazy shit. Because a lot of people look at people like yourself and be like I wonder what happens behind the scenes, or what’s the craziest experiences and the craziest stories. So while we’re here I just try to get the good vibes and those good stories. You’ve done so much it’s kinda hard to keep up.

GANGS IN RAP MUSIC

Ben: For sure, for sure, for sure. Yeah man you tell me. Ask away man, tell me what you wanna know.

Berner: You know I want to know what it was like in the early days.The early music like when it was real street shit, in the music business, where you knew not to snitch and was it not condoned, or motherfuckers was getting beat up at the sessions. I know you was working with Dre. I don’t know if this is a fact but I heard you might have worked with death row. I know you had something to do with J. And before we dive into any of the stuff that’s going on right now, I want to hear about your early crazy ass experiences because I know you’ve seen some shit.

Ben: Yeah you know. Okay first of all man we talking about West Coast shit. You know I mean like so even on the on the Jay-Z, I was later and that was like 96. So, in the early 90s you know especially if you from L.A, man if you want to get to some music shit it was like two areas. There was that G rapper shit, and like the G funk, but at the same time you know people got it fucked up.

I’m going to keep it 1000. If you go listen a doggy style- (By Snoop Dog) and I could listen from one track to track 20 and not skip one record. Listen to what he’s saying rap wise and lyric wise, now going on if you listen to track one at 20 especially if you listen to the “shiznit” that’s all a freestyle. He is spitting bars. Like fire bars right. So you think about some people like all these people are gangsters. No hell no. You know Corrupt?. They’re putting Corrupt up there rapping with Rakim and other rappers. But then these dudes are really Crips. So you know it wasn’t like some fake shit and like growing up if you’d go into any kind of rap concert it’s gonna be 85 percent gang bangers in the audience. You know saying people I like have gangsters affiliated with them and everything else. So, it’s like you know being in the music business and being at a death row it really was like “Straight Outta Compton.” I mean at a studio sessions pulling up and you’re like oh shit like it really is almost like like how “Straight Outta Compton” was. You pull up you gonna see a 63 lowered Impala, you gonna see like a Cutlass, you gonna see a Monte Carlo. And you gonna see all gangster cars but then you also see some Mercedes and other dope shit (higher end cars) and as time went on you’d see the elevation. You’d see crazy shit in the studio depending on who ran the studio, Dre’s studio was quiet, but some others had bitches in there, crazy parties. (Actual dogs) Rottweilers and pit bulls. And some real bad bitches. Crazy girls who’d do crazy shit.  I have so many crazy stories from that time (with Death Row and Suge) and anyone who knows music knows (Dre’s) SSL boards. I can’t imagine how expensive this motherfucker was And this dude had a big ass iced tea on the board which was already a no no. Like no drinks on the board you know. And motherfucking ice tea spilled all in there and I can’t tell you too much about the graphic shit. But just  know that Suge’s reputation was definitely real. He wasn’t playing no fucking games it wasn’t rated R but rated X.  It got rated X to the point where I was like “Why don’t we just keep playing?” We just played the music like because I don’t want to hear what was going on. But people were like “Man we don’t wanna do shit.” So it was like quiet and you’d hear someone getting their ass beat and you’d put on the music to ignore it.

BACK TO THE 80s

Ben: Now we’re going gonna go to the 80s. There was an artist named Tone-Loc. People think of him as an actor but I think he was one of the first rappers to go diamond. His song “wild thing” was fucking a huge song.  But Tone-Loc was affiliated like a huge gangsta you know. I think when people saw him they got him messed up but he’s a really nice guy. And there was a very very scary gang that ended up being a rap group called Boo Yaa Tribe, you don’t want to fuck with these dudes.  And we were at the Palladium on Sunset Boulevard, it still exists now it’s like right there just east of Wilcox, and a motherfucking fight broke out and these motherfuckers, I shit you not, was bustin caps across the street from each other and that’s just how shit used to be. You woulda thought it was the movies. And that’s just how shit used to be.

Ben: My office for propriety records was right there, I’m actually on Wilcox and in sunset in the CNN building and fuck it I’ll tell you once one quick story. Like for instance….

QUICK STORY ABOUT ICE CUBE AND GONZO

Ben: You know I’m signing groups and at the time Ice Cube had this group and they had a couple of hit singles and they were dope. Cube was on the end of his career but he’s definitely always there. He’s like past the middle. (But) he’s still doing his thing. So, there’s still some East Coast/West Coast tension and one of the artists on his label got a solo deal. His name was Gonzo Gonzales. So I signed Gonzo to a solo deal. And one of the dudes from his group was upset about it. So, dude came up and this is crazy man. I was in the lobby and I was with my dad and my dad is old Korean dude who just don’t know shit about it. He’s like not even clip to anything. This is like 96 and I see the dude in the lobby.  And I was like, “What’s good man?” And he was with a real real real grimy looking dude and I was like in my head, “Fuuuckk, you already know.” So check this out, he was not necessarily  trying to punk me but was saying a lot of things and I was just like, “Well that’s between y’all, him, and the label man.” You know I’m saying it like a side thing and not through me.  And so, homeboy pulled out a MAC 10 and he had the clip in his pocket and pulls it out. And half me was scared and the other half kinda got like “Ok Doug if this is my destiny and you go blast me with this with a fully automatic MAC 10 with in the fucking office and office then that’s my legacy.”  In the end, we talked it out Boom. But this type of shit happened so much that when you had beef, it isn’t like today, the chit chat only went so far. I can’t even talk about some of it to this day.

CYPRESS HILL AND BEN BALLER BEEF

Ben: I know Carmen Electra and she was cool with another dude and I hit my boy up because he had burners on the low because I was in the middle, accidentally, of the beef between Cypress and Ice Cube’s people. I just represent the label, I wasn’t really on Cube’s side and it wasn’t anything deep but then all of a sudden Cypress turns against me because they thought I was trying to start some shit because I was trying to get a gun. So they thought some shit was gonna pop.  So they’re playing at the House of Blues on Sunset toward down now right across Mondrian and my boy goes over and I never exaggerate. I hate when you exaggerate you really trippin. So my boy says he goes up there he sees Be Real outside and Cypress Hill and every gangbanger from fuckin South Side. So my boy goes over and says, “What’s going on? Who y’all waiting on?”

And they say, “We’re waiting on some bitch ass motherfucker Ben Baller. Waiting for this bitch at the fucker right now. Talkin about peeling caps boom and all that.” And I’m like wow thank God I never showed up that night because it was a misunderstanding. Be real like my bro you know. So like that shit got ugly to where I had to like watch what clubs I was going to cause it was getting weird and then I forgot what the fuck happened but I ran up on pulled up on B real somewhere and we talked. I said listen this is what the deal was. This was some straight up music shit nothing had to do with anything. I wasn’t claiming egos and basically me being affiliated with the label that Ice Cube was on was enough for me to get fucked up. You feel me and people were already getting fucked up. It was getting ugly, but eventually they squashed the beef and I won’t get into it because they’re both my homies. So I’m glad it worked out alright.

ASIAN GANGBANGERS

Ben: I’m gonna tell you something really funny man, one of my boys used to run with Game he was Game’s number one security guard. Then he left and went over with Kendrick Lamar. And he is just fresh out of a bid, maybe five or six, but somewhere around that. He did a legit bid. My boy was a real dog man, a real gangster. I don’t need to say too much but you would no Kendrick ain’t have no real real real gangbangers around him. And, he told me he was out, fresh out, and this little Japanese station wagon pulled up and it was Asian, real pyro, and they pulled up on us like “You know where some Asian slobs is at?” And you know, he’s fresh out so if it was a Black or Mexican dude that said that, slob is the most disrespectful term you could call a blood, my boy might of caught a case right there.  But it was an asian dude, and as he said it, my boy looked in the back of the car and saw multiple (maybe ten or fifteen) fully autos. They all had bandanas and they was definitely gonna kill people. And he goes, “I don’t know some asians but I know where the real ones are at. And he tells it as “That was my first light of seeing how crazy Asian gangs are.”

TEKASHI 6IX9INE

Berner: So you’re coming out LA you’re tempting gang bangers, you’re you’re trying to fucking beef with slim 400, you’re trying to beef what you’re trying to beef with the people in Chicago and you’re going to the projects with a police escort filming….that’s you asking for trouble.

Ben: I can’t fuck would dude it in any which way and I would never bang as music or nothing. I’m saying you know and it’s just sad because I have people who I work with who were younger in their 20s and stuff like “Nah it’s cool” and they don’t get it because like listen man everyone has to grow up, I get that, but no dog that’s not growing up homie. It’s not okay to look the other cheek and be like “Oh it’s funny it’s entertaining” but it’s not dog.

WEST COAST (BAY AREA) AND FOOTBALL

Ben: You know let’s get back to the West Coast Bay Area shit, you know like D.J Quik. He’s such a legend dog. I mean I fuck with him so hard because I was a D.J and he was such a dope D.J. Plus he had such a legendary first album: Quik is the name. But you know there’s beef, the Dodgers got beef with the Giants, now personally I don’t fuck with the Giants. I can’t stand the Niners but I’ll rock with the Raiders and I rock with with the Warriors whenever boom I just those two teams I really fuck would right and like people take these rivalries a certain way but I got a love for the bay. The thing is when I transferred from Berkeley to S.F. State that’s when I started seeing a lot of different things like I played football there too. A lot of people see at Berkeley you got people come up from New York, Alaska, California, Florida and from all over the D1 schools but S.F. State is mostly like junior college guys and stuff like that. So, I met and connected with a lot of local cats from the Bay area.  And at that time, the label “In a Minute” was popping with Abril Posse and they were killing it. And this was before I got into the music business and these dudes are legitimately pressing up CDS and putting them out at the downtown mall and all that. And they chased D.J Quik out of the mall, like things are gentrified now, people don’t know but before you could really see people beefing, people getting ran down on, kids carrying guns, everything is different now. And the people who used to live in these areas, their whole lives there, can’t afford it anymore.  They’re even gentrifying Oakland to where Oakland is almost unaffordable for these people and like I mean I just remember like going to a Raiders game and you’d go see the craziest shit you’ve seen in your life. You can go to Green Bay. I know their fans are crazy. But like you can go to a rowdy stadium and I can’t think of one time in my head that compares. The Raiders games back then was most gangsta shit I’ve seen does get whipped up and I’ve seen people get stabbed, whooped up, and I’ve been a Raiders fans for 30 years. But you can YouTube it. YouTube the 49ers Candlestick Park versus the Raider games. I’m talking, I would see 17 on 17 fights. Big ass paddy wagons going by, that can hold 30 or 40 people, and people were just zip typing motherfuckers and throwing more and more bodies in. Mexican gangsters out of nowhere, women fighting, it was just crazy. It’s like a fucking war zone in there. It was mania bro.

BEEF IN THE JEWELRY COMMUNITY

Berner: We talked about street shit, we talked about L.A and your Bay history, which is dope, but as you walked in today I was curious because of all the beef we’ve been talking about in terms of gang shit and rap shit: Is there any beef in the jewelry community?

Ben: Let’s say we went and we had the all the jewelers, and let’s just say there’s 10 relevant jewelers. I don’t think there’s that many now because there’s three million jewelers in the world right.  So let’s say there was a Grammy (for Jewelry) and there kind of already is. They had the J.C.K which is like the biggest thing in the industry and these people don’t even recognize hip hop jewelers or custom people like that. They’re recognizing the real innovators, who have done all these crazy things, and there’s 300,000 people that try to get bids and then boom they choose one person out of all that.  In 2017, I made jeweler of the year and you know this is an enormous accomplishment. And the host says to me, beforehand, “What are you wearing?” And I’m wearing a six thousand dollar suit and she’s like “No go back upstairs and put on some supreme shit. You broke the mold of what jeweler looks like.” So, I was like “Fuck it.” I went upstairs got my street wear, street clothes back on, and I rocked it.  So, when it comes to the jewelry shit I do talk a lot of shit but I have the numbers, the fanbase, the relevancy to back it up. So, me personally if there was beef in the industry I can back myself up but I have better things to do then beef on the internet with other people in my business.

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