BY: GABY MORENO
Hello Hip Hop Head and Horror Fans,
Please introduce yourself for those who might not know who you are?
My name is King Dice, I’m a rapper, producer, connoisseur of fine cheeseburgers and general entertainer. I created and run the Inland Empire’s dopest hip-hop culture website JooseBoxx.com. I am getting into streaming damn it, you never know what I’m going to do next!
Please tell us your journey and how you got into rapping? What made you fall in love with rap and the Hip Hop culture?
I started rapping on the block for the big homies. I would put our names in songs we’d hear on the radio and the young ladies we would hang out with would get a kick out of it and everything. Eventually we started recording those joints and then I found out I kind of had some skills, it grew from that. Everything about hip-hop is cool. The dudes I was watching and wanted to be like epitomized hip-hop in my eyes. I was watching Kid N’ Play dance, rap, and get the finest girls. I was watching The Fresh Prince on his TV show dressing fly, saying the funniest jokes … and getting the finest girls. Even in Living Color or All That were heavily influenced by hip-hop, so I feel it was the culture I was immersed in from birth. I loved Hip-hop before I knew what it was.
You live in the Inland Empire how is the Hip Hop scene in your area? Do you feel it needs more recognition?
I think the I.E. has some of the most talented acts in this country. It’s a region that is so diverse but consistently innovates. Most importantly, we make bangers. From production, to singles, to full-blown albums. Being from the I.E. is something I’m really proud of.
You mention how certain cartoons and comics inspire your lyrics. What or who else inspires your music and lyrics?
Anime, video games, and anything else I rock with in real life, is in my music. I also mentor a lot of teens so I’m conscious about that while still trying to inspire and lead. I’m a big movie buff so first off, go check out Movies Millennials Should Movie with me and my homie Parker Edison on YouTube, but that also shapes how I spit rhymes. I’m a product of my environment too so I grew up around a bunch of hood dudes from Crips, Pirus, Mexican gangs, pimps, and I soaked up what I could from all of them. I wasn’t ever the most gangsta guy on the block, but I had a little stretch where I ran the streets and did my thing too, so you’ll find that in my music.
King Dice moniker, what is the significance or meaning of your artistic name?
All the homies had hood names in my neighborhood. When I really started running with the big dogs, they called me Lil Psycho. One day I was like “I’m not even close to psycho”. The thing about a name like that is you constantly have to justify it. Dudes named Knockout always have to fight, dudes named Money can’t be caught broke, etc. I never liked not having money, so I used to shoot dice at school as a little hustle. I was Lil Dice, then Young Dice, and when I left that hood shit alone, I didn’t want to abandon my name because I WAS Dice. I felt like the evolution was leading me to something greater and that’s where the King came in. One of my greatest lyrical influences is the Fresh Prince too so I had to keep it royal.
Any new projects or albums dropping soon that we can anticipate?
I’m working on some music I’ll be dropping this year. I have a secret group project I’m trying to make happen and maybe even a beat tape.
How did you become part of The Fresh State? How does that collective motivate you or help contribute to your craft?
Kill C. Rey and Hip Hop Eddie were able to see me rock at an event a couple years ago. They saw some untapped potential in me, and I was fortunate enough to be offered a spot with the squad. Just being around such a diverse and creative collective motivates me. The Fresh State really knows how to decipher the code that is the music business and they have been a huge part of helping me the last few years. Shout out to them!
What has been your greatest accomplishment so far?
This is a dope follow-up question because during those early meetings with The Fresh State they asked me something like “what do you want from music?”. Literally everything I asked for they have helped me achieve, one of the biggest things being more touring. They put me on my first real tour I was getting paid from. Some other things that were big for me is opening up for acts I grew up on like DMX and Suga Free and my album Shalu Avenue being received the way it was.
Do you feel it is important to listen to other types of music to inspire you to create innovative music? If so what other genres of music do you listen to?
I actually don’t really listen to rap, like, It’s pretty rare. I’m an R&B, classical, movie score type of dude. I listen to some Grime which is U.K. hip-hop but I think my tastes are pretty diverse. I just randomized my Spotify playlist and dancehall artist Popcaan, FKA Twigs, Willie Hutch, and Rage Against the Machine came up. As a producer I think having an open palette is one of the most important things.
What is your writing process when working on a song or a project? If working on an EP or album do you have a concept in mind?
It differs. When working on a song or project one of the most important questions to me is “after hearing this piece of music, will the listener feel like they know King Dice a little better?”. My first album Red Mahogany Drive was about me growing up on that street in Moreno Valley, California. The album serves as a time capsule for my younger days; things I heard, things I saw, and outlooks & philosophies on life. My second album is the evolution of that concept as I transitioned from pre-teen/teenager to young adult. I wanted a snapshot of how I changed, how my philosophies, and outlook grew and matured as I did. As for songs, I just think about different aspects of myself I want to highlight. Most of my music is about me and autobiographical in some way.
What is your favorite scary movie if any and why?
This is tough. I have a tie because I like a few different joints for different reasons. One of the scariest movies that really scarred me as a child was Fire in the Sky. Specifically, the final scenes where the whole abduction encounter in relived. There are some primordial fears explored there that did a number on me. Nightmare on Elm Street was the first horror film that I willingly checked out (Wes Craven’s New Nightmare specifically) and I fell in love with the concept of Freddie Krueger and the meta-ness of that flick. As an adult I really liked Paranormal Activity 3. I think the suspense of that movie really made it a fun movie to get you scared.
What about favorite horror or scary tv shows you had and why?
I really like the new Sabrina show on Netflix. The way they traded the campy comedy for a serious occult-themed interpretation is dope. American Horror Story: Coven is a great horror TV miniseries. Ash vs. Evil Dead is one of my favorites too. I liked True Blood as well, but my favorite has to be Goosebumps or Are You Afraid of the Dark from Nickelodeon back in the day. It introduced me to the horror TV genre, and I remember some of the episodes being so scary but being addicted to them.
If you could be any horror villain who would you be and why?
My gut says Freddie, but I want to make sure I have fun so I’m going to go with a more unorthodox pick and say Chucky. The pranks alone you could pull off as Chucky would be crazy. I don’t have to go around killing folks. This idea is giving me Ventriloquist and Scarface from Batman vibes. Like, he’s a doll but he’s a mob boss and the puppet is the one who is actually pulling the strings (no pun intended).
Movies millennials should movie with Parker? How did that start are you a cinephile?
I’m definitely a cinephile! Parker and I are the type of people that can really hang out and talk about movies. Directors, actors, crazy and outlandish movie trivia. I mentor a lot of teenagers and it’s mind-boggling sometimes the classic films they have never heard of. Out of that, the concept was born. We were like “let’s educate this whole generation about movies they may have never heard of but NEED to see!”
Do you believe in the supernatural if so, have you had any supernatural experiences you can share?
I believe in the supernatural for sure. Not so much the mystic or paranormal but aliens? Aliens are definitely a thing in my opinion. I couldn’t tell you what they look like or if they interact with humanity at all, but I think they exist. My pops put me up on things like The Majestic 12, Project Blue Book, and books like Behold a Pale Horse were chilling in the house. Pops would tell me about things he saw in the military and let’s just say I’ve been convinced.
Any legends or stories you grew up being told that scared you as a kid?
Stories like La Llorona scared me because I knew about Candy Man, it was a Black cultural thing that I thought was real, saying his name in the mirror would summon him to kill you. My other friend told me about Bloody Mary and our Mexican homie put us up on game about La Llorona. Somehow in our little kid logic we deduced they were all the same being and that scared the shit out of us. Those were good times. I also vividly remember seeing this show air on Fox called Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County. It’s a mockumentary (a fictional story made to look like it was a real documentary). I didn’t know what it was at the time, so this found footage show scared the shit out of me. I thought it was a real account of a family that was abducted.
Who are your fav emcees dead or alive?
I love art and artists that are making the wave as opposed to riding the wave so that is a constantly revolving door for me, but I’ll give it a shot. Jaden is super dope to me, J Cole gets mad rotation in my whip, Kanye West was that guy for the longest time in my eyes, Snoop Dogg has stayed relevant by reinventing himself constantly which is something I admire, and I’d also have to include Nipsey Hussle for his dope music and his distribution of knowledge. My all-time favorite is probably the Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff/ Will Smith. The Fresh Prince had a huge impact on my love for storytelling in hip-hop. I try to incorporate a style that is accessible to the most amount of people and that is something I picked up from them.
To you, what is the difference between an emcee and a rapper?
From a fundamentalist perspective we get the word Emcee from Master of Ceremonies so the way I use it today is pertaining to someone who not only can kick dope rhymes but can put on a good show, rock the crowd, and command attention. A rapper is someone with the lyrical prowess to put together dope words in a creative and/or thought-provoking way. You typically have to be a good rapper to be a good emcee, but some rappers never become good emcees (and that’s ok). For example, Jay Z is a great emcee and rapper while a lot of battle rappers that try to transition to the mainstream have the lyrical skill but don’t find commercial success because they can’t pin down the master of ceremonies. I hope that makes sense.
What is your fav rap song and rap albums of all time? Why?
Dr. Dre’s Chronic 2001 is like concentrated West Coast to me. I had a homegirl who was a part of the Roc A Fella Street Team in high school, she would give me CDs way before they dropped like Kanye’s College Dropout and Jay Z’s The Black Album, not only was I stunting in school because I had these projects super early but I was becoming a producer at the time and both projects had heat that left me in awe. Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff’s Greatest Hits Album is a must for me because I know every word of it. Some songs that come to mind are Boyz-N-The-Hood by Eazy E, Why U Bullshittin’? by Suga Free, and Summertime by Fresh Prince. They all remind me of my youth
What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind either creatively or on a personal level?
I’m leaving my mark through my work with youth. I’ve mentored over 150 teenagers over the last 3 or 4 years. My legacy is how THEY will move forward and change the world for the better. I’ve made albums that are a true expression of King Dice. They’ll be immortalized on the internet. I don’t know if I can ask for more than that. I’m happy with what I’ve already accomplished so every day I do anything is just icing on the cake.21. Where do you see yourself in the next five years and what is your ultimate dream or goal?
In five years, I’ll be happy and doing whatever I want. My show with Parker came out a simple conversation, my ability to produce and create music allows me the freedom to do what I want on a whim. I may want to act, or direct more videos, or start a podcast. I’m not really sure because I’ve learned to enjoy the ride so much that the destination isn’t really as important to me at the moment. My ultimate dream is to be an old man one day telling a youngin’ about all the things I’ve done. AS long as when that moment comes, I don’t have any regrets… I’d consider that mission: accomplished.
Any platforms or people you would like to shout out.
Definitely! My wife is my rock and my queen, she indirectly makes it all possible. Shouts out to Royal Gambling Club, JooseBoxx.com, The Fresh State, Platform Collection, Stand and Deliver Collective, The whole I.E., and last, but not least 7 Octoberz!
Thank you for taking your time King Dice to answer these questions! I love your music and the fact that you are humble! Thank you to those reading this interview. Hope you all enjoyed it! Until next time horror fiends and hip hop heads! While you’re at it follow my blog on social media @7octoberz on Instagram and Facebook! Also follow me on Spotify, iTunes, Anchor.fm/7octoberz and Google Play Music to listen to my audio content under: “Nightmare on Sedgwick Avenue”.