When we found out Jesus Coomes from Lettuce had appeared on the hugely hyped new Dr. Dre record Compton, we couldn’t be more excited to catch up with him. Anyone who thinks this badass bassist’s roots lie solely in funk couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, when asked “if you could only play one genre for the rest of your life, what would it be?,” he responds, “I wouldn’t be able to deal.”
[Photo by Joshua Timmermans]
Many fans of the funk wouldn’t know the extent to which his dynamic style and wide range of influences stem from a serious hip-hop background.
“I have a thick history in hip-hop at this point,” Jesus explains. “I played bass and guitar on Kanye West’s first album on a song called ‘All Falls Down’ but before that I was originally put on in this business by DJ Quik. Quik and I worked on a song called ‘Trouble’ which was the first time I heard myself on the radio; an awesome feeling. (DJ Quik’s hit ‘Black Mercedes’ also features Adam ‘Shmeens’ Smirnoff and Nate Dogg). He had me working with some of the biggest artists in LA right away and we eventually created ‘DJ Quik Live at The House Of Blues’ DVD and album (which features most of Lettuce!). After that I worked with many producers including FredWreck who got us on projects with Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Britney Spears and a slew of other artists. BReal (Cypress Hill) and I worked on Proof’s album ‘Searching For Jerry Garcia’. The legendary Hi-Tek (other half of Talib Kweli’s group Reflection Eternal) and I scored a documentary film together and made a few songs for The Game. In Miami I worked on a song called ‘My Life’ by Lil Wayne and The Game. A few years ago Scoop Deville (prod. Kendrick Lamar, Snoop), Tycoon (my brother) and I did a song called ‘Marley & Me’ which was Smoke Dza with Curren$y, Devin the Dude and Asher Roth. Recently Busta Rhymes and I made the song ‘Thank You’ featuring Busta, QTip & Lil Wayne.”
Though he’s collaborated with some of the best of the best, his latest foray into hip-hop on a Dr. Dre track titled “Talking To My Diary” has him very hyped.
“This is a dream come true situation for me,” he says. “It was an amazing journey that began with an intention and prayer to make it happen and transformed into a lot of hard work and diligence combined with the synchronicity of the universe. It also takes some great relationships.”
This isn’t his first time working with the founding N.W.A. member and Straight Outta Compton producer. “I first met Dr Dre on the set of a video shoot for a song we did with Rakim,” he explains. “Then we worked everyday for about 6 months on a few projects a couple years ago, including Eminem’s Relapse and Relapse Refill featuring the single ‘Crack A Bottle’. He is one of the coolest most inspiring people on the planet. He is extremely musical and has one of the best ears of anyone. He works hands-on, usually with a talented team and is very much determining most of what happens musically. His MPC drum skills are heavy! I should also mention he is very kind and down to Earth with an incredible work ethic and a personal discipline routine that makes anyone feel like gettin their sh#t together.”
Playing a variety of genres “is very refreshing and keeps me entertained because I love so many different styles of music,” he says. “Also all the different crews of friends and different raging parties keep me pretty stoked. It’s about finding the feeling, true rhythm and vibrations of the music that you are playing and being able to play a role in the society, metaphorically, of the music that you are playing. Each musical part can represent different aspects of society and you want to work within them and to communicate together to create one desired outcome.”
As for his “double life,” from being on the road with Lettuce frequently to hitting the studio with so many acclaimed artists?
“They are two totally different things that help balance each other very well. I love the studio life and always have. It’s a place of infinite imagination. Using a team you put all your energies towards making the ultimate piece. Musicians have a different role when in the studio. It’s almost like everything you play is seen as if under a microscope, so you become very thoughtful as to ‘what exactly’ needs to be played to best fit the recording. Creating a recording of frequencies and vibes that last forever, that anyone can pick up and tune into, is truly one of my passions and I believe part of what I am here to do. Playing live is really rewarding especially because you have people hearing the music instantaneously and sharing a space and moment with each other. That can be the pinnacle in experiences, something no one that was there will ever forget, and creates a feeling that will go with you and change who you are what you do forever. That’s why we Live For Live Music!”
“Talking To My Diary” appears on Dr. Dre’s Compton as well as several times in the Straight Outta Compton biopic, in theaters now. The track features Jesus on bass and guitar; Dontae Winslow, Ron Blake, Francisco Torres and Jason Freese on horns; Ron Feemster and Andre Brissett on keys, and string arrangements by Joseph Trapanese and Jennifer Hammond. The song was initially made about three years ago but not finished and mixed until recently. Get it here, and peep it in the trailers below.
“We wanted to come out and make a statement.” Dr Dre and Ice Cube on what it means to be #StraightOutta Compton.Rep Your City. Make Yours > StraightOuttaSomewhere.com
Posted by Beats by Dre on Friday, August 7, 2015