Eminem is one of the most selective rappers in the business when it comes to collaborations, so his appearance on the long forgotten Boo Yaa Tribe's new record is certainly a statement.
"It's all about mutual respect," explained the Godfather, one of six Samoan brothers who make up the group. "He sees the struggle we go through and he wants to give back. A lot of people want to pay him big money to do this, but he feels us. His whole concept is that he only wants to f--- with real people."
Not only did Eminem contribute a rap to Boo Yaa Tribe's West Koasta Nostra, due October 7, he produced the track and convinced Cypress Hill's B-Real to take a verse as well. Titled "911," the song is a warning call set to the sound of a gun repeatedly firing. "Hip-hop is in a state of 911," Eminem raps. "It feels like any minute the bomb is about to go off."
The collaboration ties in nicely with the album, which is a peace mission of sorts for West Coast hip-hop. Among the guests, which include Mack 10, WC, Kurupt, Knoc'TurnAl, Crooked I, Kokane and Short Khop, are rappers from rival record labels and gangs.
"Our thing is we don't have no beef with nobody, so I wanted to bring it together," the Godfather said. "I got Death Row, I got Aftermath, all on one album.
"You got one man playing God because he's got all the money in the world, but the rest of us don't got it like that," he continued, referring to Suge Knight. "There's a whole group of us who don't want to trip on that. Us being from [Mob] Piru [Bloods] and some of them being Crips, we put all that aside. There's not too many of us, and we want to eat, so we got to help each other out."
The Godfather added that he has "a cool relationship with big Suge" and said Suge has been supportive of the Boo Yaa Tribe, even giving production work to some of the members.
The group, which also includes Kobra, Monsta O, Ganxsta Ridd, Murder One and Gawtti (the 540-pounder who appeared in "The Italian Job"), were inspired to bring together rival rappers after watching what's been happening in other parts of the country.
"You got the East Coast working together, the Dirty South working together, but the West just fell apart," the Godfather said. "A lot of these guys never lived the life, they just start stepping on each other to get up there."
Boo Yaa Tribe, who released their first and most successful album, New Funky Nation, in 1990, have struggled throughout most of their career but are using their new single, "Bang On" featuring Mack 10, to let people know they're survivors.
"It's for all the sh-- that we've gone through with people who threw stones at us," the Godfather said. "We wanted to come and bang on you and let people know we're still here. No matter what happens in life, we're still doing what we got to do."
Aside from "911," all of West Koasta Nostra was produced by G-funk pioneer Battlecat (Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube).
"To me, he's still the most underrated producer out there," the Godfather said. "People use him to keep their album spiced, but we believed he can do the whole album. We wanted to do it old-school style with one producer. We want to bring the magic back into the music — everything's gone corporate."
Boo Yaa Tribe are counting on their album's high-profile collaborations to expose some of their other ventures, such as the clothing line G.A.W.T.T.I., an acronym for Gangstas Always Wear The Tightest Issues.
The group also plans to finally release an album it recorded in 1992 called Good Times Bad Times, featuring Ice Cube, Ice-T, George Clinton and Living Colour. And they'll continue the string of rap-metal album they began with 1997's Angry Samoans by releasing another one next year with Slash and other special guests.
"If people can look past Eminem being white and appreciate his music, then they can look past Boo Yaa Tribe being Samoan gangstas and enjoy our music," the Godfather said. "All we want is for the world to understand our pain. It isn't about gangs or any of that."