Last month finally saw the release of Dr. Dre's long waited, highly anticipated third studio album. Although not titled Detox as the world had once been expecting, Compton served as a triumphant "final chapter" to the esteemed career of the good doctor.
One of the highlights of the album was the track "Just Another Day", performed by The Game and Asia Bryant. Although Dre is not actually featured on the song, many praised it for being one of the most truly West-Coast songs off the album, with Game and Asia painting a vivid portrait of Compton life on their individual landscapes.
Earlier this month, we had the pleasure of interviewing Asia Bryant to discuss everything from her beginnings in music, her plans for the rest of the year and of course, how it was linking up and recording with the legendary Dr. Dre.
Mr. Wavvy: You must be having a crazy summer.
Asia Bryant: Yeah you know, it's a little insane but it's good.
Talk to us a bit about how you got started in the industry.
I've actually been in the industry since age 15. I got signed to my first in the label at that age, I toured for a while. I've opened up for the likes of Kanye, Ludacris, T.I. and for all sorts of artists. That was when I was living in Charleston, South Carolina. Then I moved to Atlanta, which is where I started writing for people, roughly around 2010. So I've actually been in the industry for quite some time. I've written songs for all types of people; Miley Cyrus, Jennifer Lopez, Drake, Birdman, Ludacris, Killer Mike and the list goes on.
Nice. You're naming a lot of great people, I suppose the most notable song you've written is "Booty" for J-Lo.
Yeah. That was the most recent one prior to "Just Another Day".
What would you say your favourite experience writing has been this far
Well, writing is this something that just happen for me. I write for all different kinds of genres, I write too many to actually do them myself as an artist. I just had a whole bunch of songs, Country songs, Pop songs and I thought to myself, "I've got to do something with these, they can't just sit here." So that's when I decided to start shopping them. "Just Another Day" with Dr. Dre is probably my favorite, although I hope Jen[nifer Lopez] doesn't see this interview and kill me [Laughs] because I love her to death, love working with her too. But the Dr. Dre one was definitely quite an experience because I got to do both jobs of being a writer and artist. That is where you of course have the most fun because you're doing what you love.
How are you approached to participate in that song?
Actually, it was through a producer named Focus..., he's all over the Compton album. I worked with him a while ago in Atlanta. I almost signed to his label but we didn't end up doing it for whatever reason. But a while ago, we were both on a panel in the Bahamas and that's how we reconnected. He was like "Yo where you at?" I told him I'm I'd be in LA so he said "Me too! You need to come by the spot, Dre is working on some dope stuff." I'm like "Okay cool!", not really thinking anything big of it. Because things like that are a normal everyday thing.
So I get to town and he tells me "Yo Asia, swing through!" so I swung through the studio. Dre was there, it was just full of the dopest Hip-Hop producers from all over the place all over the room. We had the dopest writers too. When I say that, I don't even mean the most well-known ones. I'm just talking about people who are just dope. So where all in there and coincidentally, the first day I go in is actually the first day that Dre was linking back up with The Game. And I'm like "So...should I leave the room, Or do I stay? because I don't want to get caught in the middle of some craziness!" [Laughs] But of course Dre's like "Nah nah, he's cool!". So I stay there and The Game is asking dre to be a part of The Documentary 2. I guess Dre was like "Yeah okay cool, but I have this track that I really want you to work on. But first, I have some parts that I want you guys to see if the movie.
"There's too many talented motherfuckers in this room for this not to be a hit tonight." - Dr. Dre
He takes us into this little lounge area and he pulls out his laptop. He explains to us how things happened in his N.W.A. days and then he would show was a clip of the movie, literally explaining them to us. From that alone, we were really inspired. This is freakin' Dr. Dre, he's telling us his life story and then showing us his film that no one has seen before. That's insane! From there, we go back into the studio and he plays the beat for Game. Game's like "Oh, I can kill this shit right now!" [Laughs], so Dre tells him "Then what the fuck y'all waiting for then? Kill it!" He then pointed everyone in the room, me, Game, Focus..., all the producers and says "There's too many talented motherfuckers in this room for this not to be a hit tonight." Those were his exact words. We kind of took you from that to just go ahead.
Game is on one side of the room and he's writing and I'm writing the hook to myself on the other side. At this time, I have no idea what the Game is saying [in his verse], I'm just writing. Somehow by God's grace, they matched perfectly! And we had no idea what one another was writing, it was crazy. So at the end, Game put his verse down. I think he might've done 16 bars, but then Dre told him to give him 16 more [Laughs]! Right there, back to back. Mind you, we went in the studio around 5:00 in the afternoon and it's roughly around 2:00 in the morning at this point.
I'm in the other room singing my hook out loud just to see if it goes long to the beat. You don't present anything to Dr. Dre if it's not your best so you need to try it out and see if it's cool first. However, they hear me in the other room, unbeknownst to me. They had all the doors closed but I have the loudest mouth of life! My fianceé Bre-Z goes to Dre and tells him that I have a hook ready, at which point Dre says, "Well what the fuck are y'all waiting for? Lay the shit!" We ended up leaving the studio around 6:00 or 7:00 in the morning. I get a call the next day from Focus... telling me that Dre loves the hook has been playing it nonstop for everyone that has stopped by the studio. Literally, that's what would happen. It's still so crazy to me.
Definitely! And correct me if I'm wrong, but it's the only vocals from the album that actually made the cut of the movie.
Exactly! Yes it is. It was also crazy when I got the call about that. I didn't actually get to see the scene until the premiere in LA.
Was there a particular reason as to why Dre chose to have The Game rap on the track instead of himself? I notice it's one of two Dre tracks that has no vocals or production from him on it.
"Originally, [Just Another Day] was supposed to be me, The Game and Kendrick Lamar. Kendrick ended up on another track that Dre felt he was a better fit for and that's kind of how that happened." - Asia on the early stages of "Just Another Day"
Dre always has this saying, "if it ain't broke". That's it, why would we change it? Sounds amazing as it is. That also goes for me being on the album and all of the other new artists. These are all people who do things that are amazing, people who are going to have a very big impact on this industry. He could've replaced any of us with artists that are more well known , But he didn't want to do that. If it ain't broke, why change it? It sounds amazing and it feels good to him, it's exactly the sound he was looking for. He's not going to change that.
Originally, the song was supposed to be me, The Game and Kendrick Lamar. Kendrick ended up on another track that Dre felt he was a better fit for and that's kind of how that happened. He's a doctor at the end of the day. He'll always be dissecting and putting things together, he's a genius.
Did Kendrick write another verse for the never made the cut of the album?
Kendrick never did a verse for it at all. Other songs were done by then and those are the ones that Dre ultimately chose for Kendrick to be on. We actually worked on a lot of songs for this album. There so many songs that didn't make it therefore, there's verses all over the place from different people.
How many songs did you personally record that did not make the cut?
Roughly around four or five other ones. And I did some songs with Marsha [Ambrosius]. We all just kind of jumped into it. The thing I love about working with Dre and the whole Aftermath family is that there aren't any egos in the room. No matter how many hits you have, no matter how many record sales or how much money, no egos. Everybody's just coming into make good music with other talented people. It's a one common cause at the end of the day. And it wasn't even necessarily to do an album because frankly, no one knew for sure if it would be released! Having said that, I felt like the album was going to come out.
When I told my publisher that I have a song and Dr. Dre's album, they just laughed it off! [Laughs] Nobody wanted to believe that the album was going to come out. It was just insane because I didn't believe it until I saw the pre-order! We really didn't know because Dre does his own thing and nobody knew when the item was coming out. We only knew when we got texts saying "pre-order is about to go up, here's the link."
If you had told me this time last year that both D'Angelo and Dr. Dre would be releasing albums, I would've just walked away!
[Laughs] But if you think about it, it makes sense. He had to release something because of the movie. Even though mine and "Talking To My Diary" are the only ones that were in the movie, this is something that Dre is really proud of. He had to give his fans something.
And it is a great final chapter to his career, in terms of making albums at least.
Well, let me say this. I know he said this is final album but he has [Pauses]...what's the word I'm looking for?
NO! No no no no, there's never gonna be a Detox.
You don't think there's ever even a possibility of him putting the material from that album out as a sort of compilation in say, 20 years from now?
I don't think so. He so stickler about stuff like that. Even this Compton project, he will probably not go back and listen to this album. He doesn't listen to any of his old records. He just loves the creative process. So as for Detox, he may go back and listen to some songs, but nothing is leaving that Dre vault! [Laughs].
So what was your general consensus of the album?
I've heard maybe like, one or two complaining about silly things like "Oh, it's not super west coast" or "It doesn't sound like his old work". How could you expect old Dr. Dre 15 years later? You can't do that, he evolved. Dre is someone who is always ahead of the game. With that, people were surprised that his flow and approach to this project is so current. But for the most part, everything that I've read is been amazing in terms of reviews. With that, even the backlash of this album is been amazing.
I think at the same time at least people had criticism, so give it a good review. Nobody said it was bad per se.
Exactly. I think it was more people wondering things like "Who is this person" or "Why didn't they give this person this song?" Because he's Dr. Dre, he could do whatever the fuck he wants to! He gets whoever he wants on his album.
That reminds me of a story I heard around the time that "I Need a Doctor" came out. Dre supposedly originally wanted to put Lady Gaga on it but Eminem convinced him to leave it as it was, leading back to what you were saying about his "if it ain't broke" expression. Look at Skylar's careers has turned out since.
Right, exactly! So I'm very excited to see where he goes next. I think he will be very heavily involved in the work of his protégés. I'm talking Justus' project, King Mez, Jon Connor, Anderson .Paak. He already told me "Asia, when you come back to LA, we have to sit down and listen to your project." He's just like that. I don't think we will get another Dr. Dre album. However, I definitely feel as if he will be a part of many more to come.
I know Justus and Jon Connor have already signed deals with aftermath. Have you discussed a deal with Aftermath at all?
I've gotten word that there's interest [in a deal with Aftermath] - Asia on potentially signing with Dr. Dre.
Um, I've gotten word that there's interest. Can't really go into detail with that.
Good for you!
You know? But it's definitely a conversation we are going to have once I get back to LA in a whirlwind of stuff that we've all had to do recently, especially after the album and movie. There were interviews here, interviews there along with trying to wrap up our own individual projects. So as soon as I get back to LA and into the room, I'll know more about this thing I keep on hearing [Laughs]. Only then, I'll hear it from Dre himself.
What do you think you could bring to the table at Aftermath?
For me, I am a very different type of artist. They are calling my music Urban-World, So I'm very crossover. I bring a very good amount of Urban to it but my songs themselves are very crossover.
Recently, I have been working with DJ Snake, Major Lazer, RL Grime. I'm supposed to link up with Skrillex and Diplo when I return to LA. So I've been doing a lot of that recently and it's amazing. I've also been getting a lot of label offers from all of those.
That's beautiful. Do you have an album or EP that you are trying to release in the near future?
"He's such a great person, literally one of the best human beings that I've ever met in my life." -Asia on Dr. Dre
Yes, I am actually finishing one right now and that is why we are all getting together to try and finish the songs. I have yet to figure out a name for it, another reason why I want to go see Dre. I want to let him listen to it, let him figure out details and give his advice. He's such a great person, literally one of the best human beings that I've ever met in my life. Not even about the music, just how he is as a man.
And at the same time, it doesn't hurt that his ears are golden!
Does not hurt at all! So we'll see. I'm pretty sure you hear it and give me suggestions for features and what not. The great thing about Dre is if he says it, he makes sure it happens. It's going to be an exciting, good month!
Who do you have already in terms of features and production on your project?
I have Rahki who produced "i" for Kendrick. I haven't gotten into the feature phase yet, it's just me right now. I know that Anderson .Paak and I are gonna do something crazy, Marsha and I are going to do something crazy. We are all working together as well on each other's projects so I can't wait to get back to LA and get all the way into this. It's gonna be fun!
Definitely! We always like to wrap up our interviews by asking the same question. Asia, what is the meaning of life?
That's a good one! The meaning of life to me is to find your purpose, whatever that may be. Find whatever your purpose is in life and live that. For me, it's to create music and uplift people. That's what I do with my music and I share that with the world. So if your purpose in life is to say, care for animals, then freaking go care for animals. Go do that shit! Be the best one and it at that. It doesn't matter what that purpose is, as long as you know what you're doing and you love it, do that and live life to the fullest.
For more info about Asia, follow her on Twitter
. Purchase your copy of Dr. Dre's Compton here