Interviewed by Big Momma “Miz”
Big Momma “Miz” had a great opportunity to talk with Stan “The Guitar Man” Jones (whose name was bestowed by legendary Dr. Dre). He gets his props on just about every classic on the West Coast. You’ve heard him on Ruthless Records albums from JJ Fad, Michel’e, D.O.C., NWA, Above The Law, Eazy-E and MC Ren. Along with Ice Cube’s numerous hits from “Death Certificate” to “Laugh Now, Cry Later”, Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise”, Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It”, and DJ Quik’s “Quik”.
“The Guitar Man” has not limited himself to only blessing the West Coast, his talent bounces to the East Coast and down to the Dirty South. Stan put in work with Ludacris’ “Red Light District”, T.I.’s “King”, LL Cool J on “14 Shots to the Dome”. Rooted in R&B, you can find his work with R&B artists like K-Ci & JoJo, Destiny’s Child, Monica, Brian McKnight and The Whispers “Just Gets Better With Time”.
He answers the phone as he’s leaving rehearsal, I introduce myself and tell him a little about HHF.
HHF: so tell me a little about “The Guitar Man”, what are you working on now?
Stan: I’m working on an album and a book; an autobiography talking about myself of course and working with these celebrities doing music and just growing up in Compton.
HHF: Sounds interesting. How’s the album gonna be formatted? R&B, hip-hop or a combination of both?
Stan: It’s gonna be some of both, the same tone as Straight Out Of Compton, Michel’e, Eazy E, Tupac like all the West Coast rappers. I was born & raised in Compton.
HHF: Cool, I heard that you knew Alonzo first, who was the leader of the World Class Wrecking Crew, so from there is where it bridged to meeting the rest of NWA?
Stan: Yeah, he was managed by Jerry Heller first, & had a club Dr. Dre and DJ Yella as his DJ’s, and he had the studio where they all hung out.
HHF: So what were the studio sessions like working with the early NWA when they were trying to get the ball rolling?
Stan: I didn’t work with them in the earlier days, there wasn’t any guitar on the music, and it was all electronic and dancing.
HHF: So when did you come into the picture?
Stan: I was always there and around them, but I didn’t started playing with them until they formed NWA, they had samples that they needed somebody to replay over, that’s when Dre called me up and we’d play the samples of them.
HHF: So when did your name really start to ring bells, what track stood out to make people know who “The Guitar Man” is?
Stan: When I did the Eazy-E album, I spoke on the song “Radio” as one of the callers. After Eazy-E blew up & NWA blew up, that’s when everybody started calling me.
HHF: They wanted you to bring some flavor with your guitar huh?
Stan: Yep, they wanted the magic over there.
HHF: Ok, so in the midst of all that, who did you work with that was the most memorable?
Stan: I worked with all the great ones, so I guess Tupac, of course Ice Cube after he left NWA.
HHF: Your talent isn’t limited to just West Coast rappers, you spilling some juice over here on the East Coast too right?
Stan: Yes, LL Cool J, Kool G rap comes to mind too. He came to L.A. & Sir Jinx was working on a track for him.
HHF: I was having a discussion with somebody the day about who actually makes a song a “hit” or become “platinum”, is it the fans/listeners or the beat-maker/producer? I always figured it would be us as the fans, after a dope beat is made, it isn’t until it hits streets or airwaves to listeners that makes it reach a certain point on the charts. In the studio they can say “this is gonna be a hit”, but in my opinion it isn’t actually until the people say so. What do you think?
Stan: Yeah, that’s true you’re making it for the fans, but the producer has to put the right elements together after getting the right beat, that’s the starting point. Then he has to have the right musicians involved and on point where they bring out the essence of the track, and the right hook along with a mixing that’s good enough for a fan to enjoy it.
HHF: Ok, so you say it’s half & half, how long have you been doing this?
Stan: For over 30 years, I’ve met a lot of legends in R&B, and just being in the right place at the right time coming from the era I came from.
HHF: Will any of the icons you worked with in the past be on your upcoming album?
Stan: I would definitely love that, it just depends on availability & catching up with them. I’ll have some new artists on their too because everybody heard all the old artists, it’s certainly some talent out there that’s really good.
HHF: What do you look for in new talent?
Stan: Something that’s distinct and stands out, could be their voice, or the flow. Right now, a lot of rappers sound the same, I need somebody that sounds like themselves not a clone.
HHF: So tell me what you think is the missing link in today’s music, which was the “glue” in the earlier hip-hop days? My guess is the originality, what’s yours?
Stan: You hit it right on the head! That’s exactly what’s missing, when we were doing music, you would get dissed for trying to sound like somebody else, we took pride in sounding like who we are.
HHF: I’m not sure what that is about? Are they afraid to be themselves out of fear of not being accepted, or they don’t have an original clue and decide to imitate someone else hoping for the same accolades?
Stan: I think they scared. People be playing it safe, and then on top of that you got record companies trying to mold people into sounding like the latest person out. They are the biggest dictators on how these artist are coming along, you’ll never be #1 sounding like someone else. The industry is fake.
HHF: How accurate would you say the Michel’le movie was, I know it was sped up for t.v. was there a lot left out?
Stan: Very accurate. She’s not done, she has a book coming soon too. I guess she had to do this because she wasn’t added into the NWA movie, which she should’ve been as well as myself. JJ Fad was the first act to go Gold on the Ruthless Label and they got no recognition in either movie.
HHF: You’re not the first to mention the fakeness, along with it, would you say there is a lot of selfishness and stinginess?
Stan: Oh yeah, they don’t want everybody to have the same thing, and a lot of them sold their souls for a little bit of fame. But there is room for everybody to tell their own story, Dre should’ve put Michel’le in the movie then, instead of trying to sue now. That probably would have stopped her from coming out with her own movie.
HHF: Real shit. As we wrap it up, drop some jewels for the readers and the upcoming indie artists.
Stan: Stay visible, keep putting product out. If you got a hit song, it’ll take off. Don’t get comfortable and caught up in the few thousand views, that don’t mean you made it.
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This interview was done by Big Momma “Miz” a North Philly native, out of Harrisburg Pa., She is now the C.O.O for an indie label ILL CRE (Illustrious Creations of Entertainment) where she is also an artist under the moniker “Penelope”. The Hip Hop culture is embedded in her style & personality, you’ll hear it in her rhymes and read it in her writings.