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Cuete Yeska Making Music from the Heart
2/1/06 - exclusive interview


rapper Cuete Yeska picture

From the Left Coast comes Cuete, an artist heard on power 106 every Sunday on the " Pocos Pero Locos" radio show and countless other stations.  Cuete emerged on the Latin Rap scene in 2000 from the group Hit Squad, later joining Wicked Minds. Four albums deep, he finally dropped his first solo CD "Sounds Of Violence" featuring the likes of Lil Rob and Don Cisco. The Chicano Rap artist repping Redondo created a buzz for himself, only to vanish from the rap scene for two years.

Cuete Yeska is back on the scene and recharged with his latest release "Love Stories", a collection of tracks straight from the heart. Cuete spoke with us about his new album and Chicano rap's future with non-Latinos in this exclusive interview. Tell us a bit about your new album Love Stories.

New album is basically tales of my life. Actual events that are true that I been through in a period of time in a relationship with my ex girlfriend. I never intended to release it, just songs that I compiled one after another, I captured them as we went through things. My homeboy heard it and said you need to release this record. Its something everyone could understand and go through, I realize I see all the fans going crazy over NB Ridaz at a concert because of what they were talking about. I shouldnít be so shy with my emotions, things that really happened, real tales of my life.

Who produced the beats for the album?

Itís a mixtape. Its just like I said, every time I felt something about her, I would pull out a song, closest thing on the shelf I would pull out that I was vibing to. Its more or less a mixtape, I did record it the right way, I mastered it, itís a great CD, I think its going to do very well.

Any guest spots from other artists?

I have Eriq the Latin R&B singer on there, Weeto, a Latin R&B artist, AC the promoter, Mr. G of Lawless, and thatís about it. 'Cause basically it was something I was going through, whenever I had someone around to do something with. Its an album I never really intended to release. I didnít know I was gonna release these songs, but I recorded it the right way.

Are you touring or doing any shows for promotion right now?

Yeah I've done some shows with AC the Promoter, heís my number one promoter. I just did a show with Too short. Upcoming show with Mack 10, he gives me a lot of work. Arizona, Washington, I been on the road for quite a while. This record has actually been promoted the last two years.


This happened to me two years ago, it was supposed to be released two years ago on Valentines day. After me and my ex broke up, I didnít want to put it out no more, I was going through some bad things when we separated, I took a year and a half off to find myself and to be who I needed to be. Now I'm back to being Cuete Yeska! Its all good, two years later itís a long anticipated record thatís finally here. I know itís a little late, but I apologize to all my fans.

I heard that you were about to tour in Japan, how has Chicano rap been embraced out there?

Man! Let me tell you something. Last night I was on myspace, thereís a guy named Ese Lil Night, he gave me a message saying that I cant wait for your CD to come out, all my vatos and all the hynas out here cant wait to see you in Japan, we got your back Cuete. Wow, when I read that, these guys were talking to me in my language. He was Chicanoed out! He had locs on, he had the clothing. Now, they look like eses more than I ever would have imagined, they just down with the music.

What's good with any new videos?

I just finished a video called "My Pretty Baby pt 2", thatís also gonna be on the Loves Stories CD. I was really trying to get the video on there, I wanted to get it on the first batch. My first thousands are my real fans. Its me, Eriq sings a song with me, you can also go to or and see the video that I had just made recently, promoting my newest record called Tales of Cuete James, after Love Stories.


It has Sen Dog from Cypress Hill, Magic from NB Ridaz, I got old school with New Edition, Bell Biv Devoe, its doing really good. There's a video on there, the first animated cartoon for a Chicano rapper, that video right there is doing really well. I noticed when that came out, my name started to get hot again, its really the fire in the fuel that makes me ready to do this!

Even for those of us who donít listen to Chicano rap much, your name still rings bells. Why do you think you have a bigger following than many other Chicano rappers?

To be honest with you, I'd have to say because I'm not scared to let my business be known, my songs are like Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, close to home, heartfelt. Issues about my kids, my father leaving me when I was little, baby mama not treating me right. Its not a color or race issue, itís a life issue.


People can relate. A lot of races do like my stuff, but I'm really happy, I donít try to be someone I'm not. I donít talk about rolling in the Cadillac, pimpin b**ches, what I'm really going through at the time. I cant write a song about something I'm not going through, whatever track comes my way, its about my life at that exact moment.

Are you doing anything besides the music right now?

I'm trying to get into movies, I have a cousin name who has five major motion films coming out. He got me into it, starting to take acting classes, trying to get myself out there more. There's a lot of opportunities for our look right now, I might make it as an actor before a rapper and then pull my music into it. But the music is number one to me right now.

Who were some artists that youíve opened for over the years?

Wow. Snoop Dogg, Sugar Free, AMG, Brentwood, Ludacris, Too Short, its just an endless amount. Pink, Lil Rob, and just of course the other big names in Latino rap.

Chicano rappers have had a following outside of the West Coast and the Southwest, but Lil Robís Summer Nights single seemed to give it Chicano Rap a bigger push towards mainstream. Do you feel like the track helped Chicano Rap on a national level?

Yeah, I do. You know what, a lot of people try to hate on Lil Rob because people want to be him. Instead of embracing him, they hate. Their girl might listen to his music in the car. Rob's here for us, trying to open the doors for us. But that song, whether you hated on Rob or not, you bobbed your head to it in the car when it came on. That was the jam. What's up Lil Rob, Yeska homie!

Youíre from So Cal, it seems most hip hop fans outside of California donít even know about the whole Norte vs. Sur thing. Does the division play any part into your music?

Um, I would say it does. 'Cause no matter what kind of music I make, whether its heartfelt or anything in my life, what it all boils down to is I'm from Southern Califas. Anyone from Northern Cali isn't going to like it, the girls might like it, but I'd say that I'm stuck in the middle of that also. I try not to let it adapt to my music, but I donít think thereís any escape from that.

Who came up with the name Cuete?

Actually you know what, when I was 13 I came out with this song called "What you do say to a cuete" (raps) Please donít kill me, what I heard him say. Ever since then the name stuck with me. I'm Cuete, thatís me. Years ago, about a song that I had made.

Do you ever have any parents come up to you at shows and show concert over your choice for the name since their kids listen to your music?

Nah, to tell you the truth, I been very fortunate to not have negativity fly my way. I'm straight up, I donít try to be some hard macho gangster, I just be me. I been fortunate, nobody wanting to fight or disrespect me as far as fans go. I have parents walk up asking if they can get a picture with me or ask for their daughter because she's shy. Its more of an embracement with me. When you asked me the question I had to ask you to repeat it 'cause it kind of took me for a minute.

What do you think it will take for Chicano rap to get more of a mainstream appeal to non-Latinos?

I would say, I think the whole problem is that people are trying to be stuck in the 80's with this Southside gangster s**t. Saying that youíre a Southsider on the CD 80 times wont make you more gangster then you are. They on the CD cover with guns in their hands, bandanas on their face. If you haven't proved that youíre a gangster already by 2006, just quit, just let it go homie.

Who are some of the artists that you bump when youíre cruising down the boulevard?

Eminem. I like Soop Dogg, Lil Rob, he's in my stereo a lot. I like all kinds, I listen to Too Short, old school Above the Law, Ice Cube, just everything I grew up with. Up to date newer stuff.

Is there anything youíd like to add for the fans out there?

I just wanna let all my fans know that I appreciate them sticking by me for all these years, I hope I donít let them down on anything I do . If you see me on the street or at the show, I'm a nice guy, come up to me. I'll take a picture with you, do your voicemail, I'll never front on any of my fans or non fans.


I hope you appreciate this album Love Stories, I went through something that was... (deep breath) Very bad in my life. And if this CD can help someone get through the times I went through, I hope it does just that. For all the homeboys out there that are too gangster to bump it in the car with your ladies, I guarantee youíll bump in your home later.


You aint gotta be so macho, homie. Tales of Cuete James out in May, check out for the single High, next single Feel Good Music, featuring Magic of NB Ridaz. Yeskaaaaaaaa!


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