Cuete Yeska Making Music
from the Heart
2/1/06 - LatinRapper.com exclusive interview
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.
LatinRapper.com: Tell us a bit about your new album Love
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 pocosperolocos.fm or
cuetejames.com 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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
Cuete Yeska on Twitter:
Cuete Yeska on Myspace: