DFW Music News

Q&A: Cali Swag District Member C-Smoove Downplays Lil Wil Beef But Admits That He Expects Tension As His Group Perfoms Its "Dougie" Hit In Dallas This Weekend

The fact that the biggest song spawned by Dallas' homegrown D-Town Boogie movement isn't from Dallas at all, but rather from a group of performers out of Inglewood, California, has been an obvious point of contention in Dallas hip-hop over the past year or so.

But it's a truth: Cali Swag District's "Teach Me How To Dougie" (see above) was a massive hit in 2010, reaching as high as No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, and Nos. 6 and 9 on the Billboard Rap and R&B songs charts respectively. And that's saying nothing of how their song helped the Dougie dance -- one of many dances spawned by the D-Town Boogie -- become a national phenomenon.

Still, this truth has rubbed a lot of Dallas rappers the wrong way -- in particular, Lil Wil, who believes the group simply rode the success of his 2008 hit "My Dougie" all the way to the bank. In his words: "If [Cali Swag District] come around here, there'll be problems."

Which makes this, we think, all the more interesting: Cali Swag District is coming to town this weekend for a three-night resident performance (tonight through Saturday) at Club Azul. And, as such, yesterday, we caught up with one-fourth of the group, C-Smoove, to ask him about Lil Wil's beefs and the pressures of performing a song about a Dallas dance in the city from which it sprung.

Check out our interview in full after the jump.

You said in your biggest hit, "Teach Me How To Dougie," that you aren't from Dallas, but that you D-Town Boogie. I imagine the idea this weekend is to come to town and capitalize on the Boogie love down here?
Yeah, of course. We want to get the people in Dallas to Boogie with us. Obviously, that's where it came from, so we want to come down and show love to the dance that we got from Dallas.

When did you first hear about the dance?
It was before we made the song, obviously. We knew about it a minute ago -- I don't even know how long ago. We knew about it for a pretty long time. but the idea for the song just happened to come from one of our friends one day.

Obviously, the Boogie and, specifically, the Dougie has been popular around here for a long time. Was it the same big deal out in California?
I mean, we kind of turned it into one! People were doing it here and there, but it wasn't as big as it was in Dallas. It was something a few people knew about here and there. But once we made the song, it kind of grew. And now it's the only dance you see at the clubs.

What drew you to the Dougie?
That friend of ours. We were doing the dance -- and even though we didn't do it exactly the same, we did it in the clubs. It was fun for us. But once we did the song, it was like, "Hey, this is what we're gonna do all the time."

In many ways, you guys are kind of known as the Dougie group, if only 'cause your song has gotten so big. I know you have a couple new singles out now, but that song in many ways has probably defined you guys a lot, yeah?
Yeah, sort of. But it just gives us something to try to overcome and give us more drive to work harder, that's all.

Is this your group's first time to come through to Dallas?
No. I can't remember when, but it was sometime last year.

Have you heard much of Lil Wil's complaints about your use of the Dougie? He thinks you guys kind of stole the idea from him. Do you have any response to that?

I won't say too much on that. I mean, that's obviously not the case. But people tend to believe what they want and I'll leave it at that. We don't pay it any mind. It doesn't matter.

He did say that there were talks at one point about a potential remix with Dallas guys on the song that fell through. Was that the case?
It was gonna go down like that, but business moves -- like, our management -- didn't see that working out. So it just didn't happen. It seemed like, at a point in time, he was a little upset. But there was nothing we could do about it. It's business.

Do you feel added excitement or pressure to come down to the birthplace of the Dougie?
Yeah. I mean, we love Texas. We've been to a few other places in Texas and done more than we've done in Dallas, so we're looking forward to getting down there. Plus, we've got people down there, too. So I can't wait.

Is it important that you be embraced down here, since the Dougie is such a Dallas-centric thing?
Well, hopefully they'll accept us. But, for those who feel like we stole this dance, obviously we won't be getting the love and respect that we think we deserve from them. But, hey, that's just how people are. You can't really change people's opinions. It'll be fun for us. For those who don't, I don't know, like us or whatever, then get over it.

Is that a worry when you do come to Dallas? It's got to at least cross your mind, I imagine.
Yeah, of course we think about it all the time. But it's not something we let bother us or anything. You have to be alert. It has to be like that. You have to be alert, knowing that there's tensions from some people.

Playing the Super Bowl stuff has to have some pressure, and then you've got all this added pressure of it being in Dallas. Is this going to be an especially stressful weekend for you?
No, not at all. Not stressful at all. I wouldn't call it that. I just look at it as a fun weekend. And it's work. We've been traveling for a long time, and we've been in places where the worry factor was way higher than it'll be tomorrow. We're prepared for it.

What are you expecting out of your shows this weekend? What can people who turn out to these shows expect?
Well, I know, coming to Dallas, when we do this Dougie song, the people who don't appreciate or really don't like that we've been breaking this dance that they've already been doing, we still have other music and songs that we believe can turn it up. But we know, and it's something we've set our minds toward, that it's possible for these people to disrespect us. When we performed in San Antonio a long time ago, this guy stood right up in front of the stage, just not feeling it. I think he was from Texan -- he seemed like it. But, hey, the females love it. [Laughs.]

But if you're coming to Dallas, I guess you've got to do that song.

Are you a football fan?
Nope. [Laughs.] I think the Packers are gonna win, though. Since we've been in Vegas, I've been looking at the games and seeing how they play, and I think they're gonna take it.

You gonna lay any money down?
Not me! I'm gonna keep my money in my pocket.

Cali Swag District performs tonight, tomorrow night and Saturday night at Club Azul

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Pete Freedman
Contact: Pete Freedman