A Dogg's Life

Vamp Dogg serves up songs fresh from the streets.

Getting such tales heard in his adopted hometown has proven to be a challenge for Vamp. "Everybody here is so influenced by other states. If it comes from Cali, it's the bomb, if it comes from New York, it's the bomb, and if it doesn't come from there, it must not be the bomb, and therefore, they don't support it. As a matter of fact, they don't even listen. They don't give it a chance." This problem is exacerbated by the unwillingness of KS-107.5 and other commercial radio stations to give airplay to Colorado artists. "If the radio doesn't start coming to terms or doesn't start letting us get a 'Slam It or Jam It,' I think it's time for local artists to start a boycott or a strike. It's time to be a little stronger. We're pretty much letting them give us whatever. It's time to start taking."

Such aggressiveness has paid off for Vamp thus far. He's formed his own label, Pure Breed Records, with partner Daniel "Tank" Elliot, and together they convinced staffers at Media Play to move copies of Real from the local bin to the national rap section. The results have been excellent thus far. "When it was in the local section, it wasn't touched for two weeks," Elliot says. "But when they put us in regular rap, we sold maybe 200 copies." The CD is also available at Tower Records outlets nationwide thanks to a distribution deal Pure Breed inked with City Hall, a firm that Master P used prior to making it big. And Vamp is confident that more stores will stock the disc following an upcoming mini-tour with Nyke Loc that will take him to Seattle, Portland and numerous metropolian areas in California. Vamp is also making the most of his Sacramento connections: He's set to guest on the next release by Sacramento rapper X-Rated Loc, and one of his songs is expected to appear on a compilation titled Who Put Sac on the Map?, Volume II.

Nevertheless, Vamp isn't ready to give up on the Mile High City quite yet. "Somebody is going to open the door for Denver," he says. "It's cracked now, and it wants to open so bad. All it needs is a few more pushes and I think it will open. So I'm going to keep knocking on the door." He adds, "Denver is going to be on fire when I get done. They're going to be Vamp-crazy in this state."

Vamp swears, however, that he's interested in more than Benjamins. He speaks emotionally about Rodney Powell, a friend from Sacramento whose death casts a shadow over Real: "He was a really strong figure in my life. He was older than me, and he pretty much gave me feedback on how I see life today." He hopes he can pass along the same sort of wisdom to members of the younger generation.

"Some of them out there are lost," he says. "They're taking the same road I took when I was lost. I know, because I've been there and I've already done that. But if they can just read between the lines in my songs, they can realize that there's another way out.

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