Saturday, July 5, 2008

TAKE TEN: Our Interview with Bruce Williams

"I worked with (Dr.) Dre for over 16 years. I started off with the Death Row era. I came out to Cali to be an actor and I met Dre through a chick named Robin. Robin was a girl that was interior designing Dre’s house. I went with her just to kick it for a minute. Me and Dre started talking and the next thing I know he was like, “Yo, what are you fittin’ to do now?” and then just said, “Why don’t you just roll with me?” We’ve been rolling ever since then."--- Bruce Williams, author of ROLLIN' WITH DRE

A native of Riverside, California, the life of Bruce Williams has had its share of twists and turns, each taking him to levels that would seem impossible to the average man. That is because Williams is far from average. Transitioning from growing up under the teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses to entering the service to finally becoming linked with one of the most powerful names in the entertainment industry, he has shown that hard work and loyalty does pay off in the end.

Working with famed author Donnell Alexander*, he has penned the memoir ROLLIN' WITH DRE, recounting many of the experiences that have shaped the life he has lived and the person he has now become.

This is our conversation. (Interview conducted by Cyrus A. Webb, President of Conversations Book Club and Founder of the Hiphop and Books Initiative.)

Bruce, thank you for your time. Before we actually get into ROLLIN' WITH DRE, I want to talk about the firestorm you seemed to have set up just by writing it. Are you surprised that there has been such a frenzy over your book?
Yes and no. I think people have been starving to find the realness that you don't hear about in the hip hop world.

During an earlier interview you mentioned to me that your idea for telling this story was because you didn't like the way hiphop was being portrayed. Tell our readers about that.
Hip hop takes a lot of heat so I wanted people to really see what hip hop artist goes through. It's way more to it than what you see on TV or hear on the radio.

There is a great deal of responsibility laid at the feet of entertainers. From working so closely with artists, do you think too much is expect from them?
Yes because the pressure sometimes make people tend not to be who they are because of what everybody wants them to be. We should let them decide who they are.

One of the things that impressed me about what you had to say in ROLLIN' WITH DRE are the various facets to the man himself. How would you describe the private Dre versus what the public got to know.
Dre is a great person that has some of the same morals everyone else have. People have to understand his job is pure entertainment, and its up to you on how you receive it.

In the book you talk about the work ethic of Eminem and how Dre knew he would be a major player in the game. Success changes people in different ways, Bruce. How do you think you were changed from being trained in a more disciplined setting such as the military and going into the fast paced life that is the entertainment industry?
Yes I was changed in ways where I had to think different. I went from being an outdoors kind of person to closed inside a studio for years and outdoors made me happy.

I know authors tell me that they don't really pay attention to reviews and what people are saying about their work, but I am curious as to what you have heard or read about your book that has surprised or even disappointed you the most?
Well for me its different because I been around the biz and know how to handle the press, but I was surprised that they really got what I was trying to do.

Many people will take what you say in your book about Suge, Snoop, Dre and others and use to it confirm their personal feelings about hiphop and the immoral lifestyle attached to it. Tell our readers why that is unfair?
Like anything in this world no matter what you hear or read don't let that be enough to base how you feel about someone until you have investigated more on your own, then take a position.

I'm curious as to how writing this book has made you examine some of the decisions you have made.
It has helped and made me understand things now that i didn't back then which has helped improve my life greatly.

Do you see yourself keeping on with this topic, schooling us on the ins and outs of the industry? What is next for you?
Yes I will keep putting the word out. As for what's next, I will be at the Essence Music Festival signing books on July 4&5, then going to the Charlotte Literary Festival on September 6th. A college tour will follow after that.

Thank you for your time, Bruce. For those who are interested in more information about you and your upcoming events, where can they go?
Thank you for the opportunity. They can visit me onilne at

* Both Bruce Williams and Donnell Alexander are proud supporters of the Hiphop and Books Literacy Campaign. To find out more information about H&B, visit

1 comment:

Beltitout said...

I saw your book in Borders today and it brought back a little story. My husband wired a bunch of studio's for Dre back in the 80's and got paid by having Shug knight show up at his studio an hold a gun to his head. Shug threatned to kill him and held him hostage for several hours while accusing him of stealing cable. CABLE? REALLY? Seriously, if you were going to steal from Dre, would it be cable? Shortly after that, my husband lost his studio and the business he had spent years to build, mainly because Dre never paid him the 5K that would have covered bills he needed to pay. Remember 5K was a lot in the 80's. Instead he sent a useless thug who has contributed NOTHING to this industry, to his door high on crack to take him down for helping. Thankfully my husband survived the ordeal, but lost the life he had worked so hard to build. If you see Dre, tell him he still owes my husband 5 grand plus 23 years of interest. It's important to recognize the consequenses of actions even if you think you can do anything you want. You can ruin lives. Hopefully Bruce, during your tenure with Dre, you got paid in dollars not bullets.