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Cali Swag District goes beyond ‘Teach Me How to Dougie’

Calif., the foursome of DJ/rapper C-Smoove, rappers Yung and JayAre and resident dancer M-Bone formed Cali Swag District at the beginning of 2010. This quick rise to fame can be attributed to their dance floor hit “Teach Me How To Dougie,” which went viral on YouTube. Their album “The Kickback” was expected in the summer, but has yet to show itself. The group has released four singles filled with their unique “Cali swag.” The State Press spoke to Cali Swag District to talk about fame, the King of Pop and their sound.

The State Press: Who brought all of you together into the Cali Swag District? Is there a forerunner of this group?

C-Smoove: There’s no forerunner. We just do us. We’re all equal in this situation, and we came together because Big Wy [a former rapper and now founder of Cali Swag District] put us together as a group. We were all doing our music thing individually. We all knew each other for a long time. We grew up together, living in the same area. When we started in the studio, Big Wy saw our talent individually; he thought it would work together as a group. We recorded “Teach Me How to Dougie” and saw the reaction from our friends and thought that since we have this stamina as a group and this reaction, we should just push this song as hard as we could. And we did. We pushed it off the edge of the map and it just went everywhere.

SP: So far, you guys have had two major singles (“Teach Me How To Dougie” and “Where You Are”) released off your upcoming album, “The Kickback.” What can your audience expect with the rest of your album?

C-Smoove: They can expect to hear a lot of fun. It won’t be something they won’t really be prepared for because it’s really diverse. We have rock-’n’-roll-type sounds, fist pump music and it just has a lot going on. There will be stuff for the ladies because we’re a group of dudes and we think about our ladies in our songs. Our album is real crazy. We don’t even know what to call our sound. We call it our “Cali swag.”

SP: For your song “Where You Are” the chorus samples the late Michael Jackson’s song “I Wanna Be Where You Are.” What attracted you to this specific clip?

Yung: We were presented with the Michael Jackson track. When we heard it, it was a no-brainer. Who’s not a fan of the King of Pop? It just started off as a sample of his voice and it eventually turned into a full chorus of his clip. Everyone would want to hear some Michael Jackson, so we just knocked it out.

SP: For “Teach Me How To Dougie,” Cali Swag District was still relatively unknown. This song was what brought you guys to the fame you have now. Was that expected when you were in the recording studio?

Yung: We didn’t have a clue that it was going to be this big. At the beginning, we were proud but it was just a record for fun.

C-Smoove: We knew something was going to happen when the views started jumping higher on YouTube after we performed at this club in Hollywood, Club Element. We would see the views and comments go up, and it just started going crazy. Every other day there would be a few more thousand views. Once it got there, we knew it was going to be something big.

SP: The Dougie is now a dance that has been compared to the Jerk in the way it has come to fame. How do you feel that the Dougie stands out from jerking?

C-Smoove: The Jerk is something you do to fast music. There’s more jumping around. The Jerk is a California-originated dance move. The Dougie is from Dallas, Texas. It came from the man Dougie Fresh.

SP: If you guys are from California, how did you come across the Dougie?

Yung: One of our friends ended up going to Texas from California and ended up going to college [there][] []  d. When he came back, he said the dance was hot out there. We had known about it here, but it was on fire like it was there. So, he suggested we do a song about it. And we did.

SP: Recently, you have performed for the BET Awards, Fuel TV and have had some major opportunities to perform alongside big-name artists while at those shows. How have you reacted to the quick climb to fame?

M-Bone: We get more and more excited as it goes. We’re having fun with it. We’re doing what we love to do. It’s a little tiring but we’re not complaining.

SP: What’s next for Cali Swag District?

Yung: More songs and more tours, and our new single “The Kickback.”

JayAre: We’re going on tour with BET. We’re headlining the Young Stars Tour with Diggy, Willow Smith and Mindless Behavior.

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