Born and raised in Long Beach, California, Butch Cassidy got an insight into the music business through the success of his cousin Nate Dogg, but it was the support of radio DJ Kevin “Slow Jammin’” James that gave Butch his first big break. A huge fan of Butch’s demo recordings, James regularly played Butch’s “You Tonight” song on his radio show on 92.3 The Beat, now 100.3 The Beat, a radio station in Los Angeles.
One night in 2000, Snoop Dogg heard the song, called James and the radio station and told James to have Butch call him. “I called Snoop the next morning,” Butch recalls. “He told me they were starting a new record called Tha Eastsidaz and he wanted my vocals on it.”
Butch Cassidy soon entered Snoop Dogg’s fold and recorded a number of songs for the “Snoop Dogg presents Tha Eastsidaz” album, most notably the lead single, “G’d Up.” The song became a smash and soon Butch Cassidy became one of the most in-demand singers in the Hip Hop arena. Appearances on songs with Mystikal, Westside Connection, Xzibit, Wyclef Jean, Kurupt, Kurupt, Warren G, Tha Liks, Bad Azz, T.W.D.Y. and others soon followed and established Butch Cassidy as premier vocalist with magical vocal stylings.
“My style is a little bit of R&B, with a touch of gangster, a flash of jazz mixed in on top of a little pizzazz,” Butch explains. “It was just God-given and it comes from listening to all that music back in the day. I just know how to flip it and add it in.”
After recording hit records with a host of rappers, Butch Cassidy is out to make a mark with his debut solo album, which he is currently recording in and around the Los Angeles area. Oozing with the playeristic vibe that typifies Butch’s work, his album contains stories, parables and lessons on life, love and the streets.
On the jazzy “The Confession,” Butch spins a story about a man who is ready to settle down with a woman, yet feels the need to detail his womanizing past. “Take My Hand” is a cleverly disguised blueprint to getting a woman on your side, while “What Can A Nigga Say” dismisses the haters who may want to see Butch fall off, an unlikely occurrence given Butch’s otherwordly talent. Butch also teams with Snoop Dogg on street single “Bang This,” DJ Quik on the playeristic “So Cold” and Knoc-Turn’al on the hard-core “So Dope.”
Throughout his album, Butch brings out his character, something his fans have only gotten a sliver of via his performances with other artists. “When it’s all me, I get to put all of my touches and everything that I feel into it,” Butch says. “When I’m working on their projects, I can do what I want to do because they want me. But you still have to stay on the guidelines of what they want. When I get on my own stuff I can just spread my wings and that’s what I like to do.”
It almost seems as though Butch Cassidy was destined to spread his musical wings. His mother kept music playing in their family’s household and was the leader of the youth choir at their Long Beach church. Butch’s early musical diet consisted of heavy doses of Prince, as well as such old school greats as The Stylistics, Blue Magic and The Whispers. In addition to fueling his love for music, Butch’s mother, as well as his oldest sister, encouraged him to pursue his dreams, whatever they may be.
Like many of his idols, Butch’s early music was classic R&B. But his direction took a turn when cousin Nate Dogg enlisted Butch’s help on his first official release, 1998’s “G-Funk Classics, Vol. 1 & 2.” Butch appeared on four songs from that double album and began to realize his potential.
After singing in the church as a child, loving music for all of his life and seeing his cousin enjoy superstardom as an integral part of Death Row Records, Butch Cassidy was also fulfilling his own dream: to sing for a living.
Soon thereafter, Snoop Dogg heard Butch Cassidy’s demo on the radio and Butch catapulted to one of Hip Hop’s most respected vocalists. “That was my route in,” Butch says. “I was doing R&B music, but when I hooked up with Snoop there really wasn’t no room for no love songs. You’ve got to get in where you fit in and do what you’ve got to do to get ahead. I had versatility so I just flipped it, like, ‘OK, if we’re going to talk about some gangster stuff, let’s do it if that’s what I’ve got to do to get on this song.’”
In addition to “G’d Up” with Snoop Dogg presents Tha Eastsidaz, Butch teamed with Snoop Dogg on his double platinum “Tha Last Meal” album on singles “Lay Low,” “Loosen’ Control”; Mystikal on the title track from his platinum “Tarantula” album; and Mack 10 and the Westside Connection for “Connected For Life”; among many, many others.
“Sometimes I trip out, watch the videos that I did and listen to the music that I did and be like, ‘Damn, I can’t believe that we’re actually doing this,’” Butch says. “But the saying is true: ‘If you believe you can do it, it will happen.’ Then just put God first and everything will go your way”.
Now with his own album on the way and collaborations with G-Unit, Busta Rhymes and others coming out soon, Butch Cassidy is set to become the premier singer of the Hip Hop generation.
“My career really started with Snoop in ’99, so it’s been four years of making a living just off music,” he says. “It’s a beautiful thing and I’m just happy to be in this situation”.