Frank V - Still Representing Mexican Power!
We all remember hearing “Mexican Power” for the first time. The message and the shock Proper Dos gave the industry with their no-holds-barred lyrics, made them a household name. They followed up with songs like “Firme Hina,” “One Summer Night,” and “Hard Times” which became instant classics also. Proper Dos came out at a time when there were only a handful of Latin rappers, and today, they are still here! With four career albums, and one quarter of a million albums sold, Proper Dos are amongst the pioneers of Latin Hip Hop. They released one of the first “gangster rap” albums from a Latino point of view. But why are they not mentioned in the same sentence as Kid Frost, Mellow Man Ace, and Lighter Shade of Brown? Perhaps it is the fact that Proper Dos remained in the underground, and never attempted to assimilate to the commercial side of the business.
What was it like being one of the first brown rappers to release an album?
It is something I can’t really explain. It was a new thing; a pioneer thing. There were so few of us back then that I would ask myself, “Where will we be 5 years from now?” And, as you can see, here we are now ten years and four albums later… still putting it down for La Raza in the underground.
What was your goal as a rapper?
My goal was just to come out different than anybody else. With intensity! I think I achieved that. I was not trying to be universal. I was making it known that I’m a Mexican. My album was titled “Mexican Power”. The first track on that album was called “Motherfucken Mexican”. It was all about being brown!
Speaking of your first album, I remember you saying “…like the curly headed faggot that tried to disgrace my race.” Who were you referring to?
Eazy-E. He made comments about Mexicans and I felt it was my job to call it out! Don’t get me wrong, I was always a big fan of Eazy, and to this day, I believe he’s a legend. But whoever made any comments against Mexicans; it was up to me to call it out.
You were one of the first along side Cypress Hill, Mellow Man Ace, Kid Frost, and Lighter Shade of Brown, do you feel you get the props you deserve?
I did at first. I don’t now, I feel people side step me. I understand cause they give props to those who are out there (on radio and videos). We never have that, so we get lost in the mix. I understand people/fans are more programmed like robots, not everybody is like that, though. There are a few that are into underground hip-hop.
What were some of the obstacles you faced coming up?
The obvious: radio and video play, the overall treatment. I still face these same obstacles now, but now we have more than a foot in the door. We have Raza working in the stations as DJs or whatever. The bad thing about this is that these so-called “Latin Radio guys” are in it for themselves! I won’t mention any names, but these same people go around promoting themselves as big crusaders who are out to help out La Raza. But, when it comes down to it, they won’t spin your records. They would rather spin Ice Cube or Puff Daddy.
Speaking of radio, at one point in your career, you found yourself working at Power 106, how did that come about?
It just happened. We would just show up to their door and ask them to play our music. Eventually they gave us a spot. I recognize that there were other rappers at that time who were worthy of this position, but Power chose us because they liked our record.
What ever happened to your second album, We’re At It Again?
It was pulled from the shelves. The record label we were with went under (bankrupt). It was never re-released. It’s a shame, though. That album, now, is in more demand than any other Proper Dos album.
After your second album, you didn’t work with Ernie G. Why?
We are still cool; we just went our separate ways. Nothing bad. Maybe in the future we’ll find ourselves working together again.
There is a lot of controversy behind Low Profile Gangsters album, why?
This album was made for thugs and young homies who want to hear this. Some people were offended, but every time something good is put out, there is someone trying to down play it. I’ve heard disses since day one, but I take it lightly. I don’t let it bother me. I’ve been doing this for 10 years now, and I plan to continue doing this!
What is the future of Frank V. (Proper Dos)?
Just to keep making the hit albums people love. I want to out-do my previous work. My next album will be harder, better, and more dope!
Photos by Sal Rojas