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Larrance “Rance” Dopson is the founder of one of the greatest live hip-hop bands on the planet, 1500 or Nothin’. The crew, which includes the Grammy-winning songwriter and producer James Fauntleroy among its members, has toured and recorded with a slew of heavyweight acts, from Rick Ross to Kanye West to Snoop Dogg to Kendrick Lamar and beyond.

Most recently, Dopson and company were the backing band on Jay Z’s 4:44 Tour, with Dopson serving as the tour’s music director. And in addition to rocking stadiums across the world, 1500 or Nothin’ is also busy opening up a music academy to pass their skills on to the next generation.

I called Dopson the day after the Grammys (his team won six, if you’re playing along at home) to catch up on awards, tour, and Kendrick.


(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)

Your friend and business partner James [Fauntleory] had a big night with Bruno Mars’ “That’s What I Like.” 
Man, listen. We just won six Grammys! We’ve been working with Bruno forever and he’s a good friend of mine for like the last twelve, thirteen years. It meant a lot to us because we’ve been through everything together—all the horror stories in the music business, we were in the trenches together. That’s why it means so much. Not only did we get those Grammys, Sam Smith performed a song I produced with Timbaland called “Pray” at the Grammys and that was fucking crazy.

I have to ask about Jay. First off, you were actually touring with him when Grammy nominations were announced. Did you ever hear him talk about that?
Yeah. We were actually on tour when he got the nominations. They were super excited. Jay was really more excited for Rapsody, probably more than him because he has like 21 Grammys already. But he was super excited for his artist Rapsody.

What are your thoughts about Jay getting shut out? Do you think he deserved to win in any of the categories?
Yeah, I mean… I feel like Jay Z should have… I don’t know. This is a tricky question because the Grammys, it’s voted by the music members, so it’s really not up to the people. It’s up to the people that sign up to vote and be a part of the Grammys. So it’s more of a smaller group that’s deciding this. But everybody’s album was amazing.

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