I'm grinding as usual.
not on the couch sipping ginger ale?
Not really. I'm actually in a hotel in New York right now, enjoying everything
you originally get down with Little Brother?
We all went
to school together and then it just transpired from there. We were always
kicking it and making music together. When they were going to do the Little
Brother thing, I said, "Cool." I was their road manager and
we went out to Cali and had some meetings and that spawned everything.
I went from road manager to all-out manager. And now I'm super-nigga.
Nah I'm just playing.
the key moves getting Little Brother where they are today?
I can't really say. I'd be the first person to say I'm not a good manager.
It's not like I had this plan. They are talented dudes and I took what
they wanted and helped to make it happen. There was no formula and nothing
crazy. We just did the regular shit. It is what it is. It's the grind
like everybody. We all went on the road together and promoted everywhere.
We moved as a team and not individuals. Every move was calculated to a
degree and now we are what we are. We're here.
anticipate the positive response to The Listening?
up north so it's different for me. I was raised in a different type of
music. I was a mixtape dude and I never listened to Mos Def or Common
when I was coming up. It was NWA and all that crazy, wild stuff my mother
didn't want me to listen to. When I got to North Carolina, 9th put me
on to a lot of stuff. They put me on to Jay Dee and I was thinking JD
like Jermaine Dupri. They brought me a whole bunch of stuff and when The
Listening popped, I saw where they were going. I like a lot of stuff but
what people call backpack wasn't my environment. It was cool because good
music is good music. They just make good music. When The Listening happened,
I saw that was just their own style and they were regular dudes. All their
stories are real. I respect real stories from real people. You hear the
struggle, you hear the fun and you hear the sorrow. Whatever they're doing
is what you're hearing. Like me drinking ginger ale was real and we were
laughing and if you listen to some vocals, you can hear us in the background.
you guys right when The Listening was taking off to after The Minstrel
Show dropped, I can definitely say you guys seemed very down-to-earth
both times. How important is that to you and LB?
important! That's just upbringing, man. If I'm a million-dollar nigga
or a one-dollar nigga, it's going to be the same thing. I'm not going
to change. If you're a broke asshole, when you get money you're just going
to be a bigger asshole. If you're a cool nigga, when you get rich you'll
still be cool and probably take everybody out to dinner. Nobody's gangster
and nobody's trying to kill anybody in their raps. We'll fight for our
respect but none of us are running out to do no crazy shit to nobody,
especially over music. I have a wife and kids. I don't give a fuck what
nobody thinks about me. Just take what you think over there and I'm cool.
I'm not trying to get in your lane and you're not getting into mine. That's
how we are. That's why we can rock with niggas like Duck Down, Bun-B,
Trae, Cormega, Nottz, Buckwild, Premo, Dramills and so on. We're all just
real niggas. We're not trying to be anybody else. We're just trying to
be us. Just because we don't do everything with everybody doesn't mean
we're not down-to-earth. We have to go to sleep and feed our family too.
Even gangsters don't want to be hard-body all the time. I respect people
who really are gangster but don't have to portray that. Niggas know. We
fuck with good niggas and good niggas fuck with us. All types of people
fuck with us. Nobody can ever say we went somewhere and started drama.
stay busy managing 9th Wonder?
like we're doing a million different things. 9th likes to work on one
project with somebody, like Murs, Jean Grae, Buckshot and he's doing something
with Ness right now. He has his own artists Tyler Woods and Tightman.
He's doing a lot of stuff. The Skyzoo project is coming out and that's
bananas. He doesn't like doing just one beat here and there even though
he's on the new Lloyd Banks, Obie Trice and Mary J albums. He has a label
deal and artist deal through Asylum. Now 9th is doing R&B joints too.
It's crazy. A lot of producers don't get face time but he's in magazines,
he has the section on HipHopGame
9th is an artist at the end of the
day. He DJ's parties, he does this thing called True School where he does
parties around the country for the 25 and up crowd. He's about his business
and he's a hip-hop connoisseur. He started a hip-hop university at our
old school. It's him and this dude Kwasi. They're doing a hip-hop university
and they're trying to put something together where dudes can graduate
with a degree. Dude is about his business and I respect that. He's really
trying to teach the roots. I went to one of his seminars and it was really
dope. I have a few other producers other than 9th now too like Khrysis,
Black Jeruz, Fatin, Official and E.Jones. We started a production team
with all this talent. It's about to be a wrap.
have a say in who 9th decides to work with?
I don't make those kind of decisions for nobody. As a manager, I'm supposed
to facilitate what somebody else wants to do. I'll give my opinion if
I think somebody's wack. I'll say, "I don't think he's the best option
to do stuff with, but if you think you can bring something out of him,
give it a try." I'm a creative dude. I'm executive-producing projects
and I'm not just putting my name on projects. I work. I would never tell
someone not to work with someone. That's hating. Knowing 9th, even if
I said not to do something and he really wanted to do it, he would do
it. I'm not a dictator. That's not family-like.
done some beats also. Do you have any goals as a producer?
I don't really
have a lot of time. The stuff I've done is way more commercial than what
my artists do except for maybe Chaundon and Joe Scudda. I figure, "What
if one of my joints pop and I'm stuck in a producer realm?" I would
never want to mess up everything else. That could get in the way of me
doing anything for anybody else. It's cool but my thing is movies and
videos. I'm writing treatments for other people and I'm doing some other
stuff. That's my passion. Making beats is a hobby for me. I'll definitely
do a soundtrack or score for a movie. Other than that, it's whatever.
If somebody comes to the studio and hears something, it's theirs, but
I'm not trying to get my beats out there. I do have a management set up
if I ever wanted to do something like that. My man Dame at Dame Inc. has
me. It's whatever. I got that option if I really want to.
are you in the careers of other JUSTUS League members like Chaundon and
difference between JUSTUS League and Hall of JUSTUS. Hall of JUSTUS is
my company. The only dudes I don't deal with are Cesar Comanche, Edgar
Allen Floe and Median. All three of them have deals and I'm proud of those
dudes. They're doing their own thing. They still work with the producers
in the crew. Comanche always makes sure I have at least one joint on his
album. Everything's good. I'm working on Legacy and the Away Team now.
We're talking with ABB and a few other indies. We need the promotion.
We just have to find a way to get those guys out there and put them on
the road. Chaundon and Joe Scudda are coming out next. Then we have the
Hall of JUSTUS album and the Darien Brockington album both on October
be random, but I'm a northerner, but real talk, North Carolina is hard-body
for talent. Cats are really bugging out skipping over this place. You
have every story you want down here. You have the streets, college dudes,
white rappers, snap music
there are influences from the west coast,
Atlanta, Houston, and up north all here. The labels need to come down
here. That's not just me saying that because I'm down there. I wouldn't
say that. I'm not from North Carolina but real talk, get yourself an artist
from North Carolina and you will not be disappointed. Black Jeruz is from
North Carolina and he's been on every G-Unit release. Fatin's from down
here and he did "Cake" for Lloyd Banks. Khrysis is down here
and Ski is down here. He ran Rocafella for a minute as far as production
goes. You have a bunch of cats from Durham, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, the
Triad, the coast all over
it's crazy. I could do a whole interview
about that and the record labels still won't get it. My bad, I just went
off on a tangent.
the Hall of JUSTUS compilation sounding?
Of course I'm going to say that, but anybody who wants to hear it, hit
me up. I think it's that dope. We have Trae on a joint, Cormega on a joint,
Nottz on a joint, Black Jeruz on a joint, Buddy Klein, Fokis, Black Jeruz
on a joint, Vandalism, Majik from Texas, Skyzoo, and of course Sean P.
We have a double a-side single coming out with Little Brother and Nottz
called "Life of the Party" and then there's another track with
me, Trae, Chaundon, Joe Scudda and Buddy Klein and it's produced by Majik.
It's crazy. It's an incredible record. It's an incredible piece of work.
Some people aren't going to appreciate it because it's not going to be
the sound they're looking for because they think everybody raps like Little
Brother. Chaundon's from the Bronx and Joe Scudda's from Raleigh and he
grew up with some street cats. Legacy's from all over North Carolina.
Skyzoo's from Brooklyn
Whether you like it or not you'll have to
Darien Brockington's album coming?
of the production is done by E.Jones. He's this new cat from New Jersey
who raps and produces. 9th has the first single. It's 9th, Khrysis, E.Jones,
and a cat named Sheldon who did most of the production. A lot of cats
are doing that neo-soul which is cool, but this is more Carl Thomas than
Eric Benet or something like that. It's more Bobby Valentino than it would
be Kem. It definitely has some uptempo joints. Darien's a talented dude.
He can sing and he has a great range. We put out heat. We're one of the
most consistent crews out there. You can't take that away from us. You
might not like niggas, but you can't say we ever fell off or weren't consistent.
We are consistent. Consistent. If you say we're wack you're lying to yourself.
We may not be what you're into, but wack? Never.
are rumors about Atlantic making the Gangsta Grillz mixtape happen. What's
the story behind that?
real recognize real. They've known Drama from awhile ago. Second off,
Atlantic doesn't even know what the hell we're doing. No disrespect, but
they focus on whoever they focus on. You can see how they did our record.
They weren't focused on that. You didn't see us on TV or on the radio.
We did that Gangsta Grillz and they didn't even know about it. We didn't
even have an A&R for our records. That was us. Little Brother still
did them over different beats. People saying we sold out are just hating.
They know what we do and they know it was dope. We had the legendary Bun-B
and niggas were mad they couldn't get a verse from him or Drama won't
do a Gangsta Grillz for them. All they could think about was how did those
backpack dudes get it and we couldn't? If Drama's not feeling you then
you're not going to get one. For the record, Atlantic had nothing to do
have any news on the next Little Brother album?
of the new record is Getback and it's coming out in '07 by hook or by
the best home for Little Brother?
Is any label
the best home for Little Brother? With ABB, what happened was we were
signed to ABB but we still had to do two albums with them, so any label
we went to, ABB was coming. We had offers from Warner, Jive, Interscope
and Dreamworks. ABB chose Atlantic. We didn't choose Atlantic. Now Atlantic
with the combination of original Def Jam cats is like Deflantic or Atlantic
Jams. They were Atlantic when we got there but people were getting fired
and people were getting hired so nobody knew what was going on and nobody
knew what was happening. It's cool. Out of the top five powerful label
heads hip-hop, two of them are over at Atlantic, Lyor Cohen and Kevin
Liles. They're a monster label right now. Now everybody wants to go to
Atlantic and it's risky because it's mad oversaturated over there. We
didn't have a real sales history to them, but they know how hits are made.
You would have to ask them how they felt about the project. I don't even
care about it. it's whatever. We have to keep it moving. I stop for nobody.
We went on three tours and sold a nice chunk of merchandise. Everything
you saw, we did that. We didn't get any TV burn. How can people say we're
trying to be too intelligent? I don't know what happened, but we're just
going to keep it moving. We have some meetings and hopefully things can
be right. They have real power over there. They have TI and Bad Boy. There's
a lot of stuff going on over there.
do you have for other managers out there?
I don't know.
I need some. (laughs) I'm not a people person. I'm not into politicking
and all that. I believe that if I were we would have a lot more. I'm not
into building relationships. I don't do all that. That's my flaw. That's
my drawback. A lot of them do the talking from themselves. I look over
the deals and make sure they're right, but they do a lot of talking. There
are a lot of good managers out there who do a lot of hustling. I don't
do that. I was never that dude. I'm not really that guy like that. I know
I put out good music. I've put out records with a whole lot of labels.
I don't want no major deal or HOJ/Atlantic. I would take me a Koch, TVT,
Asylum or Capitol indie deal. I just want to make a nice independent home
for us. I guess I would tell other managers to just use your talents to
your advantage. Use whatever you got. I'm just trying to take care of
my Little Brother, no pun intended.
you want to say to everybody?
all the love and the hate. They drive me both ways. The love inspires
me and the hate makes me get on my grind. There are a lot of talented
people out there and check out North Carolina and check out Connecticut.
These labels need to get right and spread that love out. Keep that good
music coming and put some good messages out there. Give niggas another
out. Let's tell both sides of the story. It's like a schoolyard fight.
You may have won the fight but tell people you got hit in the face a couple
times. Shout out to everybody out there, my little brother DP, get home
soon and everybody out there trying to make it. I can't do it all. If
I could I would.