The last time we talked you were still working on your solo album Behind Gates. How far along are you on the album?
Right now I’m just finishing up. I’m probably going to do four more tracks but that's just the features. I’m trying to get something going with my boy Maino. I got some legends, some heavy-hitting legends that’s going to be on the joint. I’ve spoken with Q-Tip and I’ve spoken with countless dudes. My man Killer Mike, I’m talking with him. You know how hard Killer Mike is. I’ll do a feature with my boy Teflon. I got some more names. I want to say them but I don’t want to lose the surprise but when I say that they’re heavy, they’re heavy. When you hear it you’re not going to see this one coming. It makes sense but it’s like two different worlds. It’s the same world but too different. It doesn’t make sense. It makes sense but it don’t make sense, if you can understand that.
I’m going hard with it too. Behind Gates is the name of the album. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from the records that I leaked. People love those records. They like what I’ve been doing. The records that I did, which was really weird to me, I did a record with Preacher. I think you put it up. It was called “I’ma Kill You” and that record was a slow record, kind of. That record, dude, I’ve been getting hits from the other side of the damn planet, dude because that record was weird and it was kind of different from your average Billy Danze of M.O.P. kind of shit because it had a storyline and all of that shit. People just love that record, man. They think that record is hot. When I leaked these records I try to tap into other sources and other fanbases and I think it works pretty much. I didn’t step outside of my lane and do something that would jeopardize my core fanbase. I give everybody a chance to see me working on that Billy Danze level and from that Billy Danze point of view and not just as a member of the group.
What’s going on with the long-awaited M.O.P. album?
Here’s the deal – here’s what’s going to happen with the M.O.P. album – when we feel that people are ready for the M.O.P. album, that’s when we’re going to give them the M.O.P. album. We’re not going to just put an M.O.P. album out if people aren’t ready for it. This is actually about business. Everything’s gotta be positioned properly and everything’s gotta be promoted properly. It’s gotta be handled properly. If it can’t be handled properly and if the people won’t appreciate it, see, here’s the thing about this business of ours – it’s up to you and whoever your support team is to put your music and to put your album and to put your video out and whatever you do in the public’s eye so you can benefit from all of your hard work.
If it don’t go down like that, if we can’t figure out a way to put it in the public’s eye the way it should be, we’re going to just fall back and not put the album out because M.O.P. is priceless. You don’t just be throwing records out like that. I see dudes doing that a lot and this is no disrespect to anybody. That’s all good but one thing I can say is that people say you gotta do it like this person and that person and I’m not going to say that because a lot of those people haven’t lasted as long as M.O.P. We’ve been relevant since ’93. The way that we make music, nobody else can do it. I get calls from mega-stars. I had to be doing something right for all of this time that I still get the same level of respect from the guys that you guys look up to. When the help is in position then that’s when we’re going to put it out.
Is the M.O.P. album going to come out on G-Unit?
The M.O.P. album? Probably not. We don’t know. See, here’s the thing. Officially, we’re still signed to G-Unit Records but I don’t, and I’ll say it again, anybody who’s reading or anybody who knows me knows my caliber of dude. I ain’t no ho-ass nigga. I don’t have a problem with saying something or putting a motherfucker in his place or whatever but 50 Cent has actually done nothing wrong to stagnate M.O.P.’s career. He never wanted it to change or anything like that. We had maybe creative differences. We had some kind of differences to where it just didn’t work out so now we’re still in the process of moving the group from the label. That’s basically it. There’s no hard feelings and we’ll move on. 50 Cent is an artist too and he’s a huge artist. He’s not just an artist. He’s a huge artist so he’s got a lot of shit that’s tied to him just being 50 Cent that probably put a little strain on him when it comes time to run a whole label. When this album is put in the proper position then that’s when you’ll get the M.O.P. album.
How far along are you and Fame as far as recording the album?
Dude, shoot, we got a ton of shit! I can send you an M.O.P. record. I’m going to wait until next week to send you an M.O.P. record next week and I’ll send you a Billy Danze record from Behind Gates in a few minutes. And the M.O.P. record, I’ll send you that one next week.
How important is it for you to stay true to what you do but you also show other sides of you that you can’t do when you’re recording as M.O.P?
It’s really important to me because I’m actually tired of people looking at me like I’m a fucking animal. People actually look at me like I’m a fucking animal. So I need to show a different side of Billy Danze because that M.O.P. logo is actually bigger or gets more attention or it’s more popular than me. M.O.P. is going to be M.O.P. but I have to show people different angles of an MC and my rendition of a dope MC. It’s important for people to see that you don’t only rap one way or got one flow. Now every three years you get a new generation of hip-hop fans. I missed a couple of generations so this will give me a shot to become a new artist, so to speak but I would never, ever let my fans down. I’m always going to do that M.O.P. style of music but I just want to do something else. I got kids and I want them to bop to it and make them think like we did when we made “Ante Up.”
Is your solo album Behind Gates really going to be dropping soon?
Oh, you’re definitely going to get it this year! I’m speaking with Fame right now. We’re going to decide. It’s a decision that we both have to make. We have to have good times for these projects to drop. Sometime this year, definitely, but I think I want to do a summer record so I’ll start heating them up again. I got a shit-load of records. I leaked, like, five or four records before and I’ll probably leak four or five more records and then put the album out but I’ll keep you posted, man. I appreciate all the love you’ve been giving me. I keep saying it because it’s not anybody I would get on the phone with at night when I’m walking around my living room and just kicking it. That shows me that you fuck with me like that and I appreciate that, man. So hats off, brother.
And I’m still doing production now and I’m talking about television. I’m not talking about beats. I can’t make a fucking beat. Well, actually I can. But I’m doing some production for television so I’m going to be hollering at a lot of dudes that you post up on your site because I found a new way for rappers to get money while being ourselves. I really want to school these little dudes that don’t get it because when you’re a certain age you think that shit happens all of the time. Those $300 or $400,000 checks, they don’t happen all of the time. They’re not going to come in forever and you can’t rap forever. You have to figure out something else to do. I got another way for dudes to get some money and a way for them to make their situation a little bigger than it already is. So we’re going to have to kick it.
We’re definitely going to have to kick it, brother. I’m trying to help rappers secure their future and not worry about money. You think $200,000 won’t go that fast but if you’ve never had that much, you’re going to spend it and it’s going to be all gone and you’ll be weak and want to jump off the bridge or jump out the window or do whatever you want to do. I’m here to help out the little homies, man. What else can I do? I owe it to them.
And I’m not going to do no acting. I’m just going to do production. I’m doing a lot of things. Some things I can’t even really mention right now but I’m going to keep you posted on that too. But I got a lot of progress where I’m just behind the scenes. I got a couple of solo projects about me and about what I’m doing and who I’m doing things with. I think when you got a personality like myself and D.M.C. and Busta Rhymes, somebody with a genuine personality like that, it’s perfect for TV.
Even somebody like your boy Lil’ Wayne. Wayne, as much as I love him, I love the dude because he worked so hard to get in his position and I love him for that. A television show for Wayne would probably be incredible. He can probably act. I’m just giving dudes an opportunity to step outside of that box of just being a rapper and doing something else. You don’t have to do it with me but I’m still showing the roots of how to get involved in something like that so you can go ahead and capitalize off of everything around you so you can do more than just get on stage and fuck with hoes and smoke weed.
What’s the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you when someone completely misjudged your character and treated you like an ‘animal,’ which you said people look at you as?
You know, it’s always turns into a beef. A beef is always a crazy situation where someone misinterprets the caliber of dude that you are. They hear your music and they get the word from dudes in the neighborhood about how y’all did things when y’all was on the block or whatever and they think that there’s no way that you’re going to possibly change so when you go to say something to them and possibly work it out in a grown man fashion, you can see them staring like they’re not anxious to work it out because they don’t know what’s going to happen and they don’t know how you’re going to react or whatever. And that’s on the street level.
And these execs know what I am and know what they’ve heard and they think they know so they want to know how to act when I come to see them. They think they gotta be tough and sturdy and kind of down or should I just not meet with them because something might pop off right here in the fucking room? They be funny as hell, Seven. It be funny as hell, dude, but it’s cool because I’m working around that. I’m definitely working around that and it’s all about the way that you carry yourself. Sometimes you just gotta rebuild your image so you’re able to go out and have these meetings and go out and talk to these people in a respectable manner and people aren’t sitting there just thinking about what’s going to happen if they say the wrong thing to you so we don’t get the full effect of the conversation or everything ain’t right because somebody’s feeling a w ay because they didn’t think they could say what they wanted to say or they didn’t know how I would react to them rejecting something that I bring to the table.
You’ve been in the game for over 15 years. Looking back, what do you consider to be your greatest hip-hop moment?
I’m not sure what my greatest hip-hop moment was. For the last seven years I’ve been thinking about my greatest hip-hop moment and it’s a toss-up. Was it that time that I met Rakim and took a picture with him? He was definitely an idol of mine. Or was it the time when I realized that me and the legendary DJ Premier were like family? About three weeks ago I was doing a show. I was walking to the stage and the intro to my show was playing so I was rushing to the stage and somebody stopped me and took the mic out of my hand and fixed it properly and said, “Make sure they hear what you’re saying” and the dude was Big Daddy Kane! Right then, this right here could be my greatest hip-hop moment.
But just yesterday I sat and talked with D.M.C. for two hours. (laughs) I was talking to D.M.C. for actually four hours and that might have been my greatest hip-hop moment to date. I was like a fucking kid too, man! I’m honored that D would even call me and ask me to work with him because he’s the reason why I even wanted to be involved with it. They did it. They really did it. And they did it different. I won’t say “better.” Me and D talked about this too. When they were out every other group was out was good too. They were in their lane and they did what they did to death. Couldn’t nobody fuck with it.
I’m honored that D would even fuck with me and want me to do some records with him so we’re pulling some stuff together now with 151, which is a rock band. They’re incredible too. We’re just still at it. We’re doing the same shit. It’s like Busta Rhymes too – he inspires the shit out of me. He’s got that fire and he keeps going. Busta will call me at 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning and he’s hopped up and he’s super-excited and he’s asking me what’s up. That’s what I need. I need that push. Thanks to dudes like Busta Rhymes and D.M.C. and Freddie Foxxx and DJ Premier and yourself, of course, for setting me up to have the opportunity to keep my legend going.
We’ll put some stuff together. D.M.C. always did what M.O.P. does with that heavy rock shit. We’re putting something together now with M.O.P. and D.M.C. and 151, which is a rock group. They’re fucking incredible. I’m still doing the other projects I was doing like the solo album. I had to actually slow down with putting the records out for the solo album because I started OD’ing. I was actually going to put out every record that I had, which is cool because now at the end of the year I can put this record out and I’ll keep dropping records like the Busta record until I get the fire that I need. And I want to thank HipHopGame for always posting everything I send and for giving a brother a fair shot.
What’s next for Billy Danze?
I’m all over the place. Anywhere you look you’re going to be able to find Billy Danze – the music, the TV…I’m about to start doing something real big. You know, I’m about to start doing this thing with D.M.C. I’m going to be working with D.M.C. soon. That’s an accomplishment for me. That M.O.P. shit is coming and the Behind Gates album is coming. Lil’ Fame’s shit is coming. This year we’re going to start really going hard with our label. I’m going to really start going hard and finding new talent and helping these guys get out there and get their music where it needs to be. I’m just basically on some help everybody and save the world shit. I’m at it. I’ll keep busy because there’s a lot of people out there who want to see me and they want to see what I’m doing and they have a passion for young Black men. They really have a passion for entrepreneurs that are working hard and are trying to work hard and keep people off of the streets. We owe that to the brothers that came before me like Puffy and it might be strange for me to say it, but Puffy, Master P, my boy Dame Dash, Will Smith and D.M.C. I can make those dudes proud of me by helping other people out and I’m just going to keep rolling like that, B.