I’m taking it easy. I’m chilling.
Your mixtape, Bulletproof B, is about to drop. What does Bulletproof B say about you?
It says a lot about where I’m at and my career. It says a lot about my life. I’ve been through a lot of trials and tribulations. That’s where the whole “Bulletproof B” thing comes from. I always come through, no matter the situation. Just look at the Virgin thing and how I’m tied up over there. It’s just one phase right now, but day by day, it’s getting better. The mixtape is speaking on that and my personal look at the industry and what I’m going through. All these shots being taken, I’m going to overcome it. I did this mixtape more like an album. I know a lot of these mixtapes are just rambling off at the mouth. I try to make mine sound like albums. You can check my mixtapes from the past four, five years and they all sound like albums. We were doing it before G-Unit got it popping, and I’m not trying to say they got it from us. We had to do everything on our own in Baltimore and we always tried to put concepts together.
On the mixtape, you have a live version of “You’re Wrong” and a studio version, which are very different from each other. What was it like working with a live band?
That was one of the joints I recorded with Jermaine Dupri and No I.D. The whole concept of the song was about being me and being myself, basically being my own boss. We know how the hip-hop game is right now. Everybody does one thing. I’m going to be myself and that originality is going to separate me. Man was created equal but we’re all different.
It was fun doing that live. We did it with a group called Over It. They’re signed to Virgin. The crowd was loving it. We put it on the mixtape to show people some versatility of what I can do.
Did working with a live band open up more ideas for you?
Yeah, definitely. That’s why I love all types of music. I like rock and roll, I like R&B and I like all types of rap music. I respect music. I actually did a joint with Good Charlotte that was supposed to be on the Waist Deep soundtrack. I’m familiar working with different types of artists. I actually want to do a live song on my album.
Bulletproof B is a double-disc mixtape. Why did you do that?
This is my third mixtape that I’ve put out since I’ve been signed. I felt that my album should have been out so this is like the album. I have a lot of different topics. I couldn’t fit it all into one disc. I looked at what I had and I thought I had enough for two discs. I want people to feel like they’re getting more for their money. Plus I want to be different and I wanted to leave my stamp on the game. I wanted to do something different because everybody and their mother is doing a mixtape right now. The market is definitely oversaturated right now. I’m hoping that with the double disc people will be more likely to check it out.
Why did you go with DJ RushHour on the mix?
Because he doesn’t have a name yet. You have a million DJ’s and up-and-coming artists should link up with up-and-coming DJ’s. It may take a slower time to blow up, but over time, you’ll have something. Look what 50 did with Whoo Kid. It’s about keeping it within the family.
Not a lot of artists are taking advantage of the internet like you.
I can’t complain about the internet. That’s the wave of the future now. Everybody goes on the internet now. You don’t even get mixtapes that are a variety of artists. Every artist has their own mixtape now. That’s what it’s like. The only way to get a variety of music is to go on the web and go to HipHopGame to check out what the artists are dropping.
I’m always looking to check my comments and see how people feeling it and you can also check on your competition to see how people are feeling them. People can do it all over the world. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity and a lot more artists should take advantage of it.
Does the feedback you get online change how you make your music?
I take it as constructive criticism. I’ve been in this game for awhile and I know how things work. I’m not really known, but you take an artist like Papoose who gets good ratings, basically we can have something on the same level and mine won’t be looked at the same because he’s already proven himself. That’s how it is. When you’re more well-known, people bend your way a little more.
Some people say some crazy stuff that doesn’t even make sense. Some people rate stuff pretty good and they’re not biased. I don’t really let it change me. I sell these independent records in a city that’s not really a hip-hop city. That let me know that I was doing something right. My situation isn’t over the quality of music. I have to get my label situation straight. I get good feedback on my music. The lowest rating I got on HipHopGame is a 3 ½. And that was only on a couple of songs. The criticism has been good for me.
Is the recent crackdown on mixtapes going to affect how you push Bulletproof B?
Nah. We never depended on the DJ to promote our music. We’ve always done our thing independently. We’ve hosted our own tapes. We’re going to still keep our hustle the same and grind them out on the streets. I guess we’re going to have to watch out for it because the Gangsta Grillz got so big and you can see they’re trying to cut down on that. It’s not really bootlegging because you have the artists’ permission, but anytime you get too big, they try to shut you down, but we’re going to keep our hustle the same.
How’s your album, Law and Order, coming?
We’re 85% done. We have to just get some features. I’ve recorded a lot of songs for it. We just have to choose the songs we want. We’re at the point where it’s pretty much finished. We have to get the single to the label and then get these features. I got a record I’m trying to get Mary J on, one for Nas and one for Busta. When that happens, I’m finished recording the album.
Are you happy with how Law and Order is coming out?
Yeah. I’m impressed with myself. I did my independent debut that got me signed, and I tried to capture the same feeling on this. That was a good introduction album, but I think I really improved a lot since then and that album got really good ratings and sold 10,000 copies in Baltimore. This album’s a lot better. I think I really did a good job of capturing where I’m at and maintaining the vibe from the first Law and Order.
What’s your relationship with Jermaine Dupri today?
We’re cool. It’s a cool business relationship. We keep in contact. Him and my manager have been trying to figure out what’s going to happen since he left. I’m still on Virgin, but we’re trying to see where the album will be released at since they merged with Capitol. We’ll see what happens.
How does Jermaine Dupri leaving Virgin affect your situation and Law and Order?
With no disrespect to anyone, we’ve been pretty much keeping ourselves alive without the help of nobody. My production company and management company kept everything going. In today’s game, you can use labels for what they are, but a lot of times, you still depend on yourself. I can’t remember the last time a label has taken an artist and really built them. I don’t think they understand how to do that anymore. No disrespect, but that’s just what’s been going on. Having Jermaine involved got people to look because he’s a star, but that didn’t change what we did. I just want the business to be right at the end of the day.
Now we’re trying to see how things are going to work out now that Virgin has merged with Capitol. Hopefully everything will be good. I just want to go with whoever understands the project, so if I’m with Jermaine or not, we are going to stick to our game plan.
It’s got to be frustrating though that you have yet another hurdle to clear.
Yeah. It’s frustrating on a lot of levels. We just want to get the music right. Sometimes when you’re trying to concentrate on music and business, it will take your artistry away and you won’t really focus on that. I had to focus on that and finish up the album. Now we’re in the political stage. I’m starting to see the light but I can’t really speak on it right now. It’s definitely frustrating though because I get good comments on HipHopGame and I get my songs out on the promo tour and you get people checking for you and then you get held up from the label. I think all these labels are chasing one kind of record. Not too many labels want to have the next thing. You have to explain it to them. That’s frustrating.
Coming to the game, I thought they respected talent. I don’t knock club records. I party to them, but there’s more to music than that. All the artists selling records have more to them than club records. The labels just can’t see that right now so you have to go out and show them. I try to stay focused and turn a negative into a positive. What I learned through the politics helps me make better music at the end of the day. The stuff you go through helps you overcome it because it makes you that much stronger. It’s a positive thing and it’s a good thing. It lets you know what you’re made of.
Would you feel comfortable releasing your album on Capitol today?
Yeah, I would feel comfortable. As long as nobody tries to take control of my project, I’ll go 100%. It’s about the team you have outside of the label. Look at the artists who blow versus the ones who don’t. If you make quality music and can hustle it, you’ll be straight.
When will Law and Order drop?
I’m thinking in May. Sometime around then.
What do you need to do from this point on to get your album put out and have it do well?
Pretty much I have to keep doing what I’ve been doing. I have to keep the internet popping and keep making more mixtapes. I’m going to collaborate with more artists, keep driving and keep pushing. I have to get my name buzzing on the underground. I’m looking to release the album in the spring. We could release the record as early as April. I got the records ready. Just being hot in Baltimore isn’t enough because it’s not a big city like New York. We’re trying to build the buzz up throughout the Atlantic and keep it moving.
What else is going on with N.E.K?
We’re working on Dollaz’ project. He’s about to start putting out records on the independent tip. We got a nice buzz in Baltimore. His project will be ready when my project comes out. We’re looking to capitalize on that. Independent is the way to go. We got the production company with One Up, our own management and the talent in N.E.K. Sometimes you are better off independent. Even when a label is getting done what it’s supposed to, you still have to work on your own, so why not capitalize on that?
How’s the scene in Baltimore today?
There’s more artists. You have Skarr Akbar and Hots coming up. There’s a younger group too. There’s a lot of people that are starting to pop and emerge. You have to lock down home and then lock down places like Virginia and Delaware. That’s where the artists need to get to, but the quality of music has definitely been stepping up.
What advice would you offer to up-and-coming MC’s?
Figure out if this is what you really want to be doing because it takes a lot. If you run into roadblocks and you don’t have a confident team. You’re going to have your ups and downs, but that’s always kept me focused on what I need to do. When artists get in situations like mine, they don’t have confidence and they start chasing other songs and they lose the fans they worked so hard to get. That can happen to all of us. Get yourself a real support team and go out and grind. It doesn’t happen overnight and you have to believe in yourself.
And everybody is trying to be a rapper. You need to be real with yourself first.
What do you want to say to everybody?
I want you to know about me. Keep supporting Bossman and the movement. Just check it out. I’m not just talking to be talking. Check out the quality of the music. You definitely won’t be disappointed at the end of the day.
Bossman’s mixtape is available at http://myspace.com/bossman