I feel good.
I'm just excited everything is flowing accordingly. This mixtape album
is definitely going to bridge the gap from the years I've been out of
the game to today.
you title it No Friends?
I knew saying
No Friends would definitely raise a flag. It just seemed like at the end
of the day, everything I accomplished at Bad Boy and the way I used to
network and politic and do everything, everything was in motion but since
my transition, it's not that I'm trying to insinuate that I don't have
friends, but in the course of my transition I've been much more alone.
I've been working off my own suggestions. I just ran with it. I'm not
on Bad Boy and that's not what people need to be knowing about me for
now. I need to start making preparations to reestablish myself as an artist
expecting No Friends to sound like your self-titled debut?
don't know what fans are expecting. Based on how I asserted myself musically
doesn't really coincide with how I've been getting down personally. I
think my past is just starting to surface and I think people are expecting
something different. What I did on my self-titled effort was a collaborative
effort between myself and Puffy. He had a lot of say so. This mixtape
album is like an album. It is album-quality records, but when I pieced
it together, it was more like a mixtape to me. I think fans should be
able to identify the sound on this album. I have a few joints on here
that are similar to my self-titled album. I have the energy and I'm showing
a different side of myself. It's really a teaser for the big bang, my
real sophomore album, My Harlem, My World. This is me asserting myself
the second time around, but this is the mixtape.
want to shed the image you had with Puffy?
at all. I really just want to show balance. If Jay-Z can jump on a song
called "Song Cry" and then go "murder, murder," what
makes me any different? Listen to Ludacris. He does a lot of party-orientated,
anthem-style records but you could throw Ludacris on a record with G-Unit
and he'll still come off. He's had the opportunity to show more than one
dimension to himself. I haven't had that opportunity. My life is way more
interesting than my music. I have a story. This next album is me snitching
on myself. It's a tell-all. It's going to be like Superhead's book but
I'm not incriminating anybody but myself.
have any regrets from the first album?
No way. No
way. I traveled the world. There's not a country, big or small, in the
world who can't identify who Loon is. I wouldn't trade that for nothing.
The only thing I want to do is intensify that.
Mase comparisons bother you at first?
it did because it's like you're being judged by people who you want to
know you. You want people to know who you really are but all the people
have to go off of is perception. Mase had an opportunity to use a lot
of characteristics and styles that make up Harlem individuals. He had
the first crack at it so he had his way with it. You know how it goes.
The first person to get play wins. It's just like St. Louis. There are
dudes in St. Louis who probably feel the same way about Nelly. Nelly established
St. Louis and that trademark sound. Being that Mase established Harlem
with his sound and his music, people don't want to let that go.
got 40 Cal's account of what went down at the barbershop. Can you give
us your side of the story?
I don't really
want to get too deep into it. The dude is pussy. The dude is soft. He's
very, very naïve. This is a dude, who if he got any recognition,
was from that incident. Before that he was trying to find himself. His
new little situation or newfound crew made him think he could approach
me like I was a peon.
he punched you and then finished getting his line. Did that happen?
you what it is. If people could really pay attention to what's going on,
this dude is making a valiant effort to make people believe he won. If
you won, you don't have to go to the extreme. I'm tired of the readers
not paying attention. This is a dude who went to four different avenues
trying to prove that this didn't happen. I don't really want to even speak
on the situation because it happened in the streets and it's not music.
He's running around talking about it. He could get me locked up. If he's
such a street-oriented dude, he should know that he's snitching. He's
supposed to know these things. You're on radio talking about my finger
and all kinds of things that can identify me. What are you doing? I'm
just going to leave it at that. People need to read things three or four
times and then come up with their own conclusions. Don't just rush to
conclusions. Just because I have a cool image and most of my songs are
female-driven, I've had a lot of cases and problems. Even after that,
I still don't have any regrets as to what came out of my records. There
are so many different perceptions to Loon and I don't want anyone to get
it fucked up and I'm ready to upset niggas who think they know me.
record, did you go to the hospital to get your finger treated?
to keep it real because too much of that shit is not good. At the end
of the day, I'm going to tell you like this. You only heard one story
from the streets. The second story you heard was his story. The only two
stories you heard were the truth and his story. If I gave a side then
that's the third side of the story. That's going to confuse the consumers
and readers. You got the story firsthand from the streets. This dude is
trying to defy the truth and everything that was said from the streets.
Figure it out. That dude isn't even worth my time.
done with 40 Cal?
even a beef. As far as the radio, I called them up to clear up the situation
and they put that asshole on the line. People never heard any rumors about
Loon getting beat up, harassed or anything. You hear Wendy Williams calling
me gay. She's the only person who ever put a gay rumor out about me. One
bitch. I did one article in The Source Magazine establishing my relationships
with women of all colors and she jumps on me like I just don't like girls.
to understand all this shit is new to me. I'm from the street. Even though
my image entails that I'm capable of being a part of this circle, it's
not true. I'm from the streets. Every day I try to wake up and learn how
to cope with these squares. The sad part about it is niggas are looking
at me like I'm one of them. Every day I have to swallow my pride and share
space with a fucking clown. That's my job. So if I need to shed anything
it's my occupation. I'm tired of catering to clowns. Clowns need to cater
to me. That's how it went when I was in the fucking hood. That's the way
shit went when I was in the hood.
40 Cal wouldn't
even open his mouth at me. Cam, Jim Jones, nobody, especially Mase. None
of them would have parted their fucking lips if they were standing in
the streets of Harlem, circa 1996. That's before Mase, Big L, McGruff,
before all of them got signed, none of them would have disrespected me
or made any records about me. All of this comes from the same dudes who
had hoop dreams and shit that didn't even pertain to street activity.
Now niggas decided to do music and wanted to try to have rap dreams. I
have a new light and I'm trying to place myself in a new situation with
keeping you in the game right now?
an escape for me. It's allowed me to do things I never would have been
able to do if I was conducting my business in the streets. This is my
escape. I know you hear that a lot but I mean that. I'm not even on my
dick. I just make music. If you give me a song called "I Need A Girl,"
that's what I'm going to do. I'm not going to put a date on it or a time.
My song will last ten years because I make clean records. I have eight
ASCAP awards and I wrote over 50 records. I wrote for Puff Daddy, Mase,
the whole Harlem World too, I wrote on Mario Winans record and for Shaquille
O'Neal's record. I loved that because I wasn't in front of no fucking
cameras and I could punch a nigga in his mouth and get away with it. Now
if I put my hands on a dude even if it's in self-defense, it's all in
the news. I have to make decisions like, Do I feel like being on the news
today? I never asked myself, Nigga, are you ready to be on the news? I
know this is kind of long-winded, but I consider HipHopGame the one street
outlet. This is the outlet to the streets.
do you want to stay in the game?
to keep it so real with you. I love this game. Through all my adventures,
I've seen so many other outlets that can strengthen my position as an
artist and that's what I'm shooting for. I'm not trying to just be stuck
here as an artist making records for the rest of my life. At some point
I want to be the man behind the records, negotiating deals and sitting
in on these meetings where these corny-ass niggas are making decisions
that are changing people's lives. I want to be the person in those meetings
speaking on the artist's behalf and not fucking up their mojo.
are you to getting there?
close. I spend a lot of time overseas and I network with a lot of businesses.
I'm trying to reestablish myself in so many ways. I have independent and
international films I'm working on. I have a lot of ventures. Now I'm
just trying to pick out ways to utilize these relationships and make them
work to my benefit. I see hip-hop turning into the NBA. Niggas getting
sneakers and all that. Why can't we create an endorsement situation? I'm
not just talking about endorsing what's hot, but for everything. Lebron
James got $90 million before we even saw him play in one NBA game. Why
can't rappers get that? I would like to see rappers be financially stable
just by putting their signature down.
money comes into the game, do you think the talent will become even more
to think about. I think that a lot of artists follow a formula. Niggas
just bank on making a single. An unoriginal single following a format.
The single doesn't even bump. Artists aren't even making complete albums
anymore. It goes both ways. You get what you put in.
do you think of Puffy's ability to put together an album?
known for singles. Puffy hasn't made any albums in awhile. I got a lot
of love for Puffy. I don't ever want people to think that me and dude
aren't cool. I just know that his work ethic is mainly towards making
that record visible. It's not so much going into the record to make it
respectable. That's the difference with being a Bad Boy artist versus
being a Def Jam or Interscope artist. Other labels will let you build
a foundation for yourself and not as an artist who has Puff in their videos.
When you snatch those utensils away, what do you have? Why not allow that
artist to establish his own foundation to do what he's good at, which
is making music?
building your foundation now?
it's kind of late. I'm not going to lie. It's probably kind of late. If
you consider everything I walked away from, I walked away from a lot.
I established a lot of things over there, I established a lot of relationships
over there, and I was a part of a lot of new things over there like Da
Band. There are a lot of things that came after me, like Bad Boy South.
Puff probably missed out on a J.Lo record. If she just stepped away from
your world to make a $20 million movie, you would be fucked up. I was
getting dropped off Arista and we had a common situation. We did what
we had to do to help each other. It was magic. Then dude just walked away
from the magic. I had no choice but to walk away too.
happier off Bad Boy?
Yeah. I didn't
want to be around nobody who doesn't appreciate what I bring to the table.
How many street niggas can make records to please your A-list crowd? I
went to Beverly Hills parties way before I ever worked with Puff. I understood
that before Puff. Only a street nigga would know how to appreciate what
I bring to the table. A dude who never sat on the stoop and shared a soda
and a sandwich with his man can never understand that.
I still do
that. I'm still pushing my pen. I had to give myself a break. I ran around
for four years with a dude who I thought shared the same motives as me.
I jumped into situations for another nigga instead of myself. I came in
fighting for Puff and Bad Boy, not for Loon. Bad Boy didn't fight for
me to make a long story short. Where was that for me? Puff didn't run
no marathon with a Loon shirt on. Puff didn't get a Mohawk with Loon shaved
on the side of the head. All this was going on when my album was being
released. Me personally, I was more interested in him running 26 miles
than my own fucking album. Why is the nigga trying to be noticed when
it's my turn to be noticed?
addicted to attention?
He's a sleaze for it. It's obvious. I'm just the only nigga to say it.
I get blackballed for it. Niggas treat me funny. I'm a bully now. They
say I'm a headcase. This is what happens when you rebel against the system.
Some of these people are so weak and they want to be rappers. Niggas are
faggots. I'm not biting my tongue no more. I just want to make good music
and people may never get to know who I am based on my perception.
industry appreciate a real street dude?
Hell no because
a lot of industry niggas want to be street niggas. How are you going to
appreciate a nigga you want to be? You can't even share space with a nigga
you want to be because you want to be him. He's actually "it."
He is what you want to be. That's a lot of dudes in this industry. I could
come into a Clive Davis party with a white tank-top on and niggas are
going to be nervous about me. Niggas know I am not a coward. My heart
is in my chest not in my pocket. I don't have to be caked up to approach
a chick that might be worth $1.6 million. My confidence is built because
it comes from the street.
everybody want to be street?
what it is? The streets are for the streets. The real niggas know that.
A real street dude will swallow his pride and put on a suit to accommodate
whoever he has to for his job or corporation. You can't do that the other
way around. You can't be a corporate nigga and throw on a hoody and be
accepted. You can't do that, but a street dude can be accepted in corporate
America. Believe it or not, corporate America loves street guys. They
want their insight. They want to know what's coming out next. We're the
driving force because everything starts from the streets. Breakdancing,
beatboxing, rapping, violence, it all starts in the streets. The only
way you can understand where that's evolving to and where it's come from
is with a product. That's why the music business is so fucked up. Niggas
don't even know how to be themselves. Atlanta artists are being themselves.
Every artist who's hot right now in Atlanta is the same way they are when
I met them six years ago when I was in Atlanta. You don't see them having
"lean, rock, rap" battles. No one's arguing about who started
the Snap Movement. You have these niggas in New York who don't have real
identities beefing with another fraudulent-ass rapper. Both of y'all are
having a pissing contest in front of the world arguing about credibility
that neither one has. These aren't two street niggas going at it. These
are two fucking squares.
me sick to my stomach because a lot of niggas in New York is pussy. I'm
from New York. I can say that. If they have a problem with it, I'm not
hard to find. At the end of the day a lot of niggas are giving us a bad
name. What's sad is that I'm a part of that shit unwillingly. I just got
with a label who made me more sexy than I intended to be so I easily fell
into a category with Mase and all this shit. Lord knows I have nothing
to do with none of that corny shit. I make the shit look real when I come
through the town. Fuck the picture I paint outside. When I come through
the town, it's real. I don't need security and I don't need a hundred
niggas with Loon shirts.
not going to shoot yourself for some publicity?
what makes me so mad about this 40 Cal situation. They think I did that
to sell some records. Nobody even fucking knows this dude. It's not like
I went and punched Puff in the face. That's a publicity stunt. That would
have sold a bunch of records. That would have sold all kinds of shit.
I punched a nobody nigga in the face and now he's somebody.
how your ad is on top of his on the same page in The Source.
because I have a strong relationship with that label. I'm in their meetings
and I talk to the CEO every other day. 40 Cal doesn't even know who to
fucking call to get an update on his project. He wouldn't even know how
to have a conversation with the nigga in the marketing department. That's
your relationship with Cam and Dip Set today?
to keep it real because that's the kind of dude I am. I grew up with Cam.
I'm going to always have love for Cam. The only thing that can fuck up
our relationship up is Cam. I don't know none of the other niggas he rolls
with and I don't give a fuck about none of those niggas. Cam is my man,
straight up and down. We established some things, ended on a good note
and I hope they stay that way. My feelings towards his team are not going
to change. Those niggas are clowns. They're not going to use me to get
of the word "set" is from the West Coast. How do you feel about
the use of "set" for an East Coast crew?
I moved to
LA in '89. I used to run with some real niggas who gangbanged. Still to
this day they gangbang. I never thought to come to New York to ask a nigga
to gangbang with me, gangbang for me or gangbang against me. I'm a dude
who has a green light to start a gang epidemic if I wanted to, but that's
not Harlem. With them dudes trying to bring that shit to Harlem when they've
never spent any real time in LA, get the fuck out of here! Jim Jones does
videos in hoods he doesn't even live with, acting like a Blood. They're
overdoing it. Your actions clearly don't state you're from Harlem.
not New York.
Not at all.
I blame the OG's in every hood. I blame every OG who put up with that
bullshit. It's our fault, straight up. All these pussy rappers, I blame
the OG's. You knew this nigga was pussy when he was growing up. How are
you going to let him get past y'all with this phony shit? At the end of
the day, it's just wack. That's not from New York. That's not what New
York is about. New York is about getting money, period, straight up and
the best way to clean up New York?
I don't know.
I don't think I have the answer for that and I'm not even that much of
a factor in New York, which is sad. I'm a factor in New York on some real
shit, but as far as music, niggas aren't considering me like that. I think
the people who have respect for me in New York are the females. Niggas
don't call Loon for a hard track. They call me to do a ballad. "Help
me with this single I got, Loon." Why are niggas calling me for that?
When I was growing up they used to call me to get at niggas. Now I'm like
Lionel Richie and they're calling me to write a love song.
going to release harder music in the future?
I can't wait. I just have to work on my sophomore album first. My single
is going to be called "Baby". It's with Mario Winans. Take me
seriously. That's what people need to do. Don't take me for a joke because
I've been a part of situations that appeared to be jokey. I'm not a fucking
joke. Take me seriously.
I read a lot of scripts. I'm trying to do this thing independently. Me
and my partner are working on an Alpo documentary. I'm affiliated with
Freestyle Films and I want to use that as my launch-pad into acting.
interviewed Method Man, he talked about how critics said his music got
soft because he was acting. How do you feel about that statement?
been going on before me and Method Man even decided we wanted to act.
Look at Christopher Reeve. He wasn't nobody but Superman. Look at Arnold
Schwarzenegger. Look at William Shatner. You could make William Shatner
a mass murderer in a movie and nobody would believe it. Look at Jamie
Foxx. It's hard taking him seriously because he did so much comedy. People
are forced to accept and love his acting and musical talent. He dropped
a dope-ass album. I feel bad for Meth. He did a lot of great things for
hip-hop. He came out as one of the hardest. For him to do a couple films
with a comedic twist and now he's a clown to you, this game is dangerous.
People shouldn't pass judgment like that. That's fucked up. Al Pacino
might be soft but he did Scarface. A nigga might be able to punch Al Pacino
in his mouth and he might not do shit. A nigga might be able to kick Joe
Pesci's ass in front of everybody. If I judged him off his movies, I wouldn't
even approach him.
for a nigga to think MC Hammer's soft. Go try him. Hammer's from Oakland.
He used to literally take the whole city with him when he traveled. Go
up to Hammer and try your luck. Niggas aren't walking up to Loon. They
leave hurt with fractures. My lesson is the oldest lesson in the world:
don't judge a book by its cover. I came in this game as an artist and
I never challenged and I never threatened another artist and I never did
anything that showed I was intimidated or anything. I never felt that
way. Those are the people who are successful in this game. When it comes
down to the streets, I'm not looking at none of these niggas to achieve
success. None of them will make it. Some of them may last a day. I'm not
threatened by that because I'm trying to sit on the other side of the
desk. These are the people who are successful at it, show me the way.
I can go back to the streets and lead 200 more niggas out of poverty.
They can use my career as an example that you can put aside a notorious
past to do some real constructive, cool shit and be successful at it.
you feel about the media's portrayal of you?
I think they
were more fair when I was with Puff, but also any media that didn't like
Puff didn't like me. I reaped a lot of benefits being with Puff. I'm not
saying the media's treating me bad now. The media has been way more supportive
of me now because the smoke has cleared and I'm not under the Bad Boy
umbrella. I have a full-fledged opportunity right now to do Loon.
your next move?
My next move
is just to keep it banging. My next single is hardbody. It's called Live
or Die. No Friends has a few records I might have done when I was on Bad
Boy and it has some other joints I did when I left Bad Boy. Be on the
lookout for more focused energy from Loon. This mixtape/album is all over
the place but I did it that way to give the people what they want. What's
coming up next is the storyline.
you want to say to everybody?
I love everybody
that ever supported me. I love every real nigga. For all the haters and
snake-ass niggas out there, I guarantee you, this time around, I will