Your new album Street Cinema is out. How did you put it together?
Actually my engineer got locked up and Babygrande didn’t want to wait, so I basically took the songs out of my computer. They weren’t specifically recorded for Street Cinema, man. Some of the stuff was supposed to be on other projects. I just mixed and matched stuff and put it together on my computer because my engineer was locked up. My hands were kind of tied. I couldn’t get into my studio. I had some old stuff and I had some unreleased stuff and some stuff that people had heard already. I just threw some stuff together because Babygrande was really pressing me to move the product. I was like, ‘Wow.’ I gave them the songs right out of the computer.
It seems like the whole project was rushed, from the announcement to the release.
Exactly. It’s pretty much the story of my life. (laughs) It’s pretty much the story of my career. I feel the same way you feel. It was definitely rushed and that’s why it came out like that. My next project, definitely, I’m going to definitely take the time out and I don’t care what date they give me or whatever, I’m definitely going to take my time with it.
Are you happy with the response you’ve received to Street Cinema?
Yeah, of course. The CD was basically for my fans. I wasn’t happy with going to the stores and the shit was like $20. I was like, ‘Wow.’ Why would they do that? I don’t see why they would put the price at $20. I don’t see why they would do that. I’m not Puffy or Jay-Z. I was kind of surprised by that, but other than that, I’m pleased with the response.
Are you happy with the material on Street Cinema?
Me, personally, I’m my biggest critic. When it was done, I was like, ‘I don’t like it.’ It’s not that I don’t like it. I know everything on there is hot, but I’m just not comfortable with it. I didn’t really have a choice. I was kind of pushed into that situation. I know everything on there is hot and now that I have more time, I can put out something else. I got Pain and Glory 2 coming out. That’s guaranteed to be the summer’s best whatever, however and whenever it drops. I don’t care. I’m not going to say I’m going to sell whatever, but when you hear it, you’re going to be like, ‘Wow.’ It’s crazy. That I guarantee.
Will Pain and Glory 2 also be coming out on Babygrande?
I can’t tell you right now. That I couldn’t say. We’re in the works of doing a couple of things and I don’t want to jinx anything. I couldn’t tell you right now. I don’t want to jinx anything. It could very well be on Babygrande but it could also very well be on a major.
There were rumors that you might sign to G-Unit. Is that still a possibility today?
Those are just rumors. Anything is possible, but those are just rumors. Like I never met with 50. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t, it’s just I never met with him. So those are just rumors. You never know.
You recorded “Cash In Da Duffle” with Stack Bundles on Street Cinema. From listening to your older mixtapes, it seems as though you and him had a good relationship.
Yeah. He wasn’t an industry guy. We just clicked. It really didn’t have anything to do with rap really. It was on another note. We just clicked. On this new Pain and Glory, I’m going to have some unreleased Stack shit, some shit that nobody’s ever heard. It’s going to be some new Stack shit. Every CD I put out, I’m going to try to incorporate Stack into it in some capacity.
What was it like recording with Stack Bundles?
Anybody I record with is like a learning experience, but with him it was crazy. I don’t know. He didn’t write. He didn’t actually write down his raps. He would just mumble his shit a half an hour before going into the booth and he would go in. It was crazy. I’m sitting there with my pen and pad and he would just go in the booth. We had good times and shit.
What can you do to make sure the hip-hop community never forgets Stack Bundles?
I gotta do my part. That’s all I could do. I mean, as far as everybody else, I don’t know. He dealt with a lot of people and they gotta play their part. As far as my part is concerned, we’re good. Every CD and every interview, it’s going to be “Rest In Peace, Stack.” I’m going to make sure that people hear the rest of his music. Whatever music he has, I want to make sure that the people hear it and that they understand the type of talent he had and the star that he was.
On Street Cinema you also had a couple of songs geared to the females, something you don’t do often on your mixtapes. Were you trying to give fans something different on this?
I got a thousand songs that people haven’t heard before. Just because you haven’t heard it doesn’t mean I can’t do it. People can say that they don’t expect that from me, but I’m an artist at the end of the day. I’m giving my fans what they want from Ransom because at the end of the day, I know what the industry needs and what the game needs. The game needs a complete artist and in order to be a complete artist, you gotta touch every spectrum. I got a million different records doing a million different things, but I don’t think it’s up to me to come up with dances. I don’t think you’ll see any of that anytime soon. I make records for the ladies and I got dance records. I got shit like that. But there’s a time and a place for everything. So when the time comes for me to come out with those records, I’m going to come out with those records.
You also had the song “Jersey” where you were talking about your home state. What artists do you respect from Jersey?
I respect every artist. I mean, there’s a lot of artists in Jersey like Sam Scarfo, Nucci Reyo, Akon…Akon’s from Jersey City. Not a lot of people know that. There’s a lot of artists from Jersey and Jersey City that I respect. I don’t know. We’re just not making enough noise to be relevant. There’s not a strong base in Jersey where if you’re a Jersey artist with talent, you can just bring ‘em in. There’s no reason why someone like me can’t reach into the game and have somebody from relevance from Jersey the way Uncle Murder can work with Jay-Z. We definitely gotta change that.
The mixtapes have always kept fans aware of what’s going on with you. How many more mixtapes do you plan on dropping?
Just one more. Pain and Glory 2 is going to be my last one and it’s not even a mixtape. It’s an album. I’m not freestyling on no beats and it’s all original music and all original beats. This is going to be my last mixtape, per se, but it’s really an album, until I do something on a major. This will be my last one that you get like that.
How valuable have the mixtapes been to your career?
The mixtapes are like a double-edged sword. At one point, it helps you. It helped me get out there and get heard. It also cuts you because the people say, “What else can he do? He’s a mixtape rapper.” What the fuck is a “mixtape rapper”? If you’re a rapper, you’re a rapper. It’s a double-edged sword. I think it helps me. But I don’t think the mixtapes can further my career anymore. It can only hurt. Something has to happen within the next couple of months because I’m not doing any mixtapes after this one.
You didn’t mention Joe Budden on Street Cinema. Are you past that whole situation?
That was just for entertainment. That was corny. It’s not like I see him or nothing to call it a beef. It was never a beef. I was just spitting my feelings and coming back and expressing more feelings and it was me telling the truth. It was never a beef like that. I don’t see him because he doesn’t come to Jersey. I don’t know where the fuck he be at. You’re right, I just want to get right. That’s old. That started to get corny. That was good for the time because Mood Muzik 3 was coming out and The Ransom Note was coming out, so I think we both benefited from that situation.
Will you and Joe ever be cool again?
I mean, we was never cool. We was always pretty much in a working environment. At first it was just me seeing an opportunity to make something more of myself. Nobody knew Ransom before Joe rapped with me and I knew that. I knew that was my opportunity. So I played it the best way that I could. I rapped with Joe. And then people said, “If you thought he was gay, why were you rapping with him?” I was trying to get on. I don’t care what he do in his spare time. I was trying to get on and I was looking at him as a way in. So I used it and I used whatever little juice he had.
Are you more careful with who you work with today after falling out with Joe Budden and Hitchcock?
I’ve always been more careful. You don’t see me working with a million artists. I do features, but you don’t see me working with a million artists. I keep a real tight circle with the people I deal with in the game, a real tight circle. I keep a real tight circle as far as who I’ll work with in the studio and who I’ll do records with and stuff like that.
How far along are you on Pain and Glory 2?
I mean, it’s done. I’ll probably get a couple of features on there, the usual. I’ll have Stack on there, Stack Bundles. I’ll have Nicki Minaj and the usual. I got a couple other features.
And you know me. I keep it simple and plain. Pain and Glory 2, trust me, trust me, trust me, trust me, it’s going to change the whole perspective of the way people look at rap. I know that’s a real bold statement but believe me, when I put that out, people are going to look at everything differently. It’s one of them Purple Tapes or one of them It Was Written-type joints. You’re going to be like, ‘He really came off.’ Look out for it this summer. I don’t know who’s going to drop it, but it’s going to be the best shit anybody ever heard in their life. Guaranteed. I put the stamp on it.