First things first, you recently released “Girls Like” on HipHopGame. Are you at all surprised that some fans don’t like the song?
Nah, not at all. Some people don’t get what the song is for. They don’t know that it was just some dudes wilding out, having fun. Some dudes, they might really expect me to be on that shit all the time and that all my shit is about to sound like “Girls Like” when that’s not the case. That’s just us in the studio having a good time. That was 5 in the morning and I had recorded three joints already. I was on my Ice T “6 N the Morning” shit and I wanted to do a joint like that and I did. It is what it is. Some people hate it and some people love it.
Do your fans only want a certain flavor from you?
I think they do. I think they just are accustomed to hearing you a certain way and they like hearing you a certain way or with a certain producer. That’s what they want and when they don’t get that, they feel disappointed. “Girls Like” is not how people are used to hearing me. I’ve been guilty of that too. I’ve done the same thing before to my favorite artists, like, “What are they doing? What have they done?” But at the end of the day, you have to let the artist’s creative juices take them wherever it takes them. You can’t be the one to prohibit that.
When I interviewed you in September for Getback, you had mentioned that your album Dirty Pretty Things would come out in February or March. What’s the status of that project today?
It’s looking like it’s going to be an end of summer release, in August or September. After we finished working on Getback and I was still working on it, I ended up working with Young RJ, formerly one half of BR Gunna. We started doing some work. I recorded a track for him and we just started working on the album, man. And when we started doing that, I put Dirty Pretty Things to the side. Now it’s back up and rolling, thanks to my man Griffen Guess and Cartel Management out of the West Coast. I hooked up with him. He used to do work for Kanye. He heard some of my stuff. He actually heard one of the Young RJ tracks, the “Money” snippet, and he was real interested in working with me. So we got together, man, and I decided to put Dirty Pretty Things out with him and we’re shooting for the end of August or early September.
You’re also working on Home Sweet Home, an album with producer Nottz. How’s that project coming?
We had started working on it when we started working on Getback. Some joints were a few years old and we scrapped those. I was back with him recently. He did something for the Dirty Pretty Things project and we’re just going to start working on Home Sweet Home. He’s got a lot of things on his plate and I got a lot of things on my plate. It’s nothing we’re going to try and force. We’re just going to vibe. I just have to make an effort to go into VA more often so we can bang out some tunes.
You’re originally from Virginia. Do fans sometimes forget that you’re not a North Carolina native?
Yeah. I try to mention it from time to time in songs, but it was only natural that that was going to happen. You have to think, when I first came out and where I got my start musically was North Carolina. I didn’t really carry the VA flag so hard in the beginning. We stay in North Carolina but I still go back to VA. I roll with the North Carolina thing, but if you listen to my tracks, you’ll hear me talking about VA. And now that I’m about to come out on my own, I really let people know that I still hold it down for North Carolina as well. That’s where I’m at now and that’s where I’ve been at for the last 10 years. That’s where I got my start musically so I gotta represent North Carolina as well.
What’s it like working with Nottz?
It’s kind of funny. I swear, the last time I was up there, which was a few weeks ago, that was the first time I had ever heard him talk that much. He doesn’t do a whole lot of talking. I came in the joint and he was just going through joints. He would play different folders of beats and he’s looking at you and if you’re not giving him that reaction like it’s the hardest shit you ever heard in your life then he’ll go onto the next beat. We didn’t even record nothing. We just went through beats and I played him some stuff off Dirty Pretty Things and we just listened to beats, man. I just listened to beats and I told him what I wanted. When I came back to NC, I recorded to his beats and then I sent them back to him. I’ll probably record in NC and after I do a few joints, I’ll let him do his thing and then we’re straight and we’ll figure out where to go from there.
Everyone I’ve talked to who has worked with Nottz says he gets very involved in a project once he starts working on it.
Oh, yeah. He definitely takes pride in his music like any person should. Everybody should definitely take pride in their work. He goes hard and he makes sure it comes out the way he wants the people to hear it. And at the end of the day, you can tell by the songs that I’ve thrown up, don’t nobody care why you made it. Don’t nobody care how you made it. They only care about if it’s good and do they like it. They don’t really care about the backstory behind it. He’s definitely one of those people who brings it and he gets involved in it. He let me hear some of the stuff he’s working on that he’s really hands-on with and you can tell it’s his life.
Are you still working on your other solo project The Measure of a Man?
That was going to be, but I kind of dropped that whole idea and instead of doing that, what I’m doing is I’m putting out a mixtape, a free joint, with mostly new material. It’s going to be all new material. I got that coming out with Mick Boogie and DJ Warrior from the West Coast. What I did for that is I just got the title. I’m not going to tell the title yet, but I held a contest on MySpace where I had people send me emails for what they wanted the title to be for the mixtape and the winner gets not only to have their title as the mixtape, but they get to call in and record a drop for the mixtape. They get shine and merchandise and then they get two free tickets to a Little Brother or Rapper Pooh show in whatever city they can come to. We finally got the winner for that so I’m probably going to announce that in the next week.
Did the last Little Brother album, Getback, go as far as you wanted it to?
Nah. Nah. As most of our albums do, it fell way short of the potential that it had. And that was due to a couple things, man. One, the whole label situation was fucking terrible, man. It was our last one on ABB and ABB wasn’t ready to handle a project of that magnitude. It got to the point where we were even like, ‘Fuck it. I just want the record out and once it’s out, we don’t care.’ That’s how bad it got. We wanted to put it out and we didn’t care what happened after that. It was one of those things where I think it was a great record and it fell way short of the things it could have did. Fuck it, man. It is what it is. I can’t keep on going back and crying over it.
You’ve had problems on both the independent and major scene. What’s the ideal home for you and Little Brother?
It’s just the particular situations, man. I don’t know what the ideal situation would be, but I’m always trying. I’m always trying different things and with those situations, we definitely have to take some fault for some of the things that did and didn’t happen. I don’t know. The situations we were in, at the end of the day, they didn’t work out. The whole ABB situation, it worked for The Listening, but after that, everybody and their mama knew that we couldn’t put another record out through ABB. We had reached our ceiling with the label and the whole thing with Atlantic was that as soon as we came through the door, it turned bad. We came in during the regime switch. It went from the old Atlantic to Def Atlantic with Lyor Cohen and them. We didn’t have an A&R and it was just a bad situation from the jump, man. I would never say that a situation ain’t for me. It’s just that the situations we had didn’t work out.
Do you have an ideal label for the next Little Brother album?
Nah. That’s so far in the future. We don’t even know if we’re going to do another Little Brother album at this point. We’re working on our personal projects right now. Next year sometime, after we’ve went through and had the time to do our own thing, we’re going to come together and sit and try to figure some things out as far as making or putting out another Little Brother record.
If Little Brother never records another album, are you satisfied with the mark you were able to make as a member of Little Brother?
I don’t know, man. That’s a good question. That’s one of those things where I think if we never put out another record as Little Brother, I think it will be incomplete, man. We would get an incomplete grade because we never put an album out and worked it to its utmost potential. We have to do everything under the sun to have the album reach its full potential and until we do that, I don’t feel that it will be complete. As far as the work we’ve done, I feel we’ve made some classic records, but I will always feel like what we did was incomplete.
How much time do you spend working with other artists under the Hall of Justus umbrella?
I don’t spend a lot of time. I got so much shit going on over here with just me personally. Every now and then I check up on my man Jozee and my man Joe (Scudda). As far as Darien (Brockington) goes, I let him do his thing. He’s an R&B cat. I don’t really make that kind of music, but I can tell him what I think is a good song and what I think is a bad song. I can make my suggestions here and there, but I kind of like hearing his stuff when it’s near completion. I don’t get involved too much because I’m still an artist at the end of it and I got a lot of things on my plate to try and make the HOJ name bigger than it is and it’s kind of difficult for me to be real hands-on with other people’s projects.
It seems to me that a year or two ago, anything coming out under the Hall of Justus and Justus League umbrella was going to at least be anticipated. You also had independent labels signing and releasing artists like Median and Cesar Comanche. To me, it seems like that excitement isn’t there anymore. Do you agree with that?
I definitely don’t think there’s that same level of excitement, but that’s just due to people’s taste in music changing. I think that we had a movement at a time. We definitely had a movement at the time, but we didn’t capitalize on it or really take advantage of the movement we had and the power we had at the time. And now we’re in the position we’re in, where everybody has to create their own movement and get their own movement now. That’s all it is. You got some people who I don’t even know if they’re doing music no more. My focus is on HOJ and that’s Jozeemo, Chaundon, Joe Scudda and Darien Brockington. That’s where my focus is at. That’s all I know that’s going on. We’ve got a thing right now where everybody is spreading out and trying to create their own movement. You’ve got different movements now. 9th has his movement and he has his different artists over there. You got the Hall of Justus with Jozeemo, Joe Scudda and Chaundon. Comanche, Edgar Allen Floe and Median are all doing their thing. Everybody is doing their own thing now.
With the way things were moving, did you see that coming?
You don’t see nothing coming when you’re first starting off, but that’s definitely where it was heading. At the beginning, the whole thing was never structured right and when you don’t have the proper structure in place, your shit crumbles. And that’s what happened. We didn’t have the proper structure in place. We were young and we were trying to make music and make money. We never sat down with the structure in place and had people doing different functions and having people play up to their strong suits. It was just a lot of things that wasn’t done and that got us to where we are now. It was bound to happen, but that’s not something that you see happening when you start out doing something.
What’s the next move for Pooh today?
Dirty Pretty Things. Hopefully we’ll be dropping the single sometime next month. DJ Khalil did the first single called “Room To Breathe”. That joint is hardbody. I actually gotta go mix it next week out in L.A. That’s coming, hopefully at the end of August or early September. I got my man Focus out of Dre’s camp working on it. Big Treal is on there. Khrysis, Illmind and Jake One are all on it. It’s going to be a crazy record, man, and I think people are going to gravitate towards it when they hear it.