This situation went from being a friendly battle to trading diss records. Are you surprised it’s gone as far as it has?
Nothing surprises me in this business. I got real tough skin and this industry is such a clown show. Mistah F.A.B. falls right into place. He’s just another character that I don’t take seriously in the slightest bit. He’s so predictable. When he makes his moves, I know why he’s doing it and that’s why he’s such an easy opponent. At first I kind of felt like he wasn’t worth my time, but everybody talked me into doing it so I decided to over-kill him because he wouldn’t stop running his mouth. After the battle, he went from being a respectful artist to a disrespectful artist. He basically got what he got because of his actions.
For the record, you have no problem with him saying he won the battle.
Not at all, even though I wasn’t battling him. The “Who Got Bodied?” record, that was me battling. At the show, that was me rhyming verses because I was told that’s what it was going to be before I went there. If you notice, we weren’t even going at each other. Once he did his interviews after the fact, he changed. I think he was feeling himself. Some of the things he said were competitive and I thought they were funny. But then he started making up stuff about my family and I was irritated by that. I told him to wake up in the “Blue Magic” freestyle because I felt like he was dreaming. He felt like I shouldn’t have said his name in a record and because of that he jumped out the window and gave me a whole record. That’s why I made my record. It could have easily been avoided.
Just to clarify things, the battle during AllHipHop Week wasn’t a traditional freestyle battle.
If I was battling him, there were a million things I could have said about him. I was told it wasn’t a battle and for the sake of where I’m at in my career and where I came from, it’s not in my best interests to get involved in a freestyle battle. That wouldn’t be a good look. When it got to be me and him, because Joe Budden decided he wasn’t going to come and he was going to party somewhere else, it started feeling like a battle. I could have made an excuse and left, like other people did, but I stayed and rhymed my verses and it was what it was. I didn’t have any feelings about that. I stayed in New York and partied that whole week I wasn’t even thinking about that battle. The situation wasn’t on my radar until he spoke on my personal life.
You said Joe Budden went out to party, but wasn’t his brother shot 8 times that night?
My heart goes out to his family but as far as that night, I heard otherwise, but that’s between him and them. I got respect for Joe Budden and all that, but I just don’t believe him…I think he was somewhere else. But that ain’t really my place to speak on that. You can talk to him about that.
Mistah F.A.B. says you were a poor sport in accepting defeat. How do you respond to that?
I never heard him say I was a poor sport about it. I heard him say I was a good sport about it. I guess out of nowhere I snapped and got bitter. He’s not taking no responsibility for what he says. It has to do with what happened after the battle and he knows what he said. That’s why he still hasn’t mentioned it.
Did you not mean any disrespect when you told him to “wake up” in the “Blue Magic” freestyle?
Not at all. I felt like I was in a position where I needed to speak on the battle. A lot of people didn’t see or hear the battle. They just heard that I got beat. There was a lot of shit being said about the battle and the people didn’t really know what the hell they was talking about so I felt I had to speak on it and let people know my feelings about it. I didn’t care about losing. That’s why I said, “Battling’s not in my make-up.” That’s not what I do. I’m a writer.
Did Mistah F.A.B. strike a nerve when he brought up Proof’s name in “You Got Bodied”?
I got tough skin plus he's a clown. This is like what he said in his interview. This is the WWF. When he said he was going to do a diss track, I knew Proof’s name was going to come up in a dickriding manner. The only thing that surprised me was that he said Em bought my wife’s ring. I was on my second million dollar deal when I bought both my wife's rings. That surprised me because you can claim you don’t go on the internet or nothing like that, but all the things he said in the record were old internet rumors and none of them were true. He said I taught Eminem how to rap. He said so many things that are false...He's delusional.
He’s so delusional that I can’t really take the little nigga seriously. That’s why I put the real cats on the record that he claims he’s fucking with just to show people that he has no credibility. He lies. He’s saying that he wants to shout out some street credible niggas, but he’s talking about people with street credibility that’s my family and he’s questioning my credibility? He’s a joke. I don’t have a problem with him. I definitely don’t have a problem with the Bay and I have niggas that I fuck with out there. I’m safe when I go out there and he’s safe when he comes here to Detroit. Nobody cares about Mistah F.A.B. here. I think the only people that have an issue with "Who Got Bodied?” in the Bay are his peoples and they should have an issue because I tore his ass up. They should be mad if they have his back. But other than that, I’m not the one upset so I definitely don’t have a problem. This shit ain’t nothing but rock and roll to me.
Mistah F.A.B. implied yesterday that Bay Area artists like Too Short weren’t happy with the situation.
Let me tell you something. Too Short is a living legend. When Too Short came to Detroit, I met him. He probably doesn’t remember because I wasn’t Royce Da 5’9” yet, but I made a special trip to go meet him. Do you think he cares about a diss record about a dude who’s only been in the game a few years? F.A.B. is trying to make this a Bay versus Detroit issue but he can’t. He can never get me to say anything bad about Too Short because Too Short is a legend. You have to understand, I took his legs out from under him. He has nothing else to do but try to get people to ride with him. So sad.
What’s he going to do? Try to write another record? It’s over. It’s a wrap. He’s going to keep on trying to make records based off lies but I’m going to keep calling him out on them. He’s just a little kid. He’s not smart enough to play this game with me. He doesn’t think before he makes his moves. He’s too impulsive. I’m too cerebral for him to even bother with. He needs to stop playing, stop saying my name and try and sell his little 20,000 records in the Bay, if you’re doing that. He lies so motherfucking much, I don’t know what to believe.
Are you done recording diss records about Mistah F.A.B?
You know what, man? Whenever I make my moves, nobody will know until I do it. But I will guarantee you this – when I do make my moves, every move I make is going to be effective and I’m not basing my moves off his actions anymore because he just doesn’t get it. He’s hard-headed. You will know what I do when I do it, but as of right now, I’m not going to put anything on hold that I’m working on to give him that attention. He wanted that attention and promotion, I just don’t think it’s going like he thought it would. He says any promotion is good promotion, but now he’s learning that it’s not. Everybody who didn’t otherwise know him knows him now for getting his ass torn up. This is a lesson for him. Hopefully he will learn and keep it moving with that weak-ass shit he’s been putting out.
Mistah F.A.B. made it a point to call you bitter, as he mentions your relationship with Eminem and Dr. Dre as well as what happened when Kanye West sold a beat you wanted. How do you respond to that?
It goes back to the whole delusional thing. He doesn’t know Kanye West, he doesn’t know Dre and he damn-sure doesn’t know Em if he thinks that I taught him how to rap. He doesn’t know me and he doesn’t know the nature of any of our relationships. He doesn’t know shit but how to create stories in his own mind and than try to get people to believe him. That’s another example of him being delusional. As far as Em, he’s making the same mistake with me that I made with Em. If I say, “Em, I fuck with you but I don’t fuck with D-12,” how can Em fuck with me? How can I not fuck with D-12 but try to fuck with Em? Eventually none of them are going to fuck with me. If you say you’re fucking with The Chedda Boys and Trick Trick and you don’t fuck with me, they're going to look at your little dumb ass like you've lost your mind. You’re making the same rookie-ass mistake that I made back in the day. The Eminem and Paul Rosenberg relationships are the only relationships that soured over the years and I regret that to this day. He's going to make way more mistakes than I made because he's not smart and it’s painfully obvious, judging by his actions.
Mistah F.A.B. also said you had an old fanbase that’s 35 and up. How do you respond to that?
(laughs) What do you think of that, Brian?
I’m not 35.
That’s what I’m saying. I’m 30 years-old. How old are his fans, if he has any? If you go on the internet, he keeps saying the internet is not credible, but the internet right now is the only engine that he has to push his diss records. He can’t even win them over and this is before I even put anything on there. How many 35 year-olds do you think are typing something on the ‘net right now? Every age is saying that I won, unanimously. I don’t have to reach to get a buzz. I can put projects out whenever I feel like it and they come out all over the world. I don’t have distribution problems.
It comes down to the whole delusional thing and him talking about how much money he has. It doesn’t cost no money to put spray paint on a t-shirt. I have plaques on my wall. I got a Grammy. He’s talking about a whole ‘nother level of money. Anything he’s made in his career, I’ve made four times over in the last eight years. He does not want to play with me because I am not the one. All he has to do is ask the real niggas in this game. Check out the links and the interview and you can see what pissed me off. I’m glad it’s not a problem. I don’t have a problem with the Bay. The Bay is known for doing gangster shit and so is Detroit. It would be sad if it came to that because F.A.B. is too corny to speak for any state.
Mistah F.A.B. also claimed to have taken your fans. Do you think you lost any fans throughout this situation?
Nope. Again, this goes back to him being delusional. They said he awoke the sleeping beast. He didn’t wake me up. I woke him up. I told him to wake up and chill out because I was hearing what he was saying. If you are going to talk about the battle, don’t talk about it in a derogatory way and don’t make things up about my personal life. Instead of him taking a respectful role with his favorite rapper and reaching out to me, he decided to make a song about his favorite rapper and I had to set it on his little soft ass. If anything, I took the fans that he had out in the Bay. He’s getting out of it what he didn’t want because people outside of his market know him for getting fucked over and for wearing colorful airbrushed tees. What type of real nigga respects that? What nigga you know does comedic songs and goes out of his way to make people laugh and he ain’t even funny? He tries too hard and real niggas peep that.
What would it take to get you to enter a real battle today?
You have to understand, that’s not what I do. Even if you come to Detroit, that’s not what I was known for. I was known for going to the open mics and rhyming. I was not known as a freestyle rapper. I’m a writer. I’m probably the No. 1 ghostwriter in this business right now. That’s what I do. That’s why when he stepped in my house, I ate him. I told niggas on “Boom” six years ago that I don’t battle no more. There were a couple of niggas that stepped to me at open mics and we battled and I won, but that’s not what I do. That’s not me. But you can punch in “Mistah F.A.B.” on YouTube and you’ll see him on there losing to everybody. He can go off the top of his head. But once you start talking about street credibility and making records, that’s where he loses. You can’t come at me in any way, shape or fashion. I’m too deep in these streets. I’m in the ‘hood every day. All he has to do is come to Detroit and ask about me. Don’t go off of what you see on the internet. If he got so upset for me saying, “Tell Mistah F.A.B. to go get his cash,” how mad must he be right now? He must be bouncing off the walls in a straitjacket.
Mistah F.A.B. said yesterday that he would put your album out through his label under Atlantic Records. What do you think of that jab?
F.A.B. cant even put his record out on his label. He’s sitting over at Atlantic and they’re not thinking about anybody but T.I., Plies and the real stars over there. Tell him to worry about how he’s going to put his shit out. Other than that, quit talking about what you got. To sit around and brag about what you got is corny, especially if you ain’t really got it like that. You’re a priority if you deliver them a hit record, which he hasn’t done, and that’s why he's just sitting.
I’m a thinker and he’s an idiot. Move something outside the Bay Area and holla back.
You’ve been calling yourself “Malcolm” more lately. What inspired that?
He brought Malcolm back out. Malcolm is like the secret weapon that I bring out when it’s necessary to teach somebody a lesson, and that’s no disrespect to D-12. I wasn’t trying to reopen that can of worms. I’m sure Mistah F.A.B. won’t be the last motherfucker to get out of line, but I did what I did to really send a message to everybody – Don’t fuck with me. If you do speak my name, make sure you do it in a respectful fashion. If you don’t say my name in a respectful fashion, Malcolm might come and see you. If you are an MC, you don’t want them kind of problems, so one yourself.
How’s The Bar Exam 2 coming?
It’s coming good, man. I’m in the beginning stages of it. This situation honestly fueled it. I was going to wait until next year to put it out but now I’m going to try to get it out in December. These mixtapes never take me long. I’m writing an entire project for someone, this mixtape and two albums. Now the mixtape got pushed up to the front because I’m real visible on the ‘net right now and I want to keep that momentum going. I’m more focused on my buzz and I want my meetings to go well with the majors. I’m very focused. It will probably take me a couple of weeks to get it done. We’re going to have a different DJ besides Statik put it together. We’re going to keep the same format except Nottz is going to host it.
There was talk that The Bar Exam 2 might be a digital-only release. Do you think that’s going to happen?
It was just a thought. Me and Kino were just throwing around ideas. I probably won’t do it that way. I will probably do it using all avenues, including pressing vinyl. It just depends on how the buzz is around it. When I finish it, we’ll make that decision. But going digital is just another outlet we have, connection-wise.
Mistah F.A.B. made it clear yesterday that he doesn’t go on the internet. A lot of artists say that and discount the opinions of fans online, as if a fan online doesn’t count as much as one at a show, when in reality it is probably the same fan. Could you ever discount the fans who voice their opinion via the internet?
Mistah F.A.B. is on the internet all the time. Don’t let him fool you. Him and a couple niggas in the Bay that follow him, they’re on the internet all the time. He’s a 25 year-old internet geek. Everything he said on the record was internet rumors. Please don’t let him fool you. He’s on all these sites talking about the battle. He said, “Who’s checking for Royce?”, but who’s checking for him? Who’s anybody checking for in the streets? The internet is the only place you can have a buzz at unless you got a hit. Nobody’s checking for anybody in the streets. Who’s anybody checking for? Tell me that person. Does that person have more fans than me? I worked to get myself in the position where my fans check for me no matter what. Who’s checking for Mistah F.A.B? Nobody. The internet is very important. He knows it, but that’s just his way of getting you to not ask him about the comments the kids on the ‘net are making about his corny ass. (laughs) They’re tearing him up. His name is mud on the internet.
How’s your long-awaited album Street Hop coming?
It’s coming along real good. It’s my baby. It’s a collective effort with me, Preem , Nottz and Bink. I got some shit from Havoc, Mario Winans and Ski as well. It’s me and a couple of my people. We’re real hands-on with it and we’re real opinionated with it. I’ve been cutting a lot of records and there’s not really a rush on it. I’m still going to do a project with Babygrande before the major label project comes out. I’m working on the both of them at the same time.
How’s Street Hop sounding right now?
The album is incredible. It’s real concept-driven and extremely lyrical. I haven’t played it for anybody yet that hasn’t said it’s incredible. Everything goes together. The lyrics are the best they’ve ever been for a Royce project. I have to be in my prime right now. I’m amazing myself. I’m just trying to hold onto the inspiration. I hear other people now and what I’m hearing doesn’t inspire me. I’m at the point now where I have to inspire myself. I’ve been looking inward to find inspiration and that’s just how I’ve been doing my shit. The shit is coming out crazy and I’m real happy with it.
When will we hear Street Hop?
Sometime in ’08. I’m going to try to get both albums out next year. I’m trying to have a real visible fourth quarter and ’08. That shows you how valuable I think the internet is and that’s something that F.A.B. doesn’t realize. There’s a lot of places that have never heard of F.A.B. and these are places where he's never sold a record, like Estonia, Prague and other countries. It’s about finding other places to sell records because the American dollar is not the most expensive currency and the Bay dollar definitely ain’t.
You said you were going to take Street Hop to a major label. How’s that coming?
We only took a couple of meetings. We’re going to give labels a chance to get everything together considering that it’s the fourth quarter. There’s not really a rush. I’m not like, ‘Here’s the album. Take it or leave it.’ This is a body of work in progress. We’re letting people know that we’re out here shopping and were open to suggestions on how to better the project. I put my last album out independently. I did it myself. I don’t want to do that again. I want the major label push. I learned a lot and I’m ready mentally because I've matured so much.
What’s the next move for you right now?
I have to take all my free time and just record. I’ve committed to a lot of things and it’s a little bit overwhelming for me right now. I said I would do verses for $1000 and I’ve done so many of those that I’m starting to lose track of them. Then I have The Bar Exam 2 that I haven’t all the way started yet that I have to finish. Then I have other projects. I haven’t done shows and I’m only doing press now because the press wants to know about this little corny Mistah F.A.B. situation. I felt I was at liberty to speak on it because he was spreading so many lies and I had to let the people know that he is not credible. Other than that, I’m just cutting vocals.
What do you want to say to everyone?
Go buy The Bar Exam and go buy Mistah F.A.B.’s album. I’ll put Mistah F.A.B.’s diss to me on The Bar Exam if Atlantic Records wants to send me a check for giving their artist that they otherwise wouldn’t have even put out exposure, they can. Good night, Mistah F.A.B. and hello, Bay Area. I got nothing but love for you. Shout out to Locksmith and EA-Ski. And free Messy Marv already!