I’m feeling good. This is actually my first day in Atlanta. I’m supposed to be in the studio in another half-hour.
How do you like Atlanta so far?
I love Atlanta. I’ve been coming down to Atlanta since I was 17, so I already knew what it was.
Congratulations on signing with DTP. How did the deal come about?
I’ve been bubbling on the underground for a minute, getting my name known and building my name up as a brand, from doing the battles to doing the MTV shows. I was really trying to gain my respect as an artist so a business could step to me correctly instead of just looking at me like I was another rapper. There were basically a lot of major companies coming after me. The way they came at me and the way they presented it, they were basically going to give me money but they didn’t understand what I could do. It’s about finding out who understands you and who’s in it for the long-term. Disturbing Tha Peace understands the long-term and they understand how to make music.
A lot of artists go from label to label throughout their career. You obviously don’t want that.
No way. This business is so shady nowadays that you have to play chess against people on your own team and staff. DTP stepped to me correctly. I’m a firm believer in business is business, but when they came to meet me, they brought the whole label. I was like, Damn, these dudes are serious, no pun intended. Whatever I asked for was exactly what I got. I couldn’t be mad at that. As long as I have what I need as an artist to talk to the world, that’s all an artist really wants along with the money to back it.
When did you see DTP was the label for you?
The whole theme of my shit is that my music has to be real and it has to come across the way I want it to come across. A lot of companies don’t understand that. You’ve got somebody that has the top product that you could possibly have and they only want to buy a dime of it. You’re trying to tell them you don’t even sell dimes of it because it’s the next level. You have to understand the level of product you have before you sell it. A lot of artists go to these companies without knowing their worth. That’s what I factored into making my decisions at the end of the day. Does this person really get it or are they just pretending to go along with it? If someone is holding a diamond in their hands and they don’t know what it is, they might just throw it away.
How would you describe your product?
My product is raw and uncut and it comes directly from the source. There’s not going to be a mix where someone else is going to come in and dilute it. There are other chefs in the kitchen, but they never take away from what I do. If somebody is not familiar with my songs and hasn’t heard my music, they’ll immediately know what it is. A lot of people know, but there are still some people that don’t know. They’ll understand more once they see my track record and where I came from. It’s about to be a motherfucking serious year. Let’s put it that way.
On “Grind Mode,” you talk about having patience waiting for a deal…
You know what’s crazy? That song is like three or four years-old. I don’t even know how that song came to the surface. It’s still me and it’s still art, but I didn’t put that shit out. At the end of the day, “Grind Mode” shows that if you’re really in grind mode, you think you’re really going to get it the next day. I’ve been in the mind-state where I’ve been thinking I was going to be rich for years. It didn’t happen, but if you’re not thinking about getting it all the time, you’re probably not going to get it and you’re going to end up settling for mediocrity. Songs like that show me how dedicated people are to my music. I can’t be mad at that. When they hear the new music, they’re really going to wild out.
What do you think about the way DTP breaks artists?
Let’s look at it realistically. I think Chingy sold 3 million copies out the gate and Bobby Valentino is platinum. At the end of the day, what I respect about DTP is that they’re real with me. That’s the only thing I need. If somebody can’t do something for me, just tell me you can’t do it. I’m a businessman as well as an MC. I study businesses and how they conduct their business. Every artist that signs to DTP comes out. If they don’t have the right single or the right buzz, it’s up to them.
I also make sure I maintain my own buzz. We had a relationship with HipHopGame when I wasn’t signed. So when it comes down to it, you have to maintain your own grind at the same time. I have my own publicist, Dove. I’ve been all across the internet and all across the world just based off the strength of what I did coming from the streets, battling people and selling music out the trunk of my car. That was all us. It doesn’t stop once you get a deal. That’s why I think a lot of artists fall off. Fuck that. I’m doing everything I can until the wheels fall off to keep my whole operation popping. That goes for anybody. If you want to be successful at something, you have to take it in your own hands. If you let somebody else handle that, then you’re on HipHopGame talking about how your label jerked you.
DTP has never broken an East Coast artist. Does that worry you?
No, because they’ve never had an East Coast artist. And I’m not an East Coast artist. I’m a universal artist. I have people in Germany and Africa banging my shit. Being an East Coast artist means they only make that kind of music and have that market. I’m a universal artist. DTP understands what the impact could be with this. This will really be the birth of a whole new thing as far as a Southern label, but they’re not really a Southern label. Chaka Zulu and Jeff Dixon are from New York. The majority of the label, staff-wise, is from New York. It’s not about North and South with us. It’s about good music and it’s about good business and it’s about making history on a higher level.
There are a lot of artists who get signed, get caught up in the system and never come out. How will you make sure that doesn’t come out?
It’s about staying popping yourself. It’s not about the system. That’s like saying, “I can’t get a job so I can’t get no money.” If you really have that drive and determination, like I do, you’re going to find a way to get something no matter what. There’s not going to be a system that can hold you back. One thing about this game is a hit is a hit. If you’re in a position to get shit heard and you have legitimate hit records that are crazy…I hope I’m not jinxing myself but I’ve never seen anybody who wasn’t “next-level” and never got a chance to shine.
Will your debut album Life is Serius change now that you’re on DTP?
This is Serius Jones’ album. My thoughts and opinions weigh very heavily on what I do. That’s why I respect everybody that’s associated with this business. When it comes down to it, they respect me as an artist and as a businessman, so it’s not an issue of Chaka making Serius’ album. This is my voice. This is my chance to speak to the world. At the end of the day, it’s not an ego thing. It’s not a thing of me feeling like I’m too arrogant and I know it all. I listen to people creatively and they definitely come up with a bunch of next-level ideas, but at the same time, I have to make sure it goes with what I’m doing because I’m not going to be out here looking all corny.
When will Life is Serius drop?
We’re looking for a summertime release because summertime is when it’s popping. One thing about this is once you come out, you’re out. We’re really strategizing it so we can have the best possible look we can have. We have to get everything lined up right. I don’t want to come out if I don’t have the right promotion. We’re just taking our time and making sure everything is on the same page as far as the marketing and the videos.
What’s going on with the re-release of your mixtape King Me?
That’s another deal on the table that will give people a taste of what I’m doing so they can understand me as an artist so they can understand more. That’s kind of like a taste of my album. It’s like my mixtape. They’re really trying to crack down on the mixtape scene so I figured it would be better to have that in stores so fans can cop the Serius Jones mixtape. The first version of King Me is still available on my website, but we’re doing a whole new collection of songs. That’ll basically be the prelude to my album. I’ll be talking about everything that’s been going on, my struggle, what took me to Fight Klub and getting this deal. It’s going to be an updated version of King Me. That’s the next step I’m doing right now as well as working on this Life is Serius album.
What do you want to say to everyone?
Thanks for the love. I really, honestly appreciate this because I never thought that I would be doing this for a living. I’m not one of these dudes who just started rapping to be cool. I just kind of stumbled on this thing. It’s a blessing and I really appreciate that people take time out of their lives to check me out. That’s from the heart. And thanks for the hate. The love and the hate make me go 100% all of the time. The songs you’re hearing now are just a taste of what’s coming. I appreciate you checking them out and stay tuned to the movement. I also write a column on another website that you can check out as well. That’s basically me blurting out my opinions and ideas on life in general so people can read about what’s going on with Serius Jones.