How have things been going for you since you officially left Shady/Aftermath?
You know what? I can’t lie, it’s actually been a blessing. It’s dope to be a free agent and to not be held into the boundaries of not being able to do certain things musically. One of the biggest differences is the amount of music that I’m putting out. I would have to say that when I was with them I couldn’t put the main stuff that I was working on out. They woulda had a fit if I put out some of the stuff from my album and you know, being able to not have to worry about what I say and the repercussions for what I might say or me just telling the truth and expressing myself. At this point I can pretty much say how I feel and I don’t have to be worried about not being on a project or having my project come out because I might offend somebody even though I was telling the truth.
What kind of music were you holding back on?
Over there the philosophy is just to record a whole bunch of records and then to put out the best 12 and that’s cool or whatever but my thing is just because one person might think it’s the best that doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t get the opportunity to hear it. We’re creating so much music and nobody will ever get to hear it. All the music that they do, I think Em wrote 300 songs for his new album and you’re only going to hear 18 of them joints. Now what’s all the rest of that music? Y’all been waiting how long for that album? And Dre, he’s recorded thousands of songs for Detox and y’all are only going to get to hear 10 or 12 and who knows if you’re going to get to hear 10.
People always talk about how hip-hop is messed up and this, that and the other. First of all, the powers that be never really knew how to market hip-hop because they never really understood it. It’s coming to fruition now. That’s why the situation is the way that it is. They never knew how to market hip-hop records. That’s A. And B is when it comes to the art of music that’s being created and not being put out, I’m ending that when it comes down to my shit. I’m not creating any more music and not putting it out for the people. Anything that I’ve done now, in the past and whoever did it, I’m going to put it out so that people can enjoy it and if you hear it, that’s great. That’s why hip-hop is in the situation that it is now. Great artists are not putting out music. They’re holding back and they’re not putting it out. Look at Lil’ Wayne and T.I. They both put out great albums. Ludacris put out a good album. Rick Ross and Scarface put a record out. Common put a record out. We need more of the older cats to put their records out.
That whole Shady/Aftermath, I don’t know what’s up with them. I don’t know how they eat. I don’t know how them as a label are not putting music out. I don’t understand that. I do believe that maybe next year Eminem will come out. I know 50 Cent is coming out but I don’t know about Dre. But I definitely think 50 and Em are coming out.
Was it ever difficult holding onto music that you knew could drastically change your situation and create a bigger buzz for yourself?
You know what? I want people to hear my work and you know, thanks to your site and a lot of sites, people think I’m terrible. Maybe some of my new music will change things. People think my talent is on mixtapes but I’ve never put out a full-length album. Everybody thinks my style is on mixtapes and a lot of people don’t think I’m serious but that’s based on everything I’ve done on mixtapes. I’ve never had the opportunity to put a record out for them to say that he’s one of the best. It’s not necessarily me trying to garner more attention so people could just talk about me.
It’s just that I’ve been talking about and promoting this album since I’ve been over there and it’s telling everybody the sky is falling and they look up and the sky is never falling and I look like a liar like I have never been doing anything. They’re thinking what has Stat been doing for the last five years of his life. I just want to give people the opportunity to hear what I’ve been doing for the last five years of my life and the people that are on the outside of the industry will have the opportunity to hear a great album and they will know that you can make a great album and you can do everything that you’re supposed to do as far as riding along for your company and waiting in line and they still won’t put your record out because that’s what it is. They might point the finger back at me and say that I never made a hit record but I can point back and say that I was never supported over there with what I was trying to do. It was always me. It was never, ‘Okay, we’re going to get behind it.’ They never got behind anything that I did. It was never actually about that.
Do you really think fans think less of you and lost respect for your grind when a lot of artists that sign to Shady/Aftermath never drop any big records?
Of course because look at what people said. “Oh, he’ll never put an album out.” “He’s trash.” There are some people that have held that against me. I’m blessed to have been in a position to have been around the people that I’ve been around and to soak up the knowledge. I’m happy about that but I definitely resent the fact that I never got the opportunity to put out the music that I did and being that it’s so good…Mel Man came to me and told me that it was real what I was doing. I really appreciate that compliment from him because he’s somebody that I respect as a producer and a musician. So for him to tell me that, it made me feel a little bit better but I still wanted to put out Statlanta because that was something that I was holding onto over there and it was something that I was told when I signed my contact that I would have the opportunity to do and it’s something that didn’t happen and I definitely resent that I never got that chance. I would always say to Dre that I just wanted my chance like he got his chance. At one point I really thought that resonated with him to where he was going to get a change made but it was always words and never actions. There was never no actions behind anything. We couldn’t all get on the same page.
Do you think Dre was too busy to work with you?
Nah. It ain’t have nothing to do with that. Too busy? Busy doing what? Working out? He wasn’t too busy. This is what it is, man. Some people, this is my opinion, now it could be different but this is my opinion. I just think he doesn’t want to, in certain situations, he doesn’t want to go and align himself with something until it’s already a hit in the public’s eye. He’ll align himself with it and he’ll sign it but to step all the way out with it, he’ll wait because if it fails then he feels like it takes away from his legacy that he built.
Like, Eminem is a little different. If Em believes in you, he’ll go on TV with you. He doesn’t give a fuck. If he thinks you hot, Eminem is going on TV with you and you could see that he took me on TV and he’ll get on magazine covers with you. If he fucks with you he’ll ride with you and shit like that. Dre could fuck with you but as far as taking pictures with you and stepping out and really promoting with you, that’s extra and he’s not doing that until the public has ordained you to be the shit. Now the public can’t ordain a motherfucker to be the shit until there’s something out there for them to ordain them. For instance, if 50 wasn’t popping the way he was popping, Dr. Dre never would have gotten in the picture with 50 Cent. He never would have gotten in the video with 50 Cent. That not only helped 50, it helped Dre. It made Dre more bigger than what he was. If it’s not going to benefit Dre at the end of the day and make him bigger than what he already is, you’re not going to step out. Em is like, ‘These are my peoples and I’m riding out.’
That’s not to say that Dre’s a bad person. They just have two different philosophies. That’s who they are and that’s how they get down. It wasn’t in the contract when Dre signed me that he had to get in pictures with me but if it was me and I ran the company, I would try to have my guys in my pictures and all that so that people that didn’t know about the artist, they might know me and then they’ll know who that is. It’s like a cosign. So, you know, Dre just ain’t gonna step out and cosign you that you’re the shit unless it’s bona-fide that it’s going to go. With Game, 50 had to come in. Game was with Dre all the time but 50 had to come in and really cosign it and then Dre got on it. But Dre wasn’t going to cosign it himself. Game was hot from the beginning. Game was always an incredible MC. It’s the same thing. He’s just going to hop on when it starts going. Then he’ll be cool with it.
When I did “The Future” freestyle, when that first came out, he had told me that I could put it out and once I put it out and gave it to Green Lantern it was a whole big deal. This was before I signed to Aftermath. They kicked me out of my apartment in L.A. and they sent me back to Atlanta. Then when everybody started saying it was the shit, it was all cool. Then that’s when Eminem came and Paul came in the picture and Eminem came in and we did the deal but when Dre first found out that I put it out, it was like, ‘Crucify him.’ But when they found out it was the shit it was cool. It makes me think that his philosophy is that if people aren’t going to say it’s the shit, then he’s not going to get behind it. He’s more of a bandwagon guy. He’ll embrace you privately and tell you he thinks a verse is dope but he’s not going to publicly jump on someone publicly and cosign him.
Out here, a guy like Cory Gunz, you know Cory’s been doing things for a minute. When I hear about him I think he’s incredible. If I had a label I’m signing Cory Gunz. I’m doing shit with Cory Gunz. I’m stepping out. This is the next big shit. Dre, on the other hand, he would sign Cory Gunz but he’s not going to say anything publicly. He’s not going to talk about Cory Gunz and he ain’t going to do shit with Cory Gunz until Cory Gunz has some people in the public saying he’s the shit and it’s gotta be the potential for it to be some huge-type shit because he feels like anything less than that will take away from his success and what he has built but it doesn’t. It builds him up and it makes him look like more of a boss. That’s how it is, man.
Would you recommend that other artists sign to Aftermath after your experience?
If you don’t want to put an album out you should sign to Aftermath but if you want to actually put a record out you shouldn’t. You know what Aftermath is good for? It’s good for artist development. They develop artists good but as far as putting product out, I wouldn’t advise any artists signing over there. Look at it. Marsha is at Aftermath. Is there any question that Marsha is dope? There’s no question that she’s dope. Where’s her album? It ain’t coming out! She’s already been successful with Floetry. It ain’t even coming out. It’s not even rap. It’s some other shit. Bishop Lamont, is there any question that Bishop Lamont is dope? No! That’s why Busta Rhymes isn’t on there because that album wasn’t going to come out over there. 50’s going to come out because 50 can. Em can.
Basically all of these artists that are over there, they’re all dope and they are good artists. Going all the way back to The Hitmen, is there any question that Rakim is one of the best rappers ever? Is there any question to that? No, but he didn’t get to put an album out. Look at what Busta Rhymes had to go through to get an album out. Game. A lot of people considered Game to be one of the best rappers. Do you realize that Game would have never put a record out if 50 Cent didn’t come through? Was Game not talented? No. Game was dope. He had been dope. Right? You never would have heard of game had it not been for Jimmy putting Game with 50. Jimmy Iovine made that move. You never would have heard of Game.
When I signed to Aftermath Dre had only mixed one of Game’s records. Now when Jimmy put Game with 50, Game was the king of the West Coast, right? It don’t be about how talented artists are. It don’t have nothing to do with talent. It has everything to do with the inner circle. 50 was hot and then it was okay and then that went bad and Game was out of here. That’s how that went down. One of the head dudes, one of the big dogs, wanted him out so he got Bishop Lamont. Bishop’s incredible! It’s sad over there. It’s sad. Marsha from Floetry, she wrote all these big hits and this girl is not going to come out.
That’s sad as fuck. That shit’s sad, dog. Come on, man. Do you know how many songs Marsha has wrote? Do you know how much dope shit she has done? Come on, bro. They don’t tell you what shit is. Shit is absolutely insane. I could go down the list going all the way back to H&R Block. I can go down the list. There’s countless crews that signed and never got their chance and when they left Dre they couldn’t pick up the pieces and keep it moving to do their own thing. But the difference between them and me is that I don’t have a fear of that regime. I don’t fear the regime. I don’t fear what they have going on. I am still a made man. They won’t make me worse off or break me. I don’t see that as my end or my beginning. I just see that as my past.
So I’m not going to allow that to stop my career because what I do is bigger than their ability to stop me from doing what I’m doing. I’m far greater than that so I refuse for that to hold me back from what I’m doing.
Plus the game has changed. With the internet it’s different. I don’t have to press stuff up on a CD and hand it out. Now with the internet you can send an email blast out. I got an email blast out with over a million people. That’s over a million people that got my music just like that. I got enough music to do that shit for the rest of my life. I got enough music to put a song out for the next seven-something years and I record music every day. So with that type of product there’s no way that I am not going to be heard. That’s all I care about – for people to hear my voice and for people to hear what I’m saying.
Do you think Dre believed in your music privately?
He believed in my music but what it was was just fear – the fear of what the world is going to believe in my music and if they didn’t how would they look at him and how would it affect his legacy. That’s with every artist. He’s excited about every artist he signs and he believes in them, that’s why he signs them. The problem is when the doubt comes in about how the people will believe it.
And that’s another thing – people think Dre don’t be on the internet. He’s on the internet and he sees the comments and it scares the shit out of him. Yeah, he’s rich and he’s got a lot of money but he’s reading the comments. He put out two incredible albums, classics, now he has to turn around and put out another and everything that he does, because he’s considered by many to be the best, everything has to be up to that caliber and if it’s not he’s afraid that he’s going to mess up what he has going on and how people perceive him. Think about it, man, The Chronic 2001, the only song that he likes on there is “Light Speed” That was the only song that Dre thought was the shit. Everything else, he wasn’t really that in love with. All that classic shit and everything else, he’s just like, ‘Eh.’ The song he loved most is “Light Speed.” He’s got “The Next Episode” and all these great records and “Light Speed” is the only one he likes. Come on, man.
How do you get your buzz back right now?
Man, you know what it is, man? I feel like I have to keep on putting out music and let my voice be heard and I will generate the interest that I need to where myself and my product will be in demand. I’m not necessarily trying to come out here and make it to where I can’t walk down the street and be bum-rushed. I’m not necessarily on that. But what it is is I feel if you make great music you can make a career out of it and through me putting music out and through me letting people hear what I have to say, I’m going to be okay. I’m not going to have to sacrifice my integrity musically or have to change my sound so that I can sit in some kind of box so that I can try to go pop so that I can just make some money.
What I’m doing right now is I’m setting myself up where I can do this for the rest of my life and travel from city to city and perform my songs for people who love the shit I say because they can relate to it and feel it because it’s got the vibes that they got going on in their world and with the help of your site and other sites, it gives me the opportunity to do that. That’s why I’m appreciative of the internet. I love it. A lot of the artists are mad that fans are downloading shit for free but with the way shit is right now, a lot of people can’t afford to pay for music but they need to be inspired. We need inspiration. People need inspiration in the mean times that we’re living in right now.
Will you leak the tracks you recorded with Dre and other Aftermath producers?
Pretty much all them motherfuckers. I’m not going to hold my shit back. I’m going to put them out when I feel like they need to come out and if I feel like they’re dope and they represent me and I represent them well, musically, I’m going to put them out, but I’m going to be the person that decides that shit. How they made decisions based on my life and my music and they made decisions about Stat Quo’s life, not I’m going to make some decisions for my life. The music that I feel is adequate I’m going to put it out and that’s what it is.
Will Dre be happy to hear that?
I don’t know. I’m not thinking about that. I’m sure he’s very happy. He’s made a lot of money for himself. He’s got a beautiful family. He makes great music and he’s got great family and friends around him. I don’t think he’ll give a fuck! (laughs) Yeah, he don’t give a fuck about that shit. He don’t give a fuck. That’s what I think. I wouldn’t give a fuck if I was him. If I had an artist signed to me and I never put him out and he was signed for five years and he put the music out and even though I had something to do with the music, I’m not going to be mad. He wants to put his music out!
I don’t have any animosity towards Dre or Eminem, because I was signed to Shady and Aftermath. I got love for them. If they needed any help or beyond this shit, I appreciate them people and I appreciate what they’ve done for me so I’m going to look out. I’m going to hold motherfuckers down. I don’t think it’s an issue of anyone being mad or upset. I can’t tell you how another man will feel. If I were to slap him in the face I could tell you that he’ll probably get mad about that but if I’m putting music out that I’ve had for five years, I don’t think he’ll be mad at that.
You were signed to Shady and Aftermath, but how did your deal really come about?
What happened was I did the freestyle called “The Future” where Dre was screaming in the background or whatever. I was meeting with other labels. I sent my demo Underground Volume 2 to DJ Skee who gave it to Paul Rosenberg. He gave it to him and I met with everybody and Em said he contacted Dre and that’s basically how the deal came about. They wanted a Southern artist. They both was feeling what I had going on.
What kind of music do you need to give your fans today?
I think I need to make music about what people are living right now, about what people are experiencing. That’s what I think. That’s what I’m doing. I’m making music about what people are going through and what they’re living, about the struggles and about the realities of their lives and then at the same time I’m letting a motherfucker know that I feel where they’re coming from. I understand how they feel. I’m looking to take a motherfucker out of the zone that they’re in, out of that zone. I want to make a motherfucker not be so caught up on what’s going on in their world.
In a video interview you said the rap industry was full of “butt pirates.” What motivated that statement?
I’m going to make this clear because some people think I hate homosexuals. I don’t hate homosexuals. This is what I have a problem, with – if you’re a homosexual, be a homosexual. Why are you trying to pretend like you’re not a homosexual. That’s what I mean. Whatever you are, be who you are. Don’t pretend that you’re not something. I don’t have a problem with that. The industry is full of people like that. Be who you are. Don’t be afraid of it. Accept your position. If that’s what you are, be that. If you are a woman and like women, like women. When somebody asks you about that don’t front like you don’t. If you’re a man and you fuck with men, don’t be afraid to say that. They’re afraid to say that and they’re not really living their life.
Me, I like pussy. I say I like pussy all the time.
Even in grocery stores?
You know what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about in the grocery store like, ‘Hey, I like pussy!’ You know what I’m talking about, brother. There’s a lot of people pretending to be something that aren’t and pretending. I’m not saying you should run around here with a sticker on your chest that says, “I’m this, I’m that.” We’re in the business of working with human beings and people are so scared of being themselves right now and why? For what? Who are we trying to impress? Why can’t we be ourselves? Why?
I appreciate if a motherfucker wants to do something. A lot of times I don’t agree with the fashion but if a motherfucker wants to wear some crazy shit, do I have an opinion on it? Yeah, but I appreciate what a motherfucker is trying to do.
I’m a Kanye West fan. I think Kanye is incredible. I think his first three albums were all classics. Now was I hurt when I found out that the majority of his new records, he was singing all of the time? Yes, I was hurt because he’s one of the biggest hip-hop figures and when somebody like him doesn’t rap, it kind of takes us down and with hip-hop, it takes away from us because it makes it seem like rapping isn't the thing anymore. Did I listen to it? Yeah. Did I like it as much as the other records? No. But I like it that he did what he wanted to do. He’s in the position he’s in now because of what he did. He’s done his thing and he says that people are telling him that he can’t do this and he can’t do that and he came out and he did his own thing. He wears what he wants and he makes the music he wants and I respect that shit. And I think he’s the shit for it. But do I want him to rap more? Hell yeah because I think he’s one of the greatest rappers of all time. Do I mind him singing? No. It’s cool for him to sing. I sing my own melodies all the time. But do I want to hear a whole album of him singing? No. And I’m entitled to my own opinion and I can say that. There it is.
At least he ain’t afraid to do him. At least he do what the fuck he wants to do and he don’t give a fuck about who says what about what he says. He does what he wants and he says what the fuck he wants and I fuck with him for that, period. Now a lot of motherfuckers are trying to walk around here and not do that. That’s fool shit. Fuck them.
Did you catch a lot of heat for calling Greg Oden gay?
First of all, I was bullshitting and playing but I guess people just see some shit and they take it and run with it but that’s cool. That’s fine. Fuck it. But nah, I didn’t really catch no heat. Ron Artest put a blog up about it and that’s cool. I fuck with Ron. I met Ron down in Miami. But nah, I didn’t catch no heat. And if Greg Oden ends up being gay, who cares about it? There’s homosexuality all around. Why are people scared? If you’re gay, be gay. Why aren’t they gay? Because they’re afraid. The way society is, motherfuckers can’t even be themselves because they’re afraid.
If you think about it what I’m doing is I’m making a mockery out of our whole structure of society. I ain’t no killer. I don’t claim to be a big-time drug dealer. I went to school. I’m educated. DO I know what went on in the streets? Yes. Was I a victim of inner-city lack of education? Yes. DO I know what goes on in our inner cities and our ‘hoods? Yes. But I’m not walking around here trying to be gangster. But I’ll fuck you up if you try to fuck with my family. Will I go to jail for that? Yes. I’ll try to kill you. That doesn’t make me Al Capone. Am I running around here and trying to dress different just so motherfuckers can look at me in another way? No.
I like pussy and I like going to strip clubs and I like rapping. If I like something I’m going to do it and if I want to express my opinion I’m going to do it and if they don’t like me for it then fuck it. That’s what’s wrong with it. I’m not going to come out here and shit on somebody. Everybody’s entitled for their own opinion. I don’t give a fuck. I don’t like everything that other people do and I don’t like everything that I do my damn self.
Yeah. Why can’t we be who we are? Why can’t we, man? Why can’t we be who we are? Why not? Be you! Whatever you do, be you because that’s what’s lacking in our fucking world, more individuality. Everybody gotta be like somebody else. If he wears his pants like that, he’s gotta wear his pants like that.
Everybody started wearing tight jeans. What the fuck is that? Now everybody’s doing it. I’m not wearing no tight-ass pants. I need room for my dick. I can’t do it. I keep shit in my pocket like my wallet and my cell phone. I feel like as a man, if I’m walking down the street, I don’t want a bulge in my pocket and my cell phone to be cutting my circulation off. I got nuts, man. That’s what I want to do.
Now if you’re a motherfucker that likes wearing tight-ass pants, do it because you like wearing it but don’t wear it because you saw a motherfucker doing it on TV. Do you, man! If you’re a faggot, be a faggot! If you’re a bitch-ass nigga, be a bitch-ass nigga! If you’re an educated nigga, be an educated nigga! If you’re a ho, be a ho! Live your life and don’t be scared about what a motherfucker might say. And for everyone who doesn’t like your shit, fuck that shit. That’s cool. It’s all good. And I ain’t going to try to fight you when you don’t like my shit. It’s cool. I don’t give a fuck because I don’t like everything that I write too.
What’s the next move for Stat Quo?
I’m going to keep putting music out and I’m going to keep speaking my opinion. That’s what it is. I’m not going to not speak my opinion. I’m going to keep putting music out for people to be inspired by.