I’m from the New York area, but because I got into hip-hop in the early 2000s, all my favorite rappers are from the South: Scarface, you, Chamillionaire, UGK.
I appreciate you appreciating us. But you know, we could never make it if people from the East Coast didn’t accept our music. That was our problem, that’s why we wasn’t able to be global and international artists, as well as nationwide artists, because we couldn’t get radio play on the East Coast before 2000.
UGK had one [song] that we were crazy about in Miami called “Pocket Full of Stones.” I played it in New York, actually. I played it for the A&Rs at Atlantic Records around ‘98, ‘99, and they had no idea who the hell that was. You’ve gotta remember, the wave that I came through with, the Twistas, Mystikals, Juvenile and the whole Cash Money movement, No Limit, OutKast and the Dungeon Family and Goodie Mob, we were the last of the Mohicans, where we really did music that mattered. We really did music that you could visualize without the video, and once you put the video to it, then it became a sensation.
It does feel like there was a uniqueness to you and your peers that hasn’t quite been replicated.
Because we had our own styles. We were all unique in our own ways and we were fans of one another. We didn’t do features to say “Hey, I got a feature with this guy and he’s got a large fan base, so I’m gonna do this with him so his fans can know who I am.” No, we did features so our fans could say, “Oh shit, he’s got a song with Twista.” Or “Oh shit, he’s got a song with Juvenile or Mystikal.”
Then there came social media, and artists started falling out of all the trees and off all the roofs. The whole music game became saturated so quickly to where you didn’t even really get time to learn the songs. We learned our songs, our songs grew. Nowadays, if your song is not a hit, you can forget about it ever growing, because they won’t give it a chance since there’s another artist coming out tomorrow. You gotta hit a home run, you can’t hit to first base and hope that the next batter brings you in. You’ve got to hit that bitch out the ballpark now and as hard as we had to work, I think the new wave of musicians has it way easier. But my question [to them] is “How long will they last?” How long from now will we still listen to today’s hip-hop and R&B? How long before we say, “That’s an old song?” Now, it’s like six months to a year and you don’t hear the song anymore. Around the third or the fourth month, was usually when our second single would drop off the album and that second single carried you to the main status that you were going for. Back in my era, your biggest record couldn’t be your first single, because it threw off the fans when you have a record that’s amazing as your first single and then all of a sudden the second song off the album comes out and it’s like “Ah, that’s [just] okay.”