Sunday, June 12, 2005

Looking for some Summer Reading Material? Grab a chair and spend a clean 3 Hours with UGK...
UPDATE! Rap-A-Lot vs Swishahouse BBall, Cham Audio

This long ass post consists of 2 seperate interviews I did with Bun B and Pimp C, the duo known as UGK, for you, me, everybody.

Holler Free Pimp C.

And don't skip anythang...


Or at least send him a lil letter...

Chad Butler, # 1136592
C.T. Terrell Unit
1300 FM 655
Rosharon, TX 77583-8609

Pimp C
by Matt Sonzala

I don’t think anyone out here is really clear about what really got you into this predicament. What are you in here for?
Well you know, what they call aggravated assault. But now, there was no bodily injury and it actually was not an assault. In the state of Texas, if a person fears for they life and you have a weapon, that’s classified as aggravated assault. So I’m gonna give you the quick run down of the story. I’m in a mall, I’m by myself, I’m in a store and I got a cell phone up to my ear. I tell the manager, “I need this pair of shoes” and I got my back turned. There’s a group of five people, three girls and two guys. I hear a conversation going on behind me. One of the girls ask the girl behind the counter “Who’s that?” And the girl proceeds to tell her, oh that’s Pimp C whoop de whoo, this and that, get’s to naming some songs. So real loudly and real belligerently the broad goes “Oh! I don’t listen to them old pussy ass niggas.” Like that right? So uh, I’m on the phone with Bun at the time I tell him “Hey man lemme call you back.” So I hang up and I turn around and when I see them broads, I asked her I said “Hey man uh, why you gotta talk my name with that shit in ya mouth?” You know what I’m sayin’? So me and the broad, we get in a little argument but it’s really funny. People laughin’ you know what I’m sayin’? She crackin’ on me, I’m crackin’ on her, and in the process I got the best of her. So the broad was like uh “Yeah nigga, I got your bitch, this such and such street,” and she reached off in her jacket and when she did that I lifted up my jacket and showed her the thang. So when I showed her the thang I said, look, I said, “Freeze, don’t move no mo’.” And I look over at the two dudes and I say mayne don’t even try it and the dude put his hands up and said “Man we don’t want it.” And I tell them, I don’t want it either man. I look back at the broad and I say “Y’all need to back up out this store, this not funny no more.” That’s the incident that led to me getting locked up here. I ended up getting charged with aggravated assault for that. They said that was an assault cuz I showed them my pistol. Alright, in the process, I ended up taking a probation, what’s called Deferred Adjudication Probation on it. Which was capped off at 4 years. I ended up violating the probation a year later on a community service violation which is something they don’t usually do. But in my case, hey it was politics. The rest is history man. I been gone ever since then. They sent special prosecutors after me. They started asking me, “What is Rap-A-Lot Records, who is James Prince to you?” And all that kind of talk and I told them, “That’s a friend of my family.” I’m not signed to Rap-A-Lot Records, I’m signed to Jive Records, so in the process, I felt like I was in the position where I had to take the probation because what they was talking was some way out shit. And mind you, at the time I took it, I knew I was gonna violate it because the system is set up down here to where 90-95% of the people who take this type of probation violate it. But I also knew and I had it in my heart and I knew in my head that most times if you don’t catch another case and you violate in some kind of way they usually give you the time you have left on probation. So what I was trying to do was cap something off that could have been 2 – 20 at 4 years. But now, uh, mind you, the judge got the right when you violate to give you what the crime carry. But now I didn’t catch no new case and really if I hadn’t been who I am or who they perceive me to be, it probably wouldn’t have got violated for a community service violation and I probably wouldn’t have got the extra 4 years tacked on to the 4 I already had.

So you got 8 years?
Yeah I got 8 years aggravated. Classified as aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

I thought I saw something on the internet that said something about a possession charge.
That’s not what I’m locked up on, naw. That was another case. That never came into play with this.

How do you feel right now about having a release come out when you’re behind bars? Obviously those songs were written at least three years ago.
Those weren’t written at all. Those were made from freestyle tapes that I had recorded before I came in here.

Really? Were you recording with Rap-A-Lot or were you just doing your own thing and they took it and compiled an album?
I wouldn’t put it like that, but um, see this is our creative process. I go in, I try new ideas out. Usually I freestyle over them, I make CD’s out of ‘em and I ride around. And if I ride around 2 months or 3 months with the idea and they still sound good, then I bring Bun in and we go through the song for real. That’s where those tapes come from, from some freestyle sessions that I had done between late 2000 and into 2001.

You’ve been in just about 3 years now right?
Three years and 3-4 months.

What have you been doing to keep yourself busy? What have you been doing to keep your head together?

What’s some of the things you’ve been reading?
Machiavelli the Prince, 48 Laws of Power, Robert Green, the Art of War, books like that. I also read entertainment type books, my favorite author is a man by the name of James Patterson. Those things keep me busy.

Were you a big reader before getting into this?

How about writing, have you been writing a lot since you’ve been here?
I wrote a lot the first year, kind of slacked off the second year, wrote a whole lot the third year. Since I been at this unit I have not been writing as much, but I mean I’m sitting on somewhere close to 2000 songs and ideas. That’s not to say all these songs are gonna come to be records, but these are ideas and rhymes that I had wrote. Then when I get an idea I jot it down, I write a couple 16 bars and then I put it away. When I get ten songs I mail ‘em home. I just been doing it like that.

Have any of your perspectives changed at all as far as things you’ve been writing about? Will we see a change in Pimp C? Will we see any kind of difference or progress?
Well it’s been almost four years and I think change comes with time. Yeah, I’ve changed in some ways. I got older, I’m wiser, I’ve learned a lot about the system and when I didn’t know I didn’t have a responsibility to expose that. But now that I do know, yeah, I gotta talk about it.

What’s a typical day like for you?
Really man I’m blessed man. My days are real laid back. First of all let me tell you this, compared to other units this place is like Disneyland. This place is alright.

Compared to where you were over the past few years?
Yeah compared to where I was and compared to some of the other places that I could have been sent to. This place is cool. Not too many bad actors over here and mind you, they watch us. They keep us in transit for up to two years to see what kind of character you are. So if you a bad actor and you fighting and you sticking people and you acting bad everyday, you get sent to a farm with a bunch of people that’s acting bad. They sticking and fighting. If you laid back and you play it cool then you get sent to places where people are playing it cool. I was blessed that I didn’t get into any wrecks at any of the places before so I was able to come to a place like this. So my days are laid back. I got a job, I work in the kitchen, I got to work around 2 o’clock so I’m able to sleep until 11:30, 12 o’clock if I want to. I get up, drink some coffee and go to work. I stay at work till about 7:30, sometimes 8 o’clock, work is real laid back, serving food to inmates. Got a good boss, laid back. Around 7:30 or 8 o’clock I go shower, go back to my house. Where I’m living is a 52 man open dorm, but we have private cubicles. So we got a little bit of privacy. I got a radio. I didn’t have a radio at the transfer places I was at. I stayed at the county for a year and then I just did the two years transit. There aren’t any radios on transit units. So I was kind of cut off from music.

Now you’re able to keep up with it again?
Yeah I got a radio and I’m blessed to be close enough to Houston where I can catch Houston radio. You know it, it’s like the hip-hop capital man. We right in the middle so we catching everything from the west, everything from the east, we catching everything coming down and we got our own stars. And you know what the DJs around here been showing me love. Mike Jones screaming my name, Lil Flip screaming my name, TI screaming my name, Bun B scream my name more than he scream his own name. I’m blessed. I’m back close to the house. My momma don’t have to drive 5-6 hours to come see me. So it’s gravy.

Listening to the record, it seems like maybe there’s some controversies running through the record that have gotta be three years old. How do you feel about coming out with this record with lyrics that you may have felt three years ago, but…
Well the single was recorded in 1996 or 97. “I’s A Playa” was recorded originally for a friend of ours album. His name is N.O. Joe, he’s a producer, and what happened was he ended up scrapping his album. He decided he wasn’t gonna do it. So it had all three verses, myself, Bun and Twista, we were on it already. I think Twista mention something about a ’97 Suburban or something on that record. That’s when that record was recorded. It had a different hook. And the only thing different about that record is that Zro came in and wrote that hook and you know what? It’s worth a whole lot more with him on that hook than it was before. That song has been circulating on the internet since the mid-90’s. It’s old. A bunch of the other stuff, yeah it’s at least 3-4 years old. And to be honest with you, I haven’t heard the album. I’ve only heard three songs on the radio.

Being who you are, are you kind of like a celebrity in here? Do a lot of people know you?
I mean uh, yeah a lot of people know of me. Naw they don’t know me as a person till they get to meet me and talk to me. I don’t get no special treatment.

No? Not even from other inmates who might have come up listening to you as an artist? Or as a producer they came up listening to their whole life? I’m sure a lot of these people in here probably rap themselves.
Right. It’s a lot of talented people in here man. I meet a lot of talented people and if I had my way I’d sign them all up and give them all million dollar advances. But uh, that’s not reality. Yeah I meet a lot of my fans in here, people that were exposed to my music, yeah that’s true, but that kind of wears off after the first two or three weeks, then you stripped down to the man.

What’s your musical situation going to be when you get out of here? Have you still got an obligation to Jive?
Yeah, me and Bun owe Jive one more studio album. And then that contract is up. Actually I’m not signed to a solo deal at this time.

No I’m not, but James Prince is like a family member to me so we have an understanding. He know whatever he need he can come get that from me. And I know if I have some problems, I can call him anytime, 24/7 and he gonna handle that for me.

Are you happy that the record is out?
I mean, what do you mean happy?

In one sense it can keep your name alive and it’s a hot record, people like it. You might not be able to reap the benefits now, but can you see the big picture and what this coming out can do for you in the future? How do you feel about that?
I’m gonna be honest with you. I don’t like the idea of other people producing songs with my lyrics. I don’t like that idea, I’m a producer first, remember that, and we have a certain standard I feel. Can’t nobody do me like I can do me. So naw, that idea is not charming to me at all. Other people sitting around playing with my freestyle verses and trying to make songs out of them, naw that’s not a very charming idea. But now, on the flip side, it’s good to hear another record out. It’s good to know that somebody still cares and it’s good to know that some money is getting generated while I’m just sitting here. It’s just not stagnant. It’s just not standing still. So I have mixed emotions.

Well from what you said about the production, cuz I’ve listened to you since day 1, and my thing is like I think a lot of people are living off of UGK right now. Musically you set a lot of standards for production and lyrically, half the stuff that’s being said today between Houston and Atlanta is practically recycled UGK stuff. Are you conscious of the serious influence you’ve had on this music?
Yeah but I don’t look at it like that, I look at it like this. We all feed off of each other so if you go back and research who we got our style from, and the people that we were listening to in the 80’s and the early ‘90’s, we were feeding off of other folks also. We were feeding off of Rodney O and Joe Cooley, the Ruthless thing that was going on with Eazy E and Dre and them. We fed off of people, we fed off Run DMC and those folks and there’s a little bit of a lot of those folks styles that made our style come together. So I don’t see it like that, like it’s a negative thing, it’s positive. At least we had a mark on the music, at least we did something that mattered. Cuz a lot of groups after being around 13-14 years, they forget about you. They don’t even speak on you anymore. So I feel blessed to be in a position where we could have brought something to the table that people would want to emulate or imitate. That’s how I see it. I don’t see them as “Aw they stealing up our style.”

I don’t see it as so much stealing, I just hear so many things that are being said over and over, I hear UGK whole concepts in peoples songs over and over and over again.
Yeah we got a formula and if it’s a good formula why not use it? Yeah I hear everybody got the hand-clap as they snare drum. I hear that. I hear everybody got 808’s and try to make they hi-hats do a certain thing. Yeah I hear that, but you know when we brought it to the table, after it’s out there it’s not exclusively ours anymore. So you know, yeah I’m happy we had a influence like that. We made it cool to be country mayne. Before we came out, I ain’t tooting my own horn or nothing but I’m the first one to really talk like that. Y’aaaall, and Baawwwll, you know’m sayin’?

You defined that whole thing.
Yeah and I’m proud of that legacy so when I see these young cats out here doing it I think “Damn we did something good man. We brought something to the table.” But naw, then you got some other boys, they steal the whole concept they even steal the word “Trill,” put it in the title of they group name and then get in magazines and people ask them who were they listening to and all of a sudden they get to talking about Eric B. and Rakim and Three 6 Mafia. You didn’t get “Trill” from Three 6 Mafia. I know this man. Not to take anything from DJ Paul and them, those are friends of mine, very talented, they got their own style. A lot of what they brought to the table is being recycled right now also, but now them two different thangs mayne. You can’t steal everything from a man. I heard a boy straight steal Bun’s whole rap. Bun said “From the Back to the Front and to the Side” and this fool said “From the side and to the front and to the back.” I’m like man you just gonna steal a whole style then you get in a magazine and get to talking about some boys from New York City? Man you know where you got that from. And I’m just gonna go on record, Trillville is Port Arthur, Texas, and if you ain’t from there I don’t understand what they talking about man. And when they get ready to give it up the right way and tell the truth about where they got it from, then I’ll respect them. Until then I got no respect for them. That’d be like them coming to me and asking me what I was listening to and I get to listing a bunch of people… Man I was listening to Scarface and the Geto Boys. I came up off Run DMC, Schooly D., Kool G. Rap & Polo, I came up on Ice-T. I can’t get up there and act like it was something else, it wasn’t man. These kids need to understand that they need to give credit where credit is due. Give DJ Paul and Juicy J they credit. Give 8Ball & MJG they credit. Give Rodney O and Joe Cooley credit. Give 2 Live Crew they credit mayne. They brought a lot to the game and it seem like people just forget about them. When they get in the books they don’t say these names. I’m gonna be honest with you, my whole style is based on Run, from Run DMC. It’s based on the way he was rapping in ’83 and ’84. And I took the countryness and the rawness that Willie D brought to the game and I mixed it with the way Run rapped and I got me a style out of that mayne. And over the years, it manifested into some different thangs but basically that’s what it was. I know this so I gotta give credit where credit is due. Bun is a lyricist, I’m not.

But that was always a great combination. That’s one of the things that’s missing in rap now is what Run DMC had and what you guys brought to the table. You don’t hear groups interacting like that anymore. Finishing each others lines or going line for line, you don’t hear that anymore. Everybody has their little 16 bars and puts ‘em together with a couple hooks and it’s a formula.
It’s like how all the r&b songs are made from the Beatles way of making songs. 8 bars, hook, 8 bars, bridge, 16 bars, hook in a song, that’s the Beatles formula. All the r&b records are made like that, so a lot of the rap records are made, 4 bar intro, 16 bars, hook, maybe 16 more bars, everybody is doing it like that. Like the 3 -16’s, everybody is rapping the same formula. And you know there ain’t no rules to the game so we shouldn’t have to play by rules. That’s just my opinion, but as far as production wise, I wasn’t never the greatest producer in the world. What I tried to do was put some real music in with this stuff.

Well you forged a signature sound out here though. The country rap tune or whatever, but it was definitely something that wasn’t being done before.
Well I’m gonna tell you why we called it country rap tunes. Because for many years, and rappers need to know this man, rappers need to know that other rappers, these people be your fans man. I had bought Boogie Down Productions records from the first record with Scott LaRock, I was listening to KRS ONE all the way up to the point where the man said “That shit y’all doing down there is not real hip-hop. If you ain’t from New York it’s not real hip-hop. We living this and what y’all doing is phony.” I don’t know if it was said in them exact words, but that’s the feeling I got after a certain point. When I saw the west coast blowing up and I saw certain folks from the south blowin’ up, Kris said some things that alienated us down here. And at that point when I heard that I said “I’m not listening to this dude no more.” And you know what else I said? “Since we ain’t real hip-hop, you right, we make country rap tunes down here.” So you know what you do? You put all the real hip-hop over here in the hip-hop section and you give us our section over here and lets see who sell the most records now. We rappin’ and we country and they done already told us, they don’t want us. The attitude has changed a lot in the past 7 or 8 years but New York had an attitude for a long time. It’s changing now. Jay Z did a lot to make the east coast accept it. When he grabbed his nuts man and said “We need to put these boys out there, I’m finna do a song with UGK mayne. And we finna shoot a million dollar, Hype Williams video at that.” Cuz who was doing that before Jay Z did that song with us man. Give him his card.

I think at the same time though it introduced him to the south as well.
That may be true, I’m not gonna disagree to that, maybe so, but he did a lot for the south when he made that move. I know for a fact there was people telling this man, “Don’t make this move.” The man grabbed his nuts and did that.

Well even you said you didn’t want to do the song at one point didn’t you?
I didn’t want to get on the song because uh, I wanted to do some hardcore Reasonable Doubt shit man. When Jay came to me and was like “Hey man, family, I need you on this song.” I said “When you need it?” And he said “I needed it yesterday.” And I was like “Aw we finta do some gangsta shit. We fit to talk about this work and we fit to really get out there.” And then I got this tape. Actually Bun flew out to New York and they put it down together. Jay already had the concept. Mind you I had just did “Wood Wheel.” I’m in the studio mixing “Wood Wheel” for the Realest Niggas Down South album. So our mindset is, we in a hardcore mind frame right now. So we go from this take and we put the reel on and we hear these flutes and this happy music. Mind you, I didn’t know it was Timbaland. I knew nothing about the mans plan to shoot the video, I didn’t know anything about any of this. I put the song on and I’m like MAAAAN. I’m not doing it. I called him and said “Hey man, are you trying to sabotage me?” He said “Look fam, it’s gonna be the biggest record of your career.” I said “I’m gonna call you back.” I was in Houston at that time, and I went back to Atlanta, I was about to move into a new house. And I’m at the hotel, we hadn’t moved in yet, you know I had been living in Atlanta from like ’96 until this thing happened. But I was moving to a new home. So I’m at the room, with my lady and I get a phone call. I had been driving, it’s like 12 hours from Port Arthur to Atlanta. I had been driving, I’m tired, I’m laying in the bed and the phone rings. It was a friend of mine, his name is Malik Zulu Shabazz. He’s an attorney from Washington, DC. Real cool brother. He’s like got this deep voice and he’s like “Brother C I think you need to come down to the studio. You need to do this song with Jay Z.” And I’m like “Maaaan, I’m not getting on that song.” And he’s like “Brother, that song is a hit. Just do it for me.” That man was very instrumental in that song coming about. Part of the reason I didn’t want to do it was cuz I couldn’t figure out how to rap on the song man. I couldn’t get into that rap contest Bun and Jay was having. Cuz I can’t rap like that. I’m not a lyricist. I’m trying to figure out how I’m gonna rap to this song. So to make a long story short, I go to the studio and I’m in there and I’m listening to it and there’s a little chick bouncing to it and I’m like “You like this?” And she’s like “Yeah, I LIKE it.” So I get a phone call from Big Gipp of the Goodie Mob, and something said, I was at Patchwerk and he said he was coming to see me. And I said “Hey man, let me ask you something? Can I use your style on this song?” And he laughed like you and said “What is you talking about?” I said man, “Gimme permission to use your style right quick man.” He was like “Yeah go on ahead and do it.” That’s Big Gipp’s style on there, listen to it. So I wrote it and I really wrote it being sarcastic. I said, “Well, if this gonna be the biggest song of my career I’m finna talk about sippin’ syrup, I’m finna talk about everything we do. Grippin’ the grain, choppin’ on blades and all this here and that’s how I wrote the song. Go back and listen to it, it’s Big Gipps style.

What are we looking at now? From what I understand you are up for parole later this year?
That’s what I’ve been told. Yeah. At this point anything can happen. I’m gonna stay positive and keep a positive outlook. If it’s my time to go then I’m gonna go. If there’s still something I need to see, then I’m gonna stay here to see it. This is divine intervention right here. I’m not in here just because. So when it’s supposed to be over, then it’ll be over and I’ll go home.

So is this helping you? Personally? Mentally? Is there anything that makes this negative situation positive in some way?
Maybe it’s helping me more than I know it is. Maybe if I would have been out there I might not be alive right now. I might have crashed a Benz full of syrup and weed and killed myself, then y’all’d be wearing RIP Pimp C shirts instead of Free Pimp C shirts. So uh, you have to make your own assumptions about that.

Who do you have on the outside right now? Who do you feel is still behind you? Have you still got people looking out for you on the outside?
Well my family has been tremendous. My family is riding with me. I get a lot of fan mail. Positive. I get a lot of mail from Iraq. Soldiers, people. I ain’t really been in contact with too many artists since I been in but David Banner has been a blessing to me. Kid getting down for me, I’m just gonna go ahead and let you know. He getting down for me in private and he getting down for me in public. And I got Bun out there keeping my name alive, it’s gonna be alright man. I’m blessed.

Will you jump right back in the UGK situation when you get back out?
I never jumped out. I can’t get out there and try to catch up. I’m not no French fry so I can’t catch up. I can only catch in with what’s going on. If I try to catch up, I’ma get caught back up so uh, as far as I’m concerned it never stopped. I just got jerked away for a while. I got confined. For reasons. Everybody has they own opinion, I won’t speculate. I won’t make it like there’s a big conspiracy against Pimp C and UGK.

Anything you want to say to your fans or anything you want me to make sure and get out there?
Yeah, first thing, C-Murder, Shyne, Beanie Siegel, Steady B, Cool C, keep y’all heads up. Any differences me and any of those people may have had before, I consider that to be the past. To the people out there and to folks who listen to our music, if you have family members or folks that are locked up in prison, or people that you call your friends, say man, write them a letter man. If it’s a way you can go see them, go see them. I know in Texas we can’t have but ten people on our visiting list and that’s some bullshit. We can’t change our visiting list but every six months. So it’s hard for people to be able to come see me. But if it’s possible for you to come see your people, go see them. Even if you feel like you ain’t been riding with them, send ‘em a letter anyway cuz it’s never too late. Mail is very important to us in here. Write your people. If you got a couple of dollars, send ‘em a couple of dollars. And remember, everyone who in the penitentiary is not necessarily guilty.


With your middle finger up...

Bun B
By Matt Sonzala

Tell me a little about the early days of UGK. How did you guys come together and form this group?
The early days of UGK, we’re talking about 1987 or ’88. I was basically in high school, Pimp was already in a group, I was already in a group. I had respect for him musically, he had respect for me lyrically, then eventually over time, the people around us weren’t taking things as seriously as we were, so just being in the same area, doing the same thing, taking things seriously the same ways, we eventually linked up together. Me and my man and he and his man got together and then eventually my man and his man decided that they didn’t want to rap and it was me and Pimp left standin’. So we just jumped down and did a couple of songs and a cat in Kings Flea Market, Russell Washington, he had a little sign in his store looking for demos and so we went back and got ours, let him hear it, and we had a couple songs on there. But the one he really felt was a hit was “Tell Me Something Good.” So we rerecorded that in the summer going into the fall of 1991 and we entered Houston Home Jams in January of 1992 and we got in on the last day of a two-week competition and we ended up winning the competition but we got disqualified because the guy from Big Tyme was already pressing up the record. But because people kept calling in the station to hear the song again, 97.9 just added it. The rest is history.

Who were the other two people you were working with?
The two people was a guy named Jalon Jackson and a guy named Mitchell Clean, but that group wasn’t called UGK, that group was called 4BM, Four Black Ministers.

Well you guys were one of the first groups around here to score a major deal. How did you end up getting with Jive? Was it just on the strength of that hit?
Naw I mean, to be honest with you when we started this was like early 1992. We had labels that like, aren’t even around anymore like Select Records, Priority Records, we had all the labels calling for us at that time. Cuz the record ended up selling 40-50,000 copies independently. There wasn’t even a movement for that type of shit. If it wasn’t dance music, we were selling gangsta music independently. The only people doing it at that time was like us and Dayton Family, this was a few months before 8Ball and MJG’s first project. I take that back, it wasn’t Dayton Family, maybe Top Authority. Dayton Family came after that. But us, Top Authority, and Breed, but Breed was with Ichiban and had distribution. They had their little bidding war going on or whatever so we were highballing. But eventually one day, everybody just stopped calling. Like we just kept putting Peter against Paul and then one day neither Peter nor Paul called and we were like “Well maybe we fucked this up.” Maybe we played hard ball too hard. So we were like “Fuck it, the next people who call, we signing.” The next people who called was Jive.

Well you were in pretty good company for a long time.
At the time yeah and I thought it was a pretty good move until we actually did it and then KRS was like, you fucked up. And then you know so I never even left the building happy. We were happy for about 15 minutes and then just that quick, reality set in. Like we never even had the chance to be disillusioned about having a record deal. We regretted it right after signing.

Well what were some of the shortcomings with Jive? What made it not as fruitful as you may have wanted it to be?
Well I think the problem with them was basically the same problem any southern artist was having if they were on a major label just then. It just wasn’t a respect for the region or for the talent from the region. I think they thought we were good doing what we were, but it was best to not spend a lot of money on it because it probably wasn’t gonna break. That whole thing was based upon assumptions and the fact that we were you know, “Why don’t we do promo in New York? Why don’t we do promo in LA?” Well they’d say “New York is not gonna buy your stuff anyway and in LA they don’t like guys like that and blah blah blah.” They had all these excuses to not do anything for us and yet you had people who weren’t selling half of what we were selling getting two or three videos. It was crazy. And none of those guys are there any more. They’re all gone. Look at the roster, anybody that was signed back when I was signed, anybody that was viable was us and R. Kelly and Too Short. These are people that had their own fan base prior to. Like we had our own fan base prior to signing with Jive, Short had his fan base, Tribe Called Quest were part of the Native Tongue fan base so those people stood the test of time, but everything they tried to break over there, it didn’t work. Even Mystikal had his own fan base, E-40 and the Click… The system wasn’t built to really reflect and promote street oriented music. Everything over there before had been dance music. Whodini, Billy Ocean, Samantha Fox, shit like that.

Well has that changed? Do the labels understand the south now?
Um, I think somewhat. I think when you look at the No Limit and all that stuff they started realizing that maybe there was something to it. And then we were the backbone behind all of that stuff, but then when they wanted to start trying to come in, we still had issues from the past that we were trying to rectify, but they didn’t want to talk about that. Record labels feel like they don’t want to talk about the past, let’s just move on. They don’t want to admit fault, they don’t want to admit mistakes, fuck it, just cut a check and keep moving.

Would you say y’all were a little stubborn with things?
We were extremely stubborn about a lot of shit. There was a lot of shit we could have let slide but you gotta think about the people we represent. Like we couldn’t just let these people keep stepping on our toes and not say nothing about it and just walk around like everything is cool, because in Texas you get called on that shit. You acting like you got a lot of money, somebody see you somewhere they gonna ask you where that money at. So you know it don’t make no sense for us to even front. We always kept it 100% real with them. We were stubborn, we played hard nose, but I don’t regret any of the moves we made because it made us stronger as a group. It gave us a stronger sense of solidarity with our fans because once we let them know business wasn’t right we had people calling in and faxing like “PAY UGK.” You know what I’m sayin’? But they didn’t move until Jay Z called, honestly they didn’t move until somebody they respected called.

Is it fair to say that when Pimp got locked up you guys were at one of your highest points?
Absolutely. This was gonna be the first project since “Big Pimpin’.” We had more eyes looking at us and what were about to do than we ever had before in our career. We had a Grammy nomination behind us, #1 on TRL, #1 on BET, all these different things, there was a million and one good looks in our corner. And it was just a matter of putting out good music behind it and we put the good music together and then just ended up getting sidetracked.

Well without a project and without a partner, you’ve done a great job keeping the name out there. Would you say that now, even with Pimp locked up, that UGK is doing more press and promotions than you ever did?
Ever! I mean we never really had anybody really interested in us like this. It’s just the persistence of the group and the fact that we worked together ten years as a team to keep the name alive. I’ve worked three years myself to keep the team alive. You have to realize, Pimp is doing his share. You know it’s hard sitting in prison, being who he was, where he came from. But he’s doing his time good, he’s not getting into shit, which anybody who knows Pimp knows that Pimp could be getting into the shit, causing trouble, doing stupid shit or whatever. But he’s doing his time like a man’s supposed to do his time. At the same time, I can’t represent for a man that’s not keeping it real, and he’s been 100. He’s been doing his time 100 inside so I gotta do everything 100 outside. And when Pimp comes home, I feel like it’s as good a look if not a better look than “Big Pimpin’.” We had a lot of people in our corner at that time just because we had some shine on us, but now, because we’re back at probably the biggest underdog situation we ever been in. We got half the team, really 2/3’s of the team not even moving right now. I try to explain to the people, Pimp wasn’t only my rap partner, Pimp was the music behind UGK. I’m really just trying to do everything I can. I have to be on all these songs to make up for the rhymes that Pimp ain’t writing, to make up for the beats that Pimp ain’t making right now. I had a little trouble the first couple of months because I wasn’t really sure cuz I had never done this by myself. All this time I been rapping I always been in a group. In my regular life I move one deep, I don’t care to have too many people around me day to day, but I just really had to pray and do what I had to do and just man up.

I know personally as a writer, I used to call Jive all the time and try to get with you and the publicist would just say every time, “There’s no way. UGK will not do interviews.” Was that true or was Jive blocking you?
That was never true. At certain times we didn’t want to do things that they wanted us to do. But we would tell them to tell people to contact us personally. The reason Jive would tell people that we didn’t want any press was because we were gonna tell the press what they were doing. And because of the fact that we weren’t really leaving the southern region, we weren’t really meeting any journalists because most people are based out on the east coast or west coast. Most journalists and publications are based in those regions. We didn’t do Memorial Day weekend, we didn’t do Spring Fests and all that shit like that. We didn’t really get any of that stuff until ’98 or ’99, we were doing club dates. So we were never in any situations where we could meet any of these people.

But after all these years and all these records it seems to me that there’s got to be some kind of breach of contract with Jive. You’re still signed to them right? Is this a never ending deal? What’s up with that?
There was never a respect. Like they never respected us as artists, but I think very few labels really treat their artists right. It’s only when an artist really gets bigger than a label itself that they really start actually kissing any ass.

Well it’s what, 13 years now?
Yeah thirteen-year anniversary was February 21st.

Isn’t a record contract generally about seven years or something like that? How are you still signed and obligated to Jive?
Well for one, when Pimp got locked up, there was a clause that they could put my album on hold. There’s actually a clause that if one of us get’s locked up that I could either continue the group by myself or put someone else in the group or whatever. I was just trying to offset that, but legally, the contract is extremely litigatable.

So will you guys do another record for Jive when he gets out?
I mean, right now I have no problem with them in terms as personally. I have no problem dealing with them, I can work with anybody. It’s just a matter of unfair compensation for the group. I think honestly this deal may be fulfilled. I don’t want to be ugly about the situation but I have a deal for five albums and one greatest hits. And you know I’ve given them four albums and they put out a Greatest Hits and two other albums. They put out a Chopped and Screwed album. There’s no clause in my contract for a chopped and screwed album. When I signed my deal, Screw wasn’t making Screw tapes. This was 1992. And I’ve had amendments made to my contract, but the last amendment was in 1998 before any major label was dropping Chopped and Screwed versions of albums.

Is there an issue there that you could maybe fight?
Absolutely, there’s several points. There’s several points on it. Like I say, my first thing would be, I would like to stay in that system. They’ve got an incredible system now. An incredible machine for putting music out and getting it promoted and marketed. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of one of the largest music systems in the game right now? But I wouldn’t want to be part of the system just to say “I’m on Jive.” Fuck that, those days are over. I’m not doing it if I’m not making any money off of it.

That seems like maybe that’s been the story of your life though.
Well, I’ve seen a lot of younger cats making a lot more money off of rap than me and I’m not bitter, I just have to go get my money. A lot of cats before me got discouraged and gave up on rapping. You just can’t do that. This shit makes too much money and the game is to try to get all the music they can from you and then break your spirit at the same time before you learn the game. That’s the whole thing, to get as much music as they can up out you before you educate yourself about the business. And once you do educate yourself about the business, and once you do educate yourself, hopefully you’re not viable anymore. A record company would love for every artist to be a one hit wonder. They really would. They talk about nurturing artists and catalog and all that, but their dream would be to get a three million selling artist out of every artist they sign and then they would fall off and they could just drop them and then sign somebody else. That’s their dream. But you got the internet now, people are communicating, these walls are being broke down and people are knowing the game. So they can’t get away with a lot of shit they used to so now they trying to get younger and younger. Because the average 18-19 year old cat been into rap a few years and so they know a thing or two. That’s why they want to sign 13 year olds and 14 year olds and 15 year olds, people who know less and less about the industry, hoping maybe their parents just want to see some money.

Well now Pimp has a solo record with Rap-A-Lot and you’re on the release schedule, how did y’all end up getting free for that?
J (Prince from Rap-A-Lot Records), that’s the only thing I can really say. The thing is they want us to be viable because right now the way they look at it, we’re still under contract with them. So I’m like well, “If you’re not gonna let us go, if you plan on keeping us, and you plan on putting an album out when Pimp comes home, wouldn’t you want your product to be as 100 as it can be? Don’t you want it to still be viable? In order to do that we need to be able to release music. Not just features, not just mixtapes, we need to be able to release albums. And if you’re not gonna do it the right way, then let me do it myself, let me market it myself. With a better situation so I can benefit off of it but still keep the name alive.” They were like “Fuck it, why not. We got all this other shit going on. Go ahead, do what you gotta do.”

Pimp said he’s not signed as a solo artist though. He doesn’t have a solo deal, he just has an understanding with Rap-A-Lot and they put that record together. Are y’all signed as solo artists?
I have a solo deal but I can’t really say what his situation is myself.

You have a solo deal with Rap-A-Lot?
Yeah, I have a label situation.

With that label situation, what’s going on with MDDL FNGZ right now? It’s been a while. We been waiting on the No Apologies album. Is that gonna come out through your label deal with Rap-A-Lot or will that come out on something else? When can we really expect it?
I really wouldn’t like to put all my eggs in one bunch. If it’s a situation where all those niggas can move with then fine, but ultimately I would like to spread it around and get a little bit of money from everybody. The reason why that hasn’t come out yet is cuz we want it to be right. This album is very important. It’s really the first time that we’re really coming out full force. I called in a lot of favors from people production wise, feature wise, and we just want the product to be right. I’m really glad that we haven’t dropped it before now because we actually have the buzz that we been trying to get for this group the whole time.


Rap-A-Lot vs. Swishahouse, Forest Brook High School Gymnasium. June 11, 2005

Man, the room had no a/c, but shit was off the chain... 28,000 words on my afternoon.

J. Prince on the bench with his players

Coach Bushwick

Bun B

007 of the Original 5th Ward Boyz tells me that his partner Lo-Life is currently appealing a 35 year sentence. FREE LO LIFE!

Dano Algierz, Michael Watts

International Red on the court




Rashad Al Amin

X-tascy, Lomax and BBK


Paul Wall



International Red, G-Dash, Mike Frost

Mike Jones, Mike Dean

OG Dewey



Kristie Rieken, Associated Press

Killa Kyleon

Mike Dean, Bun B, Willie D

Mike Jones

Grit Boys on tour near you... What up Pretty Todd??? BBK???

Mayne hold up.

Next game is next week, Sunday I guess against Bad Boy. But more importantly, Scarface will be performing with his live band, Saturday June 18th in Lake Charles, LA. More details as they come in.


And Click Here to Hear Chamillionaire and OG Ron C on Damage Control!


Blogger SergDun said...

you need to bring bun b to SF, leave him here for a week and then you can go back to Houston with Andre Nickatina

It will be called the Bay Area Texas Rap Exchange, kind of like foriegn exchange but with rappers.

2:58 PM  
Blogger Qenetic Storm said...

now these are what i call real interviews... going a little past the music to get to know the artist as basic human being. props!

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Anonymous Mark said...

Great read, this sites been on the browser for hours now. Amazing that this stuff that I was listeneing too for years in rural Central Texas is playing at clubs in NYC and Philly...

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Anonymous Aurich said...

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I'm 100% down with the Bay Area Texas Rap Exchange, where do I send my check?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yo dawg how come the link to that cham interview not work??? just curious cause i wanted to peep it out since i missed it,,, hollla

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Blogger Pushermania said...

It works for me, right click and save and you will be all good...

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great job on that Source article on UGK...still waitin on some info on Cl'Che...holla back!

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Blogger Pushermania said...

Man I havent even seen the SOurce piece. I can get you info on Cl'che if I know who you are...

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Blogger Chris said...


Matt will you be my cool uncle

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Anonymous Tigger said...

Great interviews, Matt...

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yes chris we can do dat.

and my email is matt at damagecontrolradio dot org

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