Epic Full Length Unedited Paul Wall Interview - From Ozone Magazine Aug. '05
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I still don't know what is up with the beef between Paul Wall and Chamillionaire. I don't even like to call it beef, cuz them boys were down since they were 6 years old. They obviously had some differences and split up, but really I don't know man, it seems more real than just hip-hop beef. Hip-hop beef is homoerotic (even if the magazines won't let you say it outloud Serg, you're right, it is). This is like 2 old friends whose path split. It's happened to me, it's happened to you, but we didn't make straight jams with our old friends we had to let go. So no one cared.
As far as I know, Paul contacted Cham's manager and told him that he wanted to squash the beef and Cham's manager told Cham's publicist to let the world know. Cham says he knew nothing of this and all of a sudden got a gang of calls and 2ways (including from me) asking to confirm if it was true. I tried to get 'em to both call into Damage Control but said they needed to speak to each other first. That's where I left it. So I don't know if they have talked, I don't know if they will talk. I have my own assumption as to why Paul reached out to make this happen. one because like I said hip-hop beef is for goof balls and these dudes should both be above that, and two maybe to save dude from a verbal attack from... somebody else not Paul. Anyway man, I don't like to see any of this shit. Just make good music. I ignore the people I don't like. See, right now if you were looking at me you would have seen me push the red button on my phone. Ignore. Bye. Out. Enjoy the interview.
Oh yeah. Here's last weeks Damage Control. Gotta say it's probably our worst DC ever. The turntables and CDJs were fucked up so no live mix from DJ Chill. Then there was an extended meeting with the station board or some shit in the lobby so everyone had to stay outside who wasn't in the mic booth and that kind of jacked with the vibe a bit. As you know, if you listen to the show, Damage Control is all about vibes, and community... And well, you just shouldn't fucking jack with it? Anyway click above to hear the result. We tried....
Enjoy this Paul interview, get you an iced tea and relax with it.
Paul Wall by Matt Sonzala
Back when you were first starting out and even when you released Get Ya Mind Correct, it was almost impossible to get an article written on Houston in any magazine. Nowadays it’s a different story. I even see you on MTV all the time and that was totally unheard of even a year ago. Do you feel responsible for any of this attention at all? Do you feel like you helped bring this sound to the world?
Nawww, I mean I think I just played my role in keeping the torch lit. Even if there never would have been a Paul Wall it still would have happened. I think people like UGK, a lot of it comes from Pimp C being locked up. That has a lot to do with the media and press attention. Because being that he’s locked up everybody wants to know what he’s locked up for, when he’s getting out, what is Bun B doing, what are their plans for when he gets out? So I think that draws a lot of attention to it. And being a positive person, you can look at the positive in the situation. Of course it’s a bad thing that he’s locked up, but it could always be worse. Just looking at the positive in the situation, it’s drawn a lot of attention to what’s going on in Houston. And of course, when anybody ask about Houston rap you can’t mention Houston rap without mentioning what Rap-A-Lot has done with J. Prince and the Geto Boys, and of course what UGK has done. You can’t mention Texas rap without mentioning UGK. So naw I don’t feel responsible.
Well thing is though, as a writer, I have been through all of those days and to be honest with you, Rap-A-Lot and UGK are two of the most important entities in my life musically as well. But what I’m saying is we had everything in Texas for years. We even had our own distribution, we had the sales, a network of places to do shows, our own scene, our own fans, radio at one point in time was even supportive, but really we never had the media. Now all of a sudden it’s like a media feeding frenzy down here. The reason I ask you is because while Screwed Up Click, Geto Boys and UGK are all lyrical, back in the day that stuff was almost like speaking a foreign language to a lot of people from outside the south. I think you, Chamillionaire and Slim Thug all helped bring lyricism to the table to where people from outside of here could understand it. Was that important to you?
Yeah well back then we was just on some different type stuff. I was real braggadocios back then. I mean, we all were in the Swishahouse. It was just about bragging about how much money we had, how fly we were, we just were about being fly. Of course we got a lot of that from the Screwed Up Click, because when I used to hear Lil Keke rap, just the way he would deliver his raps, his delivery was just so fly. The things he would say, he would take something so simple and the way he said it would just add a lot more emphasis to it and change the way it came out. But I don’t know, I think before, a lot of the country, which is so one track minded, they never expected this to happen. They were just so one track minded that eventually their way didn’t work, and they saw that there’s other ways around the country that is working. Like when you got sounds like the Hot Boys, and what No Limit did for Louisiana and what Nelly did for St. Louis, these are all respected type of styles that came from those areas. Not to say that everybody in Louisiana sounds like the Hot Boys or No Limit and not to say that everybody in St. Louis sounds like Nelly, but you definitely can tell where they are from. Like in Houston you got myself, Mike Jones, Slim Thug, we don’t all sound the same but you can definitely tell we all come from the same background. You can hear it in our slang and our voice and the things we rap about. And that’s really what the different geographical regions have done for music. They’ve brought their scene and their culture to the rest of the world and that’s what we’re trying to do with what’s going on in Houston. Houston is dead smack in the middle of the country and dead smack at the bottom and like you said, we been living in our own little world down here for so long, we didn’t get any media attention and that was cool with us. We was getting money down here and that was cool. A lot of other people around the country were getting a gang of media attention but they weren’t getting too much money. I don’t know what’s going on with everybody else, but with what we got going on is we trying to introduce this whole sound to the rest of the world. So shouts out to DJ Screw for inventing this.
Well I get a little angry sometimes when I read the articles being so centered around beef. I don’t really see that. Some artists say things like “Houston doesn’t support, you have to go outside of Houston to get support.” But fact of the matter is, what you just said about the money, people have been making money off music down here forever. You don’t see that in any other place but the Bay area. You don’t see independent rappers going out and really making money from their music unless they are from Houston. So who is it that is supporting?
I hear a lot of people in Houston say that. They say “Aw man, the radio be hating.” But if you look in terms of statistically on the play list, Houston radio shows more love to local artists than any other station across the country except for Atlanta, New York and LA. Any station in the country is playing Lil Jon and TI. Cuz that shit’s hot, so if you in Atlanta and they playing TI in Atlanta, that’s not the same as playing a local artist. Yeah he’s from Atlanta, but he’s not a local artist, he’s a national artist. But Houston is like, the only city in the country at least from what I’ve seen – and I’ve been to every radio station in the country – literally, and at any given time you gonna have an independent artist on the play list in Houston. Whether it’s on 97.9 The Box or Party 104.9. They always show a lot of love to local talent and by local I mean not major, independent artists. And I really didn’t notice that cuz I Was all caught up in that too thinking that, “Oh yeah, radio be hating.” But it’s not that they be hating it’s just that they gotta follow protocol and there’s procedures that they gotta go through and they got people that they gotta answer to and it’s not like they can just play whatever they want. It’s a system and you gotta respect that. If you abide by the rules and you abide by the system and you got some jammin’ music, it’s gonna get played.
Lets keep it real though. You’re from here. Ten years ago when these stations were really fighting each other, they were a lot more open to supporting the community. That was one of the things that built Houston and made it as independent and strong. Back in the early to mid 90’s the radio was a lot more open than it is today. That’s across the board across the whole country. But I remember back when you would hear Lil Keke, UGK, Geto Boys, Big Moe before he blew up, a lot of these cats. They had Straight from the Streets and shows like that. It has fallen off a little bit. But Houston was never the city that had to rely on that stuff, the streets have always been really strong out here. What’s it take for an independent artist to really infiltrate the streets out here?
You got a combination of a lot of things. Of course your music gotta jam and you gotta be consistent with your music. You can’t jam every now and then. Naw that ain’t gonna work. You gotta be consistent with it. It also takes time, and patience. Swishahouse, we been doing this since 1995. I started rapping in 1999 with the Swishahouse but I was you know, doing stuff with them in terms of street promotion and Djing since 1996 or 1997. It takes time, if it’s meant to be it’s gonna be. Just be consistent with it. Shit and give the people what they want. If it’s gonna be it’s gonna be. But people ruch things too much, they jump the gun too much or they feel like they gotta switch they style up. But naw man, what they had was working perfectly. You just gotta put out a couple more albums and then become the shit. I think that’s the main thing, just being patient. Most people aren’t patient with it and they want to compete on the same level as the big boys, but shit you just gotta do you and make good music.
What about people from outside of Houston? It’s no secret right now that everybody wants a piece of Houston. Every producer wants to produce you and every other Houston artist that’s made it. Every label is looking for a Houston group and independent groups are thinking they need to come to Houston right now. How is it for out of towners coming in here trying to work? It seems to me like it’s a pretty close-knit community here.
The main thing is, with the success of “Still Tippin’,” then with “Back Then,” “Sittin’ Sideways” and even with “They Don’t Know,” where you got a beat and you got a sample in the hook, too many people are trying to do that and they gonna wear that shit out. It’s already worn out in my eyes. You keep doing that shit, it takes away from it. They think that all you got to do for a Houston artist to pop is get a song with a sample in the hook and if you don’t do that then it’s not gonna work. I think that takes away from what the city has to offer. Musically, the city has so much to offer. Go back to what samples we took, that shit ain’t nothing new, that’s some shit that’s been going on in Houston forever. When UGK did “Diamonds and Wood,” that shit was a sample from a Screw tape (Grace). And that’s a classic song. But it’s like people just wearing it out to where they just putting any type of sample to any type of beat. That shit ain’t working right now. People just need to do them. Of course Screw music is the back bone of Houston but there’s a lot of people who are not coming up in that Screw genre. You got people like Chingo Bling, his fans aren’t necessarily fans of his because he’s slowed down. People like Chingo Bling because he’s Chingo Bling. But at the same time you gotta respect the Screw. Above all you gotta respect the Screw. If you don’t’ respect the Screw, and by the Screw I mean DJ Screw, if you don’t respect the Screwed Up Click and people that came before you and paved the way and laid the foundation for all of this shit if you don’t respect and honor that then you stepping on peoples toes. That’s the backbone of the whole music scene here. And I hear a lot of people say things like “Man I ain’t with that Screw type music, I’m doing some other stuff.” Not to discredit them, but they separating themselves from the machine, from the heart of the city, what makes the city pump. The heart of the city is the Screw music and what DJ Screw created. That’s not to say they won’t survive, but that’s always the rumor in Houston. People say people not gonna like your music unless it’s screwed, that’s not necessarily true but I think that’s just embedded in peoples minds. Here in Houston, if it’s done right, it just sounds better Screwed. It sound better to us, it brings out a lot more of the music and that’s something that DJ Screw taught us. But shit Jay Z jammin’ whether he Screwed or regular speed. I just think above al when people come to town, like I’ve met a bunch of big name producers who have moved to Houston, and it seems like their agenda is all the same thing. They move to Houston with more of a pop sound or a national sound, some production that you could hear Puff Daddy on or Snoop on. Like what Pharrell tried to do with Slim Thug, that shit don’t work. Even with me. When we were working on the album, my buzz and my attention in the media is humongous so it’s like what can we do to add to that and get radio play? So I can have a smash hit single and do 500,000 CDs first week. So first option they threw at us was shit, “Lets get Pharell or Timbaland or Dr. Dre on a beat and let’s get somebody big on a feature and somebody on a hook.” That’s what a lot of people moving to Houston are trying to do. They trying to bring the mainstream sound to Houston. But, that’s not gonna work. That didn’t work with Slim Thug, what worked with Slim Thug was “Three Kings,” which was him rapping on a Texas beat that Mr. Lee made. He had Bun B and TI on there and he was doing Slim Thug and that’s what works. I don’t know if it was people at Interscope or Geffen, cuz I know it wasn’t Slim Thug cuz he telling me the whole time, “Man, I don’t know why they won’t push this “Three Kings.” If they would have pushed “Three Kings” that would have been one of the biggest singles of last year. But Slim still did incredible his first week. Interscope thought “Still Tippin’” wasn’t gonna work but now everybody over there kicking themselves in the ass like “Damn, we should have put “Still Tippin’” on Slim Thugs album.”
Well wasn’t that originally Slim Thug’s song?
Yeah, of course. It’s his freestyle, it’s his hook.
Did you have any problem with that becoming a Mike Jones single? Because that song is two years old now and all of a sudden it’s a Mike Jones single. Even in the Vibe magazine article, which I took real offense to, they made it sound like Mike Jones was bringing you and Slim up on his song. Did you take any offense to that when it became the single for his album rather than a whole look on Swishahouse?
Naw, I mean, to be honest for me I was just happy to have a song that was as big a hit as “Still Tippin’.” T. Farris put me on the song and I was just glad for that cuz see originally they did “Still Tippin’” to a different beat and it just wasn’t it. That just wasn’t the one. And the beat for “Still Tippin’” that you hear today was like the last beat we had left for The Day Hell Broke Loose Part 2 and nobody wanted to rap on it. Cuz the way the beat was tracked out it was just a constant loop and it was hard to write to. So I said “T, what you want me to do?” And he said “Man, just write that bitch as a freestyle.” And that’s what I did. I wrote it like a freestyle. And I had no idea it was about “Still Tippin’” it was just a beat at the time. And from there T. Farris said they needed to use me for the song and they needed to put it on that beat. Cuz see Michael Watts had already decided to put the vocals on a different beat. They weren’t going to use Big Tyme’s beat. Originally they was gonna use the Nutcracker beat, “Sowed Up.” And Salih Williams made both of those beats, and “Back Then” and “Sittin’ Sideways,” that boy a fool. I was just honored to be on the song. We all knew it was Slim Thugs shit, it was his freestyle he did in 1999. We can give that song to anybody, it’s still Slim Thug’s song. I read the Vibe article, but what’d you say they said on there?
Really they said that Mike Jones is the first artist in Houston to really bring up a couple of his partners and put them out. That’s not true about Houston at all. It talks about how people in Houston don’t work together which is not true.
Yeah, that’s not true at all. I don’t want to discredit Mike, by saying it’s Slim’s song, but it is Slim’s song and it was originally on The Day Hell Broke Loose Part 2.
But when that song was originally made it seems like that’s when a lot of the major changes started going on at the Swishahouse.
Yeah, but like you said people in Houston get along good. People always compare it to Atlanta. They say, “Man, we need to get along like how they do in Atlanta.” But shit if you go to Atlanta, everybody don’t always get along. There’s a lot of camaraderie, that is true, cuz you see a lot of people doing a lot of features with a lot of artists, but Atlanta has so many major acts, Monica, Usher, Lil Jon, TI, Goodie Mob, Boyz N Da Hood, Young Jeezy, Jermaine Dupri, Mariah Carey, Jagged Edge, Ciara, Ludacris you know what I’m saying? The list goes on. There’s so many artists that are major artists in Atlanta that have been thriving for so long and of course when you got that many major artists in one city, it’s like, when I see Usher getting TI on a song I don’t se it as he getting him on there just cuz he’s from Atlanta, I see him getting him on there cuz he’s one of the number one rappers in the country. Like when I do a song with Slim Thug I consider him one of the prominent rappers in the country and Bun B, he’s a legend in rap. When I get Bun B on a song it’s not cuz he’s from Houston it’s cuz I respect his music and his hustle and I think he’s jammin’ like a mahfucker. There’s only one or two people in Houston that don’t get along, but they don’t get along with everybody. Everybody else pretty much get along with everybody else.
Speaking of Atlanta, back in the early to mid-90’s, a lot of the urban music industry gravitated to that city and built almost like a satellite office to New York or something, they became a music industry city. But Houston has more black residents than Atlanta has people total. With everything happening in Houston do you see much industry coming here to give it the backbone that Atlanta has? And do we need it?
Realistically, it’s just a matter of time. Houston is the fourth largest city in the country this shit bound to happen anyway. The rap scene in Houston has been so “local” for a long time and everybody doubted the sound, but look at the sales, Chicago was Mike Jones #1 market. Chicago bought more CDs than Houston and Dallas did. That lets you know right there that it’s not a local sound. The sound is everywhere, like I’m in the airport today and I got stopped by some white kids from Iowa, from Iowa! Like, for real. They mama came up to me and I took pictures with her kids. I asked where they was from and they said from Iowa, I was like damn! I threw a peace sign up and they was like “Aw he chunking the deuce.” Cuz they saw me on MTV with Sway. What MTV did, to have them come down, they brought so much attention to what’s going on down here. That did so much good for myself and for Houston.
What about internationally? I know you were asked to screw and chop a record from Amsterdam.
Yeah I got a few guys out in England. We were gonna go over to Europe and do some promotions and touring over in Europe but we didn’t have our passports right. Shit, that shit was crazy.
Shortly after Swishahouse announced the deal with Asylum, it was announced that you had gone over to Atlantic. How did that come together?
Well Asylum is a branch off of Warner Bros. And Atlantic. So when we go to Asylum the ultimate goal is to get upstreamed to either Atlantic or to Warner Bros. And Mike Jones got upstreamed to Warner Bros., so it was just strategically good for me to go to Atlantic. Being that if we were both on Warner Bros., they would always push us together and have us doing everything together, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it takes away from our individuality. So being on Atlantic they can focus on pushing me. We both support each other and team up when we can for the big situations like BET Awards and stuff like that. But with Atlantic, being that I’m so close with TI and everybody at Grand Hustle, and being that TI and Grand Hustle are teamed up with Atlantic they have kind of taken notice of me for a long time. And Grand Hustle, they all supported me with everything they did.
Is it still Swishahouse though?
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah everything we do is Swishahouse. We signed to Swishahouse, we just using Atlantic and Asylum’s resources, but Swishahouse is it’s own label. It’s myself. Mike Jones, Archie Lee, Cooda Bang, Aqueleo and r&b singer Crystal is signed to Swishahouse now too. She’s on my album.
Well this might not have anything to do with you, but just as an observation, it doesn’t seem like Mike Jones is even fucking with Swishahouse anymore. When you see him on TV or in an interview the dude does not even mention it. Have you noticed that?
Yeah, definitely shit. Not just from interviews, but he ain’t. I support Mike in what he do. I don’t know if that’s something he got with Swishahouse or he just doing his own thing. He just doing his thing right now of course he’s Swishahouse, that’s what made us. And he’s always had the Ice Age company so that ain’t nothing new.
I like that you say that because it shows a marked difference between the two of you. Because he won’t even mention Swishahouse and he’ll tell people how hot he was before Swishahouse if he even mentions them. Do you give Swishahouse a lot of credit in your career?
Who me? Shit 100% of my credit. I wouldn’t be shit without Michael Watts, G. Dash and T. Farris. Shit they started all the shit with me back in 1996 when Watts used to let me pass out flyers for him. Then when he started putting me on Mix Cd’s and had me selling CDs and everything, that was an honor just to be in the mix. I give him 100% of the credit. T. Farris put me on “Still Tippin’” and if I wouldn’t have been on that I wouldn’t be nowhere near the artist I am today as far as publicity and exposure. I give Swishahouse 100% of my credit, next to God. What Mike got going on, he’s just doing his thing. I support him and what he do. And I reallyhave no idea what’s going on. I don’t know why he don’t say Swishahouse.
I think it’s good to hear you being positive about the situation and it’s just a whole different look really. But there’s no denying that during the short period of time when you weren’t with them, Get Ya Mind Correct was an independent milestone for this city. What y’all did with that record was ridiculous compared to a lot of records in regards to sales, the style, everything. That was a landmark release.
Thank you. Well a lot of that too was just being teamed up with Madd Hatta and Cat at Paid in Full. Madd Hatta is just a genius when it comes to doing business and making business decisions. He’s just a genius. He didn’t force anything on us. He let us make our own decisions with the direction we wanted to go. And Cat his work ethic is just phenomenal. We were young and just ready to work too, just happy to be in that situation. We were full of energy and just made a positive situation out of it. We had a great thing come from that and I Was just happy to be a part of it. My whole career from start to finish I’ve just been in a lot of good situations, I’ve been blessed. To even see the amount of success I have today and I’m not even at the top I’m still in the middle. But I’m still climbing the ladder. Even if everything ends today I can honestly look back and say “Damn I had one hell of a career.” I’m just blessed to be where I’m at.
Have you heard Chamillionaire’s new Man on Fire disc and the shots he took at you? He’s claiming that he ghostwrote stuff for you on Get Ya Mind Correct.
Uh you know what? I’ve heard about it, but I haven’t heard it though. Man I ain’t worried about that shit. I don’t concern myself with those type of things. I focus on positive things like putting $80,000 down on this house to bring my interest rates down. I’m not worried about negativity. I wish him all the best. I wish him all the best success I ain’t got no hard feelings or nothing. I hope he sell a million records his first week cuz if he does everybody who buy his album gonna go back and buy Get Ya Mind Correct and Controversy Sells and that’s gonna be more money in my pocket. I ain’t heard the CD.
You are one of the few rappers who seems to stay out of all the beef shit. Has there ever been a point where you’ve had to address someone on a record? Would you do that?
There’s been situations where I have thought that I could or I couldn’t and I played chess, I think actions speak louder than words above all. I don’t talk about it, I be about it as best I can. I’m Paul Wall. Part of me is a real nice guy. And a part of me, shit, you know, I got a temper too though. I got buttons and if you push the buttons enough I’m gonna go off. Musically, I ain’t never really wanted to hear about that shit. I just wanted to hear good music. When I listen to music I don’t want to hear about that shit. I just want to hear good music. Being that that’s what I want to hear, then I try to abide by those same principles when I’m making music. My music career doesn’t thrive off of making a scene and causing a scene and stirring up commotion and trouble. My musical career is thriving off of making good music. I been blessed enough to be around good people like Salih Williams and Pretty Todd and Calvin Earl, the G.R.i.T. Boys and Yung Redd and Trae who support me 100% in everything I do.
I know a lot of times the industry likes to play up all of that controversy though. Have you ever been approached by someone in the business who might want you to jump into these controversies?
Oh yeah, definitely, a lot. And shit, I be doing interviews sometimes and they try to rile me up. Only issues I got is issues of Ozone in my house.
Who are you working with on production on your album?
I got Salih Williams, and I wish I would have got more from him but he’s so hot right now it’s hard to get with him. I got KLC from the Medicine Men. DJ Paul and Juicy J, Sanchez and K-O from Grand Hustle and of course the Grid Iron, Pretty Todd and Calvin Earl.
You came up with Pretty Todd right?
Yeah we went to college together, University of Houston. But I’ve known him longer than that but that’s when we first started clicking up and hanging tough. Myself, Calvin and Pretty Todd, we all pretty much have the same vision. Musically we want to make good music, with musical concepts and themes. We don’t want to make the same music, we want to make groundbreaking music. We don’t want to make the same old shit and we don’t want to make trendy music for now, we want to make timeless music where you can put the song in 5years from now and it’s still gonna jam. That’s the ultimate goal for what we’re doing. We all have our own different backgrounds and creative concepts and we have our roles that we play. The shit that they doing is just ferocious. And with the G.R.i.T. Boys and Yung Redd teaming up too, I’m just happy to be a part of it. I know I keep saying that shit, but I never in a million years expected that I’d be in the positon that I’m in. Never. So just for me to be here is like wow, I’m just happy to be here. I’m enjoying this to the fullest, living it up and trying to make sure my stay here lasts as long as it can. And I’m trying to do what’s right. People like Bun B and Big Hawk, they really reached out to me. And they helped me in my journey and in my path and being that they are legends, Bun B and Hawk, they came before me and they kind of helped bring me to where I’m at today. They reached out to me at different times and gave me a helping hand. Bun B came and did some stuff with me and they gave me a helping hand and that let me know I need to help somebody else and I gotta keep it going. I gotta keep showing love down the line and help people coming out behind me. It’s not just about me, it’s about keeping the heart pumping in the city. That’s why I always let it be known about what DJ Screw has done.
You’re one of the few white rappers that doesn’t come off as a gimmick. You don’t seem to wear that on your sleeve, in fact Vibe magazine even said in another issue that you are one of the few white rappers to ever come out who’s race is not an issue.
I mean with me that never was an issue for me growing up. My mom always instilled in me that I’m Paul. I’m not white and everyone else is black, I’m Paul and they are who they are. It don’t make a difference what race you are. And Houston is so multi-cultural. Being that we’re so close to the border of Mexico, the Hispanic population is humongous. We’re so close to the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean is right around the corner so we got a large Jamaican population, Cuban population, Puerto Rican population, Trinidadian population, it’s just huge. The Asian population is crazy. The Indian population is huge. There’s only two airports in America that fly directly into Pakistan and Houston is one of them. Just things like that. We’re right here by the ship channel. The city is multi-culturous. My mom just always instilled that in me. My mom really just taught me anti racism. She wasn’t even neutral about the shit, she taught me where it’s not cool to be racist. We Houstonians. This is America we live in. Shit even now, it’s 2005 it ain’t 1960. It’s never been an issue with me, in life or in rap. It’s just me being me. The only place people really mention it is when I go on the east coast and up north. But other than that don’t nobody ever point it out. I’m cool with a lot of rappers. I’m cool with a lot of white rappers too. People like Haystak and Bubba Sparxxx and White Dawg, at the same time I’m cool with most rappers.
Well the south has such a racist stigma put on it, but shit you go to places like New York and Chicago man, big cities, racism is way more pronounced up there.
Definitely man and that’s crazy.
That stigma also relates to the fact that we never had the media down here. People don’t even know what we’re about, like you say in the song. That’s a very true song, people have no idea what Houston is about.
Yeah just like Bun say, “All they know is what we tell ‘em and what we sell ‘em.” That’s all they know, they don’t really even grasp what we have going on, they have no idea. That’s why when people on a major label say, “We have an album, let’s get it Screwed and Chopped.” So what do they do? They go to whatever the cheapest DJ is who will Screw and Chop it for whatever amount, and then it don’t sell because the DJ didn’t do it right. They could have just went to somebody like Michael Watts. They don’t understand that just anybody can’t Screw and Chop. Even to this day, if DJ Screw didn’t do it, it ain’t Screwed. But at the same time, shit we gotta honor his legacy, that’s why we call it Screw Music. Why is it Screwed? Cuz we honoring what DJ Screw created. DJ Screw a legend in this shit. He paved the way and planted the seed and created the whole back bone of everything we are in Houston.
He nurtured everybody’s stuff as well. He stayed right with it as long as he was here. Five years since he passed he’s still running the city.
What are some of the records that you Screwed and Chopped?
I did T.I. “Urban Legend, I did Lil Flip’s last one, new C-Murder, Master P, I did the Z-Ro one Let the Truth Be Told. But the one I took th emost pride in was DEA. Being that that was DJ Screw’s group, Dead End Alliance, Screw, Fat Pat, Hawk, Lil Keke, KK, and you know and everybody from the main rappers from the first batch of Screwed Up Click people were on the album. 3-2 was on the album, ESG was on the album, Big Moe was on the album. So it was like a classic. One of my favorite albums of all time so shit. I used to always ask Hawk when he was gonna put out the Screwed and Chopped version of DEA, I just kept bugging him about it and he was like “Go on and do it.” I did it and I took a lot of pride in that. When I did it I went back and listened to a lot of Screw tapes and tried to emulate it as best I could.
What’s the going rate to get an album Screwed and Chopped? Does that make you much money?
Yeah a lot of it depends on the artist. There’s always different ways, of course getting points of the album is one way. But as for flat fees it can be anywhere from $5000 to $15000. Just depends on the artist, the record label, the relationship and the album.
Is it a lengthy process you have to put a lot of thought into or is it just natural?
I just jump in and knock it right out. I can do it in a few hours, a whole day or so. But Michael Watts he really put a lot of time into it. Every project he does. Shit Michael Watts doing his thing. He doing a great job of carrying the torch, carrying on the legacy.
When was the first time you heard DJ Screw?
When I heard rap I heard Screw. There was Screw tapes and there was the radio. As a little kid I didn’t understand what it was all about, I just thought that that shit was jammin’ more than the radio was jammin’. Shit, it’s just what we would listen to. It’s just like any other form of music. You got country you got rock you got jazz you got classical you got rap you got pop you got r&b and you got Screw music. So for me it was always an option of a different form of music.
You set a new bar now though cuz you are Screwing and Chopping The Transplants, a rock album. How did that come about and how does that process differ from Screwing and Chopping a rap CD?
Man it pretty much was the same process but it took a lot of effort. Of course I had been a fan of Tim Armstrong and Rancid and Travis Barker and Blink 182 and Skinhead Rob, I always been fans of their stuff anyway. But I had met ‘em in the offices at Atlantic. I heard they were there and went in there and met ‘em and shit and they were showing me love telling me they were fans of my music. And I was like, “Man, you gotta be kidding me.” I was like y’all fans of my music?” And then they played me their new album and I was like “Man y’all need to let me go on and Screw and Chop that bitch.” And they were just like “Hell yeah,” and they were on some lets do it just to see how it sounds. And Atlantic asked me to do it on the promotional tip but the buzz around it got so big that they decided to put it out as a commercial release. Just like anything else I was happy to be a part of it.
So you listen to rock music too?
Yeah I listen to a lot of different forms of music. I gotta keep myself diverse. I gotta diversify. I can’t just watch BET Uncut all day and 106th and Park. I watch Bill O’Reilly, everything. Things even thought I don’t agree with things I see on Bill O’Reilly all the time and the way he talks to people, it’s good to watch it just from an educational stand point. I’m trying to understand a different side of the fence. I’m trying to understand where he’s coming from even though I don’t agree with it. It’s like shit, it just gives me something to step my game up. I watch Bill O’Reilly and I watch CNN and I watch Court TV and Forensic Files. A lot of shit. It ain’t just entertainment all the time, I’m soaking up information.
I watch O’Reilly too sometimes just to see what the other side is plotting about. To keep up on all sides of the spectrum. So what is some of the music outside of hip-hop that you liked coming up. Who are some of the artists?
Sade. That was one of the first CD’s I Screwed and Chopped on my own. Phil Collins, I used to jam that with Jimmy D in the Lab. He’d always jam Phil Collins in the Lab. And I got that from a lot of my older potnas in the hood. They used to jam that shit. And I was like man this shit jammin’.