Previews are pouring in from New York City and shit... And I'm just gonna give you this Paul Wall interview...
Oxycottontail and HoustonSoReal Present
Damage Control Live with Devin the Dude, DJ Chill, Spankrock and JD
Here's what Flavorpill had to say... I mean has, tomorrow...
Has blogging changed hip-hop? It certainly lets curious fans keep in touch with nichey regional variations. As the Houston scene explodes, HoustonSoReal is an incredible font of information, be it upcoming remix or mixtape notices, exclusive interviews, or breaking news.
Tonight, Devin the Dude headlines a showcase of Houston sounds brought to you by OxyCottontail and Matt Sonzala, mastermind of HoustonSoReal and the Damage Control radio show. Devin is the atypical Houston rapper 22 ozs. of beer, not 24" rims, "a cool black fellow, laid back mellow/Smokin' out type of dude." Paul Wall's chain lights up like a lamp, but Devin lights doobies, croons hooks, and writes songs with depth and insight. (NP)
Note: Houston's DJ Chill leaves potential for getting chopped and/or screwed rauch-rapper Spankrock also opens.
Kenneth Capello you better bring your motherfucking ass out. And all y'all else too. If you are in the vicinity you can't miss Devin the Dude Live in New York with DJ Chill and man... Rothko: 116 Suffolk, Lower East Side, NYC, 9 p.m. Do come.
And if you are in the vicinity of Amsterdam Saturday 4 June, you already know, come holler at us at The Melkweg, we want to see you. Click the link and get your tickets now. See you at the Grey Area.
And then you know what? Fuck it. I'm just gonna give you this old interview I did with Paul Wall for a magazine who has yet to print it. I won't say any names, but I'm just saying now, I'm about to clear out some interviews on this bitch. I did this one last year some time, literally. So it's a bit old. I definitely want to get Chamillionairre on the site soon too and we'll get a solid Paul Wall update before the album as well.
Anyway enjoy it...
From DC I think. Thanks to CocaineBlunts.com
By Matt Sonzala
I know your website is DJPaulwall.com. Were you known more as a DJ or a rapper first?
It depends on who knew me. People who really know me knew me as a rapper first, but you know coming up it’s hard to make a name for yourself and I like to DJ. The thing about DJing is, I hated going to the club and they would play some bullshit. I hated going to the club and they wouldn’t play the songs I wanted to hear or the DJ would be too worried about you know, hoes in the DJ booth. Or he’d be getting drunk hisself or partying too much hisself that he wouldn’t be playing the right music. So I kind of started Djing, teaching myself how to DJ as far as the parties go. And I had some homeboys out here I hooked up with that had the equipment, and I didn’t have the equipment but I had access to records being that I did street promotions for my boy Ace and my boy Lump and my boy 5-4. They did a lot of the promotions around the city for like No Limit, Cash Money, and Mean Green helped me a lot with the No Limit stuff too and you know Def Jam of course. So I got a lot of groundwork in as far as knowledge goes to the game. I was attracted to the game when I was young. So I had easy access to the records, so I brought the records to the table, my homeboys had the equipment and we used to throw parties. I just love to DJ. I like rocking the party like that. And as far as the record went, it was hard to make my name for myself so I just laid out all the options and did the rappin’ when I could, did the Djing when I could. So there’s certain people that knew me just because of Djing and there’s certain people that knew me from rapping and there’s certain people that knew me just from promotions. It be funny when people first heard me on a Swishahouse tape and this was after I had been rapping with Swishahouse for a year plus. They just don’t know, I been doing that. I been rapping since I was 6 or 7 years old.
So you got into the rap game mostly due to promotions?
Yeah that really helped build my name up because a lot of people are too egotistical to worry about going out there and shaking people hands and meeting people they need to meet and doing what they needed to do, but I was the exact opposite. I was willing to do whatever I had to do to put in the work. So I was out introducing myself to people and the funny thing is this was ten years ago. Literally ten years ago. So the people at that point who were doing what I was doing or people at that point who weren’t nothing now they some top DJs or top club promoters or top rappers, and I just kept it 100 with everybody and kept a good relationship with everybody and built up the relationships. You know I never burned a bridge with anybody and I take pride in that. So doing promotions opened the door wide open for me and it built up a rapport with the DJs, the club owners at the time, all that.
A lot of people do a lot of things to get into the rap game but you actually went right to the source and put in some work.
It’s always cool to be cool with the boss, but if you cool with the employees, eventually one of them is gonna be the boss. So I just did that. A lot of people just focus on the boss and being cool with the boss but what you gonna do when the boss ain’t there? And it’s not just about being cool with people. I definitely earned what I got. I earned my respect and put a lot of work into it.
What were you listening to when you first started rapping? Who inspired you?
Lil Keke and UGK. Those were the main things I was jammin’. And of course when the Hot Boys came on the scene with Juvenile. I’m talking about 1996-97. I was all over that. I was all over BG, Hot Boys for real. But the things that inspired me was really Lil Keke and UGK. Because they were representing the culture that we lived in. And when I would turn on MTV Raps back in he day or Rap City or whatever I’d see people from the east coast or the west coast who don’t talk like us, don’t dress like us, don’t act like us, don’t rap like us, it’s completely different. I might as well have been looking at somebody from a different country. And it was all cool cuz it was all rap, but it wasn’t what I’m used to. What I’m used to seeing. So when I saw Lil Keke, he was coming out on the Screw tapes with Screw, and man, I was jammin’ all the freestyles. And really I would do it on the low because that was at a time when all the north side and south side plex was going on so I wouldn’t be riding around just bumping it. At the same time when he’d come to the north side I’d go to his concerts and I’d know all his words. He’s still my favorite rapper. Lil Keke always been my favorite rapper, Lil Keke and Juvenile. And of course UGK cuz they was doing the Texas thing on like a whole ‘nother level. UGK was the people when I went around to other places, everybody knew UGK. And they really represented the culture that we lived in as far as the candy paint, swangin’, sippin’ syrup, boppers, and all everything, jammin’ Screw. They really represented that and took pride in that. They would throw a middle finger up and if you don’t like it, that was it, leave. I always respected that.
What part of the north side are you from?
Northwest side over off 290.
So back in the day are you saying that a lot of folks on the north side were not banging Screw?
It would be some you know, it was crazy. When the Geto Boys were real big everybody was always claiming they was from 5th Ward and when Keke and Pokey and all them got big everybody was claiming they was from the south side. And when Slim Thug got real crunk everybody was claiming they was from Homestead. Lil Mario, everybody wanted to claim they was from Acres Homes. It was crazy. It was some people that was jammin’ it but not really. The people that was jamming it was people from the south side. They lived on the north side but they was from the south side. Like people I was in junior high with, they grandparents stayed on the south side in South Park or whatever. So that’s what they would represent. They would represent South Park, south side, Hiram Clark or whatever cuz that’s where they were from. But I had a lot of friends that if you brought a Screw tape in their car you weren’t riding with them.
Do you remember the first time you heard Michael Watts and Swishahouse?
Michael Watts he used to produce Straight from the Streets and he used to DJ with Madd Hatta when they first were doing it a long time ago. And I was trying to come up. I must have been 12 or 13. I listened to the radio and I called in one time and I just happened to catch Watts in the right mood at that time and I talked to him in the right way and I asked him for a number to hit him at cuz I was trying to rap man, can I send you a tape whatever I need to do just let me know. And I stayed in touch with him. Talked to him on and off. I used to promote parties too in high school and my homeboys used to throw parties and get Michael Watts to come DJ and I used to pass out the flyers and stuff. And when I’d see Michael Watts I wouldn’t just go hey there’s Michael Watts, I’d go speak to him. Just put the name with the face and build the relationship up. And Watts knew me from promotions and he had no kind of clue how old I was. And this was really when the Swishahouse was just getting started. The first time I heard him mixing though was on a tape called Homestead for Life. Later on they referred to it as North Side 1. My homeboy let me hear that tape and it was so crazy because I didn’t know who it was. I thought it was Screw at first and I was like “Damn, somebody from the north side on Screw?” Cuz as much as I loved the south side, I loved Lil Keke, that’s how much I represented north side to the fullest. I would walk around with my north side shirt, go to Club Oasis, I wasn’t even old enough to get in, I wasn’t even old enough to drive, but I would be up in the club throwing up the north side, wearing a north side shirt, getting in fights, all kinds of stuff, just cuz I was like a die hard soldier for that. I was real with all that back then. But everybody was back then. Everybody from the south side was all for the south side and everybody from the north side was all for the north side. So it wasn’t no different. But when I heard Michael Watts I was like damn here’s somebody representing where we from. I immediately was like yo I gotta get that.
Is it fair to say that you came into the game as a partner with Chamillionaire?
Yeah definitely. We lived down the street from each other, about 8 – 10 houses from each other. We were best friends from shoot, 3rd grade. We always did all the same stuff together. We both were rappin’ trying to make a name for ourselves. You know we both had the same kind of style at the time. I always wanted to represent the Texas lifestyle, but at the same time I was on some lyrical type stuff, more than just representing the down south type style. We were both on the lyrical path and we sounded good together. We had good chemistry. When I started doing stuff with the Swishahouse he had moved to Chicago. We both started doing stuff with the Swishahouse a lot but then he moved to Chicago. He was doing stuff with Hurt ‘Em Bad up there. But then that didn’t work out so then he came back and when he came back, he didn’t really know how big Swishahouse was and he was walking around and people were asking “Yo you’re Chamillionaire and Paul Wall?” He seen how big it got.
So you were doing Swishahouse tapes and then you released an album together called Get Ya Mind Correct.
Yeah um, we were never signed to the Swishahouse. It wasn’t no record label at the time it was just mixtapes. We was just putting out mixtapes and Michael Watts always told me that the purpose of the mixtapes was to promote the artist. So that’s what I was looking to get out of the mixtapes. To promote myself on the mixtapes. And he always had an open door for me to come promote myself on the mixtapes. But it was a real crazy situation at the Swishahouse cuz Michael Watts was trying to turn it into an actual business with the record label and he of course was funding everything himself, running the show and Djing at the radio show full time, doing parties and all that. With that situation it was like we were just promoting ourselves and we had a little buzz going. People were talking about us. A lot of record labels were trying to sign us and Mad Hatta being one of them, matter of fact when “Down South” was poppin’ he was doing shows off of that. And he said wherever he’d go he didn’t know anything about me and there would be people asking about me. He’d do shows with Lil Flip and people would ask where’s Paul Wall at? Actually he didn’t really know Chamillion at the time, he was just trying to sign me. But that’s when Chamillion came back from Chicago and then you know it was like hey lets do this group thing. We worked it out, he gave us a real good situation and we were at a position on his label where we pretty much were the only artists. So we got all the focus and all the attention. And the percentage we got from sales was by far larger than anything else we’d even asked for before and Hatta is so good with his business, we felt like that was the best option. And he gave us a lot of freedom. He gave us creative control. Whatever we wanted to do he let us do it. I think we kind of blew up too fast for our own good, cuz we didn’t expect it to get that big that fast. Then before you know it we’re traveling around the country doing shows 3-4 times a week. And then we didn’t have time to come back and record our other albums and when we do come home we trying to do mixtapes. So before you know it two years go by and we don’t have another album out.
What I liked about y’all as a group is it seemed like y’all had a chemistry that a lot of people didn’t.
Yeah we really had a real agenda. When we put out that album we really knew what we wanted to do. We really had something to prove because this was at a time when Lil Flip was buzzing, right before Flip signed his deal and Slim Thug was just huge on the underground and we of course were always in Lil Flip’s shadow, in Slim Thug’s shadow. Being that we’re all the same age pretty much do the same stuff and we’re all down with each other and they were bigger than us. So we really had something to prove, not just to ourselves but to everybody.
I took this one for Murder Dog three years ago... still exists.
I think a lot of people were surprised when you broke up. Nobody really expected that shit.
Yeah me and Chamillion, cuz we grew up together and I think we kind of blew up bigger and faster than we expected. Our personalities just changed and we just grew up and grew apart. It was to a point where we was just clashing head on. And you know, it was little stuff. When you around somebody every single day of your life there’s bound to be some problems coming in. And you know like a lot of little things happened here and there and you know a straw don’t weigh nothing, but if you get enough straws together somebody’s camel’s back might break. So that’s just what it was. It was to a point where we were mixing business with pleasure and it went to a point where we weren’t gonna be friends no more, that’s cool we don’t have to be friends, but we’re still gonna make money together. And you know that’s what people say now, you can still make money together but they don’t understand, back when we were doing that, that’s how it was back then. And then it started getting so bad, from my viewpoint I was like damn the business not right, I’m not making no money and we’re not friends. So the only reason I stayed around was because I gave it everything I had and just stuck with it just because of our history together growing up together. There was too much stuff going on and it was a real bad situation for me to be in and it was bad for all of us. So our contracts came up with Madd Hatta and I felt real bad about that because Madd Hatta really looked out for us and gave us a big push. He was open minded about everything and wasn’t into the stardom and the fame he was into promoting us and selling records. And I feel really bad because our contract was for 5 albums, but the contract came up because of time. The time ended to where everything else was over. It was our fault, we didn’t have anything else to put out. We just wouldn’t go to the studio cuz we was on the road so much. Hatta always had what we needed. We wanted a beat, bam here’s a check, it’s bought. We had our own studio, it was just our fault that we didn’t go in there and record. And Chamillion didn’t want to put out another album with Hatta because he knew the contract was gonna be up. And he was like “Well why do I want to put another album out with Hatta when I could just wait and get with a label I’m gonna finish my career with?” I felt real bad cuz we didn’t live up to our end of the agreement. We had a good situation with our album, but when Southwest Wholesale went bankrupt that put a dent on everybody and that messed up our situation even worse. Put more pressure on all of us.
Did y’all see money off of that album even though Southwest closed down?
Oh yeah. Hell yeah. Aw man we saw it, Hatta he’s just such a good business man, he’s real, he’s honest and he really looked out for us. With a contract you don’t get paid till 6 months down the line, but he would pay us every three months. He was always like “If I get the money, you’ll get the money.” He even paid us out of his personal account. We sold 80-90,000 CDs. And with Southwest Hatta got hit way harder than us. He paid us consistently. God blessed us on that one. We got paid a lot of money off the album.
You had so much going on for yourself at that time, you both had made serious names for yourselves, I think people want to know what made you go back to the Swishahouse instead of just going out on your own.
I got a lot of flack for that at first when I first signed back with the Swishahouse. There was a lot of people that didn’t agree with that but they weren’t in my shoes and I did what I felt like was best, I weighed all my options, prayed on it, thought about it and did what I thought best. Chamillion always tried to take the initiative to try and negotiate the contracts like “This is what we want, this is what we want,” but I’d be in the dark. I wouldn’t know nothing that’s going on. He’d have meetings with label execs, or he’d have meetings with Madd Hatta and I wouldn’t know nothing about it and I wouldn’t know what was going on. And that’s part of the reason we never signed with a major label because nobody would compromise. Sometimes you gotta give a little to get. It just was a bad situation. And I always maintained a great relationship with everyone in the Swishahouse. And when Mike Jones and Magnificent came along, I know how it is coming into the Swishahouse when there’s people that was there before you cuz that’s the same thing we had. So I really tried to extend my hand to them. It’s not like I had to go out of my way, just a simple handshake and what’s up goes a long way. I kept it real with t hem too. When they were trying to get they buzz going, we would do a lot of shows and they’d come and open up for us and it’d be all good. It wasn’t no problem cuz it ain’t hurting us none to open up shows. But they buzz started getting big and it started growing, especially Mike Jones, it just keeps growing. So we were on the road a lot and we didn’t realize how big it got, but we got home and we realized damn, Mike Jones got bigger than us. But I always maintained a real good relationship with the Swishahouse and they never asked me to sign, but they told me the door was always open. There was other people around the city that said the door was open too, but I didn’t want to keep jumping around from like team to team to team. So I really felt like this would be in my best interest as far as a business move, or a personal move. They support me 100% in whatever I do. If I’m Djing they support me but I didn’t have that at all. Madd Hatta and Cat would support me but other than that… I even had a club, Chamillion came in my club one time. I had everyone in there and they wouldn’t ever support me. I didn’t have any support at all. And I always respected how Slim Thug did it because he broke off and started doing his thing with the Boss Hogg Outlawz but he still stayed down with Swishahouse.
Since all that happened I’ve seen your name pop up on all type of stuff like Screwing and Chopping other peoples albums, other peoples mixtapes. Who are some of the folks you worked with on that level?
DJ Vlad, you know the Rap Phenomenon CDs were huge and I screwed and chopped those. I Screwed and Chopped Lil Flips album but I didn’t get any notoriety for that. It’s out but nobody knows about it. If you hear it you hear me talking at the very beginning but they didn’t really give me my credit for doing that shit. Other than that I’m working on some new projects like TI, I’ll be Screwing and Chopping his new album. I Screwed and Chopped a lot of his mixtapes already. It’s crazy the Screwed and Chopped versions of his mixtapes sell out there in Atlanta. DJ Drama, also, man he’s huge. Every mix CD that he puts out I Screw and Chop it for him. The DEA CD I did that one and I took a lot of pride in that one. That was like real big for me. And the funny thing is I had maybe in 2000, I had Screwed and Chopped it on my own, just because there never was a Screwed and Chopped version. And my cousin was going off to the Navy and he said man, just get somebody to Screw and Chop it for me and I said you know what cuz, I’m gonna do it for you. And I was always cool with Hawk and I used to always tell him “Maaan when you gonna let me Screw and Chop something?” And he was like you know what, I’m gonna let you do something. Cuz I was really getting on point with the discs that I was doing. I took a lot of pride in it too, cuz when I did it I tried to imitate what Screw would do. That’s why I didn’t talk on the CD or any of that. I didn’t want anybody to hear the CD and have any preconceptions about Paul Wall Screwing and Chopping it. I did my best on that man.
It seems like a simple thing, but not everybody is able to do it. What makes a good Screwed and Chopped mix?
The music. If the music is horrible then the Screwed and Chopped music will be horrible. If the music is jammin’ then more than likely the Screwed and Chopped version is gonna be jammin’. So it’s really the music man. And then too I always felt like DJ Screw would kind of talk to the listener through the music you know as far as what he would bring back, what he would mix, what he would cut, what he would scratch. All that. And if you know the music good enough and if you feeling the music, like DEA was one of my favorite albums of all time. I know that whole album front to back word for word. So it was no problem. If you know the work and you know the material then it’s no problem.
What’s your connection with Atlanta man? It seems like you go real deep with a lot of Atlanta artists.
You know, my cousin Latavia used to sing with Destiny’s Child and she moved out to Atlanta and she’d always come home for Christmas and tell me things about Atlanta. Then the artists were kind of coming up making a name for theyself in the rap game. But I always realized that Atlanta’s not gonna come to me, I gotta go to it. It’s 12 hours away. It’s a 12 hour drive. My homeboy Shawn, he would be funding these LaTex parties in Atlanta. The Louisiana Club Organization and the Texas Club Organization. People from Louisiana and Texas who go to school out there. And they would get together and throw a big ass party. They wanted a Texas DJ cuz it wouldn’t make sense to have a New York DJ come DJ that, or even an Atlanta DJ cuz they don’t have that. They don’t have the music that the people had back home. So one of my boys had plugged me up with him to come DJ a party and I did it and it was over from there. I started doing every one of them. Like I met TI a while back before he signed the deal and I walked up and introduced myself to him and I knew about him and I jammed the music, but he wasn’t big or anything in Texas or anywhere out there. And I introduced myself to him and he ain’t really heard of me, but he heard of the slowed down Screw music. So I sent him some mix CDs and me and his manager hooked up and we just kept the connection alive. They didn’t have too many connections in Texas so it was good for them too. And I didn’t really have too many connections in Atlanta. So I started going to Atlanta a lot and meeting people. TI really showed me a lot of love. It’s hard to break through in a market when you not from there and he showed me a lot of love.
When’s the record coming out?
(2005) sometime, hopefully in March or April. Production by Pretty Todd and Calvin Earl at Mo Betta. Same people that did a lot of production on the Chick Magnet and Get Ya Mind Correct too. Todd and Earl always been my homeboys. We all went to school together at U of H. Mike Jones gonna come out first so that’s really my main focus is to promote Mike Jones and get Mike Jones hot. Then of course we gonna drop The Future later on after that. That’s an album with me and Mike Jones. That came about when I came back to the Swishahouse. Mike Jones embraced me, he showed me a lot of love. It was kind of ironic cuz when he first came to Swishahouse I showed him love, and he blew up out of this world.