What’s the last two years been like for you?
On the music side it’s been crazy ’cause I really didn’t have no vehicle to put any music out properly. The [Universal] deal, it blew up… [Irv] Gotti and Sylvia [Rhone] and everybody didn’t see eye-to-eye. So we thought it would be best if we didn’t put the project out over there and just walked with it. Instead of me walking with it, I just put out [The Mirror album] free for the fans. It was like, fuck it. The album is a good album.
What do you feel was the feedback from what you put out there?
It was love in certain areas but there were a lot of haters, too. At that time, that’s how I was judging everything—on the haters. Because they start to fade away, you start to see less and less, less and less. The love is there; I wasn’t concentrating on the people that love because it was there. I had to concentrate on what the haters were saying and how they were moving and how the tables were starting to turn a little bit.
Did you see people that were hating on you the last few years start turning in your favor?
Yeah, I’m starting to now see people that may have hated on me in the beginning are not rooting for me and want to see me win. That to me is big. The best part about it is I’m humbled by it all. I feel like everybody deserves a second chance to do whatever. Really, I feel that my situation was an unfair situation. A very unique, very odd situation. Nobody ever seen anything like that in hip-hop, you know? I laugh when I see people say shit like, “Yo, [50 Cent] kilt Rule, but he didn’t kill Ross.” No disrespect to Ross, but he did 180-something [first week sales of Teflon Don]. I went platinum with R.U.L.E. after I made Blood In My Eye. I look at shit like that and… I don’t know, take it how you want to take it. I was a much bigger selling artist than just platinum so I guess that’s why people felt I took a hit. But the music industry was taking a hit at that time, too. You can’t really judge it or try to make an issue out of it, or an excuse. It just is what it is. To me it’s just one of the weirdest moments in hip-hop. It’s to where the fans feel like they were duped almost like, “This nigga shitted on this nigga for one thing and turned around and did the same thing.” As that thought started to get around to people, it started to change for me. I’m just proud and happy that the people can vibe and fuck with the music.
Where do you get the inspiration to keep making music? Even though you were going through that, you’ve got to find inspiration somewhere and it seemed like you had a constant stream of haters and an industry that tried to put you out to pasture.
That don’t mean nothing to me. I genuinely love making music so I think that’s why it never hit me. That’s my therapy. I go and make records when I feel a certain way, express myself in that way. It gets all that shit out of me. I think that was my drive and why I didn’t stop. I just think about what’s in my future right now and what I got to make myself happy and my family happy and still balance what I love to do on this side of things musically and entertainment wise. I’m just having fun with it; I feel that this is an ill position that I’m in. To be in the game 10 years and to have really won on many levels in this music business. To have a chance to comeback and do it again is crazy.
Lil Wayne is locked up right now based on a case he caught after a show at the Beacon Theater in New York. You performed with him as a guest at that show and you have a case that you’re still dealing with. What’s going on with that?
That was a crazy situation. They locked me and Wayne up the same night. It’s been a crazy three years going through this situation. Wayne will be home in November. I’m still facing… a lot of time. So, I’ve got to mentally put my mind on it and work toward… God will see me through it.
Most people would just look at the music side of everything. It seems the possibility of you going to jail hasn’t been publicized as much. How’s that been weighing on you?
I’ve got a good family, good people around me. I got a lot of mottos I live by, man. “Don’t get mad, get money.” “Persistence outweighs resistance.” I just try to stay focused throughout all the bullshit and keep pushing. As long as I’ve been in this business it’s been a struggle. Ain’t nothing been easy. Even when we were doing 3, 4 million, it wasn’t easy. It was a fight to the finish, and this is going to be the same thing. Right now it’s no different.
Have you had a chance to speak with Wayne since he’s been at Riker’s?
Nah, I haven’t spoken to him. But I figure that I will before he come home and holla at him. Gotta tell him he did that and I’m hoping that I ain’t gotta do it next. But shit…
It looks as if Waka Flocka Flame is going through some crash course collisions with the industry. When you see artists go through that what do you think?
I laugh because everybody wants to be a star and wants to be famous. I don’t think people know exactly what they are getting into when they get into this business. It’s a crazy, cut-throat business. It could be overwhelming to a person if they’re not ready. I think a lot of these new artists get into it for the wrong reasons. My era didn’t get into hip-hop to really make money. Money wasn’t….niggas was going gold [Laughs]. You had a few chains and all that but if you weren’t Run-DMC or something like that, hip-hop wasn’t the thing that people was getting into to make money. We wanted to be Def; we wanted to be the dopest niggas out there and show our skills. I think niggas now get into it for the money. Because there is a lot of money [out here] and it’s a big corporate thing now. New artists get in for the money and get a rude awakening and it’s not like that. They see it’s not that easy or the tabloids and everything is killing them.
On the money side, most people would think that you’d have to sustain yourself with album sales and touring, but what have you been able to sustain on? Has it been the songwriting? Is it the other type of business endeavors?
[Laughs] I got my hands in a lot of things!
When you think about the Feds situation with Irv Gotti and his brother Chris, there wasn’t a lot of money being made as far as the records are concerned and the freezing of the assets. I don’t know how you were able to survive financially.
It was a tough time, but like I said, I keep my hands in a lot of things. I don’t like to talk about it. I keep pushing it, stay in the background and make my money off it. Sometimes when you have a dark cloud over your head you stay inside. You don’t come out and get wet. That’s kind of what I’ve been going through the last couple of years. Now when the sun come out, I come out, smile and everybody is like, “Wow.” [Laughs] The touring has been great for me, overseas running around killing it for the last four, five years. Having a great time. Also looking deep into the markets and getting them ready for my new releases, my new artists and stuff like that.
I’m sure you’ve seen some of the newer MCs coming up. Who are you feeling right now?
I like Drake. I like Nicki. I like the dude Tyga that’s on the Chris Brown mixtape. I like J. Cole, he doing his thing. I even like Soulja Boy. The lil nigga smart, man. He make his records and do his thing, ain’t bothering nobody. It’s too much hate in this game. Hate is for suckas, man.
Who are the new artists you have on your label Mpire?
I got a couple of my niggas from New York, had to keep it fresh for New York. My nigga H.O., he’s from Uptown [Harry O], got my nigga Life from Queens, my nigga Push Montana, he’s from Queens, too. Them niggas are my spittas, they go in you know? Life is my young gunna, he’s still young but he’s on the come up, ready to smash on niggas. They all in their own lane. I got some other groups I’m working with, I got an R&B cat, he’s tough. He’s Asian. I got a girl group I been working with. I can’t say their name right at this moment. It’s funny how those things work out. I also got my rock group that I’m putting together called Padded Room.
What about the sitcom you have in development?
My sitcom got Tracy Morgan as one of the producers, Queen Latifah—I got a real team with me on this. Tracy Morgan is one of the writers. I’m trying to make some real big moves right now. Splash with an impact so niggas can be like, “Whoa, this nigga got his own label over there with Fontana/Universal, own all his masters, own everything. He got a bunch of new acts that’s sounding good, he got his reality show.” Then I just shot this real ill movie, this Tyler Perry shit called I’m In Love With A Church Girl, with Adrienne Bailon. They talking about taking it to the festivals and shit. So we can get a shot at winning awards and shit. It’s like everything is moving in the right direction for me right now.
When do you think everything will be poppin’ off?
Everything is manifesting now. I just signed the paperwork for the BET show, so that’s about to get up and running and going. The sitcom I start shooting in September. I got my daughter acting. She plays my niece on the show and my son plays little me in the movie I just did. He’s 10 years old, Lil’ Rule.
Who are some of the people that have been supporting you in the industry through out these tough times?
Real talk, I’ve been getting support from basically everybody in the industry. Nobody has really been unsupportive of me at all. I think a lot of people may not openly be around and vouch for me, but nobody has not taken my calls. While I was feeling on the outside, I still felt like I was on the inside, you feel me? A lot of artists out there made me feel real warm and let me know, “Nigga, you still that nigga. You put it down.” A lot of artists are good with me.
What has the whole social network uprising been like for you to experience with Twitter?
That shit is crazy, you know. It’s a whole different way of marketing yourself than when I first came out. If Twitter was around when all that shit was going on maybe it would be a different thing… I could have spoken my mind. I wouldn’t have to wait to be interviewed or wait to get on the radio station. It’s a very different model right now for artists to promote themselves. I look at it like a gift and a curse. As you send these young kids to the computer to promote yourself, it’s also where they are going to download your shit for free. “Yeah. Yeah. Come check me out on Ustream. Come through and check me out.” Then they go there and they may not have been a computer head. Then they get there and they figure, “How you do this downloading shit? How you get this Limewire?” Next thing you know, they on the other side, but that’s the gift and the curse. That’s the game right now and you gotta deal with it. -VIBE