I’m good. I’m just doing what I do, puffing a nice blunt. I’m about to finish up this record with my man Al Doe. Mysonne is home and the Wanna Blow movement is real strong right now. I’m finishing up this mixtape and a DVD called Politics as Usual. It’s cold out here, but I’m about to make the streets hot.
Are you still with Universal?
I’m not with Universal.
I don’t know what they’re calling it, but I was asking for my release papers for awhile. They were kind of holding the situation up. I’ve been hearing that I got dropped. Anytime you ever hear about an artist leaving a label, they always say the artist got dropped. You’re always going to hear that. That’s going to be the first thing you hear, especially if the artist leaves on a sour note. I don’t get dropped. I always keep my masters and keep it moving. I don’t owe nobody nothing. I rock like that. For everybody that wants to know why Back 2 the Future never came out, all you have to do is ask Sylvia Rhone. Just ask her. Those questions don’t pertain to me.
Why do you think Back 2 the Future never came out on Universal?
I don’t know what they thought, but the word I got was that Sylvia Rhone wasn’t feeling Jae Millz’ stuff. Once I heard that, I felt I didn’t need to be there. Why would I be there when they’re fucking up all my singles and shooting $250,000 videos for Yummy but when it comes to Jae Millz, Remy, Maino or Red Café, they’re acting shady and funny? I thought it was funny when I didn’t get a video for “Bring It Back” or “I Like That” or “Streetz Melting” or “My Swag,” I felt like it was funny and they were playing. I was still willing to stay up there. From the jump, I had a good deal. People don’t understand that Kedar Massenburg gave me my deal. Whatever whatever went through and Tone from Trackmasters and Eric Nix and Sylvia Rhone came through. Everybody is living comfortably and they’re afraid of losing their jobs. I don’t know what they’re doing in that building. It’s not my business to know what’s going on over there. I’m America’s No. 1 free agent. I’m thinking about pulling the independent move. A couple of dudes are hollering at me about the major thing again but if I do that, it’s going to be major. At Wanna Blow, we’ve been running our own independent label already. We might as well be an independent label. I don’t see how that would hurt.
Did you have a relationship with Steve Rifkind?
To this day, Steve Rifkind will tell you that I’m one of the nicest of my generation. He compared me to Big Pun because I’m so lyrical. I look at it like that’s how I rap. Steve Rifkind was saying I was so visual that it might go over people’s heads. I don’t want to badmouth Steve or Sylvia Rhone. At the end of the day, Steve doesn’t have as much power as Sylvia Rhone. It doesn’t matter if Steve Rifkind looks at me like I’m Michael Jordan if Sylvia Rhone looks at me like I’m Tyus Edney. We’re never going to get anywhere. It’s going to be the same old bullshit. It’s always going to go over her head the way Steve Rifkind feels my lyrics go over people’s heads. It’s always going to go over her head and she’s never going to be able to see it. What is the point of wasting my life, my career and my people’s business over there? If I can’t move work in one neighborhood, I’m going to go to another one.
Tyus Edney was a great college player but couldn’t make that transition into the league. Can you make that transition from the mixtapes to the albums?
That’s always been a question, but as anybody knows, when you’re promoting an album, you do a lot of listening sessions and you have a lot of people listen to your album. Anybody who’s ever heard my album will tell you my album is fire. I’m not going to sit up here and tell you that my album is straight crack. I know what it is. I know my album is me. My album is hip-hop. And my album is hot. I party on my album, I talk about hip-hop and I talk about growing up and being a man. On the same token, I want to see the game go back to the future. The game is wack right now and I’m not saying it’s wack right now because the South is hot. I like the South. They make hot music.
The game is wack because niggas in New York have wack mentalities. They all want to be hot. They still want to be putting out their 17th album. Sometimes you have to get you a young dude and put him out. Get somebody from your area who’s hot. I don’t want to keep seeing all these rappers who were hot when I was 13 still putting out albums. Y’all don’t got no protégés? That’s why New York is never going to come back with me, Maino, Red Café, Tru Life, Saigon, JR Writer, Remy, Hell Rell and Stack Bundles if you’ve got everybody else still together. The reason Young Dro and T.I. can work is because Lil’ Jon fucks with them. The reason why Lil’ Wayne can do his Miami thing and be so hot out there is because Khaled fucks with him. Niggas fuck with them. Out here in New York, niggas fuck with themselves. Niggas are all for self. If niggas are all for self, what can you do?
Are comments like that directed towards Jay and Nas?
Never. Those comments are directed to everybody in the music who knows that they should be putting their energy into other shit like a nigga who’s as hungry as them and has never had that platform. Are they going to do it ‘til they die and never put nobody else on? I’m just talking about rappers in general and not just rappers from New York. I can talk about rappers from Houston or Atlanta. I’m not talking down on New York niggas. This is to everybody in the game. You can’t be mad at Snoop because he’s putting out albums. Snoop is doing stuff with Akon and R. Kelly. Snoop will do a record with anybody. Snoop did a record with Game and Snoop’s a Crip and Game’s a Blood.
In New York, you don’t really see that. I’m not talking about New York, I’m talking about everybody. There are niggas out West not doing what Snoop is doing. Hip-hop is a universal thing. You have niggas all over in all sorts of places making good music. It’s not just New York rappers anymore. It’s bigger than New York. But in order for New York to get recognizable again, it’s going to take a little more than everybody trying to be the man.
At what point did you see your support at Universal changing?
I felt like I wasn’t a priority around the Cool and Dre song (“I Like That”). I couldn’t get a video for that and I wanted to do a remix and Sylvia wanted to try to get Nelly and Lil’ Wayne. I was trying to keep it in-house and she’s bringing up all these other names and I didn’t see that happening. She wasn’t going to help that happen. We would have had to chase those niggas down. That’s when I realized that shit wasn’t really going to go too well.
Then we got no video for “Bring It Back” with Jadakiss or the remix with Fabolous and Lil’ Wayne. Then we went down to Miami and did a record with Scott Storch on our own. That was us doing that, staying in the Hit Factory. I was in there with Hulk Hogan and his daughter. That was us doing that. That wasn’t Universal. You couldn’t give us a video? We didn’t need anything crazy. Give us a $50,000 video. We can make it look hot.
Then it gets to the point where she says, “I don’t think he’s a star.” Then what are we doing? What is the main objective of this situation? I didn’t see it. We had to get a release. They were dragging it out and they were acting like they were still trying to promote the record. I didn’t feel that. That was fake.
Fat Joe has always spoken highly of you. Has he given you any advice on how to deal with these labels?
All of the older dudes that I used to look up to and now we’re in the same profession, they tell me that you have to make yourself more visible. I never liked the clubs and they tell me that’s a good thing. But they tell me I have to promote myself to these niggas even though that’s not my style. That’s not my whole swag of going up there mad and banging on doors and getting loud. They say I have to do that now because they’re not going to respect me. I know how to present my shit and I know how to talk my shit, but now I have to sell it. Tone and Nige from Wanna Blow tell me that every day. We go through it. Those are my niggas and I love them to death, but they tell me I have to take advantage of this shit and I have to be my own movement even if I don’t have 50 niggas standing behind me. They tell me I have a personality and I have to sell it. That’s my problem. I had an A&R and I have a publicist and an assistant, and if I’m on a major, I’m on a team and then I start seeing everybody doing this and that and I realize I have to post up my own flyers and get my own t-shirts done. That’s the shit I’ve been doing. It’s that little shit and now I realize what it is.
I’m glad I’m out of the deal and I’m glad it’s over. Now I get to go to other offices. I can’t wait to get meetings where I can go up to offices looking right, smelling right, pockets right and I got crack on a CD. It’s a new day for Millz. I’m not really on the other shit. I’m just trying to do me.
You’ve talked in the past about how hard it is to keep a buzz. How hard is it to keep a buzz in today’s game?
It’s hard to keep a buzz. I’m not talking down on Kay Slay, Clue, Absolut, Green Lantern or Camilo, but it is so hard to make it in the game, and I’m not talking New York, but the reason why it’s so hard to make it is because every DJ has an artist. Niggas don’t just DJ anymore. You have a club DJ, a mixshow DJ, a radio DJ or a mixtape DJ. It’s so political right now, it’s crazy. Everybody has their own nigga they’re trying to push. DJ’s and producers have been shitted on and played so much. Niggas have figured it out and they got their own thing they’re trying to do. Niggas figured it out that they’re going to get their own artists and push them. It’s so political. Niggas have been getting fucked over paper-wise so much that they figured it out. I had to figure this shit out that I had to be the frontman, even though I’m not into talking loud and screaming. I’m going to be a pain in the ass now. If you owe me money, I’m going to be there before you. This is what I have to do. Now that I’ve been doing that, it’s lucrative. For all of you dudes who don’t know what “lucrative” is, you should go look it up.
I have a good situation. If you’re trying to holler at Jae Millz, holler. We’re going to get it done. I like this free agent thing. I like when a label doesn’t know what they’re doing. This is what hip-hop is. It’s about throwing postcards all over niggas’ doors. That shit is fun to me. As soon as you’re coming out of the club, you’re going to look down and see Jae Millz and “Coming Soon.” If I’m at the club, I got a bookbag on. Don’t think I’m some backpack nigga. There’s mixtapes in there and I’m giving them away. I get my money from shows and guest appearances. I record in my crib. This shit is easy. All you niggas who complain, just figure it out. What worked for 50 might not work for you. What worked for Jay might not work for you. What worked for T.I. might not work for you. What works for me might not work for you. Try to figure it out.
What’s the most important thing you could do right now to get your buzz back?
I got the DVD coming right now and I have the mixtape coming. The mixtape is called The Time is Now hosted by Big Mike. The DVD, Politics as Usual, is my first DVD project. I have Kay Slay, Jim Jones, Young Dro, DJ Enuff and more. I got real people on there. When people see it, they’re going to know it’s the story they’ve been waiting for. I should have went to Koch for distro on it. We’re taking these meetings and it’s going to go down. I got this shit figured out right now. No matter where I go, I’m going to be a nuisance in ’07. I’m definitely going to make niggas tired of me.
What’s going on with you and Draft Records?
Shout out to Howie McDuffie and Sureshot Records and Chris Landry. It’s just hip-hop. It’s just street shit. It’s just real shit. If you got material and you got music, why not put it out? That’s how I feel. It’s not so much about me putting out my debut album. I got music. I got a bunch of music that I recorded, so why not put that shit out. If I can’t put it out on some major shit, than why not put it out on some street shit where it’s still getting out to the people and we’re still going to get some paper? I’m not putting Back 2 the Future on Draft Records or Sureshot Records, but I’m not going to just sit here. I’m a businessman. I’ve never known a hustler in Harlem to stand on just one block. Never. Those are my peoples. They came to me with an idea. I felt that. I came to them with an idea and they felt that. We’re working on a couple of things. If you got music and you’re into making music and that’s what you’re about, you can’t let it pass. I’m about getting my music out there and making money.
Is it good for you to go independent at this stage of your career?
If I go independent, we do what we do. That’s not saying I still can’t do something else. That doesn’t mean I can’t sign as a group over here or me and Mys can’t sign over here. That’s where niggas get it twisted. I’m not a rapper. I’m trying to run a business. I rap, but I’m trying to run a business. That’s where I’m leading to. I’ve been a rapper for ten years and I’ve been a professional rapper for six years. I got signed before I was 18. I had to go to court with my mom to get the papers signed. I’ve been doing this for awhile and now it’s time to try something different. I got people around me who make good music and who make good beats. Business-wise, why not? Let’s get money here, there and over there.
Are you able to make the music you want to on an independent?
I’ve always been able to make the music I wanted to make. I got DJ Khaled and Scott Storch on my album. A lot of songs I don’t even want on my debut album because they’re old. People want history on a debut album. They don’t want what they heard already packaged on one CD. All the records I recorded with everyone, this is us. I want HipHopGame to understand that this is Wanna Blow Entertainment. This is us flying places to get shit done. This is us building up our own studio, going to Sam Ash to get our own shit. I got records with everybody from Lil’ Boosie to Dem Franchize Boyz to Paul Wall to Slick Pulla to Remy. All those records aren’t even on my album, but those are records that I got. What Universal didn’t understand is that we work. Tone from Trackmasters came to my studio one time in the three years that I was signed there.
Shout out to Cory Gunz. We did a lot of road trips together. He’s going to be a star too. I want cats to understand what the Universal roster was. They had Jae Millz, Remy, Maino, Red Café, Lil’ Wayne and Chamillionaire. These are all the artists they had. They’re so dumb. They could have done a Universal compilation and a tour to go along with it. This is the mindframe I’m on right now. I’m outthinking these niggas right now. Imagine three years when they’re old and dusty and they’re getting tired of going to work, I’m going to be happy and I’m going to be loving what I do. They might be out of jobs in a year and a half.
Did Universal want certain songs out of you that you didn’t want to do?
No, because they always got those records. When they wanted a party record, I went to Miami and hooked up with Cool and Dre. Then I hooked up with Swizz Beatz. When you wanted a street anthem, I gave you “Who.” When you wanted a club banger, I gave you “Bring It Back.” When you wanted a hit record, I gave you “My Swag.” I’m giving you records. When I got on the “Ridin’ Dirty (Remix)” with Chamillionaire and Papoose, I was hearing that in New York, Philly and Boston. Whenever I’m heard, I get good feedback. When you put me on the backburner, you’re making my story better. You’re making my Behind the Music story a little bit more exciting. Make me a movie. Please make me a movie. Give me two more hours of this bullshit so I can just direct this and put this together.
Why did the ball get dropped on “Who”?
Sylvia Rhone did that. I was on the conference call when she told DJ’s to stop playing the record. She told everyone that wasn’t the record anymore. She said the new record was “I Like That.” I think we went out to LA and Khaled called Tone and was like, “I got the record.” Tone was asking what record and Khaled said, “The record with Cool and Dre.” Khaled said he had the vinyl and we didn’t even know they pressed the vinyl. When we get back to New York, there are still question marks on this issue. We still don’t know who gave the okay to get the song pressed and serviced. Let me know whose idea it was to press and service a new single when we had just shot a video and got it added to BET for the last single.
To this day we don’t know whose idea it was. Shit like that puzzles me, but you laugh, and then you really laugh at the award shows. This is business. It’s just a learning experience.
I can’t really do nothing about Sylvia Rhone getting on conference call and telling DJ’s to not play my record. That’s not my fault.
Are you frustrated today that “Who” didn’t reach its full potential?
Most definitely. I feel it did reach its potential because it’s a classic. I don’t know if it’s a hip-hop classic or a street record classic, but I know it’s a Jae Millz classic. I know if you type “Jae Millz” into Limewire, “Who” will come up along with “Bring It Back,” “No, No, No” and “My Swag.” We went and got everybody on our songs. Nobody from Universal put nothing together. They never put any of those songs together. Just from me having those songs, how could you say I’m not a star when you didn’t help get any of that stuff done? I should say I’m a star based on what I did in the studio in there for them. If I’m not a star, make me a star. That’s your job. It’s crazy. They don’t know what to do. I’m going to get the fuck off this avenue and I’m going to go up the block. That’s what I’m going to do.
Are you happy with how “My Swag” did?
I’m not really happy with how it got promoted because I feel we needed a video. They kept on saying, “Wait ‘til the spins go up.” It got to 150, then 200, then more and I’m noticing months going by. Songs get old and songs get lost. DJ’s get songs sent to them all day. So many people make music now. Universal is so twisted that they’re sending out fifteen records at one time. When you get a Jae Millz record and a Chamillionaire record and Lil’ Wayne and Remy and Stevie Wonder and Marques Houston, what do you want them to play? I’m not talking down to anybody signed to Universal or anybody who works up there, but my situation wasn’t going to work in their system. After awhile, there’s not so much that you could do. I’m just letting my story be known. If you want to know what’s going on, I’m not going to bite my tongue. I’m going to tell you.
Are you still working with Ron Browz?
Yeah, we’re working currently. I just finished up a joint with Remy produced by Ron Browz.Tha Factory produced “I’m Bout Getting Money.” I went back and got up with my man Scram (Jones). I got up with Rsonist of the Heatmakerz. I’m in the studio fucking with Buckwild. I’m going back to get that sound. I wanted to get back with Scram because with Scram doing what he’s doing and me doing what I was doing, we never really had the time to bang out. We can bang out three songs a night. Me and Rsonist can do two songs a night. I like working with them because they understand me as an artist and I understand them as a producer. Even if I’m not recording, I like going to the Bronx and hanging out with Buckwild. I need that sometimes. Sometimes you need somebody to push you when you’re not really on your shit. That’s why I went back and fucked with the producers who gave me my sound. I’m cool. I’m ready to start working on my next album.
What’s going to happen to your debut album Back 2 the Future?
In all honesty, I could put Back 2 the Future out on an independent label or I could start on my next album. I got a couple songs on my next album, but I don’t want to get too deep into it because I don’t know what I want to do with the Back 2 the Future thing. Back 2 the Future is finished and Def Jam or Interscope could put the album out in the first week in February if they wanted to. It’s whatever. I’m telling all y’all labels that you have your chance right now. Just holler. If not, it’s all good. I’ll see you at the awards.
How many different versions of Back 2 the Future have you had over the years?
I think I’ve probably switched it up about two times and I was probably working on it when I first got signed, but it was never done. When I got to Universal, I redid a couple songs and then I ended up doing half of the album over. The album is basically finished. I don’t want people to think I’m going to give them the same album I did when I was on Warner Brothers. It’s definitely new records and new material and it’s a new record. Back 2 the Future is my shit. That’s what I’m about. It’s more than a title. It’s a movement. You’re going to see this shit.
New York needed to come back. You see the gold chains and you see parts in niggas’ haircuts now. There’s the bubble vests now and all that shit. Shout out to Game for doing the “Olde English” song. That’s taking it back. I don’t really look at it like I’m giving you the same album, I’m just keeping that title. I’m at the roundtable now with some people so I can’t discuss everything, but me, Draft Records and Sureshot are definitely going to give you some street shit while we’re doing this roundtable talk.
Are you happy with how your latest mixtape, The Last of the Best, did?
Yeah. Me and E-Nyce came together to do that. He knew I had a lot of records and told me to put a mixtape together. It was kind of going to be like a collection of all my music, but after awhile, I ended up doing some new shit and we put that out. I’m not really with sitting on music. If I’m working and a DJ wants to do something with me, let’s rock. E-Nyce is my dude and he does his thing. Niggas just don’t recognize him. He’s been doing his mixtape shit since Black Rob and G-Dep. He’s from Harlem. That’s not the first mixtape we did and it’s not going to be his last. That’s just how we do.
How did it feel seeing Mysonne released from prison?
July 5, 2006 was when he came out in pouring rain. It was after the cookout on the 4th of July. It was raining and he didn’t want us to hold the umbrella out over him. He just wanted to chill. I was standing under my umbrella and he didn’t want one. It felt good to see him.
What’s Mysonne working on?
We’re all helping Mys with his project. Nige likes me to be around him. Mysonne just has to get comfortable in the studio again. Cap and Shells are his people from his childhood days. I’m not even going to lie, Mysonne probably did 40 songs in three weeks. I didn’t even know he was banging out that many songs. He had about two CD’s with about 20 tracks on each CD. He was playing them for me and I was like, That’s work! He pushed me to do my mixtape and then I started working on my next album. I just started moving so fast and then this independent shit happened.
Before Mysonne went in, he was definitely more well-known than you. That’s flipped around somewhat now. Has the relationship between you and Mysonne changed at all?
Nah. Mys is a good dude. To this day, I still look at it like more people know about Mysonne than me just because he was here before me. He was on the Ruff Ryders album and Mase’s album and the Violator album. How could everyone forget about this nigga? But when you think about it, seven years is a long time. We feed off each other. It’s crazy to see that people really do remember him. People still remember him. It’s a good thing. People remember what he did and now he’s putting his work in. He’s a stand-up nigga and it’s a good situation for us to be together because both of us are good niggas. You’ve never really gotten to see me around Mys. I was going to school, changing my clothes and going to night school and then going to a chick’s house or on the phone all night. I wasn’t going to clubs so I wasn’t really in the public eye. By the time I got in the public eye, he was in jail. I’m here now and we’re doing what we do together. The force is even stronger now. It’s coming from many different ways now.
Do you see a silver lining in all your trials and tribulations from your label situations to Mysonne getting locked up?
I look at it like it’s all the same. Both label situations are the same. If you can’t make money together, that’s not a good look, if that’s what you’re there to do. If you’re there to distribute music and generate money and you can’t do it with those individuals, then what are you there for? What are you doing sitting at the roundtable with them?
What do you think of the way Harlem is represented today?
I’m cool with everything to the “Chicken Noodle Soup.” That’s what they do. You can’t say Harlem is any different because we do “Chicken Noodle Soup” when Jeezy is doing “I Luv It” but they (the people of Atlanta) also have “Walk It Out.” Hip-hop is not some street shit done in the park anymore. It’s McDonald’s commercials now and Common’s rapping in commercials and kids are making raps and Chinese people are making raps. I was watching 106 and Park the other day and there was some Pakistani kid rapping and he was all right. Jim Jones, that’s what he does. He raps about money and cars and he has the rock star shades. He’s about balling, so that’s what he does. Puff was about sipping champagne and Jay used to be about Bentleys, Cristal, platinum chains and throwback jerseys.
Jae Millz is the statue. I’m still the street, hip-hop nigga. Juelz, he’s him. There ain’t no other nigga like Juelz. There’s a million and one people trying to be Jae Millz, but there’s only one Jae Millz. I love it. I don’t hate on nobody. I’m not mad at nobody. Go cop 40 Cal’s album, go cop Juelz’ What the Game’s Been Missing, go cop Jim Jones’ DVD and go cop my shit. I’m going to keep it 100 because I want niggas to succeed and get money. Why would I want to see niggas putting their all into something and then not have it be a success? When Maino drops, I want him to do well. He’s a good nigga and he’s putting his all into this shit. I want to see the nigga win. I want to see Red Café and Remy win. I want to see Papoose win. The nigga has put out 15 mixtapes in the course of a year. DJ’s don’t put out that many mixtapes. I know what that nigga went through. He was standing out there trying to get heard.
I want niggas to win because that shit is going to be good for all of us. I feel we’re all in the same category. We may not all be in the same lane, but the older niggas, younger niggas and chicks are all looking at us like we’re in the same category because they don’t know no better. Niggas have to step up and handle their business. One hand washes the other and that’s how we’re going to have to do it. I want to see niggas win. I’ve always said that. Before Pitbull came out, before Jeezy and Slim Thug came out, I said I wanted to see niggas win. Chamillionaire is giving 20 minute speeches when he wins and people are looking at him crazy. People have to understand what he went through to get there. You won’t understand that until you go through it. I want to see every nigga who’s supposed to be my competition win to the tenth degree, and that’s some real shit.
What advice do you have for up-and-coming MC’s?
Get on your grind and get out there and sell it. Get out there and sell yourself. Get out there and be your own man. Be your own movement. Make these DJ’s play your music when you go to the club, even if you’re just there for the chicks. Do what I do. I always go up and introduce myself to the DJ when I first get into the club. Even if he throws my shit to the side, you have to sell it.
And as far as your business goes, know what you want. Know what type of deal you’re getting yourself into and know what type of deal you want. You can go many different ways and you definitely have to know how to read between the lines. There’s a lot of shit. You can’t just think you’re hot and you’re going to win. It’s more than you being a hot rapper and getting a deal and being that hot nigga. You have to make sure your deal is right before they make you “that nigga.” The labels know how to sell it. Once they get you locked in, you’re locked in.
When are you dropping the mixtape and DVD?
The DVD and the mixtape will all be out in January. The mixtape is finished. I’m just going through the process of finalizing the CD and artwork. I’m trying to give you both of them at the same time. I’m trying to kill Canal Street. I’m trying to kill all the mixtapes spots. I’m trying to kill all the mom and pop stores. And I’m trying to kill all the bootleggers.
What do you want to say to everybody?
Shout out to my man Howie McDuffie and Draft Records and Chris Landry and Sureshot. Shout out to the Wanna Blow Entertainment team. Look out for the mixtape and the DVD.
All you niggas sitting behind the desks, if you’re reading this, you better get in contact with your boy if you know what’s good for you. That’s how I’m ending the year, by taking meetings. We can meet anywhere. I’m talking business.
I’m not with all that DVD battle shit. All that shit is cool, but I’m not doing that until we get this business straight. The only way you would see that is if somebody really said something. I’m trying to be cool and just make these records because I’m a problem. I am a beast and I will go back to that Smack DVD “Big, am I trouble or what?” shit at any moment on these niggas. So just chill and do what you do. After this business is straight, then I’m going to have some crazy shit to pop off on. I’ve been quiet for a reason. I haven’t just been ordering Chinese food and playing Scarface on the flatscreen.