Your new mixtape, Pimp Ya Pen, shows you taking a lot of shots at Jay-Z.
Actually that’s not even how I’m really feeling right now. That’s not how I’m feeling right this minute because that’s not a big concern for me. At the time when I made the music, which was in the summertime, after I learned that the album wasn’t going to drop and they weren’t going to give me a release date, that’s when I started airing out my frustrations. It’s not even strictly to Jay-Z, but since he was in control of my situation, it leans more to him. I don’t want people to think that that’s how I’m feeling right now. I’m not upset with Jay right now. I don’t give a fuck what Jay do right now. That music’s been loaded and I’m just releasing it now because we’re moving on. I was just going to leak that out. That’s why I gave it to y’all.
Why aren’t you mad at Jay-Z now?
Because at the time when I was upset about it, it was when he had me under the impression that he had my back. So I felt kind of betrayed. I felt as though he was saying, “Fuck me.” But now it’s to the point where I’m over it now. I’m over it now and I gotta move on. So I’m not upset no more. At the end of the day, I’m still Peedi Crakk. It don’t take nothing away from me.
It was just an opportunity for me at the time to move my career further because everybody’s waiting for the P. Crakk album and it would definitely be one of my biggest moves to have an album available in stores internationally. That would definitely take my career to the next level and Hov had the ability to do that for me and he was ignoring me and that had me heated.
Now he left Def Jam and whatever the case may be, I have to keep it moving. I realize that my career doesn’t revolve around Rocafella and Def Jam and Jay-Z. Peedi Crakk is Peedi Crakk. When you think of Peedi Crakk, you don’t say, “Oh yeah, the kid from Rocafella.” No, you say, “It’s just Peedi Crakk now.” I got my own identity. It don’t bother me. If I really needed Rocafella or Def Jam to be successful, I would be upset because I would feel like I lost out. But I’m still hot as shit. I’m still hot. And the fans, I don’t know why, but the fans, they still love me.
Why did your album get shelved at Def Jam?
Honestly, to be honest, my opinion is business-wise, I don’t see why you wouldn’t put a Peedi Crakk album out, as far as it being lucrative for the label. I don’t see why you wouldn’t make that decision, business-wise. Just from the anticipation and the controversy surrounding the wait around my album and business-wise, if they were to have dropped the album, it would have been successful. Even if it didn’t go through the roof and was the biggest thing for me, it would have done well though. I don’t think it would have flopped.
I think more personally, Jay didn’t favor putting my album out personally because of some personal differences between me and him. I did an interview awhile back and they asked me a few questions about Jay. I’m not sure who I did it with. The interview was well-heard. It didn’t go unheard. A lot of people read it and I got a lot of calls. It stirred up a lot of shit. When I did the interview, they asked me about Jay being the president up at Def Jam and I told them that I appreciated him more as an artist. They asked me to elaborate and I told them the reason why I appreciated him as an artist was because I felt he was at his best as Jay-Z. As Shawn Carter, the president of Def Jam, we didn’t see him doing what we expected to see him do. I’m not speaking just about me. He wasn’t the boss that we all expected him to be up there.
I expressed that in the interview and he got offended by that. He called me and he asked me why I was saying those things about him. I wasn’t saying it in an offensive way. It was just my opinion. He was telling me that these people were just using me for information and that I should just keep my mouth shit. I think I pressed a button. I think I offended him. I think I said he had too much going on in his life and he couldn’t focus on running a company of that magnitude and I think he felt that I was discrediting him. I wasn’t. It was just my opinion at the time and I’m always going to voice my opinion. But I believe that’s what kind of altered our relationship. We used to be real cool. I used to be able to call him and ask him for advice on shit and he would call me. But after he called me about that interview, I never talked to him again and he wouldn’t receive none of my calls no more. He never called me again. I never heard nothing from nobody at Def Jam again. I believe that’s why the album at Def Jam didn’t drop.
Do you think Jay is really that sensitive?
Yeah. I don’t think he’s sensitive to people saying shit about him because people always say negative shit about him. It wasn’t the fact that I was saying something about him. I think it’s the fact that it was so truthful. Because it was me saying it, it was more relevant and more truthful to the fans because I was actually there. I think that’s what bothered him more as opposed to a critic saying something about him or just a knucklehead saying something about him. It was Peedi Crakk saying something about him so it must be true. I think that’s why it offended him and I think that’s why he took it more to heart.
I think he felt a little betrayed, kind of. But he don’t understand that that wasn’t my intentions to be this back-biting person to talk bad about him in an interview. It’s just that was just what was going on in my life. Even talking to you now, I’m not going to bite my tongue. He could fuck my career up even more. They don’t want to let me out of my contract. They don’t want to drop the album but they don’t want to let me go neither. So I know by saying this shit now he could do it but I don’t give a fuck. It’s not beneficial for me to keep my mouth shut. If we were doing good up there, I would zip it and shut the fuck up. But we’re not doing good up at Def Jam. It’s not beneficial for me to shut up. So why not air my opinion out? I would rather air it out now than regret not saying anything.
How many times did you try to mend fences with Jay?
Plenty of times. Plenty of times. I’m the type of person that I smell when something is what it is and I don’t keep fighting the situation. I see you not fucking with me, okay, cool, Crakk, what are you going to do next? I went up there twice and I made a couple attempts to call up there and I got the runaround shit with the secretary. I realized I had to move on to my next move. I wasn’t going to keep on knocking on the door. I put it together and realized what was going on in his head, like, ‘Fuck that nigga.’ That’s what he was probably thinking. That’s what I think. “He’s talking shit about me? Don’t do nothing for that nigga. Don’t do nothing for Peedi Crakk.” Because everything shut down after that. You have to think, for a man of his power, he’s easily offended. I guess he feels as though, ‘Nigga, are you talking about me? I know you not talking about me?’ But hey, man, I ain’t scared of him. I ain’t scared of him.
You dropped “Take Me Home” with Megan Rochelle in ‘06, which was supposed to be a big single for you. Do you think that song not going as far as it could have hurt your project?
Yeah, but that song was a banger. They were playing it on Hot 97 and on Power 99 in Philadelphia. These days it takes more than you just having a hot record. The business is crazy, from the DJ’s getting paid to spin shit. That’s become a business in itself for them. They’re making a lot of money from these labels paying these people with these internet blasts. You have to pay Digiwaxx and all that bullshit. When Jay didn’t press the button to push that shit and we didn’t get the video for that shit, it didn’t do as well. He didn’t push it. I don’t believe it was the song. He picked that song off the album to be the single, to be the first joint.
How was the quality of the music for your debut album?
I would say that it was what’s to be expected from Peedi Crakk for a debut album. That was my intentions when I went to make the music. I wasn’t going in and going to do anything out of my boundaries when I made this album. Everything that I knew people would love me for, I tried to sit in the stu and intensify all of those aspects, as far as the flow and the sing-songy joints that I do and the party joints and the songs for the girls. I touched on all of that for the album. It wasn’t more about if the quality was good. It was more of me giving them what they were expecting from me. I didn’t want to throw them off and give them a different album. I didn’t want them to think that it wasn’t Crakk and that it wasn’t the shit that they were expecting. I kept it in my lane and I felt it was a perfect debut album. Then on my next album I could have took it somewhere else.
Did you get enough support from guys like Beanie Sigel and Freeway when you were going through your trials and tribulations at Def Jam?
To be honest with you, when I was going through those problems this last time around, no, I don’t think I had the support from them. But I didn’t expect it either because they were going through their own shit anyway. When it’s a crucial time and everybody’s going through their own shit, you can’t be taking care of other motherfuckers. I didn’t expect nobody to help me because I didn’t have time to help nobody else out either. It was a crucial time for the whole squad. Everybody was trying to get their project together and get their budget open. It wasn’t rolling like it was when Dame Dash was there and everything was rolling more fluidly. I wasn’t expecting any support from anybody.
What do you think about how Beanie Sigel’s The Solution and Freeway’s Free At Last did?
I think it’s sad because they were both good albums and they both put a lot of effort into both of them albums. It shows me that it’s like a blessing in disguise. Not because their shit didn’t do well, but by my shit not coming out, I would have got done the same way and I think I would have gotten more upset. I don’t believe it was because of the quality of the music. I believe it’s because the label didn’t know what the hell to do to market these artists to make their album pop. Freeway had the “Big Spenders” joint and he should have had a video for that shit with Jay-Z. Beanie had “Pass the Patron” with me, Ghostface and Puff. They should have shot a video for that. They should have invested some money in it and went hard.
It was beneficial for me. It came out better because I still have the opportunity to drop a debut album. I would have been more upset if I dropped a debut album and they would have did me like they did Beans and Free. Then the people would have treated me like I dropped a dud. They didn’t drop bad albums. They just got fucked over by the label. I still have that opportunity to shoot my first movie.
When I interviewed you last September, you said, “It’s great working with Jay. Jay’s more grounded. I can talk to Jay like he’s one of the homies.” Did something with Jay change or did you misjudge Jay’s personality?
It’s weird with him. I’m thinking back to at the time when I said that, the reason why I said that is because when I would go in his office when we had a meeting and I would go in there with my management and all that shit and they would talk their business shit. When I would speak to him, he would kick everybody out the room. He wouldn’t want anybody in the room when we talked. He would sit there and he would listen to me. He wouldn’t cut me off. He would let me air out my feelings and he would let me take out an hour of his time. We would chop it up and I would tell him how I feel about certain things and he would give me his feedback. It just seemed weird for someone of his caliber to be so regular and to be able to have regular conversations. That’s why I told you that at the time. Now you have to go via fucking satellite and you have to do some extracurricular fly shit to get in contact with this dude.
On “P In Da House” you said, “I don’t thank none of y’all that prayed and preyed on my downfall.” What do you mean by that?
I know who I am. I may not be bashful about it. Don’t think that I don’t know what my abilities and my potential is and how marketable I am. I know how successful I can be. That’s why I intimidate these people. I’m very intimidating as an artist because I’m confident. I wouldn’t want me around if I was somebody that rapped. I wouldn’t want Peedi Crakk around. I know they prayed for me not to do well because I didn’t feel the support that Peedi Crakk should have. If I was Jay-Z and I had all of that money and I had all of that power and I had Peedi Crakk, Peedi Crakk would be the biggest artist in the world and the biggest motherfucker in the world just because I know he’s the shit and he just needs all the opportunity to be all that he can be. Even Jay-Z could be intimidated by things. It ain’t about money. We all got our insecurities and shit.
Who else besides Jay didn’t want to see you succeed?
It’s just the powers that be, man. I don’t know. You gotta say “everybody” sometimes. You know I’m a solo artist. When I go up there, I’m rolling for self. I’m not going to sit here and point the finger around and say it was this person and that person. But I know they prayed and they’re going to continue to pray that something happens to me or something because they don’t want me on top. We know this. A lot of people know this. A lot of people that analyzed and paid attention to my career and paid attention to what’s going on with Rocafella, business-wise, then you know what the fuck, what other reason would he not put this out?
On “Pimp Ya Pen”, you said, “When dudes say ‘Rocafella, you say ‘Peedi Crakk’”. When looking at your tenure at Rocafella, what is your place in the label’s history?
Honestly, I don’t like being bashful, man, but I’m one of the hottest motherfuckers up there at Rocafella. If there was three hot motherfuckers, I’m one of them. Everybody’s not on fire at Rocafella. Some niggas is all right. Some niggas is wack and some niggas is hot as shit. I’m one of the hottest motherfuckers up there. So that’s why I said, “When dudes say ‘Rocafella’, you say ‘Peedi Crakk’”. If you ask a bitch what’s up about Rocafella, one of them bitches is going to say they love Peedi Crakk. If you ask a nigga who he fucks with on Rocafella or anybody from the squad, it’s going to be, ‘Peedi Crakk, man.’ And that’s not to shit on nobody else because I think Beans is a phenomenal artist and I think Freeway is one of the hottest motherfuckers up there, regardless. So I’m not just saying I’m the hottest motherfucker there, but P. Crakk is definitely relevant. That’s why I said “When dudes say ‘Rocafella, you say ‘Peedi Crakk’.” I’m definitely relevant to the fucking system that ran that shit.
On “I’m Sorry”, you said, “We was young we ain’t know what was next to come but they figured we was dumb/Hey, give them the crumbs.” Do you feel that you were taken advantage of at Rocafella and Def Jam?
Yeah, definitely. I spoke for all of us when I said that as far as State Property. They knew that we were hungry and we were young and we didn’t know anything about the business and we just wanted to rap. We just wanted an opportunity. We never got paid in full up there. We always got just enough for us not to complain too much. We always got just enough shit to hang on. “Hey, fuck it, give them the crumbs.” The $100,000 checks that were supposed to get cut weren’t coming over here. We weren’t getting that kind of money. They said, “Give them niggas crumbs.” We would get checks for $5 g’s and $10 g’s, shut-up checks. They were giving us little shit. Niggas had done two movies that had been in theaters and shit and two soundtracks and tours and all that and they were giving niggas crumbs.
If you could do it over again, what would you do differently?
I can’t answer that because I live with my regrets. I live with it. It’s a learning process. I wouldn’t have done nothing differently. I take it as a blessing. So I wouldn’t do anything different.
On “On That New Shit”, you say, “The old king is past tense/Let the new blood ooze out the cut.” Do you feel that the next generation…
(interrupts) Nobody listens to Jay-Z! Nobody listens to that shit! Not to be an asshole, nobody listens to that shit! And Hov is the shit! He’s a legend! He’s a legendary nigga! Nobody’s did it like this nigga for this long, but sit your old ass down, dawg! Nobody listens to that shit no more! Nobody! I don’t know nobody! All the motherfuckers that listen to it because they got love for this nigga and they respect this nigga, like, ‘I’m gonna cop Hov’s shit.’ But it’s not that shit like it used to be that shit. That shit used to do something for me. When “ “ came on, how that shit started with, “It’s the R-O-C, stop,” when that shit used to come on, that shit used to drive me nits. Niggas would lose their minds. That shit don’t move nobody no more. That nigga don’t. That’s why I said, “The old king is past tense, let the new blood ooze out the cut.”
Do you feel like the next generation of MC’s is being held back?
You can’t hold us back. We’re not just being given our opportunity that niggas would deserve. They’re not giving us the opportunity and I’m not blaming this on Jay-Z. It’s just that the game has changed. The bosses have to change how they play this shit. They’re not making money off these niggas no more. All this shit is in ringtones and all this shit is on the internet. Nobody’s buying records no more and niggas aren’t getting record deals left and right no more. So I’m not pointing fingers at Jay like that. The game is not lucrative and it would not be a smart investment. But when I do point the finger at niggas, it’s when you’re fronting and you’re acting like this ‘hood nigga that’s family-oriented and you have no intentions at all for helping motherfuckers.
When motherfuckers that used to roll with you in the past, you have no problem turning your backs on them…When Mack and everyone was riding with the nigga when everyone was coming at the nigga, everybody was riding on those niggas. But now can’t nobody from SP can contact the nigga. He don’t give a fuck what’s going on with niggas. We live in the murder capitol. He don’t care if a nigga gets killed at night or somebody kicks the door in at night and somebody robs you and kidnaps you or you can’t pay your rent and you’re sleeping under a bridge or some shit, he don’t give a fuck. That’s when I start pointing the finger at that nigga.
How much responsibility does Jay have today to make sure you’re all doing good?
You gotta look at it that way too. One half of me says, “Crakk, be appreciative for what you got because compared to a lot of other motherfuckers that’s really, really struggling in this rap game and to even get any recognition, you did good. You’re a recognizable motherfucker in this game and people know you across the globe because you were signed and because of what you did in the beginning.” But the other half of me says, “Where’s the loyalty?” We’re not bitching about that no more. We’re not even answering those questions because I’m not even worried about that no more.
I take responsibility for myself now. It’s not his responsibility to make sure my career is at its best. I’m not pointing the finger at him. It’s more the moral shit that I’m pointing the finger at him about and it’s more the loyalty shit.
What’s it going to take for you to get your release from Def Jam?
For me to talk to him face-to-face and explain to him how I feel. I don’t hate him, but it’s only obvious that somebody would be upset when you see that it’s not because of you why your career isn’t where it should be. I don’t hate him. I think it would just take a meeting or something. He’s still a human being. He’s still human. He understands. And it wouldn’t make him or break him to let me go unless he just wants to be spiteful. But I don’t think that’s in him to do that. He’s not a piece of shit to me.
Will you have a problem getting off now that Jay has left Def Jam?
Possibly. That’s what we have to see. I’m not sure. I can’t say.
Do you have a relationship with L.A. Reid?
Not really. It’s not a personal relationship where I can call L.A. and we can sit down and talk. It’s a “hi and bye” relationship where if I see him, I say, “What’s up?” L.A. handles more of the R&B side, so he never dealt with the hip-hop artists hands-on. So I never had a chance to build a relationship with L.A.
Ideally, where do you want to end up?
Honestly, I believe that if we were to get released from this company, I think everything would be smooth sailing. We wouldn’t have a problem. The album is so highly-awaited that I think even the haters…When this shit hits the stores on any label, it can come out on some bullshit label, Universal or whatever, even the haters that don’t like me will buy the album just out of curiosity.
How’s your album coming?
Actually, I’m leaking that album that I did for Def Jam. I’m gonna give it to y’all. Y’all can have that shit. I’m gonna give it to everybody. I’m leaking that. We can’t give you old shit. That was shit for the summer of ’06. They need some new ’08 shit. We’re going to leak that album. So we’re not worried about that. We’re making all new shit.
How is your album changing now that it’s not coming out on Def Jam?
I’m changing and I’m growing. Every year we change and the music changes and the world changes. I’m good at adapting to what’s going on in society and all my music is about how I feel. I don’t rap strictly about shooting niggas up. I rap about all the shit that I like to do and whatever’s going on in my life. See, in the summertime, that album that I did was more of an up-tempo, fun album because at that time, I was more assured that the album was going to drop so I was having fun on that.
This is more of a hungrier album and more of a hungrier Crakk. And I don’t know if that’s going to be good or bad for me that I’m feeling that way, but this is more of a hungrier Crakk. There might not be as much partying going on on this record. I like to have fun on records and I like to ride the beat so it’s not going to be boring and it’s not going to be depressing. But it’s going to be more serious.
Is State Property still together today?
To be honest with you, right now, we’ve been having meetings and I can’t say that it’s falling apart. I can say that it’s being restructured right now. It’s under construction right now, but I wouldn’t say that it’s falling apart. It’s under construction right now.
For the most part, is everyone cool with each other?
Yeah. Everybody’s cool. Honestly. I’m not just saying this shit. You know I would tell you. Everybody’s cool. Everybody loves each other. We’ve all been through the same shit so how could we be mad at each other? We all been affected by the same shit, so we kind of feel each other. We feel each other’s pain. We all have to love each other. I can’t be upset with nobody, from Beans to everybody. I can’t be upset with nobody.
What has your group Men of Respect been up to?
Those are my boys and I run that situation. All of that shit is under me. I refuse to give them a half-assed situation because I feel they deserve more. I don’t want to put them out the wrong way and then they don’t get their proper due. There’s definitely some good music going on with Men of Respect. I fell back on the Men of Respect situation until I’m capable of giving them 100% of the attention that I feel they deserve. I’m not going to do it half-assed. If you do shit half-assed, you’re going to get half-assed results, so I’m going to give them more. They need more attention. Until I can do more with them, I’m going to fall back on the Men of Respect shit. But they’re all working. They stay in the stu.
How closely have you been working with the Roots on their new album?
I just did two new songs on their new album. I just did two joints. I don’t know if they’re going to keep both of them, but I’ve been working tight with them. The Roots are my homebase team here in Philadelphia. They’re our Philly legends. It’s crazy for them to call me. Every time they call me I’m there. I’m waiting for their phone calls.
There were rumors that you were going to be added to the crew. What happened there?
I never had no meetings with them and nobody from their team ever propositioned me to be a member. It was just that I was working with them and the chemistry was so good that I think the critics and the fans thought that I would be a member of the Roots. Me and Black Thought joke about that because people ask him about that. He’s like, ‘Nah, we just love Peedi like that.’ I guess I’m naturally a member without me having to say it and without it having to be written in contracts.
You remade the Fresh Prince’s “Brand New Funk” with Jazzy Jeff on his album The Return of the Magnificent. What was that experience like for you?
It was good, man. “Brand New Funk” was always one of my favorite joints from the Fresh Prince and Jazzy Jeff. It was always one of my favorite joints and I always wanted to do that over and I was always real good at redoing old school songs like “Mona Lisa” and “Top Billin’”. All of those old school songs, I like to redo them. I like to take the beat and I like to redo them. I update the song and add my twist to it and I always pay homage to the original artist. So when they called me to do that, I already knew what to do to it and I knew how I was going to do it.
It was crazy for me to go to Jeff’s crib and to see him in his basement and to see him scratching in his basement. I was like, ‘Yo, that’s Jazzy Jeff!’ I’m in the recording booth but I’m looking through the glass at him scratching and that shit was ridiculous. That shit was unbelievable.
Jazzy Jeff told me that you were a perfect fit to redo “Brand New Funk”.
I appreciate that, man. I’m just glad that he was happy with it. That was my main concern, like, ‘I hope I don’t fuck this up.’ That was my main concern, that he was happy with it and that he would let Will hear it and Will would like it. I guess I did my thing on it. They kept it. I guess it worked out well, man.
You also were featured on N.O.R.E.’s “Eat Pussy”. Did N.O.R.E. bring that verse out of you?
N.O.R.E.’s wild, man! N.O.R.E. do whatever the fuck he wanna do and by him calling me and doing it, I felt as though it was okay for me to do that type of joint. That’s N.O.R.E! So if N.O.R.E. says it’s cool that we can make a song about eating pussy, that’s cool. We can make a song about anything. And I’m no stranger to coochie, so that was right up my alley.
No doubt. What’s your main focus heading into 2008?
To be honest with you, I really just wanna make as much music as I can before the summertime. I want to just load up on the music and just continuously experiment with music more. See, the beauty of it now is that I’m not making music for Def Jam anymore and I’m not making music for Jay-Z or for Rocafella A&R’s or for meetings or for the radio. I’m not trying to please the labels no more and that’s good. Now I can get back to making Peedi Crakk music. Now when I sit down to write, it’s natural. I’m naturally writing what I want to write. I didn’t have to cater to anybody before, but they put pressure on you to make a certain type of song. They didn’t pressure me, but I knew that at the time and being signed to a major label and knowing that they were focusing on me, I knew that I had to deliver a certain type of song that would be easy for them to market and that would be easy for them to put out to the world. Now that we don’t give a fuck about Def Jam or any major label shit, we can do whatever we want. So now I’m just looking forward to making all of my kind of music and I think it will be good and I think that will be successful. That’s what got me signed in the first place. I think that’s where I made a wrong turn, worrying about these other labels.
And we’re back to “Peedi Crakk” now. No more “Peedi Peedi”. “Peedi Peedi” was some industry shit. They wouldn’t even allow me to use the “Crakk” shit. Corona called me to do a commercial. They were offering me $100,000 to do a commercial for their beer but they couldn’t use “Crakk”. Me and my lawyer had this talk that we had to do something because in the future we would keep on running into that same bump. Now we’re back on the Peedi Crakk shit. Nobody gives a fuck. They just give a fuck about the music. Nobody gives a fuck what my name is.
Are you going to be releasing a lot more material in the next few months?
Yeah. We’re shooting the video for that “Pimp Ya Pen” shit next week. That’s the start of all this shit that we’re about to drop. I’m in the studio every day. We’re not holding onto none of this shit no more. This shit was not made to be held. We’re not holding onto none of this shit. As we make this music, we’re letting this shit out. I can’t bullshit you and say that I’m about to do all of these different ventures because I can’t focus on that bullshit right now. Right now I have to focus on Crakk and my new shit, all new material, and that takes full concentration for fresh communication. (laughs)
What do you want to say to everybody?
Honestly, man, just keep your eyes and your ears open. For everybody that fucks with me, I appreciate them still fucking with Crakk. I ain’t change and the game ain’t change me. I’m still Peedi and I’m back on that bullshit. I’m back on that old bullshit that niggas love me for. That’s about it. I’m back on my bullshit, man.