Click and people came before you and paved the way and laid the foundation for all this shit, then you’re stepping on people’s toes. I hear people say, “Man, I ain’t with that Screw music, I’m doing some other stuff.” Not to discredit them, but they’re separating themselves from the heart of the city. The heart of the city is what DJ Screw created. That’s not to say they won’t survive, but that’s always the rumor in Houston. They say people aren’t gonna like your music unless it’s screwed. That’s not necessarily true, but I just think that’s embedded in people’s minds. Here in Houston, if it’s done right, it just sounds better Screwed. It sounds better to us. But shit, Jay-Z is jammin’, whether he’s Screwed or regular spee. I’ve met a bunch of big-name producers who have moved to Houston, and it seems like they all have the same agenda. They move to Houston with more of a pop sound or a national sound, some production more appropriate for Puffy Daddy or Snoop. Like what Pharrell tried to do with Slim Thug. That shit don’t work. Even with me. When we were working on the album, my buzz and the media attention is humongous, so we were trying to find out what we could do to get radio play. They’re like, “Let’s get Pharrell or Timbaland or Dr. Dre on a beat and somebody big on a feature or a hook.” That’s what a lot of people moving to Houston are trying to do – bring that mainstream sound. But that’s not gonna work. That didn’t work with Slim Thug. What worked with Slim Thug was “Three Kings,” which had him rapping on a Texas beat that Mr. Lee made. He had Bun B and TI on there, and he was doing Slim Thug. That’s what works. I don’t know if it was Interscope or Geffen holding it up. I know it wasn’t Slim Thug, cause he was tellin’ me the whole time, “Man, I don’t know why they won’t push this ‘Three Kings.’” If they would’ve pushed “Three Kings” it would’ve been one of the biggest singles of last year. But Slim still did incredible his first week. Interscope thought “Still Tippin’” wasn’t gonna work, but now everybody over there is kicking themselves in the ass because they didn’t put it on Slim’s album. “Still Tippin’” was originally Slim Thug’s song? Yeah, of course. It’s his freestyle, his hook. Did you have a problem with that becoming a Mike Jones single? Even in Vibe magazine, they made it sound like Mike Jones was doing you and Slim a favor to put y’all on his song. Naw. To be honest, I was just happy to have a song that was as big a hit as “Still Tippin’.” T Farris put me on the song. Originally they did “Still Tippin’” to a different beat and it just wasn’t it. That just wasn’t the one. The beat for “Still Tippin’” that you hear today was the last beat we had left for The Day Hell Broke Loose Pt. 2 and nobody wanted to rap on it. The way the beat was tracked, it was just a constant loop and it was hard to write to. T just told me to write to it as a freestyle. That’s what I did. Salih Williams made both of those beats, and “Back Then” and “Sittin’ Sideways” too. I was just honored to be on the song. I don’t want to discredit Mike by saying it’s Slim’s song, but it is Slim’s song. it was originally on The Day Hell Broke Loose Part 2. When that song was originally made, it was around the same time that major changes started happening at Swishahouse. People always compare Houston to Atlanta. They say, “Man, we need to get along, like they do in Atlanta.” But shit, if you go to Atlanta, everybody don’t always get along. There’s a lot of
camaraderie; that’s true. You see a lot of people doing features with other artists, because Atlanta has so many major acts: Monica, Usher, Lil Jon, TI, Goodie Mob, Boyz N Da Hood, Young Jeezy, Jermaine Dupri, Mariah Carey, Jagged Edge, Ciara, Ludacris, the list goes on. When Usher gets on a song with TI, I don’t think it’s because he’s from Atlanta, it’s because he’s one of the number one rappers in the country. When I do a song with Slim Thug, I consider him one of the prominent rappers in the country When I do a song with Bun B, it’s because he’s a legend. It’s not just because he’s from Houston, it’s because I respect his music and his hustle. There’s only one or two people in Houston that don’t get along with everybody. With everything happening in Houston, do you see the music industry migrating here to give it the backbone that Atlanta has? Realistically, it’s just a matter of time. Houston is the fourth largest city in the country, so that shit is bound to happen anyway. The rap scene in Houston has been so “local” for a long time and everybody doubted the sound, but look at the sales. Chicago was Mike Jones’ #1 market. Chicago bought more Mike Jones CDs than Houston and Dallas did. It’s not a local sound. The sound is everywhere. I was in the airport today and I got stopped by some white kids from Iowa! For real! They mama came up to me and asked me to take pictures with her kids. I threw a peace sign up and they was like, “Aw, he chunkin’ the deuce.” Cuz they saw me on MTV with Sway. When MTV came down here, they brought so much attention to what’s going on in Houston. Shortly after the Swishahouse/Asylum deal, it was announced that you’d gone over to Atlantic. How did that happen? Well, Asylum is a branch off of Warner Bros. and Atlantic. So when we go to Asylum, the ultimate goal is to get upstreamed to either Atlantic or Warner Bros. Mike Jones got upstreamed to Warner Bros., so strategically, it was good for me to go to Atlantic. If we were both on Warner they would always push us together and have us do everything together, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it takes away from our individuality. Being on Atlantic, they can focus on pushing me. We both support each other and team up when we can for the big situations. T.I. and Grand Hustle are also teamed up with Atlantic, so since I’m so close with them Atlantic has taken notice of me for a long time.
when Watts used to let me pass out flyers for him. Then he started putting me on mix CDs. It was an honor just to be in the mix. I give him 100% of the credit. T Farris put me on “Still Tippin’,” which gave me a lot of publicity and exposure. I give Swishahouse 100% of my credit, next to God. Whatever Mike’s got going on, he’s doing his thing. I support him and what he do. I really have no idea what’s going on. I don’t know why he don’t stay Swishahouse. It’s good to hear you being positive about the situation. But even during the short time you weren’t with Swishahouse, your release with Chamillionaire, Get Ya Mind Correct, was an independent milestone for Houston in terms of sales and style. Thank you. A lot of that was just because we teamed up with Madd Hatta and Cat and Paid in Full. Madd Hatta is just a genius when it comes to making business decisions, and Cat’s work ethic is phenomenal. They didn’t’ force anything on us and let us make our own decisions with the direction we wanted to go. We were young and ready to work, just happy to be in that position. We were full of energy and made it into a positive situation. I was just happy to be a part of it. I’ve been blessed because my whole career, from start to finish, has been a lot of good situations. I’m still climbing the ladder though. It’s good to see the amount of success I’ve had to day, and I’m not even at the top yet. I’m still in the middle. But even if everything ends today, I can honestly look back and say, “Damn, I had one hell of a career.” I’m just blessed to be where I’m at.
Mike Jones doesn’t seem to be reppin’ Swishahouse anymore on TV or in interviews. Just an observation. Have you noticed that? Yeah, definitely. Shit, not just in interviews, but he ain’t. I support Mike in what he do. I don’t know if that’s something he’s got with Swishahouse, or if he’s just doing his own thing. He’s always had the Ice Age company, so that aint’ nothing new.
Have you heard Chamillionaire’s new Man on Fire disc and the shots he took at you? He’s claiming that he ghostwrote stuff for you on Get Ya Mind Correct. I’ve heard about it, but I haven’t heard the CD myself. Man, I ain’t worried about that shit. I don’t concern myself with those type of things. I focus on positive things, like putting down $80,000 on this house to bring my interest rates down. I’m not worried about negativity. I wish him all the best. I hope he’s successful. I ain’t got no hard feelings. I hope he sells a million records his first week, cause if he does, everybody who buys his album is gonna go back and buy Get Ya Mind Correct and Controversy Sells. That’s more money in my pocket.
How much credit do you give Swishahouse in your career? Me? Shit, 100% of my credit. I would’t be shit without Michael Watts, G. Dash, and T Farris. They started all the shit with me back in 1996
You are one of the few rappers who seems to stay out of all the beef. There’s been situations where I’ve thought about it, and I played chess. I think actions speak louder than words. I don’t talk about it, I
Is it still Swishahouse though? Oh, yeah, everything we do is Swishahouse. We’re just using Atlantic and Asylum’s resources. The artists signed to Swishahouse are myself, Mike Jones, Archie Lee, Cooda Bang, Aqueleo, and R&B singer Crystal.
OZONE AUGUST 2005
Ozone Mag #37 - Aug 2005