so bad ‘cause they feel like they being cut out of a bigger pot, but there is no big pot. In any form of business right now, but especially in the criminal world, people have to do more just to make the same [amount of money]. Sometimes it’s not even worth it. I don’t know what’s gonna happen to the streets in the next five or six years. There’s always gonna be people selling dope and always gonna be people buying it, but the profit margin is crazy right now. I can say the same thing about the retail market, for that matter. When the country’s in a recession everybody suffers. Point blank. It trickles down through the whole social system, from the upper class all the way down to the lower class poor people, everybody’s gonna feel it. What’s your take on the whole “Houston is dead” thing? Houston had their momentum and now it kind of seems like it’s back to its own world. I think that’s got a lot to do with the state of music in general. It’s not like people just aren’t buying Houston records. It’d be different if all of a sudden Los Angeles had five artists who went platinum last year, or the Midwest had five artists, or D.C. or Maryland. I would have loved to see that. The fact is we are probably one of the last people to really get people to go in the stores and buy music. If you look at the music scene as a whole, Southern artists are still doing better than the majority of artists from other regions but we’re all doing bad. Nobody’s selling what they used to sell anymore. We did pretty close; we’re still doing good but we worked very hard to stay connected to our fans. We don’t just Myspace it. We’re out there actually physically touching people. Like I said, Houston is suffering simply because everybody’s suffering right now. It’s just a matter of everybody has to step back and regroup and figure out exactly how to push this music forward but you can’t step back and spend more money. I know that. That’s the thing, you gotta think more. This is not the time to throw money at the situation. That’s number one. I feel like we got as good of a chance as anybody to bounce back, but everyone’s gotta pretty much rethink how they gonna reconnect to their fanbase right now. How do you plan to reconnect to your fanbase? I just plan to keep doing what I’ve been doing. Everything’s been working for us. I’ve always been amongst the people, going out touching people, doing extensive promotion on the road for projects. So I’m just gonna continue to do that. Luckily with Bun B/UGK fans, 9 out of 10 of em’ have to have the CD ‘cause they’re car people. I’m lucky my fans are car people. A lot of people have digital fans – the iPod, mp3, iPhone people. My people have cars. They gotta have that physical CD. Even some of ‘em that get the bootleg, they buy the bootleg ‘cause primarily they wanna be the first cat to pull up bangin’ it. They’re not necessarily about getting it for cheap ‘cause at the end of the day they still want they artwork. They got the big CD cases that flip open and hold a hundred CDs and they manage the CDs with the cover art. I feel bad for the new generation of fans that are like 22 years old; you’re probably not riding around in your car listening to music; you’re listening to a majority of your music on an mp3 player, your phone, your computer. That’s the reality of the world. They’re not physically in a car listening to music. Most of ‘em are commuters. During a radio interview before he passed, Pimp was saying that if we don’t start talking about more real topics in the South that it’s about to leave the
South. Do you share his opinion? I think that’s gonna be about music in general. The problem I notice is that the media would rather follow Snoop Dogg around for a day to see if he catches a case rather than follow Talib Kweli around for a day and see what kind of positive influence he has on his community. That’s the problem, and the reality is it’s not the journalist’s fault; it’s the publisher’s fault. If I’m a journalist and I go to my newspaper and I have a story about Kweli doing something positive in the neighborhood and I have an exclusive on Snoop Dogg’s last arrest, they’re gonna want the arrest story. Then they’re gonna want to turn around and write a story that criticizes us at the same time. So it’s like the media is not giving the positive rap, or people that are giving a positive spin on certain issues, they’re just not giving it any attention. Nobody’s doing a reality show on dead prez or Mos Def. They don’t want that; they wanna see what Flavor Flav is gonna do that’s crazy. It’s sad. The media demands decency but promotes indecency. I don’t get it. Shit that used to be reputable is not even real anymore. You mentioned that you do a church mentoring program. I’ve been doing a lot of stuff with my church lately. My church is right in the hood. They’re selling crack right down the street from my church. Pastor Wilson is really trying to help change the neighborhood. He’s there in the neighborhood; he’s seeing the homeless, the drug addicts, the single parents, and the kids with no guidance. They’re really trying to do some hands-on shit and just give kids an option. Like I said, that’s the problem; kids in a lot of these communities don’t have an option and when you’re put in survival mode you’re gonna survive. It’s no other option; you’re gonna survive or die. That’s what’s happening, particularly in the Southwest side of Houston. It’s crazy right now. It’s a lot of violence; people are getting shot and hurt damn near everyday. It’s always on the news. Whether or not people want to talk about it, deep in the hood the poverty level [is high] especially where drugs are being sold. The Houston street hustlers and New Orleans street hustlers are not getting along. They’re fighting for territories; they’re fighting for corners. It’s the same thing New Orleans people were doing amongst each other in New Orleans and the same thing Houston people were doing amongst each other in Houston, but now they’re fighting amongst each other. You got New Orleans people beefing with each other, like uptown boys or from the East; that beef carries over to Houston. Plus now they getting into it with different sides of town in Houston. It’s crazy. Houston is very hot right now. It’s the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about. We’re just trying to give the kids options. It’s only so much you can do with grown people. I’m not here to start preaching to people; I’m just like, if you wanna live your life and do what you gotta do, I understand that but think about if you would want your kid on this corner fifteen years from now. Do you want your son out here drawing down, stackin’ at niggas, hitting niggas up? Is that what you want for your children? You gotta start thinking differently. If you don’t want to change it for your generation, that’s cool but you gotta start giving to the people that’s trying to make it different for your kids. I ain’t asking nobody to stop banging, but don’t bang by the church. When the church is trying to go through the hood and give to the kids, let them do that. What do you think are some other viable options for kids?
“i couldn’t say shit. i couldn’t say, ‘Chad is dead.’ Last month I couldn’t say that without breaking the fuck down.”
72 // OZONE MAG
Ozone Mag #65 - Mar 2008