Atlanta-based rapper Pill first had a spark with his ’09 mixtape 4180: The Prescription, catching listeners with his rambunctious cut “Trap Goin’ Ham.”
Following the release with two additional mixtapes (4075: The Refill and 1140: The Overdose), the Southern MC was able to secure his status as one of the most promising talents to rise from ATL’s underbelly, within the last few years. While Pill’s impact was slowly felt on the underground realm, it never fully materialized into a package that could tackle the mainstream audience. But the stalemate has come to an end with his newfound affiliation with Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group.
When Rozay decided to create his own imprint, he accumulated a list of the hip-hop industry’s self-developed rap names, including Wale and Meek Mill. Though, he’s been living on the road in support of his clique’s debut album, Self Made Vol. 1, his forthcoming solo mixtape The Diagnosis, along with his debut The Medicine, and an EP titled The Epidemic aren’t far away. Days before the group’s LP dropped, Pill caught up with VIBE and opened up about his newborn career under Ross’ tutelage, acting in an indie film and his views on getting along with other crews. —Jaeki Cho
VIBE: You guys just released Self Made Vol. 1, but I know you have solo projects coming very soon. What correlates them all? Is there a theme?
Pill: Yeah, when I first took rap seriously I said I was the medicine. One of the reasons for my name Pill is that I’m the cure for rap cancer. Therefore, it’s The Medicine for my debut LP. That’s why you got The Prescription, that’s why you got The Refill, you got The Overdose, but The Medicine to cure it all, you feel me?
I want to go into your newfound relationship with Maybach Music Group. Can you elaborate on how you first linked up with them? How did you first meet Ross?
I first met Ross last year when he was down here in Atlanta doing a video for the remix of “Super High” with Curren$y and Wiz. A friend of mine, Tuki, owns a tattoo shop on Peter Street in Atlanta. I’ve known Ross, but that was the first time I met up with him. We chopped it up, and exchanged info, and we did what that song was about—got super high [Laughs.] It was Ross himself offered the opportunity. So I thought, “Yo, what better opportunity is there?” I needed that mainstream push. I was at the underground level, and I had a little taste of mainstream, but I was never on the platform that [Ross] is on. And with him snatching up, me, Meek, and Wale, and actually putting us out there, I applaud that. That was everything that we discussed, and he actually did it. Like other labels will get guys who are talented, and have the capability to be mainstream, but don’t really have that push. Or the label executives don’t really get it, or don’t really understand what they have on their hands, because a lot of us are looking for a quick buck. When you got somebody like Ross, he actually understands this because he actually been through it, and he’s been in the game for 10-plus years. And he’s fully capable of establishing other artists because he established himself in a higher plateau than we are. So by combining all forces, it’s even better.
I’ve heard you say before you never wanted to be in anyone’s shadow, how do you feel about that now?
With this particular situation, it’s everybody doing them. Nobody’s switching up anything. Ross is basically just giving us the opportunity to shine. Using his outlets to make a way for us, which is basically some brotherly-love-type shit. I’ve already established myself, I’ve already garnered a fan base, and showed people what I was capable of doing solo. I didn’t come out the gate with a co-sign. That’s why the title of the album is called Self Made Vol. 1.
But Ross is still the key figure in this label. Do you think signing with Ross’ imprint might shadow your presence in the limelight?
Nah, I don’t think that at all because I know how to rap. [Laughs.] So that kills everything. You see someone like J.Cole he raps his ass off. People might think of Jay-Z, but [J.Cole] can rap. Drake’s with Wayne, but Drake makes smash hits because he knows how to rap. So I don’t think people who are talented actually have those problems.
Growing up, what rap label did you want to get signed to?
The one I liked the most was Rocafella when I was coming up, because I was a fan of Jay-Z. But ultimately my favorite movement was OutKast and the Dungeon Family. And people don’t know I started out with Killer Mike and OutKast at the age of 17. And now I’m about to do an album with Big Boi and Killer Mike. And Andre’s still good friends. Coming up, that’s who you looked up to, and that’s not because I’m from the South, but that’s just who everybody looked up to. Nobody was making records like OutKast.
Is your new affiliation with MMG your first chance to prove yourself to the mainstream?
I look at it as another blessing. And put every side I ever lived in on the map, and speak for people who can’t speak, and be a voice for those who aren’t heard. And be somewhat of a role model to some kids as well. So I just see this as another opportunity, and another blessing, and I look at it as kind of a second go round, but then again, like a new beginning.
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