Well, after “Big Pimpin,” when we were getting ready to do our next UGK record, Jive wanted us to basically make a “Big Pimpin 2’”—go get a Timbaland track and a verse from Jay-Z, let Hype shoot the video. We were like, “Well that’s not the direction we want to go in. Why can’t you put the kind of money that you’re talking about behind what we want to do?” They didn’t understand why we didn’t want to make a Big Pimpin 2. But we were already concerned prior to “Big Pimpin’” about how that would look to our core audience and the last thing we wanted to do was seem like that was the direction we were going in just because we’d had a successful record with Jay-Z, negating the whole movement that we’d built up, up until that point. We couldn’t agree on it so the label they just shelved us for about a year or so.
Do you think the rap game is in good hands or does it need better rappers?
I think it’s okay. The market’s gonna sell what the market demands. If people want better music then they have to demand it. People are getting the music they want. They’re buying what they want to buy. Anyone who has a problem with that should argue with the consumer. I hear a lot of young artists blaming everything on the Soulja Boys and all of that but I don’t really understand that argument because it’s not like Soulja Boy’s going around with a gun and making people listen to his music. If you think something’s wrong with Soulja Boy being famous then you need to talk to the millions of kids that love his music. And if you think you have something better to present to that then go ahead and do it. But don’t get mad at Soulja Boy and say that you don’t have the same marketing money that he did because he got famous off of a YouTube video. The record company didn’t make him famous. He came in the game off of a YouTube video, so get your movement on YouTube and see how many people follow you.
Guys like Waka Flocka Flame and Gucci Mane get a bad rap for not being lyrical.
Yeah, but those songs are playing in every club you go to in America, and those songs are making connections with people that on a wider scale the people that those people may like aren’t. At the same time we still have Curren$y, Jay Electronica, Big K.R.I.T, Pill—we still have more than enough Southern MCs out there representing the lyricism. But everything in the South ain’t about lyricism and that’s okay with us and if you can respect that then we can all have a good time and if not then move along.
What’s the one thing you’re most proud of in your career?
Probably the Free Pimp C movement. Because of how many people stood up. So many artists, producers, military people, just a really outpouring of love from people from all over the world.
Was there anything about him specifically that you want people to remember the most?
Yeah, he loved his fans and he loved the kids. He really, really loved his fans. It was always about them first. He never turned down a picture, never turned down an autograph, always listened to what people wanted to tell him because he had the same dream that they had of making it and he made it. He didn’t want people to think that he didn’t understand what they was trying to do and who they were trying to be. He always wanted to let them know that they could be who they wanted to be in life as long as they put God first. And he always took any opportunity to tell them that.
When he passed we got a better idea of your relationship with him and how close you were. You weren’t scared to show your emotions.
I think that’s what’s wrong with young men nowadays, especially young Black men. They feel that showing their emotion compromises them and I can understand in certain situations that may be true but sometimes you have to take time and grieve and let things go. That’s as human as it gets.
Was there anything that you wish you would have done with him or would have enjoyed with him?