JT The Bigga Figga may not
be a household name, but those who have followed Hip-Hop music and specifically
the independent rap game know his name very well. JT, who heads up Get Low Records,
has been dropping albums since 1991. Since the company’s founding, his
label has released an astonishing 70 albums.
After using the name for
so long, JT said he was stunned when he found out Roc-A-Fella star Memphis Bleek
had a record label, Get Low Records.
JT says that he extended
an olive branch several times to fix the situation, but never received a concrete
answer from the Brooklyn-bred rapper. (Bleek has mentioned in other publications
that he might consider changing the name of his imprint to Dirty Get Low, a
term he uses frequently in rhyme.)
The result of JT ire is a
challenge to Memphis Bleek for the name of the company and, on the line, may
be a hefty amount of cash.
Nevertheless, JT stresses
it clear that this is not a street beef. He promises that it is strictly business
offer in the name of Hip-Hop.
In this interview, JT also
touches on his discovery of Aftermath artist, Game, who also hails from Dr.
Dre’s hometown of Compton and his personal beef with Daz Dillinger.
AllHipHop: What’s going
on with Get Low Records? And how did this whole thing with Memphis Bleek start?
JT: On the Dynasty album
is the first time I heard him say Get Low, in 2000. They were out here a number
of times. It started in Filmore. They did their shows and after parties here
in 1998, 1999. By 2000 I was at 40 albums. He had to know Get Low Records. He
knew that we had it and he felt he was on such a large label that nobody would
ever really know.
AllHipHop: We reached out
to him and he hasn’t got back to us about it yet. Are you going to take
the legal route?
JT: That will only come once
he has record out. If you look on his album it says Get Low, but it doesn’t
say "Records." It also says Get Low Records coming soon. We talked
about it and I told him, you can add Get Low East to your sh*t out of respect
for what I’ve already established and I wouldn’t even trip man. He
agreed to that. He’s setting the stage for more than competition. I am
dealing with Memphis Bleek from a diplomatic perspective and from what I learned
from Tupac and Biggie.
AllHipHop: What happened
to the talks?
JT: The first time we talked
was at the 2001 at the Soul Train Awards. He was like ‘n*gga you nothing,
we millionaires and we Get Low’ and basically just walked off. The next
time I saw him was in 2003 at the Roc The Mic tour. I was with 50 Cent and them.
Young Buck is my homeboy. I saw Memphis Bleek getting ready so I slipped up
on him. That’s when we had a good talk. I had emailed Jay-Z about the situation
because n*ggas in the street want to make it a big thing. He was like ‘Ima
get yall two dudes together’ and said that he didn’t know about it.
Out of respect for Jay-Z I’m reaching out. I went to the top man and let
him know, so they can’t say that I didn’t get at them about this.
When we finally met again, it was more or less like ‘I remember you now’
and all that. We had a hand shake in front of Jay-Z and 50 Cent. We got witnesses.
I don’t know if he was scared, but I told him ‘We aint gonna do nothing
to you homie.’ This is business. He basically trying to blow the sh*t off.
I read an interview where he said we talked but that’s about it. He’s
on the Roc-A-Fella label. Establishing his Get Low is a whole nother thing.
We are 2 DVD’s ahead of him, we a book ahead of him and we’re 70 albums
ahead of him. It’s just a company name. I’ll put all my albums in
an ad in a magazine and then put his name in it and tell him ‘when you
can match this, then you can name it Get Low.’
AllHipHop: So what happens
JT The Bigga Figga: I want
it to be about everybody seeing what’s what. I need to set the challenge
We can do $100,000.
AllHipHop: You want to battle
him for $100,000?
JT: $100,000. Competition.
$100,000 and the name of the company. You win I’ll give you the money and
the company name. And we can compete on any level. A physical one-on-one, you
know what I’m talkin about? Or we can keep it in the music world and go
song for song. It’s whatever.
AllHipHop: What’s the
situation with The Game?
JT: I found Game in LA in
2002 at the Hip-Hop Summit. He didn’t have a demo or no label. I had just
started my new company Black Wall Street. I did a one album deal with him and
we 22 tracks and I taped all that and some performances for a DVD. He took those
songs I recorded and was shopping his deal. That’s all good. Anything you
get after this is yours. Only thing I got claim to is what I spent my money
AllHipHop: How do you think
you spent on him?
JT: Sh*t man, I aint spend
hardly nothing. I spent under $50,000. It was an investment that you spend on
a brand new artist.
AllHipHop: Are you waiting
to try to capitalize on when he gets popular? Are you waiting or trying to maximize
JT: I met with the staff
of Aftermath. I gave them the opportunity for them to buy this back. I brought
them the contracts and showed them that I was legitimate with everything. So
I guess they are trying to determine if they want to give me what I’m asking
for it or let me do my thing. Well not let me, cause I will go ahead and do
AllHipHop: Have you heard
anything from Game?
JT: Game was dissing me out
there and things like that. Trying to act like my investment wasn’t nothing.
Game is from Compton. I’m not from Compton. Game got signed so quick man.
In less than 8 months from going to having no demo, to doing his first project
with me. The sh*t worked and he signed to Aftermath. Now G-Unit is participating
in that. Game is 50 percent owner of the album, so he’s gonna get paid
either way. It’s the fact that he got an album with Aftermath/G-Unit and
Get Low Records. It’s f*cking their story up. They wanted the story to
be that Dre found him..he’s from Compton, from Eazy E’s block. 50
Cent comes in and makes it one big thing…No it started out there in Filmore
California with JT The Bigga Figga.
AllHipHop: You just said
your people’s with 50. You don’t have any issues with them do you?
JT: There’s no beef
between me and Game, let’s make that clear. He might have some issues with
me, but I don’t have any with him. This is just about business. I’ll
continue to put my albums out and be independent, just like I’ve been doing.
AllHipHop: What’s the
status with you and Daz?
JT: I talked to Daz a number
of times on the phone. I aint got nothing bad to say about him. I got contracts
with him too. Don’t come to the Bay and think that you’re going to
use the independent game and sign some paper work, then go back home and think
that you aint gotta respect us and try to punk us or take something. Nah man,
you signed this paper, we give you these thousands, you n*ggas gonna respect
that no matter where your from. If you come to the Bay and get your jump start,
best believe you sign these contracts, it’s very real. Just like if you
sign with any major label. I just happen to be an independent CEO/rapper/producer.
When I spend my money, I want to collect on my investment. And Game and them
don’t respect me now that their ‘at the top.’ They don’t
know that being independent is being at the top. I may not be at the top of
the shine, but I eat independent. That’s where cats go wrong. They on the
label and when sh*t goes bad and they don’t get no money, they go back
to selling drugs and rocks and all that. We get into music to get away from
that sh*t. I been blessed and I do this independent game.
AllHipHop: Some of the biggest
labels are no where near 70 albums. How did you manage to navigate through the
waters and release that many records?
JT: Basically, elementary
game that I learned from E-40 and Uncle Saint Charles up at Solar Music Group.
We lowered our CD prices. Instead of selling them for $8 or $9 dollars, we were
selling them for $3 and $4 and getting cash up front. So to get $60,000 cash
up front for 20,000 CD’s that you just paid $13,000 for, that makes sense.
So, to do it on that level, sometimes we only sell 10,000 pieces. It’s
about getting this product out. All this profit keeps going. You don’t
know what album is gonna be the one to put you over the top, you don’t
know what song is gonna put you over the top.
AllHipHop: Do you get support
from commercial radio out there in the Bay?
JT: I haven’t released
any singles. My last single I put out was in 94 and to be honest with you and
I’m damn near still living off that one single in terms of exposure."Game
Recognize Game" is an anthem in the Bay. I learned a whole lot about the
whole single thing and I can’t rely on that to eat. If I go to the distributor
and tell them I got a brand new project, they gonna check the record from my
last album and they gonna give this new a chance. That’s how I got to 70
albums. As long as I’m releasing a new project every month or two, I’m
always gonna make some money.
AllHipHop: I ran into you
in New York a couple times. I know you have a strong connection with the Nation
of Islam. Are you an actual member?
JT: Yeah, I am a member.
AllHipHop: What do you think
about the situation in the Bay with Hunter’s Point and Big Block?
JT: It’s clicks and
crews against clicks and crews. A lot of it has to do with money, respect and
retaliation. People take losses and they feel like they can’t let it go
when a homie is dead, and keep it going.
AllHipHop: Your from the
area. How do you avoid that drama?
JT: I deal with individuals.
I always come with the game and I learned from the Nation how to navigate. I’m
not out there being a part of anything negative. We put out music and trying
to build up a name for Black Wall Street and build up an independent network,
so people that wanna leave that life alone can do it.
AllHipHop: What’s the
difference between Black Wall Street and Get Low?
JT: Get Low Records is a
label that produces records and Black Wall Street is a network where information
can be passed between people. In the rap game if you got a roledex with 100
numbers in it but you have to capitalize on those numbers. You can meet anyone
and just have the numbers, but you never thought about turning those numbers
into money. Putting out independent product. A guy like Daz with your platinum
name and face, your supposed to be able to do that in LA. But the market was
setup for you here in the Bay to do it independently. He was here three days
and made like $70,000.
AllHipHop: That was right
after he left Death Row right?
JT: We spent the night in
Sacremento and we went to my hood the next day and started working on an album.
We did a whole album in 3 days. I had a customer lined up already, an independent
label, who would buy a certain amount of units up front. We got paid. We started
with nothing. I paid for the beats and the album cover. Simple things. A couple
G’s, nothing major. It was my hustle, my drive and my technique to find
that customer. That’s what got us paid. We did a DVD and put that out.
Now he knows..he cashed out, we both cashed out. Black Wall Street shows you
how to capitalize off of information and God given talent. So you don’t
have to be on the block hustling. There’s stuff that comes with the game
and everyone knows the consequences already. I’de rather promote how you
can eat. I’m a huslter rapper. All I talk about is getting money, networking
or some real life black people sh*t.I can honestly say People want this game,
and learn all about Black Wall Street and how to get this money independently.