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Loon: Independence Day.

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Everybody wants to be a star, yet few are actually willing to put in the work required to achieve their goals. For former Bad Boy recording artist Loon, however, this wasn’t the case. As the latest in a long line of P.Diddy sidekicks, the Harlem-bred rapper paid his dues by ghostwriting the boss’s hits and remaining a good company man. This while his debut album was delayed as a result of label changes and—according to him—eventually floundered because the lack of promotion it received.

Not one to be deterred, Loon asked out of his contract. Like Treach, Loon figured he would do his dirt all by his lonely. Surprisingly, Puff relented and granted Loon what he calls the “the greatest gift you can receive in the music business.” His freedom. With the New Year ahead, the future for Loon is as bright as the Fourth of July at nighttime.

AllHipHop.com: From my understanding, you’re no longer with Bad Boy?

Loon: This is very true. I just definitely want the people to get the right idea of my whole move, my whole transition. ‘Cause I think it’s a very big thing for me, a big thing for Puff, you know? Allowing an artist to take his steps into entrepreneurial-ship is like the greatest gift you can receive in the music business. It’s one thing to get a record deal—you know what I’m saying? It’s one thing to get a hot video. It’s one thing to get a hot cameo. But to get an opportunity to be your own man, it like the epitome of what you can receive in this business as an artist. I’m just excited about that move right now. Definitely on a good note, Puffy will always be my partner. He’s like a brother to me. He’s next door. A great coach. I learned a lot from him.

AllHipHop.com: Could you explain your situation so it’s clear?

Loon: The situation now is I’m independent. The name of my company is Boss Up Entertainment. It’s very exciting. I had a rough year. I came through four years ago when Bad Boy was under fire. Puff was dealing with backlash from the court case; Jennifer Lopez was trashing us on the radio, all those thing came up. And I think through the course of that I never really got a chance to establish all the multiple impressions that I have, the multiple dimensions that I possess. ‘Cause like everybody has this perception that Loon is just a lady’s man—‘All he do is songs for the girls.’ Now I finally have a opportunity to balance all that out.

AllHipHop.com: Was your leaving Bad Boy due to your request?

Loon: Yeah, definitely something that I requested. I didn’t really want to be the nagging artist. Like constantly pulling on dude’s coat like, Yo, remember me? Remember me? ‘Cause being that my contribution has helped escalate him to the level that he’s at it’s definitely fascinating to sit back and see dude at his pinnacle. And me being a contributor to that it’s only right that any man in his right mind—any man’s that confident and secure with himself—is definitely gonna want to take that same initiative to make themselves rich. Or put they self on that pedestal. Without being harsh or nasty.

AllHipHop.com: You mentioned not wanted to be the nagging artist, but it seems that you would have Puff’s ear more than any artist on label. Because you were a steady force for him during Bad Boy’s slow years.

Loon: Exactly. But you got to also understand that this is a guy juggling probably like 12 to 13 companies at once. It’s very true that I did have Puff’s ear like that. I think dude respected me a great deal. But at the same token you can also see how overwhelming his position has became. Like I said, I don’t want to be the nagging artist and try to distress that whole vibe. I went through that stuff. The last thing I want is my artists feeling like that. That’s why the whole Boss Up thing is important to me. ‘Cause what I’m trying to instill in my artists is first you become your own boss Once you hit your first 2, 3, 4, 5 million, fam, Loon ain’t trying to hold you up. If you want to be here that’s on you. Boss Up, baby.

AllHipHop.com: Is if fair to say your experience with Puff and his commitment to his companies is similar to the situations he’s had with the Lox, 112, and Faith?

Loon: Like I said, when I stepped into the situation—don’t get me wrong—I already knew what I was dealing with. This is a guy who is juggling multiple positions. All you got to do is play your position. And the key to success at Bad Boy is to just play your position. Any artist that ever did that has won. And I could name a few. Biggie played his position. Even though we all know that’s the house that Biggie built. We all knew he was the mayor, the president, all that. But at the end of the day the owner of Bad Boy is definitely puff. Dude played his position, he never did anything to try to overshadow Puff; they shared the light together. The same thing with Mase. When Mase came he played his position. He played his position to where he even had a number 2 shirt on. The ones that have been successful are the ones that have played his position.

AllHipHop.com: To be clear, your departure was due more to you wanting to be your own boss rather than say the lack of promotion or the sales of your debut album?

Loon: Well, I do blame the company for that. I don’t blame Puff. A lot of people like to blame Puff. I was signed to Bad Boy. I wasn’t signed to P.Diddy Records. I wasn’t signed to Sean Combs Records. I was signed to Bad Boy Records. And it’s a company that’s run by several individuals. And I just think that me playing such a significant role in the refurbishing of Bad Boy, the company might have overlooked the fact that — you know what I’m saying — it’s time to pay homage to Loon now. ‘Cause Loon done been here for years.

AllHipHop.com: Ultimately, don’t things like lack of promotion come back to Puff since he’s the head of the company?

Loon: Of course, I mean everybody got to chew that up. ‘Cause you can’t just say overall lack of promotion. What were we lacking? Was it in radio? Was it in marketing? And Puff don’t run those areas in that company. It could have been somebody who was mad at him. Somebody who got fired a week before that. ‘Cause it was a lot of heads rolling. I was trying to get my groove on. We was nicknaming assistants. I called one guy 3 weeks.

AllHipHop.com: And this was caused by Bad Boy’s distribution transition from Arista to Universal?

Loon: Definitely. And that’s another struggle that I went through. A lot of people don’t know we was independent at one point. So we end up going from Four Seasons to staying at Holiday Inn, Days Inn. Bunking up and all that. And then once he got the deal with Universal , back to the filet mignon. I think that’s what kept Puff motivated for so many years. But I think that the motivation for us is declined when the artists in the company start to lose their spark. And then you have the domino effect. But maybe it could be the other way around. Maybe Puff is starting to lose his desire. Or maybe losing the time to be responsible for all these things now. You know what I’m saying? You got to remember when dude wasn’t doing no clothes and all that, n***as couldn’t even eat on the radio. N***as couldn’t even get a spin or a kick. But once he got preoccupied with movies and clothes, it’s only right that something—

AllHipHop.com: Declined?

Loon: Exactly.

AllHipHop.com: In you opinion, will your departure signal a call for Diddy to re-focus his attention on his artists?

Loon: Nah, I don’t think that. ‘Cause you got to understand, Puff is a smart dude. If he felt like he couldn’t deal with that or live with that, I’m pretty sure he would come up with a check big enough to keep me there. Or persuade me in some way, shape or form; or try his very best to. But at the end of the day, I honestly think that this is not going to be no learning experience toward Puff. This is going to be another notch in the totem pole as far as him elevating himself as artist, actor, CEO, and I like a said, a great coach. And that’s a coach’s decision. Like I said, man, I don’t think that that would make him run frantically to give his artists attention. I think that a lot of artists just have to do what they have to do to maintain their own status. You got to make a move. Puff would do it. Russell Simmons would do it. So I just want people to know that Loon is smart–first and foremost. Loon is a very creative artist. I got six ASCAP awards. I wrote the biggest record in Bad Boy history, which is “I Need A Girl (Part 2)” — topped “I’ll Be Missing You, topped all your ‘97 favorites. Regardless of the lack of success of my solo album, regardless of whatever, whatever, even this move right now, a lot of good has came out of my four-year stint at Bad Boy.

AllHipHop.com: You mentioned earlier that you had a rough year, can you talk about the obstacles you’ve faced?

Loon: For the folks that do know, for the folks that don’t know, [N.B.A.] All-Star Weekend that just passed this February, I was charged with attempted murder. The most serious thing that ever happened to me in my life. Because I’ve had my share of the streets and I was definitely prepared to deal with any consequences that came from out there on the street. But right now, baby, I am far out the loop. I am ten years out the street. The last thing I need is to be looking at 15 years, out on a million dollar bail, charged with attempted murder. By the grace of God, that’s behind me. The case is dismissed. And then, you know, this whole transition from Bad Boy. It’s been a rough year. But it’s been a learning experience, though. I’ve attended like 24 of the 26 Hip-Hop Summits. Anything that had to do with the voter registration drive, that’s where I buried myself. Instead of trying to capitalize off of my situation, make money off of facing 50 years or do anything your average rapper would do. I was sick. You know what I’m saying? I was truly sick. I would be incriminating myself to turn around and try to make a record off of that. You know what I mean? I didn’t give a s**t. So I’m not going to sit here and play with you. So what I did was burry myself with something constructive. And these are decisions that I’m willing to make with people’s lives now running my company. Just through my own experiences, I just know that I’m ready to get it cracking. It’s been very, very peculiar and confusing because of all the stuff going on around me. But I think the smoke has cleared and the light is shining. And the light says Boss Up.

AllHipHop.com: Any final words?

Loon: I can’t wait to get back. But right now I’m coming to get the girls tranquilized again, and at the same time I got something for these n***s out here that think they know everything. Nobody talks about the victims and that’s what makes it street music. Everybody’s the killer, everybody’s doing everything except struggle. ‘Pac told you the dark side of the struggle. Nobody talks about that mother crying over the casket. They make a joke or mockery out of it. Come on, man. None of these n***s even got the heart to live that way. Murder is a cold thing, man.

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