Over the years, Hip-Hop has been no stranger to the words, beef and controversy. Many of these situations start off as small disputes usually being resolved on diss tracks or battles. Unfortunately, sometimes they escalate into unneeded violence.
What is one to do when the industry erupts like an earthquake between two friends?
AllHipHop.com spoke with Jacob the Chancellor, co-owner of Fat Cat Records to discuss the beef between Gucci Mane and Jeezy circulating around the track, Icy. The song was the root of the the violence, and the lead single behind Guccis Fat Cat/Tommy Boy album Trap House. He also speaks about the current legal charges proceeding against Gucci Mane.
When will the Hip-Hop culture learn that problems can not be solved through violence? Its bitterly cynical to say, but similar to the Tootsie Pop owl, The world may never know.
AllHipHop.com: How did you get the name, The Chancellor?
Jacob York: [Laughs] Cam gave me that name. He said I was in charge of everything, and the name stuck. Mase even started calling me The Chancellor.
AllHipHop.com: So youre the man to know in the street
Jacob York: I guess that I have a pretty good reputation.
AllHipHop.com: Tell us a little bit about your history, because people may be surprised to learn where your experience is rooted
Jacob York: At the time, we were a young company when we had a deal with Junior M.A.F.I.A. Children of the Corn was how we found Camron. When Big L passed, we got a new deal and picked up Cam. I actually have two unreleased C.O.C. CDs that Im staring at in my office right now.
AllHipHop.com: Any chance that you can give me a release date on those?
Jacob York: Well save that for another time.
AllHipHop.com: Why didnt you also pick up Murda Mase?
Jacob York: We originally had Mase first, but Puff outbid us.
AllHipHop.com: Have you heard Junior M.A.F.I.A.s new album, Riot Musik?
Jacob York: Someone called me when I was in Chicago and told me. I had no idea that they had one out. I heard that they dropped my name on the track, Just Us. But I havent spoken with them in a while.
AllHipHop.com: So fast-forward to now, for those that dont know, what do you do?
Jacob York: My partner and I are the owners and C.E.O.s of Big Cat Records. My artists are Black Magic, Young Sneed and Gucci Mane are a few or our artists.
AllHipHop.com: Lets just get to the meat of this. From your perspective, break us off what happened with him and Young Jeezy
Jacob York: Basically, it started off as two friends in Atlanta that rhymed. Gucci asked Jeezy to do a few bars on the track, Icy.. It got circulation on a mix-tape. When it took off, a lot of people were skeptical, because they didnt think that it would work on an independent label. Jeezy eventually went to Def Jam, and they wanted all the rights to the track. We wanted a hold back period between albums. Jeezy still wanted to put it on his album. We were going to take him off of the track and just put it out on Guccis album. They were going to do a video for it and Gucci showed up late to the shoot. Def Jam told us that we should have just taken Jeezy off of the track to begin with. Their partner told us that we should have just held it. It was basically the big label vs. the little label.
Jacob York: Yeah, it happens all the time. Its currently selling without permission on Jeezys Trap or Die, album. Def Jam is distributing it.
AllHipHop.com: So howd it get personal?
Jacob York: It all became about ego and we were told that we couldnt use it. Gucci felt betrayed, but was going to pay Jeezy again to appear in the video. They were going to do a spot for MTV, but some words were exchanged and people became offended. It was about keeping your word. These cats go back a long way and its sad to see these things happen. It truly destroys friendships. Jeezy released a dis-tack [Stay Strapped or Die]. We were surprised, but replied. That wasnt the problem though. My problem was when Jeezy sent out a death warrant saying, Ill give $10,000 for Gucci Manes chain.
Jacob York: Some people take the music a little too seriously. Hip-Hop fans, a lot of the times, dont think that artists are lying, but rather telling the truth. The next thing that you know, five guys show up to Guccis crib with bats and brass knuckles. When people show up at your door like that, theyre not interested in talking peacefully. Gucci started bucking shots and jumped in his car and left. One of the five guys that came to the house was from Guccis hood. He was supposedly an up and coming rapper and was probably trying to impress Jeezy. That guy died.
AllHipHop.com: So what did Gucci do?
Jacob York: He turned himself in. At first, one of the witnesses called the Atlanta Police Department. They didnt even call him back. A lot of people say that it was in self-defense. He had a high cash bond. There was a reward put out for information on the other four guys that were at his house. The police think that its an open and shut case, but its not. Recently, several witnesses have come forth. It hasnt been handled properly from the jump.
AllHipHop.com: Is this his first offense?
Jacob York: Hes never been convicted before. The only thing that hes ever had was a possession charge.
AllHipHop.com: What did Def Jam have to say about all of this? It doesnt seem like their style.
Jacob York: Def Jam claims that were using it a form of hype for the album. Its not true. We dont need to do it for sales, we already have that. Because of all of this, weve been losing deals left and right. People are backing out. I even had a radio group tell me that until the whole thing blows over, they couldnt do business with us.
AllHipHop.com: You would think that all of this would increase the sales around Guccis album.
Jacob York: Hip-Hop today is mainstream. Its unfortunate to say so, but its true. Bill OReiley uttered a few words about Ludacris and got him kicked off of a Pepsi campaign. You lose deals and profits because if thing like this. Were an independent label from Atlanta, so radio stations never have enough time or room to play our music in the first place. We may sell a few extra 1000 copies in Atlanta because of the beef, but even after this whole thing blows over, Gucci is going to have to deal with this for the rest of his life. He has no real possibility of getting the things done that he originally had planned. We were getting 2000 spins, now its a lot less than that. We literally had a million downloads of Guccis stuff. Now it dropped to 100,000.
AllHipHop.com: Its unfortunate that this all had to happen. You said that they knew each other from way back?
Jacob York: Yeah. Ive known Jeezy for a long time, even before we signed Gucci Mane. I hope to God that he didnt really call out the hit. I knew him back when he was Little J, doing Crunk. Now hes a different person. Hes mad talented. I cant say that Ive ever known him to be a gangster. Ive never seen him hurt anyone. I used to sit him down in my office and tell him to be careful and to watch out. Regardless, people acted on the words that were said and now one man is dead. Jeezy was getting play on BET and people know about his record. Hes been signed to Def Jam for over a year. So I dont know what the deal was. I can only speculate it was because Gucci is on an independent label and is on the same level. Jeezy has two big record deals right now. It doesnt make sense. He never should have said what he did. Even in his own hood, cats are looking at him like hes a crab. Hell, even Magic is dissing Jeezy. But like I said, I originally only had a problem with the hit threat. Theyre both talented artists. I just hope that the whole thing is dealt with properly and resolved in a good way.
AllHipHop.com: What happened in the beginning? Didnt you and Def Jam talk?
Jacob York: I personally set up sit-downs six times. It always came back as, Big us and little you? Def Jam doesnt even have anything to do with the hit. They were just about the money. It was all coming from Jeezy and his camp. He did it all himself. Jeezy just started acting like he was the boss. He started claiming that he was Icy. Why did he have to do things like that? I dont know.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think that all of this has affected Jeezys career at all?
Jacob York: Im sure that it has. Like I said, a lot of people arent happy with him right now.
AllHipHop.com: Do you think that he actually called out the hit?
Jacob York: Im not sure, so Im going to say, No. A lot of people down here think otherwise. Its sad that in 2005, things like this are still happening in Hip-Hop. You would think that we would have learned from our previous mistakes. To a lot of people, it doesnt matter. I liked Jeezy. Hes not a bad guy, but his ego and the fame got to him. I remember when he was just happy to be in New York. I mean the guy got As in school. I tried to stop him from getting swallowed up by the whole thing.