Growing up in the spotlight of show business aint easy, just ask the cast of Diffrent Strokes. So many child-stars have fallen quickly out-of-favou with their adoring public over the years. And in the world of music, look no further than the once-beloved Michael Jackson to see the effects of celebrity status early on in life.
Its impressive to think after going platinum off the strength of the single My Baby at age 12, artist Romeo would be as popular now as he was back in his Lil days. With well over three million records sold, a movie career seven films deep, multiple TV ventures, Romeos never truly suffered a loss through his physical development. He even appears in the film DVD release Crush on U, in stores now. Now the 17-year-old CEO of Guttar Music label, Romeo reflects on the No Limit glory years he witnessed from a childs-eye-view, his fans and The Gumbo Station, – which may have some chronic sprinkled in.
AllHipHop.com: Youve said in a recent interview that youre gonna have some tracks for Dr. Dre on the album. Hes giving up some more of those Detox beats?
Romeo: Actually, Dre listened to it and he liked it. We was talking about a lot of different ideas and everything. Weve got a lot of surprises on the album that I cant really give away right now, but weve got surprises.
AllHipHop.com: Not too long ago you dropped the track You Cant Shine Like Me, aimed a little at Bow Wow, and youve got some tracks on Gods Gift going at him. Whats your current relationship with him?
Romeo: You know, I think the media made that more than what it really was. Im out here, and us both being young African Americans making money, weve both got a lot of similarities, and people wanted to see us go against each other from the beginning. So Im just trying to be a role model to these kids. I see the bigger picture, Ive gotta worry about what Im focused on. Weve got a vision, so Im just trying to be a role model for the kids.
AllHipHop.com: Youve got the new single Special Girl with Omarion getting a lot of airplay right now. At this point in your career, you think its safe to say you know who your loyal fanbase is?
Romeo: I love my fans to death. My fans have been there through everything. Ive got some interesting fans, man. Theyve followed me through everything. From me acting to me playing ball. I see my fans at my high school basketball games. So I know my fans, and Im just happy to have real loyal fans. I want them to know I do this for them.
AllHipHop.com: Another new track from the album called Pops Im A Hustla has you getting your grown man swagger on.
Romeo: Yeah, that was basically just me showing what I can do now verbally, just spitting. I made it with my cousins from my new Guttar Music label. Its just showing maturity, you know?
AllHipHop.com: So youre the CEO of Guttar Music, correct?
AllHipHop.com: And youve got a whole roster of artists. Are we gonna see any releases from them this year?
Romeo: Yeah, actually youll be seeing C-Los first. Hes my cousin, and hes crazy talented. He brings music without a pen and pad, hes been doing it since the age of 12. Youll be seeing him with his first single Walk With a Limp. Then weve got T.A.N.K., we got Playa, weve got Young-V, Lil-D, Firecracker, T-Bo, weve got everybody. So its gon be hot, its gon be real crazy, and Im just ready to get it out there for the people to listen to it.
AllHipHop.com: So with Guttar Music, whats the status of No Limit? We havent heard much from there lately.
Romeo: No Limit was my dads thing, now its all about Guttar. The future of No Limit is Guttar. So its kind of a spin off of No Limit, but its all about Guttar now.
AllHipHop.com: How has the music industry slump of the past few years affected your career, cause youve been doing a lot of movies and TV
Romeo: Well its a good thing. With my dad being put in the situation he was put in, were able to make our own decisions and do a lot of things on our own. And we see a lot of people out there not able to do that. My dad owned 88 percent of a label. Thats unheard of. So it didnt really affect us. Were out here making a lot of movies and DVDs, and Im still being a regular kid. It aint affect in me in no way though. Im still going to school, playing ball, just doing what we do. So Im blessed to be put in that situation.
AllHipHop.com: Being that you were in the music industry at such an early age, in the studio at eight-years old, growing up in the No Limit era, do you think it helped in terms of dealing with future success?
Romeo: Id have to say it helped a lot, cause I got to experience a lot of things artists never experience, and at such an early age. Especially seeing my pops with Snoop Dogg, and Silkk the Shocker and just see everybody in the studio Mystikal and Nas, and all these great artists in the studio. And I was able to just watch them as a little kid. But the thing with me was I was always shy, I never rapped in front of my dad. I would go in the studio and rap and do my own songs in the studio once everyone was gone. But [only] after I learned how to produce and record by myself.
AllHipHop.com: On a less enthusiastic note, its no secret thats its been a rough couple years for the Miller family, with your uncles [C-Murder] incarceration and trial. How are you guys dealing with the situation now that theres a new trial scheduled?
Romeo: The only thing we can do is pray. Our prayers always go to him. You know this is life, you gon experience a lot of things in life, youve gotta be strong and move on with it. But we out there praying every day, and it definitely feels good knowing that [a new trail has been set].
AllHipHop.com: Word. So what was it that led to the cancellation of your show Romeo! on Nickelodeon?
Romeo: I did three years with them, and actually Ive got a new show now, so I just moved on. I really appreciate Nickelodeon, that was a great opportunity for me. I cant really talk about the new show, but its called Kings of Malibu. Its gonna be crazy, weve got a lot of executive producers that are really gonna bring it to life.
AllHipHop.com: Now I know you and your dad have been involved in the rebuilding effort of your hometown [New Orleans] since Katrina. From your experience and what youve seen, what kind of progress is being made down there?
Romeo: When I went down it was crazy, cause there wasnt no progress at all. It was hard seeing where you come from and everything gone. All your memories, gone. Its like theres no word to describe it. Youre at home, but you never expected to see the city washed away. Me and my dad went down there did what we can do, but we dont trip. My dads not really a publicity person, hes a people person. So we just went and did what we could to help the people. I think the progress is getting a little better, but its not what it could be. It could always be a lot better.
AllHipHop.com: So lastly, if we checked the deck of Romeos ride right now, what would we find in there?
Romeo: Actually, Ive got it locked to the Gumbo Station album in there. Ive got a lot of mixtape CDs, and some exclusive songs Ive made that nobodys heard yet. But of course Ive got my pops albums in there, throwbacks like [Ghetto Ds] Make Em Say Ugh. So I keep it all No Limit and Guttar Music in my ride.