Diehard fans of The
Wire were a little shocked when Namond Brice, son of Barksdale clan hitman Wee-Bey,
took measures to step away from the drug game he was born into in Season 4.
With doe-eyed passiveness, Namond lied to his mother about
pushing drugs to avoid her constant banter about living up to his fathers
name, but eventually the truth came out. While his mother was overtaken with
bitter disappointment, it didnt stop the teen from holding tight to his own
dream for a better future. In the end, Namond went to live with ex-police Major
Akin to his character Namond, actor Julito McCullum is soft
spoken and endearing, and he has a productive plan for his life. Much like his castmate Jermaine Crawford
(Dukie), Julito is also a triple threat performer. As a dancer, actor and
songwriter/rapper with a new single, Julito is grinding every day to promote
his next big move.
We spoke with Julito this week about the nature of his
characters decisions, and why Namond represents a rarely seen positive side of
The Wires story. We also touched on
the reality of ringtone rappers, longevity in the rap game and the importance
of youth in Hip-Hop.
AllHipHop.com: Thus far in the series we havent seen Namond
that much, but where we left off [in Season 4] was Namond pretty much retired
himself from the game so to speak. What are your personal thoughts about the
character Namond and why he maybe didnt have the heart to follow in his
Julito McCullum: I mean I dont feel like Namond didnt have
the heart. In the world its not that people dont have the heart, [the thing
is] thats not where they wanna be at the time or what they wanna do. Namond
made the right decision by doing what he had to do for his family and things
like that, but then again that was the wrong decision because of all the
negativity in the situation.
Namond is just like every other kid, theres a lot of kids
out here going through that stage in their life where they have to be something
that theyre not. So its not necessarily that they dont have the heart, its
just that theyre put in predicaments and situations to where they have to do
what they have to do.
AllHipHop.com: Realizing that Namonds choice to go the
direction that he went is going to cause a divide between his friendships with
Michael and the other boys he grew up with, do you feel like thats something
thats in the back of his mind as he moves on with his life, or is he really
trying to put that in his past?
Julito McCullum: I feel like hes trying to put it in his
past, because nobody really wants that to be on their mind all the time even
though it is. That was something big, that wasnt something you can push to the
side like that. So yeah, hes trying to put it to the side and move forward so
he can do what he gotta do, and thats why he was going to school and putting
his effort into paying attention in class and doing what he had to do so he
didnt have to look back on that.
AllHipHop.com: Are we gonna expect to see Namond have a run
in with his old friends at some point?
Julito McCullum: Nah, not really. What I love about the
Namond character is that theyre just showing you that there is a way out in
life. Even though there are the hardships and the hustlers and killers out
there, sometimes those hustlers and killers actually do change their lives
around and turn into doctors, lawyers and things like that.
Im not gonna tell you whats really going on, but they just
bring my character back just to show you where it left off when he was doing
good, something positive about The Wire.
Sometimes theres definitely not a lot of positive situations in The Wire, so thats one situation where
they show positive.
AllHipHop.com: Have you had to worry about any modicum of
being stereotyped [as an actor], or have you been able to branch out from that
and get different types of roles?
Julito McCullum: Ive definitely been able to branch out,
because with Namonds character its like he shows more than just being that
regular hood kid. He showed the seriousness, the drama – the real actor came
out in me. Im very quick to be able to go out on different auditions and
AllHipHop.com: What exactly is coming up for you in the next
Julito McCullum: Ive just been grinding, I have a lot of
scripts thats been coming at me. I got a lot of big movie roles thats up on
the table for me right now, and I got some big things happening. I cant really
put them out there like that right now, so just look around. By summertime
youre gonna be hearing about some great projects Ill be in.
AllHipHop.com: We know that youre working a single on the
music side of things. Tell us how you got involved with your music and who
youre working with right now.
Julito McCullum: Well actually Ive been writing all of my
life, even before acting. Acting just came along with me being in the
entertainment industry, but Ive been writing all of my life so that was always
something I wanted to pursue no matter how long it took. I was just waiting for
the right time, but right now I feel definitely is the right time.
I got the right song, the song is called The Wire and what
it is, Im not being my character in the story. I dont really call it a song,
I call it a story, and what Im doing is I use The Wire to be the characters
name which is the hood. Im just showing you how everything is going on in the
hood, how people that dont know about it get to see whats really going on in
On the last verse what I do is show you a kid that started
out in The Wire and his come up until he reaches his peak and then his fall.
Sort of like what Jay-Z did with the whole American
Gangster album I did that with one verse using characters from The Wire itself in the situation. So
its definitely a great song and a great time to put that out, and its
definitely a classic hit.
AllHipHop.com: Do you already have some things set in motion
for doing a full length project?
Julito McCullum: Well, right now were just trying to get
the right situations together, I have a lot of people here with me. I dont
have a deal or anything like that as of now, but we have the songs, the music
and the focus on what we wanna do and where we wanna go. Were just waiting for
the right people to get behind us.
AllHipHop.com: Do you necessarily feel that a lot of rappers
in your age group are poising themselves for longevity, or do you feel like
this ringtone rapper thing has taken hold too much?
Julito McCullum: With that situation, they say people are
making ringtone music, but if you try to make different music in this game
nobody wants to hear it. I feel like Hurricane Chris and Soulja Boy are doing
what theyre supposed to do, which is making the hits for people right now.
Thats all people wanna hear, because if Soulja Boy would have came out with
something completely not Soulja Boy to please the world, he wouldnt have done
it because nobody would have wanted to hear it. They wanted to hear him doing
the Superman because thats him and thats whats hot right now.
Even though people say, Oh, thats ringtone music, he
still got the number one song in the country. You feel me? He still got the
number one song in the country and his album sales were great for his first
time out – and its not even just him, for all the other people thats out
right now being called ringtone rappers. If you guys are gonna talk about
ringtone rappers, just give people a chance to make good, real music.
AllHipHop.com: Do you feel that its important for someone
whos 15-19 years old starting a rap career to go back and learn about the
artists that were pre-1990s, or do you think that their frame of reference is
good enough for what they are doing?
Julito McCullum: Theres people right now in the game that
are doing what they have to do, and what I like about the game right now is
that they are looking back at what used to go on and theyre like Alright,
lets put it in a new era for them. The [Jason Fox] Aunt Jackie situation,
thats Fresh Prince right there. He just took that, flipped it and made it into
The people are definitely looking back at what used to go on
and theyre just putting it in their own form, which is great. Even though
weve always gotta look back at our pioneers and thank them for everything that
theyve done, we do have to be our own pioneers at the same time. If we try to
do a Biggie song theyll be like, Oh he aint nothing but trying to be like
I dont care what nobody says, 20 years from now theyre
gonna look at Soulja Boy and his whole movement and say Yo, remember when that
came out? because thats everywhere. Everybody was doing Soulja Boy from every
star to the Caucasians, Mexicans and Chinese. If youre on Youtube I know you
probably seen it, everybody is doing it. So I know years from now theyre going
to look back the same way were looking back. Its probably not as big as what
the pioneers of Hip-Hop were doing but its definitely a landmark in Hip-Hop.
AllHipHop.com: Hip-Hop is a young persons thing. We have to
allow people that are 15-20 years old to come in and make a new wave.
Julito McCullum: Definitely, we have to take heed and accept change, because
thats what Hip-Hop is about. Its about changing, upgrading and being present
and also the future but like you said we cant keep living on the future, we
need to change.
AllHipHop.com: Who do you like for the Super Bowl?
Julito McCullum: Im going with the Giants. I want the Giants
and Patriots to do it, I would love to see that game. Im going with the home
team. Just off of the strength that we won that [game against the Dallas
Cowboys] I know were going to the Super Bowl. Theres a lot of people out
there saying, They cant do it, its gonna be below zero. The Giants are
gonna do it.
AllHipHop.com: Going into the next year, what do you want
people to look out for from you throughout acting and music?
Julito McCullum: Acting, Im still gonna give you guys good
roles. Im gonna start showing you my diversity in acting, that I can do jobs
outside of The Wire. I can show you
how I really can act. Im not just some kid that they got off the street, and
they just saw he was a hood kid and put him in The Wire. As far as music Im just gonna show you a different type
of music, good feeling music that any age can vibe to. A lot of people say Im
an actor trying to rap. Im gonna prove everybody wrong.