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Stat Quo: After The Math is Gone

statquo

The term status quo means to keep things the way they are. But,

ironically enough, Atlanta native Stat Quo wants to do everything except that.

 

After sitting on Shady/Aftermath/Interscope

from 2003-2008 with nothing but some hard learned lessons to show for it can

you blame the man for wanting some change? After being discovered towards the

end of 2003 by Eminem, Stat Quo became the second artist to be signed to

Shady/Aftermath, after one 50 Cent. His debut album Statlanta was originally marked for release in 2004. But after repeated push backs and wall after wall of label politics, Stat Quo decided

to stop accepting things the way they were and in 2008 parted ways with the

house that Em and Dre

built.

 

But fans who have been waiting for the

music need not fear. Stat plans on releasing all unreleased material he recorded along

with new music through a series of mixtapes [The Bailout]. With a

world of potential, Stat Quo may be the break from the norm we all need.

 

 

AllHipHop.com: You were brought into

the game by Eminem and were signed to Shady/Aftermath, which

was like a kid getting the golden ticket to Willy Wonkas

chocolate factory. What was one of the first things you learned or realized

about the game?

 

Stat Quo: With them I learned,

like from beginning to end, how to create songs and to make an album. You see

people always talking about they want to rap but there’s really an art form to

this. The guys that I was signed to, along with some other people I worked with

behind the scenes, really mastered the technique of making songs and albums. I

mean you can tell by their track record. I definitely say I can take that from

the experience. I just learned a lot about the music business period that I can take and use later on down the road. I learned what

bulls**t looks like and I learned what real s**t looks like as far as this

industry is concerned.

 

“In retrospect I never should’ve even signed to them. Lets

just be real about it. I got homeboys that are in the industry that were signed

after me but they put out like two or three albums already.”

 

 

 

AllHipHop.com: How involved were Dre and Em in your project?

 

Stat: They were totally

involved. They were hands on with the project. It was like if you take a child

who can already play basketball and you put him on a court with Michael Jordan

that child is going to get better and eventually be able to compete at the

level of those guys. That’s kind of the situation I was in. I was doing my own

thing but being around them definitely helped get me to where I’m at and I’m

definitely grateful for that situation. It’s just the business bulls**t that

came along with it [that] I didn’t like. Sometimes I wish Hip-Hop was just about the

music and just take out all the other s**t that f**ks

it up. All the business s**t gets in the way.

 

AllHipHop.com: Dr. Dre is a notorious perfectionist. Do you feel your

situation was made better or worse by him being involved? 

 

Stat: In retrospect I

never should’ve even signed to them. Let’s just be real about it. I got

homeboys that are in the industry that were signed after me but they put out

like two or three albums already. In retrospect I never should’ve signed with

them because they apparently weren’t prepared to put my record out. I say that

because it never came out. I had other offers and opportunities from other

companies. People wanted to do business with Stat Quo. They were one of the

opportunities I had available.

 

I took it because I wanted to work with Dr. Dre

and Eminem. They had all these great people over at Aftermath and 50 was at

like the height of everything so why wouldn’t I? I figured I’d be dumb for not

doing it. Even though I had offers from a lot of other prominent people; Jermaine

Dupri, Puffy, Universal…these are all situations I

could’ve been a part of that I know I would’ve had an album out by now. They

all saw the talent but I felt these were the guys who could do it. It just didn’t

work out.

 

AllHipHop.com: The Eminem Presents: The Re-Up

album was supposed to serve as an introduction of the next wave of

Shady/Aftermath artists. The album came out and did well in sales but after

that people didn’t hear anything. What happened?

 

Stat: They did an EP on Cashish. That came out soon after The Re-Up but nothing came after that. The Re-Up initially was supposed to be a mixtape.

Clinton Sparks or one of the other DJ’s were just going to blend it down and

put it out in the streets. But it became a situation where most of it was new

material and Eminem and Alchemist were doing all the beats so they decided to

sell it. It sold two million records so you would think after that success

somebody’s album would’ve came out but it never did.

 

I’m an artist. I make music for the company to sell. That’s what I

thought was going on. But apparently they had something else in mind. They put Cashish out but it wasn’t even promoted. I was happy he got

to put something out because I f**k with Cashish.

He’s a good dude plus he got a family. He wants to feed his family and I

respect any man who’s trying to get s**t popping. I wanted that situation to do

well for him but it didn’t do that well because it wasn’t really promoted like

that. I don’t [know] what was going on or why it wasn’t promoted. Maybe that

was their intention, to not promote it but I would have wanted it to do better.

 

AllHipHop.com: If you could name

one thing as the cause for the slow motion in regards to your career, what

would it be?

 

Stat: There’s a lot of

s**t that went on around the time of Re-Up

that I wasn’t feeling. That first single off The Re-Up [“You Don’t Know”] there was no reason for me not to be

on that song. When I talked to Eminem about it he was like, “We were in the

studio vibing and I ended up putting Cashish on the record.” I got nothing against Cashish. He did his thing on the song but there really was

no reason not to put me on the song. When the single came out Dr. Dre was like, “Why you ain’t

on that song?” I said, “Dre I don’t know.

Let’s call Em and ask him.”

 

That led me, supposedly, to getting my own video but I never got the

video. It was like, Okay, you want to s**t on the n***a  who been over here for like four

years? We get on 106 & Park to promote the record and they got me in the

audience. I was in the crowd mad like, For real? I got to sit in the crowd?

Y’all going to play a n***a? Then they were like, “BET doesn’t want anyone on the couch who isn’t

on the song.” Exactly why I should’ve been on there. I’m not mad at

anybody who was on there but if you’re putting out that kind of single I should

at least be on there. I know people who are familiar with the situation all

agree that was some bulls**t. Regardless of how n****s take it or if n****s get

mad, that was some f**k s**t.

 

50 is smart. Anything he do he always got Lloyd and Yayo

involved. Regardless if a n***a don’t like 50 you

still get to know these n****s because they’re a part of everything. That just

showed me that dude didn’t think that highly of me as an artist. If he did I

would’ve been on that record. But even after that situation s**t was all cool. I was like, F**k it, and I let that s**t go. I

just kept working but after that I kind of knew my record wasn’t going to come

out. 

 

“Do I agree with all the business decisions, no. They weren’t smart decisions. Paul Rosenberg is one of

the smartest men in the industry period. Paul knew the opportunity. Em knew the opportunity through Paul. But Dre don’t give a f**k about none

of that.”

 

Stat Quo “Like Dat” Video

 

 

AllHipHop.com: Artists make money

by doing shows, features, and music sales. With no album to perform and sell

singles or ringtones, how were you able  to support yourself and your

family?

 

Stat: Exactly. How was I?

I’m not even going to front. They gave a brother a stipend. But let’s be real

about it. If you’re an artist affiliated with Eminem and Dr. Dre, who are multi-millionaires, they expect you to be a

millionaire too. People on the outside looking in think that’s

what you get. But you don’t. You’re sitting there with no

album so after a while they give you a stipend. The stipend wasn’t enough for

me because by then the advance was done. So I had to do what I had to do.

 

If you want a career in music you can’t be in corporate America working

a regular job. Like what would you say if you found out Stat Quo was signed to

Aftermath and working at Merrill Lynch? You’d be like what the f**k is he

doing? So you got to do what you got to do to make ends meet and that’s where

there became a disconnect. Everybody knew what Stat

was doing and how Stat was making a living and that was f**ked up. I would

never borrow money from Dre or Em.

I think that goes against everything I stand for as a man. All I ever wanted

was an opportunity to make my money for myself.

 

That’s where the disconnect came because I’m telling n****s what the

situation is and they’re looking at me like, “Meh.”

Like all I want is to get a record on the shelf. This is the artist speaking.

But the business side of me is like, “Wait, s**t is different.” They can’t put me

out right now. 50 can’t put out Yayo or Banks right

now. He got to put out himself, Dre got to get out

himself, Em got to get himself

out. Nobody’s album was coming out so that’s when I was like

bump it, I got to go.

 

The window of opportunity was closed. If I had come out a year or even

two years after I got signed I would’ve sold like three or four million records

because at that time everybody was on what Shady/Aftermath was doing. But fans

are so fickle. After time passes it’s not an issue of the music not being good,

people just get into other s**t. One minute you’re hot the next other movements

start popping up. It’s not that I have animosity toward anyone because, like I

said, if I was just on some artist s**t, not looking at the business side of it

these interviews would be a lot more disrespectful. But from the business stand

point, I understand.

 

Do I agree with all the business decisions, no.

They weren’t smart decisions. Paul Rosenberg is one of the smartest men in the

industry period. Paul knew the opportunity. Em knew

the opportunity through Paul. But Dre don’t give a f**k about none of that. All he cares about is if the

music is right. To him it has to be perfect and nobody knows Dre’s perfect but him. And when you make some perfect s**t

he listen to it so much it becomes regular s**t to him, then he come back like,

“Yo, I need some more perfect s**t.” I’m

like, “N***a I just gave you 10 perfect songs.” 

“I represent the have nots, the forgotten, the kicked

on, the spit ons, the down and outs and the

underdogs. Those are the people I represent. No matter what it is, we’re going

to make it.”

AllHipHop.com: What is the biggest

difference between you pre Aftermath and you post Aftermath? 

 

Stat: I was so green to

the industry and I was just willing to accept whatever. It was a different

time. My sound was different and I wasn’t as polished as an artist. Now if I

have an idea for a song I can pretty much do whatever I want. I can pretty much

bring across whatever I want to bring across on a record. Also, my business

mind is at an all time high. My third eye is officially wide the f**k open.

 

AllHipHop.com: You’ve been very

vocal about your love of Hip-Hop. What’s one of the biggest sacrifices you’ve

made for your career?

 

Stat: I risked my freedom

just to make a living. Them n****s know man. I risked my freedom out here

trying to make a way. This s**t ain’t

cookies and cream. It’s what I do. It’s what I am. Whatever it is I need to do

to get this music out I’m going to do it. People be

saying, “Stat need to stop talking about the situation.” N***a, do

you understand what I went though those five years at that label? When I got

signed I was a young lad. These n****s came along and took me from other

situations. I could’ve been somewhere else. It’d been different if they were

the only motherf**kers that

came to play. But I took it thinking it was going to be a life changing

experience. But after how s**t turned out how can a motherf**ker not expect me to be mad?

 

N****s ask me do I think Em and them are

going to be mad about the s**t I’m saying. I’m like what they got to be mad for

they’re rich. They family’s straight and their careers

are good. They can’t be mad. When I think about all the music I made over

there…can’t no n***a tell me the s**t I did was wack. Then they want to say Stat can’t make a hit but let’s

be real dog, a lot of these so called hits you hear on the radio is paid for.

S**t don’t magically appear on radio and TV.

 

Stat Quo “We Get Higher” Video

 

 

AllHipHop.com: You’ve stated in

other interviews that you are going to release all your Shady/Aftermath music.

Legally speaking, how can you do that? 

 

Stat: Hell yeah I’m

putting this music out. This music I made with them is part of my f**king

legacy, part of my f**king story. You think I’m not going to let n****s hear

this s**t, you crazy. The only way I won’t put it out is if I get a check. If I

get a check y’all won’t hear s**t. I ain’t

making no money off this s**t. I’m putting it out for Hip-Hop and my legacy.

When they talk about who was the raw dogs in this rap s**t they got to mention

my name. KRS-One got to feel so proud of himself. Even

Em and Dre got to be proud

of themselves knowing that their place in the game can

never be questioned.

 

AllHipHop.com: So you’re not

concerned about Interscope taking legal action?

 

Stat: I ain’t selling it so what am I

doing wrong? All the Jerry’s and Jill’s can download

it. Then when he get it he’s going to share it with

his friends. They can’t stop that. I press up some CD’s and hand them out here

in Atlanta, they can’t stop that. They can stop me from selling it in a store

trying to make a profit. This is a not for profit situation. This ain’t about no money. I want to be

in that number. One of the greatest rappers of all time.

That’s what I work for, that’s what I strive for. Whatever you’re passionate

about you should strive to be the best in it. I’m not going to let no legals stop me from releasing something that can put me at

that point.

 

AllHipHop.com: If the label blocked

you from releasing anything except one song, what is the song you would

want people to hear?  

 

Stat: That’s tough. I got

a song called “Going Somewhere.” I really like it. It’s not a Dre or Eminem beat but I still like it. In one part I said,

“I sleep with my clothes on cause even when I’m dreaming I’m going

somewhere.” It’s about me and my refusing to settle,

refusing to quit. I’m ready to fight to the end for this s**t. I got partners

that’s locked up that call me and tell me don’t quit. I do it for them. I speak

for everybody that ever had a dream and had somebody try to hinder that dream.

I represent the have nots, the forgotten, the kicked

on, the spit ons, the down and outs and the

underdogs. Those are the people I represent. No matter what it is, we’re going

to make it.

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