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Mike Jones: Left For Dead

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A few years back it was all about Mike Jones, the Houston

rapper who reached national stardom with the hit singles “Back Then” and “Still

Tippin.” His catchphrase—“Who? Mike Jones!—was heard throughout the

clubs, and both fans and haters alike dialed the personal cellphone number he

shouted out in songs. “I was the Lil Wayne of the game at the time,” he

recalls. “Double platinum, hottest young artist—I couldn’t go nowhere.”

 

Unfortunately, the buzz eventually died. Despite the success

of his debut album, Who Is Mike Jones?,

Mike Jones left the Swishahouse camp over artistic differences. He then took an

offer from Asylum Records to create his own imprint: Ice Age Entertainment. The

subsequent output was lukewarm at best—The American Dream EP, which Mike says, “Never fully met its

potential,” and a series of middling singles that went nowhere.

 

But Mike Jones kept his head up throughout his four-year

hiatus and is finally set to drop his second album, The Voice (April 28). “It answers all the questions that

people want to know,” he says. From his altercation with Trae at last year’s

Ozone Awards to his soured relationship with T-Pain, we’re definitely ready for

some answers.

 

 

AllHipHop.com: How

do you feel about The Voice finally coming out?

 

Mike Jones: I feel

better than ever. It’s been too long. It ain’t nothing but politics that kept

me away.

 

AllHipHop.com: What

politics?

 

Mike Jones: The

powers that be didn’t like “Cuddy Buddy,” they didn’t like “Next to You,” so

the fans got turned off, and it turned off the support system. But in 2008, the

records that people said were wack were big records. “Drop & Gimme 50” was

a big record. “Cuddy Buddy” came out to be top ten in the record charts and so

was “Next to You.” People want to know, “What’s up with Mike and Ozone? What

took him so long?”

 

AllHipHop.com: Can

you tell me the specifics of what happened between you and Trae at the Ozone

Awards?

 

Mike Jones: That’s

politics—I had bulls**t beefs, and I had to face everything. You should

ask them, because Mike Jones ain’t that type of dude. So for that to happen it

had to be the other person. I brought the dude to my club multiple times. I

don’t understand why it happened, but we moved on.

 

Mikes Jones “Next To You” Video

AllHipHop.com: Tell

me about the songs on the upcoming album.

 

Mike Jones: We have

a track called “Boi!” with Young Problemz. It’s a track that claims, “Boy I

have what you don’t got.” We have a record called “Happy Birthday” and that’s

a record that everybody could play on they birthday. Everyday is somebody’s

birthday. And I made it because I can’t focus on people’s birthdays because all

these haters watching me so much to the point I feel like, “Damn, y’all

watching me like it’s my birthday.”

 

AllHipHop.com: What

about the single, “Next To You”?

 

Mike Jones: That

single was originally made in 2006. I wrote the song, and I had Nae Nae sing on

it because I was trying to get Ashanti or Mya on the record, somebody of their

caliber. So Nae Nae sung on the track as a reference at the time and everybody

that we sent the record to turned us down. So we kept it for ourselves, and now

it’s top ten. Nae Nae, she’s an aspiring singer, and how you hear it right now,

is how she did it three years ago, and it ain’t been touched since.

 

AllHipHop.com: Why

did you leave Swishahouse?

 

Mike Jones: You see

a lot of people give them too much credit. They say that Swisha’s the reason

that I blew up. But it’s talent. There’s a whole lot of talent there that ain’t

moving nowhere. It started out with Ice Age Entertainment. I was already big

off the strip-club scenes, and they came to me. They had a bigger machine at

that time, and I got down with them.

 

AllHipHop.com: So

after you left Swishahouse, why has it taken so long for your second album to

come out?

 

Mike Jones: Before

that, you got to understand a lot of people didn’t believe in Mike Jones. Even

when Who Is Mike Jones? came out, a lot of people didn’t believe

that album could pass gold. But I knew it was going to sell. They didn’t

believe it, but they signed it. And now not only the album went gold, it went

double platinum.

 

Mikes Jones “Swagger Right” Video

 

 

AllHipHop.com: Okay,

then why did you leave?

 

Mike Jones: My

contract with Swishahouse was a yearly deal. From 2001 to 2004, I was with

Swishahouse. My contract was about to end in 2004, but we renegotiated, and at

that time everything was good. Then right after we renewed the contract they

started getting stinky. And people wanted to do this, and do that. And then I

thought, “If ya’ll don’t believe in my vision, take me off.” And they were

like, “You acting like you’re about to go platinum,” and I said, “I am going

platinum.” And when it went gold, I was like let’s get off, and I have creative

control.

 

AllHipHop.com: So

you own all the songs on Who Is Mike Jones??

 

Mike Jones: I own

half of them. On the first album it was 50/50. But [Swishahouse] got to split

it with Warner Bros. and Asylum, so they don’t own half either.

 

AllHipHop.com: It

seems like things were working out for you. But why did you release The

American Dream EP instead of an official album?

 

Mike Jones: If you

listen to the first album on the “Intro” I said, “Be on the lookout for the

next album, The American Dream.” It was going to be an album and

a movie. I was pushing that project, but when the label didn’t believe in my

vision, that f**ked everything up. It never got the full potential that it

deserved.

 

AllHipHop.com: Ice

Age Entertainment had a pretty strong roster from D4L to Shawty Lo…

 

Mike Jones: I mean

at that time I was showing love to everybody who wanted to come out and get

that love because I’m used to people not showing me love. I felt what they went

through. D4L was one of them. T-Pain was another one. T-Pain, he was new to the

game when I came through and showed him love.

 

 

AllHipHop.com:

T-Pain?

 

Mike Jones: “I’m ‘n

Luv (Wit a Stripper)”? Didn’t anybody at the label want to play that record.

Mike Jones put his foot down, demanded and gave all his effort to play that

record. So we created the ground for T-Pain to have that record, and during the

process I did a song called “Cuddy Buddy.” So I was like, “Cool, I did that for

you, you come and do this for me.” And when I did that, Jive said that we

couldn’t do “Cuddy Buddy” with T-Pain. But when “I’m ‘n Luv (Wit a Stripper)”

came out I was showing love to him.

 

AllHipHop.com: Have

you spoken to T-Pain recently?

 

Mike Jones: I haven’t

spoken to T-Pain since 2006 or 2007. In 2005, I did “I’m ‘n Luv (Wit a

Stripper),” I brought him to Club Ice Age, I got him two or three different

kind of grills. I mean T-Pain did his thing, like he was supposed to, because I

knew he had talent. When the label didn’t believe in “Cuddy Buddy,” when it got

time for me to really put it out there, I was trying to reach out and get the

same love, but I didn’t get that love back.

 

AllHipHop.com: You

always thought T-Pain was going to be successful?

 

Mike Jones: I knew

he was. That’s why I got T-Pain in like two or three records on The Voice.

A lot of people will hear these records and they’ll be like, “Oh! Where did

Mike get all these records?” I’ve been having these records years ago.

 

AllHipHop.com: Was he

ever officially under your label?

 

Mike Jones: He was

never officially under my label but in the video he was rocking the Ice Age

chain. At that time a lot of people weren’t behind him like they would be right

now, just like people didn’t believe in D4L. I got behind people that I knew

that were talented.

 

AllHipHop.com: Do

you ever regret that you didn’t sign him?

 

Mike Jones: That

ain’t what I was trying to do. I was just trying to network and make

relationships. I ain’t trying to sign everybody and get money off everybody.

I’m just trying to say, when it came down for me, I just thought a lot of

people could have put their foot down for me like how I did for them. Cool,

there’s no beef, or nothing.

 

Mikes Jones f/ T-Pain “Scandalous Hoes”

 

AllHipHop.com: So if

y’all get down now, y’all could still do a record?

 

Mike Jones: Yeah,

it’ll be done, but it ain’t going to be the way it was. That’s what I explain a

lot in this album. I mean people could see all the fake smiles, and fake

handshakes, but in reality people left me for dead.

 

AllHipHop.com: But

that’s just part of this industry. You’ve never put on a fake smile?

 

Mike Jones: If I

did, then I wouldn’t have done the song with D4L. I’m getting behind a group

that dances, move they legs, and I wasn’t tripping about how they did they

things.

 

AllHipHop.com: Do

you feel the same way about D4L and Shawty Lo as you feel about T-Pain?

 

Mike Jones: Shawty

Lo is a different situation. I still see him. There’s lot of people that still

show me the same love that I showed them. It;s just some people don’t. Even Lil

Wayne was on “Cuddy Buddy,” he wasn’t able to show up to the video, but he

still let us know, he wasn’t just hiding behind the label.

 

AllHipHop.com: Is

there anybody else on Ice Age Entertainment?

 

Mike Jones: Oh, it’s

me by myself now. When the label didn’t believe in the project, a lot of people

thought I was left for dead, so a lot of people distanced themselves. And I’m

glad they did. Now it showed me who is real, and who ain’t real. I had all

these records people didn’t know about, and now I’m top ten, and people try to

come back, but I don’t need them. I got so much music I’m already working on my

third album, and it’s called Expect the Unexpected because Mike

Jones hits them when they least expect it.

 

Mike Jones “Cuddy Buddy” Video

 

AllHipHop.com: Like

how people didn’t expect you to lose so much weight?

 

Mike Jones: I mean I

try to get on the treadmill every morning for about 10 to 15 minutes. I stopped

eating fast food, and started eating Subway sandwiches. In about four or five

months [weight] took off on me. I went from 290 pounds to like 190 pounds. I

ain’t have nothing but time, it wasn’t like I was on a crazy tour. I just ate

fresh.

 

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