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Alfamega Speaks: The Exclusive Interview

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“Alfamega ain’t never snitched on nobody.”-Alfamega

Part 1: Looking Back

Alfamega may be one of the most misunderstood artists in the South. Originally introduced to the world as the “Grand Hustle Muscle,” the man born Cedric Zellers made an impressive debut holding his own alongside T.I. and Busta Rhymes on the 2007 single “Hurt.” But following the release of the single, T.I.’s arrest on weapon charges and the Atlanta-based Grand Hustle camp’s beef with fellow WestSide representer Shawty Lo, fans saw more of the towering 6’4 rapper than they heard. He released the buzzing single, “Uh Huh” on a Nitti beat, with a T.I. feature and even filmed and released a video for the song. But his debut album I Am AlfaMega was pushed back twice before being buried in the land of “to be determined.” Still, Alfa remained loyal to the brand that T.I. built.

In April and May 2009, however, both his life and career were forever altered. First, in an incident that remains clouded in secrecy, Alfamega wound up not only under arrest, but in a hospital bed with two broken legs and multiple other injuries. Shortly thereafter, the release of court documents from over a decade ago sparked a nearly insurmountable scandal for the rapper. In a culture that vilifies anyone thought to violate the code of the streets, Alfamega was labeled a snitch by the court of public opinion. He was subsequently dropped from the Grand Hustle roster… or was he.

In part one of an exclusive interview, Alfamega and his manager Reek Walker, share with AllHipHop.com the details that lead to his current position in the game.

AllHipHop.com: So, I guess we can’t call you the Grand Hustle Muscle no more?

Alfamega: I’m Alfamega, you ain’t gotta call me the muscle.

AllHipHop.com: We know that something happened between you and the police. And we got one accounting of it, but of course, we didn’t get it from anyone that was actually there. Are you able to talk about it?

Alfamega: I caught a case. Really, it ain’t nothing to talk about right now ‘cause it’s an open case, so I’ll let my legal team handle it.

AllHipHop.com: What kind of charges are you looking at? Are you able to say that?

Alfamega: They gave me three charges: convicted Felon in possession of a firearm, and two felony obstructions of a police officer. They didn’t wanna give me no bond at first, then my lawyer kept going.

AllHipHop.com: If you don’t beat the charge, what kind of time are you looking at? How does this affect your future?

Alfamega: If I don’t beat the charges, it is what it is, I’m going to jail.

Reek Walker: [The sentence] is based upon his legal team.

AllHipHop.com: Can you give us any details about how this happened?

Alfamega: Man, I don’t even know. Believe me. I was told it was a routine traffic stop. Then I was told it was an altercation at a bar and somebody pointed my truck out. I was like, “Oh, ok. Whatever.”

AllHipHop.com: Is your truck a common car that could have been anybody?

Alfamega: Yea, a common SUV, common color: black. I gave them the license. Georgia got this thing where you can run the tag and tell if the car got insurance or not. So I gave the man my license, I was on the phone the whole time. I got a, not an eye witness, but a witness that was on the phone the whole time. But, I’ll let the legal team handle it. I don’t wanna speak upon it too hard, ‘cause it’s an open case.

AllHipHop.com: So let’s dispel some of the rumors that have been floating around. Let’s start with the rumored altercation at a bar, true or false?

Alfamega: That’s false. One thing about bars, especially in the Downtown [Atlanta] area, all the bars and clubs got cameras in ‘em. If I was involved in something, the cameras woulda let ‘em know who the guy was that was involved in the altercation and when he was leaving out. And I know I ain’t on camera.

AllHipHop.com: The other rumor that was out there is the idea that you were on some kind of undercover assignment, planted into Grand Hustle’s operations and that this whole arrest was staged to get you out.

Alfamega: Huh? By who? I got two broken legs, I done had three surgeries. So how in the hell was that staged?

AllHipHop.com: The other thing was that you jumped out of a building versus being pushed…

Alfamega: Lie. That’s a blatant lie.

AllHipHop.com: So what happened?

Alfamega: It’s an open case. I’m trying to put a lawsuit in too.

“Anybody that know me, if I had did something on somebody in this city, and people knew that I was accused of doing what they accusing me of right now? Somebody woulda been stepped to me about that. Like I said, Alfamega ain’t never snitched on nobody.”

AllHipHop.com: Now the biggest one of them all. Fourteen years ago, you caught a case…

Alfamega: I caught a case, pleaded guilty. Received my time. I was doing my time. All the extra stuff dudes’ talking about… Anybody that know me, if I had did something on somebody in this city, and people knew that I was accused of doing what they accusing me of right now? Somebody woulda been stepped to me about that. Like I said, Alfamega ain’t never snitched on nobody. He done lied on somebody, but he ain’t never snitched. And we ain’t even gotta say Alfamega, ‘cause y’all got my name out there now: Cedric Zellers.

AllHipHop.com: So, you caught this case, you pleaded guilty. You were sentenced to how long?

Alfamega: I pleaded guilty from the time I was arrested, I was given 92 months.

AllHipHop.com: That was the original sentence, 92 months?

Alfamega: Seven years, eight months. I did seven years, four days, five hours, 32 minutes, 16 seconds. That’s how much time I did off seven years, eight months.

AllHipHop.com: So of your original sentence, you did all but 7 months? And that was because of…

Alfamega: You do 85% of your time in the Feds. I really wasn’t supposed to do the whole sentence, but I got into an altercation in the last prison I was in. So they took some good time away. They gave me 60 extra days.

AllHipHop.com: But whatever time you didn’t serve out of that original sentence was because of good behavior?

Alfamega: Yeah, because of my behavior.

AllHipHop.com: Now, prior to all of this, did you know or have any kind of relationship with T.I.?

Alfamega: Before I caught my case? Naw. That’s what I’m saying. I’m older than Tip. I’m from the Westside, he from the Westside. Where I come from, if you have a label of being a snitch, you gon’ get dealt with. So how am I able to still walk around the city by myself? So, it is what it is, you know. I’m gonna make a statement too: I don’t hate Tip. I’m disappointed, ‘cause that’s supposed to be my partner. And I ain’t talking about on no business tip. That’s my partner. I rode for dude, like 24/7. I put my family to the side sometimes to ride for dude.

“We never received any documentation. Technically, Alfa is still a member of Grand Hustle. Tip can denounce him all he wants, but as long as that contract is in [place], he’s still there.”

AllHipHop.com: The reason why I asked, is because a lot of people didn’t get the opportunity to know your story before the craziness happened. So that’s why I’m asking about your story, so we can better understand how you went from dealing with your what you dealt with, to being signed to Grand Hustle.

Alfamega: I signed a deal with Grand Hustle after I did the song “Hurt.” I never was signed to Grand Hustle until then, when I got ready to do the deal with Capitol.

AllHipHop.com: Once you came out of prison, how did you end up in music?

Alfamega: I came to the streets, I was in Philly. I got children up there, I got family up there, my management is up there. So I got into the music business through my man O. They put something in Hip-Hop Weekly about my man Omar and his case, and tried to tie me to it. I didn’t even know that man was doing the stuff he did. You know bloggers are gonna say what they’re gonna say, and everybody else is gonna add they two sense in. But if they check his case, I had nothing to do with this man case. That man was huge. And if you go talk to him, he’ll tell you [I] didn’t know nothing about his case. ‘Cause we ain’t even f**k around like that. Me and him was straight up on music. So they tried to hook that up in Hip-Hop Weekly and don’t know nothing. Just trying to do anything to add fuel to the fire. And I don’t hate them for that: you know they gotta sell magazines. You struggling, you going through things, you gon’ print up whatever somebody bring to you, if it sound good.

T.I. & Alfamega: A Different Era  (Story continues after image.)

AllHipHop.com: That’s who got you into music?

Alfamega: Yeah. But when I started doing my thing, I came back to Atlanta. I was doing my thing on the underground. When I first started doing my thing, Tip knew my name. I was in these streets for real. My reputation in the streets spoke for itself. So when I got with dude, I was basically hanging around. Not everywhere he go. And that’s another thing: I never hung with this dude everywhere he went, I was on standby for when he had a problem. As a friend, not like a henchman. But if somebody got a problem with you, they got a problem with me ‘cause you’re my friend. I don’t have to be around you everyday to be your friend.

AllHipHop.com: When you started being around, was the intent for you to get involved with the music?

Alfamega: It was based on the music with me. I wanted to get this music thing poppin right. That’s what my thing was. But my reputation was in the streets. You got a lot of dudes who in the industry that did time with me, from state prison on up. They know me. I done had a lot of wins, I done lost a lot too. But I’m still a man, I still stand on two feet, by myself.

AllHipHop.com: When you did “Hurt” on the T.I. vs. Tip album, was your deal with Capitol already on the table?

Alfamega: We were already were searching for a deal. When we did the song “Hurt,” it just made it more solid to get the deal with Capitol. ‘cause I didn’t wanna go under Atlantic. I’m not gonna go under where Tip at, ‘cause they not gonna treat you like how they treat him. So we did a deal with Capitol. Before then, it was just handshakes with us.

AllHipHop.com: Around what time did your deal become official?

Reek: Right around the same time the [2007] BET Awards was, right around when [T.I.] got arrested.

AllHipHop.com: How was your experience with the label?

Alfamega: I was basically doing me, recording when I wanted to record. You get support when you build it up yourself. [Laughs] You was in a session with me before, you heard my music. What was the problem with me not never coming out?

AllHipHop.com: That’s what I’m asking you! And make this as politically correct or real as you want.

Alfamega: [Laughs] You already know, basically it was somethin’ put in the game. Somebody said on a song, “If I feel you better than me, I put you next to me/Two steps up under me, where you supposed to be.”

AllHipHop.com: So you think that’s what it was?

Alfamega: That’s what a lot of people told me, but I never bit into that. I’ve always been a loyal dude. I don’t go by rumors, I don’t go by what other people say. Can’t nobody put nothing in my head. That’s what females do who don’t have time in they life to get a job or do something constructive with theyself. Females do gossip and stuff like that. I don’t sit around and do gossip. If I’m friends with you, somebody tells me something about you, I’m like, “Aight, that’s how you feel? When you see them, tell them to they face. Or when I see you around, Imma tell them what you said while you right there, so y’all can get that straight. That’s just me. That’s how I am.”

AllHipHop.com: Was there a difference between your relationship with T.I. and your relationship with the label? Obviously, he was dealing with his legal troubles throughout that time…

Alfamega: I never really had a big relationship with [Jason] Geter [CEO for Grand Hustle], he was cool, I guess. But the relationship I had with Tip was like my partner in the street.

AllHipHop.com: So you guys had a genuine friendship?

Alfamega: I thought it was a friendship. From what just happened, it wasn’t. It is what it is.

AllHipHop.com: How about the label team itself? Was there ever any static with you? Did you ever discuss wanting to leave?

Alfamega: It was always static with me, because, you know, I’m my own person. When you do something I feel ain’t cool, Imma say something. Somebody say something out they mouth I feel ain’t right, Imma say something. And I feel like people thought I was a ticking time bomb. Because I’m from the streets for real. I’m not here as make-believe. You can’t put me together. You can’t take me to no shoe store and put Timbalands on me, and a t-shirt and some baggy jeans, and then take me to the tattoo shop and say this is what it is. I been like this. I been an aggressive talker. A lot of people are threatened by [that]. Not saying that people at Grand Hustle was threatened by me. But you never know.

AllHipHop.com: Let’s fast forward it to now. When you got into your situation and you got hurt after an encounter with the police.

Alfamega: He was talking to me. Tip was talking to me when I was in the hospital. I was in the hospital a couple weeks. He talked to me on the phone. He told me straight up that he was gonna pay for the lawyer to get me a bond, all that. Then he was supposed to get with the lawyer, it never happened. Then everything else started happening. Then he was on the radio and all that. I didn’t even hate him then. I was mad. I was HOT. But then I was like, I can’t hate him, I gotta blame myself.

AllHipHop.com: Why do you feel like you have to blame yourself?

Alfamega: Because I allowed myself to even spread my wings, put myself out in a situation for somebody that wouldn’t even ride for me when I rode for them. I feel like he owed me, he don’t owe me nothing now, but he owed me at least to come to me. Somebody say something to me, you my partner, you supposed to come to me and say something to me. Ask me ‘bout it, you feel me. We cool: I ain’t just gon’ run off what somebody said.

AllHipHop.com: You were in the hospital for two weeks. Before TheSmokingGun.com posted that document and before T.I. called Hot 107.9, which was a couple of days later, how long had you been in the hospital?

Alfamega: When that document went on the thing, I was in the hospital like a week.

AllHipHop.com: Throughout that whole week, y’all were talking. Did he come visit you?

Alfamega: Nah. He was doing his thing. He was telling me what he was gonna do. But the day he was supposed to do it, that’s when he called the radio station. I was like, “Huh?” Basically, some of my other people told me. And I ain’t believe them. I told them, “Y’all hating on that man. That man ain’t gonna do no s**t like that. That’s my n***a.” When my attorney told me, I knew it wasn’t no lie.

AllHipHop.com: Has anybody called you or served you with any kind of an official release?

Alfamega: Nah. That’s the thing. I never got a phone call from nobody. Ain’t nobody told me nothing. Only think I got was, my n***as from the hood told me he was on the radio.

Reek: We never received any documentation. Technically, Alfa is still a member of Grand Hustle. Tip can denounce him all he wants, but as long as that contract is in [place], he’s still there.

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