Do or Die: From the Corners

Do or Die gave us one of the first anthems that made pimpin’ commercially acceptable and cool, especially if you were Po’. Along with a Beatnuts backed Common Sense, they were also early trailblazers for Chi City Rap culture.

While in some regions, the album sales and radio play might not reflect it, this duo has a track record better than most. Plus, a recent party in the Windy Cindy showed just how live the hometown crowd treats its native sons. Join AllHipHop.com as we look back at one of the most underrated groups to ever spit, and we hold them accountable for every last word.

AllHipHop.com: As the original Po Pimps, the one’s who got it all started as far as introducing that signature Chicago sound in the early 90’s, does the enormous success of artists like Twista and Kanye today spark up a friendly rivalry or are you just happy Chicago is getting it’s just recognition?

Belo: As of now, we don’t look at trying to have animosity towards anyone from Chicago. I mean there’s always going to be friendly competition, that’s just being an artist and being competitive. But as far as us disliking anybody from the Chi, no.

AllHipHop.com How is Do or Die different from what’s currently coming out of Chicago?

Belo: Well, we’re originators. We’re the originators of the Po Pimp style, we are original gangstas, we don’t just rap this s**t, we lived that life. We lived that gutter life, but we also have a strong business sense and we handled our business on this project, so we’re basically a new and improved D.O.D.

AllHipHop.com: So can we expect to hear a little more Pimp Poetry or is this a little more gangsta?

Nard: It’s a variety of everything. Every day life that goes on and then with soul, we reach into the souls, the souls of the streets the souls of the people who’ve always listen to do or die. We got R. Kelly on a song called “Magic Chicks,” we got Kanye on a song you know Kanye brings you that Soul, we did the “Higher” joint with Teddy Pendagrass. We got Twista on there with Syleena Johnson that joint’s called “If Only You Knew” We got Scott Storch on there, DJ Quik; man the album is so ridiculous we really just gave em the unexpected.

AllHipHop.com: With over three million albums sold to your credit, do you feel like your career is where it should be right now?

Belo: Well, if you look at the Soundscan right now, we have the Picture This album which is platinum, as a matter of fact let me get the actual figures so you can have the actual number: Picture This sold 902,565 copies, if you add the 30 percent “Mom & Pop” totals, that’s over one million. Heads or Tails is at 719,393 add 30 percent to that, you got platinum and the Victory album is reaching gold with over 300,000, and still growing. So the numbers are there that we went platinum, [it’s] just [that] the world don’t know it.

AllHipHop.com: Where’s the bulk of your fan base?

Belo: We got a strong, strong following in the South, but we get mad love in the West, and of course we get mad love in the Midwest. We’re gaining the love and respect of the East.

AllHipHop.com: Why do you feel like your still gaining the respect of the East but you have it everywhere else?

Belo: To keep it real, the East Coast has their own sound, and their own cats that they’re willing to accept. So I guess they’re opening the door to accept the Midwest more so now. When you went to the East Coast at one time, you couldn’t hear anything but East Coast s**t.

Nard: And you had labels who were scared to spend money in those markets because of that too.

AllHipHop.com: Now I remember once upon a time y’all had beef with Bone Thugs & Harmony, that’s been settled, right?

Nard: Yeah, we’re cool.

AllHipHop.com: What responsibility do you assume in telling the violent stories in your rhymes to young people?

Belo: Well, we spit how it is, and you can’t be scared of that – you can’t run from that. What you do is…anything from the streets that’s negative – selling drugs, gangbanging, whatever it is, you point out to the younger generation: “Y’all don’t do this, we been through this, there’s consequences to this. If you go shoot someone, someone is gonna shoot your ass back, or you’re going to jail, or if you sell drugs, you’re gonna get caught by the police, or you’re gonna get robbed, you know.” We tell our life story, but we tell the consequences behind that. We not singers, so we can’t put together a nice love tune and sing it. But even if we did sing, it would come out pimpish because that’s how we live. But we’re not saying go out and pimp these ladies, we saying go out and pimp this industry and get your money.

AllHipHop.com: I haven’t talked too much about the album. the current single has a hot video with Mr. Chicago himself R.Kelly. Now I know Chicago loves R, but with all the issues surrounding Kelly right now do you think it’s a good look?

Nard: Man, you know we gotta support our peoples. I’m gonna tell you one thing, everything happens for a reason and it’s not for Do or Die to judge. Honestly, truth be told there are young girls all across this country having sex with men much older than R. and I’m not saying it’s right. But it’s just because he’s a superstar that its news.

AllHipHop.com: Yeah, but don’t you think he’s being a little extra and getting a little too comfortable with his public’s forgiveness?

Belo: I understand how the women feel, and I do believe we have to respect our women. But at the end of the day, in all fairness, a lot of these little girls who don’ t look so little carry around these fake ID’s and don’t come clean until after you get in the bed with ‘em and do your thing.

AllHipHop.com: Yeah, but if you’re already under scrutiny for the type of behavior that R. Kelly is being accused of, why keep making music like “Ignition,” and “Magic Chicks”?

Nard: People fell in love with R. Kelly because of 12 Play. That’s the music he’s always done. R. Kelly has never stopped being R. Kelly.

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