Juelz Santana: Crack Music

Juelz Santana has long been lumped between the success of Cam’ron, and the character of Jim Jones. But as the youngest of the Diplomats shot-callers, Juelz is out to fix that. With his sophomore album, What the Game’s Been Missing! – Juelz has seen more buzz off of two hit singles, than his debut arguably generated in whole. The industry cosigns it – and Santana has recently been working with LL Cool J and Ludacris on their albums. But if you think Juelz is whistling to a different tune, you’re wrong.

The young father reflects on his personal life with AllHipHop.com. In everything from his family-life, to his sense of security, to his friendship with Young Jeezy, Juelz gives you an exclusive look of the man behind the movement. If that wasn’t enough, the Harlemite addresses rumors concerning Tru Life, Jay-Z’s concerts, and even compares “recipes” with Master P. Oh yes!

AllHipHop.com: Your song, “Daddy” is dedicated to your son. How’s your son right now?

Juelz Santana: He’s beautiful, man. Actually, he just had a birthday October 24th. He turned two years old.

AllHipHop.com: You made reference to it in the song, but I think so many of the great rappers and MC’s grew up without fathers in and around the home. Talk to me a little bit on your own views of fatherhood applied to your life versus your son’s…

Juelz Santana: I don’t ever blame father for his things, ‘cause my father was actually a good dude. I just think… these streets’ll do it to ya. I think the streets just kinda caught up with him. He got a chance to raise my oldest brother, and my two older brothers. It wasn’t like he abandoned me or nothin’ like that. That’s why, in the song, I say for my father, “The game caught him before I did, but back to you, son.” I think he got caught up in the game, using drugs and stuff like that. It wasn’t like he abandoned me or nothin’ like that. I feel like every man needs that father figure in their life, so I just wanted to express that in that song – so my son can always go back and listen to it whether I’m here, God bless, or not here, when he’s old enough to really hear what I’m talkin’ ‘bout.

AllHipHop.com: Without your father really around, who filled the void. Who was your father figure?

Juelz Santana: I ain’t gonna front. My father came around. But like I said, it wasn’t like he was affective, nahmean? So my mother was really my mother and my father. It was no guy that could take that place. It was a mother. She’s a soldier. She’s a lot of motivation. She just thugged it out – four boys, grindin’. That’s why I love her, and that’s where I feel I get a lot of my motivation from. Moms – just always havin’ that motivation to keep food on the table, and keep her kids happy.

AllHipHop.com: In the song, you basically say you’d blast for your son, and really do anything for him. Any father, any good father, probably feels that way—

Juelz Santana: —And at the same time, if you really listen, I said, right after that, “These are things I do, but I wouldn’t advise you to.”

AllHipHop.com: Right, but as a father, let’s not say shooting. Let’s say a fight. You’re a street dude. How important is it that your son learns what it’s like to get his ass kicked one day, or to solve his own problems, as he matures?

Juelz Santana: Oh, I mean, as a parent, you should know when it’s necessary to get involved. Right from wrong is right from wrong. I’m not gonna be a person that’s gonna believe that just because he’s my son, he got a right to slap somebody upside the head. If my son slapped somebody upside the head, and somebody slapped him back, I’m not gonna [intervene]. But you know, I don’t think somebody’s parent should slap my child. But yo, this is common sense. As a parent, you shouldn’t be a parent if you can’t justify that. Dig what I’m saying? If you can’t pay attention to your kid, then you shouldn’t be a parent. If your child murders somebody – no, you wouldn’t wanna send ‘em to jail. I mean, I wouldn’t get up on the stand and testify. But at the same time, I’m not gonna say, “Yo, you should kill people.” You know what I’m sayin’?

AllHipHop.com: I know he’s only two, you said. But Harlem cats are flashy. That said, what you got planned to give baby boy for Christmas?

Juelz Santana: Aw man, it’s all about what he sees. He can’t really talk. He like Elmo, he like Blue’s Clues. I get him a lil’ Blue’s Clues cars, somethin’ nice, man!

AllHipHop.com: You said earlier that you’re uncertain of your future, as we all are. Did the Cam’ron incident in Washington D.C. open that up at all?

Juelz Santana: Nah. It’s always serious. Right now, I know how serious it is. Like, the drug game is f**ked right now! Rap is all n***as got! I see n***as that I used to look up to, hustlin’ in the street – they [now] comin’ up to me with demos. The same n***as that used to get money – millions of dollars and s**t like that.

AllHipHop.com: And it’s hard to start a rap career at 30, 35 years old…

Juelz Santana: Despite the little n***as, you got the old n***as. Everybody’s tryin’ to rap. Everybody’s tryin’ to take money if they can’t make money. Feel what I’m sayin’? You gotta pay attention. You gotta watch for the jackers.

AllHipHop.com: It’s ironic. At AllHipHop.com, Cam came to us first talking about the Lamborghini when he bought it. He said it was a movement to bring yet more flair to New York. Even Tony Yayo recently told us that he thinks after Cam’s situation, dudes need to stay in bombproof SUV’s. What’s your take?

Juelz Santana: With us, our movement is much bigger than the way we act. We do things that people in our position wouldn’t be expected to do. We out in the streets. You seen Cam. He was at the light in the Lamborghini with his man. Usually, a n***a have 30 cars behind him, police or somethin’, you know what I’m sayin’? We just still do a lot of regular day-to-day s**t. It kinda puts us in situations, but it’s how we live. That’s what keeps us in-tune to what goes on. It does make the situation f**ked up, ‘cause it’s like, “Damn. Do I protect myself with all this security and all this extra s**t to protect my life? Or do I just be who I am.” It is what it is. These situations can happen just being a regular person walkin’ down the street. N***as can come and feel like you got two dollars in your pocket, and come and shoot your motherf**kin’ head off. I seen more n***as get jacked for some petty s**t than a n***a try and get jacked for a Lamborghini. In all actuality, that’s the type of thing that happens everyday. More n***as get robbed for sneakers than a n***a for his Lamborghini.

AllHipHop.com: Word. So for the record, Dipset, Juelz, y’all are gonna stay flashy in the streets?

Juelz Santana: It’s not about flashy. We work hard to get what we got. It’s not about being flashy, it’s about being us. We like nice things. We don’t flaunt it. He wasn’t yellin’ out the window, “Yo, I got this car and you don’t.” He was bein’ him. People just call it flashy.

AllHipHop.com: Now, you got a song on there called, “I Am Crack.” If anything, it reminded me of Master P’s “Ghetto D.” I know from the “Bout It Bout It remix”, there’s a relationship there. But I wanted to have y’all compare recipes on crack, and have some fun.

Juelz Santana: Yeah! Go ‘head.

AllHipHop.com: [quoting Master P’s lyrics from “Ghetto D”] “You start with one gram of soda for every gram of coke.”

Juelz Santana: [long pause] I’mma keep it funky: I wouldn’t agree with puttin’ one gram of soda to one gram of coke. That means you got half nothin’, half somethin’ – ya dig? I don’t know if those were [Master P’s] exact words if they aren’t either.

AllHipHop.com: Then he said, “Shake it till it gets harder / Sit the tube in cold water / Then twist the b*tch like a knot / While it’s still hot / Then watch that s**t rise while it can, to the f**kin’ top.” Those were P’s instructions in 1997.

Juelz Santana: Yeah, man. I don’t know. Maybe they do it different down South. My thing was more-or-less straight to basics. “You touch the coke, touch the pot, add the soda, what you got? Me! I am what I am, I be who I be, and that you will see, and I am crack.” He was kinda explainin’ makin’ real crack, I was kinda explainin’ me bein’ crack – human crack, in the flesh.

AllHipHop.com: There’s a lot of talk regarding the chemistry you and Young Jeezy have. Like “I Am Crack” you both make loads of drug references in the lyrics. But off the page, on the personal, is there chemistry… and how so?

Juelz Santana: I think we have a general respect for one another. I got to know Jeezy, just through his music. When we gave each other a pound when we first met each other, we knew a lot about each other through our music, ‘cause it’s real. Like, I don’t even have to have a conversation. The next song Jeezy make, or the next song I make – that’s like the conversation. He tellin’ me what he really been up to, and I’m tellin’ him what I really been up to. So next time he see me, he may be askin’ me somethin’ like, “Oh, you f**kin’ with that b*tch?” It’s that real with us. Real n***as do real things.

AllHipHop.com: I know that recent albums from Diplomats have really cut back on Heatmakerz. Yours, not as much, but a little. Their sound is changing, but some believe you’re working on other guys now. What’s really goin’ on with that?

Juelz Santana: Umm…you got a lot of inside scoop, huh?

AllHipHop.com: [laughs] I don’t know.

Juelz Santana: [laughs] Yo, you know, n***a. Nah, nah. It’s cool. It’s all good. Heatmakerz, it wasn’t them. This time around, I wanted to use a lot of different s**t. I got over 160 songs [recorded] this time around. So I did 14 Heatmaker tracks this time around. Last time around, it was just like, those were the first I recorded, and I only did – say, 20 tracks. The Heatmaker ones was the best ones, actually. When I say 160 tracks, no bulls**ttin’. When I had to narrow it down to 20 songs, it just wasn’t as much Heatmakerz. They not [phasing] out. They actually did my next single, though – “Oh Yes”. They definitely came through. Nothin’ really changed with they sound, I just wanted to do my own thing. Plus, them samples be killin’ a n***a.

AllHipHop.com: Fans are questioning certain things. As we look at the Carter Administration at Def Jam, speculations have been made. For starters, reports have come from the Power Summit that Tru Life poked some remarks at Jim Jones…

Juelz Santana: Who!?

AllHipHop.com: Tru Life.

Juelz Santana: What he say!?

AllHipHop.com: I wasn’t there, and I’m not gonna quote him. You were there.

Juelz Santana: I was right there, he didn’t say nothin’! As you know, I got on stage, by myself on behalf of the whole Diplomats and said, “I stand up here by myself. For New York, we rep the hardest. N***as know what it is.” I’m sayin’ those are the exact words that came out my motherf**kin’ mouth. As far as dude [Tru Life], I don’t know what’s goin’ on with him, but he didn’t say Jim’s name. He said comments that coulda been related to anybody, nahmean? Bottom line, he didn’t say Jim’s name. It is what it is.

AllHipHop.com: On the same track, it might not be an issue. But numerous fans expected Jay to step to Jim or Cam in his two performances. People also speculated that with your album coming, that’s why he didn’t. During those performances, what was going through your head?

Juelz Santana: Nothin’. I had no [expectation] that Jay-Z was gonna say anything about us. I think Jay is a businessman. I know he understands what’s goin’ on, just like we understand what’s goin’ on. It is what it is. Despite us not speaking – not bein’ the best of friends, and him not [being as involved] in our careers as he is in say … a Bleek or a Young Gunz – despite that, we have no beef with Jay. It is what it is. We all grown men. Some people are closer with some people than with other people. That’s all it is. Some people got it twisted like, “Just ‘cause you’re so close to Jay-Z, you have to be cool with him – ‘cause that’s Jay-Z.” People are still human beings! At the end of the day, everybody’s not everybody’s best friend.

AllHipHop.com: Like T.O. and McNabb last year.

Juelz Santana: Even with Kobe and Shaq.

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