Stack$: Phantom Menace

How many rappers get a six-figure car before they release an album – or even turn 25? Living in the already ultra-expensive Miami, Stack$ is one of them. Maybe a greater question could be – “Is that Hip-Hop?” Stack$’ record label, Sobe Entertainment thinks so, as they market their young hopeful around his car in press releases and in King magazine.

But others find Stack$ to be the truth as well. Among those names, Game, P. Diddy, and neighboring mentor, Scott Storch. These rap royal figures worked with the Washington DC native as he readied an album. As CraZee and ConfuZed finds a release date, and “Git It, Git It” finds listeners, AllHipHop.com caught up with Stack$ in a Miami coffee-shop for a look into how he’s done so much so soon, and the world around him.

AllHipHop.com: What did you do before you were rapping?

Stack$: I did the school thing for a while. I went to USC and studied film. I didn’t actually get into rapping until I was 14. I used to freestyle and battle around Washington D.C., Then I started doing mixtapes. I came to Miami when I graduated from school. My family moved to Miami while I was at school in LA. I met my man, Urban Mystic, in Fort Lauderdale. At the time he was starting up Sobe Entertainment. We started collaborating and hooked it up.

AllHipHop.com: You’re still relatively new to the game, yet you have big names like P. Diddy, Game, Twista and Paul Wall featured on your album. How’d you get so many features?

Stack$: It’s Miami; it’s the melting pot of the world. Every producer wants to be down here. You have every one from Scott Storch, and Pharrell to Timberland. Everyone is down here. Scott got me a lot of the features on the album like Twista on “Git It, Git It.” It’s not as hard as one would think. When people come here, they never want to leave.

AllHipHop.com: Yeah, it’s definitely poppin’. In the video for “MIA,” you previewed your Phantom drop top. Your record label also makes as much fuss for your car as they do for your skills…

Stack$: Yeah, it’s parked two blocks up. It was in the video with Diddy. It was a line that I came up with in the third verse, but I didn’t really think that we were gonna do it. When it came down to shooting the video, I was like “This is Miami. We need to do something to crazy shock people.” We sent it up to Wisconsin to get custom done. I didn’t think that it would get as much attention as it has. It has really resonated in Hip-Hop. Right now it’s the only one in the world. I heard that 50 is trying to make one.

AllHipHop.com: Are people asking where you had it done?

Stack$: When we brought it down here, I saw Shaq on the street. He pulled out his checkbook and was like, “How much do you want for it?” I can’t sell it.

AllHipHop.com: For those that only get to see Miami in music videos, explain what the city means to you?

Stack$: To me, Miami is one of the most explosive cities in the world. It’s the melting pot of the world…

[An attractive woman walks past.]

Stack$: That’s an example right over there in the blue shorts. That’s why people come to Miami. Like I said, you can hear 40 different languages while walking down the street. It’s become a big tourist attraction. Right now is the time of year when a lot of college kids come down here on spring break. You have people from all over the world. It’s the time of year when Miami starts getting appreciated. You obviously have a big Spanish influence, Cuban, Colombian, Reggaeton and it goes on. It’s all down here in Miami. Hip-Hop to me, is just starting to emerge down here. You have your Pitbull’s, plus Trick [Daddy] and Trina have always been here. Now you have young artists in Miami beginning to emerge. I think that 2006 is gonna be that year. Houston and Atlanta both popped off. I think that this is definitely gonna be the year for Miami.

AllHipHop.com: Let’s jump the script for a second, and talk about the ladies of Miami.

Stack$: Yes, let’s – Well obviously I have a weakness for the ladies in Miami. I love all women, especially the Latin ladies. After all, this is the melting pot of the world. The Latin ladies down here are amazing, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Venezuelan and Dominican; they’re all down here. You can walk down the street and see the badest chick, and then walk five more minutes down the street, and see one that’s even better. You can sit in a lobby of a Hotel and you’ll be straight, just watching the ladies walk by all day. What’s there not to like about Miami? I love that you can go to places like Little Haiti and Little Havana.

AllHipHop.com: I live in Miami, and at every stop light there’s always some rapper trying to hustle his tape. Do you think that you were at the right place at the right time?

Stack$: Definitely. I’m very fortunate to have the caliber of people on my album. I was in the right place at the right time, but actually, the right city. If I didn’t live in Miami, I don’t think that I world have had all the features. If I were in any other city, I would probably be spending mad frequent flyer miles to get people into town.

AllHipHop.com: People try to stereotype Miami rappers. What sets you apart?

Stack$: I think it’s where I’ve lived and my background. I’m from Washington D.C., was raised in Miami, and went to school in L.A. I feel that I have an appreciation for all forms of Hip-Hop, everything from Dirty South to West Coast. It’s all encompassed and comes out in my style of rapping. I can spit fast with Twista on a track, and then change up and talk on some gangsta s**t with Game. It’s all because I appreciate those cultures and have been immersed in them for a bit. That’s pretty much the most important thing in the world right there.

AllHipHop.com: What do you think about “hype rappers?” Certainly, people that haven’t heard of you, might see the features or the car, and ask, “Why?”

Stack$: What ever you can do to promote yourself really. Hype is good to promote yourself as long as you don’t go out on a limb and try to maliciously destroy someone’s career. I think that hype is good.

AllHipHop.com: What moves are you currently making to stay solidified and have your name remembered by listeners?

Stack$: Building a strong foundation. The appearances on the album grab people’s attention. Whenever you have some one featured on your track, you try to show your skills. I’m trying to hit hard with the first album. People are like, “Okay, he has skills, but I want to see what he can follow up with.” I’m already knee-deep working on the second. It will be more about me and relative to my life. There won’t be as many features on it. That and just try to keep making good music. Longevity in career is the true making of a real artist. I don’t want to be one of those people that you hear on the radio of a minute and then never hear from again.

AllHipHop.com: You must have been pretty confident in your abilities to give up school. Was it a hard decision?

Stack$: Before he was my producer, I was chillin’ with Scott Storch, and he as really feeling the track. He wanted to produce the full album. At that time I was like, “ Alright, I’m going to be working with one of the top producers in the world. I don’t see how I can fail.” I put my trust in him. A week later, I was in the studio with Twista, I knew that I was confident in my decision.

AllHipHop.com: Was it intimidating for you to be working with such a big name?

Stack$: A little, but I love it. I try to do my best. People from back in the day look at you now and are shocked. I try to take in the whole studio aspect, production etc… I don’t think that it’s me alone who gets board with some of today’s music. I just want to bring back good music.

AllHipHop.com: You’re still young, do you ever get a chance to do any of the things that you used to, like hang with your boys?

Stack$: Not really. They’ll call me up and ask if I can hang, but I’ll be on my way to Atlanta or doing an interview. It’s a busy time in me life, but I stay busy because I love what I do. I just want to have a solid album that people remember.

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