Mike Watts: The Name Ain’t Changed

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here isn’t just one Mike Watts chopping and screwing his records. While one might be more recognizable than the other, Philadelphia’s Mike Watts isn’t changing his name anytime soon. In fact, the two artists shared legal counsel at one time, and acquaintances in Houston’s Lil’ Troy.

While some might be quick to judge the lesser-known Watts, he is honest in his ways. The Liberty city artist says he would be disrespecting others to ever compare his music against those from Houston. Nestled in the East, Watts is out to begin much closer to home. His debut, Pandora’s Box features Bun B, Bizzy Bone, and… Paul Wall. A veteran in the music industry who suffered a terrible coincidence, or smoke and mirrors? Read this feature, and you decide.

AllHipHop.com: I’m sure controversy will always surround the name, but what’s going to separate you from Houston’s own Michael “5000” Watts?

Mike Watts: I guess…first there’s the name. His name is Michael “5000” Watts and my name is Mike Watts. That’s…that’s what we gotta keep puttin’ in everybody’s head. You know what I’m sayin…Aside from the fact that he from Houston, and I’m from Philly. Now on a musical standpoint and on a record label standpoint, you know, it’s just one of them things when you got two people with the same name. So, if another cat came out that was acting, so what we gon’ have a beef with him too. So yo, it’s just one of them things. As long as he sticks to his moniker, and I stick to mine, then we really shouldn’t have any problems.

AllHipHop.com: How long have you been doing this music thing, Mike?

Mike Watts: Man, I’ve been doing this for years. I feel as though me doing it includes me as a consumer, a fan, and as somebody that’s contributing to it; all of the above. I would say I been doing for about 10-15 years.

AllHipHop.com:: Although it’s becoming more and more popular for artists to get their music Chopped & Screwed, few actually do it themselves. Being from Philly, in the heart of the East Coast, how did you get involved with chopping and screwing your music up?

Mike Watts: Basically, I got family down in Houston. So that’s how it got connected. And the ironic thing about the whole Michael Watts thing is that we had the same lawyer at one time, and my lawyer asked me about him in 2000. And I was like I never heard of him. You know…that’s how we all got connected. And my cousin down there plugged me in with a lot of different cats down there; Lil’ Troy and other people from there and you just start meetin’ people like that. That’s how I got kind of connected with that whole movement down there.

AllHipHop.com:: With the whole Chopped & Screwed movement sweeping across the country, did you as a businessman hop on the trend, or did you as a musician just appreciate and enjoy the sound of the technique?

Mike Watts: Basically, it’s a little bit of both. I appreciate the sound, and if it wasn’t a movement going on with the sound, I probably wouldn’t have invested in it even though I can appreciate it. But since I can appreciate it and see the movement going then I said, “S**t, let me do my thing also.” It’s a little bit of both.

AllHipHop.com: Do you feel like you can take your music to Houston, the home of DJ Screw, and compete with some of the H-Town legends?

Mike Watts: Naw, I wouldn’t even try to do that. I’m just doing my thing. I’m trying to take what I can from Houston and expose it to the world as much as I can. I’m trying to expose it to the East Coast. It’s already imprinted in Houston. What’s a cat from the East Coast coming to Houston trying to expose them to something they created gon’ look like? I wouldn’t even come on a tip of disrespect like that.

AllHipHop.com: A lot of East Coast cats knock the music produced in the South for some reason or another. With that being said, how you feel about the reception you receiving in your hometown, Philly?

Mike Watts: It’s still love, because believe it or not, there are a lot of cats, like myself, that dig that kind of music. So I consider myself something like a pioneer with it, because most cats on the East Coast never did it and a lot of cats never did it themselves. A lot of cat’s music got Chopped & Screwed, but they didn’t do it themselves. I’m one of the first cats on the East Coast to chop my whole album, so I feel like I may be starting a trend.

AllHipHop.com: So in a way, you’re making history?

Mike Watts: I guess you could say that.

AllHipHop.com: You got an album dropping soon. Tell me a little bit about your Pandora’s Box?

Mike Watts: The album is called Pandora’s Box because of the meaning of Pandora’s Box. It’s called that because we got a whole lot going on. We got Paul Wall on there, we got Bun B on there, we got Bizzy Bone, Too Short, Freeway and Jaguar Wright—a singing chick from Philly. That’s my homegirl. I got my artists on there. I put a whole bunch of people on there because I didn’t want it to have just a regional sound. I wanted it to have a national sound. That’s why we got a little bit of East Coast, West, Midwest, down South all that together to create Pandora’s Box. Pandora’s Box is a box that you open at your own risk. It’s actually a Greek myth. I feel as though that fits the album because it’s a real hot package that you open at your own risk.

AllHipHop.com: What’s your favorite track on the album; the one track that captures the essence of Mike Watts?

Mike Watts: You got “My Daddy” on there. That’s the joint with me and Too Short, where I’m talking about how cats find chicks to get money, getting money out of them, and when they looking for the right type of chick. Then there’s other tracks like “Get That Money,” with Bizzy Bone on there talking about different ways to get money. I mean, every track solidifies the essence of Mike Watts. The whole album is a piece of my mind.

AllHipHop.com: You hold down many roles; rapper, producer, music exec, which role do you enjoy playing the most and why?

Mike Watts: Actually I enjoy the executive role the most. I’m a businessman by nature and by heart, so it’s like I enjoy coming up with an idea and implementing that and letting it work; putting a plan in full motion; watching the motor start and the engine of the machine starting to move. That’s how I get high putting something together, a master plan. You know just putting a team together and watching that plan just happen.

AllHipHop.com: You seem to have a hustler’s mentality. Besides music, what other things are you getting involved with?

Mike Watts: In the future, sky’s the limit. I’m trying to do whatever it takes. I’m not going to limit myself to music. Music is just what I feel I can do the best; what I can manifest and manipulate the best. That’s the first side of entertainment that I would naturally attack. and if it just stay with music, then it just stay with music. But, if I can let that evolve into something else, then you know, like I said sky’s the limit. But knowing me, music, modeling, I’m taking any offer. Clothing, I’m taking whatever [laughs].

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