Fiend: Cell Therapy

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rophets can come from the strangest of places. Perhaps the man asking you for spare change in front of the bodega has spoken unforgettable wisdom. Fiend is no panhandler, but his name and his image has been built upon being a man of the people, dirty and clean.

Of all the former No Limit artists, save for Snoop Dogg, Fiend’s career may be in the best place. The New Orleans native admits to have contributed lyrics and vocals to some of the hottest songs on Atlantic Records in the last year. But his own rap career resumes, with a reunion with The Medicine Men on The Addiction.

After striking a hit with “Take My Pain Away” eight years ago, Fiend now fights rejection from radio programmers, stores, and cynical fans. However, the artist insists that he does it for his remaining fanbase, and wants a reputation as a good father rather than a Platinum rapper. Like his dirty lyrics and bouncy beats, Fiend brings candor and energy in sharing about his time with Ruff Ryders, his new metaphor involving Oprah, and his reaction to Dancing With the Stars.

AllHipHop.com: Of all the No Limit artists of the late ‘90s, you were always the one that consistently made deeper, darker records. To many fans, myself included, that always separated you from the pack…

Fiend: I’m glad fans can find the music like that. I’m glad that they can hear this new one too [The Addiction] There’s been so many trials and tribulations trying to put it out, but it’s finally out. I hope that the people that knew anything about me can appreciate it, and almost accept it as an apology from me for being gone so long.

AllHipHop.com: You said that it was hard to put it out. But you put out several records in the last few years. What made this one so hard?

Fiend: Just suppression. People are trying to hold a foot on your neck and keep you down, man. Without being on No Limit Records no more, there are people that don’t wanna support you because you’re not with that company anymore. You’ve got people that feel like it’s not [worth hearing] which is a total misconception. The music is still great. A lot of the stores aren’t getting it where it needs to be. The radio stations can’t hear where I’m at – scared to play the record. They damn near tryin’ to be A&Rs, instead of just being program directors. They tryin’ to put too much of your career in their hands and they gonna make you blow one of them mothaf**kin’ radio stations up with a n***a like that. They think it’s a f**kin’ game, man! All we doin’ is putting ourselves back a thousand years with this pile of tricks, man. I been got shot more times than 50 Cent or 2-f**kin’-Pac. Before mothaf**kas will play my CD, I’ll be dead, bro. Everybody wanted to support Souljah Slim after he got f**kin’ murdered – f**k that stupid ass s**t! You wanna buy a CD now that he got his f**kin’ s**t split? His mom lost him, and people [now] wanna support him. It’s too f**kin’ late! Listen to these n***as, and appreciate these people while they hear. Don’t put me on a T-shirt after I’m gone, put me on a T-shirt while I’m here.

Then you got people like f**kin’ Lauryn Hill waiting 30 f**kin’ years to come back out, egotistically or whatever the f**k her case is – she f**kin’ trippin’. You make a big contribution to music. I’m not tryin’ to you I’m like Robin Hood sittin’ in the hood, I got bills that need to be paid. But I put the CD out for the fans. I ain’t promised a mothaf**kin’ dollar behind it. Ice Cube did the same thing, Dogg Pound too. I feel like the people who are really in tune with their fans, I wish they got some of the exposure.

AllHipHop.com: With No Limit, you had bigger distribution. Stores had no choice but to carry it. The radio noticed. Today, without that channel, how much interaction do you get with your fans outside of New Orleans?

Fiend: Man, that Myspace.com/FiendEntertainment is a mothaf**ka. Don’t get me wrong. I have national recording deal with Atlantic Records under a whole other name. I ghostwrite, I’ve been blessed to produce, I don’t ever have to put out another rap album again. Where I’m at right now – if you got the money to do it, do it yourself. If not, be prepared for a mothaf**kin’ rollercoaster ride that you don’t even know who the driver is.

AllHipHop.com: Let’s talk about the new record a minute. You’ve got this track “Survival” that goes right along with what you’re saying…

Fiend: That “Survival” is being suppressed. Man, that record is anybody who has, is, or ever will go through somethin’ trying to keep the lights on, keep a smile on your face, and do it legally – but knowin’ that you have to do what you have to do. I ain’t sayin’ I’m too good for a regular job, I just don’t have the regular probs, man. Music is supposed to soothe the beast. But the beast is growing more than the music. That’s “Survival.”

AllHipHop.com: Then you’ve got “Oprah (The Color Purple).” I’ll let you explain that one…

Fiend: [Laughs] I think that [the term for marijuana] “Oprah” was well overdo. “Mary Jane” has been used [too much]. I think that the nowadays, the average person is strictly on purple weed. It’s so fine, so rich, that you can only compare it to that b*tch. I’m smokin’ that Oprah – the finest of the fine, and it’s that color purple. It’s an ode to Oprah totally out of respect. I hope she takes it that way. She is the modern day role model, the finest the world could offer and she happens to be an African American. It was something of our own to give Hip-Hop to have. “I’m smokin’ Oprah.” That’s flattery. I felt like I was in Woodstock when I [wrote] that song. [raps the first verse]

AllHipHop.com: On your second album, you and U.G.K. had this record, “Slangin’.” To me, that seems to be a precursor to a lot of the lyrical style we’re seeing from T.I., Young Jeezy, and Rick Ross. How do you think you influenced Hip-Hop, whether ten years ago or today?

Fiend: I think that a lot of today’s artists are totally influenced by what I influenced to music, but by No Limit Records, Cash Money Records, Death Row Records, and a gang of other people. My contribution is, I spit from my heart. I hear a few artists out here: Lil’ Jon, T.I., Jeezy, I love all these artists, but I know I was somewhere in they CD deck when they came up as a kid. I’m happy to see that it sprouted to be as big as it is today. That leaves an opportunity for me to come back and provide for my family, but to also make my contribution to music.

AllHipHop.com: You’re back with the Medicine Men, or Beats By The Pound on this album. How important is KLC and Craig B to your sound?

Fiend: I’m overwhelmed, because I learned how to produce from these guys. We on there together. It just feels good to know that it’s goin’ down. The Medicine Men, these guys are up to date, and ahead of themselves as they were eight years ago. I’m happy that the fans can see that egos and finance won’t keep great people from working to make great music. We just jam, and then we take care of it how we take care of it.

AllHipHop.com: Are you gonna be on KLC’s album?

Fiend: I’m on about six songs of that album. You know where my head’s at already. I ain’t lettin’ us come out here half-assed ever, ever again.

AllHipHop.com: After No Limit, the Ruff Ryders had listed you on their roster for some time, and you made feature appearances. Why no album? Why are you no longer affiliated?

Fiend: Ruff Ryder…the fans just didn’t think I could anywhere but No Limit. [Ruff Ryders] was the only guys that was just raw, street orientated, as far as the label-base and the music, that could support my career. But when I got there, it was more of a spiritual somethin’. I wasn’t supposed to be there to drop my album. I was there to do other things. That’s just how it happened. I went out there, things happened, and I went to jail. They got me out. Dee [Dean] had got into a real, real bad [motorcycle] accident. We just ended up being there for each other as men, through some raw tribulations. It was bigger than what me droppin’ a CD could’ve done. I grew as a man out there. Each label gives you somethin’. Master P, C-Murder, Silkk, those guys, in their own ways, are great individuals. They taught me a few things, but they [were too removed] from their fans. Ruff Ryders, these n***as park Ferraris and walk in Harlem. I ain’t never too big to get with my fans. I love them Ruff Ryder boys, they just real.

AllHipHop.com: “Take My Pain” was powerful for you and the Miller brothers. You had all lost a brother. That was your biggest record too. Why did you open the album on such a serious note?

Fiend: That ended up being the last song recorded for the album. First of all, that record was a remake of one of my favorite records in the word. That was “I Call Your Name” by Switch. That was my s**t. I got a chance to do the record with Sons of Funk. Master P got involved, and he was really impressed with the record. Originally, Pimp C was supposed to be on the record. But Silkk [the Shocker] really liked the record and he got kinda jealous and was like, “F**k that, I’m gettin’ on that record.” Then, the format with Master P was that the single would be the first song on your album. That way, the consumer recognizes the song in the store right away. That was the thinking then.

AllHipHop.com: In your verse, you said “Hate made my city.” What did that mean?

Fiend: We are the city that gets forgotten. Recently, with the so-called natural disaster, hate made my city. We got plenty smiles, but it is what it is. This city could be wiped away and the world would turn they head. We are the little city of Babylon. We have the most crooked judicial system in the United States. Hate made my city. We have the crab in the barrel syndrome – it’s in you just to hate. If you make it, they hate. If you didn’t, you hate. It’s designed so that you will never make nothing of yourself if you stay there.

AllHipHop.com: Looking at that record, and others – do you think, artistically, that the Master P on “Take My Pain” is the same Master P on Dancing With the Stars?

Fiend: [Hesitates] You know, I think it is the same dude. When I saw him on Dancing With the Stars, I think he was just tryin’ to eat. I don’t know his case. I can pat him on the back for doin’ that. It shouldn’t be that grown African American men can’t have fun and stuff. I think we just haven’t accepted it. The guy that spit on that record…I would call P in tears listenin’ to that record. He’s a human being too. I think he’s just a little uncomfortable about the world seeing that he can make mistakes. I think that’s like when you’re [caught] with your pants down, being human. But it’s about being human.

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