Depending on who you ask, the word 8 Ball can take on different meanings. Ask my uncle, and hed tell you hes going to sink it every time. Ask a drug dealer, and hell give you a price. But ask anyone thats ever stepped inside the world of Hip-Hop and theyd tell you hes a living legend. For all of us who live in that world everyday, its almost impossible to not follow the name, 8 Ball, with the name, MJG, but today, were going to try.
Youd think that after dropping eight group albums, and four solo albums, 8 Ball would take some time to rest. Think not. Having been in the rap game for over a decade, 8 Ball continues to be a potent force in every form of entertainment. Hes already dominated the Southern rap scene, so much so that the artists that are laying down the foundation for the next generation of Hip-Hop hopefuls are the same ones that credit 8 Ball as being their inspiration.
Hes just released is forth solo album on his own label, 8 Way Entertainment called Light Up the Bomb which also introduces the world to the next breed of Memphis rappers.
AllHipHop.com: What is your reaction to how Light Up the Bomb has been received by your fans?
8 Ball: Its a beautiful reaction. Were actually doing real good on iTunes and the spins is up real big right now, and we didnt even do much for the radio, ya know what I mean? So, Im lovin every minute of it.
AllHipHop.com: Your album features a lot of up and coming Memphis rappers. Since youve been in the game for so long, are you using this time to pass the torch, so to say?
8 Ball: Oh definitely, thats what Im on the road to do right now.
AllHipHop.com: One of the artists that you have featured on you album and whos also signed to 8 Way Entertainment is Montana Trax, how did you hook up with him?
8 Ball: Well, Montana Trax is a producer, a lot of people dont know that. He produced every track on the album except for one. The track called Yo B***h with Da Volunteers, MJG produced that, but all the other tracks Montana Trax produced them all.
AllHipHop.com: Was he the first artist signed to 8 Ways Entertainment?
8 Ball: Yep, I actually signed him and Devius at about the same time.
AllHipHop.com: You decided to put out Montanas album before your own even though people werent familiar with the label. Do you think that if you would have waited to put his album out until after you dropped the response would have been different?
8 Ball: Well, [Montanas album] was ready, ya know? Like, we got a lot of projects thats ready already, and I just wanted to warm the streets up to what I was doing. Montana Trax The Boy Sumthin Great was like the warm up album for the streets to let em know this is a percentage of what Im comin with.
AllHipHop.com: One of the songs off Light up the Bomb is called Battlefield and it seems to paint a picture of the industrys pros and cons, what would you say is the biggest con of being in this industry for you?
8 Ball: I think like me and MJ get typecast when it comes to doing features with people or making a song for a soundtrack or something like that. People always wanna put us on the pimp song or something slow, ya know what I mean? And Im not objecting to that cause thats my roots, thats what I come from, Im the slow flow pro, cant nobody slow flow like the Big Ball, ya know? But, at the same time, I think people typecast us, man, and when people wanna put us on their song, its the pimp song, or the slow song. Were a lot more versatile than that.
AllHipHop.com: So, was there ever time when you turned down working with somebody because you didnt want to do a certain type of song?
8 Ball: Uh, not really. I might object to a certain beat or track, but subject matter, I wouldnt object to that cause thats what I do.
AllHipHop.com: It seems that in this industry the natural progression after achieving so much is to start your label, tell us about 8 Ways Entertainment.
8 Ball: Well, Ive been in motion for some years now, ya know, ever since Space Age 4 Eva and my album, Almost Famous, I been doing my thing since then but things kinda took a turn for the worse when Jcor [Records] went fagoty on us, ya know? And after they did their lil f****t s**t then I kinda had to start over with what I was doing. I think I just really got to where I wanna be this year. I chose to go with Navarre Distribution cause I just wanted to start off slow. Im right where I wanna be and I think itll elevate gradually and thats what I wanna do, I dont wanna take it too fast.
AllHipHop.com: So what are you ultimately trying to achieve with 8 Ways?
8 Ball: I just wanna make good music, man. I really just wanna take my label a step further. Good music is a different definition to people who love music, whats good to you aint good to me. I wanna do more that Hip-Hop, I wanna do more than rap, I wanna do forever music. I mean, if its punk rock or R&B or some kinda band.
AllHipHop.com: I hear a lot of artist say that, but would you, 8 Ball, seriously consider signing a rock band?
8 Ball: People dont know like back when I first started, there was a group out of Houston that I was gonna mess with called Halo and they ended up moving around and I lost contact with them, but I like all kinds of music.
AllHipHop.com: Word? What kind of group were they?
8 Ball: They were kinda like, uhh kinda like a Korn.
AllHipHop.com: [Laughs] Korn?
8 Ball: The group, Korn.
AllHipHop.com: I know Korn, I just wasnt expecting that comparison, I guess.
8 Ball: [Laughs] Yeah, they were like a Korn. I like all types of music, so I wanna pursue that even if I fail, I still wanna try it. Memphis has that. The world has that. Ive seen that traveling, the world loves more than Hip-Hop.
AllHipHop.com: Well Ill definitely be looking out for that. Lets talk about how you fit into Hip-Hop today. With so many young artists trying to set trends and break molds, do you ever feel pressure stay new and fresh to younger audiences?
8 Ball: I dont really feel any pressure cause thats what we do. I think the pressure comes more from live performances cause thats changes a lot over the years.
AllHipHop.com: In what way?
8 Ball: I think just the bounce in the music, thats changed. I think we have changed but stayed the same with each album that we have done.