B.G. and The Chopper City Boyz: Second Chances

Many believed that B.G. could never outdo the success he experienced in 1999. “Bling, Bling” was a global anthem that even had the Oxford Dictionary heads bobbin’, as The Hot Boys became a means for B.G. to permeate the charts, year ‘round. By the new millennium however, B.G. left Cash Money, the rapper battled drug addiction, and his music suffered without that Mannie Fresh knock.

Second chances are possible. After an appearance on T.I.’s King, Atlantic Records liked what they heard, offering B.G. his first major label contract in five years. T.I. has stayed on to executive produce the New Orleans rapper’s work, so as it would seem, 2007 looks good for B.G. He is starting off the New Year by releasing The Chopper City Boyz, his first artists. They consist of B.G.’s brother, Hakeem “Hakizzle”, V.L. Mike, Sniper, and Gar. As the group puts the finishing touches on We Got This, the team talks about the past, beef, and how just like B.G.’s career, New Orleans is coming back together.

AllHipHop.com: When you were getting ready to sign with a new record label there were a lot of rumors floating around that you would be signing with G-Unit. What happened to that situation?

B.G.: It was just an option that I had amongst many options. At the end of the day, it’s just an option I choose not to go with.

AllHipHop.com: How did the work with T.I. come about on this new album?

B.G.: Yeah, T.I. is executive producing this album. Me and T.I. first and foremost have a relationship of respect, just real n***a to real n***a. With my Atlantic situation, he really stepped in and sped the whole process up. It’s just a young n***a with a vision from New Orleans and another young n***a with the same vision from Atlanta. We just decided to come together and get money, you know.

AllHipHop.com: Do you feel comfortable talking about the loss of Baby’s sister?

B.G.: You know, he lost his sister and I really feel bad for him. My condolences go out to him and his whole family.

AllHipHop.com: Are you still in contact with any of the other Hot Boys?

B.G.: We’re all cool. I mean, I don’t have any relationships to be bragging on; me and Turk cool, me and Fresh cool, me and—

AllHipHop.com: — So in terms of Baby and Lil’ Wayne, there is no beef between you guys?

B.G.: I don’t have anything bad to say about them. I say we just keep it moving. It is what it is.

AllHipHop.com: Gar, You were one of the first people to work with B.G. after he left Cash Money, right?

Gar: Yeah, straight like that; me and Hakeem.

AllHipHop.com: How did the group come about?

Gar: Well it came about after B.G. left Cash Money. He was beginning to form his own label and he wanted to push Hakeem. Hakeem was gonna be the first artist up. I guess he started seeing a vision of something bigger and he wanted to form a group. That’s how the Chopper City Boys came about and things started evolving.

Hakeem: We’ve been artists since we were little kids. We’ve been rapping since grade school. We always talked about how when we got older we would form our own label and just get it started. We talked about it and it happened.

Gar: That’s how the whole thing came about. We were just hitting the road, grinding, doing show after. Hakeem was doing his own thing as a solo artist and I used to go on the road with him as a hype man, or whatever. I just had the lyrical skill and he respected a n***a’s heart. We just got together and things started forming, and then Sniper came around and things just started bumping-

Hakeem: Then Mike came and picked it on up.

AllHipHop.com: All of you were around when B.G. was with Cash Money. What have you learned from his situation that you can apply to your own careers?

Gar: I learned, pretty much, to have your business in order. Stay true to yourself and everything else will fall into place. Just grind hard. I don’t know all of what happened in B.G. and Cash Money’s situation because I wasn’t involved, but I always say that you learn from every situation. So overall, I would just say stay true to yourself because you can’t keep it real with another motherf**ka unless you’re true with yourself.

AllHipHop.com: Is everyone still in New Orleans?

Gar: Me and Sniper are in New Orleans right now. Hakeem is in Detroit, and V.L. Mike is in Atlanta.

AllHipHop.com: Katrina spread a lot of New Orleans residents throughout the rest of the nation. How has that affected to New Orleans rap scene?

B.G.: Honestly, there were artists out here before the hurricane and there are artists out here after the hurricane. The hurricane washed up a whole….I mean it just means if you were focused before then, it made you focus even harder so that you can move forward. At the end of the day, this [rap] is one of the only outlets that a lot of young Black males got. It isn’t guaranteed, but it is guaranteed. You just got to get in where you fit in.

Gar: Right now, it’s wide open. We really only have B.G., Lil’ Wayne, and Juvenile as the major artists coming out of New Orleans, so I feel it’s wide open for the new artist to bring out their sound.

Hakeem: Right now I’m just looking for the Chopper City Boys. We’re all featured on B.G’s album and mixtapes so I feel like we’re about to make it happen. Since the hurricane, I feel like we’re the ones who are making it happen. We’re the hottest thing smoking.

V.L. Mike: They’ve had other groups come out but people haven’t seen the Chopper City Boys. We’re nothing but that New Orleans stuff and we’re gonna give you the best product. Plus, I got the street cred to back it up, so it is what it is.

AllHipHop.com: What kind of work are you guys doing to help rebuild the city?

V.L. Mike: We giving back. We’re did a Chopper City Christmas where we gave away toys to the displaced children in New Orleans.

Gar: And we’re doing that before the album even drops. And the more that we earn, the more we’re gonna give back. This isn’t a publicity stunt. This is not a promotional thing. This is from the heart because we’re trying to help hold up the city. You got people out there that just talk about helping, but we’re out here right now.

AllHipHop.com: What’s the state of the city right now?

V.L. Mike: Right now the city is just under construction. We’ve been out there a lot helping out with the construction, but we’re also focused on the music. We make contributions in the construction and helping people get their houses back in order. Soon, the city is gonna be back. Once the city is all the way back, and I promise you that it will be all the way back, I’ma feel real good about that. Right now we’re just focused on rebuilding the city and putting out this album.

AllHipHop.com: What can we expect to hear on the new album?

V.L. Mike: The album is called We Got This and you can expect to hear nothing but the truth on wax. It should be coming out February 27, and we’ll be starting the promo tour in soon. We got something for the ladies, we got some Gar bangers, and we got a single produced by David Banner. It’s just a hell of a single. If you heard that last Heart of the Streets album that B.G. put out, then you’ll know what kind of sound we’re putting out there. On this album, everything is family oriented except for the David Banner single.

AllHipHop.com: What’s your take on critics’ complaints that the South is commercializing the music scene?

Gar: Look, no disrespect, but it’s just the South’s time right now. It’s been in the North, it’s been in the East, it’s been in the West, and now it’s just in the South. If you really know and follow this rap game, then you know that everybody gets their chance to shine.

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