Plies: Mum’s the Word

Plies’ tagline is “I’m not a rapper, I’m a hustler who can rap.” That said, amidst talk of Hip-Hop’s death, does anybody want to buy an album for 1-900-Hustler-like tips? Plies thinks so, offering his experiences as potentially life-changing to the listener. The Ft. Myers, Florida rapper claims that his raps are non-fiction, and he’s got a certifiable rap sheet.

The street background in Plies plays into his career. When asked about a highly-publicized gun shooting, a botched Akon and Snoop Dogg appearance, and the tactics of his Slip-N-Slide Records, Plies isn’t talking. But when it comes to questions of his collegiate career, his street credibility, or his pursuits of money, Algernod Washington has plenty to say. With his Da Real N***a Bible due at mid-2007, you can decide if this scripture will be your guiding light. Why don’t we start with how you got into Hip-Hop. I understand your older brother was into Hip-Hop before you were?

Plies: Well actually, he was more or less on the side tryin’ to break barriers and I guess tryin’ to foresee his vision in terms of becoming a pioneer in the Hip-Hop industry. At the same time, it was something that being from Florida, music at some point and time four or five years ago wasn’t really taken that seriously as it is now. Now this s**t is overcrowded and everybody doing it, but five or six years ago it was not perceived positively. If you told motherf**kers that you rap, n***as looked at you like you was lame.. Half of it was a freak accident, and I’m a firm believer in that nothing happens by accident. He was in federal prison and it was kind of a vision of his. It was kind of a vision he had from the inside, and once he got out and came home he wanted to pursue this vision and I guess the rest was history. How did you discover yourself as a rapper?

Plies: With me, I was always a fan of music, that’s the s**t that helped me get through the hard times and all that kinda s**t. I was one hell of a consumer. I was that dude that went to the store every Tuesday just to see what the latest s**t was, and I would buy s**t I ain’t even know ‘cause I was just that deep into loving to hear good music or tryin’ to find good music. So on my end it was never a dream, it was something I never even knew that was in me. But I knew what I liked to hear as a street n***a, so when the time came I just tried to give people what I wanted to hear. So how did the situation with Slip-N-Slide come up?

Plies: I had a situation in Ft. Myers once my brother came home. We was dealing with some guys that we signed and s**t, and to make a long story short, I kinda got in by giving them ideas and concepts to talk about according to what that I thought other real n***as wanted to hear about. One of the records that I first wrote called “Tell Dem Crackers That” was kinda like the snitchin’ record, and it took off and was one of the biggest records in our region. Slip-N-Slide had their people doing what they was getting paid to do and it was an A&R that found the project and took it down to Ted [Lucas]. Now obviously Ted Lucas has more of a street vision but a lot of people have said that Ted Lucas has been a little too gangsta at times. Do you believe that or has he been really business oriented with you?

Plies: One thing about me is that I don’t really like speaking on other peoples’ situations, and I choose not to because I know that some things that make good interviews are those types of questions, but on my behalf, just outta respect, those types of things I really don’t like to engage in. So once you got your deal with Slip-N-Slide, obviously the distribution through Atlantic came with your deal to the label. So how has it been working with Atlantic?

Plies: Right now, we’re tryin’ to get this thing knocked out by end of next first of June. It’s been a pleasure of mine to be around the positive people that I’ve surrounded my self with over at Atlantic. I think the staff is a tremendous staff; it gives artists the free will to not only become successful. But if your visions ain’t taken care of right, you can also get f**ked up and I value the free will that the staff gives me. There are concerns that a lot of artists have with Atlantic, especially after how they handled Trick Daddy’s projects, Trina’s projects, and Lil Kim’s projects. Do you have any doubts with Atlantics abilities?

Plies: From the standpoint of me, I believe in me. I’ve created a situation that has been unheard of in the streets. For me to be getting $15,000 a show to be doing packed shows and having 2,500 people is an abnormal situation. This s**t don’t come around every year, so I believe in me. Now I know on the mixtape you’ve got with DJ Scream you mentioned something about wanting to put out a triple disc?

Plies: Yeah, that was a street n***a thinking at the time. At the time, I was so caught up in what my consumers wanted and it was a vision of mine. I wanted to be the first motherf**ker to even attempt that at all, but on the business side, of it was a whole different animal. I don’t even get paid for extra tracks so I just would’ve been giving away two other albums. So business wise it didn’t make sense. What do you think it is about this album that sets it apart from other albums?

Plies: My s**t helps n***as get through everyday. To me, n***as gonna live off this s**t. There’s topics I talk about throughout my CD and throughout my album that makes it a historical situation. Now it’s obvious a difficult balance between loving the music and making the money. So where do you think that line is drawn between having the passion for the music and making the money?

Plies: You got a lot of cats that’s caught up in the history of Hip-Hop. To me, being a Florida artist our diameter has never been that wide and that diverse so I respect every n***a that came in this game before me. But I’m smart enough to know that this s**t done changed a little bit business wise opposed to the movie situation that a lot of artists are putting themselves in. The ringtone game now, motherf**kers selling a million ringtones before they album even come out. I think that corporate has turned it into a strictly business situation. Most motherf**kers would’ve gave you 17 songs on the album, but you only get paid for 11. N***as done pulled back because this whole game is business, so for me, I feel like it’s one big chess match and for me, it’s a beautiful situation because I love the challenge of coming out with a successful situation. There was a lot of hype around Smitty, and he really thought he would be able to take South Florida and put it on his back. Even after the release of his album, though, it seems that his situation hasn’t changed much since before he had the album. So how do you make sure something like that doesn’t happen to you?

Plies: It’s simple, man, this is reality. It’s a different situation for me. I ain’t saying that this was his case, but it’s a difference to see every magazine open up and see your face. Billboards. trucks, posters, and flyers everywhere. I ain’t hype, this is reality. I can give you my schedule and tell you, “Look, I’ma be in Tallahassee, Florida tonight.” It ain’t nothing hype about [my] situation. For me not to be able to go to the mall, ain’t nothing hype about that. That’s factual. You actually wrote the Akon track, “I Wanna,” right?

Plies: Yeah, I wrote my portion of the track, and Akon did his thing. What was the situation with that track when they took you off when you had gone to jail?. Are you still seeing any money off that track? Are you getting’ any credits on the inside of the album?

Plies: To keep it on one of my beliefs, I don’t really like to speak on situations involving another party, but at the same time, to give you an answer to your question: I birthed that situation and now what it is today is what it is. It’s a situation I’m past. I didn’t like the way the business was handled but at the same time it is what it is like the old cliché go. That’s the most I’ll give you on that. Now there been a lot of talk about you going to college, is that true?

I had a situation. I had a football situation and I got kicked out as soon as I got there in the first semester. So if that’s what motherf**kers wanna consider going to college, then s**t, I guess so. A year and a half ago, a lot of people were questioning your street credibility. How did you handle that situation and what was up with that situation?

Plies: I’ma tell you somethin’ about this industry and this game: it ain’t a motherf**ker that done made it in this game that there wasn’t some motherf**kers who claimed that they wasn’t real. You can go from the hottest n***a in Atlanta, to the hottest n***a in St. Louis, to the hottest n***a in L.A., to the hottest n***a in New York. Once you become somebody, I could be rapping about fixing cars or about being the best mechanic in the world, but when I became someone and everyone loved what the f**k I was talking about, there also gonna be some punk ass n***as who say, “F**k this, n***a don’t know how to fix no cars.” That’s just the severity of becoming somebody. I’d rather be the n***a that everybody talk about than being the n***a that don’t nobody know. I’m built for this s**t. So as a child growing up you were actually in the streets yourself?

Plies: I ain’t never left the streets, I’m talking to you from in the streets. Like I said, if you ever hear negativity about Plies, I guarantee you one of three things: either the f**kin’ n***a’s a rapper , he some kin to a rapper, or he wanna be a rapper. Real n***as know what it is with me. So that Plies that we hear about and the stories we hear about on “Tuck Ya Ice” and “36”, that’s all stuff you’ve actually been through yourself?

Plies: To answer your question, yeah, all day, every day. One thing I’ma tell you about this s**t: you can’t talk about what I talk about and not have lived this s**t. People don’t perceive it the same. Now I wanna talk about the shooting incident at the club…

Plies: I can’t speak on it, bruh. I would love to, but I can’t. From my legal advice, I can’t even speak on it.

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