Chamillionaire: Why The Mixtape Messiah Just Stopped
Over the past decade the mixtape
game has taken major leaps and bounds. With the internet playing a key
role in free distribution artists like Lil Wayne have been able to
keep a constant buzz in our ears by the click of a mouse. No stranger
to this game is Hakeem Seriki better known as King Koopa Chamillionaire.
Releasing mixtapes since the dawn of the internet-hop age providing the base for two major release, a grammy, and five million in ringtone
sales. Simply said, Chamillionaire has found a foundation through the
In 2004 King Koopa released
the monumental Mixtape Messiah
ushering in over 100,000 downloads establishing himself as a top prospect
in the mixtape ring and budding a legendary series. Now, in 2009 Chamillionaire
is ready to put the series to rest with the latest and final installment
Mixtape Messiah 7. AllHipHop.com caught up with the Houston bred
rapper to pick apart the brain of a mixtape messiah and forecast the
future for all things Chamillitary.
only been a short while since the final disk of Mixtape Messiah 7
dropped. How has the response been being that there was such a large
backing from your fans for the final installment?
Chamillionaire: Oh man the response has been really
crazy man. The responses have been filling up all my messages and all
my accounts from MySpace to everything. I know its having a big impact
on a lot of my fans because Im seeing people having it and bootleggin
it to CD and theyre trying to get me to sign it and everything, that
doesnt happen. I kind of knew what I was doing when I dropped it
and I knew my fans would really like it because I really wanted to go
out with a bang. Overall, the majority of people are saying that they
loved it, theyre thanking me, and they dont want to see it go
and all that type of stuff. But Im done, its a wrap.
is a wrap, the final installment. What do you want your fans to
look back on when they think about the Mixtape Messiah series?
I think it would be the level of quality and the amount of material
that I tried to put out. I started off [the series] with a three disc
you know what I mean, so it shows that I tried to come in with a lot
of content and a lot of material. A lot of times this is what people
are basing my career off of because to them these are like albums because
Ive been doing these so long. Without the mixtapes then you just
have albums, so with this [series] they can say, Well Cham doesnt
drop that many albums but at least he drops a lot of mixtapes. So
with that were gonna be releasing a lot of music but I plan to replace
them with real music instead of jacking everybodys beats [for the mixtapes]. I cant do everything I want to do with these songs. I
hope they just remember the quality and how much I gave them. I think
I went and did a lot more than most average artists do. I did in stores,
I did parties, I did concerts, and everything off these mixtapes. A
lot of artists dont even do that.
that we have an understanding of what you want the fans to remember
what will you remember? What did you take out of the series, was it
a learning experience in some way?
I think it was more of a learning experience for me man. The mixtapes
are like training for me and thats how I always will know what my
fans are gonna like. Ive been putting out mixtapes for so long that
when I put them out I can kind of gauge and know where everyone starts
gravitating towards certain records on the tape. Thats really what
it was all about, just trying to learn about my fans and see what they
like. So thats why I can go into a major label and argue with them
about a single and be like, Yo, theyre not gonna like this.
I feel like I know them now because Ive been doing this for so long
so I can guage what they like. The argument is that these majors will
try to make me a change for a different kind of fan and thats where
the problem comes in. If youve been working on this one face for
these fans for a long time and then people tell you to forget about
this fan and go get these other fans then theres a problem. Majors
tend to tell artists that a lot and Im not really down with that.
So now its just focusing on making more music for all fans. Simple
as that, I just want it to be dope and have everyone appreciate it.
of label pressure were you ever a victim where execs wanted to take
the Mixtape Messiah series to a major release level simply because of
the success it was having?
Nah, I mean theres sometimes little issues because of the things
popping up on iTunes but you always have the majors trying to shut stuff
down. I never really cared, when I do the mixtapes I have a theres
nothing you can do about it attitude. Theres nothing that they
did that pressured me to stop releasing. Its just kind of like, Ive
been doing this for ten years man and I feel like Ive done everything
I could possibly do with the mixtapes. If I jump into another mixtape
tomorrow how much more is that gonna do for me? What is that gonna do?
Its time to move on and do something else.
do you think everything as a whole was so successful?
I think it was just a certain rebelliousness man, it was against the
grain. When I first came in with the mixtape circuit I did something
that was rebellious. Even when Ridin Dirty came out that was
rebellious. It wasnt like pick your hot artist and pick your hot
producer. It was Krayzie Bone [producing] and it fit and it was rebellious
and I think people a lot of the time want stuff like that. When I came
into the mixtapes I was always like, F a major label, when everyone
else was tryna get signed to a major label. Then I ended up getting
signed to one (laughs).
lot of fans see your stronger body of work in your mixtapes rather than
the albums. Are you okay with that?
If I was then Id probably still be doing the mixtapes [still]. I
know what Im capable of so let me take 100% of my time and take that
towards making sure my albums and that stuff that Im releasing in
stores is up to par. That way a fan is not always being like, your
mixtapes are dope but your albums arent. Nah dope is dope. I can
be dope in any form so thats what Im doing. If I spend 85% of
my time in the studio for this many years doing mixtapes and then I
spend 15% doing real songs which do you think Im gonna be better
at? So now its about taking 100% of my time and using that towards
real songs. That way Im playing on the same battlefield that everyone
else is on.
we separate Chamillionaire the mixtape messiah from Chamillionaire on
the album tip?
Thats what Im trying to do, merge them into one person. There
definitely separate and two different things but the mixtape game is
a different hustle. I cant be mad because the average fan thats
watching they dont know. At the end of the day whatever happens they
blame it on the persons name thats on the CD, they dont know
the politics these rappers go through. Labels are trying to change people,
they send you songs that you dont fit on, and try to force you to
get on them telling you that its good for you, and then they start cutting
budgets if you dont listen. The business part really messes up the
creative part. I always say that majors dont care. They just care
about business and making money, not creativity. From artists you always
complain about that because you want the creative part to be perfect
when that product goes into the marketplace because you want it to be
you. The people at the labels feel safe behind the walls because they
dont have to take the bullet so theyll try to tell you whats
hot and if it doesnt work theyre gonna blame it on you anyways.
gained a lot of fans and turned a lot of heads with the series to the
point where people feel you are on a whole new tip
Yeah, but see thats exactly why Im doing this. The people that
are saying that are the people that dont get to hear them. I can
only push those are far as I can push them, they go as far as they do
and they dont go to the rest of the world. So no Im trying to
make material that still sounds super good like that but just making
it bigger. So now Im doing a new brand called Major Pain and when
this next release comes out it will be called an authorized leak CD.
So basically it will be real songs with real beats but it will be put
together how I put together my mixtapes. It might have scratching in
there it might have gun shots it might have everything but it wont
have the same thought as a Mixtape Messiah tape. It will have
new thoughts and new fresh thoughts and it will be everywhere so people
can get it. An international fan can get it, an east coast fan can get
it, you know what I mean? This is not some major label thing with an
A&R and a budget but itll be in the stores and be distributed.
Ill drop them once every three months and then the release where
I really focus on the best quality will drop every six months and those
will drop in between each major album.
that much content on the ready a lot of people must be wondering whats
up with the third album and when a release date will surface. Any details?
The third album will be dropping fourth quarter. Its not a problem
for me because Ive always been the content guy. Im not doing what
everybody else is doing, you know everbodys partying and what not but
me Im just about the music. You open my drive right now and youll
see about 400 songs in there right now. I dont think theyre wack
songs either, I think its just a lot of material in there. If somethings
wack I wont keep it Ill delete it and if not Ill keep it. So
when it comes to making content Im good but when it comes to the
major system its just slow. Its not the artist moving slow its
the major system because theyll only drop an album once every year,
like how many mixtapes have I dropped in the past year. Its crazy,
we move way faster then them. So now if Im not doing a mixtape imagine
how fast Ill be coming with [original] songs.
AllHipHop.com: Even though it
may not seem like a long time ago, you came up in a different era of
Hip-Hop back in 2006 with your first major release, The Sound of
Revenge. Do you ever
feel youre being played out of the game because of the topics in
Hip-Hop that are becoming relevant and popular in 2009? (i.e. Kid Cudi)
Yeah, I know what you mean. But nah I definitely dont feel that way.
You know why I dont? Because Im like a true chameleon man. Thats
what this whole thing is about now. The only way that I would get played
out is if I was doing the same old same old with all these people coming
out with these new sounds. Theres nobody that sounded like these
new dudes four years ago, you know what Im saying? So now that this
new sound is becoming popular its all about reinventing yourself.
If you can reinvent yourself then you can stay fresh and relevant.