Do or Die gave us one of the first anthems that made pimpin commercially acceptable and cool, especially if you were Po. Along with a Beatnuts backed Common Sense, they were also early trailblazers for Chi City Rap culture.
While in some regions, the album sales and radio play might not reflect it, this duo has a track record better than most. Plus, a recent party in the Windy Cindy showed just how live the hometown crowd treats its native sons. Join AllHipHop.com as we look back at one of the most underrated groups to ever spit, and we hold them accountable for every last word.
AllHipHop.com: As the original Po Pimps, the ones who got it all started as far as introducing that signature Chicago sound in the early 90s, does the enormous success of artists like Twista and Kanye today spark up a friendly rivalry or are you just happy Chicago is getting its just recognition?
Belo: As of now, we dont look at trying to have animosity towards anyone from Chicago. I mean theres always going to be friendly competition, thats just being an artist and being competitive. But as far as us disliking anybody from the Chi, no.
AllHipHop.com How is Do or Die different from whats currently coming out of Chicago?
Belo: Well, were originators. Were the originators of the Po Pimp style, we are original gangstas, we dont just rap this s**t, we lived that life. We lived that gutter life, but we also have a strong business sense and we handled our business on this project, so were basically a new and improved D.O.D.
AllHipHop.com: So can we expect to hear a little more Pimp Poetry or is this a little more gangsta?
Nard: Its a variety of everything. Every day life that goes on and then with soul, we reach into the souls, the souls of the streets the souls of the people whove always listen to do or die. We got R. Kelly on a song called Magic Chicks, we got Kanye on a song you know Kanye brings you that Soul, we did the Higher joint with Teddy Pendagrass. We got Twista on there with Syleena Johnson that joints called If Only You Knew We got Scott Storch on there, DJ Quik; man the album is so ridiculous we really just gave em the unexpected.
AllHipHop.com: With over three million albums sold to your credit, do you feel like your career is where it should be right now?
Belo: Well, if you look at the Soundscan right now, we have the Picture This album which is platinum, as a matter of fact let me get the actual figures so you can have the actual number: Picture This sold 902,565 copies, if you add the 30 percent Mom & Pop totals, thats over one million. Heads or Tails is at 719,393 add 30 percent to that, you got platinum and the Victory album is reaching gold with over 300,000, and still growing. So the numbers are there that we went platinum, [it s] just [that] the world dont know it.
AllHipHop.com: Wheres the bulk of your fan base?
Belo: We got a strong, strong following in the South, but we get mad love in the West, and of course we get mad love in the Midwest. Were gaining the love and respect of the East.
AllHipHop.com: Why do you feel like your still gaining the respect of the East but you have it everywhere else?
Belo: To keep it real, the East Coast has their own sound, and their own cats that theyre willing to accept. So I guess theyre opening the door to accept the Midwest more so now. When you went to the East Coast at one time, you couldnt hear anything but East Coast s**t.
Nard: And you had labels who were scared to spend money in those markets because of that too.
AllHipHop.com: Now I remember once upon a time yall had beef with Bone Thugs & Harmony, thats been settled, right?
Nard: Yeah, were cool.
AllHipHop.com: What responsibility do you assume in telling the violent stories in your rhymes to young people?
Belo: Well, we spit how it is, and you cant be scared of that - you cant run from that. What you do is anything from the streets thats negative - selling drugs, gangbanging, whatever it is, you point out to the younger generation: Yall dont do this, we been through this, theres consequences to this. If you go shoot someone, someone is gonna shoot your ass back, or youre going to jail, or if you sell drugs, youre gonna get caught by the police, or youre gonna get robbed, you know. We tell our life story, but we tell the consequences behind that. We not singers, so we cant put together a nice love tune and sing it. But even if we did sing, it would come out pimpish because thats how we live. But were not saying go out and pimp these ladies, we saying go out and pimp this industry and get your money.
AllHipHop.com: I havent talked too much about the album. the current single has a hot video with Mr. Chicago himself R.Kelly. Now I know Chicago loves R, but with all the issues surrounding Kelly right now do you think its a good look?
Nard: Man, you know we gotta support our peoples. Im gonna tell you one thing, everything happens for a reason and its not for Do or Die to judge. Honestly, truth be told there are young girls all across this country having sex with men much older than R. and Im not saying its right. But its just because hes a superstar that its news.
AllHipHop.com: Yeah, but dont you think hes being a little extra and getting a little too comfortable with his publics forgiveness?
Belo: I understand how the women feel, and I do believe we have to respect our women. But at the end of the day, in all fairness, a lot of these little girls who don t look so little carry around these fake IDs and dont come clean until after you get in the bed with em and do your thing.
AllHipHop.com: Yeah, but if youre already under scrutiny for the type of behavior that R. Kelly is being accused of, why keep making music like Ignition, and Magic Chicks?
Nard: People fell in love with R. Kelly because of 12 Play. Thats the music hes always done. R. Kelly has never stopped being R. Kelly.