Last week saw California rap veteran Jayceon “The Game” Taylor and Atlanta upstart Jeffrey “Young Thug” Williams engaged in an online back-and-forth that led to threats from both sides. Before the situation turned violent, Chicago representative Jo Jo Capone stepped in and helped end the conflict.
While Game and Thug have seemingly moved past their differences, there is still the ongoing issues between Thugger and Dwayne “Lil Wayne” Carter. The Young Money boss was not pleased with the “Stoner” rhymer potentially naming his album Carter 6. Eventually, Thug changed the title to Barter 6, but that did not stop Wayne from calling out the Rich Gang member.
Add in Wayne’s legal battle with the man he once called his father and Thug’s current mentor Bryan “Birdman” Williams, the situation becomes even more complicated. Capone is now looking to use his influence to settle the differences between Thug, Wayne, and Birdman.
AllHipHop.com spoke with Jo Jo Capone, and part one of the interview includes the Global Gangsters leader addressing his goal to bring peace to the Young Money/Cash Money/Rich Gang family.
Can you talk about how you and Thug first connected?
Thug’s been around forever. I was working really close with Ca$h Out. Him and Ca$h Out were doing a group thing back in the day. So I knew of him. One of my little cousins, he shot videos with Thug.
From the time of slaves, they say you were named after your slave master. We share the same last name, so we’re a distant relative. I just don’t know how distant it is. Now, it’s turned into more of a family thing with the knowledge of me knowing that. If you have the same last name with somebody, y’all are relatives. I don’t care what color you are. You just gotta see if it’s by marriage or by blood.
You played a big role in The Game and Young Thug coming together and squashing their issues. Can you explain how that went down?
Game was defending Wayne when he was at his show in Louisiana. With the crowd egging him on, he backed Wayne by saying, “F*ck Young Thug.” After the video went viral on the internet, he went to Thug’s [Instagram] page, seen me in a picture and seen that I rock with Thug.
He called me and said, “That sh*t got blown out of proportion.” So I said let me reach out to Thug about it. By then Thug had seen [Game’s video], and he did a video. Then it went back-and-forth. Before it spilled over, I said let me intervene and put an end to it. That’s all we really want for this situation. While it’s early on, let's get Game and Thug out the way. Then we'll work on Wayne and Thug at the same time too.
Thug put up another video where he did apologize to Game, but at the end of the video he threw a little shot at Wayne. He said Wayne wasn't fighting his own battles.
Basically, Game wouldn't have had to say nothing about Thug if it wasn't for Wayne. It wouldn't have been an issue. Wayne did put out records where he spoke up for himself, but Game still did what he did.
So you’re working to end the Wayne and Thug situation?
Thug, Wayne, and Birdman. It’s all a tight-knit family. That friction interferes with the kids. It’s bigger than us. The families are involved. The mothers are calling. Somebody has to be the equal medium. I don’t play no favoritism. When you’re wrong, you’re wrong. Thug never would have thought Game would even have done that. Especially, without them meeting prior to that.
So they didn’t know each other?
No, but that’s why it was so easy for Game to say and do what he did. It was easy for him to pick a side. When you meet Thug you’re gonna love him. When you meet Wayne, you’re gonna love him. When you meet Game, you’re gonna love him.
When you don’t know one another, whatever energy's brought to a situation, it allows it to grow, because they don’t know each other personally. When you put all four of them in a room together - Wayne, Thug, Stunna, Game - that’s magic.
How do you reconcile that situation? On the surface it seems like the issue is about Thug trying to name his album Carter 6, but there’s also talk that they’re are issues that are deeper than that.
People can’t just push under the rug that Thug said Wayne was his idol. You can’t make wanting to call his album Carter 6 a negative thing. That’s just like other basketball players using the number 23. The world could feel like no one else can wear 23 but Jordan. But other athletes were able to wear 23.
Nobody really beat up on Wayne [when he named his albums Tha Carter] - even though that’s his government last name, Carter - when Jay Z had "S. Carter." Nobody said anything to Jay Z when Puff started with P. Diddy. Why is it an issue when Thug does it? You gotta embrace Thug. You can’t push him out.
You point out that artists are inspired by other people, draw from them, and create their own thing. Why do you think Thug faced such backlash from the public in this particular case?
Because it’s a lack of knowledge. Conversations like this, these don’t get put on a pedestal. These are the conversations that need to be highlighted for those that are going to go through this after this situation.
People don’t want to have issues, but [different artists are] talking about the same type of things - poverty, the ghetto. It's just from their city’s point of view. What’s going to be different about the story? Just the street names, but it’s still a ghetto story.
Young Thug has a squeaky pitch to his voice, and people gravitate to it. His dress code is different, and they’re gravitating to it. He’s a rapper with a rock star swag. That’s fairly new for this generation. You had Andre 3000 and guys like that. But a hardcore gangster rap fan would look at Andre 3000, and just because of the way he dresses, they don’t want to listen to his music.
Thug is no different. You can’t beat up on Thug. Everybody else is doing something in some shape, form, or fashion too. And Thug’s bringing originality to the game. They’re gonna say he’s not. Why? Cause he’s singing and rapping, that’s Drake. If you’re gonna say, "That’s Drake," then we’re gonna say, "That’s Do or Die or Twista." People were before Drake. You have to let the artists do what they do.
Jo Jo Capone is scheduled to release his album Talented Gangster on June 23 via Act Like It Entertainment and Caroline Capitol.
Watch Jo Jo Capone's video for "Countin' Money" below.