Juelz Santana has long been lumped between the success of Camron, and the character of Jim Jones. But as the youngest of the Diplomats shot-callers, Juelz is out to fix that. With his sophomore album, What the Games Been Missing! - Juelz has seen more buzz off of two hit singles, than his debut arguably generated in whole. The industry cosigns it and Santana has recently been working with LL Cool J and Ludacris on their albums. But if you think Juelz is whistling to a different tune, youre wrong.
The young father reflects on his personal life with AllHipHop.com. In everything from his family-life, to his sense of security, to his friendship with Young Jeezy, Juelz gives you an exclusive look of the man behind the movement. If that wasnt enough, the Harlemite addresses rumors concerning Tru Life, Jay-Zs concerts, and even compares recipes with Master P. Oh yes!
AllHipHop.com: Your song, Daddy is dedicated to your son. Hows your son right now?
Juelz Santana: Hes beautiful, man. Actually, he just had a birthday October 24th. He turned two years old.
AllHipHop.com: You made reference to it in the song, but I think so many of the great rappers and MCs grew up without fathers in and around the home. Talk to me a little bit on your own views of fatherhood applied to your life versus your sons
Juelz Santana: I dont ever blame father for his things, cause my father was actually a good dude. I just think these streetsll do it to ya. I think the streets just kinda caught up with him. He got a chance to raise my oldest brother, and my two older brothers. It wasnt like he abandoned me or nothin like that. Thats why, in the song, I say for my father, The game caught him before I did, but back to you, son. I think he got caught up in the game, using drugs and stuff like that. It wasnt like he abandoned me or nothin like that. I feel like every man needs that father figure in their life, so I just wanted to express that in that song so my son can always go back and listen to it whether Im here, God bless, or not here, when hes old enough to really hear what Im talkin bout.
AllHipHop.com: Without your father really around, who filled the void. Who was your father figure?
Juelz Santana: I aint gonna front. My father came around. But like I said, it wasnt like he was affective, nahmean? So my mother was really my mother and my father. It was no guy that could take that place. It was a mother. Shes a soldier. Shes a lot of motivation. She just thugged it out four boys, grindin. Thats why I love her, and thats where I feel I get a lot of my motivation from. Moms just always havin that motivation to keep food on the table, and keep her kids happy.
AllHipHop.com: In the song, you basically say youd blast for your son, and really do anything for him. Any father, any good father, probably feels that way---
Juelz Santana: ---And at the same time, if you really listen, I said, right after that, These are things I do, but I wouldnt advise you to.
AllHipHop.com: Right, but as a father, lets not say shooting. Lets say a fight. Youre a street dude. How important is it that your son learns what its like to get his ass kicked one day, or to solve his own problems, as he matures?
Juelz Santana: Oh, I mean, as a parent, you should know when its necessary to get involved. Right from wrong is right from wrong. Im not gonna be a person thats gonna believe that just because hes my son, he got a right to slap somebody upside the head. If my son slapped somebody upside the head, and somebody slapped him back, Im not gonna [intervene]. But you know, I dont think somebodys parent should slap my child. But yo, this is common sense. As a parent, you shouldnt be a parent if you cant justify that. Dig what Im saying? If you cant pay attention to your kid, then you shouldnt be a parent. If your child murders somebody no, you wouldnt wanna send em to jail. I mean, I wouldnt get up on the stand and testify. But at the same time, Im not gonna say, Yo, you should kill people. You know what Im sayin?
AllHipHop.com: I know hes only two, you said. But Harlem cats are flashy. That said, what you got planned to give baby boy for Christmas?
Juelz Santana: Aw man, its all about what he sees. He cant really talk. He like Elmo, he like Blues Clues. I get him a lil Blues Clues cars, somethin nice, man!
AllHipHop.com: You said earlier that youre uncertain of your future, as we all are. Did the Camron incident in Washington D.C. open that up at all?
Juelz Santana: Nah. Its always serious. Right now, I know how serious it is. Like, the drug game is f**ked right now! Rap is all n***as got! I see n***as that I used to look up to, hustlin in the street they [now] comin up to me with demos. The same n***as that used to get money millions of dollars and s**t like that.
AllHipHop.com: And its hard to start a rap career at 30, 35 years old
Juelz Santana: Despite the little n***as, you got the old n***as. Everybodys tryin to rap. Everybodys tryin to take money if they cant make money. Feel what Im sayin? You gotta pay attention. You gotta watch for the jackers.
AllHipHop.com: Its ironic. At AllHipHop.com, Cam came to us first talking about the Lamborghini when he bought it. He said it was a movement to bring yet more flair to New York. Even Tony Yayo recently told us that he thinks after Cams situation, dudes need to stay in bombproof SUVs. Whats your take?
Juelz Santana: With us, our movement is much bigger than the way we act. We do things that people in our position wouldnt be expected to do. We out in the streets. You seen Cam. He was at the light in the Lamborghini with his man. Usually, a n***a have 30 cars behind him, police or somethin, you know what Im sayin? We just still do a lot of regular day-to-day s**t. It kinda puts us in situations, but its how we live. Thats what keeps us in-tune to what goes on. It does make the situation f**ked up, cause its like, Damn. Do I protect myself with all this security and all this extra s**t to protect my life? Or do I just be who I am. It is what it is. These situations can happen just being a regular person walkin down the street. N***as can come and feel like you got two dollars in your pocket, and come and shoot your motherf**kin head off. I seen more n***as get jacked for some petty s**t than a n***a try and get jacked for a Lamborghini. In all actuality, thats the type of thing that happens everyday. More n***as get robbed for sneakers than a n***a for his Lamborghini.
AllHipHop.com: Word. So for the record, Dipset, Juelz, yall are gonna stay flashy in the streets?
Juelz Santana: Its not about flashy. We work hard to get what we got. Its not about being flashy, its about being us. We like nice things. We dont flaunt it. He wasnt yellin out the window, Yo, I got this car and you dont. He was bein him. People just call it flashy.
AllHipHop.com: Now, you got a song on there called, I Am Crack. If anything, it reminded me of Master Ps Ghetto D. I know from the Bout It Bout It remix, theres a relationship there. But I wanted to have yall compare recipes on crack, and have some fun.
Juelz Santana: Yeah! Go head.
AllHipHop.com: [quoting Master Ps lyrics from Ghetto D] You start with one gram of soda for every gram of coke.
Juelz Santana: [long pause] Imma keep it funky: I wouldnt agree with puttin one gram of soda to one gram of coke. That means you got half nothin, half somethin ya dig? I dont know if those were [Master Ps] exact words if they arent either.
AllHipHop.com: Then he said, Shake it till it gets harder / Sit the tube in cold water / Then twist the b*tch like a knot / While its still hot / Then watch that s**t rise while it can, to the f**kin top. Those were Ps instructions in 1997.
Juelz Santana: Yeah, man. I dont know. Maybe they do it different down South. My thing was more-or-less straight to basics. You touch the coke, touch the pot, add the soda, what you got? Me! I am what I am, I be who I be, and that you will see, and I am crack. He was kinda explainin makin real crack, I was kinda explainin me bein crack human crack, in the flesh.
AllHipHop.com: Theres a lot of talk regarding the chemistry you and Young Jeezy have. Like I Am Crack you both make loads of drug references in the lyrics. But off the page, on the personal, is there chemistry and how so?
Juelz Santana: I think we have a general respect for one another. I got to know Jeezy, just through his music. When we gave each other a pound when we first met each other, we knew a lot about each other through our music, cause its real. Like, I dont even have to have a conversation. The next song Jeezy make, or the next song I make thats like the conversation. He tellin me what he really been up to, and Im tellin him what I really been up to. So next time he see me, he may be askin me somethin like, Oh, you f**kin with that b*tch? Its that real with us. Real n***as do real things.
AllHipHop.com: I know that recent albums from Diplomats have really cut back on Heatmakerz. Yours, not as much, but a little. Their sound is changing, but some believe youre working on other guys now. Whats really goin on with that?
Juelz Santana: Umm you got a lot of inside scoop, huh?
AllHipHop.com: [laughs] I dont know.
Juelz Santana: [laughs] Yo, you know, n***a. Nah, nah. Its cool. Its all good. Heatmakerz, it wasnt them. This time around, I wanted to use a lot of different s**t. I got over 160 songs [recorded] this time around. So I did 14 Heatmaker tracks this time around. Last time around, it was just like, those were the first I recorded, and I only did say, 20 tracks. The Heatmaker ones was the best ones, actually. When I say 160 tracks, no bulls**ttin. When I had to narrow it down to 20 songs, it just wasnt as much Heatmakerz. They not [phasing] out. They actually did my next single, though Oh Yes. They definitely came through. Nothin really changed with they sound, I just wanted to do my own thing. Plus, them samples be killin a n***a.
AllHipHop.com: Fans are questioning certain things. As we look at the Carter Administration at Def Jam, speculations have been made. For starters, reports have come from the Power Summit that Tru Life poked some remarks at Jim Jones
Juelz Santana: Who!?
AllHipHop.com: Tru Life.
Juelz Santana: What he say!?
AllHipHop.com: I wasnt there, and Im not gonna quote him. You were there.
Juelz Santana: I was right there, he didnt say nothin! As you know, I got on stage, by myself on behalf of the whole Diplomats and said, I stand up here by myself. For New York, we rep the hardest. N***as know what it is. Im sayin those are the exact words that came out my motherf**kin mouth. As far as dude [Tru Life], I dont know whats goin on with him, but he didnt say Jims name. He said comments that coulda been related to anybody, nahmean? Bottom line, he didnt say Jims name. It is what it is.
AllHipHop.com: On the same track, it might not be an issue. But numerous fans expected Jay to step to Jim or Cam in his two performances. People also speculated that with your album coming, thats why he didnt. During those performances, what was going through your head?
Juelz Santana: Nothin. I had no [expectation] that Jay-Z was gonna say anything about us. I think Jay is a businessman. I know he understands whats goin on, just like we understand whats goin on. It is what it is. Despite us not speaking not bein the best of friends, and him not [being as involved] in our careers as he is in say a Bleek or a Young Gunz despite that, we have no beef with Jay. It is what it is. We all grown men. Some people are closer with some people than with other people. Thats all it is. Some people got it twisted like, Just cause youre so close to Jay-Z, you have to be cool with him cause thats Jay-Z. People are still human beings! At the end of the day, everybodys not everybodys best friend.
AllHipHop.com: Like T.O. and McNabb last year.
Juelz Santana: Even with Kobe and Shaq.