Lil’ Wyte: Up the Ladder

In 2005 with the release of his sophomore album, Phinally Phamous, Lil’ Wyte is here to shatter the stereotypes and racial barriers that still exist in the music industry and America today. Don’t believe it? Just read. He has also set out to prove that all the topics he speaks about in his lyrics are […]

In 2005 with the release of his sophomore album, Phinally Phamous, Lil’ Wyte is here to shatter the stereotypes and racial barriers that still exist in the music industry and America today. Don’t believe it? Just read. He has also set out to prove that all the topics he speaks about in his lyrics are true to his daily life. Coming up ain’t easy for anybody these days.

Discussing the quick chain of events into indie-stardom, Wyte and recap the old groups, the new group, and some of the critical judgments that Wyte is up against. As we wait for the next 3-6 Mafia album, size up with the next member of Hypnotized Minds, for some pure Crunk. What is the concept behind Phinally Phamous?

Wyte: Well my first album was titled Doubt Me Now, because there was a lot of people who doubted me and thought I wouldn’t be able to make it on my own. When that album came out, it sold 140-150,000 copies without any major promotion. So now when I go to L.A., New York or Atlanta, and chill somewhere in the hood, someone will come up to me and say, ‘Hey, that’s the White boy from 3-6 Mafia, Lil’ Wyte’. So after that experience, and receiving that type of love from everybody, I named my album Phinally Phamous, because to me, I am finally famous. How did you come to be signed to Hypnotized Minds?

Wyte: Well basically, I was in this group when I was around sixteen years old called SSC. We had a demo made. At the time my boys and I were working, but one found their way up to the radio station and gave the demo to DJ Paul and Juicy J and they was like they’ll call in a couple of days. I guess they listened to it and liked it, because they ended up calling us an hour later wanting to sign us. So what happened to the group?

Wyte: A few months after we were signed, the group ended up splitting up due to what I call, ‘problems with their brains’, so I stepped up. Truthfully, I really don’t think that they realized the shot that they had, but I did. So I stood up and it was on like neck bones. Do you feel that it’s harder for a group to come into the game than it is for a solo artist?

Wyte: I think that it all depends on the group. I mean in the beginning, our group was straight. But it fell apart due to jealousy and envy. I think that to be a successful group, you have to all be on the same page. Like the group I am bringing out right now, under Paul and J and Wyte Records named Thug Therapy, they are all family and we have all been friends for years, so we know what we are trying to do. The group that I was in before 3-6 Mafia, we had only known each other for two years total and [the other members] had known each other for ten years, then they looked at me like a traitor, because I came in after two years and got a deal. So I definitely feel that [the fact we really didn’t know each other] was the main problem there. Now a lot of people may not know that Phinally Phamous is your sophomore release, you didn’t really promote it with radio, videos or anything. Was there a particular reason you chose this route for your debut?

Wyte: With Doubt Me Now, we didn’t have a single or anything. We just decided to put it on the shelves, and I sat back and rolled up a blunt. [laughing] I think Paul and Juicy did it that way because they really didn’t know what I was capable of doing, so they didn’t want to just package me up and throw me in the ocean. They wanted to test me, drop me in a puddle and see if I could make my way out of that. So in the end, us doing it that way for my debut made it a lot easier for the Warner Brothers deal. The fact that [Phinally Phamous] is now up to 83,000 copies for the first three months to me is damn good, considering we really didn’t promote this one. With you moving that many units without label backing and promotion on you debut, do you feel that it was a good business move to go to a major for your sophomore?

Wyte: I feel that it was, because with us having that Warner Brothers backing, and that Lyor Cohen power behind us made it that much easier for my video to be played on BET and on MTV Jams. So I feel definitely feel that it was a great move for me. Let’s touch on another issue. It’s obvious that you are White. Do you feel that because you are White you may not receive the full credit that you deserve and also do you feel that you are constantly going to be compared to Eminem even though your styles are totally different?

Wyte: That’s is one of the things that I feel is real crazy. I mean [Eminem] and I have two totally different styles, so there is really no comparison. To me when people say that, it’s like comparing Ludacris and Jay-Z because they are Black, and that’s stupid. But I really don’t care about what anyone thinks, because I am going to do me regardless. I say that because I have a family to feed, I got kids, so if someone doesn’t want to buy my record because of the color of my skin, in my opinion they are stupid. So you do feel that there is still racism in the industry whether it’s reversed or whatever?

Wyte: To me, racism is the last thing on my list. Really, I don’t think racism exists anymore. I mean it does but it doesn’t, like the other day I bought a jacket that said ‘American Negro League’ and Paul and Juicy was like ‘Man, somebody is going to jump on ya head for buying that jacket’. But I feel a White muthaf**ka would jump on my head for somethin’ like that faster than a Black person would. I get props from Black people for doin’ what I do. White people just look at me crazy and to me that’s stupid, because I am just usin’ what I got to get out of the hood. What made you want to go into Hip-Hop, I know you said you had been listening to 3-6 Mafia for years?

Wyte: At seven years old, I knew all the words to ‘Baby Got Back’, and for a White kid that’s not very normal. I guess I kind of felt it back then, I just didn’t know what it was. As I got older, I just kept listening to Rap real hard and then when 3-6 [Mafia] came out, I started learning all the verses, memorizing them and rapping right along with the songs. But there was this one CD that came out, Skinny Pimp’s King of the Player’s Ball, and it had this song on it called ‘Midnight Hoes’, at the end of the song, there is a part where he is rhyming real fast for like 30 seconds straight and I knew all the words to it at twelve years old. I used to rap fast right a long with him, a little White kid. From that point on, is when I really knew I am going to do something with this. So from the beginning you knew you wanted to be a rapper?

Wyte: Initially, my homeboy at school, Lil’ Black, used to tell me that I could freestyle, and he always used to tell me to start writing songs. I mean I didn’t even have a name back then. So he was like, ‘Why don’t you just call yourself Lil’ Wyte, I’m Lil’ Black and you can be Lil’ Wyte’. Even at that point, I figured this would be something that I would play around with, you know not take it seriously because we didn’t figure that we could really make it doing this. So your name came from your homeboy Lil’ Black back in junior high?

Wyte: Yeah. I really look at it like my name is really what made me. I mean it describes me, I am 5’9, 135 pounds and I am a Caucasian man, I’m a little White dude that’s not hard to figure out. I like to keep it simple. Now you have a third album slated for an October release, you are putting out a new group, what’s next for Lil’ Wyte?

Wyte: Man, I am trying to get into producing. My girl just bought me a MPC and some speakers for my birthday, so I am going to start making beats. It’s going to be real sick too, because I have Paul and Juicy’s brain mixed into one so I plan to blow everybody’s mind.