Beef with Bad Boy Entertainment is nothing new in Hip-Hop.
From Loon to the L.O.X., to Suge and Shyne Po, various cats have been
disgruntled with Diddy’s movements at one point or another over the years.
Mark Curry, however, is a different case. The rapper/producer
has written a new book, Dancing With the
Devil (NewMark Books), outlining the good, bad
and ugly of his eight years on Bad Boy’s roster before leaving in 2005. Here he shares with AllHipHop.com his
thoughts on “superstar A&R’s,” Diddy’s Making
the Band franchise and why the pen is much mightier than the sword.
AllHipHop.com: Is the Dancing With the Devil a tell-all or a
Mark Curry: It’s not a tell-all; it’s
more like a handbook. It’s just the truth. It’s a story about two men and their
differences; just that struggle.
AllHipHop.com: When you say that struggle do you mean a clash of
personalities, a difference of ethics or both?
Mark Curry: Both. It comes down to right and wrong. There’s a fine
line between heaven and hell and that’s why the book is entitled Dancing with the Devil. It’s not a
pretty picture but it takes a strong person to survive. The book is
inspirational to youth as well. I lost a lot of things chasing a dream. If I
could go back and put the dream aside, I’d spend more time with my mother, my
family, just real life instead of on the road.
AllHipHop.com: A lot of artists on Bad Boy (past and present) have
expressed discontent with both the label employees and Puff. What were your
specific problems that led to this outcome?
Mark Curry: First I can’t stand for a man to wrong me. If I treat
someone good, I want the same in return. I expect what I put into something. Me
thinking that I was creating songs I felt was good enough and no matter how
high I would reach, they’re saying it’s not good enough. I felt like I was
being made [to] look like a fool; I refused to keep jumping to reach whatever someone’s
holding over my head. Whatever you’re holding over my head I don’t want
anymore. I wasn’t gonna let my life go on and not let anyone know
about this experience.
Also, you got superstar employees
or like a superstar A&R who feel like just ‘cause they P.Diddy’s A&R,
they’re better than the artists. You got superstar people working in the
office. You could be calling about your check and they’ll be like, “You gonna have to wait until we get
back to work on Monday,” but they got they check on Friday. You (the Artist)
made it so that they could even have a check. It seems like the purpose in the
industry is to break your spirit. Now that’s evil to break someone’s spirit.
Once they break your spirit then they call you a lost soul. Once it’s like that
you take on negative or positive energy depending on what kind of person you
Think about it: Why is an artist
always the last one to get paid? You go in the studio and the engineer gets
paid, but you don’t. It’s not like you can charge yourself for showing up to
the studio. They don’t want you to have money and be a star because if you have
both you gon’ be outta
control. They make you a star and don’t give you any money so you can always
have something missing.
P. Diddy f/ Black Rob &
Mark Curry “Bad Boy 4 Life” Video
AllHipHop.com: What message are you trying to get across with Dancing With the Devil?
Mark Curry: I lost so much that no matter how much I win it can’t
amount to how much I lost. My Lord told me to never let another man stand in
the way of my dreams or my purpose. At first I thought my purpose was to be a
great rap artist. But I’m kind of glad I didn’t become one the greatest rap
artists because all the greatest got killed. But what I did become was a book
author. With music you’re limited; everything has to rhyme. But in books the
truth doesn’t have to rhyme.
That’s my message; speaking the truth on a real life situation. There was a
time when I asked Puff to discuss the effect of what was going on, how it might
cost me ten years down the line that you (Puff) may not see because you livin’ good. He never wanted to talk about it. You can’t be
my brother if you don’t want to talk to me about something that means so much
to me. When he didn’t want to talk that’s when I knew.
AllHipHop.com: Was that when things went sour?
Mark Curry: That’s when I knew. A person like him they like to keep
you chasing ‘em. That’s called evading; running from the truth. You can’t say
I’m lying. He wants to buy champions every year to make the team better instead
of training his teammates to be stronger. He wants to play on the championship
team. He’s like the Lakers; he wants to buy into a victory. But then you get on
MTV and tell five individuals you gon’ help them be entertainers when you ain’t
finished helping me. Life is too short. A man can’t tell you he’s sorry for
making you work the rest of your life. It’s more than music; I had fun when I
did it. But I’m not mad about the past.
your relationship with the following people from Bad Boy: Harve “Joe H#####”
Pierre, Black Rob, G-Dep, Loon and E-Ness and Babs
from Da Band?
Mark Curry: “Horse
Power” aka “Joe H#####” aka Harve Pierre, that’s always gon’ be my partner. ‘Cause when no one else believed in me, Harve stood by me. Harve knew what it was, so I’ma always respect Harve. But
it’s just a line that’s been drawn between friends and I can’t really be with a
person that straddles the fence. A person that straddles the fence is
dangerous. I don’t dislike anyone or have negative energy toward anyone.
I talk to Craig Mack. Ness, he calls me sometimes and I
appreciate that. But my roots with Bad Boy run deep; I talk mostly to the
street team like June Balloon and Sam the Butcher. Those are really my friends.
The people I chose to be friends with was like that; I was never a groupie
trying to drink champagne with Puff. I’d rather do it with somebody who’s
thirsty. Not somebody who can have it everyday. Thirsty people want something.
AllHipHop.com: With Wolf being dead, Shyne locked up, etc., are you
worried about any potential backlash? [link to book
Mark Curry: Nah. Everybody I talk about in the book is dead. You
live by the sword you die by it. Look at Wolf; that’s my friend I love ‘em to
death. That’s why the message in the book is so powerful and it is what it is.
He got into a wolf confrontation and he went out like a wolf. It’s more than just
Wolf in the book; you got Cooley in the book, you got a whole bunch of soldiers
who walked around with their sword and they died with their sword by they feet.
So you know what the moral of the story is? Be careful of the sword you keep.
If you find yourself walking around with a sword put it down and find something
you can live by.
AllHipHop.com: What can we expect with the music readers get with
Mark Curry: The
music you get with the book is the music Puff said wasn’t good enough; I’m not selling
it, I’m giving it away. Now if you listen
to it and you feel like it’s corny then Puff had a point. But if you say it’s
good then you’ll be like, “Puff is crazy.”
AllHipHop.com: What do you say to people who dismiss you as a
Mark Curry: If I’m a rapper scorned then I’ll say this: if you looked
at Puff and you saw other successful individuals around him then you’d have a
point. Maybe a person just wasn’t good enough. But if you look at him and you don’t
see anybody else around him doing good, then what I’m telling you is the truth.