When the South first took over the industry, you could always hear that familiar Ughhh! in the chorus of every No Limit song. The sound of Master P's voice told you, you were listening to an original. For years, P was touting a violent demeanor with Let My 9 Get 'Em or Bout It, Bout It. Now, as his label's biggest star may be son, Lil' Romeo, with his Nickelodeon drawing power. Is it fatherhood and wisdom, or new demographics that has removed the ski mask and gold fronts from P?
Change has been a tough process for fans to digest. But the New No Limit CEO assures that his next work is in fact his best - The Ghetto Bill Gates, hitting stores in the very near future. With the album, P also introduces his own line of customized rims. AllHipHop.com discussed with Master P, lasting power, C-Murder's recent comments on jail visits, as well as who really reciprocated the love P showed in his past, or not. We've watched enough movies to know that the tank can't be stopped, and look who's driving it.
AllHipHop.com: You've been in the game for over 10 years...what's your secret?
Master P: It's all about not stopping, and being versatile in a industry that's always changing. [It's about] knowing that because you're a rapper, doesn't mean you always have to be a rapper.
AllHipHop.com: You've claimed before that, your one of the best in the game.
Master P: I am the best hustler in the game. Look at where I am now.
AllHipHop.com: Where are you now?
Master P: I'm still ghetto, but I've managed to make it work for me. That's one reason why the name of the new album is The Ghetto Bill Gates. I can't escape from where I came from. I have my history, I know who I am. I can only try and make a difference a change.
AllHipHop.com: So you recognize the value of the struggle and those in it? It seems like a lot of rappers forget that after the first million hits the bank.
Master P: I been a hustler all my life. I've always known how to make a profit. I know how to make money, better yet - I know how to keep it.
AllHipHop.com: Like 24 karat gold light fixtures and switches...
Master P: You gotta do something for yourself sometimes. Why make the money if you not gone at least spend a little on yourself? [laughs] But then there's the flip side.
AllHipHop.com: The flip side?
Master P: Yeah...you know you have money when the IRS start f***ing with you, feel me? The IRS don't f**k with the poor people. I mean understand that everyone has problems, but when you're in this lifestyle, everything is extra exaggerated.
AllHipHop.com: More money, more problems?
Master P: Exactly...but if you're walking right with the Man Upstairs and you stay humble, you can make it through anything.
AllHipHop.com: Well, with this new rim deal...you can expect more problems?
Master P: I'm sure I can. [laughs]
AllHipHop.com: So can I cop a set? Let's just say I'm a ballin' on a budget.
Master P: [laughs] Yeah, the prices range for everybody's budget.
AllHipHop.com: So this is more of that cross promoting, huh?
Master P: Yeah...cross promoting. That's the real game. Managing to brand your self to many different markets.
AllHipHop.com: So tell me more about the album. No Limit has come a long way.
Master P: Well see, that's one main reason why we're now the New No Limit. I had to get rid of all the past stuff that people associated with us. Se,e that's my hustling mentality showing. You have to know and be willing to change. Adapt to the situation. Even the single I put out I Need Dubs was a way to get people ready for what we had on the way.
AllHipHop.com: Any guest spots?
Master P: You know, that's the funny part...in this business you're only as good as your last hot record. So when I reached out to people, I kind got the cold shoulder, which I wasn't mad because I understand this business. It may not be right but you have to respect the game.
AllHipHop.com: Give us an example.
Master P: A prime example would be Destiny's Child doing Soldier and not getting at a n***a [for the remix]. No Limit paved the way...feel me? We made it cool to be country. I'm just being real. Before we really hit, you couldn't get anyone radio station outside of the South to play your s**t. I remember When Matthew Knowles came to me for help with bringing Destiny's Child out. I did what I did because I wanted to not in hopes of getting something back. But to be left out of something I believe I helped create...is just a part of the game. I reached out to Ciara and Amerie's people...said I wanted to get them on something for the album. I was told they were only working with high profile acts at this time. Basically I wasn't hot enough [for them now]. So I ain't get mad. I just went in the studio with even more of a passion then before.
Master P: And produced one of the best records to come from No Limit in a long time. We haven't really been out there in some time. So we had to come back with a vengeance. And I don't mind people pulling that industry s**t on me because soon and I mean very soon they will be calling me to help them on they s**t.
AllHipHop.com: And when that happens, now what?
Master P: Handle those situations when the time comes. [laughs] I want everybody to know that I don't hold no ill will towards the people I reached out to. I told you before I know the game. I know how this here works. It's a part of the hustle. The grind. Everything.
AllHipHop.com: So with the album you cover any topics?
Master P: Man, on this joint here, I cover the clubs, the hood, the women, maintaining, surviving, walking with God, everything. I'm telling you it's the best record No Limit has put out. Trust me, when it drops everyone will know. What I'm speaking now is the truth.
AllHipHop.com: Within the New No Limit, who are the Black Sopranos?
Master P: The Black Sopranos are the evolution of the No Limit soldiers. We've learned, we've grown, we put ourselves through training. I've learned to sit back and figure out - how can this benefit me? Benefit my team? Putting out hot music, clothing, rims, movies, it's everything man.
AllHipHop.com: C-Murder is at the core of that team.
Master P: Yeah...like C, feel me.
AllHipHop.com: Let's talk about that for a minute. As you know we interviewed C-Murder a couple months back and during the interview he felt the need to get something off his chest. One thing being that in the three years he's been incarcerated you've only visited him once.
Master P: That's the truth, I only been down once. What was left out was what happened during that visit. All the unnecessary attention. The law was plotting. Trying to find a way to not only f**k C but f**k me in the process. I need to be able to help my brother. Make sure that he has all he needs, I can't do that from a jail cell...feel me? Someone has to hold it down. Someone has to pay for the lawyers and investigators. See what most people don't know is that, out of my brothers, I'm the oldest so for a long time, I've been that adult to them. [I] had to step out of the brother role and sometimes be the parent figure. I told everyone that same thing....that things won't always be the same for us once we start making money. That we wouldn't always be able to hang out where we used to, and where we wanted to - [no matter how many] fans and friends that do wanna hang out with us. There are those out there that are plotting because they're jealous. Our jewelry, our cars, our houses, our money is a problem.
AllHipHop.com: So y'all have ironed out your differences?
Master P: I understand where C-Murder is in life. Nothing can change how I feel about my brother. C got in trouble plenty of times before. Each time I bailed him out. [I] always telling him, Next time, don't call me. We all have family. We know that threat means nothing. Because we're always going to go out of our way to save our family. The flip side is sometimes people do whatever anyway. You need to think before you act, you can't do nothing in jail. I'm a maker of stars...look at everyone who left No Limit. Each time, something negative happened. Everyone can't be a leader or run their own business. Some people need coaches so they don't waste their life away. I'm no yes man. Now if someone felt the need to disrespect me or my family, they will be dealt with accordingly...and if I was to be punished because of something I did, I would man up and do what I had to do knowing that I need to let my family handle the business that they deemed necessary. I don't have to send money to the jail, but I do - because you're supposed to hold your family down...feel me?
AllHipHop.com: So if you make your bed....lie in it?
Master P: When you're in jail, you don't understand. I live, breathe, and love, my brotherly but I have to think about my son at the same time. He's caught up because of his uncle and he ain't do nothing. The world doesn't stop because you're in jail. You have to be prepared. I never expected anything from anybody. I'm always there. He chose to keep doing the same thing and running in the same circles, and you can't always do that . I chose to stay positive and focused. I do what I gotta do. You have to think about others. I don't want to be like Biggie and Pac, where people recognize now how great they were. You heard it when they were alive, but you didn't really hear it. The negative was always blown out of proportion. If they had real people around them, not yes men, it's no telling where they would be today. That's how I'm grooming the new No Limit: Pop, Rich Boys, even our first R&B artist, Ashley. It's one thing to be a legend
when you die. It's a completely different thing to be a legend in your lifetime. I've already mastered being a hustler, now I'm mastering becoming a legend.