(AllHipHop Features) When it comes to legendary mogul status, Percy Miller aka Master P is at the top of list. He put New Orleans on the map by launching No Limit Records, proving the viability and profitability of Southern Hip-Hop. No Limit was a multi-platinum machine with artisst such as TRU, Mia X, Mystical, C-Murder, Silkk the Shocker, Snoop Dogg, and many more. A true independent entrepreneur, P started out as a record store owner and went on to own and produce everything under the umbrella of No Limit from music, films, real estate, a sports agency, and he had a stint in the NBA, playing with the Charlotte Hornets and The Toronto Raptors. He even showed up on Dancing With the Stars**. Master P** is a living icon in the game, and he deserves all the love and accolades that we can offer him. In this conversation, the master discusses the enduring legacy of No Limit, the power of ownership, and why people need to see the bigger picture with I Got The Hook Up 2.
AllHipHop: When it comes to Hip-Hop, you put New Orleans on the map but much of your early success began in the Bay Area with Mr. Ice Cream Man******. What lessons did you learn in the Bay in the early days of No Limit?**
Master P: Being in the Bay gave me some real independent, life hustling skills. From Richmond, Oakland and San Francisco, the people out there were serious about their independence and that's what we gotta get back to. That's where the money is, right? We can make a lot of money, but we have to start owning a product. It doesn’t matter where you start. Ownership is the key. That's going to be the game changer, man. I moved to Richmond because I wanted to live man. My friends were dying as teenagers due to the violence in the projects. When I moved to Richmond, that’s where I learned the hustle game.
AllHipHop: Although you were having regional success with No Limit, when you signed Snoop Dogg, who was and probably still is the greatest free agent signing in Hip-Hop history, it helped No Limit to become a national and global brand. When yall brought Snoop out on MTV Awards, that was major moment. How did you make that happen?
Master P: When you own stuff, you have money to buy what you want. It’s all about having the finances to get what you want and that's basically what it was. I thought that Snoop still had a lot left in the tank. I felt that he was still a superstar even though he was in a bad spot at Death Row at the time and I wanted to be the guy to help him take his career to the next level. A lot of people didn't see the big picture and they probably thought his career was over with. Snoop even said that his life was in danger. Suge was about to sign him over to some other label. So, I visited Suge, who I met when I stated in California, and we made a deal and the rest is history.
AllHipHop: You wasn’t worried about Suge’s rep in the streets and in the industry during that time?
Master P: Not at all. We No Limit soldiers.
AllHipHop: Snoop has always said that you signing him to No Limit saved his life and you were first one to teach him about ownership and make real money in the game.
Master P: People have to realize that you have to see through the smoke and mirrors. If you want to be successful, you have to make sacrifices, and you have to be committed. A lot of people just want to be pampered. A lot of these entertainers and star athletes, they want to be pampered. So, they don't want to look at the business side of what needs to get done. That's why Snoop is doing so well today. He’s built an incredible business. He learned with us of how to build a business not just be an artist.
AllHipHop: Along with singing Snoop, when you jumped on LL’s “4,3,2,1 Remix,” you were hot and everybody discovered who Master P was, especially on the East Coast. Tell me about getting that call?
Master P: When your hot man, you start doing music with other people. That's what keeps you going. LL is a superstar you know? Anybody on that level who wants to work with me, my doors are open. We need to start celebrating each other and we need with each other. A lot of people don't understand it. That's why we can't get to those levels of business because we’re not mixing it up with other people.
AllHipHop: Out of all the cats in the game, I thought that Nipsey Hussle had that Master P mentality and entrepreneurial spirit of building and owing your own. I know you two had interactions before he passed. What’s your thoughts on Nip?
Master P: Nipsey was on the right path. He was so talented and was about doing work in his community. It’s a shame that a lot of people are recognizing him now when they should have been doing that when he was alive.
AllHipHop: Speaking of that, I don't think you get enough credit for really being the mogul that you are. With the distribution deal alone that No Limit did, 85% 15% spilt with Priority and how you owned your masters when no one was really thinking like that. Do you feel like you don't get the credit you deserve for all your accomplishments?
Master P: I’m not looking for my credit from anybody but God. I trust in God. Up above is where I get my trophies. I just try to keep growing and growing and getting better. None of us are perfect, man. We can’t be afraid to change. You just gotta keep doing the right thing. My thing is to try to help the next generation.
AllHipHop: I heard you had an odd encounter with Tyler Perry. What was going on with that?
Master P: I just think that we need to celebrate each other more. So, I got a lot of love for Tyler Perry and I celebrate him, but I just feel like he should have been ready to celebrate me too. I ran into him at the Essence Fest and the energy was bad man.
AllHipHop: You were always ahead of the curve with making your own movies and putting them out directly to the consumer. Now you’re back at it with I Got The Hook Up 2. How does it feel to come full circle?
Master P: When it’s all said and done, they probably won't talk about me like you said. Or, they’re going to wait until I aint here no more like Nipsey to talk about everything I did. I want this generation to understand that we can make films independently, on our own, the same way I did. At the time, we weren't getting money from music. People were just happy being artists and living in the projects. We have to own it. It’s the same thing with movies. We made the movie, package it up, put it in theaters ,and it surpassed some of the big movies that was out. It’s not s Spider-Man budget. It’s a hood classic.
We don’t own the movies that you're seeing in the theaters. They own everything. They made billions of dollars off of Black Panther and a lot of those actors are still living in apartments. Where that money's going? Man, we got to change that. I just found the way to put our films out there so we can make real money. We have to change it. Somebody has to go up against the system. You don’t have to make the best movie in the world, but we can show there’s real fan base of us is going to the movies.
The movie is a hit. We put the movie out on all digital platforms and in the the movies at the same time. That’s never been done. What does this show? It shows Hollywood that we prefer movies digitally and, in the theaters, because it's two different fan bases.
AllHipHop: How do you handle all your critics?
Master P: We gonna open the doors for ourselves. Complete your project. I been stopped worrying about people are saying, or what people say about it. If they’re negative, they aint gone anything anyway, But if you have the right mind set, you’ll will have something. Listen, the only way you're gonna make the money is to finish stuff completely and put it out there. So, you might have 98% of the people that like it and 2% that don't like it. Don’t worry about them.
AllHipHop: What took so long for an I Got The Hook Up 2 to come out?
Master P: I had gotten out of the movie business but after all these tragedies we had, I said, “Let's do something to make this generation laugh.” It's been so many tragedies you know? I have all these actors ,some real stars that Hollywood wouldn’t have given a chance like a DC Young Fly, Fatboy SSE, Erica Mena, Lunell, Michael Blackson, and they are about to be the next superstars. But Hollywood would never give them a chance.
Social media is changing everything. Now, we can market the movie right on social media. We made a movie with all these social media stars. Also, we got John Witherspoon, Sheryl Underwood, A.J Johnson, Tiny Lister. We making money, creating stars from the hood that would have never gotten an opportunity, and we giving back to community. Like I said, they're not going to talk about this until after I’m dead and say “It was Master P who went up against Hollywood. He took that little movie, put it out there, did the marketing, the promotion, and made a hit.” Now some little kid that has a dream of making a movie is able to do it without having to go beg Hollywood.
AllHipHop: Why didn’t you take I Got The Hook Up 2 to Netflix?
Master P: We made $4028.00 per screen which put us is the in top 10 last weekend. Crawl only did $3787.00 per screen. Do you how much money was spent on that film? Stuber did $2697.00. It was the 11th movie in the county on iTunes and Amazon. It beat out “US” and is the number one urban movie.
As independent filmmakers, we don’t have to give our movies to Netflix for $100,000 grand and we never get anything back. Even if Netflix gave me $400,000 dollars for the movie, I would take a loss. On the revenue side, we are making a million dollars a week. So, imagine as the budget gets bigger, bigger producers, bigger directors, managers, one day, we could be like Disney and own our own Black Panther. Do you know how much money we could put back in our community? Our motto is the more money we make, the more we give.
AllHipHop: We’re gonna make sure we tell your story before you check outta here.
Master P: That’s why are we dealing with poverty and crime. It’s because we don’t own nothing. I Got The Hook Up 2 is a comedy but it’s really about gentrification. We gotta open those doors and build our own studios so we don’t have to go out, sell our souls, wait for them to make all the money, and we go and wait for our next job.
AllHipHop: Are you planning on building a film studio?
Master P: Yes. That’s the next move. Movies are made with actors in mind already. So that's what we're going to do. I always say that, “If you won't be in business find a problem.” We found the problem man, as Black people, it’s time for us to make movies for our people plus the benefit from them. There's no diversity on the financial side. They are putting a Black girl (Lashana Lynch) in 007. They gonna make $2 billion dollars and we just happy to be in that movie. We may even take a pay cut because we’re so happy to be here.
AllHipHop: In the film industry or in Hip-Hop that’s about ownership and building can you see yourself working with?
Master P: I'm ready to work with everybody that has the same mission. We have Black actors making $20 million dollars a movie. Imagine if they took 5 million and did their own movie. They could make a billion dollars. Think about it. You take an actor that everybody loves, and she made $20 million. She said she's gonna take 15 and use 5 to make her own.
On October 5th, I’m having an event in New York talking about ownership. It’s gonna be Master P’s Master class.
AllHipHop: We do you think they are so hesitant to do that?
Master P: Because they want to be pampered and don’t want to work. I’m willing to get my hands dirty, carry the bags, turn the lights on because I’m an entrepreneur. You have to do whatever it takes to be an entrepreneur. Some people are actors and actresses. But I'm entrepreneur.
AllHipHop: Lastly, what are your Top 5 No Limit albums? They probably gonna be all yours.
Master P: Haha! I think the projects that really changed the game for us was The Last Don, Ghetto Dope, Silkk the Shocker’s Charge It To The Game, **Snoop’s Dogg’**s Da Game Is To Be Sold Not To Be Told, and **TRU’**s Tru 2 da Game