Mike Jones: The American Dream

Between Lil’ Flip and Chamillionaire, it was Mike Jones that helped bring Houston back to the Hip-Hop forefront. Jones was more lighthearted than Flip, and less topical than Cham, but with his Yellow Pages raps, rags to riches banter, and happy-go-lucky attitude, Who is Mike Jones? answered its own question. However since the platinum run in 2005, Mike has been a bit quiet, leaving some to wonder if the buzz could ever be recaptured amidst the crowd of competition.

Almost two years to the date after his jump-off, Jones now claims he lives The American Dream. With a stable of sports and luxury cars, a Texas mansion, a night club, and a label, this sophomore artist seems to be living in senior status. However, in a position where he could endlessly brag about having, Mike Jones speaks openly about his community’s have-nots – and helping put some smiles on other faces. Claiming he’s still gonna give you his digits in the verses, please believe those aren’t the only numbers that matter to Mike.

AllHipHop.com: When did you get your club Ice Age popping?

Mike Jones: This is my first time doing the club thing. I really kicked it off trying to show love the people that were affected from the Katrina thing, but it took off so good that I just went going back and forth with it. We’ve been packed and swoll ever since. We’ve brought celebrities in and everything.

AllHipHop.com: Are you executive producing all of The American Dream?

Mike Jones: Definitely, I executive produced the whole album. What we agreed on was that even that they [Swishahouse] didn’t have any part of the album they still getting a co-executive production credit on there. But the album comes out; everyone’s going to know that this album was brought to them by Ice Age. It’s going down. We don’t speak, but we still handle business.

AllHipHop.com: After this American Dream movie drops, will you be pursuing the acting thing more?

Mike Jones: Yeah. I did the Prison Break thing and I’m with the William-Morris Agency, and they finna send me a lot more stuff to look over and jump on.

AllHipHop.com: I recently saw some flicks from the Pimp C video shoot for “Knocking Down Doors.” He had all the prominent Houston rappers in there showing love.

Mike Jones: I mean everybody was really coming together before that, but Pimp put it to light. Me and [Chamillionaire] been talking for a minute, I’m cool with Flip [too]. I’ve done songs with Flip; he’s done songs with me. Everybody is just looking at it from a business stand point; coming together and representing the city all at one time.

AllHipHop.com: Why the nickname the mayor though?

Mike Jones: When people think the only thing I do is floss and shine on the whips, but on Thanksgiving me and Flip bought a couple of turkeys and gave them out to the kids. We put in 20,000 dollars into kids. Each kid had a thousand dollars to go get school clothes. People don’t know that there’s a lot of stuff I do. We went and got 20 families, and we gave each of them a thousand dollars. I went to the mall with the families and we bought them clothes, shoes. Martin, you should of seen their face reactions, it was crazy. I mean when Driver Select is a place that helps people build credit up in Houston, they had a bunch of toys for kids, but someone came and stole all the toys. We were right back out there to help and bring more toys. That’s why I call myself the mayor of the city, because I do a lot of things people ain’t doing. Lil’ Flip was out there giving out the toys. He’s out there too helping out the community.

AllHipHop.com: What kind of feeling did that bring you helping out families in need?

Mike Jones: Oh it was a good feeling, a beautiful feeling. The news people came out there and they seen it. They were in shock like, “Damn.” To see the kids go on the TV shows and news stations to tell the news reporters can we do a report on Mike Jones because he did this for us? The kids called the radio station and the TV people finally put it on TV. That’s why I call myself the mayor. I got the club, I give to the kids, I mean on Thanksgiving we bought turkeys. When people got their toys stolen, I bought a whole bunch of toys and came through with a truckload.

AllHipHop.com: Why do you think it’s easier for the Southern rappers to get together compared to New York, where it’s divided? You think that’s isolated to New York or maybe it’s just Rap in general?

Mike Jones: I think it could be rap in general. Like everyone in Houston had there problems, and everyone in the West had their problems, but it’s all about who is going to be the bigger man and just come together to click clack and make this money.

AllHipHop.com: Is it true you are being managed by Rap-A-Lot now?

Mike Jones: Nah, I’m being managed by Ice Age Entertainment.

AllHipHop.com: I also saw you in the new SMACK DVD Volume 12 laying down some vocals for DJ Drama and Don Cannon for a Gangsta Grillz mixtape. Where do you stand on the mixtape issue now that they just got knocked by the RIAA?

Mike Jones: I mean, I really can’t speak on it because I don’t what really happened with that. If people are not making any money off of it, they going to hate on it. Believe me, if they were making their money on taxing the mixtapes it would be legal - just like prostitution.

AllHipHop.com: Is your Gangsta Grillz ever going to come out now?

Mike Jones: I haven’t talked to Drama since the incident, so my main thing is that he is okay and that he is stable. The mixtape is secondary at this point.

AllHipHop.com: So let me get this correct you were originally on Asylum/Swishahouse, now you are Warner Brothers proper?

Mike Jones: It’s still Warner Brothers and Asylum; I got the label thing [Ice Age]. Swisha is still apart of it, but not as much as [the] first [album], you know what I’m saying?

AllHipHop.com: Is everything cool, because when I spoke to you last year, you made mention that there was some gray area with between you and Swishahouse. We spoke to G-Dash soon after that, and he said you were still contractually bound to Swishahouse.

Mike Jones: I’m still doing my own thing, and they are doing their own thing. I did The American Dream all by myself. I didn’t get anyone from Swishahouse to [give] input on none of the album. This one was strictly me. We all came together like grown men, and we all agreed like, “Well, Mike Jones is going to get control of this and that. We are going to let him do this and do that. We are going to give him this much.” We all negotiated like grown men and it came out cool. So I got my label thing popping, you know what I’m saying? We still talking going back and forth but as of right now I have more of percentage than they do for The American Dream.

AllHipHop.com: So there’s no beef between you and Dash and Mike Watts?

Mike Jones: Nah, there’s no beef.

AllHipHop.com: Taking it back to your first album, was “Back Then” directed at a specific female?

Mike Jones: It started off being directed to a girl, but then I made it where it was directed towards a girl, directed to DJs, directed to mixers, directed to anybody who don’t want to give you a shot because you are not known. But if I blow up a year from now, that same DJ, that same mixer, and that same girl are like, “Hey what up man, I helped blow up your record.” Basically, it was, “Watch out on who you shut out, because they might blow up and be in a bigger spot than you.”

AllHipHop.com: So musically what have you been playing in your car?

Mike Jones: Ah man, I’ve been listening to everybody. I’ve been really jamming The American Dream, making sure it’s sounding right and it’s better than the last album. I want to make sure I give the fans more then what I gave them last time. This is why I am giving them the movie with the album, basically showing them appreciation for what they did from the first album. It’s going to be a double disc. The movie is showing how I came up and went from a zero to a hero on these streets. It’s showing how me and everybody down with me on a day to day basis all came together to live the American dream. If you follow the same steps in the movie, you could live out the same dream. It shows you how my grandmother gave me the game, how I was getting rejected from DJs, from girls, from mixers, and I still kept working, I still stayed grinding, and I still kept moving and then I came up. People who were dissing me are no trying to get with me; that’s why the “Back Then” song was important. If somebody watch it will have them saying “Damn, I didn’t know Jones went through that much.” I mean, I’m still going through it now. All I got to do is keep grinding.

AllHipHop.com: There was a big nasty rumor about a Houston rapper contracting HIV and passing it along to his girlfriend. Did you hear about that?

Mike Jones: Yeah, I personally think people were just hating because Houston was shining. Somebody just threw out some mess to make them not want to look at H-Town, but everyone got tested and all of us were clear. I mean Slim [Thug] brought his test in, and he was clear. Flip brought his test in, and he just had a baby and he was clear. I just got my papers in, and I was clear. Everybody was clear. After it was clear it stuck in people’s mind about the Houston’s AIDS s**t, but the paperwork shows that don’t no one who is a major factor from Houston have AIDS. It was just something that was used to bring the city down. It’s like if I come out of whatever city or whatever town is blowing up right now, that’s all people are going to be talking about. Even though there is evidence disproving all the talk, people are still going make assumptions. It just takes one negative thing to be said and someone is going to run with it.

AllHipHop.com: How do you feel about some rappers kind of making slight at the fact you repeat your name so many times in your songs, or the phone number. I believe The Game kind of mentioned something along those lines in one of his freestyles last year. What kind of position does that put you in? Do you feel like you have to switch it up for this new album?

Mike Jones: Nah, I’m still giving the number out on this album. Why change something that ain’t broke.

AllHipHop.com: You stopped rocking the grill, right?

Mike Jones: Yeah, I stopped rocking the grills completely, but for the first video called “Mr. Jones” the first verse is Mr. Jones and the second verse is Mike Jones. Basically the first verse is showing them a more grown up conservative Jones, so you going to see me without the durag, without the grill, you know dressed up pretty nicely. The second verse shows me with the grill, the durag, so it’s going to show you two sides. Once you get the album, you’ll see what I’m talking about. I mention [the grills, slabs, and candy paint] to my core fans, but I got other songs that are different from what you heard from me. I want to do something fresh. The Game showed me love for the most part. I can’t get mad because people think I give the number out a lot or I mention my name so much.

AllHipHop.com: On the first album, you had a song called “Five Year From Now” talking about where would you want to be in the next five calendars. We only have two years and some change left, are you where you want to be?

Mike Jones: It’s only been two years, and I still don’t know where I’m going to go, I don’t know who I’m going to meet. I never thought that what I said in the song “Where would I go/who would I see” and “How long would I live/will I have some kids” would hold so much weight right now. I would of never thought I was going to be doing songs with Lil’ Mo, doing stuff with Snoop or whatever. It’s like you don’t know what’s going to happen.