ew Orleans, Louisiana: a city hundreds of miles south of New York, has been referred to as the murder capitol of the nation. Yet, out of this violence emerged an influx of street entrepreneurs that made household names within No Limit and Cash Money Records. This culturally creative city, corrupted by Katrina's chaos, has opened the gates for Sqad Up, former affiliates of Lil Wayne, to tell the story of their new New Orleans Order.
Embraced by Houston's Lil Flip, and co-signed by former Hot Boys, B.G. and Mannie Fresh, the four corners of the Sqad, namely
Supa Blanco, Gudda, Nutt Da Kidd and Yung Yo, have taken the entrepreneurial spirit of the N.O. on the road with them as they embarked on a 32-city promotional tour and start back-to-school venture to support their release entitled We Here Now. Though the once platinum dreams have subsided to an independent route the self-proclaimed local celebrities explain why they harbor no ill will to Lil Wayne, and how they reacted in a time of desperate measures.
AllHipHop.com: First up, lets clarify your label status: is Sqad Up signed to Lil' Flips Clover Gz Records?
Supa: Money YungN Records is our label a lot of people got it twisted because when we left our situation with Cash Money, we ran into Flip at The Source Awards, and he said he was a fan of our music. We ended up chopping it up and did like five mixtapes together. It would have his logo and our logo. It was a good look because dude embraced us when a lot of people wasnt fooling with us. Lil Flip got his Clover G thang, and we got our Money YungN thang. We look out for each other.
AllHipHop.com: So whats good with Sqad Up? Word on the street is that you are touching a lot of cities down South right now
Supa: S**t, right now we on a 32 date promo tour, working the radio, and hitting the people letting them know we still working. We got a new mixtape with DJ Scream, so we pumping that out extra hard. We got three other mixtapes coming through the pipe. After we finish the tour, well take a break and then do another 52 dates. We are just grinding to support our upcoming album, We Here Now.
AllHipHop.com: Not too many artists can put in that type of road work. We hear the good, bad, and the ugly. What is the experience like for Sqad Up?
Gudda: The hardest part is the hours you gotta put in you know? No sleep, just keeping it moving, doing the same routine everyday and at the same time keeping up with our recording schedule. Its not all bad though, because while youre on the road you can hit the different clubs, get the record played by the local DJs, and hook up with people that show us love in the different cities.
AllHipHop.com: Even up to this moment you still have people that associate Sqad Up with Lil Wayne and Cash Money, even though yall broke away from that situation a while ago. Is there any lingering tension between Sqad Up and Lil' Wayne/Cash Money?
Yung Yo: Aint no beef. They doing them and we doing us you know? Were set up to be the next thang in the game to pop off, so thats what it is.
AllHipHop.com: Is there any chance of Sqad Up doing any music with Lil Wayne in the future?
Yung Yo: You never know what the future may hold. It wasnt no serious bad blood like that. We done clicked up with Juvenile and UTP, and we got some big thangs in store with Sqad Up and B.G. He was on our first DVD, and hes on our next one coming out, so its all good.
AllHipHop.com: I had a chance to visit that Sqad Up page on Myspace, it got a lot of people talking. How did that come about?
Nutt: A fan started that s**t! We didnt even know about the site until it was about 40,000 hits deep. Somebody had to come and tell me about it, talking about Yo, I hit yall up on the Myspace, and I was like, Myspace? So we decided to endorse it because it was something that was started by the fans. We appreciate all the support and if anyone wants to check it out the address is www.myspace.com/sqadshitbitch.
AllHipHop.com: When you talk about New Orleans most people envision Juvenile in front of Magnolia but yall represent a different area correct?
Supa: We all from the East Side of the N.O., and you know when people think of New Orleans they only think about Magnolia or the Calio projects, Third Ward, but thats Uptown. We feel its time to bring another side of the city to the map because our side is a whole different world from Uptown.
AllHipHop.com: Whats the difference?
Supa: You know, the Ninth Ward on the East Side is like Harlem, New York. We like to get fly, do our thug thang, and get our money on. Uptown is called Chopper City because they be spraying them thang,s know what Im saying? But you know, in New Orleans, theres gangstas everywhere.
AllHipHop.com: Who are some of the artists yall respected coming up in the game?
Nutt: Rest in peace to Soulja Slim cats like Pimp Daddy, UNLV, B.G. who is our age - all of the Hot Boys. Just gangsta music coming out of the N.O. from No Limit to Cash Money to Big Boy, artists like Partners-N-Crime and Mystikal. This is at a time when a lot of these artists were independent before they blew on a national level, ya dig?
AllHipHop.com: The world watched as the Katrina disaster unfolded before our eyes. How did it affect Sqad Up?
Supa: The hardest part for us was that Gudda was missing for three days we had people calling us talking about ,We saw Gudda on top of a roof on CNN I was telling everybody to calm down because I knew my boy wasnt going to let no water kill him.
Gudda: I sent my kids off to Houston before the hurricane came through, but me, and three of my little goons stayed there thinking it wasnt going to be nothing. We fell asleep in a two-story apartment and when we woke up the next morning, we was in eight feet of water. So we tried to figure out what our next move would be, and after the second day, I huddled my peoples up, said a prayer, and we hopped in that water and went for it. I dont want to speak on what exactly we did but out of the negative came a positive because we stole food for people that were starving on the interstate, and got water for the elderly. When we finally got to dry land, they tried to send us to the Super Dome, but people were getting killed in there, so we wasnt trying to go up in their especially cause Im a local celebrity, and I didnt want to risk my career. So we ended up hot-wiring an 18 wheeler, and after three long ass days, we finally made it to Houston.
Once we all got up in Houston it was actually better for the group because we were together compared to when we was back home and everybody would be doing their own thang, and you end up having some n***as hustling, and getting locked up. With us in Houston, we got to focus on our music and our careers.
AllHipHop.com: With so many New Orleans natives spread out around the country, does it play to your advantage when youre out on the road as far as support?
Gudda: Yeah, because everywhere we go theres somebody from the N.O. that runs up on us, thats just proud to see somebody from the city representing them. All were trying to do is continue the N.O. tradition of putting out great street music, ya dig? A lot of local artists were doing their thang but Katrina messed a lot of things up. We wish them all the best, and were definitely going to hold the city down in the meanwhile.
AllHipHop.com: Whats next for Sqad Up and Money YungN Records?
Supa: Right now we got our single cracking with Mannie Fresh called Parking Lot. We got Bizzy Bone and David Banner on the album, but its still that straight New Orleans s**t. The album is titled, We Here Now, and it drops August 8th, so thanks to everybody that supports the Sqad and free Big Lee.