Stat Quo refers to himself as the “Rap Lebron James” but perhaps he should consider calling himself the “Rap Magic Johnson” because he is a rookie walking into a championship situation.
After dropping three volumes of his now infamous Stat Quo Presents: Underground Atlanta mixtapes, he was heavily recruited by the Shady/Aftermath team. Now that he is on their roster he has damn near received instant credibility with playcallers like Eminem and Dr. Dre at his disposal.
But along with the good coaching comes critics insisting that his game hasn’t fully developed and that he doesn’t even deserve to ride the bench. With his debut album, STATLANTA, nearing completion and a February release date looming. This former University of Florida point guard is out to show that he not only deserves to be on a winning team but more importantly—he won’t drop the ball.
AllHipHop.com: Why are you the “Rap Lebron James”?
Stat Quo: Because when ‘Bron was coming out of high school, people had so many expectations of him. People looked at him like he’s gonna change the league and he came in, and he didn’t disappoint. People looking at me like, ‘He with Dre and Eminem, so he got to be the s**t,’ and I plan to not disappoint - like young Lebron.
AllHipHop.com: Tell us, how did you hook up with Aftermath?
SQ: In 2000, I started rapping. I ran with Scarface for a minute at Def Jam South. So the people over there were looking out for me, and showing me the ropes of the game. After a while, I had turned in so many demos to so many places and I got tired of people telling me, ‘Yo, you need to it like this, do it like that.’ So I was like if I put I my own s**t out and get my own s**t cracking, won’t nobody be able to tell me anything. So I put out my own mixtape, me and my manager Zeek formed Grown Man Music and went all over Atlanta giving them out for free. One girl that got the CD knew Mel Man. [He] called me and I thought it was bulls**t at first and I hung up in his face like seven times.
AllHipHop.com: You didn’t think it was him for real?
SQ: Nah, I thought it was a joke. ‘Cause you know you got homeboys that be calling talking about, ‘Hey, this is Russell Simmons.’ [laughs] But I finally met up with the n***a and I kicked my rhyme to him, he was feeling it and he took me to meet Dre like the next day. Then I started working with Dre on the Detox project.
AllHipHop.com: So, what stood out at Shady, why did you choose to sign with them?
SQ: It’s a couple of reasons. One, you get the opportunity to work guys who have proven themselves in the game. Two, I gel with them. Me and Dre actually have a chemistry. I deal with them; they’re my type of people. Its like a family, it feels right. It feels natural.
Also, they broke a n***a off with some change, ya heard me. And they didn’t have to but they did. That right there showed me what it is.
AllHipHop.com: What is the structure of the deal? Are you signed as an artist or is it a label deal with GMM?
SQ: I’m signed as an artist. Just like how 50 and Em first started out they were signed as artists, and as their careers progressed, they got their own situations.
AllHipHop.com: What do you think attracted them to you?
SQ: I think its my versatility and song making ability. My range is wide. Its different from just rapping, everybody can rap but can you make a song? A lot of people try to condemn the Ying Yang Twins and Lil Jon, saying that they can’t rap. But these dudes are incredible song makers. Their songs have a pre-hook, a bridge, a hook, a lead-in, and a turnaround. These dudes understand the concept of making a song. Anybody can get up and rap about nothing, but can you make a song?
AllHipHop.com: What are some of the immediate advantages of working with that camp?
SQ: You definitely get put in places you normally wouldn’t be. [There is] a group of people that don’t know about a lot of s**t popping in Atlanta, but they automatically know about you because you’re affiliated with someone as big Em and Dre.
As a rapper, if you’re doing your thing, you got the streets if that’s where you from and what you portray. But you’ve got to reach the suburbs too. Being that they’ve penetrated those markets, you are immediately visible to those people.
AllHipHop.com: You have 50, Young Buck, Devin the Dude and Scarface on your album, cats that you talk with on regular basis. That being said, how do you feel about new artists that come out with an album that is damn near a compilation with rappers that they hardly even know?
SQ: I can’t even trip on the people that do that. If you doing it because you really admire who you’re working with. Like, the people I’m working with, I’m a fan of them. I admire their ability to make songs. Everybody that I have on my record is a songmaker.
If you doing an album and you just throwing somebody on the record because they hot and you want to get their fans that’s kinda wack to me. But, I can’t knock the n***a hustle. But me, I put people on my album that I respect and I feel like are song makers, that’s how you get the most incredible product out of that s**t.
AllHipHop.com: Are you prepared for when that you no longer have that privilege?
SQ: I don’t know, you can ever say that you are ready for that until it actually happens to you. I like to go to places and be under the radar to where people don’t see me.
AllHipHop.com: It’s funny that you say that, because I heard that you studied Economics and played basketball at the University of Florida?
SQ: Yeah, actually I quit after the first summertime practice. I realized quick that I wasn’t going to the NBA, so I’m a smart dude. I know what I can and can’t do. But I did graduate from down there. A lot of people be like ‘man, you rapping…you went to school.’ But the fact that I went to school should show anybody that wants to know how great the hustle is. To be a true hustler, your hustle is not limited, a hustler can hustle in any situation he’s placed in whether it be some corporate s**t some street s**t, academics, education, it don’t matter. Any climate that you place me in, I’m gonna be able to come up and achieve my goals in that situation. School was a hustle to me.
AllHipHop.com: Your mom used to be your manager. Can you speak on the importance of family support in this industry?
SQ: Its very important, they are going to be in your corner regardless and they’re gonna push you like their pushing themselves. She was definitely supportive of what I had going on. And at the point that she felt it would be better for someone else to take over the situation, she knew it was time.
AllHipHop.com: I’ve met her before. She is a nice lady, but she is very aggressive. What are some things that you learned from her?
SQ: She’s a hustler, and her hustle lives in me. That’s why I move how I move. Dre actually told me he admires my hustle and that’s due to her because she gave it to me. She’s an incredible hustler.
AllHipHop.com: As we all know, Shady/Aftermath has a lot of people gunning at them right now. Are you worried about having to pick up any of their beefs?
SQ: I try to stay above all that. For anybody who has problem with the situation I’m in, I’m just out here to make a way for people I know and make it easier for them to become a part of this thing we call Hip Hop. I want to be a dude that opens up doors for people, and at the same time better myself. But all that beef, I don’t got a problem, I’m cool. I’m just trying to do my music and keep it moving.
But when you winning, folks want to see you lose, dog. Folks used to hate the Bulls man, n****s hated Mike Jordan. You how many people were happy the other night when the Yankees lost? [laughs] What’s crazy is that they love you when you are an underdog, but when they build you up they want to bring you back down. The world builds you up to bring you down, that’s some f**ked up s**t. You loved me when I wasn’t doing s**t…but when a n***a start doing his thing now n****s got a problem with me.
And I want to address something, dog.
AllHipHop.com: Go ahead.
SQ: All these people that’s saying, ‘Where he came from?’ ‘He just came out of nowhere and got a deal.’ ‘He wasn’t on the underground.’ All these folks that saying that, where was ya’ll at when I was in the Fort Valley State University cafeteria doing shows? Where was ya’ll at when I was Birmingham, Alabama doing a show in a barn, on top of a pool table? Where was ya’ll at when I was in Bankhead, Downtown at Five Points, on the eastside on Candler Road, in Riverdale and Buckhead, with my CD’s and n****s frisbeeing my CD’s and throwing them away knowing that I paid for them CD’s with my hard earned money. Where were these muthaf**kas at to have them tell me that I ain’t did nothing? I want to know. What I got to say to n***a throwing salt on me? F**k ya’ll, f**k you, f**k your hate, and f**k what you talking about and what you’re about. And if you got a problem with me, come see about it.