Trials of TQ: Independence - The Reality of Being the Boss


We got the Fourth of July coming up, and I wanna take a lil’ time to liberate myself. Congrats to our man Barack for doing the damn thang! Can y’all believe this sh*t???? I'm glad I'm here to see it! Anyway, it seems like the last two installments of this column have ruffled some feathers... Sorry to hear that. The truth hurts. What's f**ked up is that all these hater sites have taken my words and twisted them up into the "National Hate Cash Money" campaign. Well, I ain’t a member. Seems a lotta folks still can't read. This is AllHipHop. Keyword ALL. This site was nice enough to allow me to tell ALL of MY story. ALL of it. Just like any other story being told in its entirety, you’re gonna have good parts and bad, ups and downs, f**k sh*t and not so f**k sh*t. It ain't no difference.I'm speaking to you about the true events that happened to me in my career as they happened. Period. Why did I tell my business about being in a slave deal with Sony Publishing? Cuz that’s what it was! Make sure you don't get in one. Why say that Cash Money was on some bullsh*t? Cuz they were! They wasn't putting my album out, so they was on some bullsh*t! LOL! Wouldn’t you feel the same way if it was you? Why comment on Wayne and Baby kissing? Not because I give a f**k...Because I'm in the picture! Watch them f**kin cameras... If I woulda known one was there, I woulda ducked! You get it? If I was gonna hate on somebody to boost my album sales, I woulda went for the gusto and hated on Hanna Montana! Now she's got sh*tload of fans, you dig? I'm just talkin’ bout the sh*t that I’ve been through and giving you my opinion on it. Feel free to disagree. I think Baby shoulda checked Kellz for that bullsh*t he pulled on that Best of Both Worlds II album, cuz that was wack. Treat a man like a man and call him and say wuzzup, ya dig? I can think that all I want, cuz it’s my opinion, but I can write it cuz I spent a lotta time in the studio with them ni***s working on that sh*t. Feel me? Real simple. F**k the sex playing. Calling ni***s gay is not cosigning what I'm saying. It’s a free world, but don't involve me, cuz I don't give a f**k about all that sh*t, and sexuality is a female subject. Men talk about sports, cars, money, and pu**y... and not in that order.TO ALL CASH MONEY HATERS... We don't have room over here for y’all. There are many places on the net for you to vent your frustrations. Please save this area for TQ haters only!LOL...And just to shut down any "rumors"... Ni**as aint "seeing" sh*t in the streets but what they saw the last time they saw each other: Frankie Beverly and Maze at Essence Fest... Ooh Weeh! If that went over ya head, don't worry bout it. N.O., holla if ya hear me!Now that that’s over...Here I was back home in L.A. trying to figure out my next move. My Cash Money contract stated that if I didn't take my option on the fourth year, I couldn’t release a major album for 18 months. My manager had started talking to Warner about a label situation before I left Cash Money. She figured it was a dead-end situation at CMR, and started working on a plan B. Baby didn't have any rights to me as a label, and if I did a distribution-only deal and released my own album under my label, it wouldn’t be considered a major release, and and I wouldn't have to pay him a dime. Sh*t sounded good to me... I also had what is called a “re-recording restriction.” This means that I couldn’t use any of the songs that I recorded there for a period of three years. Three years from what? There goes my lawyer and his "holes" again. He argued that because there was no specification, it meant three years from when they were recorded. That freed up most of the early music that I did with [Mannie] Fresh.See, I used to steal my music. LOL! If that’s even possible...Any records that I was on, I'd go back to the studio and get copies from the engineers in exchange for weed and VIP passes. Baby was stockpiling all that sh*t, and he wasn't trying to hear ni***s playing sh*t for they hood and all that. You wanna hear your music? Go ride on his bus, cuz that’s what he was playing, over and over again! F**k that sh*t! I had to get my songs to my publisher to get registered. I had to stay in front of the game. A lotta ni***s' missing checks broke they necks... Not the kid! LOL! When them ni***s left, I'd pull out the paperwork, write down all my copyright splits, and lyrics, and fax that sh*t from studio to Sony. Most of our sh*t in them days was registered before it was mixed! But I'm not a grimey dude. I turned in the splits as they really were. Correct percentages. Anyway, I did the deal with WEA, got a couple of joints that I had done with Fresh, and started on my first independent album, Listen.First thing you learn about being independent is that it’s a whole lot more work. Now I gotta book studio time, coordinate photo shoots, get flights, approve artwork, stay on top of my distributor about sales and product placement, and worst of all, answer every f**kin call that comes to my office cuz it might be some money... Did I bargain for all of this? Can I handle it?I've always seemed to make something out of nothing. I was born in Mobile, Alabama, and we didn't have sh*t. I moved to Watts when I was a year old, and we didn’t have sh*t. Moms married Pop when I was three, and we moved to Compton. Guess what we had when we moved there? You got it. Not a muthaf**king piss pot to piss in. Some kind of way, through the grace of God, I’d made it thus far. At eight dollars a record, I should be able to go further than I've ever been, and stay my ass there... If I can sell 150,000 units, I can ride off with a ticket after expenses. Pull this off five times over the next four years and I’ma buy me big ass boat, move to Spain, and go fishing everyday with a bad ass chick! F**k all this work!Seemed easy enough! I dropped Listen independently in August of ’04 - and I learned another valuable lesson. It takes a bunch of dough to break a record. By the time the album dropped, I was in the hole a couple stacks. I hit the road heavy. I hit up all the cities where I was getting airplay, and some where I just had a fanbase. I bought a tour bus, cuz I had given a lot of my homies jobs on the road, and that was the most efficient way to travel. We was running around the West, brown paper bagging all day everyday. “No Olive Garden tonite boys…There goes a Popeyes! Pull over!” LOL!I recognized something. I got all this from Baby. I watched this ni**a work and subconsciously his formula is the one I'm following. Make your money. Spend somebody else’s. You don't recognize the importance until you’re the one calling the shots. Dude would have us doing parties in bullsh*t spots, and I'm like what the f**k? Why are we here? I learned the answer real quick when I got on my own. Checks come every 60 days. This bus needs gas every other day. These ni***s need their per diem and salaries weekly. Bus driver starts bitching every Thursday, cuz of all the "free" overdrives that he's given me outta the "kindness of his heart” – yeah, whatever! Taking all shows, parties, weddings, bar mitzvas, funerals, and whatever the f**k else yall got! I need some f**king money!WEA ships 10,000 units...10,000??? What??? Man them sh*ts was gone in a day! I'm getting calls from everywhere that peeps can't find my record! I couldn’t f**king believe it. My distributor tells me how excited they are that we sold out of all of our units! Man who gives a f**k? Y’all recouped today! I didn't make a dime! They had basically done 20k worth of promo with retailers. Do the math. First week sales, less my cut... They made all their money back.At this point I'm itching. If I'm gonna lose, then I may as well had stayed a CMR. F**k losing. I watched one of the best do this. I can do it. WEA was not in this. I gotta act as if I have no partner. I found my own manufacturers and started making my own copies. I got with all the indie records shops. I could and gave them a better price on my records than my distributor. No Soundscan. If they were scanned, I'd get busted... Feel me? I was renegading! I'd give boxes of promo singles, t-shirts and videos to barber shops, clothing stores, and liquor stores in the hood and let them sell them if they allowed me to put up posters and sell my albums. Whatever I had to do not to lose money, I did it. I didn't lose. Didn't make sh*t either though… until it dropped overseas.Back over the pond I go - gotta get the dough.Tune in next time for "Foreign Affairs." I’ma introduce y’all to my three best friends: The Pound, The Euro, and the Yen.This will be interesting...TQ's new album Paradise is in stores and online now! Featuring Krayzie Bone, BG, Jagged Edge and more! Check out more on TQ at,, and