Tony Draper, who started the influential Suave
House label that put such rappers as 8Ball and MJG on the hip-hop map, has launched
a new label, Draper Inc. and is looking to reestablish his empire.
In a recent interview with AllHipHop.com, Draper
told journalist Tonya Pendleton "You know Suave House was like a baby of
mine, something that I started in high school....the Universal deal ended 6
months before it was supposed to be up. I had 6 brand new albums finished and
they didn't want to put the focus behind these artists."
Draper said that since Universal didn't want
give the artists the attention they needed, he sought another means of having
his records distributed.
"I jumped into this deal with this company
called J-cor...I was tied up in a very bad joint venture deal that never happened."
Draper was referring to the now defunct J-cor
records, which folded amidst what sources say was bad management from senior
executives at the company.
While he is most often associated with the Suave
House name, Draper said that it was hard work and finding the right talent that
made the name. "It's just a name, I'm Suave House. Every artist that came
out on Suave House, I found them, I produced them with T-Mix. "I marketed
and promoted them. No artist made Suave House, I made every one of them. You
never heard of 8Ball, Tela, UGK. They will always be able to get a check but
they will never be respected the way they were respected when they were with
Draper also spoke of what he called a "very
personal" beef with rapper 8Ball. Draper explained that the relationship
with 8Ball went sour when 8Ball accused Draper of cheating him out of millions
of dollars, an accusation Draper denied.
According to Draper, he bought 8Ball a house
in Sugarland, Texas and a Corvette. After the two discussed an album 8Ball had
his numbers changed and Draper said 8Ball's lawyer conveyed the message that
he no longer wanted to speak to him. Draper claims all of this happened two
weeks after he bought the house.
Draper said that he is now looking forward to
returning to discovering fresh talent. "We gon' give ni**as a real shot.
We may not have the glory of the big videos on T.V. every minute but in time
we'll have all that. At least you know you gotta team of people that's working