Thursday, November 1, 2012

Q & A with Turk

Posted By on Thu, Nov 1, 2012 at 9:50 AM

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Anyone familiar with the hip-hop scene during the late '90s up to the new millennium has heard of the Hot Boys. Comprised of Lil’ Wayne, B.G., Juvenile, and Turk, the New Orleans-bred group was respectively one of the most successful rap collectives during that time.

Signed to Cash Money Records, the Hot Boys managed to snag a platinum plaque with their second album, Guerrilla Warfare. They also enjoyed individual success during that time period: Juvenile released 400 Degreez, B.G. dropped Chopper City in The Ghetto, and Lil’ Wayne dished out his debut effort Tha Block Is Hot. Each of the albums pushed more than one million units.

The last member to release a solo effort was Turk due to legal troubles.

In 2001, Young & Thuggin’, his debut album hit record stores. Although not as successful as his predecessors’ releases, he managed to go gold.

Turk would leave Cash Money shortly after Young & Thuggin’s release due to financial differences and pursue the independent route. He released Raw & Uncut and Penitentiary Chances independently through Laboratory Recordz and Koch Records. The success of the two albums combined didn’t equal the record sales of his debut, but they managed to keep his name buzzing.

Things appeared to be going well for Turk, but his independent success saw derailment in January of 2004.

A couple months after moving to Memphis, Turk would find himself caught in the middle of a drug raid at the Hickory Pointe Apartment complex. During the raid, a shootout ensued that left two Memphis S.W.A.T. Team members wounded.

Turk was accused of shooting one of them—a sheriff's deputy—and convicted of attempted murder. He was sentenced to serve a 12-year sentence in the Forrest City, Arkansas Federal Prison. Prior to the murder conviction, he had received a 10-year sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm and an unlawful user addicted to a controlled substance in possession of a firearm.

Laboratory Recordz released two more albums by Turk during his imprisonment, Still A Hotboy and Convicted Felons.

Eight years, eight months and 16 days later, Turk was released from prison on Oct. 12th. Upon his release, he found himself heading back to the very place where he lost his freedom and picking up where he left off—musically.

I had the opportunity to speak with Turk about his new imprint, the Young N T.H.U.G.G.I.N. (Taking Hardships Using God’s Gift In spite of Negativity) Empire, possibly signing back to Cash Money, overcoming drug addiction, growing up in the notorious Magnolia housing projects, upcoming musical endeavors, and much more.

Follow Turk on Twitter: @TurkMrYnT
Follow Turk on Instagram: @Turk_Emani
Follow me on Twitter: @Lou4President


How did you get into rapping?

Just trying to find a way out the hood. Coming from where I come from it was hard. Either you rapped, sold dope or you slung pistols, or you did all three of them. I just so happened to choose the first one. When I started doing it, I wasn’t really serious with it. I was into sports. I was running back and linebacker coming up. But as I started playing around with it and more people started asking me to rap at parties, I was winning contests at radio stations and stuff like that, I just got serious with it. One day, I met Baby and Slim (owners of Cash Money Records) in the Magnolia Projects and I rapped to them. They gave me a card and the rest was history.

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You joined Cash Money in 1996, years before it gained mainstream exposure. What was it like to be apart of platinum albums, star in a movie, tour the world, and make all kids of money?

To be honest, I didn’t see it. When we “blew up,” I didn’t see it, so that’s why I didn’t take it serious like I do today. I see the influence that I have now and I see how big it can be now, but then, when I was young, I didn’t take it how people think you would take it. I was doing what I love to do. When you’re in it and you’re living it, it’s not like how other people see it. None of it got to me, because I still felt like the same person. I still felt like I could do whatever I wanted to do. I didn’t take responsibility for being a superstar. It was a job. Now I look at it more as a livelihood and a job.


After parting ways with Cash Money, you took the independent route. How was the transition for you?

As far as being independent, I like it because you call your own shots and you’re your own boss instead of having to report and do what other people say. I’m 31 years old now, so I’m not really trying to be no boy and have nobody looking over me. I’m bossin up.


Your debut album went Gold, but the independent releases that followed didn’t have the same success. Why do you think they didn’t do similar numbers as your first one?

All my albums that dropped, I was locked up, even on Young & Thuggin’. It would have sold more than that if I would have been hands on and had my face on it. That was selling by word of mouth. But as I started getting into all kinds of jail trouble, I started to fall out of favor with God. Once you fall out of favor with Him, everything else is going to fall apart. Because I was messing up that was the fruit of my labor. I take full responsibility for it. Just like I messed up and things fell apart, now I’m doing the right thing and things are going to be uplifted.


There have been rumors that you’re signing back with Cash Money. Is there any truth to this?

It’s in the air right now. We’re working and communicating. It’s about this Young N Thuggin Empire right now. All options are still open right now. I’m focusing on my own imprint. I have my book, the Autothugography of Turk, and I got the screenplay for that, Reckless. I got the double CD, the Audiothugography of Turk, and I’m doing this mixtape, Blame It On Da System, with Drumma Boy.


How did you link up with Drumma Boy?

When I came home, I was talking with Gangsta Boo and I believe she made a phone call to Drumma Boy, and he [direct messaged] me on Twitter and tossed me his number. He was like, ‘Let’s Get It.’ I had been talking to him off and on while I was incarcerated, so we developed a little relationship. When I came home, he said, ‘Man, I’m going to do your whole mixtape.’ So far I’ve done eight songs.

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Are you a fan of any Memphis artists—past and present?

Yeah. Me and [Don] Trip just did a song. Emani the Made Woman is my artist on YNT. She’s from Memphis. I fuck with Yo Gotti. 8ball & MJG, they legends, you know I fuck with them. I was just in the studio the other night with Tela. Criminal Manne. All the Memphis artists that got movements and are doing what they do, I got love and respect for them. I’m looking forward to doing something, if they’re about their business. Let’s get it.


You grew up in the Magnolia housing projects, which is synonymous for crime. How was your upbringing?

It was like the average project kid living in a single parent household. My momma was raising us. She was working two jobs trying to supply for the three boys that she had. I was just seeing and hearing things happen in the street. Just the average kid in the hood without a daddy.


Your younger brother was murdered during your incarceration. How did this affect you?

It was bitter and sweet. It was bitter, because I couldn’t be there to protect him. In my eyesight, he was still my young baby brother. It was sweet because it made me stronger. Even though that situation happened, I was able to gain strength from it—take a negative situation and turn it into a positive. Being locked away for eight years, eight months and 16 days, people would grow to be bitter but I came out sweet with love, loyalty and a whole new outlook on life and why people do things. I had to go through all the things that I went through, had to take all the hardships, and use God’s gift in spite of negativity. Now, I’m [helping] teach the next young brother on how to live and what to do and what not to do, and how to be responsible and man up.

[He’s forming the T.H.U.G.G.I.N. Foundation, which will involve traveling to schools to talk with kids and inform them about the trials and tribulations of indulging in the wrong lifestyle.]

Did you read and learn a lot while incarcerated?

Yeah, I did. I always had my head on my shoulders. I wasn’t the average project kid that was in the projects, that’s just people’s wrong perspective of the projects. You learn as you live and experience—life is the best teacher, experience is the best teacher. I didn’t have to pick up a book to learn common sense but it’s always good to pick up books to learn how to be on a whole other level. I did that while I was in jail. I didn’t really read no hood novels or nothing like that. I mostly read books like “Think and Grow Rich” and “The Richest Man in Babylon.” I read books on how to get money, be determined and find your way. Things that I had flaws and gaps on. I misused my money coming up, [so] I had to reeducate myself on how to count my money.

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What was the most beneficial thing you learned while incarcerated?

I learned how to manage my money, how to be a man, how to be responsible, and most importantly, I got my high school diploma while I was incarcerated. I was determined to get that just because it was a lot of people saying that it would be a waste of time. It took me six months to get. I put my mind to it and I thought it and I got it. I graduated in September and I came home Oct. 12th. Everything was in God’s plan. I’m a living example of change. I’m a living example of taking hardship and using it in spite of negativity, and overcoming drug addiction, and overcoming critics. I’m here to shame the devil.


You mentioned drug addiction? What drugs were you addicted to in the past?

My drugs of choice were heroin and cocaine. I started doing them at 14 years old, the reason being, it was glorified in New Orleans. All the rappers were rapping about it and I happened to be a rapper, so I felt like it was the right thing to do. We were partying and having fun, so we didn’t see any affects of it. It wasn’t affecting home like it started to as the years began to pass. The drug habit started growing and growing and you start losing more and more but you can’t see it, because you’re not conscious—signs are for the conscious mind. I had to go through everything that I went through to get to where I am now. I don’t regret anything. I was put on this earth to be an example for people and what they’re going through that you can overcome it, you don’t have to stay this way, and for the people that are not going that way, you don’t have to go that way.


How did you overcome your addictions?

I overcame my drug addiction while I was incarcerated. It took incarceration, because if I hadn’t got locked up, I probably would have been dead or in a worse situation, because I was doing drugs heavily. A lot of people didn’t know because I was hiding my addiction. At the same time, I knew and my family knew and the people close to me knew. I was hurting them and I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t. With an addiction, if you’re addicted to anything it’s hard to quit, addiction is not just drugs, it can be sex, the internet, or whatever. Anything you can’t control and it’s controlling you is an addiction. At that time, I needed those drugs. It wasn’t just a mental thing, it was physical. When I didn’t have those drugs, my body started to hurt. I’m just thankful to be able to kick those habits and tell about it.


You mention God a lot. What’s your view on religion?

When you get in a pit, you have nothing but time to yourself and you begin to hear your own thoughts and your thoughts really be your spirit and it becomes awakening to you and that’s your true self. I had plenty days and plenty nights like that. When you hear me talk about God, it really be something that’s took over me and naturally comes out. I can’t explain it. I’ve always been a believer of Jesus and that’s what I come from. I’m just not stuck into the traditional way of believing—I believe God is a spirit and those who worship Him, worship Him in spirit and truth. I walk in the spirit and I speak the truth and I stand for that.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

On the Come Up: Knowledge Nick

Posted By on Mon, Oct 29, 2012 at 4:48 PM

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If there were a search for a true emcee in the Bluff City, people wouldn’t have to look any further than 23-year-old Hip-Hop head, Nick “Knowledge Nick” Hicks.

The University of Memphis graduate and Towers Watson analyst has been dabbling with words since his mid-teens.

“Writing songs started off as something to do for fun, but as time progressed it became my form of relief,” Hicks said. “When nothing is there and nobody is there, music is there for me to release my innermost feelings.”

A hobby during his teen years has blossomed into a second career. Hicks has two albums under his belt, The Enlightenment and The Transcribed Sentiment, which he estimates have collectively moved more than 1,000 units.

He’s currently prepping for the release of his third album, “Memphis: The Soul of Hip Hop,” on December 8th. Along with his previous work, his latest project can be purchased on knowledgenick.bandcamp.com.

“The new album is like an ode to Memphis and all the influences from my upbringing,” he said. “This album broadened my track selection horizon. With my first two, it was more or less like I could only listen to them in a certain setting, which is cool. But I think with this album, it’ll reach so many different people and you can listen to it in different settings — when you’re riding, at home, whatever.”

Hicks released a four-song EP in September to provide fans with an appetizer while they wait for the full course this December.

On the EP’s opening track, “Livin’ the Broke Life,” Hicks finds himself expressing the hardships that come with pursuing a rap career while low on funds. At the end of each verse, he states, “Even though I live the broke life, I’m blessed regardless,” which conveys his dedication to stay driven despite any obstacles. Boonie Mayfield produced the track.

With the second song, “The Karma,” Hicks provides listeners with an earful on his failure to grasp the true meaning of love during his younger years.

He spits honest, heartfelt lyrics about seeking women primarily for physical satisfaction but over time developing a different appreciation for them. Over a mellow beat laced by Fathom 9, Hicks cites utilizing God’s unconditional love to help eradicate the old habit and enjoy growth.

The third track, “Reign Supreme II,” featuring Toby York, would make hip-hop legends such as KRS-One (Hicks’ favorite emcee) and the Wu-Tang Clan proud with the stellar lyrical deliveries provided on it. The song is produced by Arze Kareem and boasts an East Coast-oriented feel.

The EP’s final song, “Flexxin No Plexxin’,” featuring Sincere and A-Quest, finds Hicks and company showcasing their lyrical prowess once again. The smooth, bass-ridden track provided by Mark G is a great addition to the trio’s witty lyrics, which don’t disappoint.

Hicks’ music possesses a sound that’s different than the typical Memphis rap artist. He has the ability to cater to the raw and gritty hip-hop heads, along with those who prefer a more laidback and mellow delivery.

He credits his diverse delivery to growing up on a wide variety of artists that include Playa Fly, Three 6 Mafia, Gangsta Blac, KRS-One, EPMD and Gang Starr.

Although he’s chosen to take a musical lane that might not be every Memphis rap fan’s cup of tea, he’s not worried about this limiting his success.

“I think Memphis has to really embrace the fact that there are a crop of artists who are different, who are just changing. It’s not the same monotony of stuff just being infiltrated over and over and over again. I think change is good from time to time,” he said.


Follow him on Twitter: @kdotnick

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Flying High: My experience aboard the Memphis Belle

Posted By on Wed, Oct 24, 2012 at 3:22 PM

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A couple weeks ago, I had the chance to fly nearly 2,000 feet above the city on a replica of the legendary aircraft, the Memphis Belle. I wrote about the experience in the Memphis Flyer's Fall Fashion issue (Oct. 18-24th).

Many are familiar with the Memphis Belle, but for those who aren't, the aircraft was one of the first B-17 World War II bombers to complete 25 missions and safely return all of its crew members. When I boarded her replica, I prayed that I'd have the same fate.

My flight came courtesy of the Salute to Veterans national tour, presented by the Liberty Foundation, which began in March. The tour stops in a different city every weekend, and was developed to bring awareness to WWII veterans. According to the Liberty Foundation, more than 1,500 veterans die per day.

Since March, the Memphis Belle replica, which was used in the 1990 film "Memphis Belle," has traveled to cities such as St. Louis, Tulsa, Minneapolis, and Chicago providing rides to locals. During each stop, local veterans also come out and share their war experiences.

“My goal is to let the local veterans know not only do we appreciate the sacrifices in WWII, but we wouldn’t be sharing this history today without them,” said Scott Maher, director of operations for the Liberty Foundation and one of the Memphis Belle’s pilots. “We want [people] to come out and experience these things in its natural habitat, which is in the air. The experience gives a history lesson that’s not in the pages of a dusty book.”

The original Memphis Belle is being restored at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. The replica I flew aboard was equipped with 10 seats, 13 50-caliber machine guns and bombs, and a glass nose, from which passengers can gaze down onto the city.

Flying throughout the city on the historical aircraft was something I never thought I'd have the opportunity to experience, but I'm thankful that I did.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sinister Thoughts: My analysis on the horror film, Sinister

Posted By on Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 4:58 PM

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Last weekend, I traveled to the Paradiso and purchased a ticket for the supernatural horror film, Sinister.

A good friend of mine informed me that it would be “a great horror flick to check out.” That advice, along with the fact that James Blum (Insidious, Paranormal Activity) produced the movie, finalized my decision to watch it.

The movie was released on Friday, Oct. 12th and stars Ethan Hawke (Training Day, Hamlet, Assault on Precinct 13), Juliet Rylanche, Fred Thompson, James Ransone, Vincent D'Onofrio (Brooklyn’s Finest, Full Metal Jacket, Men In Black), and others. Besides Hawke and D'Onofrio, I wasn’t familiar with the cast.

The film centers on Hawke’s character, who plays a true-crime novelist named Ellison Oswalt. He, along with his attractive, English wife Tracy (Rylanche) and their two kids Trevor (Michael Hall D'Addario ) and Ashley (Clare Foley), move into a home in which the previous residents were murdered. Initially, Oswalt is the only one who has knowledge of the murder.

Minutes into the movie, the murder (the family of four was hung from a tree in the backyard) is displayed across the screen in Super 8 camera-style footage.

That captured my attention instantly. I hadn’t done much research on the movie’s plot, so that built up intrigue.

As the movie progressed, I found out the significance behind the murder: Oswalt is using it as the basis for his latest novel.

Oswalt finds a box in the attic labeled “home movies” that has a projector and several reels of footage inside. He views the reels throughout the film. Each reel, which has its own title, shows families being murdered in various ways — having their throats slit, being drowned, hung, burned to death, and having their heads run over with a lawnmower.

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The footage made me think about the harsh reality that real people have probably been murdered in similar fashions. Nevertheless, I was curious to see what would happen next in the movie.

As Sinister continued, Oswalt began to analyze the footage, taking note of things that caught his eye. He noticed a bizarre, demonic face appearing in each reel.

When I saw the dark, demonic figure for the first time, it spooked me a little bit. It just looked evil. It also built up more suspense, and I stayed glued to my seat for the bulk of the film.

As Oswalt continued observing the films, he also noticed a strange symbol painted near each of the murders, and that there’s a young child missing in each of the families. With the help of a deputy (Ransone), Oswalt investigates the murders to determine if they’re related.

He’s also put in contact with a college professor (D'Onofrio) who specializes in religion. The professor informs him that the demonic figure in the home movies is a pagan deity named Bughuul.

Known as an eater of children's souls, Bughuul is presumed to be responsible for influencing young children to murder their families and then travel off with him to a different world.

I felt a few chill-bumps when Oswalt and the professor discussed the demonic being. I thought he was going to appear out of the air and start annihilating people. Unfortunately, this DIDN'T happen.

What DID happen was a series of creepy events inside the house: The film projector starts mysteriously running in the middle of the night. Dead children play a game of hide-n-seek through the house. Oswalt sees all five children who were missing during the time that their families were murdered viewing one of the home movies in the attic. This is also when Bughuul makes an appearance that frightens Oswalt and sends him falling through the floor of the attic.

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After seeing a physical sighting of Bughuul, Oswalt becomes concerned for his family’s safety. He decides to burn the box of home movies, discontinue his novel, and move his wife and kids out the haunted house and back into their previous place.

A new beginning for the family?

Of course not! It wouldn’t be a true horror movie if that were the case. I must add that I personally would have been pissed off if the credits rolled after the family left the haunted house. The movie wouldn’t have been complete.

Oswalt makes a shocking discovery while in the house’s attic: the box of home movies that he burned at the previous home has made its way to the new house without a burn on it. The box also has an additional reel of film inside that’s labeled “extended endings.”

Of course Oswalt checks the new footage out. It shows the same murders as the past reels did, but this time the missing child from each of the families comes onscreen before disappearing. This implies that the kids are responsible for the slayings of their families.

It doesn’t stop there.

Oswalt receives shocking word from the deputy that there’s a link to all of the murdered families: they all lived in the same house where the hanging took place before they moved to new locations, which subsequently resulted in their murders. In other words, he basically informed Oswalt that he and his family were probably going to die and there was nothing they could do to avoid it.

Shortly after he’s provided the startling information from the deputy, Oswalt begins to feel weird from the “coffee” he was drinking and loses consciousness. When he comes to, he notices that he’s tied up and gagged. The same fate goes for his wife and son.

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What about little Ashley??? Why isn’t she tied and gagged too??? Uhmm, it’s because little Ashley is the culprit that tied and gagged her fam.

She appears in the room where they’re laying with an axe and video camera in hand.

The next occurrence is pretty predictable but I won't spoil it for those who haven’t seen the film.

After the credits rolled, I left the Paradiso satisfied with Sinister’s performance overall. The murders weren’t as graphic as I would have expected, and the film had its dull moments here and there, but overall it was a well-created horror movie. Outside of Insidious, it was definitely one of the best scary movies that I’ve seen in a while.

Next up for me is Paranormal Activity 4. I wonder if it will knock Sinister out of the water? Only time will tell.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Q & A With Fiend

Posted By on Tue, Oct 2, 2012 at 4:38 PM

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The third annual “Grammy GPS: A Roadmap for Today’s Music Biz” took place this past Saturday at the Stax Music Academy and Museum of American Soul Music. Sponsored by the Memphis chapter of the Recording Academy, the event featured a number of local and national influential music figures including hip-hop artist Talib Kweli, Grammy-winning engineers Andrew Scheps and Chris Finney, Grammy-winning producer Steve Jordan, and many more.

During panel discussions, the guests provided insight on music marketing, promoting in small markets, producing and engineering, exploring social consciousness through hip-hop, and other topics.

New Orleans-bred rapper, Fiend, spoke on two panels during the event. A true southern legend, he’s released a nice catalog of albums including There’s One In Every Family and Street Life on No Limit Records, Can I Burn 2 (my personal favorite), Go Hard or Go Home, among other solid installments.

In recent years, Fiend has adopted a mellow and soulful delivery that differs from his aggressive style in the ’90s and early into the new millennium. Although he owns his own label, Fiend Entertainment, he’s also signed to popular lyricist and fellow New Orleanean Curren$y’s imprint, Jet Life Recordings.

I got a chance to speak with Fiend about his experience at Grammy GPS, how he likes the Bluff City, his music history, where he likes to travel, and a handful of other things.

Follow Fiend on Twitter: @Fiend4daMoney
Check out his websites Fienddigital.com and Sleepybeartees.com
Download his latest mixtapes for free on datpiff.com or livemixtapes.com. Fiend plans to release a new mixtape mid-October.


Flyer: How was your experience at the event?

Fiend: It was dope. I met some cool ass people. I networked with people. I hung out with some people who share the same interests that I have. Good times. It was a hell of an experience. I can’t wait until the next one.


What’s one thing that you shared with attendees regarding the music industry?

Just stay focused and be patient, and let great things happen with your music. You’ve got to get out there and believe in you and promote and represent. And do it the best you can every chance you can. If not, nobody’s going to take you seriously.

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How do you like Memphis?

I love it out here. I don’t get a chance to come out here as much as I would like. When I do, I like to visit Select-O-Hits. From now on, I’ll be visiting Stax. I just like the city. Get me a spot at the Peabody and chill. Walk around the hotel. Enjoy beautiful girls, good smoke, good people.


Along with DJ Paul and Juicy J, you were in a collective known as Da HeadBussaz, which released the independent album Dats How It Happen To’M. How was that experience?

It was dope. It was cool. We hooked up and showed the world that fellas could hook up and make music with no conflict — make great music without no problems or no negativity.


Are you a fan of any Memphis artists, past and present?

Of course. I like everything past and present and even the kids who are coming up and doing their thing. I got my ears to the streets. I like everybody from 8ball & MJG to Three 6 Mafia to Playa Fly. You’ve got a few dudes doing their thing. I want everybody to do good.


What’s one of the most important things that you’ve done to stay relevant?

The thing is, you gotta stay at it. That’s the most important thing that I can say.


You released your first album on independent label Big Boy records in 1995. Were you around during the label’s rivalry with Cash Money Records?

Yeah, I was but it never affected me. It was all in the love of hip-hop. Cats sometimes don’t see eye—to-eye, so they take it to music and stuff like that. It’s all good. I was there. I was very instrumental in a lot of big things over there. That was a nice run. Me, Mystikal, Partners-N-Crime, Ghetto Twinz, G-Slim, Sporty T, we had a lot of people over there.

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Transitioning from there, how’d you link up with Master P?

I was making music, making noise. We had people who knew each other, and they were saying, you guys could be working together. I ended up getting with them boys and we ended up working out something. I ended up having one of the biggest songs on the [“I’m Bout It”] soundtrack. “I’m Bout It” ended up being one of the biggest [independent] movies. After that, I got a chance to be involved with all kind of shit. Over 80 million records sold, I can say that I very much played a serious part of that.

Did you have a personal relationship with C-Murder, Mac or the late Soulja Slim?

All those are my homies. Me, C-murder and Mac, we hung out real, real tight. They’re both incarcerated right now. Soulja Slim is deceased. I’m just pushing. I want to be able to do more with my life so I can help out my homies one day.


[Fiend ended up leaving No Limit and starting his own independent label, Fiend Entertainment. From there, he would link up with one of the most successful rap labels ever, Ruff Ryders Records, home to DMX, the Lox, and Eve.]


How did you end up getting with Ruff Ryders?

DMX was getting ready to depart the label, so they were like ‘We want somebody who will be just as dope or that could shake up the world with that same attitude or that same aggression.’ They heard some of my music. We sat down and met, and we really dug each other’s movements. I was already kind of doing my thing, and them cats were already doing their thing. It was an honor to bring that legacy further than where it had already gotten to. And then being a southern boy who got with them, it was even more dope.


I understand that you’re known as International Jones, because you enjoy traveling. Where are some of your favorite places to visit?

Some of my favorite places have to be London; Mulan, Italy; Paris of course; Lahonce, France; Seattle is dope, I mean Seattle is awesome. I like LA. Atlanta. And I just found a little place called Sarasota, Florida. That shit is awesome. Another place is Canada! Montreal, Victoria, and Vancouver Canada. It’s a lot of dope places. I’m a water man too. I don’t mind traveling by water. I rent a yacht maybe once a month just for me. I really like being on the water. It’s just relaxing. It’s tranquil.

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There’s an artist on your album, Can I Burn 2, named J-Boy. I really liked his flow. On the album, you mentioned that he would be releasing his own album soon, but I never heard anymore from him. What happened to him?

He was murdered. He ended up getting away from me and doing his own thing. He got into some other things, and people got envious of him. They saw a well-off, young dude doing his thing. I don’t really know what else he was into, but from what I heard he got set up and they killed him trying to rob him. (Takes a moment of silence and utters ‘Rest in Paradise J-Boy’)


Your music has changed. It was more rowdy earlier on but now it’s more smooth and relaxing. What brought the change?

It’s whatever the beats call for. I’m just an instrument. I vibe off the track. It’s wherever the track pulls me. I fit the music. I still make it all. That International Jones shit is just me man …traveling, women, fast cars, just chlling, just having fun.


You were invited to Dr. Dre’s house to work on his Detox album? How did that pan out?

We got word that he was interested and he reached out, but [there was a conflict of schedules and] it just didn’t work out. I haven’t worked with him before, but I’ve been making joints, so hopefully one day he’ll call me and tell me, ‘C’mon man.’


You’re also a producer and have produced for Jadakiss, Lil' Wayne, and others. Do you like producing more than rapping?

I love producing. I love rapping. I just love making music. I do love producing, but I’ve kinda took a break to focus on one more than the other.


How has it been working with Curren$y and being signed to Jet Life Recordings?

That’s the homie. It’s all good. I fucks with him. We out here living this Jet Life. Iron Gang shit. We chilling, making good music, traveling, making alternative tunes for people to chill to, because it’s so much around them that’s going on.


What’s up next for Fiend?

I got a few things coming. A book, some movies, I’m not just putting all my ducks in a row. But more entertainment, real life, partying, and just showing cats this cool shit. I want to help cats get some money. Just hold tight, it’s gonna be real nice. Well worth the wait.

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