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What do you get when you take the greatest living rapper and the greatest hip hip producer. You get one hot album. Sign the petition and lets make it happen.

by kenn on 10/26/2005 02:22:00 PM

Soundslam Interviews

Source: Soundslam


Artist: Juelz Santana
Interviewer: da MetroGnome

Juelz Santana is quickly running up the ranks in the industry. And with a recipe of outlandish statements, sheer confidence, and a highly anticipated record coming out on November 22nd after two separate push-backs, why shouldn’t this young Harlemite be drawing such attention? When Juelz speaks, you should listen, if for no other reason than to see what this sharp emcee can concoct and spit out in a moment’s notice. SoundSlam seized the opportunity to converse with “Mr. Ay!” about how real life situations have become comic relief, what the diffusion of hip hop means for the music and culture, and why Juelz just might be, in his not-so-humble opinion, exactly what the game’s been missing. This is worth reading…check it.

SoundSlam: So tell me what’s new with you?

Juelz: Everything man. My whole swag is new. I’m like a f*ck*n’ new man right now.

SoundSlam: Haha, is that right?

Juelz: I’m feelin’ real good about my whole situation that I’m in right now.

SoundSlam: Let’s be specific…

Juelz: Just everything. I just feel like my situation is better than it was last time. I mean, I got a lot more attention. I got a lot better feedback. I definitely feel like the quality of my music is definitely stepped up. I mean, I’m more focused, I’m more knowledgeable to what I’m doin’ when I go into the studio to make my music. So, it’s just a better outcome with everything.

SoundSlam: So you’re still mad young and you got started in the game as a young cat. So what changes have you noticed in yourself over the last few years since the first material you released?

Juelz: I mean, you seen it too…the whole game got changed. You watched the game go from coast to coast, that’s first of all…which is a beautiful thing. I think the more the game travels…it can only stay in one place for so long...It needs to travel. For a minute, I kind of felt like ‘rap’ was in a state of emergency, like, about last year around this time. But there are a lot of new artists coming in, n*gg*s are trying to bring that attention, and I guess it’s just that cycle. That cycle is just spinnin’ around. [It’s] time for that new breed and that new takeover. I mean, what’s next? Not to take anything away, but Jay (Z) is retired, so who’s the next? I mean, not who’s the next Jay Z because there will never be another Jay Z, never be another Biggie, but who’s the next one.

SoundSlam: Yeah, I understand. Somebody has to fill the gap.

Juelz: Yeah, and that’s what I’m here to do, man. I’m bridging all gaps. SoundSlam: So, after having talked to a gang of East Coast artists, how do you think New York is handling that the game is big right now down South and that The Game brought it back to the West? How do you think….

Juelz: I love it. Yo, I get mad when I be hearin’ these New York n*gg*s talkin’ bout how they mad at these South n*gg*s for poppin’. I mean, these n*gg*s worked so hard to get what they got. And the thing I notice about South n*gg*s is that they do real music. I mean, it may not be lyrical, or as lyrically advanced as some New York n*gg*s is the way they spit, but what they say is so real. The sh*t they say on a day to day basis…it may not be the sh*t that you can actually duke in your hood because hoods are just built different, but everybody goes through the same shi*, poverty. Them n*gg*s rap about that. They get that across. That’s why I feel like it doesn’t effect us because our movement still gets heard everywhere…in the South, all that. Because we rap about real sh*t. And no matter what you do…pop sh*t…no matter, that real sh*t is always gonna stick and it’s always gonna have its place in the game…forever. Life! That’s one sh*t you’ll never be able to get rid of and that’s real sh*t. You understand what I’m sayin’?

SoundSlam: Yep.

Juelz: It’s just like a real joke. You never notice how real jokes get started. N*gg*s don’t tell jokes no more. They tell real scenarios. That’s a joke now: real scenarios is a joke, you understand what I’m sayin’? That’s how it is nowadays, sh*t like that. Real scenarios n*gg*s use as a joke because it’s so real that it’s funny. It’s so real for you to say it, and n*gg*s go through it so much, n*gg*s gon’ laugh because it’s like ‘Ohhh’ and n*gg*s forget how many people go through the same sh*t. Do you understand what I’m sayin’?

SoundSlam: Yeah, I understand perfectly. I just find it interesting because I haven’t heard anyone verbalize it like that…in that way.

Juelz: That’s exactly what it is. And it’s like, these New York n*gg*s, I feel like they still chasing a success that don’t need to be chased. Like, I was tellin’ this dude, you know how another producer gets hot in another city and everybody just start chasin’ that sh*t?

SoundSlam: Absolutely. I could think of a few producers going through that now.

Juelz: Like, right now, look at that n*gg*, Swizz (Beatz). Since T.I., Swizz has been with everybody in New York, and it has yet to work for anybody like it’s worked for T.I.

SoundSlam: No, that’s the truth. People just seem to chase what’s hot. They want that name on their joint to capitalize on the moment.

Juelz: People like Scott Storch. And I don’t take nothin’ away…I like all these n*gg*s beats. N*gg*s be hot! Know what I’m sayin’? But, maybe it was hot for what it did with that person. You gotta get together and get the right sh*t. Don’t think that because what he did with that person that it’s gonna be an instant for that person, nawmeen? I feel like New York n*gg*s tend to do that a lot more than Down South n*gg*s. They come with their own sh*t, nawmeen? I mean, Lil’ Jon came with his own sh*t. And then there were more n*gg*s in New York trying to get a Lil’ Jon beat than South n*gg*s, know what I’m sayin’?

SoundSlam: Haha, yeah.

Juelz: …Why? It took a South n*gg* to come and get Swizz back. Now in New York, n*gg*s wanna f*ck with Swizz. N*gg*s wasn’t thinking about Swizz? You understand? So, just like I said, nobody is yet to have the same outcome as T.I. has had with the records. Look at Paul Wall and them. They got their own sound and that sh*t is different. It’s “Sittin Sidewayz” and ‘screwed up’ like, so what it ain’t mad intellectual and lyrical…it’s different. It’s not the same sh*t and it’s real to them. It’s like, everybody in New York got a Swizz track right now…that’s NOT different! So, you have to bring that sh*t back home if you feel like it’s home and this where you want it to be. Like I said, I feel like the game need to rotate. I feel like the South does have a lot of attention on them, but they put it on them. They put it on themselves and they worked hard enough to show people that attention needs to be on them…so they got attention. Which, is fine with me…Snoop’s still doin’ his thing, Game’s still doin’ his thing. Just because they got the most attention don’t stop n*gg*s from doing they thing and movin’ numbers. It’s just they got the majority of the attention right now, but it could be anywhere. I’m really startin’ to see…n*gg*s is startin’ to almost make it look like…what’s it gonna be…a East Coast- South sh*t now? The New York n*gg*s are gonna start lookin’ like haters, yo. Like, every time a new n*gg* starts rockin’, everybody got a problem with it. You can’t be like that, you just have to go out and make it happen.

SoundSlam: I think that a lot of people in New York, from who I’ve talked to specifically, not just artists, but people that live there, are so die hard about it because they think ‘Oh, we’re from the home of Hip Hop, so we’re always gonna be on top’, but I feel like what’s going on now is that it’s making other people step up their game all around the country, but in their own way, ya know?

Juelz: Right, but since n*gg*s know we’re the home of Hip Hop, just start actin’ like it and producing music like it. Just sayin’ it ain’t gonna get that limelight back. Naw, if your sh*t ain’t poppin’, it ain’t poppin’. That’s like, coke used to be the best on this block. But it ain’t no more. Now they got it better down the block, n*gg*. When you get it back, n*gg*s might come back. F*CK! Haha. SoundSlam: Ha, I love the excitement. Now let’s talk about you. Tell me what the game has been missing? (Pun off his upcoming record What The Game Been Missing)

Juelz: Umm, I feel like my difference is the difference of music I’m bringing back to them. Ya know, not trying to do what everybody else been doin’. That’s how I base my whole style. Like, with my producers, a lot of n*gg*s wanted to work with me this time around, but I didn’t work with them for a specific reason, because, I wanted to stay involved with that hunger. N*gg*s that I felt like that were just hungry and that were just bringing that same energy that I was bringing. I still want to work with some of them dudes out there, but I want it to be when it’s convenient for both of us. When I bring as much interest to the track as the other person, you got me? I don’t want it to be like where a n*gg* just wants to listen to my tracks because a dude like, say, Pharrell, did it, or whoever. I don’t want that to generate the interest to my music and I want it to just be me that’s doin’ it.

SoundSlam: So, who are you working with production-wise? Did you stick to any previous fam from the past?

Juelz: Well, of course, the Heatmakerz. Those are like the first n*gg*s I started f*ckin’ with. I got my man Develop. He’s like one of the newest producers I’ve started f*ckin’ wit. That’s like the craziest, newest producer I’ve been f*ckin’ with. He did like five joints on my new album. My man, Shotty, he did a couple of beats on the album. He’s an up-and-coming producer. My m an J-Rich. Umm, who else…Oh, my man Nasty, from Orlando, he did a joint for me that’s just crazy. Carlisle did the “Whistle” joint, and my man Neo did the “Mic Check” record.

SoundSlam: Okay, yeah, let’s rap about those two lead singles. What type of feedback and buzz have you been getting from “There It Go (The Whistle Song)” and “Mic Check”?

Juelz: I been getting a great feedback. I mean, it’s just been tremendous, especially since those two are both different records for me. So, I kinda wanted to get the feedback. “Mic Check” I knew was a crazy record, but it was different. It wasn’t really like a sample record or anything. But that was the one where I got the most response. When I played that record on the radio, I swear, my phone rang for about 20 minutes straight. I mean, people from New York, to Philly, to Baltimore. Every person was like ‘yo, what the f*ck just happened up there?’, haha.

SoundSlam: Yeah, I know. That track is ridiculous.

Juelz: And the “Whistle” record had just about as big of a response, but because it was a different record for me. It was not the norm for Juelz, but it wasn’t like a reaching record for me. It wasn’t like a super-pop record. That’s like how I get down if I were to go to a club and start talkin’ to a chick, like “damn, shorty look good and I’m thinkin’ bout gettin’ at her.” It’s not like me bein’ like “Eh baby, we’re together” or none of that. It’s still me being me, but just something a little different. People don’t wanna see the same-same thing. They still wanna see you be you though. They don’t want to be like “man, he just went out to left field with that one.”

SoundSlam: What about the rest of the record? How do those joints compare to the other tracks on the album?

Juelz: The whole album is just like a balance. I just feel like the balance is just crazy on this album. Just the way the songs play into each other, there’s no one zone for this album, but it’s also not just all over the place. It moves like a day. You know, a day can go through and take you through different moods. Sometimes you’re partying and sometimes you’re talking about just regular, real life sh*t. Sometimes you’re just lettin’ n*gg*s know how much you mean to the game… all that. It’s just different sh*t. It’s pretty much like an in-your-face album, like “right there… this is what it is!”

SoundSlam: Now, you’re still putting out mixtapes aren’t you?

Juelz: Yeah, I got another mixtape comin’ out before my album. It’s called “Fiend Out” and it’ll be out the first of next month.

SoundSlam: Now, how has that impacted you because you’ve obviously supported that whole mixtape industry even though some people are trying to keep it shut down, in a certain sense. How has that impacted your career? Would you be where you are without the mixtape industry?

Juelz: No way…it is my career. No career without mixtapes. I wouldn’t be a priority up here at Def Jam. I would’ve had to have left Def Jam if it wasn’t for mixtapes. Not because it’s a bad thing, but just because I wouldn’t have been a priority and I wouldn’t have gotten that attention on myself, you understand, from the mixtapes, from paying for videos myself, from doing sh*t like that, I don’t think they ever would’ve really gotten the full understanding of how much I meant to the game. How much I was really effective out there.

SoundSlam: What do you think the future of the whole mixtape scene is with the government going in and chopping down some stores and all of that?

Juelz: I mean, like I said, my mixtapes are different. Some people use mixtapes to get money, have the stores sell them, whatever, but you can still give mixtapes away. They just don’t want stores sellin’ ‘em. So, my mixtapes are strictly free. That’s why we are Diplomats. We put out enough physical music for you not to have to bootleg or sample our albums. I mean, I don’t want no money back for my mixtapes. I do mixtapes like they’re albums and I put real, whole songs on my mixtapes and I give them to people. You can have that. I put in all the money and all the work, pay for the cd’s to get printed up, all of that for promotions. That’s like my gift for myself, I’m like “here”…I don’t want nothing back from that. That’s why I feel like when my album come out, at least do me a favor and do me the honor of payin’ for that because I give away a lot of free music.

SoundSlam: Yeah, it’s great promotion, for sure.

Juelz: Like, this mixtape that I’m about to put out, it has 24 joints on it… it’s called “Fiend Out” and 15 of them are full songs that didn’t make my album. Like I said earlier, I built my own studio and I did 160 songs and if I don’t put this music out, it’s just gonna get old to the point that I don’t want to use it. And I keep makin’ new music everyday and the old music, it’s like I don’t be liking it like that no more, you understand. So I gotta put it out. People may think that I leaked my album or something, but I didn’t… it’s all different material.

SoundSlam: Yeah, it sounds like you’re doing it the right way because a lot of people leave all the extra music just catalogued in the vaults, never to be heard ever again.

Juelz: I realize how hard it is to survive in this game right now and there’s sometimes a lot of extra sh*t you gotta do.

SoundSlam: Are you making any moves outside of the music industry?

Juelz: Yeah, I got my own clothing line coming out real soon. It’s called the “Z-line” and it’s backed by Johnny Hansen and that’ll be out real soon. SoundSlam: Real soon is how soon?

Juelz: The fall, yeah, the fall it’ll be out…I’m really big on me stamping and solidifying my music so that I have that base. N*gg*s know me, but you really gotta have that base, and I want that to be there. I want people to know me for who I am, and what I’m about before I start doing everything else. For instance, if Jay Z were to do a movie right now and play a cop, it wouldn’t take away from his career. So, where a n*gg* who just did his first album and you don’t really know that much about him, if he went and did that, it could effect your career, People don’t even know…they could really think you’re a cop…and your albums portray who you are and you have to give them that first perception of you. They’ll be like ‘what are you?’ and that’s what I’m doin’ with my music and trying to get across with my music. Then, after I’ve handled that, I can branch off and start doing movies or other sh*t, but you have to have that base. And my base is my music.

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