Young Buck: You Must Love Me
After seemingly being left (and perhaps returned?) in the Hip Hop purgatory that was Cash Money Records post-Hot Boys, and being literally stranded in California when Juveniles UTP label folded, you couldn't blame Buck if he decided to ditch the whole rap mentor idea altogether. If you believe all of the rumors circulating, you probably think he has. Now, as he prepares his stable of artists for the launch of his own label, Cashville Records, Young Buck finds himself in the position of both leader and disciple. It's a delicate balancing act, but to hear him tell it, the dream is just now about to be realized.
HipHopDX: Since the last time we talked, you've launched a record label, a clothing line and a jewelry line. Are you worried about spreading yourself too thin?
Young Buck: Hell nah, man. Im trying to do more, straight up. I aint bullshittin. At the end of the day, Im trying to get Young Buck established. Im signed to G-Unit and Im down with The Unit. Im fully focused on everything I have to do as far as my obligations to my contract with G-Unit. But, as human beings were only getting older. And the older I get, the wiser I become. Its just about me reaching out and building this foundation.
DX: Another hustle I remember MTV was trying to get a Buck the World reality show started. What happened to that?
YB: I kind of put it off for a little bit, cause I was focusing on my music. Ive got a DVD that will be out in May. Its just a DVD of some cats that have been following me around for seven or eight months. Theres a lot of footage throughout it, and Ive never had a DVD on shelves. People can see my everyday life and things of that nature, so its worth looking out for. I thought it was a good idea to put the reality show off and focus on Cashville Records, being that my first release is April 1. My single will actually be up and running in a few weeks. Im trying to pick and see which one Im gonna go with. I got a lot going on and I think my fans, 50 Cents fans, Games fans, Eminems fans and Dr. Dres fans are all rooting for me.
DX: Youre coming off of a year where you experienced what almost every other artist didyou released an album that was received well by critics and fans, but didnt sell what you expected. What did you take away from that?
YB: I learned that you can have a good recordnot even just a good record; you could have a classic record, cause thats what I consider Buck the World and Straight Outta Cashville. Even though you may have this classic record, if everything isnt in place, as far as the marketing, sometimes you wont get as much as you planned on getting from a product. I learned about putting the business part in place. I recognize that Im delivering hit records with everything I do, so I got a little more focused on the business side. Marketing is a key situation.
I dont consider that album a loss at this point. Not by far. [Buck the World] is damn near gold, and my shows dont stop. Im booked up all this month, and Im constantly moving and performing. I look at everything as a stepping stone to get off into the next project. As long as my fans understand that my music is good, then there are some things that I cant control as a member of a crew. At the end of the day, my well-being at Interscope is [connected] with 50 Cent. His word is what counts when my solo record is in there, because Im signed to 50. Im signed to G-Unit, and Im only as strong as 50 is when it comes to my solo projects and dealing with Interscope because Im a part of a crew.
A lot of times people overlook it and Im like, Nigga I am still amongst a crew. I guess its because Im so much of my own man. Thats where Cashville Records comes in, because if Im not getting the full cooperation from Interscope, at least I can[laughs] If Im gone lose on anything, Id rather lose on my goddamn self, my nigga.
DX: As far as the handling of Buck the World, are you specifically referring to things like Fuck The Police being left off the album or I Know You Want Me being the lead single?
YB: Yeah, that shit right there, those things were out of my hands. Those were Jimmy Iovines decisions, and there were other people in power positions who made those decisions. When I say its out of my hands, the relationship of how the album gets marketed is established through 50 Cent dealing with Interscope. Very seldom am I a part of the meetings. I stay militant and loyal to 50 and his actions, and how he deals with Interscope.
Its a rough time too, as far as the economy goes, so I dont just put all of the blame off on Interscope. It wasnt just my product that didnt sell what was expected, it was everybody in the whole fuckin game. It was bad for the whole rap game, so it wasnt all Interscopes problem. But, I did feel there were a few things Interscope couldve done [better] as far as marketing my project.
DX: Anything in particular?
YB: You know, getting me a little better of a budget as far a videos and stuff. If you market me as well as you market your top selling artists, youll get some top selling shit. I got the fuckin hit records to go along with it. Im straight. I think Ive got that understood with Interscope, and they understand where Im at as an artist. Im moving forward, man.
DX: You brought up a good point with the economy and the declining sales. As the head of a label, are you looking to make changes based on that?
YB: Hell yeah! Im a smart nigga, you know that. I didnt want to take my [artists] to a major label and create a debt with where the economy is at. Say I dont go out and sell what is expected with my own label. Then Im in a similar situation like my own with Interscope, where I have a classic fuckin project and it doesnt get what it deserves.
What I did was get a deal for myself wheretrust me, manevery 100,000 records I sell is a million dollars. I dont play when I sit down at the table for any kind of meeting. Im straight. Im good. And shout out to Sony Red for seeing me eye-to-eye. They believed in Young Buck and didnt have no problem with cutting me that type of deal. They understand that I understand where the game is at. Its just about hustling and not getting hustled.
I was humble a lot dealing with this shit, because Im thankful to come from where I came from and be in the position where Im at. I let certain shit fly, because a nigga is just that humble, and I respect where Ive come from. But, in business and dealing with these mutherfuckin folks, they aint understanding none of that. So, its just about putting your foot down a little bit, and walking out with everyone at least satisfied. Thats what I did when I dealt with Sony Red. I was like, Nah yall cant run that shit on me. I already know, so this is the way its gonna go. You can either fuck with it or not. And, if not, let me know so I can keep on moving. At the end of the day they fucked with me, so, here we go.
DX: As you expand the brand, sometimes it seems like too much for Nashville to handle. The Let Me In video almost got shut down and people started wilding out at your birthday party.
YB: Thats the thing, because I always get that support at home. Ill have ups and downs just like any other mutherfucker has dealing with home. But, for the most part, my home has always supported me from day one. I always feel if you dont have your city behind you, then you aint got shit. I deal with some bullshit, but when youre a street nigga you have to deal with a lot of bullshit. When youre out of that atmosphere and youre still in it, you become vulnerable.
Like I said though, the older I get, the wiser I become. Im learning from my mistakes, and at home my shit has always been genuine. These people understand what the fuck I come from, what Im talking about, where I used to hustle that shit at and some more shit. They fucks with it all the way at home, and I cant do shit without Cashville.
DX: This has the potential to make your name synonymous with Nashville the same way Dres is with Compton or Jay-Zs is with Brooklyn.
YB: Thats beautiful. Now my biggest focus is to make it where you think about Nashville and you think about 615, Sosa the Thug, Allstar, The Outlawz and C-Bo. Thats my thing. I was born out on the North side of Nashville, and pretty much raised on the South side. But, you always hear me represent Cashville all at once. Im only one that made it out of a whole bunch. Theres a whole lot more Young Bucks in this motherfucker, and I just want to represent us as a whole. That way the next man, who is just as good or better than me, can come behind me and do his thing.
DX: Given your background, and the time youve spent watching 50 make deals, how much of that do you take to the negotiating table?
YB: Ill tell you on some real shit. Im just the first one. 50 told me, Yayo, Banks and everybody else to get out here and create our own. He always said, I wanna see whos gonna be my star. I always took that to mean, Whos gonna go out here and be successful without 50 Cent? Im just the first one who chose to make the attempt. And, Im down with my nigga, so dont get it twisted. But, Im out here going hard for Cashville Records and my goddamn self. Its brand new. Its a brand new label, brand new music, brand new every fuckin thing.
DX: G-Unit has been criticized for being too formulaic. What separates this Product of the South album from the previous stuff?
YB: This is totally different than what youve been getting from me with G-Unit. If I had to label what Cashville Records brings to the table, Id call it ghetto gospel. We make records for the club. We make hits that will spin on the radio just as much as any other record would. But, our strong point is speaking about the struggle to those people still in it and the ones who already made it out. Thats what we all come from. C-Bo, The Outlawz and the other artists Ive signed are people I listened to. Im their fans, so you can imagine what having them on my team is doing for my confidence. Im through the roof with Cashville Records, and it aint a soul out here than can fuck with us.
DX: Youve gone on record as being a big 2Pac fan, and he was a fan of C-Bo and a mentor to The Outlawz. How much did that play into you signing them?
YB: A lot of people dont know that when Pac was living, he had a family member, I think he was his cousin, named Kenny Black. Back when I was a young boy grinding in the streets, I was in Atlanta at the time. This nigga Kenny Black ran up on me like, Yo, nigga you a Outlaw! I was young, so I didnt know what the fuck he was talking about. But he kept on with it like, You one of us, nigga. You gone see what Im talking about. Im Pacs cousin. He was a real loud nigga, and I was like, Alright my nigga, I hear you. I was with Juvenile and UTP at the time, but I had always been a fan of Pac. I had came through that Death Row circle at a point in time, so Im squared up with Suge [Knight]. Suge know how Buck get down. He knows me from the streets to the beats and some more shit. When the shit happened from that angle, he was always pushing that line.
C-Bo was one of the first artists to get down with me. We used to fuck with each other in the streets. Once I started to establish my shit with Cashville Records, he was the first to actually sign a contract with my label. Once he signed, he was like, Yo, my nigga, The Outlawz are really loving what were doing. They really want to be a part of it. Im going, What? Lets do it. I ended up getting with E.D.I. and Young Noble and Im telling them, When I was a little boy, this nigga was always running up on me popping shit, saying I was an Outlaw and Id see what he meant later on in life. That nigga really did end up being 2Pacs first cousin, and they called Kenny Black up on the phone. We ended up having a little family reunion.
DX: So this isnt a novelty thing, and there really is a connection between you all?
YB: This shit is Gods plan, my nigga! This aint no shit where I just woke up as a fan of Tupac Shakur and said, Fuck it. Let me run and go get The Outlawz and C-Bo. Nah, Ive been fuckin with them for a minute, and shit is just unfolding this way. One thing about Gods plan is that you cant stop it. No man on Earth can stop Gods plan. So were taking that shit, the good and the bad, and rocking. It aint shit that can stop menot 50 Cent, not nothing. 50 is down with me. A lot of people get that shit twisted, but I just rock on. Thats the only thing I can do because theres so many rumors out there. Im still sitting on a phone call from 50 to let me know when were moving with the G-Unit album.
DX: As you said there are a lot of rumors. Do you feel like addressing those?
YB: Yeah, its cool.
DX: What happened with your chain allegedly getting taken from you?
YB: I aint gonna act like it wasnt a situation that didnt happen. It happened. I got into an altercation at a club down here called The Place, and the altercation was actually with some cats that I know. Now, during the altercation, my watch popped off my wrist and one of the cats also reached over and snatched my chain. Ill just put it this wayat the end of the day my watch just jumped back on my wrist. My chain just fell out of nowhere and landed right back in my hands and shit. Ill just be real. Shit happens out here, but its all about how you handle it. As far as anybody taking anything from me? Hell no. My watch is here right now, my chain is on my neck and the Bentley is in the driveway.
DX: Given the politics of the game, what do take away from a situation such as DJ Khaled refusing to play G-Unit records or the now resolved incident with The Core DJs?
YB: It is what it is. That was 07 and this is 08. As a matter-of-fact, this is not 08, its dough-eight. Everyone is focused on doing better for themselves. By not playing a Young Buck record or not playing a G-Unit record, who are you hurting other than yourself? There are people out there that actually like me and like G-Unit. As far as The Core DJs, we already resolved that issue. Shout out to Tony Neal and the cat that the incident was with too. We sat down like men and worked it out and got an understanding. He understood that my involvement with that situation wasnt as deep as he thought. He spoke his side, I respected everything he had to say, and we moved on.
At the time it happened, it caused a backlash with a lot of deejays, because they are the core to the success of an artist. If theres a situation where a deejay feels hes wrongfully targeted for playing a record, then I expect for other deejays to feel salty. But, once the truth got out there and it was all resolved, then I think a lot of deejays realized what really went down. It got resolved in a good manner, and thats why Im moving on to dough-eight. Ive got the support of every deejay in the world right now, and Im not trying to lose that shit. I dont need no incidents, so I try to stay away from the bullshit and focus on making this real fuckin music.
DX: What about the whole situation with you going at Wayne and Trina?
YB: I moved on from all of that old shit. Honestly, at the time it was fun and that was all good, but this is dough-eight and Im on some get money shit. Shout out to Trina and Wayne. I wish them the best and all that good shit, but Im Cashville Records all day.
Other than that, Im getting to it. Im standing tall, I cut my braids off, and the bitches are loving me even more. Ive got movie roles out of the fuckin world. Man, do you know I wake up everyday with 1,000 deejay e-mails? All the deejays can hit me up with an e-mail to email@example.com. Send me a drop list with your name and all that good shit, and I'm on you. This is dough-eight, and I dont give a fuck no more! I dont give a fuck about nothing. Thats what Im telling niggas. The next time you see me on a fuckin TV screen, just understand me, its the same individual, but he just dont give a fuckstraight up and down. Rock with me, cause this is the part where it gets interesting. This is where they get in line and pay close attention to Buck cause Buck letting them know like, Look, Im my own man, and Im going to get me. So, either rock with me or rock without me, but either way Im gonna win. Shout out to the niggas that are so-called enemies. I dont consider none of the situations beef, because Ive got a brand new label. Fuck with it. Aint this the way Im supposed to be moving? Im just asking honestly, what do you think?
DX: You cant sit around and wait on someone else to put money in your pocket.
YB: I feel like that. Im supposed to be the nigga thats out here getting mine, right?
DX: Yeah, you cant keep doing the same thing.
YB: Goddamn right, you cant do that. Im knowing the average opinion is that this is what Im supposed to be doing. And before I feel that Im doing anything wrong, because sometimes I feel like the support aint there as strong as it should be from 50 Cent, or shit like that, I just know my homeboy is out there getting his on. Hes focused on 50, so Im focused on Buck. You know what Im saying?
DX: Sure. Aside from that, how do you think the game has changed since you started?
YB: Back then it was more about hustling to make the dream happen. The dream has happened, so now Im dealing with the dream. As far as back then, artists were a little bit more loyal to their situations. Right now I feel like theres so many different varieties of music, that a lot of what I call "reality rap" is getting overshadowed. No disrespect to Soulja Boy, because I actually like what he does. Its the same thing with Lil Mama, and everybody making records for the kids.
We need a mixture of that, because Hip Hop is supposed to be a mixture of everything. But, I dont think we need so much of it that people forget half of the people where I come from dont even have cable to see Soulja Boy do his dance. Were forgetting that tax time is right around the fuckin corner. Were forgetting that Bush is gone kill us all if we dont get his punk ass out of office. We forget about all this type of shit, and its all good. But, Im going hard to make that presence felt again.
DX: So the braids are gone, but its still Buck Marley?
YB: Yeah, you do know that.
DX: Well, since you mentioned Bush, I have to ask you about the upcoming election.
YB: You do know that [Barack] Obama is my nigga. You put that in big black letters, Obama. Thats my nigga, so go vote for him.