40 Cal: The Rising Up

posted August 11, 2008 12:00:00 AM CDT | 31 comments

Of course when you think of the name Dipset in your mind, what first comes together is mostly Camron, Jim Jones, and Juelz Santana. Though those dudes was the three-headed monster forefront of the Dipset movement, the Harlemites had enough ammo to shoot their way to the top with their loyal soldiers. Hell Rell, JR Writer, and 40 Cal all through the times when the Dips were in full command with their strong presence in the New York rap game always was prepared for battle. With the hottest mixtapes in the streets, branding a style that was swagger jacked at the highest level, Dipset was indeed in the streets and gained the respect from many. But as they say nothing last forever and slowly, but surely it seems the once strong band of brothers is now disbanding.

Always riding with the Dips, but still managing to grind heavy in his own way 40 Cal keeps it coming. If you followed the series of mixtapes such as Broken Safety and Trigger Happy the fierce spitting metaphorical lyricist can make sure he keeps it coming. Just now releasing the new project Mooga, 40 comes out this time around to show he can give it to you all in every style possible.

HipHopDX: 40 Cal whats good its been a minute since we talked and I think the last time was when you dropped Broken Safety 2, right?
40 Cal:
Yeah.

DX: So whats been going on since that whole time, because that was back in September?
40 Cal:
You know just staying afloat dropping mixtapes. You know after I dropped Broken Safety 2, I dropped Trigger Happy and a joint called The Yellow Tape.

DX: So how have you maintained your grind to keep coming with the successful mixtapes to keep your name out?
40 Cal:
Im a studio junkie, so I stay in the studio making tracks. So instead of releasing everything for free, I do little deals for them and get it to the public.

DX: So let me ask you, how is your current situation with a label as an artist right now?
40 Cal:
Its all good, everything is cool. The market is not as good as it used to be a year ago, because you know how the climate changes. Everything is cool, it could be better, Im a say.

DX: So are you still down with Koch Records?
40 Cal:
Im not, I just did a one offer deal with them. A lot of people dont know a one offer is just like one album. One project and you done, thats it.

DX: So when you put out that last project with Koch, was it a test-market to see how far it could go as an artist?
40 Cal:
Nah, cause all my deals I do is what you call one offer. I dont like to be obligated to no one. I just want to do whatever we do and if it works out I would take the opportunity to put out a project on the same label. I just do a lot of one offers like I did one with Koch, then maybe next could be Aftermath, or whatever. As opposed to a three-to-five year deal, my chances are better with these little mixtape deals I do.

DX: A lot of artist that sign major label deals would sign for some longevity with lets say the two, three, four, album deals. Like you said you do one offer where you put out something to see how it go, then you fall back then jump somewhere else. What is the big advantage doing what you do?
40 Cal:
The biggest advantage is not being obligated. Look at Diplomat Records, what makes us different from everyone else is we on the only crew that got different labels up under us and everybody got their own lane. Like Juelz [Santana] [click to read] is at Def Jam, Hell Rell and JR Writer [click to read] is at Babygrande, [Cam'ron] is with Asylum. Look at another label lets say G-Unit. They are all on the same label, they are all under Interscope right?

DX: Right.
40 Cal:
They would have to wait behind each other before all of them drop. Like they just dropped the G-Unit [click to read] [T.O.S.] [click to read] album then maybe Lloyd Banks [click to read] comes out next. Then after Banks comes out, someone else on the label is next, but they would have to wait. They space is like two or three months apart. As opposed to us we all on different labels so we dont have the same marketing from the same label. We could drop a Cam today, then next week JR Writer would be dropping a joint, then Hell Rell and so on and so on. We at different labels with leverage so we drop when we feel like it. If we was all on the same label it wouldnt be like that, because they might tell us, Nah this album just came out, fall back, let us do some promotions, Me doing these one-offs, Im in a situation where I can do whatever I want.

DX: Yeah, your right because Hell Rell just came out with the Black Mask, Black Gloves album.
40 Cal:
Right and I came out right after him. Its funny that its set up like that and we not even on the same label.

DX: Did you learn most of that being under the wing of Camron. I read one interview in which Cam said he dont sign long term deals.
40 Cal:
Yeah, I got a lot of things from messing with Killa. The first thing he taught us is go get that money and I call it Mooga. A lot of people in this game act like money aint important, but at the end of the day, thats what makes the world go 'round. The first thing you gotta do is get that money and put yourself in a situation where you gotta get more money. A lot of labels want you to sign these three-to-five year deals and you stuck. A lot of these artist are just trying to get on and they dont know no better. They just want to get on and think they getting a big check whatever the case maybe, whatever.

DX: Thats whats up Cam told y'all to go get that money, you remember the first time we talked in 06 and I asked you one question. The question was would you rather be more rich or more famous, so I see you want to be more rich, so thats still the case huh?
40 Cal:
Yeah, because it aint nothing worse than a famous broke nigga. [Laughs]! I was reading a Remy Ma [click to read] interview and she said something like that, I agree 100%. I rather be rich and not nobody no me then be famous and broke. At the end of the day you can go to McDonalds and be like, Oh thats 40 Cal the rapper, I used to buy his album. [Laughs] Its nothing like famous broke people.

DX: Ill take that route too, I think anybody from the hood would take that. [Laughs]
40 Cal:
Yeah, its crazy. Its a bunch of people running around, you know them from TV, they got a lot of fame, but the money doesnt equal up to it.

DX: Like they say man, these dudes be pump-fakin. They got all this jewelry, but they not even worth all that.
40 Cal:
Yeah.

DX: Lets talk about your music. A lot of dudes when they hear your music they put you in the category of a Street, Punchline rapper. You do spit some hot rhymes with the crazy metaphors you put out. How is that an advantage being artist?
40 Cal:
For me, it just gives my fan-base more to feel and more to decipher from. Im opposed to being a regular dude when all you hear is regular raps. [Laughs] When you in the rap game its different levels you can go to. You can be the dude that just rap regular like lets say Plies [click to read]. Not to take nothing from him, but hes not a real lyrical dude. Then you got Papoose who is a real lyrical dude. The whole point is whatever is your lane, take that lane. The whole punchline battle thing, thats what my fans like to hear, my thing is clever spitting.

DX: Right, its kind of like how you said in one line Y'all niggas like 14 days, two weak for me.
40 Cal:
Yeah, its something to make you think like, Damn you heard what he just said!

DX: A lot of critics would throw you in this category and compare you along with Papoose, Cassidy, Hell Rell, JR Writer. They say the disadvantage with punchline rappers is that y'all cant make good radio songs. Do you agree with that?
40 Cal:
Yes and no. I know what category they put me in, Im in that shoot em, bang, bang category. As far as radio songs I dont think thats the case, I think that We the shoot em up, bang, bang artist is just not popping right now. I call that genre the DMX of the game. When DMX first came out, it was all shoot em up, bang, bang. When 50 Cent came out he kind of brought that back. There is other ways to do it you know, you can Ja Rule [click to read] or the other do it the other way. I have different theories of ways to do the game. The whole myth about punchline rappers is that we cant make songs.

DX: Cassidy showed that y'all can make hot songs.
40 Cal:
Exactly, but I dont really consider Cassidy [click to read] a battle rapper.

DX: Why not?
40 Cal:
Because truthfully he only had one battle [against Freeway]. I mean that I know of, I only know one battle that he had and it was a big battle. I had like eight-to-10 battles.

DX: We talked about that before when I asked you do you think you stand a chance against Cassidy. So what you think right now two years later since that conversation?
40 Cal:
Truthfully, I dont think nobody is messing with me. People that know my music know the truth to that. I keep it 100 with my comments and opinions. I feel that the dude is nice, but honestly he aint spitting like he used to spit. I dont know if it was the car accident or whatever. I just noticed he aint as hard as he used to spit.

DX: I wouldnt say he got one battle, he just has one thats well known.
40 Cal:
Thats what I mean, I never heard of any other battles. He just had that one well known one and in his case thats all it took.

DX: How does 40 Cal create his own individuality different from dudes like Papoose, Cassidy, and the others.
40 Cal:
I can go in any lane. On my new project Mooga, I go in different lanes. I can go back-pack lane without putting a back-pack on, I can go concept on them and still keep my street swag. I can go club without trying to play myself. I can do everything, I just want to show everybody Im a all around triple-double rapper. Like on this new album Mooga I did a song called Cuarenta a Spanish joint. They can play that in a Reggaeton and Hip Hop atmosphere. That what makes me different from all the other dudes, the other dudes is just one lane.

DX: I was listening to the Mooga album about a half hour ago. You have a track with JR Writer called The Harlem Shuffle, what is that?
40 Cal:
Thats something we do, Im a introduce you to the dance a little later. Me and JR been getting it in for a long time. When I first got on the radio, Cam put me on with JR Writer and we been getting it in ever since. When I first got the beat it was like, Let me get JR on. I was like let me make this a little bit bigger than what it is.

DX: We all know your affiliation with Dipset. Though you always been down with them, it always seemed you separated yourself and had your own grinding going on so why was that?
40 Cal:
When I first started with rap I had my own crew called Skeme Team which was with my neighborhood and people I grew up with. Once I got down with Dipset, I never forgot my family. So it was like once I get on and open a lane for myself Im a look out for Skeme Team. At the end of the day, I always was taught to be your own boss and make a lane for all that was with me.

DX: Whats good with Jha Jha leaving Dipset?
40 Cal:
When I first heard about it, it was just one ear and out the other. It was like when I heard Jha Jha left it was like, So yeah, what we gonna order to eat today? I like Jha Jha, she is a real talented girl. I guess she felt she wasnt getting the right attention. Its hard to get the attention you need when you got a crew thats about 10 deep. That goes back to the question you asked me why we do these short term deals, because our crew is so big it allows you to hear everybody album every year. Im guaranteed to drop every year, I already dropped a project this year. Im tryna drop three projects this year.

DX: But whats good with the other members, Hell Rell, JR Writer, and Juelz. Whats your relationship with them?
40 Cal:
I spoke to all of them, I spoke to everyone, but Juelz recently. Thats, because Juelz been busy, I spoke to JR, I speak to Hell Rell all the time, Duke Da God [click to read]. I spoke to Killa last week. The relationship is still cool, but its not as good as it used to be. We not all in the same studio, its like that family act. A family that eats together says together, in the music industry a family that records together stays together.

DX: People was telling me like Yo, you talking to 40 today ask em whats good with Camron, where is he at, what he doing?
40 Cal:
The big homie is good when I be talking to him. I be asking like, Yo you know people want to know, but he beats me to the punch all the time. Im a tell you this though, he told me he had a mixtape coming out. I dont know what its called, when its dropping, but expect that first.

DX: Is Dipset still a movement as far as the New York City Hip Hop scene?
40 Cal:
We still a movement, we just got a couple difficulties over here. We all just human. Just from watching the music industry, I just see that this is regular stuff. Every crew had differences, every crew. The only crew I would say that didnt break up I would say The L.O.X., but I seen J-Hood drag that D-Block chain on em on the Internet. Every crew goes through it.

DX: [Laughs], How you feel about J-Hood doing that to D-Block though?
40 Cal:
I dont know, I dont know what really was the situation. Hood has been down with them for a minute and he has yet to drop a project. That could do that to a person I guess. I cant say I can relate to him, because I been in the game less years, and Im working on my sixth project. I can feel what hes talking about.

DX: [Laughs], Its like a lion in a cage when it finally got out it goes mad it didnt eat, so it goes crazy!
40 Cal:
Yeah, when you on a record label or part of a crew you got a choice. Like the Wu-Tang [Clan], this is my theory and I dont want nobody to think Im dissing them or no way. Its about eight or nine members in the Wu-Tang, right?

DX: Nine.
40 Cal:
You have the choice to be the Ghostface [click to read] dude or the Method Man dude thats on the forefront that everybody knows or you can be Masta Killa or U-God. At the end of the day, they know you from the crew, but its like your barely there. You dont really know that guy, every family and crew got that guy. I worked hard not to be the U-God [laughs], ya dig?

DX: It crazy, because I saw some news the other day on U-God where he was saying his life was in danger and people was after him, because he wanted his money.
40 Cal:
Yeah, I heard something that they owed him some money. He suing RZA [click to read] or somebody, its inevitable. Thats how it go down in the music industry. I dont know the situation, but from a fan perspective, I know you dont want to be the last dude on the bus.

DX: You know how it is in the hood when niggas feel like they getting disrespected when they only getting crumbs of the pie.
40 Cal:
Yeah! Thats how it is, exactly! I mean how can you not feel like that? Everybody wants to be the dude that when you step out everybody is chasing you, running you down, wanting the autograph, and pictures. Nobody wants to be the fifth Jackson member, I cant even name all the Jacksons. You dont want to be the Jackson where they have to go, Whats your name? You dont want to go "U-God, my name is U-God." [Laughs] No to be doing U-God dirty, Im just breaking down the point to people.

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