Juelz Santana: The Dips' Youngest Gun
I call this the trilogy. The yellow Gold has yellow diamonds in it. The Platinum has white diamonds and the Rose Gold has pink diamonds. It explains everything going on in the jewelry game today, how it went from Gold to Platinum to Rose Gold, from regular diamonds to yellow to pink. I had one at first, bigger than these but I couldn't deal with the big thing.
What can people expect from your solo CD, From Me To You?
It's all me. I worked with Cam, of course. I worked with Jimmy [Jones]. But it's just a lot of me, putting my past life, my experiences and what I've been through and what I'm going through and where I want to be in life into my music and making the best out of it. Juelz and LeRon ain't too different. But people know Juelz and they don't know LeRon. But I'm still the same person cause I act the same. Nothing really changes me. I don't even think I'm a star.
You say you don't feel like a star but I've seen crowds go crazy over you.
I just did NYC's Puerto Rican Day Parade. It was beautiful. They showed me so much love. I was like Elvis out there. They had to run me off the float. Everyone was chasing me. Lately, I've been going to schools at 3 o'clock and standing outside and autographing posters and CDs. The kids be rushing me. It crazy. But I'm trying to stay focused and grounded. I'm trying to move forward because I know there's so much that I haven't done.
What are some of the things you talk about on your CD?
You know like on the Diplomats album, the song "Who Am I." My album is like that. It's me expressing my feelings, getting real deep. Like my grandmother has cancer. I got a song talking about that. I got songs talking about going through the struggle in the street in my way, then going through the struggle with Cam as far as getting off Epic, going to Roc-A-Fella, working hard to make the Diplomats famous. I always bring my mother up. She's always there for me. She's in my corner 100%.
Would you say you've had a hard life?
You know what it is? It's just the person I am. I feel like we as black people growing up in the hood, our lives kind of range in the same. Like I could say I've been in shoot outs and drug wars, but every rapper is going to tell you that because that's the life of a child in the ghetto growing up. So I don't feel like I gotta stress that. Yeah I did it. Everybody I know in the hood is doing it. Like if you're around a bunch of millionaires, it's nothing to be a millionaire. I'm around a bunch of drug dealers so it's nothing to be a drug dealer. So me stressing the fact that I'm a drug dealer is irrelevant. My life is the street life. What the streets are is what I am. But I'm going to bring it to you in my way. Like everybody's streets is different in their own way. But it all ranges in the same thing. That's why everybody's trying to get out of the hood. Death, jail or nothing. That's what it ends up.
What producers did you work with?
Heatmakers, Just Blaze, D.R. Period, Jimi Hendrix
Do you feel pressure repping the future of the Diplomats?
I used to but now I don't deal with pressure no more. I block pressure out. Pressure's not even in my vocabulary. It's like a rush to me to just go out and do it. It's anxiousness now.
You're the Vice President of Diplomat Records. What does that mean?
Right now the Diplomats and me are the only two signed to Diplomat Records so being the VP I make sure the artists are alright. So basically, I'm the artist. So I'm just taking care of myself and the people I love as far as the Diplomat thing.
What are the future plans for Diplomat Records and you?
We got artists J.R. Writer, Un Kasa, Hell Rell, a movie coming out "Come Home With Me." It's a documentary of all our lives. A coming of age of us. Like a 2003 "Streets Is Watching." Then I got my own clothing line, Dip Set apparel and a little store uptown on 151st and 152nd and Amsterdam called Santana's Town. I'm trying to do a lot right now. I'm trying to get rich fast.
How'd you hook up with Cam?
My brother and cousin were real close and my cousin was close with Cam. After a while Cam was doing his rap thing and my cousin told Cam I rap. Cam listened to me rap in car. I came down to the studio about a week later and ever since
Dip Set is pretty much repping Harlem these days.
We represent Harlem to the fullest. Harlem is where we from, where we at, where we going to be. Harlem is a beautiful thing. We need Harlem just as much as Harlem needs us. We give back to Harlem what we get from it.
Is there a special Dip Set slang?
Yeah, what's really good? We're crazy like that. Nobody understands us. It's not even slang. That's just Dip Set. You'd think we were retarded. We got streets words. What's poppin'? You on that peanut butter and jelly shit. That's like you frontin'.
Have you ever considered coming out with a slanguage dictionary like E-40?
That's our joint. But Pootie Tang stole it. We 'bout to come out with the Fleo talk. Fleotis