B.G. : Heroin & Cash
Originally known as the Baby Gangsta...B.G. grew up in the dangerous uptown section of New Orleans, among some of the most poverty-ridden areas of America. There he struggled to stay out of trouble and stay in school, yet thrived as a talented young rapper. Two ambitious entrepreneurs, Ronald "Slim" Williams and his brother Bryan "Baby" Williams, heard about the infamous Baby Gangsta and soon signed him to their infantile Cash Money label. After many hits and trials and tribulations...including a departure from Cash Money...the ex-Cash Money member talks about his heroin addiction, shady record deals and the making of his ninth album.
How were you feeling when you recorded The Heart Of Tha Streetz?
Same feeling when I go to do any other album. At first, I didnt really want to do the album because I aint feel as though my situation with Koch was how I wanted it to be. So when I started off, I didnt really want to do it. But when I got into the studio and got into it, you know
Who were the producers that you worked with?
A lot of the same producers as on the Life After Ca$h Money album. I worked with Smurf. He did the first single, Where Da At. KLC, Daniel who produced the Slow motion record, Hush. I worked with a lot of different people. I wanted a lot of different flavor on it.
What are some of the things you talk about?
Basically, I cant talk about my whole life in one album. You know me, I still be in the streets. I still see whats going on, the struggle. I still be harassed by the cops. I still got situations Im dealing with so when I rap, I basically rap for the streets. As long as I make the streets happy, Im happy. People who listen to my music, I rap what they could feel and what they expect they can hear from me. Thats the foundation I laid since day one. Being street and being gangsta and telling it how it is. Thats what the album is about.
You still live in the hood?
Nah. I was fortunate enough to move out the hood when I started getting money. I still go in the hood. I may stay with the doctors and the lawyers and where the judges live, but I cant hang out there all day every day. I sleep home, but once I wake up, I go out and just hang.
Talk about the New Orleans hip-hop scene.
I was with Cash Money my whole life, my whole career. When I was there, I brought the streets with me. So when I left, I took the streets with me. Its a small city. Everybody knows everybody. In my situation, people took sides. When I left, I started Chopper City. You either Chopper City or you Cash Money. You got a few people who Cash Money but you got a majority of the city thats Chopper City. At one time it was all about Cash Money and No Limit as far as the world knew. But they had a whole lot of other labels doing they thing on the local level. Once all of us started branching off, Juve left and got UTP, I left and got Chopper City, you had Soulja Slim who had Cut Throat Committee. And then Juve and Slim both being out the Magnolia. People take sides. Me and Slim was running neck and neck. We was like brothers. At one time, Cash Money and No Limit wasnt seeing eye to eye. Slim used to be with No Limit and I ran with Cash Money, but me and Slim was always tight. We went to school together. We grew up together. When he left No Limit, I left Cash Money, it was Chopper City/Cut Throat but we clashed together. We were eating off the same plate. We all in the same gang. So really Cash Money and No Limit dont really exist if you come to New Orleans and really check. It aint about that no more.
What did you learn from your Cash Money experience?
That business is business and friendship is friendship. You cant mix business with pleasure. This game is like 90% business and 10% talent. You can have all the talent in the world but if you dont have your business right its a waste of time. If you dont got your business right it dont make no sense. I learned because when I was with Cash Money it was like one big family. All for one and one for all. We never went by black and white. We had words. We dealt with each other from a heart to heart basis. We werent even tripping off the money, but behind the scenes, it was like millions of dollars being made. The record company and the managers were all the same. Now that I left and Im doing my own thing, I learned thats a conflict of interest. Your manager is supposed to go to bat for you with the record company. When you got both of them working with the same titles, then your business is bound to get fucked up. What I learned is have your business right.
From what I know, it seems youve had to overcome some rough spots in your life.
I had a heroin addiction. I used to shoot heroin. I started getting loaded when I was 15-16. In July, it will be two years that Ive been clean. I got a son. He looks up to me and he respects me to the highest. My daddy got killed when I was 12 years old so my mom was stuck raising two boys by herself. When youre in the ghetto, in the hood, a single parent raising two boys its kind of hard on you. So the streets took me under, adopted me and I got caught up. The shit Ive been through, the shit Ive seen made me the man I am today. You got to go through stuff. Experience is the best teacher. I wouldnt trade my past for nothing. Im glad I went through it because it got me to where Im at. I feel like I overcame with faith and positive people around me. I got to be here for some reason because I should be in penitentiary or dead or something.
How did you feel when bling-bling was added to the Oxford Dictionary?
Really that wasnt even my type of the song was just on the album. When they wanted to go with that as the second single, I didnt want to. That aint me. I aint with all that flashy. But the game was hurting for something different. We came through with our own style. The song came out and took my album Platinum-plus. To us it was just something we came up with in the studio just fucking around. We started getting money and buying jewelry. Me and Fresh was in the studio and we was like, Man you blinging. And he said Nah, you bling-blinging. We just put it together.
The South is hot right now, and it seems you and Cash Money were at the forefront of this movement.
A lot of cats coming through the game now, taking what I did and doing it they way, like Young Buck and T.I. I like them. Thats my dawgs. I talk to them on a regular basis. They come after me, behind me. Even for a motherfucker like Scarface, who I come under, who I respect, who I look up to, when he reached down and say I respect you, you the man. I appreciate your music. When I got that, aint nobody else gotta respect me. Everybody in the game got respect for me and I respect them. They respect what I did, where Im at, where Ive been. It is what it is. They got the young cats coming in the game, telling they story and making money off of it.
Are you involved with other business ventures besides rap?
Yeah, cause this rap shit If you got your shit set up right, its a way for young black dudes to come out the hood. If its meant for you, its going to happen. They got a couple million record companies in the industry and all of them feel the same way: that they the next to blow. But if you dont work, you dont eat. And theres always someone who works harder than you. So you got to stay on your grind. Get what you can get out this game, and make those investments. If you got a fucked up situation, you could be selling a million records and not make $100,000. My situation, I aint gonna lie, when I first came here [to Koch] was fucked up. Ive been rapping since I was 13 years old. But half of the things and half of the money I got dont even come from rap. You gotta make sure your shit together.