Junior MAFIA: After Lil Kim, Puff & BIG
Talk about this Riot Musik.
Cease: The album is good. Its just a statement. We aint do an album since 95 as far as group wise. I felt it was the right time and situation to put it together. We got with a good company, Mega Media, an independent company. $6 a record. I felt like it was a right time to put this record out with all the miscellaneous bullshit going on. This is the best album of the year. I kid you not. I think the music is good. Just try to do something different. Everybody just too busy beefing with each other. Nobodys focusing on making good music. And thats what Riot Musik is about.
Klept: Basically, we wanted to show people that even though we aint been around, our stuff is still current. Our single, Just Us explains how we did this on our own, with no help from Puff or Kim. We had to build from the ground up. We did a song with Bun B from UGK, Prodigy, Method Man, Jadakiss.
How did you pick the artists for the collabos?
Cease: Those are just more home boys. Kiss is just a person I speak to all day every day. We got a friendship thats off the radar. Same with Prodigy. Same with Method Man. Memphis Bleek. Beanie Sigel. Bun B from UGK. Peedi Crakk. They were friends of mine before anything. Once they knew I was working, they wanted to put something down. Collabos is ill. The album is crazy.
Howd you hook up with your label, Mega Media?
Klept: Mega Media is a new independent label with distribution through Sony Red. We met them through the producer Minnesota. He does a lot of stuff for Mos Def. We got a 50/50 split. And they gave us a little money upfront. If we sell a certain amount of records, its a good look. We put out the Chronicles DVD and we sold 200,00 copies through Ground Zero. We got a name.
Howd that DVD project come about?
Cease: I hooked up with the Ground Zero company. I saw a DVD on U-God. So I thought I wanted to do one. I wanted to talk about things. I was a hush puppy about a lot of things. People always want to know why I never signed to Puff? What happened with Kims situation? What happened with Big and Pac? So I thought let me just throw it all out there at one time. At the end of the day, I profited from of it. People have been profiting off my stories and situations. You know what, people want to hear my story, they got to pay for it. Im doing Chronicles Pt. 2: The Case. Uncensored, raw. Coming out in August. Its all a business.
OK, so lets talk about Kim and the trial.
Klept: Kim made a mistake and unfortunately, tried to slander our name in the mix with it. Probably because of a disagreement or problem she had with Cease and Bang and them. They tried to say that Cease and Bang snitched. But they didnt snitch because Kim didnt shoot nobody. She didnt do nothing. All she did was lie and say she didnt know two people who are in her video. One executive-produced Ceases album. Even if they didnt testify at all, she still would have been found guilty. Even if nobody said nothing but her, she still would have been found guilty. They had everybodys phone tapped, surveillance photos. They knew what they wanted to know. They want you to lie so they can lock you up. She fell into that trap. I hope when shes sentenced, theres no jail time. But they might try to make an example of her.
Cease: Its good promotion. That shit aint about nothing. Real people know what really went down with that case. As far as people saying I was telling, I was doing this and that. There wasnt nothing to tell on Kim about. Kim aint do nothing. She aint kick, she aint bite nobody. She didnt do nothing for me to tell on her about nothing. She just eased her way into something she didnt know how to get her way out of. Its just that simple. Sometimes art imitate life. We talk about some of these things in our raps, so when these She got caught in a lie. Thats what youre locked up for. She gotta handle it. Its a sad thing. I aint happy about it. I damn sure aint happy about it no matter what we been through or what our relationship was at the moment. But when things come around, you got to know how to handle it. She put herself in that situation. She dragged that case along and dragged all of us in that situation. How you on trial and you didnt do shit? If they see they can outsmart you and play you, thats what they did to her. She fell right into it. She had the opportunity to holla at me and speak to me but she made it her business not to talk to me. And I cant focus on how she feels about me because at this moment I dont care how she feels about me. I reached my hand out there, she didnt accept me as a friend no more, I left it at that. I got to keep it moving. I got family to feed, dudes to take care of, my life to lead. Its sad thing cause nobody there taking her back right now. Everybody sit there and let her take this shit to trial and get 20 years. All those opportunists around her. Theyre only around for that money. She goes to jail all those motherfuckers going to scatter around looking for shit. Because its over now. I think thats the reality check for her. Everybody goes through things. I think she was just doing that to buy love because everyone was crushing her ass because of all that shit she did to herself. She said I got to do something to gain all these people back. Im going to keep it gangsta. She kept it dumb. That wasnt gangsta. All she had to say was she didnt see nothing. She went up there acting like she was doing an interview for a magazine. In her testimony she was talking about Im the sexiest rapper. I dont like Foxy. Well, you gave them a good motive to convict your ass right there. You got to think and be smart. This shit is serious. People gotta understand you are in control of your life. You can be how you want to be. She thought she was smart. She did what she did and I respect her for that. There could be 1,000 people telling her dont go that way, and shell go that way. I respect that about her. But every time you do that it wont always be the right move.
What does Junior MAFIA mean to you?
Klept: It was Bigs brain child. He wanted to comprise a group that could rap. I met him at the Grammys after party at The Tunnel. I heard he was looking for artists. I stepped to him in the club, kicked some lyrics for him and he was feeling it, and we just took it from there. But it was bugged I was from two blocks from where he lived, St. James and Fulton. I was from Clinton and Fulton. Basically Cease, Chico, Nino, Bugs, Capone, they all grew up there. Antwon and Trife was around there. He pulled them in. Big pulled me in. Big met Kim and was feeling her. We all bonded.
Cease: Junior MAFIA means Big. This was something that none of us planned. It was Bigs plan. Big put the whole Junior MAFIA together. He had that plan. He said Im going to scoop these little niggas up, put them in my circle and make them successful. Til this day none of us can bring nobody into the MAFIA or take nobody out. Big put us nine people here for a reason. I will never break that chain. We are the legacy thats going to keep Big alive. Im trying to do something positive. Stay off the streets. We got to cherish this game. We dont appreciate this shit. If it wasnt for rap, there would be a lot more niggas in jail. A lot more niggas dead. On street corners. Every nigga that get a deal, take about 30 niggas with him. And we sitting there acting like this shit need us. Were f**king up the game. This is the best game in the world. I aint trying to do nothing else but music.
Talk about the early MAFIA days.
Klept: We were signed with Undeas first. That was Bigs partner. Conspiracy was the first album. It did good. It went Platinum. But Un was mixing emotions with business. So we never got to go to that level we were supposed to. After Big passed, Kims album came out. She started Queen Bee Records and put out Ceases album. Living around her, everybody had their differences. Everything went haywire.
Cease, didnt you almost sign to Memphis Bleeks Get Low Records?
I was going to sign with Get Low. I was still stuck in the deal with Kim. I was off Atlantic, but Queen Bee had me. But if she saw that Roc-A-Fella was trying to holla, she would have asked for a couple mill. She didnt want that. That was making me bitter. No matter what we been through I wouldnt want to see her broke. But she was trying to hold my paperwork and hold me hostage. I didnt like that. I was trying to get lawyers. So I built a new plan. And plus Roc was trying to sign me as a solo artist, so I fell back. We still cool peoples. I didnt want to mess up my relationship with Jig. Once you do that business thing, you can wreck the friendship. What if my album didnt do well? Or he might not think my shit is tight? If Im ever f**ked up, hell come through. So I said lets leave the business alone. You never know what could happen. Thats like my second family. I did Paper Soldiers. I did a part in State Property II. I did two joints on Bleeks album.
You have some Big verses on this album.
Cease:They are just some verses I had. When he died, I kept a few of his joints in a hidden safe for when it was the right time to bring them out. Whats a MAFIA album without Big on it? We still going through the work now though cause Puff aint try to put his stamp on it. Hes acting real funny now. Were going to try to make it happen though. So hopefully, you should hear it on the album and if not, youll know why.
Any funny Big stories?
Klept: Big was a cool cat. He would call bullshit weed the Gangstarr. It all happened one time we were in the club and we ran into Gangstarr. He was twisting up some weed. Thats my dude. He cool. We in the club and we chillin. He passed the blunt to us. That had to be one of the Top 10 worst blunts we smoked. Now we say, Thats not the Gangstarr.
So whats up with the other Junior MAFIA members?
Klept: Everybodys passionate. None of the doors is closed. We all still speak. This is the first leg. We just the first three up to bat. Trife got married, became a preacher. Everybody is on this album though, except Kim.
Cease: Its still the same members. Were the three reps right now. Nino, Chico, Bugs. The only one not in the MAFIA right now is Kim. Were just leading the way. Three or four dudes dont rap. They never did, but they still there.
What are some of the things youve learned about this business?
Cease: When you get these big budget deals, its all accountable for. All that moneys recoupable. If you dont make it back, theyre going to drop your ass. Everything is business. Before I didnt stress that. I was 13, 14, 15. Now Im 27. Everythings about money. I manage myself. Call my cell phone. Ill set it up. You got to hustle. People only respect business. Everything aint about the love. We got Mafioso Apparel coming out at the end of this year. Eyewear. Another DVD. I got another solo album dropping in November. Were releasing another MAFIA album. We had 40 songs when we did our deal. Were going to put another album out before Christmas. I know how to handle it now. I aint got nobody to blame if it dont work. Now I got the opportunity to do things on my own. I got a chance to shine on my own. Im thirsty for that. Im sharp as a mosquitos needle. I know how to handle this game. Its going to show in the music. But you live off of experience. You learn from your mistakes.