Cuban Link: Time To Shine
Whats been going on since October?
Weve been putting the plan in effect. The album was finished five months ago but we had to go back in and add some songs to it. I added Scandalous with Don Omar, thats the new single right now, the reggaeton one. There are actually two more cuts now and I took some cuts out. I made a mixtape, Man On Fire. Thats promotional, straight for the streets. Weve been coming into some obstacles as far as the radio in New York. Everywhere else is cool. But Scandalous opened up a lot of love for radio. It made our job a little easier. Still the urban radio is still giving us problems. Its a whole different politics involved with it. Plus, were a new label [M.O.B. Records] so the relationship is they look at us like rookies when were veterans. The label is brand-new so its expected. Its not just about money all the time. Everythings going good. Im excited.
Were you happy with the reception of your single, Sugar Daddy?
It could have opened more doors if it was played a little more. They loved it but its politics behind radio. DJs could love it but the program director has to hear it and approve it. We didnt get as much as we thought we was going to get as far as radio spins. The song was made for radio. Its radio-friendly. Its a lot of personal reasons I know it didnt happen. Its a lot of hate. But Scandalous did it for us. It took off because Spanish radio adapted it quicker. Thats the crossover reggaeton joint. The Mya joint should have gotten more play than it did. We tried. The people loved it. Girls loved it. But were still doing it. Were going to hit them again with Shortys Coming Home With Me featuring Avant.
How did you meet Big Pun and Triple Seis?
Seis introduced me to Pun. I was 19. He came to my window with this big dude one day, throwing rocks at my window like, 'yo, come down. Let's play some ball.' I met Moon Dog, that's what Pun was called at the time. We ran like five full courts. Pun wasn't that big at that time. He was like 250. He took me to the house. He kidnapped me for like a week. That's where it all started. Real friendship. Seis was always the advanced one. He was the one who took it serious. Seis was in a group called Young & Ruthless, so me and Pun made a lil' name up called Ruff & Rugged. After that, Young & Ruthless didn't work out so we picked Seis up. We became Full-A-Clips. That's when we took it serious because there was a guy backing us up that believed in us, Uncle B. We always had love for Fat Joe because he came from the same neighborhood. He was the dude that made it out of the neighborhood. We respected him. I knew the whole street side of TS from playing baseball, chillin' on the corner. Uncle B knew Fat Joe. So that connection came through there. Fat Joe heard us and liked us. He loved Pun. He decided to take Pun under his wing and put him out. In '95, Joe came out with Jealous Ones Envy and Pun was featured on "Watch Out." Joe took him under his wing. After that, it was a rap. Everybody fell in love with Pun. Besides being a friend, Pun was a great businessman. He said, 'don't worry about it. Ya'll with me.' He took us under his arm.
What did you learn from Pun?
I learned that there's a time to play and a time to do business. Respect is a big thing, and family values. Regardless of what you might have heard and seen, he was a family man. He loved his family deep in his heart.
What went wrong with Terror Squad?
I think selfishness for each individual. And greed. Greed for money. Greed for the spotlight. That's under one man, obviously the only one who's shining is one man. So you know who I'm talking about. Besides that, I don't wish no hate on no one. What's personal is personal. What's business is business. And I'm glad I'm in this business opportunity over here with M.O.B. and not over there anymore.
So both you and M.O.B. are going through the bumps and bruises together in the music business.
I know how it works. There are bumps and bruises. Theyre a company. Theyre businessmen and they make decisions. I got to do my job, which is be an artist and stay in the studio, and they got to do they job which is handle business, make relationships, make deals happen. Just my name being mentioned is great and sometimes its not. They run across a lot of bumps in the road because of Cuban Link and the problems with Terror Squad. But they coming around because they know Im not on it like that. They already see it that Im not the type of dude to start hating on them for some business stuff. Its personal between me and them. Its not really like that. But I guess they play that game. M.O.B. found out how deep it was. Before it was like, yeah we could do it. Sometimes you have to get rough. Not rough violently, but rough with tactics. They have to respect and see the truth. Theres more than one story. At the end of the day, were here to make music for the fans.
MOB seems like a good fit for you.
Meeting MOB, I believe in destiny. Of course, when I left the Terror Squad situation with Atlantic a lot of doors slammed in my face. And I had a lot of connections and they choose what they choose to do. I kept knocking on doors and they kept slamming the doors. I knew I had to get some people who wanted to be part of hip-hop history and really make it happen. I met MOB through Artie Pabon. I had a meeting in 2003 and we didnt get things popping until 2004. He is just a very organized dude. They needed to pick an artist and I came along and it was the right time. Its all destiny to me. Im real happy to be at MOB. Theyre real people. Real businessmen. Arties marketing skills are incredible. Mickey plays his business role, handling everything from the office. Its a great team. I feel blessed. Cuban Link is Cuban Link at the end of the day. I make my music for the people. MOB supports my music 100% and they try their hardest to make it happen. I wouldnt leave them for a major. Thats my loyalty. Im not the type of dude that I bounce from team to team. The situations that transpired between me and Terror Squad happened. I didnt even want to leave. I had to go through a real situation to know this wasnt the place for me. Then I stood alone for three years. I did my own thing, CLK Entertainment. My own company. It was moving in the street level. Thats when I met MOB. Believe me I inspect and dissect people especially with what I went through. They made my decision easy. I thought of the name MOB. So I was there from the start. Im like their first baby. And theyre like my first label that I actually rock with like that. Were both outsiders. I see MOB as the Def Jam of the future. And myself, I see myself as hopefully in the top 10 illest rappers. Its not just about one album. Its steps. This is what I do. This is my career.