Juvenile: Rebuilding A Legacy
Oh man the new album is the bomb! This is the first album that I got away from Cash Money. I feel really good about this album, cause you know, we went through a lot.
Ok so how did you come up with the title?
Really, I got the title from listening to somebodys conversation, and that was around the time when I was looking for my album title. And in a conversation someone had on my tour bus I heard it come up, and I thought about like how perfect is that?! Especially after the Hurricane hit, not that I picked it because of that, but now that title means a lot more to me, it was like heaven-sent Reality Check.
Great, according to what criteria did you pick your first single?
Really? I mean really? I just kept shooting, and normally I really put a lot of thought into it, and with this one it just had to be the first single you know
How long would you say did you work on this album?
Honestly?? This one??
Wow probably within a year, which was like the longest ever for me to record an album.
Why would you say did it take so long?
Well, I would say new chemistry; my first time working with other producers and the hurricane set me back too.
What producers and artists are on your album?
Fat Joe and Ludacris. I got Brian McKnight and R. Kelly doing a remix to Rodeo. Man the list is long and I got beats from about everybody, I mean everybody that's poppin, I just got at them.
Did you have any other artists you wanted on your album but couldnt get?
Not really. Im pretty resourceful when it comes to that. You know when I choose someone to be on my song then they really are not very hard for me to get.
Why is it so easy for you to get those artists?
Because Im in the streets man! Whenever they have shows or parties I show my face. You know Im there, even though Im not performing, I just know a lot of people.
Whats your inspiration behind this album?
I would say half Katrina and half me just being on my own. You know? Really us (UTP) trying to make it on our own and really just the feeling that home is no more, until we rebuild, and regenerate to the feeling we once had.
Is your current label more satisfying than the one with Cash Money?
Always you know, when money aint in the situation, its always better.
Would you say that you are still cool with Cash Money?
No and I dont wanna speak on it.
Was there ever a point in your career where you wanted to quit?
Yes. Even now in the situation that Im in, I am married and I got kids, I gotta do it! Its not a money thing. I just feel like I wanna do it you know?
What would you say is your biggest accomplishment?
I would say getting my label deal with Atlantic and finally being on my own, you know what Im saying?
Has money and fame changed you or has it changed your surroundings?
I would say my surroundings. Sometimes it might change you too. Its a bit of both I would even say. It changed me in a way where I had to watch my surroundings, and pay more attention to that, and of course money will change the people around you, you know of course!
Okay, so you grew up in low standards, how would you say did that shape you as the person you are right now?
I wanna say the right answer. You know I wanna say the right thing and the right answer would be wrong, you understand? I still dont thing that my past affected me in a too positive way. I dont think my past made me better. I think my family made me better.
If you wouldnt be doing music, what would you be doing?
I dont even wanna answer that question. Everything worked out for me in my life and I am one of the people who didnt have a back up plan. I never wanted to do career days. I never wanted to go to college. I just wasnt interested. This is really my dream.
After the whole Hurricane Katrina Media confusion, what would you say is your relationship with the press now?
We all have our thing with certain people. I was, of course, not very happy about the way they showed New Orleans. I was one of the first people to be down there and see, I mean really see what happened and what was left of what I called home.
I come from an area where poverty is normal you know? Over there everybody is broke. Before the Hurricane hit us we were already broke. A disaster had to happen for the government to pay attention to what has been already a problem.
How have you been recovering from Hurricane Katrina?
Believe it or not, a lot of people are in a better situation than they were before. A lot of people from the upper class are now forced to live below their standards. Where people that use to be poor live now above their standards. Even for me, Hurricane Katrina hit me in so many different ways because I had to move my family. I am from New Orleans and nobody wants to lose their city.
Last week we spoke to T.I. who has done a lot for the people in New Orleans, how do you feel about their efforts?
I know that he has done a lot of things for New Orleans and a lot of other different artist have done a lot as well, of course Im very grateful. My efforts were more in show and hands on things that I have done. I appreciate everyone who is helping to rebuild New Orleans.
I want them to keep in mind that I went through the same thing so my goal was to really be there and talk to them as much as I can. And if I cant help with money, help them in some other way. Give them clotheswhatever I can do to help you know?
And that's what Im gonna be doing for probably a big part of my life you know the fundraisers are over now you know, and now what?
What do you think New Orleans is gonna look after they rebuild it?
Beautiful! I can tell you that right now that its gonna look beautiful! We got Mr. Donald Trump down there, buying up all the land and you can already tell what its gonna look like. Have you seen the movie 28 days Later? That's what parts of New Orleans look like right now, and they are gonna make it look like Vegas or something.
Now its like one of the biggest tourist attractions in this country. Theres a lot of money to be made now and we know that. People like me know that and that's why they are trying to force us out of there. Im trying to convince everybody to go back home and claim their property keep your property, dont let them just take your land!