USDA: What's A Corporate Thug?
Turns out that if you look it up in the dictionary youll find pictures of Young Jeezy, Slick Pulla and Blood Raw, aka U.S.D.A. (no not really; everyone knows dictionaries dont have pictures). In any case, the group-slash-label-slash-movement known as Corporate Thugz Entertainment (CTE) is set to introduce themselves to the world.
Corporate according to my infant son, means selling stuff. So far so good (Jeezys last album The Inspiration is RIAA certified platinum). Thug (again, according to Brock) means bad guy. Lets seedude goes by Blood Raw. I think weve got that one covered too. So, with that all cleared-up, I caught-up to the thug threesome to chat about their debut album, Cold Summer.
HHDX: Tell me about the project. Howd you come up with the concept for the name Cold Summer?
Young Jeezy: The project is crazy: front to back. Fourteen bangers. Its solid. I mean, its been a long time coming so Im ready to put it out here on the streets and let it do what it do. I think its gonna be one of the best albums of the summer.
Blood Raw: Its pretty self-explanatory. Its summer time, its real beautiful outside, but we about to freeze the game, and bring a whole new era of good music. We kept this in-house. This is the whole CTE movement. We worked with a lot of our producers, we worked with a particular producer P.A, we worked with Drummer Boy for the White Girl single, we just wanted to focus on a complete album and give the streets us instead of big name producers. U.S.D.A. certified.
HHDX: Whered you find Slick Pulla and Blood Raw?
Jeezy: Aww man, in the streets. Slick (is) from around the way, so quite naturally we bump heads, but Blood Raw is from Florida. But I met him in the street, I had heard about him, but he was doing his own shows so we kinda linked up, I was at a show and I saw him do his thing. I told him, look, I got a label over here, so when ever you get a chance to come to Atlanta. shit he came to Atlanta and never went back. Slick was from around the way, and he was just one of the cats that was just real nice, everybody was talking about he could really take the rap thing seriously. But he was in the streets and getting into troubleso I got with him like look, I done what you doing, (still do it from time to time) but I really wanna help you get your shit right get you some money. All you gotta do is just trust me and I got you.
HHDX: Blood, talk to me about coming out of Florida and getting together with these Atlanta boys.
Blood Raw: Its a good thing because what I get to bring to the table is a whole state, you feel me, coming from Florida we dont have a whole bunch of representation. When people think of Florida they think of Miami, and they think of Trick Daddy, Rick Ross, and Pitbull. Here I am coming from the panhandle and I get a chance to show people the best representation of Florida as whole instead of just sectioning off to a city or a county.
HHDX: Slick, how can you make a mark when the list of successful Atlanta rappers is already so long?
Slick: I bring a different swag and another perspective. A lot of rappers come from different sides of town and I bring another perspective... what people havent heard before. Thats why they feeling me right now to this point. Im from the A but I bring a whole fresh new swag to the table. Its like something you never heard before. I use different slang from these ATL cats. Its a breath of fresh air. The 2nd single off of Cold Summer is a track called White Girl where the group basically has a good time at the expense of white girls everywhere. Media attention surrounding the song was considerable, and was fed by reports of Def Jam sponsored white girl street teams consisting of white girls. That plan never materialized, but the track itself has been banned from radio in some markets and still serves as a touchy subject among many black females.
HHDX: Tell me about White Girl.
Slick: We took it to the club on that one. A lot of people say we be thuggin too much and we be looking mean so we took it to the club and had a little fun.
Young Jeezy: I mean the "White Girl" joint was like a street record for us. At the time I just wanted to put something out to give them that awareness. The "White Girl" track I kinda feel likeit was a lot of controversy around it. A lot of people didnt want to play itcause it was white girls, but that the same time it was music though. You cant take that away from me. The hood love it so I guess it did what we wanted it to do. You know?
HHDX: Do you see any hypocrisy given the recent Imus drama? Is this more disrespect for the sisters?
Jeezy: I wouldnt say that. Opinions are like Escalades: everybody got one. So to me, no matter what we think, they gonna think what they think. We can speak our end too. They do what they do, we do what we do; we aint tripping on them they shouldnt trip on us. You cant change something thats been that way since the beginning.
HHDX: For two new brothers trying to get in the gameWhats it like working with a platinum artist like Young Jeezy?
Blood Raw: I mean, its a blessing. But for the world to know, we been here since the beginning. We witnessed the ups and the downs, we witnessed the struggles, we witnessed everything. We was here for the Trap or Die, Streets is Watching, we was here for Thug Motivation 101 came back with Snowman, then Slick released his mixtape, I released mine, then Jeezy came out with The Inspiration. So we been here, its just that now is the time for him to present USDA to the world. He been preaching and giving you the name for years, so you know the first project of off Corporate Thugz Entertainment what better way to present it.
HHDX: Im glad you brought that up. Address the critics who are saying this isnt a real group. This is just another money making enterprise from a money-making millionaire. What kind of chemistry do you guys really have as a group? Why should fans believe that this is really about music and not just about pressing albums and getting paid?
Jeezy: I tell em to buy the album (laughs). Dont even get me started on the critics. For real. I give a fuck what they say, really. Just being real. At the end of the day Im just trying to help some brothers straighten their lives out man. So if its something wrong with thatthen prosecute me.
Blood: Well its because when you hear the music, you can tell its not about pressing albums or getting paid cause actually some of the things that we speak about which is just the daily struggle is actually taboo to society. If we were just doing music to press up some albums and make some money wed be saying things that society could embrace more. So therefore the listeners know that we have a deep connection with people. They hear our music and they already know. We go to towns and cats is like, man, you really help me get through, I really like what yall doing and its going to help me do better. So we not really worried about that aspect.
Slick: We know were the underdogs going into this situation. We know people are kinda skeptical to whats going on, so its just making us go a little harder. To add to the groups public relations concerns, last year Young Jeezy was involved in a highly publicized on-air verbal altercation with former Philadelphia radio jock Monie Love over Nas claim that hip hop is dead. Ms. Love is no longer employed at the station, and many believe that she was fired because of the incident.
HHDX: I saw you guys on the cover of XXL. Talk about your ongoing relationship with these hip hop journalists out here. Are you concerned about your image in the media?
Young Jeezy: I dont really have an on-going relationship with them. I make music for who I make music for, and thats understood. At the end of the day I aint trying to impress or do nothing for nobody else, so just let that shit be man, why keep making a big deal about it. If you dont like something, you dont deal with it right?
HHDX: Blood and Slick: Where were you during the whole Boyz in Da Hood situation?
Slick: I was right there. Jeezys like my big brother. Thats my big homie so Im there to support him. Im with him to the end. That was a business move, something for him. He was doing what he had to do to get the whole team to where we at today.
HHDX: Let me give you a quote, because I read an interview on another website a while back. You are quoted as saying: Nobodys talking about stopping all these rappers from talking about killing, but when you start talking about money then its a problem. I am not a drug dealer. Can you explain that quote for me?
Young Jeezy: I mean meaning that I changed for the better. If you caught me on another date and time you probably could say that. But I changed for the better to help other people, so what the fuck is the big deal. I aint out here telling nobody to go commit no crazy-ass crimes, Im just telling a nigga whatever you gotta do to survive thats what you gotta do. I respect that. Im not gonna tell the next man you wrong. for something when people out here pulling off all kinda white collar crime, and doing what they doing everyday. As soon as you get some guys from the ghetto that they think they made a little something out of they shit and start helping other people out, now they criminals again. Im like shit. You know, if you gonna charge me, charge me; but if not leave me the fuck alone.