Exclusive: Webbie sidesteps his current "106 & Park" controversy, and instead offers some truly candid thoughts on his success as well as the benefits and pitfalls that come along with it.
Perception matters in Hip Hop. Be it a big budget music video or the ever growing list of indebted emcees flaunting rented wealth, we’re constantly bombarded by images that don’t always match up with reality. For Webbie, there are often assumptions made about his intelligence and his earning power. He talks with a drawl so heavy, you may need him to repeat a sentence or two if you’re not familiar with his dialect. And don’t let the fact that you might have seen him in a rented Kia lead you to believe his brand of Hip Hop isn’t profitable—or inspiring to some for that matter.
As the release date for his third studio album approaches, the man hand-picked by UGK’s Pimp C to carry on the tradition of being trill embodies the word. Whether he’s opening up about Lil Boosie’s incarceration or recounting a verbal chin check given to Meagan Good, Webbie has never been thought of as one to mince words. And, in that respect, perception mirrors reality.
HipHopDX: You’ve been in the game for a minute doing your thing, so it’s safe to say you’re a veteran. What keeps you doing music? What’s your motivation?
Webbie: A veteran and all that in music is nothing. It’s life. Like, me being in the game? I never been in the game. Never been into Rap. It just happened, bro. This ain’t my twentieth year in the game. I’m just living, and I’m just doing another CD with my voice and talking about my life. Like I say all the time, the first Savage Life really started in fucking middle school…in the bathroom against my dog, B. He’s gone. And then it just elevated. Then you might run into someone who straight, and they believe and they invest and then it comes.
Webbie: Hey bro, it’s all a formula. You a formula and God doing the…God the chef. So, it’s all happening [and it ain't] no plan to me. You know somebody gone think “His brain not working? What you mean no plan? Nobody working with [sense].” Oh, I’m around the right people or you wouldn’t be looking at me right now. But me personally, that’s how I feel.
HipHopDX: One of the big differences between the first Savage Life and the second Savage Life is your delivery. So what’s the difference between this Savage Life and what can the fans expect?
Webbie: They already know. That’s why they say, “Man, Come on, bruh!” They know what it’s going to be. That’s why one, two, the only difference is this is three. This three, ain’t nothing but this three. And then they are going to say four, five, six, seven. I want to make it to as many while I’m staying alive and healthy and all that stuff too. And my dog a Pimp C used to say…Nigga, I might do Sweet Jones, Junior. That’s what he wanted. I might go knock that out quick, Sweet Jones Junior, baby. Told you, Pimp, we talked about it together. Together, I’m talking about back in the day. You know, and he gone. Rest in peace to Pimp. Trill nigga...real trill nigga. Say whatever the fuck he wants to say. You know, and whatever come after that comes. But it’s one hundred.
HipHopDX: When’s the last time you saw Lil Boosie and how is his spirit?
Webbie: It’s got to be hard. He’s a person like me. He’s a family person. We done came through and everybody around you down, and you the one that came through and lifted the whole situation up and brought smiles to the clique and you disappear. Fuck it, that’s just your clique. That’s just your street, but what about your family? What about this? You supposed to be right here. You just sitting in jail, but you don’t want to think about that while you in jail. Leave the outside world out here and do that shit up in there, and make it fun. Make it fun as you can it make it in your own brain. I just say go to sleep and wake up. But in the same, he a human. But free Boo, though. They need to let him home.
HipHopDX: On the brighter side of things, Big Daddy Kane had the high top fade. You got Tech N9ne, with the red Mohawk. You got the signature ‘fro. What’s your favorite hip hop hairstyle of all time?
Webbie: Shit, I ain’t got no Hip Hop hairstyle. This is how I been getting my hair cut. This my barber sitting right…that nigga went downstairs. But the first time I seen that nigga I was like 12 years old. I came in that bitch and I say, “Man, cut my hair like this.” He said, “No.” I left, and that’s just stuff you gone remember forever. But you know, it ain’t no thing and I made it look good, so whatever the fuck it is. Shout out to my kids who be crazy like, “Man, I got a Webbie ‘fro, or I got a Boosie fade.” You heard me? It’s crazy, and I just want to guide them the right way. So once your mind gets set and you hear that you got a lot of people that are listening to you—a lot of kids—you want to tell them right. You don’t want to tell them “When you grow up go kill three people.” Nah, gone and do it right and let whoever fall in that devil, let them fall in that. What you think when you talk to a million kids at the same time in the crowd? Some of them are still just gone do that anyway. It comes with parenting and sometimes in life that just happens. Savage Life 3—November 15, that’s the main thing.
HipHopDX: So you recently played Jai “Savage” Carter in Ghetto Stories: The Movie. How was that experience and do you see yourself getting back into acting?
Webbie: Nigga wasn’t acting bruh, and that’s what’s crazy. The first time we shot there was a part where me and Boosie had to look at each other face-to-face. Man, we bust out laughing because it was funny. They were like, “Man hold up, y’all got to chill out with all that shit, man. Let’s get this shit right.” Then we knocked all that shit out quick. And now you go back and look at it, and you see how many people count. Man, I could have did better. He could have did better. We ain’t know the seriousness behind it. Acting ain’t nothing. If we would’ve knew, it would make them want to see it again. That’s why a lot of these [niggas] who rap, they acting. They’ll act like G’s or act like this and act like that. Some people act like they real motherfucking police, and they’re just as crooked as us around this motherfucker. A lot of people are actors. Ghetto Stories, that was the first movie. They told me another one of my movies came on TV, though it ain’t my movie. It’s just some shit that I was in. Video girl and that shit’s all coincidental, and my album fixing to drop. They like, “Man, you see that movie? You played the best part in the movie. They should have put you in that bitch.” I’m like, “What the fuck? What movie? I don’t remember!” We had to catch that bitch on BET, like, “What time that bitch come on?” We had to look through the whole motherfucking movie, and I got my Bentleys off that bitch. I be in rentals too, might catch me in a rental Kia. But yeah, they caught me in my city...got my Bentleys off that bitch.
Got a lil hoe in that bitch. She an actor, Meagan Good. She in that bitch...so we do this, and I grab her and she come back and she say something about how I was touching her on the video. We acting, that’s what we supposed to do. She play like she mad, “He’s touching me!” So I said, “Get this stupid ass bitch off this fucking shit! Bitch!” And when she comes back to that bitch, she go get right. She comes back to that bitch and I say, “Shit, you ready, motherfucker? You gone get touched in my video. You probably even get fucked. So get the fuck back there and get ready.” It ain’t nothing, but it was another movie though and that’s crazy. Then that bitch was on BET. That ain’t no shit you know when you a kid, you looking at BET and you don’t know you fixing to do. [People might say,] “That ain’t nothing. All that nigga had was like two minutes.” Bitch, how many you had on that motherfucker? So, you worrying about the wrong thing. That’s what a hater do. You worrying about the wrong thing. But it ain’t nothing.
HipHopDX: So as a successful artist who has sold over two million digital copies, what kind of outcome do you expect from Savage Life 3?
Webbie: I don’t know. I ain’t know then. I ain’t know the first album. I ain’t know…I’m asking the same thing. So I don’t know. It’s up to them; it’s up to the world. It’s up to the people who there for me. It’s up to the people when they hear about something they say, “Aw man, Lil Webbie done fucked up. Huh? Boosie in jail?” So, it’s up to them. It ain’t up to the motherfuckers who be in they head kind of happy because they want to do something or they feel like a nigga fucked they girl or something like that. Those are the ones that walk by your CD in the store and ain’t getting it because they thinking about the money you gone get off that. But they’ll go get it burnt because they got to hear that bitch. Savage Life 3—November 15. We gone see what happen.
HipHopDX: I understand you that you said that you’re just living life and everything. But being from the South and selling two million, how do you think you can get your music to a larger audience?
Webbie: The same way I did it that last time. I just got to get keep going and trying my hardest at what I do, and my people around me are the people that push them buttons. I got to get more involved with them, because when you go around it’s the same people everywhere. Life is the same…everywhere, “Webbie, Free Boosie, man. Trill man, Trill.” So we got to get it. If 60 million people want this CD, then that bitch needs to be out there. If 60 million people want that bitch and only 100,000 of them out there, they gone have to start burning them. They want that dope. That’s that dope…This that California. So you only got a pound of that California in the city, and after that Cali gone we got to go get that Reggie. We want some smoke though. Gone and put me out there in the streets, man. Gone and do that.
HipHopDX: What is it about Southern rappers that bring their music closer to the people?
Webbie: I don’t know. All I know is me and myself and my life. I know my brother. I know Boosie in jail and he got to come home. But I remember one day we was in Baton Rouge, we got this thing called Family Day in the park. They rolled a bus through that bitch—B.G., Juvie, Turk, all my niggas. But I had done snuck behind the gate. Now I see why kids do that shit though. You got to see what’s going on, them niggas thugging. I had done snuck behind that bitch. Weezy was getting on the bus, I said, “Wayne” and he said “What’s happening?” That’s shit you gone remember forever. But now you know this nigga. You could be whatever you want to be, just go. Just go.
Video filmed and edited by Adenford Jean-Philipe. Additional reporting by Shavonia Frank.