Revisiting his more than two decades long career in a new feature for XXL, Master P recently broke down stories behind ten of his biggest hits. With songs like “I’m Bout’ It, Bout’ It,” “Mr. Ice Cream Man,” and “Make ‘Em Say Uhh!” covered, P also described his industry success more generally.
“We was country, let’s be real,” he said during an explanation of his song “Playaz From The South.” “They thought we was just country. They didn’t worry about [us] getting money. We exposed that to the world. Country might be gold teeth. Whatever y’all wanna say, but we getting money. We getting more money than any other artist, any other company out there in the business. Cause of the bad deals they had. They had them 10 percent, 14 percent deals. We had an 80-20 deal that was unheard of. We getting money. Y’all gotta look at us different cause we getting money.”
The No Limit Records founder also attributed his independent approach and success to his bi-coastal upbringing. “I was born in New Orleans, but I grew up in Richmond, Calif,” he said. “I had the best of both worlds. I learned that Bay Area hustle life. Independent life. And I learned the street life that I was able to take from New Orleans growing up. I went from one project to another. You know what I’m saying? I just put it all in my music, man, and represented. I represent both sides. I was able to market myself on the West Coast and the South, which was incredible for me as an artist.”
Master P Describes “I’m Bout’, Bout’ It” & “Mr. Ice Cream Man”
The rapper’s seminal “I’m Bout’, Bout’ It” hit, culled from his major label debut, True, with group TRU, was a product of having “something to prove to the world” he said. “ I lost so many homies to the streets, so once I put the music on, that record just came out. I’m in the middle of the projects in New Orleans. I got a chance to put what I am doing on record and that’s what came out. That energy. I wanted to represent where I am from. Who I am. My homies, my hood, and also the world. That record at that time—people wasn’t into the South like that. You had to be from the West or the East Coast to get that type of a fanbase. That record caught on on the East Coast. Caught on in the West. Caught on in the Midwest. It got people up out of they seats because people wanted to represent where they was from. I think that’s what that record did for the world.”
Explaining the making of his Silkk the Shocker featuring hustle anthem “Mr. Ice Cream Man,” P described the song’s wide appeal. “That record is about getting your hustle on,” he said. “Turning nothing into something. Taking 15 cents and turning it into a dollar. We talk about the whole Ice Cream Man era. It’s just that hustle man mentality. You know, the Ice Cream Man always came in my neighborhood. He had ice cream. He made his little money and everyone loved him. I kind of patterned that song after that. Being able to be a hustler but also being able to be loved by the people in the community that’s buying your product.
“I liked what Silkk [The Shocker] did to the record too,” Master P added. “To me, music is like a feeling. People don’t realize with me. I gotta feel a beat. Once I feel a beat, during that era and that time, I feel nobody had the sound that we had. That’s what made the music, ’cause if you look at it, a lot of South rappers were making slow music. East Coast, they was making they sound. The West Coast, they was making they sound. I thought that in our time we made music that it was fun. You could dance to it. You could go and get buck to it. You could get rowdy. I wanted to make that kind of music that give you that type of reaction that, whatever mood you feeling, you can still get down with the music. Even though it was street, it crossed over. It went from urban to Whites to Chinese to Latinos. No barriers. I think when you make a big record that’s what it does.
"I think [the song] definitely got a double meaning to it. I think that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted people on the streets to want to relate to it. I want people that were in Corporate America that can relate to it. People in school. You know, anybody trying to double up or feel like they got that flavor to take their game to the next level. Everything that I do have a double meaning. They got a street appeal to it, but it’s still a regular person that is living life that can relate to it, too."