CLICK ABOVE TO LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW!
Rap mogul Master P and his son Romeo (collectively here as the Miller Boyz) have set out on a journey to change the landscape of hip-hop through their new, clean-lyrics label, Take A Stand Records.
With Hip-Hop History, the label’s first release, the duo prove once again that they are a force to be reckoned with. P’s self-reflective “My Life” lays much of the grand-work for the album while radio-friendly “Be Like U” bursts forth from the record with enough intensity to top the charts.
I was fortunate enough to have a 15-minute chat with The Miller Boyz about their new father-son album, “Hip Hop History.” Master P discussed why he thinks Hip-Hop needs to be cleaned up, and he talked about what he’s going to try to do to reach his goal. Romeo, a very optimistic High School Senior, let me in on his new business venture with Rap Snacks, Inc. and he also talked about how excited he is about playing for USC (University of Southern California) and his plans for the future. Check out our interview with The Miller Boyz below, and be sure to leave your comments/feedback!
[ SPECIAL NOTE: THE BEGINNING OF THE INTERVIEW (FIRST 15 SECONDS) IS VERY GRAINY AND INAUDIBLE AND THEREFORE HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM THE FINAL MIX. AUDIO BEGINS AT MASTER Pâ€™S ANSWER TO THE FIRST QUESTION. ]
I think with me having kids it definitely changed my life and enlightened me.
DUSTIN: How are you guys doing this afternoon? Or should I say morning? Itâ€™s morning in California right now, right?
MASTER P: Yeah.
MASTER P INTRODUCES TAKE A STAND RECORDS
DUSTIN: Okay, I see here that you guys have a new clean-lyric label, Take A Stand Records. Can you guys tell us more about that?
MASTER P: We’re all about trying to take your game to the next level, and being responsible for the music as well as anything you do or write. We’re just trying to do something positive. The music is still street but we just took out all the cursing in the records. So now I don’t have to turn my CD player down when I got my kids in the car. You just got to grow up in life, and I think that anybody that grows up and have a family youâ€™re going to want to do the right thing. I think that’s what this is about. It’s about being responsible. This record is definitely a part of hip-hop history because this is the first clean street record. And [we are] making sure we take the profanity out of our music and look out for the kids because itâ€™s not just about us. It’s about these kids too.
DUSTIN: What kind of artists are you trying to recruit? Do you already have some on the label?
MASTER P: Yeah, we have artists that we are constantly recruiting. We just want people to think about what they say. And for the record companies, it’s about putting balance out there in the marketplace. Because there are people that just want clean music. There are people that don’t want clean music and then there is people that want clean music, so we are making music for the people that do think about what they are listening to and what they want to hear in their CD player.
DUSTIN: I’m going to read a quote from you Master P. You said, “Personally, I have profited millions of dollars through explicit rap lyrics. I can honestly say that I was once part of the problem and now it’s time to be part of the solution. I am ready to take a stand by cleaning up my music and follow my son’s footsteps and make a clean rap album … I am not expecting the entire industry to change overnight but this is one positive step towards the growth of hip-hop.”
What inspired you to make the decision to “clean up” hip-hop lyrics?
MASTER P: Well, you know what man? When you come from poverty, and you grew up in the ghetto and you never had anything; a lot of your friends are dying and you try to figure out what’s the problem. Nobody wants to mature or grow up. I was watching Oprah Winfrey and Al Sharpton talking about the negativity in music, and it was almost like watching a preacher preach. And it sounds like they’re talking to you. So I felt like I had to do something about this. It was like they were talking to me; when you see this stuff about the â€œN wordâ€ and belittling women. I can honestly say that I was once apart of that problem. And now as I am growing up and maturing I want to be apart of the solution, and Iâ€™m doing my part. And thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m doing. I’m not telling the entire industry to change, but anybody that has kids should be able to look at life a different way and say â€˜Hey man I want to live and be here for my kids, I want to do right.â€™
Not only are we putting out music, but we want these kids to learn something from this. We want to take hip-hop to Wall Street.
DUSTIN: Do you think you would be doing this had you not been a father and a role model?
MASTER P: You know what? To be honest with you, thatâ€™s the thing about God, you never know the position he puts you in because you do have to have something to want to change and want to live. I think with me having kids it definitely changed my life and enlightened me. Because if you listen to all of my records from back in the day, even though they had profanity in them, they were always about growing and about making the change. Thatâ€™s why I did â€œThe Romeo Showâ€ for Nickelodeon and â€œDancing With the Stars.â€ Iâ€™ve always been about saying â€˜You know what, I want to do something else with my life.â€™ I did comedy, when you look at â€œI Got The Hook-Up.â€ And I showed people that you can come from the ghetto and thereâ€™s a bigger picture out there. Go after some other things. You donâ€™t have to sit around your whole life and act like you some tough guy. You can laugh, you can change. People in jail â€¦ when they get out of jail they donâ€™t want to go back to jail, they want to do something to better their life. And thatâ€™s what my life is about.
DUSTIN: Do you think many mainstream hip-hop artists will follow suit in trying to clean up their lyrics?
MASTER P: Well, you know what? If people get to the level that Iâ€™m at and say â€˜you know what man, letâ€™s make a change for the kids,â€™ and I think a lot of people are going to start changing. If you are looking at [Hip-Hop] right now, youâ€™ve got Chamillionaire. Youâ€™ve got a bunch of people that are looking at this game and saying, â€˜You know what let me be responsible about what Iâ€™m saying,â€™ because u definitely can change one of these kidsâ€™ lives but my thing is even if we just save one person we did our job. If we get one person to follow us. I mean because think about it. Youâ€™re going to make more money when you put out a record thatâ€™s profanity free. Because now you can go to Target, Wal-Mart, and all of these other companies. Youâ€™ve got all of these endorsement companies that are going to want to do business with you because they know that youâ€™re about doing the right thing. I mean our music is a street record but you can play it in church, school. We could tour high schools, colleges, elementary [schools], because weâ€™re thinking about what we say and thereâ€™s a bigger picture, a bigger vision. And I just think that now every song can get played on the radio. So think about it. Itâ€™s not selling out. You have to clean up your music anyway to be on the radio. So why not just clean up everything?
DUSTIN: Because [the radio] pretty much bleeps out everything, and you kind of lose the message of the song when they change around the words and bleep out the curse words and stuff.
MASTER P: Exactly
MASTER P & ROMEO TALK ABOUT “HIP-HOP HISTORY”
THE MILLER BOYZ – “HIP HOP HISTORY” – IN STORES NOW!!
DUSTIN: Okay, letâ€™s talk about this father-son album. Whose idea was it for the father-son “Hip-Hop History” album?
ROMEO: Actually it was something that we kind of wanted to do since I was younger. But weâ€™ve always wanted to wait until the time was right. And with me growing up and seeing my pops in the studio and [seeing] him being able to do songs with my uncles and everything, Iâ€™ve always wanted to do something with my dad. And I never wanted to pitch it out to him until I felt the time was right. And with me being a positive role model with my dad, and changing his life, and trying to make a change, I just felt that this was the perfect time. Thatâ€™s how we came up with â€œHip-Hop History.â€
DUSTIN: What’s it about? What kind of songs do yâ€™all have on it?
ROMEO: Well, with â€œHip-Hop History,â€ we have a lot of songs that are just trying to [give the kids a message]. If you listen to all of [my Popsâ€™] music, they have good messages in his songs. With this album, I compare it to gumbo. You have something to bounce to. It has songs youâ€™re doing to cry to. Then thereâ€™s songs thatâ€™s going to make you think. And what I mean about gumbo is that it has everything you need in there.
DUSTIN: I hear that you guys are going on a college / high school tour. What areas are you all trying to hit up?
MASTER P: Well, weâ€™re going to hit everywhere. The South, the West the East, the Mid-West. We think that this is a message. And think about our music. Not only are we putting out music, but we want these kids to learn something from this. We want to take hip-hop to Wall Street. We are in this to build a generation and what-not. Itâ€™s not just about us; weâ€™re about making changes in the community. We want to do scholarships, a foundation for taking kids out of the streets. Weâ€™ve got a foundation called â€œTeen Reach-Out.â€ So, we really want to do our part. We want to go out here and find some of these kids in the community that have talents and show them how to take their game to the next level. So weâ€™re going to hit the whole country. We want to even go overseas too. I mean, this is such a powerful record with a powerful message and we want to show kids how you can take your game to the next level, and also, think about what youâ€™re saying and what youâ€™re doing. Because every thing you do, when you get to that next level, will affect that next person thatâ€™s trying to get where youâ€™re at. Itâ€™s going to affect their thinking, how they want to do stuff, and if people see more positive stuff out there then a lot of our kids are going to want to be positive. If they only see negative, thatâ€™s all theyâ€™re going to want to be.
We also put this record into Wal-Mart, so you know, kids will be able to go to Wal-Mart and pick this record and the book up. We have a book. My book is called â€œGuaranteed Success.â€ All of this is coming out September 4th. And Romeoâ€™s book is called â€œGuaranteed Success for Teens.â€ So weâ€™re like, the best of both worlds. I want to hit that adult market and Romeo wants to hit the teen/kid market. And weâ€™re just going to bring it on. This project is for families. Itâ€™s not just for a targeted market. Your mom can listen to this, your grandmother can listen to this. The little kids, the teenagers. And this project was probably the most important project that we had to do. Just like Rome said, the streets can listen to this, the people in church can listen to this, the schools. And they can also read the books, because we definitely want to give that knowledge back to our kids because we want to let them know how important [education] is. Education and knowledge are more important than money. Because if you donâ€™t have the right knowledge, then you canâ€™t stay focused, you canâ€™t move on, and you canâ€™t grow.
MASTER P TALKS ABOUT DEAL WITH WAL-MART, THE NAACP, AND “AMERICA’S NEXT RAP SUPERSTAR”
If you believe in God, anything is possible. Get out there and make it happen, and there are no limits from there.
DUSTIN: You mentioned your deal with Wal-Mart. Tell us a little bit about that. How did it come about, and what does it include?
MASTER P: Well, right now itâ€™s just [great] for a minority-owned business to be a part of a big corporation like that. I just think that that is so great for our people, for Wal-Mart to even be able to accept our music and do business with [us]. And also, you have the opportunity for minority-owned companies to offer the same things they offer for the major companies that they deal with. So, itâ€™s a great thing and a great avenue. Wal-Mart is one of the biggest merchandising chains in the country, so Iâ€™m just glad to be able to get our music in a place like that, that stays open 24/7, and that constantly reaches our audience. Because itâ€™s so important being there, because I want to be able to reach that minority audience. And I think that this is definitely a great way to reach our people.
DUSTIN: Is it also true that you guys have hooked up with the NAACP?
MASTER P: Yeah, now weâ€™re ambassadorâ€™s for the NAACP for Youth. And weâ€™re definitely going to get out there and do our part. Weâ€™re going to get out here and let the kids understand how important it is about going out and voting. Because a lot of people point the finger at whoâ€™s in office on the political side. So me and Rome want to go out there, and empower these kids, and say â€˜You know what? Go out there and vote for the person that you want.â€™ [ audio error ] We have to be active and get out there and vote, and also, weâ€™re a part of the NAACP because those people out there are fighting for us. Theyâ€™re fighting for our rights. Theyâ€™re fighting for things that happen in our community. And theyâ€™re also fighting for where we need to go for the future, so I just think itâ€™s a great organization and Iâ€™m glad to be a part of it.
DUSTIN: You guys are also on a nationwide talent search to recruit artists for the label. How is that coming alone?
MASTER P: Itâ€™s coming along good. We get so many CDs and videos, and weâ€™ve already signed three people. And weâ€™re just constantly going through and hoping we find that next star. We also have â€œAmericaâ€™s Next Hip-Hop Star,â€ which is going to be another talent search that we will be taping and putting on television. So thatâ€™ll be another way for people to get in [the label] that have the talent to be the next Americaâ€™s next hip-hop star. And also, I just want people out there to know that weâ€™re looking for people; not only for talent, but people that are thinking about their careers, and thinking about what they say in their music.
ROMEO DISCUSSES HIS FUTURE IN BASKETBALL AND HIS LATEST BUSINESS VENTURE
Romeo and his team-mate on the cover of “Hoopers Only” magazine. Romeo is slated to play for the University of Southern California next year!
DUSTIN: Romeo, I hear that youâ€™ll be playing ball for the University of Southern California after you graduate High School, because now youâ€™re going into your Senior year of high school, right?
ROMEO: Oh, yeah.
DUSTIN: Are you excited about that?
ROMEO: Well, you know, Iâ€™m really excited. Iâ€™ve been playing basketball since the age of two when my pops put a basketball in my hand. And [I love] just being able to live out [my] dreams, just from doing music, movies, owning businesses to being able to play basketball. Itâ€™s like a dream-come-true. And I donâ€™t put limitations on myself, and my dad is the same way. He even named his record company â€œNo Limit.â€ Itâ€™s basically showing the world that if you donâ€™t put limitations on yourself, anything is possible. And Iâ€™m really excited to be going to USC. They have a great [sports] program, great coaches. And then, they have a great film school.
DUSTIN: Do you plan on trying to get into the NBA in the future?
ROMEO: You know what? That was one of my childhood dreams. So you know, Iâ€™m going to definitely strive and work hard for that, but Iâ€™m going to try to do everything right now, and get it all out; do music for the kids, do movies, and play ball at the same time. But definitely thatâ€™s one of my dreams.
DUSTIN: I also have a question about your new business inquisition. You just bought Rap Snacks, Inc. right?
DUSTIN: Okay, tell us about that.
ROMEO: Well, I bought Rap Snacks. Having a dad whoâ€™s been in the business, and he knows whatâ€™s right, and I talked to him about it. He told me that it would be a great investment. I go to 7-11 all of the time, and I kept seeing my face on these chips. So I thought â€˜Dang, I wonder if I can own these.â€™ So actually, me and my pops just discussed it and it came about, and I became one of the owners for Rap Snacks.
My book is called â€œGuaranteed Success.â€ All of this is coming out September 4th. And Romeoâ€™s book is called â€œGuaranteed Success for Teens.â€
DUSTIN: Okay, so since you own it now, youâ€™re going to try and expand and put them in different kinds of stores, instead of just 7-11â€™s?
ROMEO: Oh, yeah, well thatâ€™s the thing, with my dad talking about the whole Wal-Mart scene. Weâ€™re definitely trying to get them in Wal-Mart because thatâ€™s where a lot of our fans, and the people we want to get to go, so Iâ€™m definitely trying to get them in Wal-Mart, all of the grocery stores, and everywhere. Iâ€™m going to try to expand, and thatâ€™s what this is about. Itâ€™s about me coming into ownership and making it into a bigger company.
DUSTIN: Okay guys, that pretty much wraps everything up. Are there any last words for the readers over at THINK2WICE.ORG?
ROMEO: I just want to tell all of my fans out there that I love them, and that I do this for them. I wake up every morning for them. And just always stay focused, and get your education. Because that comes first.
MASTER P: And I just want to tell everybody out there to put your trust in God. If you believe in God, anything is possible. Get out there and make it happen, and there are no limits from there. And education is so important. So to all of the kids out there thatâ€™s listening, and to anybody thatâ€™s doing something negative, donâ€™t think that you canâ€™t make a change. Change for the good is the most important thing that you could do.
“HIP-HOP HISTORY” – IN STORES NOW!!