Mr. Collipark
Hello New World

collipark1.jpgIf you think Mr. Collipark is just that bald-headed, cigar smokin’ folk who makes “Whisper Song” clones, you’ve got a lot to learn. The man born Michael Crooms got his start in the late ’80s Atlanta music scene under the name DJ Smurf, where he produced some of the South’s most seminal bass records and worked with the legendary MC Shy D. After recording a number of solo hits (including “2 Tha Walls,” the first song to use the hook that Lil Jon would popularize years later), Crooms switched his name to Beat-N-Azz, helped lay the foundation for crunk music and broke two unlikely stars from A-Town known as the Ying Yang Twins with their 2000 hit “Whistle While U Twurk.”
Six years later, after racking up a string of platinum and gold albums with the Twins, changing his name to Mr. Collipark and hocking his signature “intimate club music” sound to hip-hop’s biggest names, he’s ready for a new day. He claims that Ying Yang’s latest, Chemically Imbalanced, will be his last, as he switches his focus to his own labels. With deals on Interscope and Asylum for his artists Homebwoi, P. Stones and Kadalack Boyz, a new R&B group named Taurus and a bevvy of outside production for the likes of Young Jeezy, Daddy Yankee and Ciara, Collipark has plenty to keep his plate full. XXLMAG.COM spoke with the A-Town veteran about leaving his longtime partners, living in Lil Jon’s shadow and why he’ll never make another “Whisper” song again.

I was listening to the new Ying Yang album, you say, “This might be the last song ya’ll hear from us together for a long time.” Are you three finished collaborating?
The way I see it, I don’t know. I think it’s a “move on” thing. Everybody has something different that they want to do. That’s like asking Cee-Lo if he gonna make another Goodie Mob record. He’s Gnarls Barkley now, and who the fuck could have known? So with all the stuff that I have on my plate right now, Ying Yang will probably be doing another album next year, and who knows where I’ll be. I’m trying to give my other acts as much of a shot and as much attention as I gave them. They’ve had to watch me to do two Ying Yang [albums] and we haven’t even been in the studio. That’s very unfair to them.

How do Kane and D-Roc feel about this situation?
I think it’s a mutual thing. They been ready to move on for a minute now too. It’s like when you’re family, when they start getting older, they have their own idea of how they want things to be run. Internally, we all have our own vision of where we wanna go. The magic that we had was so special, I don’t want to see that go out bad. I’d rather them have the opportunity find another Collipark or whatever. Then I can go try some of the stuff I’ve wanted to try. If you don’t go 100% on something, you can’t expect 100% results. I’ve been giving 20 percent to my other stuff.

It seems like with all the Wyclef tracks on the new YYT album, they’re testing the waters with different types of sounds.
Ying Yang are very talented. The whole thing is to get them to do it. They don’t even know how talented they are in the ways they’re talented. If you get them in a room with somebody, then you can get to the magic. The problem is getting them into the room.

The Chemically Imbalanced album was originally called 2 Live Crew. Why the change?
It was a legal situation.

How did Wyclef get so involved in the album?
Wyclef sought us out for [Ying Yang] to get on a record that he was doing with Lionel Ritchie. This was right when TVT got at me about starting the new Ying Yang album, so when I met with Wyclef, we were talking about the whole 2 Live Crew concept. And conceptually, he got it from the start. So the next week we were up in New York recording the Lionel Ritchie record and we recorded like three records in two days. “Dangerous,” then a record that didn’t make it, and then “Water.” Some of the fans got it, some of the fans didn’t get it.

You’re known for switching up your style, changing up your sound. How do you think this chapter in your career will be musically different?
Rap music is changing. Back when I was rapping til the time I put Ying Yang out, I was making bass music. Straight booty shaking music. So Ying Yang came out right when the whole No Limit movement was coming down, and everything was slowed down. So it was like, “How do we flip this?” That’s where the whole Ying Yang sound came from. Now, music is very much street-oriented right now. Ying Yang’s sound right now is more commercial, more crossover, more pop. That’s how people view that sound.

Right now, the movement’s the streets. If you ain’t in the streets right now, you can’t even get to that level no more. It’s no such thing as a record on the radio right now. You could have 10,000 spins, if the street ain’t fuckin’ with it, you ain’t selling no records. You might not sell 2 million records, but if you poppin’ in the streets, you good for a gold, maybe a platinum album. You got more of a chance than somebody who just got a pop record with no foundation. I sit back and look at the game. I try to move before it’s too late.

So your new artists are more street-oriented?
My groups P. Stones and Kadalack Boyz are both making more street-oriented records. It’s more like the stuff I did for Jeezy, the stuff I did for BG. Now the R&B group I’m working with, Taurus, I can do more the type of stuff I did for Ying Yang, but with R&B on top of it. It’s got more of an appeal to it. And that was another thing—even though we had huge records, the subject matter always got in the way. As big as it was in the streets, when it got to a certain level, the lyrical content was always an issue.

What do you mean?
When you saw been pitched for Leno and stuff like that, they’re looking at their lyrics sheet. They’re like, “I can’t have this on my show. You said ‘Wait Til You See My…’ I can’t do that.” We always had an issue with lyrical content since day one. That was the selling point, but when the stakes get raised, how do you break out of that without losing your integrity to your fanbase? It’s hard in a case like the Ying Yang Twins. The stuff I’m doing on the R&B side, I don’t have that issue.

collipark3.jpgThere are a lot of rumors going around about different label deals you have for Collipark Music.

I have deals with Interscope and Asylum. P. Stones are on Collipark/Interscope, and then Kadalack Boyz and Homebwoi are on Collipark/Asylum. I haven’t placed the R&B group that I’m producing, but they’re actually on a label called Landmine. I’m kind of overseeing the whole project, sort of like what Timbaland was doing with Justin Timberlake.

It seems like in the mainstream, a lot of people still associate the Ying Yang Twins with Lil Jon more than you, even though you’ve been with them since day one and have produced almost all of their hit records.
That’s because I was always in the back! I did that on purpose until—I’m gonna tell you the truth—the whole association with Lil Jon is why, when that “Whisper” record broke, I didn’t sit back and wait for somebody to come and start copying that sound, to claim that sound. We were doing records like “Get Low” before Lil Jon. “Get Low” was just the first record that caught the mainstream. That was one of the records that broke the whole crunk movement. A lot of people, before it got a video and all that a lot of people thought it was a Ying Yang record. TVT and Lil Jon took it upon themselves to put that more on Lil Jon and I think it could’ve been shared a little more. I’m not blaming, I’m just saying if it was me…”Get Low” was more like, Okay, Lil Jon did the beat, this is Ying Yang’s record. Even from how you’re treated on the set of a video. You don’t say, “Okay this room is for Lil Jon and everybody else go over here in this room.” You let it be known that this is Lil Jon and this is Ying Yang Twins. And I think if that was handled a little better, it wouldn’t be looked at like it is.

And a lot of people also don’t realize that you originated the “To the windows, to the wall” chant on your 1995 album.
I didn’t originate it, but I made the first record with it. But I don’t want to jump out and scream about it and all that and have no class, have no style. I knew my time was gonna come back around—I didn’t know how.

With the huge popularity of “The Whisper Song,” and then the similar hits with the “intimate club music” style, did you ever worry that people were going to associate you with that one sound?

That was my intention. I wanted to stamp that sound. I didn’t want it to be a question where it came from. But the flip side of that is, that’s all people started looking for. So it’s a double-edged sword. But I totally did that on purpose.

Is that a sound people are still asking you for?
Nah, I think it’s run its course. I won’t give it to nobody. That “1st Booty On Duty” is the last record I’ll ever do like that. The only reason I did that one was because when you have two records as big as “The Whisper Song” record and “Ms. New Booty,” people be looking for that. And you don’t want to have nothing for them.

This year has had the huge explosion of snap music in the mainstream. How influential do you think your work has been in the development of that?
For what it is now, I don’t really take credit for the actual D4L-type snap music. But I had two of the biggest snap records, and two of the first snap records, with “Wait” and “Play.” They tried to start making the beats outta that, when the “Laffy Taffy”s and all that started blowing up. But what they do and what I do are two totally different things.

collipark2.jpgIn what way?
When I sit down, I’m not thinking about a dance, I’m not thinking gimmick, I’m thinking about sitting down trying to make a real record, whether it has two sounds or a hundred sounds. I’m not talking down on that music or nothing, but to me that was more gimmicky. The tracks that I did, they got me respect in the game. People were using the term “genius” for a dude who did a beat with three sounds in it. I feel like with “Laffy Taffy” and all that stuff, they weren’t even trying to be creative. But with me, even by the time I did “Ms. New Booty,” I was like, Damn, I gotta get on something else. It’s kind of hard when you’re getting paid. The long term, though, could wind up biting me in the ass. After you play out behind that sound, nobody want to hear shit else from you.

Atlanta club music has gone through so many different phases, and you have always been at the forefront. What do you think the next phase will be?
I don’t know. It’s sad to me that there ain’t no energy in the clubs in Atlanta no more. Everything is so laid back. Everybody trying to be cool and cute with their little dance. Which is why I love the DJ Unk record. Because he took the energy from back in the day and fused it with the shit that’s going on now. So I love that record. I’m trying to bring that energy back to the dance floor.

  • http://yahoo.com quin_c813

    first bitches even though i dont give a shit about this article LOL!!!!

  • koofiesmacker

    So this is the Clown responsible for all the circus acts poping from down under,…real talk I would have been mad if y’all had this fuck boy interview on here before y’all got at Premo.
    I’m not even hating, so all you other fuck boys need to fall back,..sure this dude put out out shit y’all was bumpin in clubs & radios, good for him & y’all. But if we have to charge mo’fuckaz w/ murdering Hip-Hop, this fuck wouldn’t be spared, his cell will be right next to young cock, young ho, ying yang hoes, Franchise Toyz (you get the pattern).

  • http://www.myspace.com/bigsydproductions syd2yall

    keep doing your thing mr.its good that theres still people out there trying to be innovative and not following anybody else.i respect that.

  • Dart Parker

    crazy interview… one of the best…

  • let the game begin

    hiphop is dead

  • Atl’s own

    kool interview!

    collipark is a true innovator!

    while everyone else is facsimiles!

    Long live the south ho!

  • babyboy

    fck the south

    • robt

      fuck you south is runnin it

  • Hollywood

    Yeah, yeah, this was real talk. No hatin, no boasting, ang bragging, just real talk.

  • duvalrepresenta

    best interview ever… no
    a top dawg in the south…. yes

  • FLIP

    I guess there are smart dudes down south.

  • GEORGIA PEACH

    THAT’S THE BEST INTERVIEW I HAVE EVER READ. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK AND ALWAYS PRAY FOR YOUR HATERS. THEY ARE JUST MAD THEY ARE NOT GETTING TO THE MONEY AND BEING AS REAL AS YOU ARE IN THIS INTERVIEW. MUCH LOVE AND STAY FOCUS. GOD BLESS WITH YOUR NEW GROUPS AND YOU.

  • no lil or young

    this is a smart human being. no hate or bullshit even though his labels are not gonna make it.He should stick with ying yang

  • slanginsince 88

    i see another chingy after he left dtp fo real.

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  • Shaun the Great

    The Thing people need to realize is that the people behind the scenes in the hip hop world are the reason why artists shine. Colli park is the reason why Atlanta Cub music became so popular. I give the man all the credit in the world!

  • rob

    so this is the dude responsible for all those wack-ass beats. he’s one of the reasons why people say hip-hop is dead. hip hop is alive and well. it’s the hip-hop fan who is dead– listening to this bullshit.

  • Hater Hater

    The people determine what they want to hear, not the critics or other artists. The only way so called wack ass beats succeed is because people want to hear it. This is why East Coast rap is struggling. Y’all are so busy criticizing and making records for other rappers that the general public doesn’t give a fuck about. Think about that for a second.

  • HollyHood

    Its crazy how these east coast nigga is hatin on the south. Yeah Joc is wack and ying yang is garbage but that doesn’t represent everythang we about. when u talkin bout the south u also gotta mention tip, luda, wayne, and kast. With any team u have ur good and bad players and ur role players. Everybody from new york ain’t fire, yall got a lot of wack niggaz 2 and yall got a lot of hot shit also. So quit wit all that hatin, real recognize real, if it is fake don’t identify it. Just keep it movin. A-Town stand up, the RAP CAPITAL!!!

  • MARIO MEADOWS

    MUCH RESPECT TO COLLI PARK A.K.A DJ SMURF. HE BEEN PUTTING IT DOWN SINCE I WAS LIKE 12 OR 13 AND IM 29 NOW. ONE THING THAT ALOT OF CATS FROM NEW YORK HAVE TO UNDERSTAND IS THAT IT IS ALL HIP HOP. IT JUST TAKE ON DIFFERENT FORMS. THE MUSIC THAT MR COLLI PARK IS MAKING IS THE SAME SHIT THAT AFRICAN BAMBADA DID AND THOSE CATS FROM NEW YORK. BASS MUSIC ACTUALLY ORIGONATED OUT OF NEW YORK, WE IN THE SOUTH JUST KEPT IT GOING, ITS ALL HIP HOP. I BET YOU NEW YORK NIGGAS WOULD HAVE A BETTER APPRECIATION FOR THIS MUSIC IF YOU CAME TO GA AND SEEN HOW THESES FINE ASS GEORGIA PEACHES BE MOVING TO THIS SHIT. YALL WOULD PROBALLY MOVE DOWN TO THIS MOTHERFUCKER!! THE GOOD THING ABOUT HIPHOP IS THAT ITS A VARIETY, YOU DONT HAVE TO BUY IT IF YOU DONT LIKE IT.JAY Z AND OUTKAST ARE MY FAVORITE ARTIST BUT I DONT LIMIT MYSELF, YOU MIGHT HEAR ME BUMPIN LIL JOHN OR TALIB KWALI. DIFFERENT MUSIC FOR DIFFERENT SITUATIONS.IF I GOT STRIPPERS AT MY HOUSE WHAT YOU THINK IM GONNA PLAY? YING YANG TWINNS OR MOBB DEEP?

  • The Chancellor

    I dont even really fuck with too many artists from atl but collipark is that dude

  • Stax On Deck

    Dude Know How To Make Hitz. Keep Doin Your Thizzle

  • basshead

    haters need to get laid. quick. and i bet when that lucky day arrives, you’ll be fucking to a colipark production. you big dummies!

  • HOT AS THAT THANG OUT HURR N THESE $TREET$

    Good job partin’ ways with Ying Yang, that new somg with Wyclef is horrible. They need you more than you need them…

  • Dyvine Truth

    “People were using the term “genius” for a dude who did a beat with three sounds in it. I feel like with “Laffy Taffy” and all that stuff, they weren’t even trying to be creative.”

    Thats the funniest quote, I didn’t like to many of his beats but like Mario said if I got some strippers or a Jumpoff at the pad I aint playing no Papoose or mobb deep he make hot club records. I don’t know who needs who more its like a thousand producers in the A that can make beats like Collipark for the Ying Yang twins..

  • Dr Flav

    Collipark probably aint gonna read this, but I dug the beat you done for Jamie Fox so I think you will be successful with the r & b. That being said, you could have saved that comment on D4L, you know that was a strip club song a gimmick that you have frequently used. Instead of sneak dissin them you could have said nothing or have them credit for the creativity of using those three notes to make a song that did so well. Its that type of shit that keeps the unity going, how the dudes supposed to react on that side of the A if you downin them on your side?

  • jacquez
  • nycheer

    I agree with many of the posts, that hip hop is in the ear of the beholder. While i am a new yorker, I graduated from college in AL, so I have learned to appreciate the south, as well as west coast rap as well. There is enough room in the industry for everyone, so just fall back on the region hating for real! Again, i’m ride or die NY, but I have much love in my collection for TI, Snoop, Trick, Wayne, Lil Brother, etc. How ignorant is this whole region beef anyway? You don’t see the killers beefing with greenday! If you don’t like it…Don’t listen PERIOD!

  • dirty red

    This is for BabyBoy…fck your life!

  • New York Nigga

    naw FUCK U^^^

  • flamethrowa

    nah , fucc both of ya’ll

  • flamethrowa

    That is ah trip how tha east coast be hatin on tha south . We ain’t grow up around no rucker park , ridin subways , playin ceelo and all that shyt , so why should our music sound like ya’lls ?? why should we rap about tha same subjects ?? And as far as all tha talk bout us bein slow : this where ya grannys and grandaddy’s from , so where u think yo game got passed down from ??? this where our peoples was slaves , quit hatin on ya rootz homie

  • PITPAT

    fuck this bitch he makin the south look bad

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  • Beauty

    “It’s Kadalack Boyz”!–Real niggaz stand up!! Collipark, you did it with this group! They have the hottest new single out (Never Slippen). Got the streets/club going wild! Keep doing what you do and let the haters be your MOTIVATION.

  • http://www.aol.com jr

    SMURF THIS IS YOUR BOY JR MAN FUCK ALL THESE HATERS THEY CAN’T STOP TRUE TALENT SO FOR ALL THE COMMENTS I READ FUCK YA’LL MR COILIPARK IS REPPING COLLEGE PARK GA AND AN’T NO STOPPING KEEP DOING YOUR THING

  • http://www.aol.com shady park

    what’s up MR COIL PARK IS THE MAN FUCK
    ALL THESE HATERS YOU MADE YING YANG THEY WANT BE NOTHING WITH OUT YOU AND REMEMBER U SINCE BACK IN THE DAY WITH MC SHY D AND GANASGTA TRICK U KNOW JR AND THEM SHADDY P BOY’S GOT YOUR BACK
    EVERYBODY TRYING TO REP CP U THE ONLY REAL NIGGIA OUT OF CP

  • EMoney101

    Man whoeva thinks Collipark iz so wack why dont yall stand-up or shut-up?

  • The X

    To the Window to the Wall started when DJ Smurf AKA Collipark was at Alabama A&M University in 1991

  • http://www.Myspace.com/lilababy09 LIL A

    kool interview!

    collipark is a true innovator!
    Holla at me like asap and check out my music sur!!!

  • http://YAHOO.COM tater tot

    I WOULD LOVE A RECORD LABEL WITH YOU MR. COLLI PARK.IM 10 BUT A GOOD RAPPER I LIVE IN VA SOUTH, RICHMOND 428 LASAL R.MY SONGS ARE WALKIN DOWN THE STREET WITH NIKES ON MY FEET,POP DEM SODA BOTTLES,CRANK DAT TATER TOT,POP MY TOP,AND BRUSH YO TEETH. I KNOW A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE WANTED TO COME WITH YOU BUT YOU ARE MY ROLE MODEL. I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO JOIN YOUR CREW.PLEASE TEXT ME BACK OR ON MY E MAIL ADRESS YOULLL95@YAHOO.COM (IN CAPITAL LETTERS)

    – TATERTOT

  • Vaughan

    You cut, Bridging the Great divide is whats up. Good work Collipark.

  • charly policapte

    wat up