Still On It
Eight years ago, Omillio Sparks caught the biggest break of his career. After auditioning for Jay-Z, he and partner Oschino Vasquez were signed to hip-hop’s biggest label: Roc-A-Fella Records. Shortly after, he met fellow Illdaelph native and labelmate Beanie Siegel and within a year, Omillo guest starred on Jay’s “I Just Want To Love U, (Give It 2 Me)” from, The Dynasty: Roc La Familia. By 2001, Beanie Sigel had formed the Roc-A-Fella group off-shoot, State Property and recruited the Roc’s Philly artists to round out the roster. The move proved successful, producing two State Property movies, soundtracks and a clothing line. But in 2005, things turned sour after Beans a.k.a. Mac was sent to jail and Roc-A-Fella founders began to go their separate ways. Instead of seeing his career suffer, Sparks established Colossal Entertainment and is prepping the release of his debut album, The Payback this spring which features guest spots from his S.P. brethren. Phoning in with XXLMAG.COM, Sparks gives his take on the Roc’s breakup and questions why Jay-Z won’t return his calls.
Truthfully speaking, was everything at Roc-A-Fella all that it was cracked up to be?
It wasn’t all that it cracked up to be. It was smoke and mirrors. In the beginning it was all cool ’cause we was all young. You had Neef and them, they was 16, 17 [years-old] and Me and O was like 18, 20 [years-old] at the time. You straight from the ghetto, you meet Hov and next thing you know, you’re on TV. You got albums out, you’re on the road, so it was a rush. Everything was cool. Then we start blowin’ up. Then everybody wanting to know the business side of things. Me and O was doing our thing, but then O kept going to jail, getting locked up, so he couldn’t put nothing out. The Gunnas is dropping they thing, Freeway came did his thing, then the Roc-A-Fella break up come. Mac goes to jail, then there’s a bunch of bullshit going on.
Did you see it coming?
You knew there was some feuding going on but you didn’t know how deep it was. Switching of the studios you understood that [and] there was a separation between them. You didn’t see them together as much. So near the end you knew like, Damn, something bad gon' happen. Then they tried to split the whole click up. We was like, “Whoa, we was State P, we making moves together!” I guess everybody was for theyselves after awhile.
Was there ever a time where you felt like you were being placed on the back burner?
At the end of the day you feel bitter about the whole situation, then you think about it, and it was like, Well OK, it’s business. You live and you learn. I don’t feel like I was placed on the back burner cause I got a lot of shit accomplished. I did the movies, I done put records out, I was on Mac album both of them, Free album, the Gunnas album. I did joints on the Dynasty album, so we made good moves.
Were you bitter about Roc-A-Fella not dropping your album?
Now that wasn’t they fault ’cause after Hot 9-7 and I did the “Give It To Me” thing, we was in position, ’cause we was about to drop a joint called “On and Poppin'.” That was Hov and Beyonce shit. That’s what they wanted to put out. But Oschino, every year man, Oschino be locked the fucked up. Every time we bout to buss a move, O’s booked. We a group. I can’t really make a move. I need my partner. He come home again, next thing you know, boom, he booked again. Its like, O stay out of trouble or play your part and stop getting caught!
How’s your relationship now with Beanie Mac and the rest of the State Property members?
We [Beanie Sigel] kick it. I holla at Chris and Neef a lot. I seen O couple weeks ago. At the end of the day it was business. Even if you did something wrong and I wasn’t on top of my game, I can look back at it as business ’cause I run my own company now, Colossal Entertainment and we putting our own thing out. We got distribution on the table right now, so it’s a good thing. You did what you did and now we moving on, I’m a grown man now. When I came into the game, I was young, naive, ain’t know better and was having fun. We was making moves and all of the partying outweighed the business.
Do you think Siegel going to jail affected the overall chemistry of the crew?
I think so ’cause they put him as the head. So, if he not there to negotiate what happens next, it’s a bad situation. And once you down, nobody can stop making their moves. Chris and Neef dropped they album, I guess he was upset about that and everybody started making they own moves. Because it was like, nobody can’t nobody sit around and wait for no man to come home when they got mouths to feed, so you gotta make moves.
From the outside looking in, it seemed as if you guys were in a bad space.
I was cool. I ain’t have to do that. I had niggas in position. When you literally got to go back to the block, that’s bad business. You don’t see Sparks back on the block—unless I’m going to visit somebody. I don’t got to do that shit no more.
Oh, so you were comfortable?
If you look on the back of the State Property album, you see K. Johnson. That’s my government. I did a lot of writing. I did the movie thing. So I had stuff coming in from that, and then I had boys that was in position, if something happed to me, I was straight.
In addition, you were in State Property clothing ads and even in three Roc-A-Fella films. Did you get compensated for those?
Yeah, no doubt. I get my acting skills checked. With the movie thing it’s different from the music ’cause it’s like, if you do a couple S.A.G.S. then you go into the union. I just finished another movie with Freeway called What We Do. That put me in a good position.
So you’re a S.A.G. member now?
Almost. I’m almost there. I got one more and I’m working. Music is my passion plus I talk that shit, so its only right that I bring it to the forefront.
But do you feel like Jay should’ve automatically extended his arm to you?
You know what? I feel like, on some real shit, for the things we did, it’s only right. From my perspective as a nigga, if I put that kinda work in for somebody, you gotta look out. If you put soldiers out in the field, and they lose a leg or something they [get] the Purple Heart and shit like that. They get they veterans check, you feel me? These are people that put theyselves on the forefront. They frontline, lost legs and shit like that, and put theysleves in position for you, and at the end of the day you say, fuck ‘em.
Have you been in contact with Dame or Jay?
I haven’t talked to Dame. Reached out to Hov. In fact, we bumped heads a few times. Went up to the office a while go and hollered at TyTy. But not recently. He a busy man, too. I tried to get him to clear the record, “It Aint’ My Fault,” so I don’t know what he up to right now.
Do you think he’s giving you the runaround?
We tried to get it cleared and he ain’t want to clear the record. I don’t understand. It’s business. I would like to see him and ask, “What? You don’t like the record?” I want to talk to him and look him in his face ask, “What’s up?” We had a deal for that record, change for it up front. All he had to do was clear it—call downstairs and clear the record.
So if he were reading this now, what would you want to say?
Clear the record man! Clear the muthafuckin’ record man! Don’t stop my bread. Fuck, what for?! That’s all. You up!