Back in 2005, Death Row Records founder Suge Knight appeared on the cover of the October issue of XXL alongside the label’s newly crowned savior, Petey Pablo. Authoring Billboard topping hits such as the Timbaland-produced “Raise Up” and the Lil Jon-fueled “Free-A-Leek,” Petey was Tha Row’s biggest acquisition in almost a decade. While the deal made sense for Suge, many wondered why Petey, who had two gold albums on Jive—Diary of a Sinner: First Entry (2001) and Still Writing in My Diary: 2nd Entry (2004)—would join up with a crumbling empire. In fact, the label folded after going bankrupt in 2005 before the Greenville, NC native could release his Row debut, Same Eyez On Me. Two weeks ago, however, a version of the album leaked on the Internet to the surprise of many. As the first new batch of material from the rowdy MC in three years, fans are now eager to see what’s up with the North Carolina shirt spinner. XXLMag.com tracked down Petey Pablo in an Atlanta studio at 2 a.m. to find out about his impending comeback and what life’s like after Tha Row.
Same Eyez On Me recently leaked on the Internet. Was that something you thought people would ever get to hear?
There wasn’t a release date for it. It ain’t supposed to be out—ever. That wasn’t an album I did. I mean, I did the songs, but I never talked about doing that album. That’s just some other issue I’ve got to deal with now.
There’s a song on the album called “In a Minute,” where you poke fun at Eminem, 50 Cent, Young Buck and The Game, saying how they’re scared to come to the West Coast. What prompted that?
That song was taken and altered to make it sound like that. That wasn’t how that song went, by no means. That verse [where it has me dissin’ them] wasn’t even in that song. It ain’t even a diss to nobody, because the verse said that I really want to work with these dudes. I was like, “No, I really want to,” but I forgot how the end of the verse [original went].
You mean the last line that says, “All these muthafuckas scared to come out here on the West Coast…”
Right! See, that part right there was on a whole ’nother fuckin’ song. That’s crazy as hell. That right there wasn’t even on that muthafucka. That was on the intro of [another] song. I was like, “All these muthafuckas out here claim to be whatever, whatever, but they’re scared to come out here to the West Coast.” That wasn’t even talkin’ about artists; it was talkin’ about people in general like, “You want to be a real gangsta? Come out here to the West Coast. Y’all muthafuckas scared.” That was taken off a whole ’nother song and put on the end of a [verse] where I just said I wanted to work with these dudes. In that verse, I was being very serious when I said I wanted to work with these dudes. It’s just retarded, man. Why would I do that when they ain’t done shit to me? It was just so wrong for a person to do something like that.
Why would someone go through all that trouble to make you look bad?
I guess it could have been done out of spite. It could have been done out of disappointment. I can’t really speak on why it was done, but at the same time, all I can do is pray for people and hope one day they get it right before it’s too late and you don’t wake up one morning. Try to do something nice for a change. Try not to be an instigator, manipulator or intimidator. But like I said, I apologize for the misunderstanding to all the individuals. I recently spoke to a couple of those cats. That’s just ridiculous. It makes me feel bad. I only feel sorry for individuals who have nothin’ to grasp on to but foolishness and ignorance.
What kind of dialogue have you had with the artists that were called out on that record?
I recently hit [Dr.] Dre on his MySpace page, because me and Dre, we got the same lawyer now, and I didn’t understand what the tension was between [us]. Because at one time, I had even thought about signing with Aftermath. I realized what it was after my lawyer sat down and told me [it was] about the shit that happened at the Vibe Awards [where Dre was punched in the face by a man allegedly paid by Suge]. So one day, I just seen his [MySpace] page and I sent him a message. I told him I can’t apologize for something I had no control over, that I had no knowledge of, but I will apologize for any role that you may feel that I played in this. I’m being deeply sincere in saying that I had no wrong intentions. I was invited somewhere and I was just glad to be there. I never came anywhere with an ulterior motive, and never brought anybody with me that I felt had an ulterior motive.
Is that apology the same for everybody?
I can apologize to anybody if they feel like I’ve offended anybody, because that’s not my intention. Never in my career have I ever went at anybody, not because I’m scared, but because I don’t use my craft that way. That’s not what I do my music for. I do my music for uplifting people [and] giving people motivation. A lot of those songs that I did, when I was with that side over there, was me being in a fucked up state of mind and hangin’ around fucked up state of mind ass people. That’s a terrible combination. When you’re in a fucked up state of mind and the muthafucka you with in a fucked up state of mind, you can’t do nothin’ but fuck up. But like I said, I love everybody.
Were you ever officially signed to Tha Row?
Never. I was just out there in L.A. I know people say negative [things] about [Suge Knight], but I’m just the [type of] person to give people the opportunity. We just started hangin’ out, spending time together and I started tryin’ to get to know who he was as a person and an individual. Just by being affiliated [with Suge Knight], everybody assumes [I was signed to Tha Row]. We had talked about doing a whole lot of stuff, but the time, dates and schedules just never worked out the way that it was supposed to. It’s all due to the plan of the Creator. Anything that is supposed to happen will happen; anything that isn’t shall never come to pass. Your whole life is already written out before you get here.
So what’s written out for the next chapter in your life and the album you’re working on now?
I’m in between names, but I’m thinking it’s going to be called Diary of Mine. I worked with Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Paul Wall and Jagged Edge. Last night I was with David Banner. Really, we just work together to get a vibe. I still have no earthly idea what’s really going to be on the album until I sit down and just… that’s the other crazy thing about me: I do so many songs, and I’ll love them today and can’t stand them four days from now. Everybody else is like, “Man, that’s hot.” Then I have so many that I’ve just got to sit down and just listen to them and see what fits, you know, pick the right people to be around me and listen to them, and get the right opinions. It’s a lot of stuff I got to deal with.