FEATURE: Juelz Santana, Free At Last
[Editor’s Note: These are the outtakes to the edited interview that appears in the March 2009 issue of XXL.]
XXLMag.com: There's still such an open lane for you. You got the label, the affiliation, the look, the skill. If that’s all there, what’s happening?
Juelz Santana: Definitely the stagnation what happened with my business with Cam. Cause I felt like going from the last album I put out, seeing the process, there’s definitely a bigger turn around. I was certified platinum, which means even not on SoundScan, which means I probably fell about 200 short… But that meant well over gold and still, I don’t think nobody from New York has sold more than me but Jay-Z and 50 since the last time I came out and it’s crazy, I came out three years ago so if you really do the logistics of it, of New York artists… Without my stagnation, I would have definitely dropped an album.
XXL: We knew that there was tension between Cam and Jim early on, but you, management, whoever was involved, managed to keep tension between Jim and Cam quiet. And what the phone call between 50 and Cam on Hot 97 did was expose what was brewing. And then you and Jim go on stage with 50…
Juelz: It wasn’t so much that. Jim is a smart person so Jim looks at it as like a lot of things is promotion, like, Cam would have did it too… And that’s the type of person Cam would be, like, he would make it seem to us like, Why shouldn’t we do something if you would have done it too just ’cause you didn’t get the opportunity to do it? So don’t mess up nobody else’s opportunity. That was big for New York City. It wasn’t about egos or them back stabbing going on that was about nothing. And to me, I was just asked by Jim to go, at the same time I wasn’t playing no sides, I was just like a child caught in the middle of a damn…I love Cam. If he would have asked me to go do something, even if I didn’t agree with it, I would have went and did it ’cause I’m a loyal player. I’ve done it mad times and he knows that. The same way with Jim. He said, “Yo Juelz, I’m doing a show, I’m coming out with 50 and ’em.” Say no more. It didn’t even matter who he was coming out with, you coming out in New York City, I’m coming out with you.
XXL: It was that timing. And the decision he made…
Juelz: That made everything seem like…I don’t think everything was crazy. Like I said, I think anybody would have did the same thing. So I don’t think his decision was crazy, I think it more less seemed crazy because of the timing. A lot of things seem what it’s really not.
XXL: Did you expect 50 and Cam to get into it like that? The "pool in the back," Tru Life, "Curtis." It got kinda crazy and you guys weren’t involved.
Juelz: Um, yeah, it definitely started getting hectic. I don’t know if that was bad karma on Cam’s part from the past, I don’t know what it was. It did seem like there was a lot of things bad happening for Cam at the time. Maybe it was…I wish Cam the best because that’s my brother still, but at the end of the day I still look at it like, “Damn, how could you do that to me?”
XXL: But beyond holding you, contractually, what is your beef besides that or is it that? How did that happen?
Juelz: It ain’t no beef besides that. Like, that’s my whole thing. And that was a fucked up contract.
XXL: How are you not totally mad at this point?
Juelz: ’Cause I’m just not that type of person at the end of the day. I learned so much and I’m still 25 years old. Like I paid for Phantoms, Bentley cars, so as much as I feel he took advantage, he’s done a lot. I can say that. That’s why I never badmouth him, ’cause there’s a lot more things I can say. Like I did a lot of things, ain’t got paid for. Like I had the studio for five years, albums recorded here, stuff I ain’t got no proceeds for. Everything I earned I got it, from paying for my own “Mic Check” video, doing shows grinding…spinning, spinning what I got for what I believed in. Sacrificing what I had for what I believed in.
XXL: So bringing it to the Lil Wayne, I Can’t Feel My Face collabo, you and Wayne both been around for forever, he blew up. You got contractual issues so what happens to all the projects you guys were doing together? Do we still look forward to that? ’Cause now all of a sudden there’s T-Wayne so what’s up with your project?
Juelz: I know. Like you said there was contractual issues but the good thing is the album is done. I got 30 records in the computer right now. That’s all we gotta wait on is the sign off. The album is done. That’s why I say the good thing because it’s not like we gotta go back in and say, “Oh, well Wayne might not want to do the album no more,” the album is done. It’s gonna go down now, now it’s all about timing. I been talking to L.A. [Reid] and I told L.A. that’s one of the things I kinda want to happen before my album drops.
Juelz: Because you bring Wayne to them?
XXL: So it’s a power move for everybody. Plus it’s good for the industry. At the end of the day I don’t care if I don’t get no proceeds for that album, even though of course that’s what we work for, that’s what the people want. They need to see some shit like that. We got this one song on the album called “After Disaster” where I’m talking about 9/11 and he’s talking about Katrina. And the whole song is just two bars, two bars, two bars, two bars… It’s me and him fit so perfect in our ways and our walks of coming into this game, it’s just that he’s from New Orleans and I’m from Harlem. I’m saying that’s the only real difference in our story, pretty much because as far as our rap history, it’s pretty much the same.
XXL: You’ve got Cam and Jim and Zeke and then Juve and B.G., Turk and Baby…
Juelz: They gotta work it out. Like Baby and Wayne sat together and got to where they can do this…even if it’s something that we don’t know about that’s hidden, it don’t matter ’cause it still looks as if they’re one. So the bottom line is they worked it out some way.
XXL: Do You think you would do a Diplomatic Immunity 3 album?
Juelz: Yeah, I would love to do it. Just know that Juelz ain’t the one holding that one up. So I guess whenever people come to they senses and we all talk like men and do the right business and do the right thing like Spike Lee, I’m with whatever.-Vanessa Satten