Sandman, Mr. Solo Dolo [FEATURE]

Label drama has been a perpetual thorn in the side of the Clipse. When Malice and Pusha T couldn’t get the major labels to see their vision, they took to the streets but not alone. Forming the Re-Up Gang with Philadelphia MCs Ab-Liva and Sandman, the Clipse delivered not one but three critically-acclaimed volumes of their We Got It 4 Cheap mixtape series. The tapes sustained the Virginia duo’s buzz between projects and introduced fans to two more lyrical giants—Liva and Sandman.

Things were going good for the four-man collective by 2008, the Clipse were signed to Columbia Records and their notoriously long-delayed sophomore effort, Hell Hath No Fury, looked ready to finally drop. Before that, though, they were set to release the Koch-distributed The Clipse Present: Re-Up Gang that July. Two months later, news broke that Sandman had abruptly left the fold to try his hand at a solo career and build up his own brand, Cannons Inc. XXLMag.com recently caught up with the Clipse’s former anchor to discuss his departure from Re-Up, his new mixtape, The Heart of the City, with Don Cannon and why he and Malice once shed tears together.

XXLMag.com: As part of Re-Up Gang, you had critical acclaim for appearing on the three highly regarded Got It 4 Cheap mixtapes. Why did you decide to walk away?

Sandman: Man, I left because I truly felt in my heart that everything the Re-Up Gang as a four-man group worked for was getting ready to start, then how could I put it? …I saw The Clipse get money and take it all to themselves—one way or another. Like, we promoted a single called “20K Money Making Brothers on the Corner,” remember that? That was supposed to be our single on the Koch album. All of the sudden, “Fast Life” came out and that was our one shot [at a mainstream look]… It was already told to the world that the Re-Up Gang album was coming first on Columbia. This shit is in publications and websites, but then I hear the Clipse was releasing an album [first]. In my mind I’m thinking that’s a conflict of interest. How could Re-Up drop on Columbia and then three months later the Clipse drop? It’s don’t make sense.

XXLMag.com: Did you ever get an explanation for why things switched from the Re-Up project to the Clipse’s next album?

Sandman: I hit Pusha up like, “What’s up?” He’s like, “The label [Columbia] said it’d be best [for the Clipse album to come first].” We knew that Koch wasn’t giving us no fuckin’ second video. So the payoff from all that fuckin’ touring, mixtapes and that grind; [the Clipse] got the benefit of that. So I’m feeling like, damn, I gotta stand around and now be on some “Wamp Wamp,” “Mr. Me Too” background video shit. That was cool then ’cause that was what it was about and I’m a team player. My niggas’ dropping albums, I’m working with that, that was the plan but for it to turn into what I just told you it turned into… When I got the call [to do the “Fast Life” video] I was like, “Nah, I’m not coming out there and I’m not with it no more.”

XXLMag.com: So is there beef between y’all over all of this now?

Sandman: Nah, it wasn’t no beef, it was all business. Me and Malice read the Bible together on the tour bus before. His grandmother passed of cancer and my grandma was dealing with that shit, too. I forget which CD we were on tour for, but my grandma had cancer, dawg, and she was going through it. My grandma is the rock of our family, so I had distanced myself in back of the tour bus, smoking on something and one day Malice came back there and he seen it in my face. I couldn’t hold it in, it was killin’ me, dawg. I just wanted to cry, ’cause it was my grandma. I started to express myself and tears started rolling down his face, too. We confided in each other about each others’ grandmas. I got love for these niggas, but at the same time the business obviously does not benefit me right now and it’s nothing guaranteed.

XXLMag.com: In XXL’s interview with the Clipse in the Novmeber issue, it said early reports were that you left because of how Koch/E1 handled the Re-Up project. Is that true?

Sandman: No, I ain’t fuckin’ leave because of what Koch did. I don’t even know what Koch did. How the fuck I know, I don’t even own a copy of that Koch album and I didn’t know nobody up there. I left because I felt like the shit that was being told to me wasn’t being acted upon. [Malice and Pusha] came and looked for me. I wasn’t nowhere looking for the Clipse, dawg. I was in the fuckin’ hood when I was selling my work when I got my first deal and when it went bad I went back to the streets made a DVD and all kinds of shit popped off. I did things that niggas do to keep their name relevant in hip-hop while I was trying to get on.

XXLMag.com: Speaking of which, you’ve stayed on your grind since splitting from the Clipse, dropping three mixtapes—most notable your recent one with Don Cannon, The Heart of the City. What else are you working on?

Sandman: Man, I’m just grindin’. I got a bevy of videos gettin’ ready to hit… We got a little independent deal on the table—shout out to my man Truth, and my man Charlie over at Traffic Distribution—they wanted me to turn [my album] in by August 15th and have it drop by October, and I just felt in my heart that if [my company] Cannons Inc. is gonna be the sole label, you know the role your label gotta play when it’s real, that ain’t even no time to fuckin’ promote an album, let alone to make sure your label is stable enough to really kick this thing off. I felt like I wanted to do another CD and just use this winter to build my juggernaut summer, like Heart of the City is a hell of a lead off into the Cannons CD and to [my sister] Housewife’s CD and to the Sandman Best of…, which is called 25 to Life, and to another Sandman CD. I’ll probably drop another mixtape in March ’cause in April the album’s comin’.

XXLMag.com: What’s the name of the album?

Sandman: The album is called 12/12. Like you know, everything starts and ends at 12, it’s a beginning and an end. However you wanna look at it, 12 disciples, 12/12 skinnies, crack bags, but the most significant thing to the number 12/12 for me is that’s the number code to hip-hip, microphone check 1-2, 1-2, and that’s my birth date, that’s when I was born, December 12. I was born on the code for hip-hop, so there’s got to be something special there.

XXLMag.com: Seemed like you had something special with Re-Up, any regrets about going solo?

Sandman: It was all love, man, but I can’t say that I didn’t see a lot of shit happening. I’m always going speak how I feel, bro. I don’t give a fuck who you is or where we at, I’m going say something if I don’t like it… The Re-Up Gang is forever, though, and I wish them the best with Re-Up Gang Records. I wish they sign [someone like] Lady Gaga and blow the fuck up ’cause that’s what I want to do with my company. Real rap, but at the end of the day, Re-Up Gang, the legacy, the four-man group, the dopest four-man group since N.W.A… That’s forever. —Anslem Samuel

  • john

    at first before i read this i thought sand was on buggin.. im happy i read this article and got to go more in depth about why sh went down the way it did… for a fourman group these niggas was raw and put out some of the best mixtape sh … i still wish they coulda did what slaugherhouse did and put out a whole entire album tho…

    • valdez

      CANNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNN!!!

      sandman is that dude. he had the sickest lines on the we got it 4 cheap series. that re-up movement def. AIN’T the same w/ out cannon. liva is nice too, but i can honestly say he ain’t fuckin with sandman.

      fucked up, the clipse fucked that shit all up. i’ma def. cop when cannon drops.

      liva will prolly never release a solo album as long as he stay under the clipse. SMH.

      • GregSIDE

        How can you blame this on Clipse? If any artist or group knows what it feels like to be fucked by the industry it’s them. They had hella problems with Jive and Pharell. That’s why they started the RE-UP Gang. What do you think the labels gonna do? Put out R.U.G. record when not everybody knows who Liva and Sandman are. They’re not mainstream yet. Then you got The Clipse, the most underrated group in Hip-Hop, but there mainstream. More people are gonna pick up a Clipse record than a Clipse Presents record. And the new album is fire. You gotta pay ur dues. Hell maybe they’ll bring Fam-Lay back.

  • Vhingrhamesonyo’momma

    It’s obvious this negro has no idea how the business works…besides the internets who the fuck woulda’ bought a Re-up gang album at the time! They was settin a plate for you and you spit in the pot…stupid. The clipse jus dropped a fya ass album and have a huge platform now, common sense would tell you to run in behind that.

  • TheCo!!inB

    same time, and even Clipse can tell you, that Re-Up Koch album was a fuckin mess. I don’t think even they knew how bad it was going to be. Producer Maestro talked about that situation a bit because he was approached to do the album but the money wasn’t right. Either way I’d pay money to hear these four niggas spit together again, but I respect Sand’s decision……and not sounding immature about his move.
    The bol spits flames also, just sayin.

    • Vhingrhamesonyo’momma

      ^^^^
      right, right. Cats gotta learn patience tho’ jus cuz’ it’s not right, right now don’t mean it won’t be. He could of still did his own thing and stayed and rode that wave as well. I hear you tho!

  • AZ40

    it’s sad to see them split, those mixtapes were pretty hot and he pretty good on the mic 12/12 has a lot of significance in his life huh?

  • JAYSON

    KUDOS TO SANDMAN FOR HAVING SO MUCH BELIEF & FAITH IN HIS SELF, TO SAY “YOU KNOW WHAT, THIS ISN’T WORKING FOR ME SO I’M GOING TO TRY MY OWN HAND”! THAT REALLY BALLSY IN THIS DAY OF RAPPERS SIGNING TO RAPPERS TO END UP DISSING THEM & SAYING THEY OWE THE MONEY! IT SAYS SANDMAN RELEASED 3 CD’S SINCE HE LEFT THE GROUP, HE’S PUT OUT MORE MUSIC SOLO THAN HIS HOLD RE-UP GANG STAY! SANDMAN IS DOPE AS HELL & HIS FLAVOR WAS ONE THAT STOOD OUT THE MOST AMONGST THE RE-UP GANG!!

  • gemstonez

    u gotta give sandman credit for being a very dope mc! i downloaded all 3 cds he released since leaving the re-up gang and all of them are fucking dope! he’s so much bigger as a soloist! clipse are rappers! sandman is a mc! remember aint’cha? see what happens when sand rips on a pharell beat! he murdered that song!! i hope sandman can break through cause he damn sure paid his dues for the game defining the re-up gangs sound!

  • Pingback: Sandman Interview on XXL.com « Good Music Should Be

  • kedordu

    HES MAKING A MISTAKE . CLIPSE HAD TO GET OUT THERE FIRST . KNOW UR ROLE

    • Vhingrhamesonyo’momma

      ^^^
      bingo!

      • POLOhead SCO

        Yeah, I can dig it. But on the cool that new Clipse album is their best work to date…..in my opinion of course.

  • MATTY

    kedordu says:

    HES MAKING A MISTAKE . CLIPSE HAD TO GET OUT THERE FIRST . KNOW UR ROLE

    WHAT BULLSHIT!!!!!!! HOW DOES A GROUP THAT WENT PLATINUM 1ST OUT…STALL OUT, GET LEFT BEHIND BY PHARELL ON JIVE TO THE POINT OF PUBLICLY SAYING FUCK JIVE, LOOK FOR & FORM A GROUP {RE-UP GANG} AROUND SANDMAN, RELEASE WGI4C VOL 1, THEN A CLASSIC ALBUM TO LACKLUSTER SALES, THEN 2 MORE RE-UP GANG MIXTAPES THAT BUZZED BIGGER THAN CLIPSE HHFN ALBUM, KEPT THE CLIPSE ALIVE…NO, BROUGHT THEM BACK FROM THE DEAD, GOT THE DEAL OVER @ COLUMBIA & KOCH….NEED TO GET OUT 1ST???
    THE -RE-UP GANG IS WHY THE HAD A CHACNE TO COMEBACK AFTER HHNF PERIOD!! KNOW UR ROLE?? YOUR ROLE IS WHAT U MAKE IT! SANDMAN’S ROLE IS ONE HEEL OF A CRAZY SOLOIST! BEDT OF LUCK TO HIM & HIS CANNONS INC MOVEMENT!

  • doubleclutch95

    Much respect to Sandman for airing the issue out. He’s right 150% because you can’t drop a re-up album and the only track on the album with Sand or Liva is the fucking single “Fast Life”. It made no damn sense. Hope it all works out for Sandman as I downloaded the mixtape. There is no Re-Up Gang with Sandman & I’m the biggest Clipse fan there is.

    Go cop The Clipse “Til the Casket Drops”…Hip Hop on Steroids!!!

  • THE MAN

    This nigga is actin like a hoe ass nigga with hurt feelins because he couldn’t go first. Them niggas invited you in. Have a seat at the table and quit boo whooin nigga. If I had a dime for everytime something changed in HIP HOP I’d be rich. Nigga too grown to be walkin around thinkin stupid shit like that. Then top actually say it out LOUD..smh

  • http://www.ronmexicocity.com Ron Mexico

    i miss roscoe p more than anything. too bad that nigga was keepin it EXTRA real.

  • SW PHILLY

    ^^True. Roscoe P was no joke. Some mixcd he had went hard in the paint. Cant remember the name tho.

  • clos1881

    I like sandman I hope they can reunite, but thats just smart buisness you gotta come out with the established artist first.

  • closetothecamp

    Ab Liva solo album is in the works as we speak.

  • http://www.spitboss.com KLAP215

    Big up’s 2 SandMan! Interview is dope! CANNONS I.N.C.!!!!

  • robert hamilton

    he got a raw deal but he needs to overload the internet with new material.he should try to mend the bridges with clipse.the reup gang is better with them together.they should take the “symphony” beat and do a 2010 version of that song.

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