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Birdman: In It For Keeps [June 2011 Full Cover Story]

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That’s the picture we paint to the world. This is family, me and my son, Wayne. You know where we come from and how hard. Ain’t nothing never came easy to us. It’s a together-forever thing, and we wanna grow and let the artists grow. Let them be as big as they could be and just keep growing as a brand.

Do you think that you get the respect that you deserve for the role that you played over the past 10-plus years in hip-hop?

Nah, not at all. But it do give me another motivation. It make me wanna work harder. Maybe I didn’t work hard enough. I’ma just keep going hard and keep tryna let my muscle, my money, my creativity, just keep us getting bigger and bigger. I think we have a lot to do, and I have a lot to do. But I definitely think people ain’t got it yet, and that’s good, too. I respect that.

Why haven’t you?

I don’t know. They gotta answer that for me.

Has it not come from the industry? Has it not come from your peers? Has it not come from fans?

The industry know what it do. ’Cause it do what it do, and when it comes down to it, they know what they gotta do, where it gotta go. We bigger than life, for real, though. I don’t think nobody is doing it as much as us. No brand is out there like us. I really don’t weigh it like that. I like to get the numbers and, like what y’all doing. I think that’s respect, and I feel we deserve that respect. ’Cause we going hard, and when you look around, there’s no other peers. It’s like it is the last man standing.

Most people who have lasted as long in hip-hop as you have have grown into a different look over time. A more “grown,” CEO look. You’ve gone the other way, tattoos on the face, the head. When did you decide, Doesn’t matter, I’m tattooing myself everywhere?

This my life. I knew this since I was 15 years old: either the streets, death, jail. My life didn’t come from books and education. I come from the projects. So I had already put it in my heart, This is gon’ be for me. I did this young, 14, 15, with tats. Then I just went crazy. I think that’s our lifestyle. We rock stars. So that’s how that go.

Do you and Wayne compete for who has more?

Nah, I can’t. He got way more than me. I can’t fuck with Wayne. He go hard. I went hard, but I ain’t go that hard.

You have a large red star on the top of your head. You went hard.

Five of ’em. Yeah, if you look at it that way.

Besides running the business, you still release your own albums. Where does that come from, and what do you like to rap about anymore?

Wow, that’s just my grind. I feel like I’m just hustling. I like to talk about
my life and my lifestyle. When I started this shit, I didn’t understand a lot
of shit about life, because I was young. I didn’t understand why we had to
live in these lil’-bitty-ass houses; you lucky if you got just one car. I ain’t
understand this shit. When I was young with money, I didn’t get it, so I did it different. I wanted a lot of cars, a lot of houses. I just didn’t get that shit. So I think, today, I just paint that life that I hope the whole world get. Live it, you know. Try your best to get it, ’cause it’s there.


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