While his wife, fellow rapper Remy Ma, continues to serve out her eight-year jail sentence on assault and weapons charges stemming from a July 2007 shooting, Papoose stays holding down the fort with the kids. But, through it all, Pap is still recording music and working on finally delivering his long-awaited album, The Nacirema Dream, which he says will drop next year.
Here, XXL presents outtakes from the Brooklyn MC’s interview which appears in the October issue of XXL, on newsstands now, in which he further talks about raising his children, making more music and love at first sight. —Mark Lelinwalla
What was your first initial impression of Remy?
Papoose: I was like, ‘Yo, this girl is crazy’ because she was outspoken. Her and Slay were going back and forth in the studio. They were arguing about whether blood is blue in your vein or red. They were having a heated argument about that shit. And to Slay, Rem is like a little sister, but I never saw nobody challenge Slay like that before. They were going at it, though. That’s what they call each other – Big brother, little sister. It was interesting for me to see her challenge him like that.
Not to be corny, but was it on some love at first sight joint?
[Laughing] You can say that. Once we met, we clicked. We always stayed in contact. She might tell you a different story, you know what I’m saying [Laughing].
What was your recollection of the wedding proposal?
We were going to get my truck, pick it up. We were in her BMW. We had been spending a lot of time together and I never met nobody like her before. She was real unique to me – her history, her story, how she grew up, how she overcame a lot of trials and tribulations in her life. She’s had a real good heart. Basically, I just popped the question. There come a time and point in your life where you get tired of some of the shit you been doing your whole life. I been through a lot in my life and been through a lot of experiences. There comes a point in time where you want to settle down and live your life differently. That’s the person I felt like I wanted to do that with. I felt like she had a real good heart and was real genuine, so I just popped the question, more or less.
Obviously, it’s got to be hard with your wife in prison. Other than her coming back home, what do you want to have happen with this situation?
First and foremost, was for the truth to come out, the fact that she’s innocent of the situation. That’s one, and two, me being the person that studies law, and if you follow my Law Library series you know that. I was observing the case from day one. And to see how the evidence was ridiculous, you know what I’m saying? The evidence they had against her was ridiculous, and I just knew she was gonna beat it. You know what I’m saying. You live your life, you tell yourself regardless of what, the truth is gonna come out eventually.
Remy has to be on your mind all the time, but music probably keeps you busy. What’s good on your end with the music?
I’m always recording, I’m always creating, I’m always performing, but what I’m working on right now is really getting my album out to the people because I know that’s what they want more than anything. Even the haters as they call them, when they explain it, they say, ‘Fuck Papoose, he didn’t drop his album yet.’ People want the album. People are practically begging me for the fucking album, so that’s what I’m working on. I’m going to do it this year. The album is coming this year. I’m doing it independent. Honor B4 Money Records.
You had recorded a lot of music in a short time, before getting the $1.5 million deal with Jive that never worked out. Talk about that whole situation.
I’m going to be honest with you. Even when I got my deal, before I got my deal, that shit didn’t come easy. Those people who really follow me will tell you that. I think people forgot about that, man – how hard I worked to get that fucking record deal. How much music I put out, how long they made me wait, but I never got nothing easy in life, so that shit was no shock to me. Some of these dudes were born into this game with a fucking silver spoon in their mouth. They honestly got no longevity. I worked real hard to get that deal. A couple of people were interested. Def Jam made an offer, Interscope made an offer. We decided to go with Jive, even though a lot of people told us we shouldn’t have. We didn’t want to sign to a West Coast label. We wanted to do something that was based here in New York City where we’re from. That’s kind of like what my movement was signifying. We decided to go with Jive and besides they offered us the most money. Def Jam offered $400,000, Interscope offered $700,000. I was putting in a lot of work and finally they started offering some decent deals. But to make a long story short, we took the deal with Jive. I got signed to Jive by the owners. Usually you get signed by some A&R and they’re able to do a lot of shit quick to get money out of your budget. So, a lot of people there were angry that I got signed by the owners of the label. When the guys signed me, one of the things he expressed to me was that his son was who made him aware of me. Long story short, people at the label couldn’t steal the money out of my budget and they were hating. They were going to the owners and making up stories – a lot of ridiculous shit, man. We just recently found out why the deal went sour just a couple of weeks ago. We were all curious about it for a few years and we recently found out that it was all over a fucking lie.
What was the lie?
(Whistles . . . whew!) They basically wanted me out of there because they couldn’t steal no money from my project and eat up the budget and I had a huge budget, which is $1.5 million. We negotiated our shit properly, where we had full control of our project because we worked hard for it. Myself and Kay Slay. We just found out the other day from a dude who works at the label that this dude went to the owners and lied and said that Kay Slay threatened him. After that, that’s why the project went sour. The people that signed me, that put a bad taste in their mouth. They finally turned them against me. This dude lied and said Slay threatened him. These dudes put a stunt to my career and a hold on my life over a fucking lie. I was touring overseas around that time. When I got signed to Jive, I went on tour overseas and I came back. When I came back, we released the record with Snoop. After a while, shit went sour. It’s a good thing that we had good lawyers and we negotiated my contract properly and we were able to leave with the music and the money.
Always wanted to ask you about that record with Snoop. You had such a hard New York sound and then went and did a West Coast-sounding record – with all due respect. Was that a conscious move on your part to go left field a bit?
Yeah, yeah. It happens a lot with artists, nah mean. If I could do it all over again, would I do that? No. As I said before, when you go to a label and have someone involved in your project who knows nothing about hip-hop, there comes these weird inputs of what they think should happen. Even though we had control of our situation, it’s still a marriage. These dudes had an ulterior motive from the start. They had no good intentions. I was a workaholic. Everybody knows that about me. It spoke about me through my music. I was always working. To me that was always the key to success – just keep working – so I didn’t mind putting out music. It’s a marriage, so you have to agree on the music. I thought it was a hot record. Snoop did his thing, I did my thing. It was a Scott Storch beat, but there was no push behind it because they didn’t want the push to be behind it. Once we seen that they were trying to shelf me and do how they do with other artists, we spoke to our lawyers and were able to get out of there with our money. That’s why I been financially comfortable.
Y’all walked out of that with all of that money?
Yeah, we got that bread (laughing). I did a lot of tours in my day and I’m not stupid. I was never a fool. I been owned a house before I got my deal. I never did nothing stupid. I was putting my money up. I was always prepared for the bullshit. I never really had to rely on the music to be financially stable. I had a house before I got my deal. I make a lot of money off my music. I feed my family with my music. That’s how I eat off my shows. I’m always out of the country, doing something or even in the States.
How often in a given year do you tour?
I was just in Russia not too long ago and I’m breaking out real soon. I’m going to Africa in another month.
How tough is it on the kids when you got to travel and then Remy’s situation, of course?
It’s real tough. I don’t like to be away from them at all. I definitely let them know that I got to break out. Daddy got to make money or how are we going to eat? I hate to be away from all of them. It sucks. They know, Remy knows. I can’t talk to her from overseas because she can’t call a cell phone, only a land line.
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