Mike Jones was one of the biggest breakout stars in hip-hop in the mid-2000s, becoming famous for his Houston hits with Swishahouse before heading out on his own with his Ice Age Entertainment label, dropping gems, selling millions, beefing with Chamillionaire, and getting hip-hop heads all around the country screaming his name through his infectious catchphrases. But he was also known for his accessibility, highlighted by his willingness to hand out—and rap about—his cell phone number (“2-8-1-3-3-0-8-0-0-4 / Thats my cell phone number hit me up on the low,” he raps on “What Ya Know About”) on a handful of tracks from his critically-acclaimed 2005 album Who Is Mike Jones?
Time passed, and Jones lost control over the number, while he himself went into a self-described “political” hiatus, battling with record labels and phone companies alike to get his due. Now Jones is on the comeback trail, with new music on the way—and he’s made progress in getting back his cell phone number.
“I had an unlimited plan with the song, because the fans were calling like crazy,” he told XXL via phone yesterday. ”I guess they tried to give me another number, a 281-330 number—they were just trying to give me a lifetime phone number. I didn’t want to do it because I worked hard to make that number known, you know what I’m saying? They started turning off my phone.”
The nature of the battle got complicated as, according to Jones, two separate phone companies got involved. “I guess the phone number was through Sprint, but then I was able to get the phone number through Verizon,” he explained. “Verizon ported half the number, so we was able to call people from the number. But Sprint wouldn’t give us the other port so that people could call us. It’s a whole, complicated game. I got the number back halfway, we’re just still in the process of working on them.”
It’s been a rabbit hole that, presumably, not many have had to go down. “There’s a whole lot of stuff I learned about the phone game,” he says now. “It’s crazy. It’s very interesting. All I was doing was just giving out the phone number trying to show everybody that I’m a cool guy, keep it 100, hit me up, and I’ll holler at you. And it just got bigger and bigger and bigger…we can call out to people on the phone, but we’re trying to get the port to where we can get people to call in.”