The Stories Behind Master P’s 10 Best Songs

“I’m Bout’ It, Bout’ It”
Album: True (1995)

Master P: When you in a ghetto—that’s me. When you hear “Bout’ It, Bout’ It,” I have something to prove to the world. I lost so many homies to the streets, so once I put the music on, that record just came out. I’m in the middle of the projects in New Orleans. I got a chance to put what I am doing on record and that’s what came out. That energy. I wanted to represent where I am from. Who I am. My homies, my hood, and also the world. That record at that time—people wasn’t into the South like that. You had to be from the West or the East Coast to get that type of a fanbase. That record caught on on the East Coast. Caught on in the West. Caught on in the Midwest. It got people up out of they seats because people wanted to represent where they was from. I think that’s what that record did for the world.

I was born in New Orleans, but I grew up in Richmond, Calif. I had the best of both worlds. I learned that Bay Area hustle life. Independent life. And I learned the street life that I was able to take from New Orleans growing up. I went from one project to another. You know what I’m saying? I just put it all in my music, man, and represented. I represent both sides. I was able to market myself on the West Coast and the South, which was incredible for me as an artist.

I couldn’t put everybody on that I wanted to put on there, so “Part Two” I was able to put more people on there. More cities [and] more places that represented the brand No Limit. We took it [from] a street label to a national brand. I thought doing “Part Two,” I was able to show more love to more homies and more people and more states and cities that represent my brand.

“When They Gone”
Album: 99 Ways To Die (1995)

Master P: To be honest with you, that record, I had lost so many homies. You don’t really trip until you lose something or somebody gone. And then you realizing—you miss him. You know, it’s hard. How could you get through it? Just those questions that you start asking yourself when you lose somebody, especially to the streets. It’s just one of those records that just was real.

That’s the difference, I think, in this generation. That’s why people really like us and respect us. They know that we overcame the madness and they can make it. Hopefully, my life is about showing the next generation that everything that we’ve been through—if y’all put all y’all focus and your hustle on something else positive—that you could actually live through this stuff and make it out if you want to. People don’t realize, for us, it’s like the movie Scarface. Al Pacino, after the movie over, he could go chill up on the beach. He don’t have to be Tony Montana. You know what I am saying?

Like with us through the music, we actually live this shit. To be able to put this in music, it makes me feel like this is our Scarface movie like Al Pacino. We could go to the beach and chill. Get the nice house. We trying to teach this generation, you don’t really want to live like this, ’cause the people that really live like this, they don’t want that life. You’ll be foolish to make it past this and have to go back to that life. If you really lived that.

I put it all in the music. Everytime I was able to get an opportunity to go in the studio, I was putting out records every other week ’cause I know I’m thanking the man up above that I’m free. I’m living. And now, I am just going to put this in the music. I’ma tell my story. That’s what life is about. That’s what keeping it real is about. This generation don’t really try to keep it real. They be the toughest guy in the world. It’s about respecting and getting that respect. When you get respect, you getting it.

“Playaz From The South” Featuring Silkk The Shocker & UGK
Album: Down South Hustlers: Bouncin’ And Swingin’ (1995)

Master P: Being able to put the South on the map. Talk about what we do. Playas from the South. Gs. We actually getting money. We ain’t sitting around. We the upfront in this business now. You look at all the East Coast artists from Jay Z to whoever. They was behind us. They was trying to get verses from us because they know we had it on fire. It’s funny that everybody get their time, man. At that particular time, I had the South on the map. People wanted to be like us. People wanted to do music with us. ‘Cause we overcame that adversity to where rappers from the South don’t make money. They rap a little bit and get a little hook, but they aren’t making no money. We changed the game by showing the world that, “Man, we getting money.” We can buy what we want, we can do what we want. That was a long time waiting.

We was country, let’s be real. They thought we was just country. They didn’t worry about [us] getting money. We exposed that to the world. Country might be gold teeth. Whatever y’all wanna say, but we getting money. We getting more money than any other artist, any other company out there in the business. Cause of the bad deals they had. They had them 10 percent, 14 percent deals. We had an 80-20 deal that was unheard of. We getting money. Y’all gotta look at us different cause we getting money.