T.I., “U Know What It Is” (Originally Published March 2007)

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I MADE IT

Throughout his 14-Year career, B.G. has seen everything the rap game has to offer. But back in the majors after four years indie, he’s feeling like a rap rookie again.

 

For a 26-year-old, B.G. has lived a whole lot of life. By the age of 18, he’d dropped four albums on Cash Money Records. By 19, he’d coined a term, “bling-bling,” that would be inscribed in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary. But when the money started getting funny and the Louisiana label’s success headed south, B.G. stepped to the left. Signing with New York independent label Koch Records, he sold over 250,000 copies of his 2003 album Livin’ Legend. Two years later, he sold 175,000 of The Heart of Tha Streetz.

In 2007, he’s a rapper reborn. Four years free of heroin, with an Atlantic Records deal for his Chopper City imprint, he has his first majorlabel album in seven years on the horizon. While the new project is being executive produced by his Atlantic roster mate, T.I., B.G. recently had a conversation with estranged Cash Money boss Baby. It’s a new day, all right.

You really feel like a new artist right now?
Man, I’m feeling so good about everything that’s going on with my career. My new album is gonna be called Back to the Future. I feel like I’ve been here before. I’m here with a new breath of life, a new situation, all positive people around me. It’s a real good feeling.

How’d T.I. come to executive produce your next album?
Something had gotten leaked on 106 & Park saying that I had gotten signed to G-Unit South. Tip called me to congratulate me, and I’m like, “I appreciate it, nigga, but it ain’t official yet.” And he like, “It’s not? Maaan, what it’s gon’ take to get you over here with me? You need to be at Atlantic.” I’m like, “Yeah, we already went up there, but I don’t know what’s going on…” He’s like, “Man, lemme make a phone call.” He called me back in a couple days, and Craig Kallman flew me to New York. T.I. opened Craig’s ear to my vision, ’cause Tip got the same vision.

You shocked a lot of people in December 2006 by calling a New Orleans radio station to send your condolences to Baby after he lost his sister Tamara to a car accident.
I did what I felt was a real nigga’s responsibility. Yeah, we got our problems, but I knew his sister personally. ’Mara and I grew up together. I just pushed the bullshit to the side, because you never realize how much you care about somebody ’til they gone. If it woulda been the shoe’s on the other foot, I would’ve expected the same out of him.

Did y’all get to speak behind the scenes?
Yeah. He respected what I did, so he called the radio station and said, “I really need to talk to him.” He left the number for me, and I called him. We talked for like an hour. He poured his heart out. I poured my heart out. He told me some things I probably needed to hear. I told him some things he probably needed to hear. I told him how I felt about the whole situation. He told me this and that. I told him, “Man, you know what? We gon’ sweep it under the bridge.” It is what it is.