Ed. Note: Today, Sept. 26, 2015, marks the 15th anniversary of the release of Shyne's self-titled debut album, released while he was locked up for the infamous nightclub shooting that also involved Diddy and J.Lo in June 2000. After his release from prison, XXL released a three-part series in our September 2010, October 2010 and November 2010 issues chronicling his new life in his native Belize, his almost ten years behind bars and the making of his debut LP.

Those three stories are reprinted here together for the first time online to celebrate the anniversary of Shyne's debut album. To read all three of Shyne's XXL cover stories over the years, click here.

Shyne Self-Titled Album Cover making of

Respect Mine
In 2000, Shyne was one of rap's most polarizing figures, drawing comparisons to The Notorious B.I.G. while dealing with a high-profile criminal trial and working feverishly to create his first album. In honor of Shyne's 10th anniversary, XXL gives it up for Po's self-titled debut.
Words Rob Markman
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the September 2010 issue of XXL Magazine.

Not many rappers craft their first LPs while facing 25 years in prison. But that was the case for Shyne and his self-titled Bad Boy Records LP, which dropped September 26, 2000, after a very challenging time. Shyne Po faced two major issues during the creation of his album. First, there was the matter of the Brooklyn MC’s deep-baritone voice, which drew comparisons to the late Notorious B.I.G.’s, a fact that angered some of Big’s most faithful supporters. Then, more importantly, there was Po’s attempted-murder, assault, reckless-endangerment and criminal-possession-of-a-weapon charges and eventual trial, stemming from a shooting at Manhattan’s Club New York, which also involved Bad Boy label head Sean “Puffy” Combs.

Though Shyne began coming together at Daddy’s House Studio in 1999, before the Club N.Y. incident (the premier single, “Bad Boyz,” was recorded first), Po created most of the LP after his indictment. The gritty street album debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, standing strong among other top-10 rap albums released around the same time, such as Mystikal’s Let’s Get Ready, Nelly’s Country Grammar, Lil Bow Wow’s Beware of Dog and Eminem’s Marshall Mathers LP.

Ten years since its release, Shyne remains a truly remarkable album. To celebrate its 10th anniversary, XXL gathered a few of the key creators to reflect on the Bad Boy classic. Ch-ch-cheaa.

My revolution started 10 years ago. Nobody wasn’t on no gangsta rap back then, really... Ten years to celebrate, that’s my 10th-year anniversary. That was 10 the hard way. From the door, they wasn’t fuckin’ with homeboy. I was getting bullets blazed my way just by association. And [my] baritone, the heavy baritone ain’t help it a bit. I had to dodge those bullets. I dropped one or two little remixes, and [people] was like, “Yeah, it’s aight, but I don’t know... Long live B.I.G.” And then it had to be something, some fuckin’ Hiroshima shit that just revolutionized it. When that “Bad Boyz” shit came out, it was like the first atomic bomb. When they seen the video and the veins poppin’ out [my] neck, they was like, “Oh shit, that’s son that shot the club up. Oh yeah, he’s the shit, for real.”

If that club shit ain’t happen, [Puff] probably would’ve been all over my shit, or he would’ve tried. But when the shit happened, he wasn’t really fuckin’ with me. I was on my own, and, personally, I liked it that way. No guest appearances, nobody else rapping. I had to just come raw, straight gutter, cocaine flow. And by God’s grace, that’s what happened.

HARVE PIERRE—former Bad Boy A&R and associate executive producer; producer of “Everyday (Interlude)”
Shyne was one of the hardest-working artists that I’ve ever seen on the label. He was always at the studio, even before the people opened up the studio. He would sleep at the studio. Just working with an artist that had a great attitude and was a hard worker, and then him being so creative, so lyrical, so true to what he is and what he was all about, and his movement and his dedication, made it a great album to work on.

EZ ELPEE—Producer of “Bad Boyz” and “The Hit”
I made the beat [for “Bad Boyz”] in the crib in the Bronx on the MPC 2000... We didn’t have no chorus. [Former Bad Boy A&R] Bobby [Springsteen] was like, “It needs, like, a Barrington Levy or somebody.” Once they got that pulled in, that was history. The record was done, and right when it was about to come out, they caught that case. We didn’t even think the album was gonna come out—the case was that bad.

NASHIEM MYRICK—Producer of “The Life” and “Commission”
People really didn’t study that album. I know a lot of street, underground hip-hop heads did. To this day, niggas talk about a lot of the tracks that I did on that album, more than the tracks I did for a lot of other albums. What Shyne was going through at that time overshadowed how that album could really translate to people. During the trial, and making the album, he got real focused—like a magnifying glass, when you fry little ants in the sun. Perfection [was] his goal. It was intense.

MARIO “YELLOW MAN” WINANS—Producer of “Gangsta Prayer (Interlude),” “The Life,” “That’s Gangsta” and “Spend Some Cheese”
[Shyne] was talented. It was what it was. Puff is a genius, and he saw it in him. Opposition just came, and it got out of control. It ain’t nobody’s fault—it ain’t Puff’s fault; it ain’t Shyne’s fault. It was just the situation... I think the Shyne project was groundbreaking, and it still is groundbreaking. I am happy that the album was able to get released.

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shyne belize xxl magazine
Photo Credit: Perou

In the second part of a three-part series, exiled rapper Shyne speaks to XXL about his connection to his home and homeland: Belize, where his father, Dean Barrow, was sworn in as the Central-American nation’s first Black Prime Minister in 2008.
Words Vanessa Satten
Image Perou
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the October 2010 issue of XXL Magazine.

The afternoon sky is a crisp blue and the wild birds of Belize are chirping as Shyne Po sits on the balcony of his penthouse apartment overlooking the Mediteranean Sea. He is in Belize City, Belize, where he was born in November 8, 1978. He hasn’t lived here since his mother, Frances Franklin, moved him to Brooklyn when he was 7 years old. Now, having been deported by the United States Department of Justice after serving nine years in prison for charges stemming from an infamous shooting incident at Club New York in Manhattan, he’s back to the Central American land of his ancestry.

That ancestry is important here. Shyne’s father, Dean Barrow, comes from a long line of Belizean political power and became the nation’s first Black Prime Minister in 2008. The two had little contact for years—and the vast difference between Shyne’s life with his single mother, who worked overtime to keep the lights on, and his father’s position at the top of society back home led to some understandably hard feelings.

But after Shyne hit it big with his 1999 single “Bad Boyz,” and through his long stay in prison, the two have been forging a healthier relationship.

Shyne arrived in Belize in November last year. He has been recording an album—to be released under the partnership between his own label, Gangland Records, and Def Jam—in the months since, and was appointed the nation’s official musical ambassador in April. He heads up the music program at the National Institute of Cultural History. And while he fights for the legal to return to the U.S., he’s dedicated himself to building Belize into, as he puts it, “a Central American Dubai.”

Lofty goals, for sure. But on this sticky summer night, as he discusses them with XXL, Shyne looks comfortable in his surroundings. Life in exile suits him in a way. He’s at home here.

XXL: Tell me about Belize. What is Belize known for?
Shyne: To me, Belize is known for that independence. That improbable existence. Belize is like Israel, shit is surrounded by bigger muthafuckas—by a bunch of Goliaths. But it maintains its sovereignty. Like, you know Guatemala used to have Belize drawn as part of they map. Honduras, Mexico, all surround this shit. It’s all part of the same landmass. But somehow Belize was able to maintain its sovereignty. Three hundred thousand people. You would think—surrounded by different countries with hundreds of millions of people—they would just grab this little shit up. But nonetheless, Belize remains in that sovereign space. So that’s very significant to me, ’cause I’m the same way. Just like when I was in the pen, you would think a muthafucka in the pen ain’t got shit—desperate, fightin’ for life. He’ll take anything. Never me. I’d rather not have anything than have a muthafucka that devalues or does not assess my value the right way, ya dig?

How do you personally connect to that?
Before I was in the pen, even when I was in the street, I was always a young muthafucka, different. Looked different—I wasn’t dark enough, I wasn’t light enough. I was always right there. What you call an enigma. I always stood out. Confident in my eccentricity, ya dig? ’Cause there’s one common bond that ties most men. I get that from that Belize bloodline. Where even, improbable as it may be, I still push forward with my vision and my confidence that I could accomplish that. And I actually do accomplish it. ’Cause a lot of us got pipe dreams. A lot of us aspire for shit and it don’t never come to fruition. But for me, I was always able to aspire for the improbable, and it materialized. And that definitely is a part of that Belizean shit where there’s people, for whatever reason, wanted their

What do you think you can do for Belize?
I hope that I can make entertainment that will have a mass appeal, allowing me to generate the resources where I could build better housing, build up the infrastructure, get businessmen to come down and invest, build hotels, build restaurants, just totally develop the country. Probably take like maybe a couple billion dollars to really get it started. And success is magnetic, so if I’m touring all across the world and my shit is jumpin’, then muthafuckas gon’ want to be a part of that Shyne experience. And part of that Shyne experience is being in Belize. And that’s what I hope I can do. The exposure, attracting the tourism, but more so being an attraction—being a national treasure. And through my relationships in business and the different billionaire dudes I know, getting them to see that we can make this a Central American Dubai and that there’s more jobs for everybody, there’s better education for everybody—just a total overhaul of the country and industrializing it and modernizing it.

You father is currently Prime Minister of Belize. Is politics something that appeals to you?
I’m more of a behind-the-scenes dude. I wouldn’t mind providing the resources and the assistance to make sure the right muthafucka was in power to do the right thing. But I would never personally want to be the Prime Minister. That’s my grandmother and them. They came up fighting for the people... My great grandfather was like the district commissioner, so he ran Belize for the British. My grandfather had his own drug store. My pops and my uncle have their own law firms. My pops is the CEO of the country now, he’s the Prime Minister. My uncle is a Supreme Court justice, chief appellate court justice. So I’m from a family of muthafuckas that are leaders. God shows them shit that they don’t show everybody else. My uncle on my mom’s side is a handicapped dude, that’s one of the most powerful politicians in the country.

What’s your relationship with your father like now? And what was it like before your bid and during it?
We cool. I can definitely say we got a better relationship than we ever had. But that was a process that was years in the making. I would say a lifetime in the making, ya dig? But more practically speaking, over the last 10 years before I went to the pen. Maybe the last 15 years, you would say. Because before I went to the pen, when I got shot, there was a line of communication goin’ on there. But nothing significant, ’cause as a young muthafucka, you still hate the world. You know whatever, he got his issues. He’ll admit he wasn’t perfect and had shit he had to figure out. But you know, there was a beginning there. Whereas before, I just wasn’t fuckin’ with him at all. Fuck him. But there was a beginning there. I remember one time he might have visited. I think it was in 1997, he visited my little brother, his son, and his daughter and shit. And I was on my shit, “Yeah, man I’m ’bout to do this record deal. I’m ’bout to sign here.” Then I actually did it. And when I did it, I came to Belize with the fuckin’ Rollie and the diamonds and shit. Stayed in the big hotel and rented a car and burnt the bitch down. So I think muthafuckas thought I was sellin’ drugs. I was known in the music circles in New York for signing to Bad Boy, but globally, ain’t nobody know who the fuck Shyne was. And then the record came out, “Bad Boyz” came out, video and shit. Full mainstream shit. Then he reached out and said he was happy for me. And I was the type of dude, I had already started talkin’. It wasn’t no father-son shit, I’m not the type of dude to show my ass. I’m the type of dude to be like, “Thank you,” and I’m happy where I’m at in my life, grateful with God. I’m not on no keeping score-type shit. So the relationship continued there.

He was always considered one of the smartest muthafuckas in the country, one of the most powerful muthafuckas in the country. Even when he wasn’t the Prime Minister, he was considered that dude. Muthafuckas was in awe of him. The way he spoke, he had that Malcolm X shit. He had that Martin Luther King shit... Any son, regardless of how fucked up the relationship is, any son want they pops to fuck with them. Ain’t no dude that don’t want they pops to fuck with them. Unless he beatin’ your moms or doin’ some wild shit like that, where you wanna kill the muthafucka, overall. Even then! You ain’t fuckin with him, you wish, damn, he would change and he would do the right thing. Dude love his pops. That’s just natural. So like I said, the relationship was started. So when I became Shyne and I put my shit out and I popped—in the same way, I guess any father wanna see his son succeed, the difference with him and a father that would come around after you succeed is: he’s a multimillionaire. He got his paper. He been makin’ money since forever. He make more paper bein’ a regular dude than he do being a politician. So it wasn’t like he was tryin’ to fuck with me to eat. He was just happy that his son popped. And I think he felt a certain type of way that he ain’t contribute to that. He ain’t have nothin’ to do with that. He felt he fucked up. And my thing wasn’t to rub his face in it and throw salt in his wound. My thing was, Yo, dude is brilliant, dude is a genius. So maybe I can pick his brain. ‘Cause I always try to learn from everybody I’m around. Even my codefendant. A lot of the smart muthafuckas I was around in my heyday—whether it be Russell Simmons, or any of them dudes—I always tried to learn and tried to absorb and soak it up. So I said, I’ll just prick his brain and maybe I can learn a few things to apply to where I’m at. So that’s how the relationship continued.

Your mom did an interview with us in the June 2004 issue while you were locked up. She seemed actively involved in your life. Is she involved now?
One thing, I couldn’t talk, you know? It was a very devastating situation for her and she had her feelings about how the shit happened and wasn’t nobody listening to her. So when opportunities present themselves, I think of ways to vindicate and to make things right. That was her opportunity to get her peace.

Have you guys spent time together down here after you were out?
Yeah, she came down here, you know. I never been a mother’s boy. I’m a dude. I’m a man. So a man takes care of his family, including his moms. I been on my own since I could remember. My moms left when I was three years old, and I hold that against her. But as a man, that’s what men do. [You’re] the oldest son, take care your family. Pops ain’t there, you take care of your mother, which you supposed to do. It’s not because I’m such a good kid, good son—that’s how I grew up. You supposed to do that.

But are you a good son?
That’s not for me to decide. I take care of my mother. I try to do whatever I can in my power, resources permit, and that’s it. But I’m not an intimate dude. I’m not a fuckin’ emotional dude. I’m emotional in a distant way. I’m emotional in a matter of, if me and my moms got a disagreement or we don’t get along, I’m not gonna watch her starve. I’m not gonna put her out on the street. So I’m emotional and understanding in a matter of what... I gotta make sure I help. I’m not emotional in the sense of, “Hey, Mom, I miss you. Can’t wait to see you!” I’m not into that shit.

You were given the title of musical ambassador of Belize. When did that happen and what does it mean?
That came together after months of me being here, working with the kids and doin’ different shit. I did a distribution deal with Island Def Jam—a major distribution deal. And shit like that is big for the country. It’s big any time Island Def Jam decides to partner up with somebody, but definitely a fuckin’ third-world country. So it was clear to the government that I could contribute to this country in a major way. I’m a goodwill ambassador the same way Angelia Jolie is a goodwill ambassador, and Brad Pitt. It’s the same way with Shyne.

What are your responsibilities in that position? What do you do?
I got the music education shit. To implement music education in the Belizean school system, which they don’t have at all. To start teachin’ muthafuckas different aspects of music, whether it be engineering or creating music, to playing music, be in the studio, shit like that. I let the poor kids come to my studio once a week. I’ma start practicing with a live band, because you know that’s big in Belize. My overall responsibility has nothing to do with really being an ambassador; it’s some shit that I would do on GP, which is to develop the country. But through my entertainment, as I said in the beginning, and my vehicle with the music shit, that’s how all that’s gon’ come together. It can affect the economy as far as tourism. It can affect the economy as far as people coming out here to invest and build up, whether it be hotels or restaurants. This business or that business. And that brings jobs. So I can totally transform Belize if I’m successful with my music. Even when we took the pictures with the flags, that’s not just gonna be pictures that gon’ be in different parts of Belize; XXL is gonna be everywhere in the world. So when people see Shyne with a Belize flag, that puts Belize on the map. So I think that’s like the quintessential goodwill ambassador.

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shyne belize xxl magazine november 2010 making of
Photo Credit: Perou

Can I Live?
In the last part of a three-part series, exiled rapper Shyne vents about a tough past few months—and promises a resurgence and a return.
Words Vanessa Satten
Image Perou
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the November 2010 issue of XXL Magazine.

It’s been more than three months since XXL first visited Shyne Po in his hometown, Belize City, Belize. On an October afternoon, the baritone MC calls in from Israel for the last interview of a three-part series. The past few months must have been challenging for Shyne, although he’s hesitant to admit that.

Back in November 2009, soon after his release from prison and deportation from the United States, Shyne signed a distribution deal for his Gangland Records with Def Jam president L.A. Reid. This was his second deal with Def Jam. Back in 2004, Shyne signed Gangland to the hip-hop powerhouse—then under the auspices of Lyor Cohen—for a reported $9 million. That deal produced one album, Shyne’s Godfather Buried Alive, which dropped the same year.

The new agreement stipulated that Def Jam would have limited control over Shyne’s music, and Reid was okay with that. The deal was struck, and Shyne set to work on what he planned to be a double album of new material. This past summer, he started releasing music through the Internet—songs like the dark and distant “Messiah,” followed by “Roller Song” and “Belize,” along with a handful of freestyles over other rappers’ tracks. The response was lukewarm at best. “There’s no excuse for this,” said Dre of NahRight.com of “Messiah.” “Ten years can make you a little rusty,” said New York magazine’s Vulture.com. “Hopefully better stuff to come.” Fans clamored for the old Shyne.

When Shyne called in for his final XXL interview, one of the first things we learned is that he has been harboring some strong feelings about L.A. Reid’s ability to run a hip-hop label. A Cincinnati-born drummer who played with the R&B bands Pure Essence and The Deele before founding the Atlanta-based LaFace Records in the late 1980s, Reid’s first executive success was with R&B stars TLC and Toni Braxton, before discovering the rap acts OutKast and Goodie Mob through producer Rico Wade. Recently, rumors have been swirling that Reid will be leaving Def Jam.

Shyne says he has a new deal with a new distributor already in the process, and he’s also been working on his return to the States. He promises he will be back in New York before the year is over. So the next interview you get with Shyne Po and XXL might just happen in his old Brooklyn stomping grounds. Wouldn’t that be nice? Baby, baby!

XXL: So what’s the status of your new album?
Shyne: I got a few albums finished. My plan is to release two on the same day, Gangland and Messiah. But a curveball I have is, they won’t be released on Island Def Jam, ’cause Island Def Jam is burning to the ground. And I’m not staying there to be up in that fire. I just came out of fire, so I ain’t gettin’ burnt again. I’m in the process of completing a new distribution deal, and that’ll be revealed at the right time... L.A. Reid killed Def Jam. Like, Def Jam is dead, you know what I’m sayin’?

Whoever the new guy is, I hope that he’s committed to rebuilding a fuckin’ hip-hop institution. But that’s not an easy thing, and I can’t necessarily stick up with him and see if he won’t get another muthafucka that, you know, don’t care about hip-hop, don’t understand hip-hop, like the last muthafucka we had. So I’m out of there. I can’t stay there for them to figure the shit out.

When did you decide you couldn’t come out on Def Jam?
I been kickin’ this around for a minute. I don’t know about the people at Def Jam, but more so L.A. Reid—like, he don’t fuck with hip-hop. He don’t even wanna talk to the rappers. He don’t understand Ghostface and fuckin’ Jeezy and none of them dudes. Like, you know OutKast was, like, a total fluke. I think he looks down on hip-hop. Like, he don’t even understand why we sell records and why hip-hop is bigger than rhythm and blues. He don’t even get that. I think he’s insulted that some rap muthafuckas is selling more records than rhythm-and-blues shit that he does. Like, he don’t even wanna fuck with hip-hop, and I never fully understood that. Jay Z told me that shit. He was like, “Yo, good luck catching up with that dude.” And I didn’t get it. But if a muthafucka like Jay can’t talk to dude, the rest of us are finished. I told him a couple weeks ago, maybe a month or two ago, “Yo, I don’t wanna fuck with you no more." I wasn’t feeling the company and the support. He convinced me to chill, give it a chance. But, you know, the shit is no hope.

What would your ideal setup be? Where would you like to be signed?
I keep it a hundred, man. Like, it was supposed to be Jimmy Iovine. Like, L.A. Reid ain’t even do the deal I did over there, man. That was Jimmy’s deal. Jimmy put that shit on the table, you know? I went to fuckin' St. Barts to meet Jimmy, played the music and that was his shit, man. I’m definitely fuckin' with a muthafucka like Jimmy, you know, who gets hip-hop. He’s a rock ’n’ roll dude, so he know about the verbal music, and he built the hip-hop industry—along with Russell [Simmons]—as far as the N.W.A shit... And, like, he’s not a bad guy. When I talk to [L.A. Reid], he’s all in, but when we get off the phone, he don’t believe. If he don’t believe, he don’t know what to do. He’s fuckin' lost, man.

This summer, you tested the waters by putting some of your new music out on the Internet—“Roller Song,” “Belize,” “Messiah.” How do you feel about the response you got?
I mean, I can’t really tell you what the response has been, because for all I know that could be one of my rivals taking a little change out the bank account and setting up a team of bloggers to blog.

You mean that’s with comments online?
Everybody’s not always going to like your shit. And there’s going to be some people that love it. So obviously, you know, there wasn’t an overwhelming response of, Oh, your shit is the most incredible shit I’ve ever heard! You know, that didn’t really happen. I think what did happen, that I could say truthfully happened, you know, no bias, was a shock. Like, Yo, this shit ain’t the shit I’m used to hearing. This some new shit. And I think there was like some propaganda to make the new shit not some fly shit. Whereas it could’ve been, Yo, this new, this fresh, we fuck with it! But I would honestly say that the lyrical content and the flows and the melody and the musical ability was on par with the best—the life wasn’t there, you understand? Like, I listened to the—’cause you know I did another version of “Messiah,” I did another version of “Roller Song.” And I listened to the first versions—I was dead. I was dead, man, you know? I don’t know if you read my blog that I just did for MTV, you know? But I talk about it, man, and this was an a result of what I went through for the last 10 years. You know, like, I became emotionally dead. It’s not like a light switch that I can turn on when I... Nah, it’s a result of my fuckin’ incarceration. For 10 years I learned the art of suppressing my emotions. So when I get out, there’s no fuckin’ switch.

I’m not a music dude that’s like, Yo, music is my life. Yeah, I love it. But I don’t sit here and figure out how to make music. So when I came out, I was just figuring out how not to pop nobody head off and end back up in jail. How to be cool and not to go and try to settle any debts and, fuckin’, you know, take any revenge. That’s what I was trying to figure out how to do. So when I went in the studio, I didn’t even realize I was just a shell of myself.

’Cause, if you listen to the new shit, it’s, like, a galaxy away from the first shit. Every time I go in there, you know, I’m coming alive. There’s life into my shit. Like, it was nothing when I was just spitting that shit. I always say that hard, sophisticated, slick, fly, intellectual shit, but there was just no life there. Now that I’m out, I ain’t gotta worry about a cop lookin’ over my back. I could actually smile, I could laugh, I could do whatever, and then don’t got to suppress my emotions no more. I’m coming back. I’m coming out of that. So the music obviously is sounding alive. That’s all that was missing, was the life. Obviously it’s still the new flow, it’s still definitely ain’t never gonna sound like Shyne, because Shyne was running around with a hot pistol in his waist. Shyne was really laying muthafuckas down and then making records about it. So obviously I could never really go back to that. But just as far as bringing to life what I am saying, I definitely have shifted the paradigm, and I’m there now.

Do you think, overall, that the public understands the bid you did? Does that affect the reaction to the music?
Hip-hop supports ex-prison guards as it stands. Hip-hop supports confidential information as it stands, so I don't look for validation from those people. Nah, I wouldn't even talk to these people. There’s a crew called the Rat Hunters in prison. And that’s what we used to do. We used to hunt people like that and hurt them. So I don’t look for validation from a set of people that buy into anything. They support anything. There’s no morals, there’s no values, and there’s no standards anymore. So I look to the streets, and the streets love me. The streets fuck with Shyne. There’s not a real dude that’s been through some shit that don’t give it up. There’s no way. You have to. This ain’t about music. This about what a muthafucka did.

What’s going on with you coming back to the United States?
I’ll be back in NYC at the end of the year. We can’t get into no details, but I ain’t never lied to you. I ain’t never told you something that wasn’t gonna be.

How does Gangland Records fit into your whole plan?
Gangland Records just allows me the opportunity to do whatever I feel. So if honesty, integrity and character is what I contribute to music as my platform, my contribution, so be it. And what Gangland Records does is, nobody can interfere with that. So I don’t have to answer to a corporation. I don’t have to answer to that whole corporate structure where they thinking ’bout a bottom line and they don’t understand that the biggest records and the biggest artists were always substantive. They were always honest, always were about something; they stood for something. And they didn’t stand for, Yo, how can we make the radio love us? Or, how can we make the bloggers fuck with us? There wasn’t none of that back then. Back then, you did a live show, and you had a following before you even had a deal, ya dig?

Gangland Records allows me to not answer to anybody and present honesty and integrity. So that’s what you hear. It ain’t somebody in a boardroom sittin’ down there sayin’, “Yo, is this gonna work for radio? Is this gonna work for this? Is this gonna work for that?”

Nah, man. That’s what I feel is dope-boy fresh. Let the people hear it.

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