Almost a decade after his original release date, Atlanta’s own Stat Quo is finally set to drop his long awaited debut, Statlanta. Although it won’t be released under Shady/Aftermath Records as intended, the mixtape king is now backed by a label that lets him do exactly what he wants, how he wants to. Teaming up with former G-Unit president Sha Money XL, Stat is dropping his project under the music guru’s new label, Dream Big Ventures. caught up with the Atlanta rapper to get the inside scoop on what really happened between him and Dre, breaking into commercials and what he knows about Detox. You were signed with Shady/Aftermath Records for a minute but your album never came out. How frustrating has it been for you to be on the shelf for so long?

Stat Quo: It was just sitting back and watching a lot of people that I was cool with get the opportunity to put their record out and just not knowing the business… I actually had to get outta that situation in order to put this record out, but at the same time it still worked out good for me ’cause you know me and Dre and everybody are still cool, it’s all love with us. Your release date has changed a lot, but word is Statlanta is finally set for June.

Stat Quo: To be honest with you, I thought it was gonna be [earlier] so I guess in this game I’m learning that it’s always a possibility for something to go wrong you know, but from my understanding right now it’s coming out definitely June 22… I just wanna go ahead and get it over with. But you must be excited to actually have a release date set now, right?

Stat Quo: Yeah, man, it’s beautiful to finally see everything come into fruition. To actually get the opportunity to put this record out is long overdue for me, and a lot of people said it would never happen so fuck them I guess… Let your haters be your motivators, that’s what they say, or Tom Joyner or somebody said some corny shit like that. [Laughs] What’s the direction you’re going with for the album? Is there an underlying theme you’re trying to stick with?

Stat Quo: For a while I was making music for everybody else except myself… This go round I’m just doing me. I’m just makin’ music that sounds good instead of trying to make something to sell out the stores. I’m makin’ music that I think is dope and if I like it then that’s cool; that’s all that matters. Your first single is “Success [Back to U],” what was the thought process behind that record?

Stat Quo: I just wanted to make something that everybody could kinda relate to and not put it in a box. It’s just like everybody can relate to hustlin’, tryin’ to do better for themselves and it’s kinda hard sometimes for some kid in suburbia to relate to sellin’ dope or just robbin’ somebody, but they can kinda relate to bein’ in school and tryin’ to pass that test and studyin’ for it… So I just wanted to bring the common man’s struggle to light with the video, and it just worked out perfectly because it’s stuff that I actually went through. Well, it doesn’t look like you’re struggling that much anymore with you and Dre doing HP Beats commercial. Is that something you and he have been working on for a while?

Stat Quo: He said he was shooting a commercial the day before and like I didn’t know it was for HP ’til I got there… They told me to sit in the booth and like literally I didn’t even know what was being said. I just knew when that dude walked in he just looked outta place so I just threw my hands up—it was all improve, nobody told me anything. I didn’t think I was gonna get in the commercial ’cause I had asked the guy if his hair was a toupee, so he was kinda not feelin’ me, but it looked like a toupee. [Laughs] Like, really, it looked like it was glued on top of his head. So I was like, “Yo, is that a toupee? He just gave me this look and I’m like, “Aw, shit! I like you in that Yes Man movie,” tryna kiss up you know what I mean. But at the end, I was like, “Yeah, they gonna cut me out.” Do you think being in the commercial’s going to help you get some buzz for the album?

Stat Quo: I don’t really care about that. Anytime I can help Dre out with what he got going on I’m cool with that, like I don’t care. And I get residuals off of it. Like, really, to keep it real with you maybe I could be like Russell Quo. I could be like the greatest commercial actor of all time. I could be doin’ commercials for Burger King and McDonald’s, and I’ll be so ill wit it that they have to hire me to do both of ’em, that would be dope, right? Forget the movies, I’m trying to do commercials. [Laughs]. Although you left Aftermath, are you writing any songs for Dre’s Detox?

Stat Quo: He’s allowing me to be a part of the process… It’s deeper than just sitting in there writing. He’s lettin’ me be in there and be a part of it and I thank God for that. Fans have been waiting for this album for almost 10 years, when do you think it’ll actually drop?

Stat Quo: I think he’s gonna put the album out when he wants to. He’s earned the right to say and put it out whenever he wants to. It’s his album; he’s gonna do it whenever he wants to but I can’t sit here and tell you about another man’s project. I can only tell you that the music that I’m hearing, that I’m listening to, is incredible. —Amber McKynzie